Their Days Are Numbered is a new year-long project authored by the collective Entropy community. It is a collaborative online novel written by the Entropy community on a weekly basis. A different author will write the next “chapter” each week, to be posted every Tuesday, following the previous post from the previous week, and following a very limited set of guidelines (that each author has one week to write the next piece after the previous week’s installment goes up, that installments should range between 150-1500 words, and that pieces should somehow incorporate a real-life occurrence, current event, news item, or other happening from that week).
Follow the entire “novel” here: Their Days Are Numbered.
The twenty-fifth installment is presented this week by Leon Baham.
And now it has come, the moment of my death. As I saw it in girlhood so it is now, years later on our rapidly spinning earth– it’s enough to make an old woman sick. Always a little bit nauseous, yes? The priest used to say to me with a wink. O Lord. The telescope, The bathtub. There was a time before before before when we would still don our Catholic dress; when we were trying to hold onto a burning world with our bare hands. And it was spinning this point, but backwards now. A secret I have that only God knows is how I turned my telescope down towards his room at night. How with authority– anger?– he removed his cassock. My telescope tracing the lines indented on his black skin from the tightness of the garment. He could feel my gaze but was unable to place my location. My stillness absolved me then as it will now, or soon. Now I keep moving towards a destination I will not arrive at but that’s not the point, because years ago I buried the priest’s body in this forest. It was shortly after we found a type of happiness. Because after the world pulled apart at the seams, we took up together like husband and wife. The first time we were intimate I called him father and he stopped. It was pure fantasy come to life and shortly I became pregnant and we went searching searching searching for people or food or Jesus again. But of course the world proved more complicated. The charismatic pope forgave those who abandoned their posts. He forgave the beads we wore over our crucifixes. He forgave my son, Wen, who left us and I died. Part of me died now the rest of me. As I wander this forest the night sets in. The moon rises full in Sagittarius. Forgive me Lord there was no easy answer. And please by any grace left to me, lead me with moonlight to the place where his bones rest. Empty prayers fill the world and eventually become a miracle. That’s what sister Esther said and she was right. I saw our son on the television. I saw the pope forgive his story. I’ve been forgiven wherever I am. Do you hear that? Do you? And if any grace could be allotted to me then please let me rest where he was buried where I buried him after the fire. How I wrapped what remained in a white cloth. Never once thinking that God was punishing us. No my punishment would come in the form of my son forgiving me. Daggers!!! I was maybe thirteen when I told a sister that I had foreseen my death as an old woman running through the woods. She slapped me right across the mouth. I can almost feel it now but my face chills with the day leaving and my cheeks are cold and firm. When we began to dress in plain clothes the priest began making crosses out of all the wood of broken down structures. He would say if it can’t be a beam then it can at least be a cross. And I laughed because we too, were broken and holy. The moonlight is total and little white flowers at the base of trees play witness and perform any of the death rites necessary. I am forgiven. I am forgiven. In the words of the father. In the words of the son. I forgive you. I forgive you. The pope himself forgives me and my vision. The moon guides me to here– yes, this looks right. I remember — I think — and if not I will set down here anyhow. Yes, this is it. I have faith that he is near. He is here and so am I.