STORIES that stretch your mind
The Best Metaphysical Fiction of the year from Thresholds Quarterly
by Ed Mello
Every Friday, a monk from St. Ambrose Monastery is sent into the small town of Orion, a town of three thousand people. They provide the needs for those seeking spiritual help. The monastery can be seen north of town on a five hundred foot hill.
Today, Thursday, a young man sat on a bench in the middle of the small local park; he watched the children as they played in the sandbox. He turned his head to his right, looked at the young lady as she sat on the bench then gently revealed, Its a beautiful day.
Her voice flared, Whats good about it?
The young man answered, The sun is shining. And, its nice and warm. The children are enjoying themselves. What more can you ask for?
Listen buster, wake up to the real world. There is also a lot of suffering going on. She wiped the tears and added, So what the hell are you smiling about?
He whispered, Im smiling because Im here talking to you in the presence of the little children. He looked at the woman then added, As long as youre breathing, there is hope.
Arent you a little young spouting all that wisdom?
I get my wisdom from above.
The young lady asked, Arent you kind of young to be a monk? Youre about seventeen, arent you?
He replied, My age is not important. My name is Andy. People call me, Brother Andy. I would like to help you.
I dont need your help.
Brother Andy reminded her, Your little boy does.
The young lady, a twenty-eight-year-old blonde was stunned. Who told you I had a little boy?
He spread his hands out, shrugged his shoulders then answered, I was told by someone. By the way, what is your name?
She hesitated then replied, Laura. Where are you from?
Brother Andy pointed toward the monastery. He spoke softly, I would like to see your son.
He is being taken care of by a private nurse.
Please take me to him.
Laura, with tears flowing down the side of her face answered, He is in a coma. He doesnt respond to anyone. She lowered her head and whispered, How can God do this to a little boy?
Andy reminded her, Laura, it wasnt God that created the affliction. The boy is working out his destiny.
She shook her head. No, I dont believe that. Hes a good boy.
Was he born with an affliction?
Laura wiped the tears then responded, No. He has always been healthy. About six-months-ago, while on a camping trip, my little Billy fell off a fifty foot ledge. He has never come out of the coma.
Laura, I would like to see him.
She nodded and said, Ill arrange it.
The next day, the snow stopped after it fell all night long. When Brother Andy arrived at Lauras home, around noon, he was greeted by an elderly lady. She bowed and greeted Andy then told him that Laura would arrive soon. The boy is upstairs in the first bedroom to the right. Im going to take a nap.
Brother Andy nodded. Yes, madame. You need to rest.
He entered the dark room. The only light came from a small lamp on the end table next to the bed. After he sat next to the bed, he looked at the young boy then lowered his head. He prayed, Heavenly Father, please take away this affliction from this young boy. He turned when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
Brother Andy, Laura spoke softly, Im glad you came.
The monk placed the boys hand in his. Suddenly, a bright light surrounded the young monk, and the boy.
Laura put her hands to her mouth. She was shocked. She whispered, Billy, you moved.
Brother Andy placed his hand on the boys forehead, removed it after Billys body jolted twice.
Billy opened his eyes, turned to his mother and smiled. He said with a soft voice, Hi mom.
Laura, with tears in her eyes hugged her son, rested her head on his chest and said, Billy, youve come back.
The fourteen-year-old boy grinned when he saw Brother Andy. He rose to a sitting position then calmly said, Brother, its good to see you again.
Andy answered, Billy, its good to see you again.
Laura turned to the monk and asked, Who are you?
Brother Andy leaned back, smiled and said softly, Im an angel.
Laura blurted out, You cant be an angel.
The monk confessed, Ive been sent here to help Billy; Heaven has heard your prayers.
You said you were from the monastery.
I didnt say I was from there; I pointed.
The mother continued, Brother Andy, when I met you yesterday, I had a strange feeling about you. I thought you were weird because you kept smiling all the time.
Its my nature; I like to smile.
Laura put out her arm around her sons shoulder. Billy, I always had that feeling that I was going to lose you.
Andy assured her, Billy is here because of your prayers.
She confessed, Brother Andy, Im thankful. Billy is my only child.
The monk reminisced. Last year, I was sent to Amy, a six-year-old. After praying for a long time, she died. I was devastated. It took me a long time to regain my confidence.
The teenager admitted, Brother Andy, little Amy told me to tell you not to feel bad. She said it was time to leave this earth plane.
Laura placed her hand on the boys head and said, Im glad your time wasnt up yet.
Billy added, Brother, I confess it was difficult to come back. It was so peaceful where I was.
Its always difficult to come back.
He looked at Billy then said, Billy, you have been given additional time. Treat your fellow human beings with kindness and love.
Brother Andy moved toward the window, turned into a mist and disappeared.
©1999 Vol. 17 No. 5
Ed. Mello has had eleven stories published. Many of them come from people he met while working for the postal service for 22 years.
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