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mythosmeeple · 179
“You have always taught me to believe in a ‘Doctrine of Love’.”
“And to follow the ‘Way of Peace’.”
“To live the way He lived.”
“Quite right, Miguel.”
A silence followed. Father Mateo Castile continued to pack his suitcase upon the bed. The boy Miguel continued to hover in the doorway. His clothes neatly folded and stacked, the priest sighed and straightened up. He crossed the room, passing through a pool of light, brightly filtered through a stained-glass depiction of Christ on the cross. He stood before the basin and mirror on the opposing wall.
“But, Padre…” the boy began. The priest sighed once more.
“Miguel,” Mateo turned, “let us…”, he was briefly lost for words, “... let us consider the silence for a few moments, please.”
It did not last.
“... but these are strange people you go to see!” Miguel pleaded, “And such language they use!”, he stepped forward from the doorway, a letter thrust outwards in his hand.
So this was the source of the boy’s concern. His finding of the letter came as no surprise, his reading of it even less so. Miguel was a curious boy, and a vulnerable one too. He was given to acts of ill-discipline, for which he would either impudently expect understanding or unashamedly demand forgiveness. He was young.
“Putting aside your reading of my private correspondence,” Mateo waved away the boy’s protestations, “let us agree that Señor Anderson, rough diamond though he may be, is a practical man...”
“... in that he’s killed more men than cholera?” muttered Miguel.
“... a practical man,” repeated Mateo, “and this Señor Edwards…”
“... a common thief!”
“... seems to have a great talent for logistics.” finished Mateo firmly, “They are men of action.”
“Ellos son brutos!”, came Miguel’s response.
The priest snorted, “Well. These are brutal things we face.”
Another silence. They had both experienced the Wickedness together. Seen the creatures that should not be. Not men. Not serpents. But something monstrous that lay between the two. Miguel’s head dropped. He sat upon the bed. Mateo glanced at him, turned back to the mirror, adjusted his collar.
“Forma Etérea … Navaja Espectral… El Códice de Edades …” Miguel was now looking through the books and scrolls upon the bedside table. He held each in his hands as he read their titles, a rising edge of panic forming in his voice. With one final ecstasy of terror his eyes fell upon the queer and disturbing relics his prying had unearthed, “Aaaayyyy, Las Lápidas Chthonicas!” It was too much. He began to cry. “You will not return from this adventure,” he said between sniffles.
Mateo sat next to him, placing an arm around the boy’s shoulders. He gazed up at the Saviour, radiantly glowing above their heads.
“The Sisters will care for you while I’m away, as they always have, ever since you first came to us.” A sniff was the only response. The sun had moved. A prism of colours danced upon the crown of the boy’s dark hair.
“You believe in God’s love, hijo?”
“... yes, Padre.”
“You believe it resides within you, and within this place?”
“Then it shall go with me also. I carry it in my heart. It will keep me safe. Until I return.”
Miguel turned, tears brimming in his eyes. He buried his face in the crook of the older man’s arm.
“You will need it”, he sobbed.