“For once, children, allow me to walk.”
Friar Benedict brushed past the peasant children as he rushed along the cobblestones toward the monastery. The Franciscans called for his presence at the bed of his dying mentor, Friar Francis.
He carried his young countenance through the village into the countryside. His destination, the tiny monastery where he was raised by Friar Francis. Set atop an alpine mountain, a solitary sanctuary of prayer.
Just as he’d done hundreds of times previously, Friar Benedict traversed the arabesque terrain leading to the place he once called home.
Upon arriving he tried to ignore the harbinger as the bell struck twelve.
Without knocking Friar Benedict flung open the wooden, cuprous hinged doors. An immediate sense of something acrid emanating from the cooks kitchen overtook him.
“What is that foulness you’re stirring up in your kettle, Friar Cook?”
“The potion, our last effort! You’ve made the trip, Brother. He’ll rest now.”
“I don’t know what you’ve hunted down to put into him, Cook. But if he can eat that he’ll survive for certain! I’ll go to see him.”
In the dark sleeping quarters the old Franciscan’s frail body lay across the bed while he slept. His formerly round cheeks, sunken. His strong jawline now sharp and jutting, dangled almost unhinged. Friar Benedict couldn’t find it in him to awaken the old priest or leave without word. He chose to sit on a small milking stool by the bed.
Memories of his life with and before Friar Francis sifted through his mind. Friar Francis rescued him from a life of loneliness.
He remembered the orphanage, the other children, the devastating fire. Before that, with his Gypsy Mother, he remembered the still, reflective pond and the skrying. The hope that someone would one day save him.
Then the day of days that Friar Francis and the Franciscans happened upon him as he scavenged the forest floor for food.
And every day thereafter in their loving, nurturing care.
Now the dying Friar Francis registered Benedict’s quiet presence. Slowly he stirred from his sleep.
Reaching out, his aged hand appeared withered and frail.
Benedict held it in his, patting it ever gently. He spoke softly, leaning across the shadowed space.
“Friar, Friend, Brother, Father,
I’m here. Lord Jesus, I’m here.”
Written in response to creative writing class prompt for use of the words:
Capuchin, Arabesque, Cuprous, Acrid, Scrying
One page, 12 font, single line space limit.