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Ch. 1 – Constructio ...

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No one on the construction crew had any idea why someone would want to build a new church way the hell out at the far end of Old Parish Road. There were ...

Those Who Speak

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Prelude – The Awakening, October 16, 1637 The morning of their final day arrived biting and redolent of the smoke from the night’s nearly-dead fires. ...

Those Who Speak

I. My grandmother once said to me, “There are those who speak about what happened, and there are those who do not.” And when prompted to elaborate, “There is nothing inherently right or wrong about this choice. Different people simply handle tragedy in different ways.” And that was the most I ever managed to get out of her on the matter, meaning, of course, that she was in the latter camp. Except that, to make matters all the more frustrating, she would, from time to time, toss out additional teasers, innocuous little asides that led me to conclude that the events of that time must have been horrific indeed. “It’s not the kind of thing children should even know about.” “Your grandfather was never quite the same ...

Payback

Trevor Halprin sat alone and silent in his car in front of the building. A light mist coated the windshield and the only sound was the faint ticking of the cooling engine. He’d lived in Brooklyn his entire life, but he had never before been in this area of the city. It was a complex of unremarkable single story buildings near the Fort Hamilton Promenade, just east of the Verrazano Bridge. There were a few other cars parked up and down the long street, but no one walking around, a mildly unsettling thing anyplace in New York City. Trevor had been given an appointment time of 4:00 p.m. and instructed not to be too early or too late. But he was nearly half an hour early, since he’d been uncertain of directions. So he sat and he ...

Bedtime

With a brush of my hand I turn the light to darkness. And in that moment, as all the images fade to black, what remains are the bits and pieces my mind has saved up all day for just this moment. Pictures and stories that stumble about, keeping me awake. A panoply of visions and dreams that shun the light of day, but now dance about like newly wakened vampires, only to melt away with the first hint of ...

As I Fade Away

I was there for a time, until I was not. But in that moment between the there and the not there, something arose, almost like a feeling. Or at least I thought that was what it was. Only now, in hindsight, I cannot but wonder if perhaps what I mistook for feeling was not instead something instinctual, beyond my control. Like certain organisms drawn toward light or warmth. That would explain a lot. The ease of it all. The painlessness of slipping ...

The Antique Shop

A couple of blocks east of Jackson Square, in New Orleans’ French Quarter, wedged into a narrow alley abutting St. Louis Cathedral, stood a small single-story antique emporium called The Alcove. The building, viewed head-on, appeared a bit twisted and of dubious structural integrity, in the same manner as certain ancient pubs in remote English townships. You had to push hard on the front door to get it to open. On the rare occasions when someone did so, a small bell affixed to the top of the door would tinkle brightly, conveying positivity that a subsequent look about the place would promptly cast doubt upon. Mere words could not do justice to the interior of The Alcove, but if they could, they would include words like hodgepodge, ...

The Fletcher Legacy

Monday, January 12, 1903, 8:45 p.m. Conrad Fletcher lay dead, or seemingly so, on the floor of his capacious upstairs library. A crystal highball glass lay unbroken beside him, its contents spilt out and soaked into the carpet on which Fletcher lay. Oddly, none of the assembled guests leapt to the aid of the stricken man. Instead they simply stood about the library, a few looking at Fletcher, but most making a point of not looking at him, as though either seeking some measure of plausible deniability or perhaps expecting others to do whatever was appropriate to the situation. At last, however, Giles Prescott knelt beside Fletcher’s prostrate form and leaned in closely, his hand, then his ear to the fallen man’s mouth. After a moment so ...

Rendezvous

Mirabelle weeps with the coming of dawn. She does not know why. Nor does the dawn. She knows only that she smiles upon the rising sun each morning, and it smiles back, but with a glow reserved and pleasing, saving its harsh glare for later, for those unfortunates crossing open desert or bearing life’s great burdens.   For now the morning is only Mirabelle and her sun. Each morning they meet this way, not because she has anywhere to be so early, but because there is no one else in her life who lifts her up like this, who makes her face glow and imbues her with warmth. And yes, Mirabelle weeps, but it is not the weep of sadness. No, she sheds her tears for the emerging day, and for the joy of a love once only dreamt of, but now made ...

Arrival

It is months, brother. Months we’ve been at this. Nigh on a year even. And are we any closer? We have searched every nook, every dark corner, only there’s no way out.   Indeed, brother, the search is long, arduous, and yet even now there appears in the distance a pure white light that may be our salvation. Lead on, brother and I shall be fast behind. For have I ever left your side throughout our long travail?   Push on. We shall yet be free. Only, Jesus, the light it blinds. And the hands that draw us from the darkness, while oh so cold, seem also to welcome and nurture, as though searching, brother, searching for us all ...