Wood You Be Mine? Act 3, Part 1
Yes, all: We’re at the start of the final act of Wood You Be Mine? But it’s okay. The next two stories are already in progress. I won’t give away too many details, but here are the titles: Empowered and A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Want to take a guess what they’re about? Drop me a line on Facebook or Twitter! But for now, let’s all enjoy the start of Act 3.
“Shooting star; what a quack,” bemoaned Legno. “What now, Timothy?”
“Well, when all else fails and things look their bleakest, it’s not uncommon to turn to a higher power” was Timothy’s response.
“You mean, like, God?”
“Well, the Professor, although being hyperbolic, did say it’d take an act of God. And seeing as we have no other options currently, I don’t see how it could hurt. Granted, I find organized religion to be a bunch of hooey, but I’m not an unreasonable insect. Surely there’s a chapel or some such where we can inquire about a miracle for you.”
“If that’s the case, when I went through my biweekly routine of rummaging through the chest in Saggies’ closet that he thinks I don’t know about, I found a picture of a woman, and on the back it said ‘Magdalena’ and ‘Chiesa dello Spirito Santo.’ So, I don’t know, maybe we see if this Magdalena is still there, drop Saggies’ name, and perhaps she can fast track us a miracle up to the big man himself!”
“Curious. And you two don’t attend church often?”
“No, Saggies says he gave up on all that a long time ago.”
“Well, I can’t quite fault him for that,” Timothy stated pretentiously. “In any event, do you know where this church is located?”
“Yeah,” Legno said as a cold chill went up his spine, “I’m not super keen on the idea of going there, though. It’s right next to a cemetery. I’m not too good around dead things.”
“Death, Legno, is just an extension of life. There’s nothing to fear. If anything, it enhances life, reminds you to live it to the fullest. And that’s exactly what our mission is today, is it not?”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Taking a deep breath in and out, he continued with, “Let’s get a move on then. The place is a bit of a hike, but if we hurry, maybe we can get God to whip us up a miracle before dark.”
Pumping his skinny little calf muscles for what felt like the hundredth time today, Legno headed east until he came upon the church. Noticing that the sun had begun its downward journey from the sky, Legno’s heart started beating with the fury of a stampeding elephant. Time was running out.
Finally arriving, Legno zoomed up the steps. Grabbing the metal ring and pulling open the tall, heavy door, Legno walked in to the church and was immediately awestruck. Adorned in the structure were stained glass paintings depicting the struggles of Christ, rows upon rows of benches, eager for parishioners, and, in the back, a woman lighting one of the many candles on a modest looking table as she silently prayed.
Legno, not being especially religious, wasn’t sure how to approach her. Is he allowed to interrupt? How does he address her?
“Wait are you waiting for?” whispered Timothy. “Go on; ask her if she knows this ‘Magdalena.’ ”
Trepidatiously ambling over to the woman, Legno cleared his throat and spoke. “Um,” he began, “Sister, right?”
The nun, whose eyes had been closed as her lips softly uttered a prayer, stopped midsentence and turned to Legno.
“Sorry for interrupting you,” he said sheepishly, “but, um, we’re looking for someone. I think her name might be Magdalena?”
“Oh yes,” the Sister replied, not at all bothered by Legno halting her prayer, “I believe she’s in the back room cleaning up. I’ll ask her to come over when she’s done. Do you mind waiting a moment?”
“No, no…that’s fine. Thanks.”
The nun turned back to the table to finish her prayer. Moments after, she slowly turned around and gracefully moved towards the back room to retrieve Sister Magdalena. As the pair waited, Legno soaked in the atmosphere of the church. Not a regular attendee, it was the first time he had stepped inside a church in years.
There was a calming ambiance in the building; Saturday mass wasn’t to start for another few hours, and the only persons around were the nuns and clergymen.
“Hello, child,” came a voice from behind him in a warm, motherly tone. “Sister Maryanne told me you wanted to see me. Do I know you?”
Legno turned around to face the woman. She was tall, just over one and three quarters meters. Although older, her face told the tale of a beautiful young girl who graciously aged in to a mature older woman, with her white coif and black veil carefully framing her delicate features.
“Well…” Legno replied, “do you know a man named ‘Stefano Saggezza’? I found your picture in his room, and I thought you might be able to help us since I don’t really know any other religious folks.”
“Stef…” Magdalena replied, in a tone barely above a whisper. “Are you…Legno?”
“Yeah! How’d you know?”
“Stef and I…”
“He prefers ‘Saggies,’ actually.”
She smirked and continued, “He and I were…friends. One of the last conversations we had was on the day he adopted you.”
“Oh,” Legno then paused, confused by this revelation. He cocked his head and squinted his eyes as he looked at her. “Really?”
