He didn’t remember how he got the scratch, he couldn’t remember bumping his head. But maybe it was when they got in the car quickly escaping the animals on the hill. It wasn’t a deep scratch and it wasn’t bleeding so he decided to ignore it.
He went for another bottle of Nilsvater and heard the suck of air into the bottle as he pried off the cap. Then he returned to the table and opened the book at random.
“…and when Azezel was brought from its stall….”
He flipped to another page. He didn’t want to read words he didn’t understand and it was too late to bother looking them up. Now he read “He stood upon the cliff and watched as the forests were set afire, as the mountains of the west were cast down, as the sea rose in pillars and as the cities trembled and fell. And through it all he held his peace. ‘Not yet’ he said. ‘Not yet.’
The twirling lights grew brighter and laced his bearing with hot winds. ‘Too much to pay. Too much to earn back’ he said. And now he heard the harsh distant siren sound. The last siren sound all would hear that told him the time was approaching the time of seven.”
The time of seven, he thought. What the hell does that mean?
He closed the book again and pondered the last words he read about forests, mountains and seas. He wondered if the twirling lights were the same lights he saw on his bathroom ceiling. Nothing was making any sense to him.
Tomorrow would be Sunday and he was supposedly expected in church even though he never went there and knew no one in that congregation. He checked the paper for church listings and found the Saint Joseph’s Sunday Mass was at 7:30. Maybe there will be some explanation for him if he went to it, he hoped. So he finished his beer, set his alarm and went to bed.
In the morning it wasn’t the alarm that woke him but the telephone. He answered it and the familiar voice said “Adam.”
“See you in church” and then hung up.
Adam thought there was something comforting about that, as if he would have a friend there. He took a shower and when he went to shave he found another scratch on his head, on the opposite side of his forehead, deeper than the first one.
(To be continued.)