The Fallowing – The Fifth, Part XII
by Steppen Sawicki
Today my coworker texted me about something that happened at work. A woman’s cat had died and despite everything we had done over two weeks to try and save her and despite the doctor being honest with her chances, this woman was angry that in the end the cat had died. She told the doctor “I’m happy Trump got elected so he can deport your ass, fuck you.” She also kept telling him this isn’t his country, it’s America.
I don’t know. Just cataloguing. Here’s some book.
I woke with my mouth dry as chalk. I sat up like a current had been sent through me. Sam was gone. I looked around me about twenty times but he was gone and the street was empty of anyone but Amnon’s body. I looked under my coat at my chest, at my hand. There was no blood. I wondered if I might have imagined the pain or felt some phantom knife as it sunk into Amnon, but I couldn’t have imagined the blood that had vanished without a trace.
I stood and approached Amnon. No need to imagine here; he lay in a pool of blood, eyes wide and brown and empty.
I automatically checked for my pistol as I stared at him, just to make sure I still had it, that Sam hadn’t taken it in case I might shoot at him again as he left. My hand touched on it in the pocket of my coat, but there was a piece of paper wrapped around the barrel. I unattached it and opened it up. In Sam’s neat and precise script it read “Holy Name Cathedral.” With directions.
I frowned. He could at least have given a time. But if he had, it wouldn’t have mattered. I would have just gone there and sat the whole day waiting. And Sam knew it. Damn him, but he knew me.
As it was, I went straight there. Perhaps he knew I’d do that too. It was a long, quiet walk in the early morning hours. I put my hand in my pocket, meaning to pull out my watch to find out what time it really was. In my mind I saw a golden pocket watch with a blue jay on the cover. But of course there was no watch to find in my pocket.
The city was dirty and claustrophobic in the night, full of filth and far-off sounds of alarm and hurt, so that there was never really a silent moment. Even the wind blew through the streets with a low moan of anguish. Every lighted window told of twenty more unlighted windows, of the cold and the loneliness. If I passed by anyone on the street, I didn’t notice and I didn’t remember. And I didn’t care. It took all I had just to follow the directions Sam had left. I guessed that I hadn’t slept in 45 hours.
Turned out the church was open all night. There was even someone else sitting in the pews to the right and front as I entered. So I took a seat far back to the left.
I had at least an hour to take in the church. The stained-glass windows had been broken through long ago, replaced by panes of solid color – blue and green mostly, but some red that looked like squares of blood high on the walls. There was a large cross complete with Jesus hanging behind the alter. Even from where I was I could see his tortured and pained expression, the tension in the cords of his arms. It was no signal of hope for me that morning; it was grotesque. I leaned my head back, uncomfortable in the wooden pew, and stared up at the criss-cross of the beams in the ceiling, broken in places by round decorations inscribed with initials the significance of which I knew not and lights hanging down on long wires. I stayed that way until steps echoed through the cavern of the cathedral, echoing off that vaulted ceiling. Until there was a rustle behind me of him sitting down in the next pew. I raised my head and found I now had a knot in my neck. I didn’t turn to look at him.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I said.