The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 19

Sister Oana led Madalina from the courtyard into the nun’s quarters.  From the entrance, the hallways splayed out into two separate wings lined with the separate rooms of all the nuns.  Between the two wings, a large outdoor garden of iris and plum trees was tucked away.

Sister Oana led Madalina down one of the halls and knocked on a door at the end.  A weak, crackly voice called for them to enter and they stepped into a spacious room.  Two windows looked out onto the beautiful garden, where sun flowed in, and the room was decorated with oil paintings and an Ottoman carpet.  On one end was a bed where an aged woman, the abbess, sunk deeply into a capacious and amply stuffed feather bed.  She was beneath several sheets, topped by a colorful silk bedspread, and was dressed in the basic garb of a nun, with her black habit and apostolnik.

When Madalina looked into the old woman’s eyes, she saw a distant, pensive look, which looked distracted and absent-minded and stared off into the distance.  When Sister Oana shouted at the abbess, “Mother Alina?” the abbess seemed to only just notice that Sister Oana was there.

“Yes?” Abbess Alina said.

“This novice has a confession for you, to deliver personally,” Sister Oana explained.

“Oh?” Abbess Alina reacted with some surprise, “By all means.”

Sister Oana then nudged Madalina forward and said, “Go ahead, tell her.”

Madalina had only met the abbess a few times, delivering food to her occasionally and sometimes having to make other deliveries to the room.  She had never seen her anywhere but in this room in this bed, and she always felt uncomfortable to be around the old woman.

Madalina spoke up: “Mother Abbess, I am afraid that I have been sneaking out of my room at night and climbing onto the roof of the novitiate to look at the stars.”  Sister Oana cleared her throat.  When Madalina looked behind her, the Sister was mouthing “and.”  Madalina then added, “And I lied to Sister Oana about this when she caught me out of my room.”

“Oh?” Abbess Alina asked again, “I should wonder how a little girl could get all the way up there.  It must have been a long time since I was sprightly enough to do such a climb, and I don’t know if I could’ve done it then.”

“What punishment would you recommend for her?” Sister Oana interjected.

“Oh, yes,” the abbess reacted, “What would you recommend Sister?”

“I think that she should be required to pray by reciting the Jesus and Lord’s prayers 100 times each and then she should be required to sweep the courtyard and spend one night in solitary confinement in the crypt.”

“Oh dear me!” the abbess reacted with surprise, “So much?  Maybe without the time in the crypt and not so many prayers.”

“Are you sure Mother Alina?” Sister Oana asked with some emphasis on “sure.”

“It doesn’t seem so much, what she’s done,” the abbess said, “When I was a little girl you couldn’t imagine what trouble we got into.  One time we snuck into the barn at night, and upon seeing the cows we realized we’d never tasted milk straight from the udders and…”

“So then fifty of each prayer, sweeping the courtyards and cleaning the church floors?” Sister Oana cut in.

“What’s that,” the abbess asked, somewhat confused.

“Is that alright Mother?” the Sister asked.

The abbess looked confused and then abruptly answered, “Yes, yes.  “I trust your judgment.  Thank you.”  And she smiled as if she hoped everyone would be satisfied with her decision.

“God bless you Mother,” Sister Oana bowed and then retreated with Madalina.

“Bye, bye,” the abbess said, waiving and smiling pleasantly, clearly pleased just to have company.

Once out in the hall, Sister Oana looked down at Madalina and said, “You heard the abbess.  No time for dalliance.  You have things to do.”

Madalina entered the church first and began to pray the Jesus Prayer, reciting, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” counting off each iteration with a small prayer rope.  After completing that, she transitioned to the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father, Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name…” and so on, counting the iterations again with her prayer rope.

She then worked through all of the morning and much of the afternoon on the cleaning, pausing only for the third hour and sixth hour services.

She was deeply tired after she finished it all and collapsed into bed with sore arms and bruised knees.  All she knew was that she needed to rest that evening since.  She would again be sneaking out to see the vampire, the night after and it would require the full extent of her strength and acumen.

<-- Go to Part 18         Go to Part 20 -->

You can see what's been written so far collected here.

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