PRIME 1927.

PRIME 1927.

A Story by Terry Collett



Sister Teresa put down the pen. Eyes searched page. White and black. Scribbled words. Meaning there some where amongst the lines, she mused. Bell rang from bell tower. Echoed around cell. Closed her eyes. Held hands together. Sighed a prayer. Allowed the dark and peaceful to swim about her. Out of the depths, O Lord, she whispered. Opened eyes. Parted hands, rested on the table before her palms up, and read the signs. The last echo went out of the room. The whisper of it out of earshot.First-class now this age; first-rate her papa had thought; foremost her mama decided. Gone now Mama, she mused, lifting her body from the chair and walking to the window. Gone except memory. What the little child had seen she wanted to forget. Some memories are best buried. The sky was cold looking; the clouds shroud-like. Held hands beneath habit; clutched hands child-like. Mumbled prayer. Watched nuns move along cloister; watched the slowness; sensed the coldness of the air. If possible, Lord, she murmured, moving from window, walking towards the door. Paused. Looked back. Stared at crucifix on wall. The Crucified agonised, battered by age and time. Smiled. Nodded. Turned and opened the door and walked into the passageway. Closed the door with gentle click; hid hands beneath the cloth; lowered eyes to floor’s depth. Wandered down by wall’s side. Listened. Sighed. Sensed day’s hours; day’s passage and dark and light. Entered cloister and felt the chill wind bite and snap. Best part, Papa had said. Men are not to be trusted, said he many a time. Felt the cloister wall’s roughness with her right hand. Sensed the rough brick; sensed the tearing of the flesh on wall of brick; the nails of Christ. Mama had died her own crucifixion. The child closed the door having seen in the half-dark, she recalled, closing her eyes, feeling the chill wind on her cheek. Paused. Breathed deep. Saw sky’s pale splendour; saw light against cloister’s wall; saw in the half-light. Nun passed behind. Sister Helen, big of bone, cold of eyes, cool of spirit. Cried once; cried against night’s temper. Months on months moved on; days on days succeeded. Papa had said, the zenith of the passing years, my dear child, your mama’s love. How pain can crucify, she thought as she moved on and along the cloister, lifting eyes to church door. Nails hammered home to breast and ribs, she murmured as she entered the church. Fingers found stoup and tip ends touched cold water; blessed is He, she sighed. Eyes searched church. Scanned pew on pew; nun on nun. Sister Bede nodded; held hands close; lifted eyes that smiled. Where Jude had been buried, Papa had not said. Ten years passed; time almost circle-like, she mused, pacing slow down aisle to the choir stall. Sister Bede lowered her head; lowered her black habited body. Saw once as a child but closed the door. Poor Mama. Who is she that came and went? Long ago. Time on time. Papa had missed her; tears and tears; sobs in the mid of night. Mother Abbess knocked wood on wood. Silence. Closed eyes. Dark passages lead no where, Papa said. Chant began and echoed; rose up and down; lifted and lowered like a huge wave of loss and grief. Where are you? What grief is this? Night on night, her papa’s voice was heard; echoed her bedroom walls; her ears closed to it all except the sobs. De profundis. Out of the depths. Dark and death are similar to man and child. Opened eyes to page and Latin text. Bede and she, to what end? Death, dark, and Mama’s fears echoed through the rooms of the house; vibrated in the child’s ears; bit the child’s heart and head. This is the high point Jude had said; had kissed her once; had held her close and she felt and sensed. Men are not to be trusted. Breathed deep. For thine is the kingdom. And Papa’s words were black on white and pained her. Jude gone and buried; mama crucified; Sister Rose fled the walls; wed and wasted to night’s worst. Come, my Christ, she murmured through chant and prayer; come lift me from my depths; raise me up on the last day. Voice on voice; hand on heart; night on night. Jude had said be prepared for the next meeting, but dead now; Passchendaele claimed him. Voice on voice, Amen. Chill in bone and flesh. Breath eased out like knife from wound. Bede looked and smiled; hid the hands; bit the lip. Men are not to be trusted. Jude long gone. Nuns departed. Bede turned and went with her gentle nod. Paused. Sighed. Come, my Lord and raise me up, she mused, stepping back from stall and the tabernacle of Christ. Raise me up. Raise your lonely bride from death and dark. 


© 2010 Terry Collett

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Loving how this story moves forward. What an incredible job you do with introspection and the words that one hears in one's heart and head.

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Added on March 12, 2010
Last Updated on March 12, 2010


Terry Collett
Terry Collett

United Kingdom

Terry Collett has been writing since 1971 and published on and off since 1972. He has written poems, plays, and short stories. He is married with eight children and eight grandchildren. on January 27t.. more..