Re: Sunday Service: Mercy/Shiloh
He was certainly young. By all accounts, he should've been an assistant pastor somewhere, tending the flock while someone much older and grayer tended him. That had been his position for the past year. Young, too young to be expected to carry the sins of a congregation upon shoulders that were still narrow with youth. The pastor was thin, tall, and he didn't have a face crafted for debutante balls or newspapers, even though that had ended up being his lot in life. His nose was too long, and his face had too many bones, and there was something to his smile that sang hymns about the pleasure of falling.
The man he was speaking to at present, that man was wider, shorter, older. He looked out of place to Shiloh amid the pallid faces that surrounded him. Shiloh knew something about being out of place. His sister, she'd had the unadulterated pleasure of growing up in a town where the word 'negro' was still used without disgust.
But Shiloh - Pastor Leo Browning - wasn't pious. Fervor didn't walk hand in hand with piety on the face that regarded the shorter man in the sweltering heat and much better dressed for it.
"Nice to make your acquaintance," he said, polite as could be, and he looked around at the mingling faithful as he carefully slipped his hand from the other man's grip. He glanced at the cigarette a moment, his dark gaze hanging there and then following the smoke upward briefly. He wouldn't mind a smoke, but he wouldn't ask for one here. He knew he was being scrutinized, sized up, and he fully intended to be determined worthy by the hypocrites lingering around and hoping to catch a strand of gossip on the wind.
He grinned, did Shiloh. "I was about to say, I can't offer mercy. I can offer consolation and advice and and ear, but mercy's above my pay grade. I'm glad it was a name offering, not a request." His smile remained cheeky, a little too cheeky, and he glanced at the hanging chain on Mercy's neck a moment. "Have you been attending long?" he asked of the service, glancing back at the white-wood building for non-verbal clarification. "I've heard the last pastor left white as a sheet and without a word to anyone." Gossip, but Shiloh left the question hanging without the inflection of a question mark to accompany it. It was idle, curious, harmless, or so his smile proclaimed around the memory of that silver spoon he'd choked on for his entire life.