“Yes, he thought that with you…” Magdalena stopped for a moment and looked down as a pang of emotion swept through her. ‘Stefano Saggezza’ had been a name she’d been trying to forget for a long time.
“He thought that I what?”
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Timothy said, finally chiming in, “but we’re not exactly here to reminisce, are we, Legno?”
“Yeah,” he agreed, although disappointed he wouldn’t hear the rest of what she had to say on the subject of his parent, “Yeah, you’re right. Sorry, Tim.”
Magdalena had not previously noticed Timothy. Although oversized for a bug, he was still easy to miss. Upon the initial sight of him, she jumped back with a shock, her eyes widened, and she let out a frightened squeak before covering her mouth to silence it.
“Oh, ha, yeah. That’s Timothy. We’re buddies.”
“He’s your…friend? A talking bug?”
“I’m so much more than that, dear. And might I add, you look quite becoming in that habit,” Timothy replied in an attempt at playful flirtation. Magdalena hesitated for a moment and gave a forced smile before turning back to Legno.
Magdalena stood without moving or making a sound and let Timothy’s presence sink in. Due to her livelihood, she he knew that there were things that couldn’t quite be explained; that’s why it’s called ‘faith’ and not ‘fact.’ She was able to accept the unacceptable. Today, the unacceptable was the revelation that there are apparently some insects that can talk.
As a nun, she accepted this reality. But as a woman, her intuition told her there was something not quite genuine about this ‘Timothy.’
“Legno, you never told me what it is I can help you with. It’s apparent you’re not here to discuss Stefano,” she said, her bright green eyes shooting a quick glare at Timothy and just as quickly turning back towards Legno, “so what is it I can do for you? I’d be happy to help in any way possible.”
“Well, there’s this girl. And, granted, I don’t really pray that much, nor am I super religious, but, I don’t know, I was hoping the, uh, the big guy up there,” he said, pointing the ceiling, “could throw me a bone or something.”
“I can light a candle and say a prayer for you, dear, but I can’t promise you anything. That’s not quite the way God works. As much as He loves us all, He’s unable to grant wishes and give us anything we want. That would take all the meaning out of life. Do you understand?”
“But why?” Legno asked, his eyes beginning to water, “Does he want me to suffer or something?”
“Oh, Legno,” she said, kneeling down to meet him at eye level, “without suffering, there’s no compassion. Without suffering, we become complacent. Without suffering, one’s true character is never tested. I like to believe that He tests us every day. And every day, we have opportunities. Do we make the selfless choice or the selfish choice? I believe every one of our actions has a consequence even though you may not be able to tell right away. All I can really tell you is to be a good person, do the right thing, and happiness will come to you. Life has a way of balancing itself out. I promise.”
Looking down, he murmured to himself, “But I want happiness to come now…”
Having heard enough, Timothy decided to interject. “Legno, and my dear, please do not take offense, but I think she may be a little off on this. ‘Power of prayer’ and glorification of suffering, if you want to be an outside observer and let life and opportunities pass you by, then by all means, take her advice. However, you can be like me, take initiative, and you can claim what’s rightfully yours.”
Magdalena, feeling furious and condescended to, was boiling up inside but kept a quiet and dignified veil of placidity.
“Come, there’s still time to make our way to the top of Deus Ex Collina to see that shooting star. If what Professor Cannizzaro said is true, you’ll be a wooden boy by dusk.”
‘You’ll be a wooden boy by dusk,’ resonated in Magdalena’s head as her left eyebrow arched in bewilderment.
“Might as well,” Legno sighed, “seeing as we’re all out of options.” After finishing his sentence, he gave a quick hop over to Magdalena and wrapped his arms around her for an unexpected hug.
“Bye, Mag. And thanks anyway. I’ll tell Saggies you said hi.”
Touched by the boy’s tenderness, she said, “Of course, child. And…” she gave a quick look to Timothy once again and finished, “and be careful.”
Down but not quite yet defeated, Legno lightly sprinted back towards to the entrance, pushed the tall wooden door open, and, before leaving, turned around to give the church one last look. And one last poignant look to Magdalena as well.
Magdalena watched him as he left, and, for a few moments, looked at the door. She stood there quietly gathering her thoughts before heading towards the back room and in to the head nun’s quarters.
She knocked on the door and the voice inside invited her in. Wasting no time, Magdalena asked, “Mother Superior, would I be able to take an afternoon leave? There’s someone whom I need to see.”
TO BE CONTINUED
And with that, we begin our winding down of this tale! Next week will be the Act 3 Interlude, and I’m sure you all have an idea on who she’s going to see in a confrontation years in the making. How’s Act 3 so far? Does it tickle your fancy? As always, let me know on Facebook or Twitter! See you all soon!