Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace. Amen.
* * *
(Just for background: Father Bondost is the master of a boys' orphanage where Glen is a resident. Bernie Brown is the president of the Chivalry Club. Denny is one of the agents of the Enemy.)
"Oh my God, Father. That obsidian knife! Denny actually had it at my throat..."
Quickly Father Bondost made the sign of the cross.
Bernie also blessed himself, then he said, "Of course, Father, that's the old pagan sacrifice of Meso-America. Denny kept talking about Mayan dates." He twisted uneasily in his chair. "All right. If you're willing to wake up a cardinal in the middle of the night, I guess I can tell you... where I think the bad guys are headed. And it's not to my friend's place. It's to the studios of Channel Nine."
Father Bondost didn't speak, but immediately began to dial.
"C.B.... it's Denis... In Latinam vocemus, quoniam..."
His Latin was fluent, honed to almost the state of a pivate dialect – so much so Bernie could barely catch a root here and there. But he kept smiling, and nodding with satisfaction. "Optime, O Mare Apis amicus meus. Ideo... Certainly, though I may be asleep. Ah, I am forgetting – the boys will wake me by then. But call in any case. ... Amen, my brother.... God bless you too."
He sighed and hung up the phone. "I know you wish to sleep... but I think we had better go and keep vigil."
"In your chapel?"
"Yes. He is going to act. God only knows what the media will do in that crazy city... but then again... perhaps it is God's plan." He stood up. "Few men – and fewer priests – would dare to wake a cardinal out of his sleep and send him out... to battle. We ought to show our support in the only way we can."
"I'm with you, Father."
He followed the priest to the chapel. As they went down the hall, a door opened. "What's wrong, Father?" asked a young voice.
"Go back to sleep, Glen. Bernie and I are going to the chapel to pray."
"I want to come – please?"
The priest sighed. "Very well..."
* * *
In New York, Cardinal C.B. Tallisen got dressed, then summoned his clerical secretary to the small chapel.
Father Lwanga "Larry" Russo, a tall black man named for the great martyr of Uganda, looked dubiously at the cardinal as he put on his episcopal regalia. "You're actually expecting to do a public exorcism, your Eminence?"
The cardinal was struggling with a recalcitrant button on a vestment. "No, Larry – that is, I'm not expecting anything. But we must be prepared. Something stinks... I don't think it's another September 11, nothing like that. But the enemy is on the prowl, and the shepherd must be awake." He picked up the large Roman Ritual, pulled an overcoat over his vestments, then nodded. "Let's go. You drive, please."
The cardinal chuckled as the car began to move. "It's times like this when I could almost wish we were permitted flashing lights like the police... think of it, Larry... yellow and white... and a peal of bells instead of a siren. Maybe I'll send a quaestio to the Sacred Congregation of Rites. I wonder which congregation they'd pass it off to..." He chuckled again. "There ought to be some liturgical awareness of automobiles, don't you think?"
Fr. Russo was used to C.B.'s wit. "Of course, the usual car lights always make me think of the Divine Mercy image," Fr. Russo replied. "Every time I'm on a highway at night – on one side, the shining white, on the other, the flaming red..."
"Very good... If I nod off, please wake me."
"But your Eminence, you didn't say where we're going!"
"Oh, I beg your pardon. The studios of Channel Nine, at 99th and Seventh Avenues."
[PJF, "220.127.116.11.0" in From Darkness Into Light]