“…pray for us sinners now and at the hour of death…” she prayed. Her lips moved fast, mumbling and rumbling over each word.
The room was dimly lit. At the very centre was an old statue of the Virgin in her customary blue and white robe holding her son in her arms. It no longer shone the way it used to and a few cob webs hang loosely from it and swayed in the soft breeze that swept the room. It was placed on an even older wooden table covered with delicate white lace. A few dozen stick thin candles were spread out on the floor right in front of Bati. Behind her was a little window that let in a flood of moonlight.
The flames from the candles licked the air as their red fiery and burnt orange light danced and bounced off the dusty walls. It shone brightly on the statue plastering a grotesque shadow on the rest of the wall above it, one that Bati decided to ignore. She kept her head bowed low, caught up in prayer.
Bati was on her knees in a long and loosely fitting dress that flowed down to her feet and completely covered them. It clung to her back from all the sweat that had already poured from her body. She kept her head bowed low, her hands clasped tightly together. She rocked her body back and forth trying hard to calm herself. A cold sweat covered her face and glistened in the redness that fell on her face. And as the wax melted and spilled so did drops of Bati’s heart and soul, sipping out slowly with each drop of sweat that slowly began to roll down her brow. Her entire body shook as she caressed each bead of her rosary, chanting prayers beneath her breath, her eyes tightly shut, banishing demons and yet an ache; a haunting emptiness at the pit of her heart remained.
Bati’s mind was racing and one by one memories from her past began to spring up. As her memories began to spill into and over each other, she could feel more pain consume her body. She shook and winced.
She could hear the priest’s loud coarse voice as clearly as day screaming in her ears, “…LATIN!!! LATIN!!! For the sincerest of prayers, you must pray in latin…” She could hear the formidable snap of his cane. Even though he was six feet deep beneath the earth, she could still feel the cane’s sting on the back of her legs and across her back.
Her whispered words got louder and louder with each word she breathed,
“…Ave maria, gratia plena, dominus tecum…”
She looked up at the statue, tears welling up in her eyes. She tightened her grasp on her rosary and held it to her heaving chest.
“…benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus…”
Her lips began to move faster, mumbling each word with more desperation than the last. She released her hands threw her head back and spread her arms wide at her sides with her chest out. She shut her eyes reflecting on the horror of the past few days.
“…Sancta maria, mater dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc…” she cried unable to hold back her tears any longer.
“…et in hora mortis nostrae…”
Before she could say “Amen” she felt it. And there it was, that eerie feeling she had felt a few nights before. The same feeling she got that she was being watched and couldn’t get a wink of sleep.
The little crammed room grew darker. The moon hid out of sight behind blankets of dark heavy clouds, leaving the earth black, leaving Bati’s little crammed room darker and colder.
She held her breath and tried to hold still but she couldn’t her body still shook like it had been dipped into ice cold water. She shut her eyes tight but there it was, that presence, sighing with satisfaction into her ears, making her heart sink heavily to the bottom of her chest. Bati felt it circle around her, once, twice with no sense of urgency. She felt it brush against her skin as it passed by her leaving goose bumps in its wake.
It positioned itself behind her. A bony thin finger stretched out and touched her. Bati felt its icy cold touch in the centre of her back. It was a creeping piercing touch like sharp pointed fingernail up and down. She flinched and a pain spread through her body, running from her back like electricity through a web, over her skin and through her veins. It moved through her arms to her fingertips. Then it stopped. Within an instant, she felt it roughly tag on her wrists with great force and pull her arms out straighter.
Bati opened her eyes and turned her head to look at her wrists. She looked at the scars on her wrists. She began to sob remembering the numerous times she had cut herself. The times when the blade seemed like her only comfort.
Her heart beat began to grow faster and louder when she saw each scar begin to open like a raw fresh cut. She stared at what was happening in horror. The pain was worse than anything she could imagine and as her blood began to flow out, she could feel more of her soul creep out.
Bati’s heart beat grew even louder, beating against her chest like a loud hollow drum ready to break and burst open. She looked up at the statue of the virgin, panting and exhausted as her life drained out of her drop by drop.
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided,” she prayed, barely able to fully mouth the words out. She mumbled each word as clearly as she could.
“Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, o virgin of virgins my mother to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful,” she continued.
Before she could breathe the last words of the memorare, her mouth went numb and her tongue grew heavy. Then a choking ensued, tightening around her neck with great force. She could not speak. Her body began to convulse and her eyes rolled back.
Bati fought the best she could not to let go of her body. It was all she had left. She looked up at the statue and cried but she could hardly hear her own voice. As more tears flowed down her cheeks and wet her dress, she closed her eyes, unable to feel anything but numbness and lightness and that same piercing pain in her body.
The only voice she had left was the one within her soul and as she tried to cry out it whispered, “Lord, please!!” and with that came a gushing wind that swept through the room rushing over her with a sweet warmth and it was gone. Bati landed on the floor like her body was being dropped from a high balcony with a great thud.
Disclaimer: I’m trying something out here. Never written anything of the sort before but I was thinking, what do I have to lose writing this. So this post might be edited a couple of times. Hope my readers like it.