This chapter takes place in a Sporrai safe house north of Oxford, England. In the previous chapter Molly, Duncan, and Elizabeth take a man prisoner that they discover is a monk without a remembered past at St. Michael's at the Northgate. They are rescued from Oxford after a cell of Nazies attack the Sporrai headquarters.
[I offer this as a commemoration of having passed the 40,000 word count on the novel this morning.]
Though utterly dark from the outside, the safe house in the Cotswold foothills north of Oxford was bright, warm, and welcoming on the inside. Having learned they had not found her father, Molly sat alone by the fire drying her shoes and warming her hands.
Elizabeth was interrogating her prisoner but he seemed interested only in Duncan and returning her questions with questions about the sporran the boy carried. Duncan ate warm cakes and listened intently.
"Miss," the man called toward the fireplace. "Molly isn't it? Do you think I could have a look at the my journal and your father's notes?"
"You will look at nothing!" Elizabeth barked.
"But, Elizabeth, his own journal contains the same images from my father's notes so he has them in his mind, his dreams, anyway. What harm could it be?" Molly spoke while she stood and was retrieving the books. She needed something to take her mind off her father.
"Fine. But he stays tied up."
"Spread them out up here," Duncan offered from the table. "These cakes are delicious, too, Molly!"
The older woman sitting heavily in her chair and knitting with fat and gnarled fingers smiled at the compliment but said nothing. She was a woman of deeds and service but few words. She didn't much understand any of the mysteries she had been called to serve and she didn't seem to need to. She knew only she was to be ready for strangers arriving in need of shelter and protection. She trusted in the good and baked.
All four of the group sat at the table, the two men from the truck remained alert in the shadows outside the home. After the kettle whistled, the old woman poured tea including some for the men on guard.
Molly turned the pages and pointed to similar drawings in the two books.
"This is extraordinary! My dreams. My dreams. Things I have only known as dreams seem now to be real to me. I feel like I have lived them. Have you ever felt that way, Molly?"
Molly shook her head as she carefully watched the man's expressions.
He spoke again, "May I make a petition to my Jailor?" He looked over at Elizabeth. "It seems to me that I don't know where we are, that you have the guns, that there are two guards outside, and you outnumber me four to one in here. Do you think you might be able to cut these infernal cords from my wrists now?"
Elizabeth's right hand shot to her hip drawing forth a small bone-handled blade which she spun with skill in her palm before driving it into the wooden table top in front of the monk.
"If its alright, I will save him the trouble and loose him," Duncan offered as he stood and waggled the knife free. He slit the ropes, freeing the man's hands from each other and then carefully cut each cuff from its wrist. The monk rubbed his wrists and offered his thanks, blessing them all for the release.
Standing with her foot on Molly's bench, Elizabeth polished her revolver on her thigh as a reminder of the penalty he would pay if he tried anything.
"So, Father Proteus," Molly started. "Your dreams are coming to life, you say. What does that mean? What is coming back to you now as you look at these drawings?"
"Its like a new life has burst open inside me, young lady. Its much the same as when I first found the Church and my calling. Its bright and confusing and without definite form but it is there. A life I cannot remember and yet which feels like it has always been a part of me is coming to me."
Elizabeth rolled her eyes and walked to the window covered in burlap sacks.
"Father, sir, could you have walked out of your own dreams that day in 1906? Are you, perhaps, a lost visitor from another place and time?"
"Like from outer space?" Duncan asked incredulously as a piece of cake dropped from the side of his mouth.
"My dreams cannot be dreams and also be another place and time," the Monk responded.
"But they could if your dreams were not really dreams of fancy but memories of a world lost to you," Molly tapped her fingers on her father's notebook. "That would explain how my father, the archeologist, might have captured your "dreams," too. If you were remembering a place from which you came there might be a record of such a place in literature or ancient documents or some archeological sight. You might not be the first to have dreamed these dreams; you might not be the first to have come."
The man thumbed through the books with growing anticipation. Molly looked over to note Elizabeth had pulled the corner of the window covering away from the wall so she could peer out.
"Duncan," Molly whispered, "quickly, get out the blade and show him."
"Are you mad?" Duncan whispered back in an aggressive tone.
"Just do it. Quick. Just a glimpse. I have a hunch." Molly reached over and brushed Duncan's hand as she finished.
The monk was paying little attention to the two of them as he was absorbed in the symbols and representations on the pages that seemed ripped from his own mind.
Duncan worked the ornate wooden box from his knapsack as Molly tapped the man's hand and pointed for him to look. His countenance grew intense as he leaned toward the box, a tinge of blue light emanating from the cracks as Duncan slowly opened it on the table.
The old woman looked over her reading glasses to watch the moment. Elizabeth was caught up watching shadows in the dark of the lawn.
As the blade that had pierced the side of the great sacrifice was unveiled, the Monk's mind erupted with images. He grabbed his head in a futile effort to contain them. He burst to his feet yelling in a mix of two languages. "Work of the Devil himself! Inkstus Diablai!"
Elizabeth turned with a start and drew her weapon. The man stumbled backward. Fear dominated his face. He continued to mutter as he fell back onto the hearth.
All sound crept away into the recesses of the room until the man burst up again, his left hand in flames. As he waved the appendage the flame grew with his cries. "Inkstus Diablai inferno! I will perish in the lake of fire for my sins!" He slammed his flaming hand and robe against the brick fireplace.
Duncan jumped to his feet, grabbed two cups of their tea and threw them on the flames, dousing the fire. The man cried out again as he fell to his knees, his tone now more of a prayer than a scream. He muttered, looked at his burned hand and fell forward unconscious on the wooden floor.