The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 70… Rebecca’s Spell… (Part Four)… Sisters of Heaven

They approached the archway silently, careful their feet made no sound. The archway that would take them to that large oak door. They had all secretly told themselves that they would run if the man seen earlier, opened the door to their knocking.

‘What are we doing,’ whispered Charles, ‘We must be completely mad!’

It was Bridget who knocked loudly on the door. The others took a step back. They waited for what seemed a life-time, and then the door opened slowly to a woman wearing a Nun’s habit. She was a person of small statue, with somewhat rounded features and a very welcoming smile.

She looked upon the six. Then in a moment of recognition, said: ‘Yes, you must be from the school. We know all about your given free time. Your Head Mistress wrote us an interesting letter saying that some of you will want to visit us.’

Heads were turned to Bridget.

‘Come in, you are most welcome. The Sisters have hot porridge for you as a mid morning warmer.’ She pushed the door wider and beckoned them in. ‘You must tell us of this little adventure of yours.’ She then walked ahead of them.

‘Adventure? What’s that on her head, haven’t seen that on a Nun before,’ whispered Celia.

Bridget looked at her friend somewhat hopelessly. ‘It’s called a Wimple, silly. It’s worn by those that hold on to the traditions of the past.’

‘I suppose you would know that!’ replied Celia indignantly.

The others grinned.

Beyond the doorway led to a long corridor with a number of adjoining rooms, some with doors ajar, some closed.

‘Those doors that are closed are sisters finishing their private meditation,’ explained the nun, noting the exploring look of the group. ‘This way to our dinning chamber.’

She led them into a large room built of stone blocks, down its centre was a long oak table, that could possibly seat around thirty persons, thought Charles.

‘Please take a seat all of you. Two of our Sisters will attend you shortly, but do not ask them questions, they have taken a vow of silence. I am the only sister nominated to speak to outsiders. Now, I have another duty to perform and will be back soon.’

Once alone, the table was full of whispers.

‘They sound cranky to me,’ said Celia.

‘There’re up to no good,’ remarked Bridget, ‘I told you so.’

‘Oh come on girls,’ Charles broke in. ‘It’s just their order. We haven’t seen anything suspicious have we? After all, Bridget said if they wear a wimple it means they follow the old ways.’

‘Dark and devious ways, I bet,’ offered Bridget. ‘Alright, I know you all think I’m a bit way off on this. Ok, it’s just me. I feel things that others don’t!’

‘A bit!’ scoffed Celia.

‘It’s ok, as Bridget says, we’re all friends here,’ remarked Charles trying for calm. It’s alright you know Bridget, you don’t have to explain.’

At that moment two sisters entered the chamber. Each carrying a tray of bowls, three to each, steaming it looked with porridge. The bowls were carefully placed in front of each of them and when Barney remarked how tasty it looked, the sister said nothing. Both sisters then left the room as quietly as they had entered.

‘Well, lets tuck in folks. It’s hospitality of a gracious kind.’ The others looked at Charles as if knowing this was an approval to raising spoons to the bowls.

It was Barney who first realised honey had been added to this light porridge. ‘They must have their own Apiary,’ he surmised. ‘My Grandfather kept Bees you know, couldn’t stand them myself, always buzzing and stinging.’

‘You’re funny,’ remarked Bridget with a smile. She liked this young man with his gentle awareness. Something quite different to her own makeup, she thought.

They finished the porridge some time before the first sister returned. She asked if they had enjoyed it, to which they all agreed. Then, she told them her name was Sister Ann and would show them, if they wished, the various undertakings of their order.

To this, the group were unanimous.

“Now, we will get to the bottom of things” Opportunity suddenly raced through Bridget’s mind.


About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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