An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|An unexpected visitor|
But when the desert brush began to sway in the breeze less heat, Maureen shielded her eyes, and squinted a better look. There was something moving about the landscape, too far to make out a discern able shape, but large enough to know it was out there. She reached under her seat for the pistol Ted left. He had instructed her to use the gun as a last resort, not trusting her amateur marksmanship status to be of any aid, but counting on it giving her a few extra minutes of escape time. Problem remained, she wasn't sure what it was she needed to be escaping from.
She stared off in the distance, watching the heat shimmer in wavy ribbons across the dusty expanse. Whatever it was moved on four legs, and she was momentarily relieved that she wouldn't have to shoot a living, breathing, human being. Then, the animal made its appearance for a brief second, as it moved from one patch of scrub to another. It was sleek and heavily muscled, it's tawny coat splattered with rosette spots in shades of brown and black. Her brain initially registered tiger, but she knew that was wrong. No tigers here in Mexico. Something else...similar...but different. Her mind flashed back to a tourist brochure she had picked up in the hotel lobby. A lapse that seemed like a dozen weeks ago, but had only been a few days. The pamphlet had listed information about the fauna and wildlife of the Yucatan Peninsula, and this animal had been there. Sacred to the ancient people of this area, and in danger of extinction.
The jaguar stretched out in the low lying bushes, seemingly content to watch her from the safety of the 50 yards of space between them. It rested its large, blunt head on its front paws, its tail flicking from side to side like an over grown house cat. She wondered how fast it moved, and whether it could out run the jeep before she could put it in reverse and make her escape. Then, considered whether she could actually aim well enough to shoot it if it came to that. Weighing the possibilities, she turned the key in the ignition, deciding on flight as the safest option. The noise of the engine startled the big cat, and it jumped to its feet, taking small steps toward her, one large paw in front of another Maureen lifted the pistol up in her right hand, and steadied it with her left, going through the steps as Ted had instructed. She pointed the pistol at the jaguar, her shaking hands betraying the absolute terror of the situation. Then suddenly, the cat stopped, and turned its head to the left, its attention centered on something else.
"Easy, baby. Lower the pistol...nice and slow."
Startled she swung around, the gun still pointed in front of her, and her hands moving in jerky tremors. Her husband put his hands up, still standing behind the rear of the truck.
"It's me, baby. It's okay. Put the gun on the floor, and slide over to the passenger side. Nice and slow. Don't make any sudden movements, okay?"
"But...but there's a...a jaguar out there. It's coming towards us. It's gonna attack for sure."
"I see it, sweetheart. Jaguars rarely attack humans, and they're a protected species. This one must have wandered away from the conservation corridor the Mexican government has set up. I'd rather not have to shoot it. Just do as I say, and it'll be alright. I promise. Now put the Sig on the floor of the jeep, and shift yourself over to the other seat as smoothly as you can."
As she complied with his instructions, Ted moved around the side of the jeep, keeping one eye on the animal, and one hand on the weapon in his waistband. The jaguar eyed the man with an interested stare, but moved no close. Beckett carefully opened the door, and angled himself into the driver's seat. Shifting the vehicle into reverse, he slowly backed the car onto the main road, picking up speed only after they were out of the cat's space.
For several minutes, neither of them said a word, alone in their private thoughts as they headed toward the rural air strip. It was Beckett who broke the silence first. "According to my watch, I've been gone nearly two hours. I didn't expect to still find you there, after I gave you specific orders to leave after one."
She glared at him. "I didn't want to just...just leave you there. I kept hoping you were delayed a bit, and that you'd show up any minute. Then...then the jaguar came, and I didn't know what to do. I...I thought..."
"Are you ever capable of just doing what you're told? Of simply being obedient?"
"No, buts, baby. I assure you, my dear, we will revisit this conversation upon our return. In the meantime, I've secured a plane. You ready to go home?"
|The Roman Missal|
The church itself was badly in need of repair, the floor buckled in several spots, and the pews listing to one side in a definite slant. Fr. Kevin located the door to the sacristy, which of course, was hanging off its hinges, and swung it open with a loud creak. The room beyond was not in much better shape. The wind blew in from a window that had one pane missing, and several dingy albs were thrown over the back of a wooden chair.
"Pardon, Father. Would ya think you'll be startn' the Mass, soon. Me's shift starts in nearly an hour, and I kin not be shown' there late."
The priest turned in the direction of the voice, coming face to face with a young man in his late teens, already dressed in the clothes of an altar server.
Embarrassed by his tardiness, Kevin mumbled an apology, and pulled one of two soiled chasubles from the closet. The boy watched in silence as he pulled the alb over his head, wrinkling his noise at the sour smell of unwashed bodies. Once dressed, he motioned to his altar server. "Is everything ready for Mass?"
The teen looked at him oddly, and nodded. "Aye, Father Murphy. As it is every morning. I've added extra hosts, it bein' a feast day and all."
Relief flooded Kevin's body. At least he would have the necessary sacramentals to get through the saying of Mass. They headed through the creaky door, and he followed the boy to the back of the Church for the opening procession. As he walked up the aisle, he took notice of the congregation from the corner of his eyes. Working people, faces etched with years of hard work and less luck. They kept their eyes downward, or focused on the altar in front, almost none of them giving him the slightest attention.
As he made his way up to the altar, he worked on centering his mind to the liturgy ahead. He might find himself in a different time and in a different body, but the soul was still his very own. Of this fact he was strangely positive. He was still Kevin O'Kenney, consecrated disciple of Christ, and he would say Mass for these people in the truest sense of the word. He started to make his way to the back of the altar, only to realize there was no back. The altar stood flush against the wall, and for a second, he was confused. Then, he remembered that the position of the priest facing the congregation was a relatively new change, one coming only about 50 years ago in his time, at the direction of the the Second Vatican Council. He quickly changed his location, putting himself in front of the altar, with his back to the faithful. It felt strange and unnatural, and he forced himself not to feel as if eyes bored into the back of his head. He wondered how the priests of old managed to have any kind of connection with the rest of the church community, isolated this way with their back to everyone else. From somewheres in the last corner of his brain, he could make out what seemed like another grunt of annoyance from his host, and he mentally brushed it aside, concentrating instead on the opening prayers.
He was grateful to see the Roman Missal laid open on the altar, a guide book to the prayers used for Mass in that specific time. He stepped confidently to the altar, and let his eyes peruse the page. His mouth opened, but no words came out. Every word on the aged, brown paper was printed in the language of the church, one he had never found a reason to learn in his modern seminary days. As the altar boy and the people in pews waited in confusion, Fr. Kevin stared at the words in Latin, and began to sweat.
|Fr. Kevin says Mass|
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
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