All my life I knew that I was different to everyone else. People would ask me how I knew they were near me and all I could express was that I just knew it. I could even let people know when doors opened or closed, when others were home or not, or if someone was walking or running behind a wall, and all without seeing them. The adults speculated that I had the second sight, while the children preferred to spread rumours that I had the devil’s touch. The adults informed us that this was nonsense and that no one had had the devil’s touch in generations, however, I could see in the faces of some adults the echo of genuine concern from generations passed. The children believed that I had the devil’s touch because I could also make the lights turn on or off without touching the wall panels. No one could see how I did this, and at the time I didn’t understand either. No one could point out to me what I was doing. I was a source of wonder and fear for everyone around me, yet I was still a small boy and my unusual abilities hadn’t gotten me into trouble yet.
My life was still relatively normal until when I was fourteen I woke up with the realisation that someone was breaking into my bedroom. I made the lights come on without touching the wall panels in my usual way and there standing in my room was a woman in a thick black jacket, she’d obviously smashed in my window to get into my room for the glass was so freshly broken it hadn’t started to melt into the floor as it typically did when broken. She signalled to me that she knew that I was the boy with the devil’s touch. Feeling that I had to reply to her, as she was an adult, I signalled back that she was correct. She unbuttoned her coat and it slid from her naked body. She was the picture of mature womanhood in full bloom. However, I was only fourteen and found her terrifying. She saw the fear in my eyes but signalled for me to keep still because she just wanted to lie in bed with me. Continue reading “The Devil’s Touch”
The village of Imbrick was perched far on the northern shore. The forest to the south of the village was so thick that from above it looked as though the village was being engulfed and eaten by a giant dark green slug. The forest was infested with packs of wolves and so the locals rarely ventured down the road through the forest, and instead they traded with the odd fishing boat that passed by. The villagers were often out of touch with developments in the towns and cities far to the south and so it caused great excitement when each year a priest would visit the village to bless and preach to the villagers and give them news of the events affecting the rest of the nation.
One evening a strange man cloaked in the tattered robes of a cleric stumbled into the village. His flesh had been scratched and ripped so the villagers took him in and tended to his wounds. The strange man pretended to be asleep while the villagers around him discussed who he could be. The blacksmith argued that because of his robes he must be the priest who came to visit them each year. The milk maid pointed to the torn garments and proclaimed that they were too small to be a man’s. The village was divided and did not know which to believe. The strange man hearing this awoke the next day and introduced himself to the villagers as the replacement priest sent to visit them each year about this time. He said that he had been attacked by a wolf and most of his robes torn away from him. Continue reading “The Fool of Imbrick”
Laneg was sitting in a small rectangular and heavily insulated room with a large pair of television screens dominating one of the long walls. There was a semicircular table arranged in front of the screens with space for four people to sit at. On one of the screens was the logo of the Salvati order and on the other was the face of a wise eyed woman in her mid fifties massaging her temples thoughtfully. There was a knock at the door and in hobbled Suvarin on her crutches and Kent trying in earnest to be so helpful to her that he was almost a hindrance. The woman on the screen opened her eyes and two brilliant sapphire blue eyes seemed to glitter at them.
Kent placed one hand just below his left shoulder and bowed respectfully towards the woman on the screen, Suvarin did the same but she made the gesture towards Laneg
“Honoured by your presence Priestess,” said Kent, “Allow me the honour of introducing you to my friend Suvarin. Suvarin allow me to introduce priestess Catherine Harking of the second order.
“Honoured to meet you priestess,” responded Suvarin
Catherine Harking surveyed the three people sitting in the conference room gravely and waited until all attention was focused on her image on the video screen before talking.
Continue reading “The Monk – Part 34”
The conversation with Kent regarding the first revelation was exciting Oriana. She decided that instead of heading directly home from the library she would take a detour through the park and thus allow herself the leisure of reflection. Profound questions echoed through her mind as she walked through the forest.
“Why is there something instead of nothing? What caused the first event? Why can’t logic answer this question? Why are the laws of physics the way they are? The laws of physics never change even if our descriptions of them do: so does this mean that we can have some moral certainty too? Is this universe the creation of a demiurge? What is that which we call God? Is honesty the only way of getting closer to God? What prevents me from being honest?”
