The Monstrance

Eternal lover of words, music, and images. Believer of magic in the mundane. Protector of nature and the child within.

Image of Short Story
She summoned the courage to approach the altar, bowing her head to see the plaid of her skirt grazing red carpet. There, she heard the whispered calling of undulating silk robes and the mournful sighs of the pipe organ. The holy man dangled a golden thurible, which bellowed pungent smoke of frankincense and myrrh. The vapor’s tendrils engulfed the holy man like a great winged beast. The guttural sound that floated from his throat to her ears was a foreign tongue, as a hypnotic chant that declared his authority over the ceremony and its young congregate.

He called the faithful to come together, as one, to show adoration for the sacrament held before them. To consume, he promised, would give them a deeper relationship with the savior. Surrender your soul for the promise of everlasting life.

She glanced at the two others beside her. They were three young innocents on the precipice of eternity. She opened her mouth to accept the Corpus Christi. As she consumed, the spirit in turn consumed her. Against instructions, she lifted her face to look into the eye of the monstrance as the holy man elevated the host. The portal opened and she was shown what lies beyond, where the best led the innocents to a garden beyond the curtain...”The Door of Dreams. “ It would be a dream, he promised, from which they would soon arise and be born again.

The holy man did not know she possessed the vision. The veil was lifted. She saw the fate of those who had gone before. There was no sanctuary in this place. The top button of her blouse began to constrict around her throat. Something awakened from the depths of her soul, uncoiling within. The ancient one had arrived.

The graven image became desire. The untouchable savior caressed her cheek. She had consumed his body during the sacrament, and he had come to accept her invitation. Word had become flesh. Indecipherable melodies consumed the space around her. The ultimate Song of Songs. Does the word not teach us that this consumption of flesh is the blessed consecration of human desire?

The faithful continued their private adoration before the Blessed Sacrament at the altar of repose. The innocents had been instructed to take turns so that one or more is always in attendance, but only through twelve strokes of the clock.

He bestowed them with new names, for they were reborn. No longer innocents, they had become vessels of adoration that had offered all they had to give. He baptized her Hope, and the others Joy and Faith in remembrance of their sacrifice.

She awoke from the dream and fled the sanctuary. Her backpack strained under the burden of the monstrance she had snatched from the altar. Without ceremony, she hurled it into the river and watched its descent. Joy and Faith were lost in the night. She abandoned Hope and vanished into the shadows, never to return.