~ the raven chronicles ~ 6

31 Mar

(Chapters are stored chronologically in ARCHIVES.)

Fr. Michael Leavell, OP.
Sacred Heart Church
Raven, Ohio

November 17, 1932

Another night of dreams, but gentle dreams, of a bittersweet nature. I was a boy again, standing with my maternal grandmother atop the lighthouse at Cape Wrath. I have never visited that monument, yet, in that vision, I knew every stone and crevice as if  ’twere the back of my hand, and the wind off the ocean was to me familiar, an elixir like the first breath of life.

highlands-reI was born and raised in the city; as a young woman, my mother left her home near Oban and traveled to Dublin, met my father and settled with him there to start a family; but my heart has always been in the Highlands. I hope to return there one day.

In the first dream, my grandmother held my small hand and gave me instruction as we looked out over the fog shrouded North Sea. “Beware, Michael,” she said, “though danger often lies out of sight, that does not mean it is not close at hand.” Through the dreams that followed, we walked verdant woods and shadowed glens and she regaled me with ancient tales about the old ones who inhabited the Highlands long before Scota arrived. “They live still,” she said at the conclusion of the last yarn, “vanquished and underground, waiting for their day of reckoning. Be on guard, Michael, even when ye do not believe in my fairy tales any longer. Be vigilant, and you will be well served.” Finally, she smiled at me, kissed my cheek, and tucked me into a small bed near a warm fire in a thatched-roof cottage. I fell asleep to the sounds of a driving rainstorm howling outside.

To think that stories of wraiths and vengeful sprites would bring peace to a small boy in the middle of a violent storm, makes no sense, but I slept like a babe in arms, slept like the just, for the first time in weeks. Now, dawn is approaching, and the reality of the day ahead makes the serenity of my night, but a wisp.

The words of my Grandmother did have an inspirational effect, for I awoke with a plan regarding Mrs. Sinclair. I have made inquiries and discovered that she is an educated woman, conversant in several languages and the art of dialectics. Her reputation of debauched and wanton behavior which belies those talents, was born out of her ill-fated marriage to that scoundrel, Kendree Sinclair. Gin and jazz have been the downfall of many a gifted individual, man and woman alike, during this turbulent era in which we now live.

Though I’m not sure my plan will prove efficacious, and the notion seems feeble at face, I believe we must find a way to draw her out, let her tell her story on her own terms. She is silent, but not catatonic; she is speechless, but not wordless; these things I know after standing in her presence. I believe that her muteness is volitional, and not a result of her trauma. The pen is mightier than the sword, and I shall give her a scimitar to cut away the fog from her mind. A journal, which was a gift to me several Christmases ago, leather-bound and gilt-edged, with blank pages, ready to be filled. I will deliver it to her this morning. Dr. Agnostica may object, he will certainly object, but I will hold sway over him, in any event. He is groping in the darkness, afraid of Jacob Drummond, and unsure what to do about Mrs. Sinclair, or how to go about doing it. I know exactly what I must do – whatever is necessary to fulfill my oath.

If Mrs. Sinclair can be brought back, I will find a way. If she is lost to this world, I will do the deed in remedy; but writing it is mere bravado fabricated of ink and paper until I face that necessity. If only I had an ally, a confidant with whom I could confer. My convictions need a buttress, I have been found wanting before, when the time for action was at hand.

I wish that I could counsel with Monsignor Byrne, but he is totally unaware of the real reason for my assignment to Sacred Heart. My prefect warned me of the hazards of being a Designate, not the least of which, is the isolation in which one must work. That is why I was thankful for meeting Wallace, he understands everything, and dismisses nothing, but he also possesses a fiery disposition, while temperance, prayer, and careful deliberation before action are the strictures of my office. To walk alone through this darkness then, seems to be my fate. I pray for our almighty Father, to show me the way.

©2011 j.edwardfitzgerald all rights reserved

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