Crispen's Rose: Chapter Three

Crispen's Rose: Chapter Three

A Chapter by Rhayne

CHAPTER THREE

CRISPIN’S SECOND ESCAPE

 

Marseilles, France

Spring, 1789

 

Last night’s storm had lessened to gentle showers into the morning.  Crispin still sleeps while Chanler kneels praying silently.  Father Elliot slips into the room quietly and lays his hand gently upon Crispin’s forehead.  His coolness proves that his fever had broken long before dawn.  “Good” he whispers.

Chanler rises, crossing his chest ending his prayers.  He signs good morning to Father Elliot who responds with a smile and commendation to him for his good work through the night.  In a whisper, he instructs Chanler to fetch a light meal for Crispin and himself.  Bowing to the Father, he leaves the room.  Father Elliot pulls his journal from the pocket of his smock and sits at a table near Crispin’s bed.  From the journal he pulls the letter he has written to Crispin’s father, his own dear friend, Victor Aleron.  In it, he has requested that Victor come as soon as possible.  He would like to give him the opportunity to move Crispin to a sanitorium before he has to send his monthly patient progress report to the Cardinal.  Crispin would surely be taken away to a prison to await a horrible execution should he report the incidents of the last few weeks and especially last night.  Even he fears Crispin’s actions are like those of a mad man or hellishly possessed.  How sorry he feels for Crispin and for Victor.  This warning is the least he can do for either of them and not violate his responsibility to the Order.  He was only keeping the family informed of their loved one’s condition. Such will be his explanation.

Chanler’s return with a breakfast tray stirs Crispin.  Pushing himself up, he starts to speak but is hushed by Chanler’s powerful thoughts.


‘Careful what you say, Crispin, Father Elliot is in the room’.

“Thank you, Chanler, for everything” he says confirming with his eyes that he heard him.  “Good morning, Father Elliot. How are you?”

“More importantly, my boy, how are you?” replies Father Elliot.

“I am well, Father, thank you for asking.  For what have you honored me with such an early visit?”

Because of Crispin’s tone and manner of answering, Father Elliot wonders if Crispin is unable to remember last night and how ill he had become.  It was not uncommon for fever to vanquish memory, he thought.  But he felt as though Crispin was being deliberately evasive.  Father Elliot clears his throat, pulling the chair near the bed.  Chanler places the tray of bread and fruit onto Crispin’s lap.  Father Elliot began to say a blessing for the food and Crispin’s renewed health.  Chanler sneaks a peek to see if Crispin has bowed his head and is relieved to see that he honors the prayer and God. ‘Amen’ thinks Chanler.

“Amen” says Father Elliot.  “Tell me, Crispin, do you remember anything of last evening?”

Chewing a bite of bread as though he had not eaten in days, he nods, “last evening?  Something happen that I should know about?”

“Do you remember the storm at least?” Father Elliot asks.

“Seems I do remember the roof leaking, Father.  I’ll look into fixing that for you.”

“Then you must remember moving all the beds in the ward” Father Elliot continues.

“I did? I hope I didn’t hurt anyone” he says biting into a red apple.

“No, no, you didn’t harm anyone, not physically anyway.”

“Father Elliot, I’m sure you’re trying to say something. Why not just say it?”


“Well, Crispin, you were not yourself last night.  You frightened the other patients into a frenzy.  It took a while to get them settled down again.  You were terribly ill.  Fever was very high.  Made you do something, well, awful.”

“Oh no, Father, I’m sorry” he says pushing the tray away.  “Whatever I did, I apologize.  Please, tell me, what did I do?”

“No, my son, I think it would be better if I did not tell you.  I just want you to understand why I have written a letter to your father to ask him to come immediately.  I think it would be best if you stay here in this room until he arrives.  Chanler will bring you your food and pray with you until Victor arrives. I want you to understand that I have to keep the door locked.  It’s for your own good as well as the other patients.  I will visit you two times each day in order to write the progress reports.  I do not mean to make you feel like a prisoner here but I have no choice but to do this.  I believe with all my heart that you are possessed, Crispin.  These fevers you have come and go without warning or cause.  You do things that are unconscious to you.  You say things that are foreign to our ears.  I have been praying for you for days now but you seem to be fighting something from within.  I am truly sorry, my son, I must do this.”

