Ora et Labora (Finish The Story 54 Entry)
Opening by @f3nix
A fictional prompt based on real happenings, with a fictional ending
The tapered fingers came to life, maneuvered by invisible threads, following the murderous order whispered by the woman. The blow fell on the victim, surgical and impregnated with inevitable fate.
"We took it, Agnes."
Finally, the peace of the monastery's kitchen had been restored. A fleeting veil of reproach slipped over the cook's cheerful gaze as Flynn swore triumphantly at the fly, spread on his notebook.
"But now let's get back to our business, barley soup doesn't cook itself and ... not even your thesis".
"It's a nice association, even if it's my brain to cook," said the young man with his eyes shining curiously between the pots.
"If Father Thoram saw us wasting time chasing flies, you already know he'd send you to the library," the cook remarked.
Flynn threw her an accomplice grimace, before returning to dive into the pages of his thesis. No, all in all, the friar would not have thrown him out of the kitchen so easily.
Agnes could not have known what long walks in the cloister's rose garden had slowly revealed to his confessor father. That laborious daily harmony had a different taste for Flynn than what his other contemporaries of the Benedictine community felt.
Flynn sighed as the words drifted slowly from the pages, evaporating intertwined in his thoughts. Every moment, every little ritual within the silent walls of the monastery were like prickly air that swelled his lungs, giving him life. Those were precious moments far from the creature who, just two quarters away, was waiting every night unable to satisfy his craving for pain. Far from his stepfather.
The echoes of vespers suffused in his ears: soon the refectory would have been populated. It was almost time to help Agnes set the tables.
While books and notebooks were swallowed up by the backpack in random order, Flynn found himself thinking of that strange event months ago, when he was still an occasional guest of the monks' community. There was, indeed, another reason why he preferred to study among the noise of the pans. He would have never wanted to see that internet page, hastily closed but clear enough to impress itself deeply into his retina. All in all, the friar would not have thrown him out of the kitchen so easily.
The backpack fell, spilling its contents onto the floor.
"Son, follow me, Agnes can set her own."
Father Thoram didn't even seem to have noticed the mountain of papers scattered on the brown tiles. Standing out from the sagging features of his face, his eyes looked blacker than usual.
Flynn hurried after Father Thoram, still feeling the surge of energy; the power that had allowed him to breathe the complicated text of his research directly into his thoughts. He had only recently begun to find he could savour the sensation, without the rule of his stepfather.
Father Thoram was the last in a long line of men in Flynn’s life to hold that title; the only one even vaguely worthy of it.
He’d found Flynn years ago, hiding in the fragrant shreds of the rose garden. Hiding from himself. His mother called it his gift – then he lost control and killed her with it. The horror that had wrinkled the old friar’s face had melted as his squinted gaze took in the torn t-shirt; thin fabric, damp with another's blood, clinging to the malnourished teen.
Pain was the only way to bring his gift out. Inflicting it. Receiving it. Flynn’s stepfather, keeping him for what he was, had a clear preference. Father Thoram however, had a distinct distaste for both. Even tormenting flies wasn't in his nature.
Thankfully, as far as Flynn could tell, the friar hadn’t spotted the smear of blood and guts, a crumpled leg revealing it’s former occupation. Thoram wouldn’t be impressed to know Agnes encouraged him. The friar had deemed her a pious, steadying influence, Flynn was hoping it stayed that way. He hadn’t told Agnes what he was, not in the detail he’d confessed to Thoram, but she’d noticed smaller things. The way she pulled the strings of fate, engineering the death of a fly at her bequest, right when he needed a boost. Then the remark about his thesis; she must know something.
“Daily devotion my son. We work. We pray. Through the harmony of devotion, we find inner peace.”
Flynn nodded. The soft notes of the evening vespers carried down the passageway, rousing the passion in Father Thoram. The possibility of being free of his gift wasn’t something he’d considered, until Flynn had found his way to the Benedictine Order.
“Through dedication, through labour and communion, the Lord will grant you relief. The darkness, the curse that torments your soul alone will be..”
"I'm feeling fine Father."
Flynn surprised himself as he interrupted his mentor, unable to forget the incident months ago, back when Flynn found the library more congenial to his studying.
The face of that woman had seared into his mind, the way she sauntered up to him, holding his gaze, lifting her hands, snapping her finger backwards in front of him. The distinct crunch of bone breaking was undeniable. He saw it, in her pupils, the familiar flash in the dilation, just before her finger flexed back, the joints taking consecutive position unharmed.
She was like him.
She’d slipped him a dark card, the faint writing only visible in direct sunlight.
Flynn hadn’t known what to expect, shaking fingers individually hitting keys, following the web address on the calling card. The text there haunted him.
You are not sick…
"That's what worries me Flynn…"
This was a fun one to tease apart and see where I could go with, think I came in at 506. This prompt had so very much in, like all the ones @f3nix provides, it has an air of something fantastical, and yet this one equally could be so very normal, another prompt with so very much possibility. I struggled to find a picture that I liked for it, so in the end gave up and went for a painted rose, in a way a little symbolic of the story but mainly just wanted to get it posted and ran out of time.
This is an entry to @bananafish's #finishthestory contest which is back every week! Make sure to follow not to miss a round. This week we have @brisby at the helm once more, with @f3nix providing this prompt. Check out the latest round for all the rules and see where you would take this opening.