Umber (51.2 — The Statues of the Saints)

September 25, 2012 § 2 Comments

St. Theresa yawned, brushed a rose petal off of her veil, and stared solemnly at the shadowy figure who came out of the confessional.  She looked like a disgruntled sixth grade teacher.

“He knows,” she said accusingly as the shadow approached her.  “I hope you’re happy.”

“Who knows?  Knows what?”

“The priest, Sebastian, the priest!  Father Hoolihan.  We did our best to distract him, but he knows you were gone.  When he started toward your pedestal, I flapped my cape, to make the candle flames flicker.  Michael thumped on his armor, Catherine rattled her wheel back and forth, Joan and Agnes started singing, but he ignored us all and walked straight to the empty spot where you’re supposed to stand.  And he saw your arrows scattered all over the floor.  Careless, careless!  Always breaking the rules!  Selfish, selfish!  If you wanted to leave, why didn’t you do it the right way?  We have rules for a reason; they’re not just arbitrary.”

“Are you sure they’re not arbitrary, Theresa?  But I don’t want to get into that right now.  I am sorry Hoolihan noticed I was gone.  I wouldn’t want to confuse him any more than he already is, the poor wretch.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning he really doesn’t enjoy wearing the collar.  He only became a priest because his family expected it.  So now he’s stuck in a role that doesn’t fit him.  He’s been pining away for a certain woman for years now, but he won’t do anything about it.  Like you said, it’s against the rules.”

“Well, Sebastian, if you keep being so careless about your comings and goings, he won’t have to worry about being a priest much longer.  The archbishop was here while you were away, and I overheard him say to his secretary, ‘Saint Sebastian used to stand right there, I wonder what happened to him?’ If they find out in Rome that the priest can’t keep his statues in line, then so long Father Hoolihan.”

“That might not be so bad, really.”

Sebastian hopped up on his pedestal, and reinserted an arrow in his neck just as the vestibule door swung open.  A tired man with a care-worn face stepped into the sanctuary.

It was Orville Birdsall, Vera’s father.

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