Chanler cannot believe his ears.  Crispin says nothing.  He sits on the edge of his bed like a stone teetering on the edge of a cliff.  Father Elliot’s words echo in his head, ‘letter to your father.....keep the door locked.....pray with you.....possessed.......prisoner.....foreign to our ears’.  His fingers dig into the hay filled mattress.  How can he make them understand that he isn’t mad, that he isn’t possessed?  Of course, his story is ludicrous but it is the truth.  Chanler believes him, there must be a way to convince Father Elliot.  He turns to Chanler who stands shaken near the door. Chanler thinks, ‘what can I do?’


“Come to me, Chanler.  You know you need not be afraid of me.  I would like to prove something to Father Elliot, with your help.”

Chanler meagerly shuffles to Crispin and kneels in front of him. Father Elliot takes him by the arm and pulls him to his feet, “Chanler, you kneel to God, not to man.”

“It is all right, Chanler.  Father Elliot is right.  I am but a man, not a devil and certainly not a god.  But I do have something that works inside of me for the good of man and therefore must be bestowed upon me by God.  Would you like to speak like a normal man, Chanler?”

Father Elliot gasps and clutches the cross dangling from the chain around his neck.  Chanler’s eyes fill with tears as he thinks, ‘you can do this?  You can give me a voice?’

“I would like to try, Chanler, if you’re willing of course.”

Enraged by this display of sorcery, Father Elliot demands that Chanler go about his duties and forget what has been said.  Chanler thinks, ‘what do you want me to do, Crispin?  I would do anything to have a voice.’

“Sit down beside me and let me cup your throat with my hand. It will not hurt, I promise.  You will only feel warmth.”


Crispin turns to face Chanler as his words are directed at Father Elliot, “please give me this chance to prove to you that I can do what I have said I can do.  I assure you no harm will come to Chanler.  He has been a friend to me.  I wish to confess, Father Elliot, that I do remember last night.  I remember the painting I did of a woman I love.  She lives in another time and place centuries from now.  I remember all the things I have painted in the last few months and all the things I have talked about that are foreign to your ears.  Something very strange happened to me that have caused these abilities to live within me now.  I believe I can heal Chanler and give him a voice.  If you will just give me that chance to prove it.”

His hand cups Chanler’s throat all through his direction to Father Elliot and then he removes it.  Chanler lifts his own hand to his throat where the warmth still emanates.  There is no pain, no difference in feeling.  He clears his throat of saliva and swallows.  Father Elliot still clutches his cross in disbelief of Crispin’s claim to heal.

“Try and say something, Chanler” Crispin urges.

“Ah...ah....I ca...can...ssp..eak” he stutters, grabbing and kissing Crispin’s hand.

“No, Chanler, you don’t have to do that.  I was not sure that I could do it here, in this Holy place.  I was told by Barcelli that I would not have these powers inside the realm of a Holy place.  But when I realized that I could read your thoughts, I knew that Barcelli was mistaken.”

Father Elliot fell onto the chair in dismay, unbelieving of what he had just witnessed.  His face was pale and his hands were shaking as he let go of the chained cross.  Crispin falls to his knees in front of him, his hands on Father Elliot’s knees, heat still emitting from them seeping through Father Elliot’s garment. Unknowing to Crispin, Father Elliot had pain in his knees daily for years.   Neither realize that the crippling disease is being healed as Crispin begs for forgiveness in frightening him.

“I refuse to believe this is the work of our Almighty God, but the work of His and thine enemy!  You are possessed, Crispin Aleron” he says pushing away from Crispin.

Chanler helps Crispin to his feet as Father Elliot walks briskly to the door, the keys dangling on a chain wrapped around his wrist.  The two men notice the difference in the Father’s gait and that he stands much taller.


“Father Elliot?” Chanler calls out, “your legs, do they not pain you anymore?  I have never seen you move with such speed and grace.”

He stops suddenly with his back still to them.  The pain had disappeared.  His hand nervously slides down his right thigh to his knee where it had been unbearable to touch before. 

“Do you not believe now, Father Elliot?” Chanler pleads as he moves between him and the door.

Without a word, Father Elliot slides the key into Chanler’s hand and hurries out, closing the door behind him.  Crispin looks up to the ceiling and then out the window, listening.  Chanler hears the tapping on the roof.  Another storm is about to break.

“We have to leave now, Chanler.  You must warn Father Elliot and get the children to safety.  The monastery is in danger.”

“In danger of what?” he asks while gathering Crispin’s clothes.

