47th Day of Ripening Season, 342 years After Mourning

The quill no longer trembles when I hold it, though I still cannot walk. A thick, sticky crust keeps my right eyelid shut, while the left eye focuses lazily on the darkness, wondering when the pain will end. It is interesting how time increases in the dark, how fear is magnified, and how the sounds of insanity skitter around the stone walls, beckoning me to let go. If I walk out of this dungeon without a touch of madness, it is only because of your mercy, Sisters.

While my mind swims in a haze of murky confusion, I have taken inventory of my wounds. The missing teeth can never be replaced. But I am an old man, and have little need for all of them anyway. Besides, it keeps my tongue busy poking into the places they once inhabited. The bruises, though I cannot see them, are tender to the touch along my arms, my neck, my shoulders, my ribs.

Hilla, angel that I know she is, smuggled in bandages with the evening meal and my chest pushes against the scratchy fabric with each breath. It is difficult to know what damage my ears have suffered. I hear sounds that cannot possibly exist, and the absence of real sound has denied me the ability to compare between fantasy and reality. I have given the child instructions for a salve for my eyes and another for the cut on my forehead and the wound on my thigh she stitched up.

I have also given her a letter for the farm.

To be delivered by hand.

I know, as sure as I know you sent her to me, that she must travel to them now. Their survival depends on it, I fear. Her life is wrapped up in ours, though she never asked for such a thing.

The young girl has not accepted her role in your schemes, Sisters. Not yet. Alone and frightened, she’s confused. Why do holy men and women, bound by oaths of service, plot against each other? It is a question each of us should ask. A question that should be answered, by one greater than myself.

Or is it?

I am not a great man. I am not wiser than most. Or stronger than most. I don’t carry within me the secret knowledge of life. The humble answer of a weary priest will never change the course of history. It won’t erase injustice, or expose wrongdoing for the rest of the world. It won’t even right any wrongs.

But it would keep one heart free from corruption–a task worth completing. And so I answered her.

“We fight, because we are weak, and scared. Deep inside, inside of us all, my child, hidden under layers of pride and anger, pushed back into corners so dark we hope no one will discover our secret, we fear.”

-Jakob Borchain


Click here to read the previous entry, One by One, the 46th day of Ripening Season.

Click here to read the next entry, Catalysts, the 48th day of Ripening Season. 

4 thoughts on “Our Secret

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