Thursday, July 22, 2010
Excerpt - Sacred Secrets
Your plangent cries permeate my dreams
Lest I forget
That which I have become
Slipping into the verisimiltude
I have created
A myrmidon of evil
Panoply of secrets
Pulling me down
Into the brackish water of my dreams
‘Tis but a simple deed
To expiate my sins
Simple as life
I chose this cup
Now I must drink.
Father Michael felt the chasm widen. A vast wasteland of emptiness. Nothingness. He had nothing. He was nothing.
“Isn’t it beautiful, Father Michael?”
Father Peter’s words were a mere whisper, his hands longing to caress the parchment stored beneath the thick glass.
“Where . . .”
Father Peter turned to him excitedly. “A gift from your sister, Claire.”
Father Michael nodded. He’d recognized the painting immediately as one of John’s beautiful fakes. The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden. Two beams of light shone down from the hands of the Virgin and Christ, enthroned on the heavenly plane, joining into one single stream entering the eyes of the seated saint. Images were powerful in medieval times.
Father Michael lowered his head, closed his eyes. “Please . . .,” she whispered.
Images were still powerful.
Father Peter gushed on, his excitement uncontainable. “Of course, I know it’s a reproduction, but its beauty, its message is invaluable.”
A beautiful fake, just like me, Father Michael thought, the riving pain opening, surging. A raging river in which he was going to drown.
The words came from the midst of the chasm. Words he’d not intended to say. “I’ve lost all hope, Father.”
The words echoed in the small study, coming from all four corners, dowsing the sun streaming from the window, fading the colors of the parchment. Gripping the heart of Father Peter with pain.
He turned, excitement of the gift still etched upon his wrinkled face. Gasping as he gazed into open wounds, vivid pools reflecting suffering. Never before had he seen such agony. His hands fluttered in front of him, mind sifting through eighty years of life, searching for words to breach the chasm. Words of comfort.
“There is always hope, Father Michael. God is our hope.”
“I no long hear His voice, Father.” He glanced at the painting. “No longer feel His light.”
“We must pray, my son.” Father Peter walked around the desk, placing his hand on the young priest’s shoulder. “We must pray that God will guide you in your hour of need.”
Father Michael sighed, placing his hand over the knotted arthritic joints of Father Peter’s fingers. “I have prayed, Father. I pray daily that God will take this cup from me.”
Father Peter felt the trembling in the hand covering his. Felt the despair. His words came unbidden. Words he knew not the source. Words he would ponder and regret in the days to come.
“Perhaps you must take the cup and drink from it.”
Father Michael embraced him. He had the forlorn feeling of being alone in the world. And that loneliness threatened to crush him. He whispered the words that sealed his fate. “Perhaps, Father. Perhaps I must.”