It was very late at night and the chapel was silent, Isabella couldn’t sleep and she was tending to her garden. Three or four people slept on the chapel floor. This was a holy month and the heads of church allowed such behavior, even extended the offer, leaving the doors unlocked all through the night. At least until the celebrations were over. The church loved its people but housed some very strange things that no one wanted let out.
This was the third week of her imprisonment in the chapel and her flowers were dying. When she was first told she had to live in the chapel she demanded her garden was brought along and now it was dead, her beautiful garden was wilted. This happened every year but she was no less disappointed. It was the moon; they couldn’t get proper light because of that awful moon. She went to a window and looked outside. A handful of people still wondered the streets drunk. The moon hung full and red in the sky, at night everything turned to red and the people went crazy.
The church said this was the gods taking over but she didn’t believe it. More than likely they went crazy because they knew they could, when the moon was red they let loose until a sacrifice was made and the gods were satisfied. That was the story and no one was complaining, except for Isabella.
The first night the moon turn reds all the people gather in the chapel. The heads of the church come out in cloaks with dark glasses. To become a church head you must remove your eyes as a right of passage. These three foolish old men pick a young and beautiful girl every year to find the sacrifice to the gods.
Her whole life Isabella was told that one day she would have this honor. It tended to stay with in their family, and they felt threatened whenever the honor was placed on someone else’s house. Isabella doubted this highly as well, the women in her family were the most beautiful in the village so the blind old fools picked them, to make the whole ordeal more entertaining for the people. And about those blind old fools, how did anyone know they were blind? They always wore those dopy glasses.
Isabella was outraged when they called her name at the ceremony; it meant she was stuck in the chapel until she found a sacrifice the church heads approved of. So far she made three, Merrick a boy that was in love with her and followed her around the village like a lost puppy dog, her father for obvious reasons, and finally the man at the pub who fired her and gave her job to someone with bigger breast.
They all had been denied and Isabella threw a fit about it. She after all had the sacred power, or so they said. The truth was it was all a pain; she wanted to be out there with the rest of the peasants having a good time. She turned away from the window and sat of the floor in front of the alter.
She had a very hard time believing in their gods. Once she went off planet with her cousin Ishtar. Ishtar is married to a scientist named Anu and he made a machine, Isabella saw many amazing things. The machine propelled them through the inky blackness of space. They didn’t go too far, just to a near by space station but that alone rocked her worlds.
She was surrounded by similar machines to the one they arrived in, there were blue women with giant tails and no clothes on walking around licking their lips. She saw one man with eyes growing on the ends of his fingers. While Ishtar and Anu bought more parts for their space ship Isabella met a man from earth. He told her he was a messenger from god. She asked him how he got here, if he came in a space ship like she did.
“No my child I came here by my own power, by the power of god.” He had a beard and wore a simple white robe.
“How is that possible?”
“Many things are possible, human beings have amazing potential, and no one man knows what he is truly capable of.”
He showed her his wounds, bloody holes in his wrist and feet, a gash on the side of his stomach and scratches like a halo around his head. The wounds still bleed and looked very painful but he himself seemed very bright and happy. He told her a story. He said that a long time ago people hurt him very badly; they humiliated him and in the end killed him. But his father brought him back, and now he moved from place to place telling anyone he could about his father.
“That’s a very sad story.” She looked at his wrist, it was dripping blood on the floor, and there were two pools of blood under his feet as well.
“But it’s a true story my child.”
Isabella felt warm thinking about him; his face was tanned and slightly battered, like he spent his whole life in the desert. But his smile was pleasant, wise and calming, nothing like the corrupt blind priest that held her prisoner. She wanted to keep on talking to him but Ishtar and Anu said they had get back home before anyone noticed they were gone. Science was after all treason.
The strange man nodded his head one time, as if he were bowing to her. It was a strange gesture, but she was touched by it, his smile was just so calming and serine. Then he stepped into the crowd and disappeared.
“A little old for you isn’t he?” Ishtar nudged her with her elbow.
“It wasn’t like that; he just had some interesting things to say.” Isabella noticed there was a small smear of blood on her dress.
“It’s okay, I understand, I’ve always had a thing for older men too.” She looked longing at Anu, who although was only twenty or so had a full head of sliver grey hair. It was from shock he’d tell you. Isabella shook her head dismissing the subject. They got back into the ship and barley made it home.
That was four years ago, when Isabella had been only thirteen. Much of the journey was hazy; in fact the only part of her adventure she still remembered vividly was the strange man. She remember him very well, some one in the room cleared their throat. Isabella was shocked by this; she thought she was the only one in the chapel, or the only awake one at least.
It was Mondago; he also lived in the chapel. He was young and seemed very interesting, he reminded Isabella of her cousins’ friends. He read books and knew things about chemistry and biology. He was studying to be a church head; she didn’t think this fit him at all.
“It’s very late.” He sat next to her on the floor, leg crossed. He said nothing more, merely looked at her thoughtfully.
“Yes it is Mondago; you should really get back to bed.”
“They sent me to watch over you. To make sure you don’t try and break out, or set anything free.” He quickly chanced a glance at the right wall of the chapel; there was a large metal door. She knew that behind that door was a stair case but that was all, she made it no further, but the suspense was killing her.
She stood quickly and walked to a large cupboard in the room. There was a lock on it and she frowned like a young girl. In a sotto voice she said “Oh, they locked it, do you have a key, Mondago?”
“Will you give it to me, please?” Almost like it was second nature she pulled her dress sleeve down to show her bare shoulder, it was a simple and seductive ploy.
“You know I can’t do that?”
“Will you do something else for me?”
“Do you see that rock over there?” she indicated to a craving against the wall.
“That’s not a rock, it’s a carving of—“
“Just please bring it here.”
Reluctantly he lifted the craving from its mantle and brought it too her. She smile and kissed him sweetly on the cheek. Taking the carving from his hands, she let a beat pass, and then quickly before he could stop her, she raised the carving over her head and smashed the lock. Casually she handed the carving back to him and opened the doors.
“Why did you do that, you can’t have any off that, put it back.”
She just laughed at him, he felt stupid standing there with the carved head in his hands. The cupboard was filled with wine and other kinds of alcohol; she helped her self to two bottles of wine and sat back on the floor. Mondago was standing above her, arms crossed; he no longer held the carving. She pulled out a pocket knife and worked out the cork, it took a good five minutes to get it out, and neither said anything. Finally Mondago made a grab the bottle but Isabella jerked it away quickly.
“Your going to get me in trouble, just put it back.”
“Mondago sit and drink with me.” He didn’t say anything, just turned and walked out of the room. She had hurt his feelings and that wasn’t her intension. She really did like him; she just couldn’t involve herself with a holy man.
“Mondago came back, please. (She stood.) I didn’t want to hurt you feelings.” She followed after him, bringing the wine with her. He was sitting on his cot with his door open.
“What do you want Isabella?”
“I want to talk with you. I like you.” She sat down next to him and smiled.
“Please stop playing games with me.”
“I’m not playing games.” She took a long pull from the bottle; she was starting to feel drunk.
“Yes you are this is all just a game to you. You don’t believe in anything. Please just leave. ”
“Fine, but that means that you don’t get to play either.” She stood and ran her hands over her thighs, raising the hem of her dress just a few inches; she licked her lips and yawned like a kitten. Then she walked out of his room and slammed the door. Maybe she didn’t like Mondago that much. She was used to getting what she wanted and she hated him for not giving it to her.
She went to her own room and drank more wine, tomorrow Mondago was supposed to escort her in her search. She wasn’t looking forward to it, at least, not now.