“This storm is going to be too much for the mountain to the east of us.  The earth on the side of a mountain can hold only so much water before it breaks loose” Crispin explains.

“You mean the mountain will come down on us?”

“Yes, Chanler, a mud slide.  The water will bring the side of the mountain down and we will be in its path.  Hurry, there isn’t much time.”


Chanler rushes down the corridor banging on doors waking the children and ordering them to gather in the Chapel.  Crispin hurries to get dressed.  Chanler opens the doors to the Chapel where Father Elliot kneels at the alter praying.  The children run inside, two by two, taking their seats as if getting ready for lessons.  Father Elliot rises quickly to the commotion just as a blinding flash of lightning and blundering clash of thunder shakes the Sanctuary.  The rains pound the roof again. The children become frightened when another loud clash of thunder rocks them so soon after the first.  Chanler explains to Father Elliot that he must help him get the children to safer ground but the Father insists they are safe where they are.  He refuses to move them and orders them to sit quietly and pray.  Crispin bursts through the doors expecting them to be ready to move.  Chanler shakes his head.

“Father, you must get these children out of here.  Chanler and I will get the patients in the ward.  This storm is going to bring down the mountain side.”

“So, you can tell the future now too?” sneers Father Elliot. “We are not leaving.  The walls of this Sanctuary have withstood more than just a storm.”

“Father, please.  Common sense tells me that all of us are in danger.  I do not claim to see into the future. I have only traveled there and back.  The rain last night and now this storm is going to be too much water in such a short period of time.  The mountain side is going to be nothing but moving mud before long.  Even these walls cannot stand up to that.  Please listen to me.”

Father Elliot instructs the children to remain seated as he takes his place at the podium.  With his wand he strikes the podium three times and begins to sing a hymn that he urges the children to join in on the second verse.  The storm rages on with the winds getting stronger.  Chanler and Crispin exchange glances and then each start gathering children and running for the doors.

“What about the patients, Crispin?” shouts Chanler against the wind.

“You get the children to higher ground!  I’ll get the others!  Don’t stop until you get to the top of the west hill, Chanler, do you hear me?”

“I hear you!” he shouts back, squinting in the rain.


Crispin looks back from the door to see Chanler and twenty small children running toward the west hill.  A flock of sheep have already sensed the danger and followed.  Inside, Father Elliot’s singing rang through the halls from the Chapel as Crispin hurries to the ward.  Thunder bounds through the sky leaving in its wake a definite rumbling.  The monastery shakes, knocking candles from their sconces, chairs vibrate across the floor, windows shattering.  Crispin fights with the lock on the ward door.  He could barely hear the panic inside over the pounding of the rain and the rumbling of the walls.  He felt their fists pounding the door from the other side.  Finally, the key turns and the doors push open with a force that knocks Crispin against the wall.  Patients run frantically through the corridors of the monastery. Crispin could not possibly save them all so he pushes as many as he can through any exit door he could find on his way toward the Chapel to try once again to pull Father Elliot away from his pulpit.  The rumbling is louder and bringing down parts of the ceiling and walls.  Doors jam and dishes break.  The iron chandelier in the Sanctuary has shed all its candles and is violently swinging and chipping away the wood of its support beam.  Directly below it is Father Elliot on his knees. 

“Father!” Crispin shouts above the noise, “Father!  Please come with us.  Everyone is out and safe!”


The chandelier breaks loose and is hanging by only a thread of rope.  Crispin runs to Father Elliot and pulls him to his feet and toward the door just as the iron ring smashes to the floor. Father Elliot screams at Crispin to leave him as he shoves him through the door and closes it between them.  Crispin shoulders the door several times but all is lost to him now.  He has no choice but to leave the stubborn Priest.  Walls are folding inward as the ceiling comes crashing down.  Beams falling to the right of him and beams falling to the left of him.  It seemed to be the end when the last beam he saw falling was falling on him, taking him down hard on jagged debris.  His breath is cut short from the weight.  He can smell the earth being stirred and mixed with the rain as it begins to filter through the broken wood.  The rain is pelting his face and hands, stinging them like windblown ice.  A hand clasps his for only a second just to let him know that he wasn’t alone.  He could not see well through the force of the rain and wind but the figure appears to be large.  His arms wrap around the beam that pins Crispin.  He lifts it with ease and helps him slide from underneath it.  The man helps him up and the two of them limp from the ruins and toward the west hill.  Relived to see them, Chanler runs down to help.  He slips under Crispin’s arm and helps him to a rock to sit down. Getting his second wind now, he looks up to the large man. 