The more the thoughts tumbled through her mind the more she found herself thinking that there was something, even if her mind’s eye was too far away to ever see it clearly, there was something. Something which Kent called God, and did she, Oriana the atheist, suppose that she might have been convinced that God really existed? Albeit not like the being she had had described to her many times before but a being that existed just on the boundary of her capacity to imagine? Continue reading “The Monk – Part 31”
When Roman Laneg turned fifty four years of age both his parents had died: First his mother went, then his father followed her to the grave four weeks later. Although he had once been married and had two sons, he had not seen his ex-wife and children since his youngest son had turned eighteen three years earlier. Laneg was alone in the world without any family or meaningful connections. While he was a surgeon, and had accumulated much money, his life felt empty and joyless. Bored with watching television alone every night he set to visit his local church in the hopes of finding a meaning to his existence outside his job. Not finding it there he tried other churches, a new age group, and even a community of atheists. Yet after a year of looking for a purpose and place to belong he felt no better than how he had when he first started. His life while comfortable lacked any meaning, and he found the various ideologies of these different groups entirely insufficient to answer his need.
One night at the hospital he had just finished his shift when he saw something that he hadn’t seen before: a medical doctor and a nurse having an argument about the diagnosis of a patient. The nurse was young, she looked to be least than twenty years old yet she was the calmer one in the argument trying to make her case rationally for why the doctor should order a specific blood test. While the doctor twice her age was gesticulating and talking over her with a raised voice and flushed cheeks. Normally no nurse that young would dare contradict a doctor, much less do so with such an insistent rational manner. Seeing that this nurse was in serious danger of being disciplined Laneg decided as the most senior physician present to intervene and restore peace. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 30”
Oriana proceeded directly from Kelly’s house to the community library. Her father had been in a better mood this morning and when Paul came around to pick her up in the morning he seemed relieved that she was with him. Paul was well liked by parents across the neighbourhood, Oriana mused that this was because while most boys were of the rough and tumble variety, Paul was a reserved and generous boy who had a reputation unblemished by teenage scandals. Oriana had speculated that her father secretly wished that she would date him instead of merely friend him, yet for all of Paul’s positive traits, there was something plain about him. It was splendid of him to care so much about the poor, yet a man who cares too much for the poor runs the risk of being poor himself, or so Oriana had reasoned, and while she agreed with her reasoning, she felt agonisingly aggrieved with herself to judge him so harshly. Indeed, sometimes in her low times she speculated if perhaps she was not unwittingly making the same mistakes her mother made.
However, there was now a new man in her life; Kent, and this man was in some ways similar to Paul. He was reserved, gentle, and exuded no malice at all in his manners, just like Paul. However, while Paul had a naïve confidence in the good nature of his fellow man, Kent was a troubled man who seemed suspicious and wary of everyone he encountered. Justifiably so since these Tyranni have appeared on the scene, but nonetheless, whereas Paul was naturally inclined to believe whatever someone might tell him, Kent was the opposite. Kent had in some ways the character of a bad dinner guest: constantly questioning and cross-examining others. He might even come across as arrogant to the eyes of someone who doesn’t know him well enough, but Oriana had by this time concluded that he was not in fact arrogant, but precocious and confident in his intellectual abilities. Perhaps too confident in them, although she didn’t feel ready as yet to make that judgement of Kent. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 29”
Oriana rapped on Kelly’s door, flanked by Paul. Kelly opened it up it up almost immediately, but instead of her usual boisterous greeting she placed a finger over her lips and motioned for her friends to come in quietly. Moments later the trio were sitting in the back room overlooking the backyard.
“Well?” Started Oriana, “what happened? Where’s Kent and Suvarin?”
“Kent helped to drop Suvarin off this morning and then left right away. He figured that you guys would want to come over and he didn’t want to put all five of us in the one location to tempt the Tyranni into killing us all. He said he had work this morning too, and besides, I think it would have made my mother more suspicious.”
“What does your mother think of Suvarin being here?” Asked Paul.
“The story I have told her is that I was at a party with Suvarin and she got so drunk that she fell down a slope into the mud and almost drowned.”
“How is Suvarin?” Asked Oriana.
“She went back to sleep, she’s in my room completely out of it.”
“So what happened last night?” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 27”