Another quick peek at the upcoming Martuk … the Holy: Proseuche —
I washed away my sins with the sand.
His body I’d left on the road, the Samaritan. Naked and unrecognizable, his face sunken, his eyes dangling on his cheeks, the nose no more, the skull crushed. I had taken the robe and the mantle, discovered the hidden coin, and taken this, too, and then slid the sandals from his feet.
Then, leaving him to the birds and the blistering sun and those animals that would soon come to sniff and paw and shred and feast, I left the path and turned, the desert a half-day’s walk.
With the setting of the sun, I found myself alone in a sea of shifting sand.
There was nothing but silence.
I was alone.
This was when I fell to my knees. This was when I plunged my hands into the heated, soft earth. When I rubbed my flesh with the pale soil. Massaged the fingers, my wrists, even my forearms, the red of this kind stranger’s blood pulled from my skin by the persistent sand.
Only when the day died in the deep shadow of a desert night had I wiped the stain of the Samaritan clean.
And then I laid back and looked at the stars.
The thoughts of this, my life, and what waited with the rising of the sun tomorrow and what I would do, then, here in the desert, all of this I pushed far away, my eyes on the black of the sky and the light of the stars, my mind focused on stilling my fears and finding blessed peace.
I inhaled, deep, and exhaled, deep, and listened to the silence.
From cities far away, I heard them. From rocky shores slapped by white capped waves, there was talk. From dark valleys glowing with quiet fires that crackled and spit tiny tongues of fire, the voices came. Plucked from the chaos of noisy tabernaes, the arguments and debates stole into my mind like thieves.
And the desert was silent and still no more.