On that brisk Saturday the leaves, covered in raindrops, erupted in a slow pace from the trees like glittering stones on silver bark. The 런던 fog drifted through the cobbled streets, blocking the skyline.
Green 잔디 and grey stones coloured the playground square, surrounded on three sides 의해 railings that scratched the heavens. Those fence bars intersected at various places on the fence, giving the outside world a chaotic pattern of black stripes. To those outside the orphanage, it looked like a prison. To the orphans of St. Augustine’s at Carmelite House, they saw their bleak playground as a refuge, even as a paradise.
The moment the 벨 for break rang, all of the young boys rushed out to enjoy a few measly 분 away from their forced labour. They even settled with half-filled balls and short sticks for games of cricket and violent games of rugby.
None of the boys cared to look beyond the bars- except him.
David gripped the cold fence like a prisoner. Carridges and motorized Wolseleys rumbled 의해 as men in dark trenchcoats trod past his peripherals.
Some of them slowed to stare at his pale, freckled face like a window display, but never stopped to hear him. He knew living behind bars meant only casual glances from those outside.
Yet he kept looking, regardless of the stares. Maybe, just maybe, he would find his new family walking down the 거리 and get him to 가입하기 them. He always dreamed of what they looked like. The boy even envisioned where they would live; an exotic 바닷가, 비치 with sand as warm as the afternoon sun, places to run, trees to climb and the 안전한, 안전 embrace of a mother’s arms as he drew pictures with the stars at night.
Maybe the outsiders thought he deserved to be in the orphanage. They didn’t know anything about him, yet he felt them judge. How could they have known he had no choice the moment St. Augustine’s took him under their wing?
Maybe the people judging him had become grown ups.
That new phrase disgusted him, especially after hearing it for the first time that day. Father Kenneth, with his cold eyes and short, narrow beard, addressed them at the first lesson of their Bible study between shifts. He declared their classes as the “first step to becoming what we all truly want to be- good grown-ups.” Whatever Father had to say, it never crossed well with him, even if he only spoke on Sundays.
David should have learned a lot that day, especially after what the class had been told at the beginning. The teachers blamed it on his daydreams, yet those same dreams enthralled his 프렌즈 at night. It warmed up the cold dormitory as he spun a tale about some place they had never seen 또는 heard of before. Places where clouds flew below the ground, where water flowed upwards, where people could fly higher than birds; places where tiny people used prams to get around, 또는 where ravens could talk and pigeons wore little 슈츠 and walked with canes and brown top-hats.
Today, it was about those automized cars. He watched their clumsy shapes thump across the road, their passengers shake with every bump. In front of his eyes, they stood on their hind wheels and bounced down the road, their headlights blinking like eyes and their front wheels grip the ground between enormous paws. Massive tails erupted from their tail pipes and big teeth from their grille plates. One of the cars even stopped to nibble on a pasty someone dropped onto the floor.
He giggled as one climbed the building nearby, cracking windows and scaring grown-ups away. The passengers didn’t seem to care as their car ascended a nearby 나무, 트리 and honked its horn at other cars. Soon, the exterminator was called about a 다람쥐 infestation and witnessed his own car run away in fear of a neighbor’s dog.
Time always flew when he 로스트 himself in daydreams. The end-of-break 벨 rang him into reality. His hands ached in anticipation as the overseeing adults forced them into lines from youngest to oldest. They marched in tight rows, their hard shoes clomping on the cobblestone floor underneath the arch with 천사 carved into the sides. He followed his row of workmates until a nun walked straight up to him and tapped him sharply on the shoulder.
"David, please come with me. Father Kenneth wants to see you."
Sister Agnes looked secretively excited. The surrounding boys watched coldly as she jerked him out of line.
Out of the hundreds of boys here, why me?
David’s mouth became tighter as the nun’s chuckles sent shivers down his spine. They silently sped through the corridors, interrupted 의해 shoes slapping the stone floor. She led him to the confessional, on the other side of the campus, past the huge sanctuary.
