Sunday, 16 May 2010


The priest watches the old woman. He does not like her but cannot put his finger on what. He liks to think that he is past the medieval concept of witch, of crone, the ancient enemy of the celebate church with its rule of logic. These things were left behind on EarthThatWas. But there it is. She glances over at him and he turns away, ashamed. He feels that she has read his thoughts.

Overhead the blue-tinged sun begins its slow fall to the horizon. It is time for the priest to get on with his new chores. He enters the welcome shade of the cloister, bowing lightly as he passes through the gateway to the slight statue of Ran, who looks back with a sly wink and hops from one leg to the other. Ran has guessed his thoughts, his lack of logical thinking, and is mocking him for being too unsure of himself. Better to ignore it and get on with the cleaning.

The windows have slowly become encrusted with the dust deposited by the morning rains of the winter months. It is a task that should be seen to by a junior priest, but there is no-one else to do the task. The congregation has become more slight. Fewer people are believers anymore.

He dips the sponge into the bucket and splashes it onto the glass, rubbing it in a strong circlular motion to draw the dirt and water down. He is reaching for a scrap of paper to provide the final sheen when he senses someone behind him. He turns. It is the old woman. He face is lined with light. It ripples from her like a beatitude, shimmering with an animal purpose. The light is seeking him and he wants to run but he does not dare.

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