[Mock-Fiction] V - Fures Misericordiam

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Aye. Tis me again.

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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5. 3 – Father Samuels

3 – Father Samuels

 

Mariqah took one last pull on her cigarette and blew out smoke, before stubbing the only half-finished stick on her sleeve. She threw the butt on the ground and stepped on it, making her way to Father Samuels’s house. Seeing the house always made her wonder why such a lonely person would require – or even be given – such a large accommodation.

 

The house was white with well-kept creepers climbing up its walls. The hedges in front were clipped in classical uniformity. The house had six bedrooms, an attic and a basement – a bathroom to each. It had a conjoined kitchen and dining area, being lavish and resourceful enough to make even the most professional of chefs faint in wonder. It had a vast living room, with a fireplace that filled a full wall (and was lit more than perhaps was advisable) and with enough ecclesiastical decorum to be fit for any church or chapel. There was one study in the house where the Father spent most of his time – pouring over books or writing his sermons and (since the acoustics happened to be very good in the study) even mock-present those sermons (though, he rarely took on any criticism – the old man had arthritis in both hands, and would do well to have a scribe. But he’d yet to hire one).

 

Mariqah fumbled with the keys as she made it passed the black gate and through the neatly cobbled pathway. She got out the correct key for the front door and twisted it in its hole. She stepped in, shrugging off her coat and placing it on the stand and putting the keys in the correct pocket, before shutting out the cold with a smooth click of the front door.

“Father?” she called, “Father Samuels! You called for me?”
“Ah, Mari, my dear girl!” she heard him reply from the living room. She heard him limp towards her, “I’ve yet to understand why you can’t just answer the phone.”
Because I’m certain someone’s listening in, she thought.

Mariqah hurried towards him, and ushered Father Samuels back into his favourite seat.

 

Father Dominic Samuels was aging and sorely regretting it. He was shaped like a barrel, and was about as tall. He had a kindly countenance, even if his cheeks were drooping with creases, his eyebrows stuck out terribly like an owl’s, and his hair was thinning and falling out to no comparable degree. Today, he was wearing a white shirt and loose brown trousers held by a simple belt. He was also wearing the fluffy slippers that Mariqah insisted he ought to have.

 

“It’s no trouble, Father,” she said, easing herself into the chair opposite, “you only live one street away.”
“Ah, a young girl like you! Perhaps if you didn’t have to tend to me so much, you’d have time to spend with your friends.”
Mariqah snorted, “If I don’t keep you company, who will? It troubles me that such an old man should have no progeny to look after him.”
“Aye, all in a good life’s work, Mari,” the Father chuckled.

“Don’t say it like that, Father Samuels,” Mariqah said shaking her head, “No man o’ God should be so negative. Here, let me make you some tea and fetch some biscuits that won’t work up your diabetes,” she rose to head for the kitchen.

“Nay, Mari, sit a bit,” he said, “I’m not thirsty and I’ve no work for you.”

Mariqah paused, but then sat down, “Did you call me just for a chat then?”

“I… I have a little confession to make, Mari,” he pulled a passport out of his pocket, “I’m afraid to say that curiosity got the better of me. Your surname is de Saint-Omer? And you’re born in 1995? My, my, aren’t you young-looking in your old age.”
 

Mariqah’s eyes widened:

Please give that to me, it is none of your business.”
She snatched it from the old man’s grasp and held it tightly as if it held her life, as if it was somehow fragile and sacred.

These things are for your access: denied.

And is there anyone here who can swear before God –

They have nothing to fear, they have nothing to hide?

 

“Mari, I meant no harm by it,” said the Father, “I was just looking out of interest, truly.”
“I… I know.”

“It just seemed strange to me. Your name. Your date of birth.”

“I’ve no intention of explaining such things, Father.”
 

Father Samuels stared at her for a long time. She was looking away from him, holding the maroon-coloured book closely. He sighed:

And the end of the day,

You’re another day colder.

And the shirt on my back doesn’t keep out your chill.

I’m the righteous running past,

I don’t hear your little soul crying,

And your tears are falling fast,

Ready to kill.

You’re one day closer to dying.”

 

Mariqah’s breathing eased a little, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Father.”

Father Samuels looked at her sympathetically,

Don’t you know the bitch can bite?

Don’t you know the cat has claws?

Don’t you think I’ve guessed your little secret?

Ah, the secretive young girl!

Who keeps herself so well hid and kept –

You’d be the one, I had no doubt:

Of any trouble here about –

You play the saint here in the light,

But were a convict in the night.”
 

She looked fearfully at Father Samuels.

“Don’t fear, Mari,” he said, “I know you regret. Don’t you think I hear you, when you stay round? Walking about the place? Muttering to yourself? I know you regret whatever it was in the past, and I’m not about to point you out to the authorities. All I seek, is who you are and where you came from.”
“Father, I cannot tell you that.”
“Why not?”

 

At the end of the day,

It’ll be nothing but trouble,

And there’ll be trouble for both,

When there’s trouble for one.

While you’re leading your flock ahead,

My secrets’ll come to the light.

I must get myself away,

Before I get you into the bite:

And it’s you who’ll have to pay –

At the end of the day.”
 

“Mari!” the old man rose from his seat as Mariqah made for an exit, “Mari, please, don’t be hurt by what I’ve said.”

“I’m not all I seem, Father, I–”

“I know, Mariqah! I know,” Father Samuels caught up with her as Mariqah drew up short, “I know. I figured as much, Mari. But–”

“How much do you know?”

“Just that you’re no saint to the state. That’s all. And that that passport is probably a forgery.”

 

“Then you know too much.”

“No, Mari,” he grasped her, “No. If you leave, where you live?”

“In all the gutters and benches that London can supply.”
“Mari, you can’t do that.”

“I can, I have, and I will.”
No, you won’t,” he shook her, “Mari, I’ve looked out for you for the past year – and there hasn’t been the stir of a policeman’s baton in our direction! Do not fret, for me or for yourself. I can keep a secret. I have plenty of my own.”

Mariqah gave him a long stare, “Alright, alright I’ll stay. But no more questions, Father.”

“Alright, Mariqah, alright. I won’t delve.”
 

Mariqah sighed, and turned to the staircase that led to the basement.

“Will you at least tell me what your name means, Mariqah?” Father Samuels asked her.

Mariqah paused on the steps, “It’s Arabic,” she said, “for ‘Rogue’.”

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