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  • Colleen Tews

Father Khel's Path

One would never know by looking at my beloved church that it once been a scorched pile of rubble. Every brick was new. They were red, now light gray bricks are a refreshing delight. White candles instead of red. No gothic theme. Everything has a modern theme for a new age of openness. The sign out front states, ‘No matter who you are you’re welcome here.’. The only piece spared was a marble statue of Jesus. It was placed in the choir loft, this way our lord could smile on the congregation.

I kissed three of my fingers and touched Jesus’ toes. “Thank you.”

ZOT!

The bolt of electricity shot up my arm. It split inside me. My heart was shocked. Another bolt raced to my other arm. Branches webbed throughout my organs. Two ran down my legs. The sharpest zigzagged up my spine into the back of my brain. Electrons and neurons firing at once caused me to spasm. It felt like thousands of ice picks were driving into my head over and over again.

I grabbed my head. I pulled handfuls of hair out. Blood dripped down my face and clogged my nails. I cried out. Along with the scream came dark shadow chased by a blinding light.

I fell to my knees. Vomiting the last of the light I chocked out, “Why God?”

A woman stood before me. I couldn’t see clearly, my vision was blurred by the blood and pain. “Breathe, Khel. Close your eyes.”

I knew that voice. Whose was it?

“Shhhh. Don’t think. Listen and learn.”

She kissed three of her fingers and laid them on my forehead.

“Selene.” I figured out who my mystery angel was as the world tilted to the left. She was Lucian’s wife during the Inquisition. A witch I burned at the stake. Her last words were that of forgiveness. The stench of burnt hair filled my nostrils.

For a split second her cobalt blue eyes came into focus. There was no sadness, no anger, behind them. She looked at peace. “Thank you.”

Light took over. There was only light. Was I falling? Was I flying? Did I move at all? There was no floor, no up or down. There just was.

As my senses reeled back, I noticed the scent of fresh salty air. It mingled with the burnt hair in my nose and made me nauseous. Waves beat a far off shore. Car horns blared. People cried out in terror all around me. Heavy metal ropes clanked above us. They whistled in the wind, making an eerie musical masterpiece. I retrained my eyes and saw the metal strings were loose bridge cables. They flicked the air like an octopus’ tentacles. One came close to my face, I snatched it.

The cable bucked. I climbed. The closer to the top I got the harder it fought. The cable smashed me against one of the smaller towers. Cables whipped my back. My clothes tore. Flesh ripped open. Bloody hands on the slick metal caused me to slip down, but I would not fall. “Please Lord give me strength.” I climbed like never before, armed with knowledge I was brough here by a woman I sent to her death. I would not fail her.

On top the tower stood Selene, barefoot, in the white sacrificial tunic. Her chestnut hair blew behind her. She gestured me to stop with one hand.

“Why did you send me here?” I asked.

“It is not my place to answer your question, only to show.”

“Is my path? This hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll have to be here when it does?” The cable bucked. That must be a yes.

“I’ve shown you a piece. You’ll know more when you need to. I wish I could show you more. You were kind to Lucian and me. I forgave you a long time ago. He never will. Though he loves you. He hates you. She will need you.”

“Who is she?”

She pointed to the tallest tower. “Go with God, Khel.”

The cable snapped. I awoke in the choir loft. Rolling onto my hands and knees I got up. My bones ached. I used the back of the bench to steady my gate. I hadn’t felt this bad since the Inquisition. Exiting the choir loft and heading backstage I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had to take a double take. “Jesus Christ.”

I had wrinkles, gray hair, age spots, and my eyes looked as old as I felt. What happened to me?

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