Categories > Original > Fantasy > Stone

Chapter 1

by BrieBlakmyre 0 reviews

After finding Caelius abandoned on a wintry night with no memory of his past, Father Marques realizes that this young orphan boy is a much grander mystery than he could have imagined. (This story h...

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama,Fantasy - Published: 2015-02-09 - Updated: 2015-02-22 - 936 words

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” - Hebrews 13:2
Marking the page with a ribbon, I slipped the handheld Bible into my coat and stepped up to the cashier. He took my change and handed me a paper bag in one swift motion while a wily old woman puttered around the beer taps. A smile crept over her thin lips as she noticed me.
“Well, if it isn't me best customer, the good Father Marques! What are ye doin' out this time of night?”
I chuckled, wiping the steam from my glasses as I lifted my face from the warm bag. “Had to stock up on my food supply before the storm. After all, you do have the best bread in town, Edith! The scent of these scrumptious loaves already has my mouth watering.”
“Ah, you're too sweet, always 'ave been. Now 'ave a nice night, and run along 'ome! It's 'upposed to be a great, big one, so don't stay out long.” She glanced at the thin layer of frost creeping over the window panes.
“Of course, no need to worry about me. See you again soon.”
I gave her one last wave before submersing myself in the chilly night air. With a shiver, I buried my chin in my scarf and shoved my bare hands into my pockets, the paper bag snug under my arm.
What a cold night it is... I'm the only one daft enough to be out and about.
Filling my lungs with the crisp winter air, I admired the slow-falling snow and clear sky. The light dusting crunched beneath my feet, and I watched my misty breath dissipate before me with every exhale. It was a beautiful, blustery night, but I knew better than to push my old bones in such frigid weather. There was a convenient shortcut down a shadowy alley, just a few blocks ahead where stacks of rotting crates broke the harsh winds, but I could hardly see my own two feet against the slick, wet stone. Taking careful steps, I attempted to maneuver my way around them, but a sudden thump beside my feet startled me. I halted, immediately, and scanned the perimeter – the alley was empty.
Probably just a little rat – nothing to be afraid of.
Wiggling my furry lip to muster up some courage, I took another stride forward. A faint breath echoed through the passageway. My heartbeat pounded in my ears as I continued on, and I traced the sound of the labored breathing to a crate a few yards ahead of me.
“H-Hello? Is anyone-” Movement in the corner of my eyes interrupted me.
A corner of tweed blanket popped out of the splintered edge, rustling ever so slightly.
Discreetly, I bent down to inspect the suspicious object, but it retracted into the box almost instantly. I thought it foolish that I pursue my search in this weather, but I had an inclination to continue. Perhaps it was injured or lost... Whatever it was.
After taking a few breaths to calm my nerves, I cupped my fingers over my brows and squinted through one of the slats. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed a shadow shift to the corner of the box. Two bright eyes popped out of the darkness – human eyes.
With a gasp, I lifted myself off of the ground and ran my hands along the edges of the wet crate for an opening. A nail kept one corner of the top shut, but I was able to tear apart the soft, pliable wood with ease. As I set the pieces down beside me, I hovered over the box to see what or who it was. My mouth fell open at the sight.
It's a boy!
Steely eyes stared back at me, wide in terror, and he pulled the tattered blanket tighter around his feeble frame with trembling fingers. The child appeared to be around five years old, as far as I could tell from the chubby cheeks and round nose, but his haunting gaze aged him. Why would such a small boy be hiding in this wintry weather?
“Child, what are you doing out here? You'll catch your death in this cold,” I said, offering my hand, but he refused.
Tufts of matted blonde hair fell over his tear- and dirt-stained face as he bowed his head. He remained silent.
“Where is your family? They must be-”
“I don't have any.”
He lifted his head, again, the distant look in his eyes a chilling contrast to his child-like features. I surveyed him and the crate once more before gingerly tying the blanket around him.
“You'll get frostbite if you stay out here any longer. Will you come with me?”
The boy blinked, fearfully, unsure. There must have been some way to convince him.
“Well, I'm sure you're hungry... How does some shepherd’s pie sound, hm?”
His doughy eyes lit up, and a timid smile lined his lips.
Careful not to alarm him, I slowly held out my hand and leaned down to his level. He scooted closer, but suddenly stopped to motion at his stiff fingers and bare feet as shivers racked his small body. Hastily, I removed my wooly scarf and wrapped it around his neck before lifting him into my arms. I held his shaking frame close, covering his feet with my coat, and he quickly relaxed at the sensation of my touch. Snug in his warm bundle, the boy rested against my shoulder. Another tear fell as he closed his eyes.
Who could abandon such a small, helpless child?
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