He heard rumours that Father Kenneth used the confessional booth to scare children into obeying. Blackness covered the front curtain, forbidding even hope from entering. When she opened the confessional, an odour of frankincense and myrrh rose up, burnt his nostrils and itched his eyes to tears. After the curtain closed behind him, a small votive candle stood in the corner of the cramped cubicle. It flickered, and shadows danced across the walls. Through the veiled compartment, he saw a door slide open on the other side of the decorative grating. As the silhouette of a person entered, David immediately bowed in respect. He heard whispers of Latin permeate the other side.
"In nomine Patris et filii et spiritus sancti... Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, Et vitam ventúri sæculi..."
Father Kenneth droned the rest of the trinitarian formula. David never liked Latin. As soon as he had been able to open his copy of the Lily Grammar, Latin became the language of choice around higher administrating Nuns. Few nuns broke the rules, but never in front of the administrators.
Suddenly the mumbling stopped.
The shadows continued to d e
“David, I presume?”
His voice rasped through the child’s 본즈 as David’s neck hairs shot up.
“I’ve called 당신 in here about something very important. So important that I needed to tell 당신 in private.”
David gulped. “Of course, Father.”
He cleared his throat and sealed David’s fate.
“I always knew something special about 당신 from the moment 당신 came into our lives. I’ve been told that 당신 were adopted twice. This is true, yes?”
He ought to have known that it happened twice, but said nothing.
“Well, every time 당신 left, 당신 found your way back here. That’s how I knew God had a plan for you. As 당신 grow up before our eyes, I’ve seen 당신 become the man that everyone else wants for you. I can safely say that you’ll be able to take my place someday, with proper training. 당신 understand?”
David paused. His eyes narrowed in disbelief.
“I’m to replace you... as the high priest.”
Sister Agnes chuckled outside of the booth, low enough for David to hear.
“Correct, my son. As of tomorrow, 당신 will begin training. After which 당신 will be transferred to the proper seminary, then ordained. From there 당신 will return here to replace me when I pass on.”
The 초 felt like days as David stared at his torn pants. Tears welled up and turned the whole room a big blob of black and dark red. He couldn’t hold back his tongue once Father finished.
“Tomorrow? No- But does that mean I can’t be adopted? I can’t leave the orphanage?!…Ever?”
After a tiny pause to clear his throat, Father made it clear.
“Yes, David. 당신 will stay here.”
Crying wasn’t allowed in the booth. Hot tears fell down his cheeks as he rocked himself on the bench, legs wrapped in his thin arms. He would never get that family now, no warm beach, no hugs…
“Your name has already been taken 당신 off of the adoption list. No one else will take 당신 away from what God has intended for you. No evil shall taint your soul.”
He mumbled incoherently, urging his mouth to speak, to demand an explanation.
“No 더 많이 questions, David. I must return to my own business. Sister Agnes will return 당신 to your workstation.”
Sister Agnes stepped with delight, dragging the boy along. She never once noticed his head bent, his sad eyes staring at the ground.
As he returned to his workplace, the different parts of the toys blended together into messy sculptures. He always thought his family would come back to adopt him, take him into their world and he would make the most of it. But now he could never leave, doomed to become a man like Father Kenneth. Cursed to forever live his nightmare.
Sister Deborah stomped through the sunlit halls. Her steps could be heard all the way from the lobby. Sister Agnes told her the “news” about David, her precious David, and she couldn’t stand in place. She stormed towards the one person who could decree such a thing. She planned to demand an explanation, then scheme to get David back on the adoption list. She never reached his office that quickly.
She rapped twice on the door before she heard a surprisingly gleeful reply.
She forced a calmer smile as she entered.
“Good day, Father.”
“What can I do for you…Sister?”
He relished in calling her, 또는 any nun, 의해 their lower rank. She hated the unsubtle contempt for them that he wore around his neck like a gold cross. She closed the door and promptly lowered herself down to the ottoman in front of his desk.
“Well, Father, I heard 당신 have chosen a successor.”
He leaned back in his chair, staring up as if contemplating a verse.
“Yes, Sister. I quite have. And 당신 of all the Sisters should be able to understand why.”
