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The Relic-Mongers

by Michael Díaz Feito

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Chapter 10: Too Future

Eustochium was impatient with Abbatissa Antía. In the abbey’s garden, light jolted from the ghost’s eyes, and she punctuated her speech with arrhythmic handclaps that hissed. Her voice was a harsh flutter of wings. “Male intellexisti,” she said. “Quod transtuli non seminavit.”

“I disagree,” Antía said. Even through the haze of fear, her confidence persisted. “They’re fetching you.”

Eustochium walked across the pond. Algae bloomed where her bare feet stepped. She grabbed Antía and plunged her into the water.

A city of bricks and cobblestones grew from the pond silt. Tall, sword-like buildings of glass grew, too. The murky water became a pall of clouds, and two rivers on fire bound the city. Except for dogs and cats, the streets were empty. The dogs and cats sleepwalked together, stumbling sickly. They whined.

A rectangular white cottage at the city’s center was draped with a starred flag. Mold speckled the flag, and mushrooms bloomed along its stripes. The cottage breathed, its roof heaving beneath the flag. Shingles tautened. It was pregnant.

“She that hath an ear,” Eustochium said, “let her hear what the Spirit saith to the cities. Behold, Philadelphia! I know thy works. I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut.”

“Where are the citizens?” Antía said.

Sicut pluvia in caelum atomicum Creatoris filii, cum nostra ossa irradiantia effoderint, reabsorbebantur, et ita quasi fluidum—

“Dear virgin,” Antía said. “I’m tired. Please, speak vulgarly.”

Antía dropped out of the pond as if it were a tub tipped over. She gasped for air, peeling away the soaked veil to unstop her mouth. The pond was clear again. She understood:

Pax aeterna. There they will have completed the world. The communion of things that are and are not, the copulation of creating and uncreating forces. An end to the homesickness of the soul. I will open your graves and bring you out of your sepulchers. I will bring you into the land of Israel. The Third Age is coming!

Finding chalk in her pocket, she crawled into the cloister and sketched millenarian Philadelphia on the flagstones.

Proceed to Chapter 11...

Copyright © 2017 by Michael Díaz Feito

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