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   Chapter 5 No.5

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 4543

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:03

Quickening her pace, she came to the door of the small building and pushed it open. There was not a single occupied pew, nor was a single candle lit. The only light was that which filtered through the clouds to the simple stained glass window.

"Hello?" Myranda called out.

"In the priest's quarters, " came the answer.

Myranda walked up the dim aisle and, on the wall left of the pulpit, found a door.

"May I come in?" she asked.

"Of course, all are welcome, " the kindly voice replied.

Myranda opened the door. Inside, the warm orange light of a cozy fire danced in an otherwise unlit room. A large, fine chair faced away from the doorway and toward the fire. Aside from the luxurious-looking seat, the room was nearly bare. The walls were empty, not a painting to break the view of plain wooden planks. In the center of the room, a simple table and chair stood awaiting the next meal to be served. The corner held an immaculately made bed with a coarse gray blanket and single pillow. The only other furniture in the room was a suitably humble chest of drawers and a cupboard.

"What brings you here?" asked the unseen priest.

"I thought I might warm up a bit before I went off on my way again, " Myranda said.

"Well, I am always glad to share what the heavens have provided for me, " he said without rising.

"I am quite grateful. If you don't mind me asking, why do you keep it so dark?" Myranda asked as she walked into the room of her gracious host.

"I've little use for light these days, " said the priest.

When she was near enough to spy the face of the priest, the answer to her query became quite clear. He was a kind-looking man, dressed in plain black vestment. Old, but not terribly so, he had sparse white hair on his wise head and a carefully shaved face. Most notably, though, was the blindfold over his eyes. Myranda had a vague feeling that she'd seen him before.

"Oh, I am so sorry!" Myranda said, covering her mouth. "You are blind!"

"Now, now, not to worry. It was none of your doing, " he said.

"How did it happen?" she asked.

"It is the place of a holy man not to burden others with his troubles, but to relieve others of their burden, " he said.

His voice had a powerful, clear tone, deep and comman

ding. It radiated wisdom and authority. He sipped something from a clay mug and cleared his throat before speaking again.

"May I offer you some tea, my dear?" he asked, raising his cup.

"Oh, I couldn't bother you for that, " she said.

"No bother at all, " he said, slowly rising from his chair.

"Oh, please, let me, " Myranda offered.

"Nonsense, nonsense, sit down. You are my guest. Besides, if you get in my way I may lose my place and be lost in my own home, " he assured her.

Myranda took a seat and watched as the priest paced out a practiced number of steps to the cupboard and ran his fingers over the contents until he found the correct canister. It was astonishing how smoothly he navigated the task without the aid of vision. In no time at all, he had placed her cup on the table and found his way back to his seat. She slid the cup in front of her, warming her near-numb hands on its warm exterior.

"That was amazing, " she said.

"Oh, yes. Folks come from all over the kingdom to watch me make tea, " he said lightly.

"I only mean that I had thought that losing one's sight would leave one helpless, " Myranda said.

"I've still four senses left. A hand without a thumb is still a hand, " he said.

"But you cannot count to ten, " she said.

"You can if you remember how, " he answered swiftly. "My goodness, why are we talking about me? I have been here for years. You are the newcomer, what about you?"

"What would you have me say?" Myranda asked.

"I would not mind a description. My ears can only tell me so much. I know your height from where your voice comes from, and your build by the creak of your chair, but try as I might, I still have not found a way to hear hair color, " he said.

"Oh, well, I have got red hair, long, and brown eyes. My clothes are gray, " Myranda said, embarrassed.

"And I am sure you are every bit as lovely as your voice, " he said.

"Oh. . ." Myranda blushed.

"And your name?" he asked.

"Myranda Celeste, " she answered. "And yours?"

"You may call me Father, " he said. "So, from where are you headed?"

"North, " Myranda said.

"North West or North East?" he asked.

"Just North, " came her reply, worried about the line of questions that were sure to follow.

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