I've been feeling a need to write prose lately. I think I'm still going through withdrawal after the completion of A Fighting Chance.
Anyway, that's my way of warning you that I went off on some prose today. Let's see where this prompt takes you: the ghosts of Saint George's Cathedral.
I sat in the front pew of the empty cathedral but was not alone. The seven candles that stood atop the altar created wavering shadow demons all around me while leaving the upper reaches of the cavernous room hidden from sight. Each candle was slightly taller than the one to its right, so that their flames angled upwards like a burning staircase to heaven.
Or, if one were to allow one’s eyes to travel in the opposite direction, a set of seven burning steps leading down to hell.
Allowing my mind to linger on this thought for a moment, I pulled the silver flask from the inside pocket of my suit jacket, unscrewed the cap with three quick twists, and brought it to my lips. The liquid courage worked its usual magic, warming me from the inside out and coating my twitching nerve endings with a soothing balm. I took an extra sip for good measure before replacing the cap and returning it to its home.
Glancing at my watch, I saw that the hour, minute, and second hands were preparing to point their accusing fingers as one at the 12 resting at the top of their circular prison. Zero hour was fast approaching; there could be no more delay.
I rose and moved to stand before the altar as the silence within the cathedral seemed to deepen. I told myself it was just my imagination but took another sip of whiskey anyway. A few hundred feet above and behind me I knew Father Timothy would be donning his earplugs and grabbing hold of the thick ropes attached to the cathedral’s massive bronze bells. We knew the sound would bring the entire city running to the gilded front doors of the building.
What we didn’t know was what they would find once they got there.
Taking a deep breath, I fell to my knees and spread my arms to the side as I arched backwards. And as the bells began to sound, I called out to the ghosts of the cathedral. I called them by name, one by one, the oldest to the youngest as the ritual required. I called for them to leave behind their aimless wanderings. I called them to me.
I called them to war.