to end us

The dust that formed him was collapsing at the touch of the cross. The priest jabbed him with it. Came at him again. And again. The pain seared into him, swiftly. Faster than the people had entered into him. The burning energy was inconceivable.


He held onto his staff as though it were the only thing that could save him. "My staff." The words came out softly, as though the door had moved in the wind. This was important, he remembered. Precisely why fled from his grasp.

You have no staff now,the priest answered him, as though the words had crossed the chasm. You lead no one. You have no flock to go to. Now leave us. Suddenly, the priest held his staff aloft in one hand, the cross still in front of him.

"My staff." He reached out to the priest and tugged the staff back. His strength surprised him. With it, he turned his back on the people and the open doorway. He started back down the stairs, staff in front, one foot, then the other.

No one followed him.

He reached the last step faster than he thought imaginable, and sank back down into the font where the bones that had once been his were buried.

His, he thought. His bones. Or someone else's?