A STORY OF BROTHER ANTHONY IN THE MONASTERY

Brother Anthony is alone–lying on the damp grass, staring at the night sky, waiting for the meteor shower. Nobody else had been interested. They would rather get a good rest, they said, and the lack of sleep would distract from their prayers and their works in the morning. They had urged Brother Anthony to do the same, but he wouldn’t have been able to sleep anyway.

The show had been promised to be the best for centuries and as it begins, he knows it’s true. The first shot was accompanied by three others, and followed, with no hesitation, by four more.

For minutes they came in fours and fives, incessant, white, pure, rigorous, diligent, relentless, exquisite. At some point, Brother Anthony knows not when, the stars themselves had begun to fade to the light of the shower, and the white streaks are getting a sheer, lightless backdrop. The white scratches at the sky in thin, quick lacerations.

The streaks grow larger, and more frequent. They stop looking like fleeting cuts in the black, and turn to full, white drops of blood showering from the heavens.

They become audible.

Brother Anthony sits up, frightened of this surreal image of God’s wrath. Snakes made of light dance in the sky above, and he stands, unsure of how to react. The snakes become dragons and the dragons become beastly. Eyes glow red, and hissing turns into growls.

A rain of light continues as the beasts in the sky begin to fight. Some breathe fire, while others use the dark to snuff out their enemies. The beasts bleed red light. The red light turns white as it falls closer to and then over the horizon. The rain of light behind the battle turns into balls of fire, and Brother Anthony is sure this is The End–The Foretold Coming.

An hour this continues. Until most beasts have been cast from the heavens.

With a final blow, a single, formless beast defeats it’s last opponent, and, having no more reason to be, shatters across the sky, turning the earth around Brother Anthony red for mere seconds before lighting the sky white and brighter than day itself. Brother Anthony averts his eyes for a moment, until the light slowly dims.

He sees now a shower of small, white lights once more. A single large light remains, directly overhead. It grows. It grows vast, and ever quicker it grows. It fills more and more room in the sky before Brother Anthony realizes it’s not growing in size, but is approaching. He closes his eyes, awaiting his judgement.

The roar grows louder.

The light becomes hotter.

Then it ends.

Something beneath his feet, and Brother Anthony opens his eyes.

He sees, and begins to walk toward something new in the Monastery grounds. A hole. It’s dark, and he cannot make out how large it is until, after only a few steps, he reaches the small crater. His arm can reach into the center, and he grabs the object lying there. The small rock is cold, and unlike any rock he’s held. It’s smooth when he rubs it, but scratches his hand when he tries to hold it still.

He looks back to the heavens. The stars have returned. The show has ended. The grounds are quiet. All others remain asleep in there beds.

Slipping the rock into his pocket, Brother Anthony retreats to lay in a sleepless rest of his own.

***

In the morning, much talk about the small whole in the middle of the grounds can be heard. None of Anthony’s brothers will ever figure out the incredible mystery they have found. It is surely, they all say, some sort of sign from the heavens.

Flash fiction Monastery Stories

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