“Barcelli?” he says winded.

“What were you trying to do, get yourself killed again?” the man barks loudly.

“How did you know I was here?”

“I always know where you are.  It’s my job to know.”

Suddenly another rumble shakes the ground and the monastery is buried under the mountainside.  Chanler falls to his knees and crosses his chest, “Father Elliot” he whispers.

“Father Elliot is all right, Chanler.  Don’t worry, he escaped” says Crispin.

“How do you know that?  Can you hear him too?”

“Yes.  He’s at the bottom of the hill.  He’s still praying. He’s never going to be the same now.  He’s going to need you.  Go to him.”

Chanler notices Crispin holding his ribs, “but you’re hurt.”

“Trust me, I’m all right.  Barcelli will take care of me now.  You go and take care of everyone else.  It’s what you do best, Chanler.  You have been blessed by God.”


Chanler and the children begin slip sliding down the hill to help Father Elliot and the patients running wildly.  Crispin knew it would be the last time he ever saw them.  The rain slows to a sprinkle as the clouds thin and part.

“Well, are you going to scold me or are you going to heal me.  My ribs are broken you know.  Hurts like hell.”

Barcelli squats in front of him, his eyes blue as ever but anger fills them, “you can do it yourself, you know.  I never got the chance to teach you that before you went off and broke the cardinal rule.  It’s within you to heal yourself.  I figure since you’re so damn smart and all, you can figure out how it works on your own.  Maybe a little pain will teach you not to play with the Council of Seven again.”

Crispin wonders what all this means, his freedom from the monastery, Barcelli showing up to save him yet again and most of all, that last sentence.  Was he meaning that the Council of Seven had reconsidered his punishment and were going to let him go back to the future?  A sharp pain burns through him vanquishing his train of thought.

“Oh, for the love of Pete, let me do it for you this time.  But no more after this.  You are on your own” Barcelli barks while placing his hot hands against the broken ribs.

“I knew you still loved me” Crispin jokes.  “But in all seriousness, what did you mean when you said that about not playing with the Council of Seven again?  Have they reconsidered?”

Barcelli sat back onto the rock, shaking the water from his long curls, “it was a nice thing you did for Chanler, giving him a voice.  And one day, Father Elliot will understand better and regret that he never thanked you for fixing his knees.  Too bad about the painting you did of Rose.  It’s as lost to you now as she is.”


It was useless to question Barcelli about anything since it was he who taught him these same special abilities.  He only hangs his head low acknowledging his truth.

“Will I ever see her again, Barcelli?  Is there any chance that I can convince the Council of Seven?”

“I wish to ask you a question, Crispin.  When you healed Father Elliot’s knees and gave Chanler a voice, were you inside the monastery?”

“Yes, why?”

“You could use your abilities inside those walls?”

“Yes.  I know you said that I wouldn’t be able to.  But I found that I could hear their thoughts, especially Chanler’s. I wasn’t sure that I could give him a voice until I tried.  As far as Father Elliot, I didn’t even know that I had healed his knees until Chanler said something.  I guess you were mistaken, Barcelli.  It happens.”

Crispin felt the gaze of Barcelli’s blue eyes.  “No, Crispin, it doesn’t happen.  Not with me and most certainly not with you.  The Council of Seven sent me to get you.  You’ve done something that even they cannot do.  You’ve stirred their fears and interest more than anyone of our kind.”

“Their fears?  They are the Council of Seven.  What could they possibly fear?” questions Crispin.

“That’s a question you’re going to have to ask them.  Shall we go?”

Crispin pushes from the rock, takes one last look at the ruins and Chanler looking back at him.  He waves to Crispin.  Crispin waves his left hand and places his right to Barcelli’s broad shoulder.  A cloud moves from the sun behind them and when another floats across its face, the only ones remaining on the hilltop are the grazing sheep.  Chanler crosses his chest, saying a silent goodbye.


 



© 2019 Rhayne


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Oh. My. Goodness. I was looking so forward to this...and I was not disappointed. Your writing is lovely, and I can't wait to see what happens next. Is Crispin in trouble? Will he ever get to see Rose? Ughh, chapter four, here I come!

Posted 4 Weeks Ago



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Added on September 13, 2019
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Rhayne
Rhayne

Nashville, NC



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I love to write. It clears my head of all the noise and sometimes, somehow it turns into something that makes sense. more..

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