The Material World: Part 4-Shackle and Salvation

The Material World: Part 4-Shackle and Salvation

Exercise Your Imagination!  Do you like stories with mystery and suspense? Well, if you do, keep reading and enjoy Eggcentric Sagas.  If you are just joining Eggcentric Sagas: click to start reading. The first story: A La Mano: Part 1-The Treasure

Penelope ran back to the end of the narrow street that she had turned onto previously. Thoughts blazed through her mind as Pepe led the way. Why are they being arrested? Why did Mama want me to run? Why is Martin chasing me? Daylight continued to wane, and Penelope hoped to be concealed by the darkness at Rue Bonaparte. Panting and tugging on the leash, Pepe turned towards the park again, but Penelope hesitated. They could hide in the bushes, but what if she didn’t make it to the park entrance in time? What would happen if the red-haired man caught her?

Glancing up the street in the other direction, she spotted the church. Saint-Sulpice. Pulling Pepe to follow, she sped beside the relatively empty, tree-lined avenue. Deftly avoiding people and the trailing skirts of the women there, Penelope hurtled down the sidewalk. She intended to cross the street when a carriage pulled up in front of her. The driver had jumped down and was assisting a lady in a quality dress to disembark. To avoid hitting a stack of wooden crates against a building, Penelope nearly ran into him.

“Attention!” he warned.

“Pardon,” she called back as she crossed over to the church square. She and Pepe continued to sprint, passing by the Fountain of the Four Bishops, up the church steps, and into the open doors. Her chest heaving, Penelope paused just inside to look out the entry and spotted the red-haired man talking to the driver who had remounted to his seat. The man was shaking his head no until Martin produced a badge. Then, her eyes widening, Penelope saw the driver point in the direction of the square. Rapidly melting back into the growing shadows of the building’s interior, she thought, where to go? Where to hide?

Priests or novices had already lit candles to illuminate the inside. Moving away from the entrance, she ducked into the Chapelle des Anges (Chapel of the Angels) with the mural of Delacroix: Jacob wrestling with the angel. The girl thought about what had just transpired. Then she remembered her prediction and gained new insight; Martin was the fox. Trouble with the police. Penelope looked down at Pepe. He returned her gaze with his head tilted and tail wagging. She couldn’t stay in the chapel, surely the red-haired policeman would find her there. Picking up Pepe, she surveyed the large cathedral. Maybe the back of the sanctuary had an exit.

Carrying Pepe so his nails wouldn’t click on the black and white tiles, Penelope quietly made her way down the side aisle, keeping in the gloom as much as possible. Moving towards the altar, she passed the chapels and the nave filled with wooden chairs for the congregation. The few people there, busy praying, didn’t seem to notice her or her dog’s presence. When Penelope got to the monumental church organ, she looked up. The massive instrument was impressive with its plethora of pipes, decorative pillars, and statues. To the winged angels perched on top of it, she murmured, “What should I do? Please help me.”

A noise drew her eyes down and over to one side. No one was there, but she noticed a nondescript, unmarked door. Rapidly, she went and tried the doorknob. It was open! Entering, the girl softly shut the door behind her. A spiral staircase led into the organ loft. Penelope, still carrying her dog, carefully climbed the many steps. Putting Pepe down, she walked over to the console. Keyboards stacked high with a profusion of pipes and wooden knobs; the organ was a spectacle to behold.

Having sniffed thoroughly around the small area, Pepe, now bored, started to whine. Penelope mildly scolded him by whispering, “Non, Pepe! Shhh…” Kneeling, she petted his head and then held his face in her hands as she gave him a quick peck on the top of his head. Scared for their future, the girl sat down and pulled him into her lap. Hugging him close before kissing him again, she breathed, “We must be quiet.” Pepe licked her cheek reassuringly.

They sat like that for a few moments, and then Penelope moved him onto the floor before getting to her knees. She peeked through the organ pipes and down at the small people and chairs below. Seeing Martin enter the church, holding her breath, she watched him check some of the chapels and then approach the nave. A priest in his robes intercepted him, and Penelope could tell that they were conversing. Then Martin turned and left. Penelope let out a great sigh of relief. She sat back down, and Pepe sat in front of her. He waited patiently and watched his mistress think about her situation. Penelope was confused, but she knew she needed a plan.

All of a sudden, she thought about her cards. Not knowing where else to turn, the young seer reached into her pocket and pulled out her Lenormand deck. She began to shuffle it and turned her eyes upward. Please help. Tell me what to do, where to go, she thought and continued to shuffle the cards before turning one over. The Tower. A tall castle tower with distant mountains. “Hmmm,” she exhaled and looked around the cramped loft. Is this a tower? She didn’t think so, and anyhow she couldn’t stay in the church all night. Besides, the priest that Martin was talking to might find her and, perhaps, turn her in.

Penelope continued to study the card and tried to remember the associations. Shelter, protection, security, loneliness. Then the picture of the battlement reminded her of battle, armies, the police, being trapped. Chewing on her fingernail, Penelope thought, I don’t want to go to prison. How can I help Mama if I am stuck in there with her? She slumped forward and frowned. Penelope returned the cards to her pocket. After a few moments, she sat up straight. “You can’t just sit here. You must do something,” she whispered to herself.

She returned to peer at the few people still sitting in the nave. In the very back row, she noticed a lanky youth bent forward. He was resting his forehead on his clasped hands balanced on the chair back in front of him. Like the ones she had seen in picture books, his long neck reminded her of a giraffe. There was something about him. Then it hit her. He was tall, a giant. Like a tower! Could he be her salvation?

Desperate, the slender young man seemed her only option. But how to get his attention?

“Pssst!” she whispered harshly but hopefully loud enough for him to hear. Nothing. “Psst! Attention! Toi!” Alerted, he raised his head and looked around but saw nothing. He began to bow his head again.

“Ici!” she said a little louder and with her nails tapped on the organ pipes. “Rechercher ici!”

The metallic sound made him look up at the organ. Poking her finger out, Penelope pointed towards the door. Thankfully, he got up and came to the door. She could hear him opening it. Creeping to the stairwell, the girl peeked over at him and waved him up before putting her fingers to her lips.

The teenager climbed the stairs noiselessly. Penelope was standing, holding Pepe in her arms when he reached the top step. A low growl issued from Pepe. “Non, Pepe!” his mistress admonished him and tapped the dog lightly on his nose.

“Pouvez-vous m’aider? Can you help me?” she asked the older boy. In the best French she could achieve, while he stood listening, Penelope quietly explained all that had happened.

Next: The Material World: Part 5- The Tower of Bisset

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About J Fremont

Author/veterinarian J. Fremont has created Magician of Light, a novel about famed glassmaker Rene Laliqué. Exercise your imagination. Enjoy!