She shifted in the backless red seat, in a desperate attempt to retain her furious dignity.
“Why I chose David. Forgive me for not consulting 당신 about my choice.”
Sister Deborah sat in silence, looking away from his pale gaze. She had not expected him to apologize; She hoped that he would monologue so when he spoke for too long she could satisfyingly interrupt him.
“Your silence is noted. Thank 당신 for accepting my apology. Now then, off 당신 go.”
Her eyes shot back at his reclining figure, small behind the mountain of 책 on his 책상, 데스크 and shrouded 의해 the dim light behind him.
“With all due respect, Father, I didn’t come here to forgive you.”
His bony hands gripped the armrests, his torso bending forward.
“What did 당신 come here for, pray tell?”
Her her leg shook away from his view. She collected her thoughts and resumed the debate.
“I really don’t…I don’t understand why 당신 selected him.”
He took a fast breath through his nostrils. “Well, that’s a shame. Everyone else knows. Why don’t 당신 run along and ask them?” He lifted his hand and flicked it towards the door.
She tried again, to goad him into the trap. “Father, please explain it to me. I would like to know.”
“Alright… Sister. If 당신 must know, then here’s why—”
He shifted 앞으로 again. “Because he’s the one. The chosen one. I can feel it.”
She needed 더 많이 of a monologue, so she repeated her question.
“Father, Sir, what on earth are 당신 talking about?”
“I just know it. Like the way God chose Moses, I just know. David is special, Sister.”
She couldn’t wait any longer. She’d have to spring the verbal trap herself.
“But how can 당신 be so sure? Have 당신 taken 조언 about any of the other boys?”
“Do 당신 not think that I haven’t considered the other orphans?”
“No, not at all, it’s just that there are others who are better, 더 많이 suited to be ‘chosen’.”
He shifted even further towards the desk, towards her.
“Are 당신 questioning my judgment?”
Her 심장 thundered in her chest. She took quick breaths as courage.
“Well, is it right to keep a good boy from a family, Father?”
His anger grew as darkness crept through cracks in the room.
“How dare you—.”
She stood up in defiance, 심장 beating out of her chest.
“He’s just a boy, Father! And 당신 are denying what God has offered him on His good green Earth! Do 당신 think he wants to be here, Father? To be your little puppet to serve 당신 after 당신 pass on? That is a cruel, heartless thing to do, and I demand a good reason for it! 당신 and I both know what would happen if 당신 are wrong, and that sin is too great to bear, even for you!”
“And how can 당신 be so sure? What about the other boys?! Have 당신 seen Julius? He’s the first one to offer grace, and he’s one of the older boys!”
“Or Jonathan, the lead choir boy? 또는 Maximillian, the 별, 스타 pupil-”
“SISTER! ENOUGH! SIT DOWN!”
She stopped in her tracks and gracefully situated herself. Fast breaths ran through her chest as her legs shook. She knew she made a mistake.
“First off, I NEVER SIN. How dare 당신 find fault with me in such a way, as if I am an old fool! 당신 may think 당신 know this boy, but you’re just one stupid little girl! The rest of us see him as a king waiting to be crowned, as he shall be.”
He stood up and approached her chair. Defiance shone in her eyes, madness in his.
“No matter what 당신 can say 또는 do, that boy will stay here. The law shall not stand in the way of G-d’s Will, as 당신 foolishly think it will. And I’m never wrong, Sister. Look at where I am and where 당신 are. Don’t 당신 remember to honour thy Father…Sister?”
Her courage ebbed further as he circled her like a bloodthirsty lion.
“So, should 당신 see him again, I want 당신 to tell him how wonderful it is to be a man of the cloth. Tell him why it is so important to stay here and what demons and dangers exist out there. 또는 do 당신 want me to remind 당신 of the forgotten corner 당신 came from?”
She never expected him to use her secret as the ultimate blackmail. Her eyes grew wide and wet as she held down a sob.
“Good. Now I must pray for another soul that needs redemption. If I were you, I would watch what I say 다음 time…Sister.”
He held open the door and watched her walk away on unsteady legs.