The hunchbacked old woman prayed silently and intently in the pew ahead of me. Two hairs spiraled from a growth on her chin, but I could tell she had once been a beautiful woman—something about the steel in her eyes. I listened to her prayers in quiet shock. Not only could I hear her thoughts, but their content was rather more lurid than I would have expected. This seemed like a tip-off, so I decided to check. I turned my hands upward, gazed on my palms, and caused the lifeline to dissolve. Yes, I was dreaming.
My muscles relaxed. I could do whatever I wanted now, so I considered raiding the sacristy for wine. But who would I drink with? This couldn’t be the best option. Instead, I turned my thoughts inward. Impersonating the power that she might expect to hear from, I answered the old woman’s prayers. “Estelle, I have heard your petition and deemed you deserving. You may run your fingers along Father Delano’s thigh, but only if you do it now, before the eyes of his flock.”
For an extra touch, I impelled the choir to raise their voices in song. “My soul is thirsting for you, oh Lord. I’m thirsting, oh Lord, I’m thirsting.”
The choir members’ faces followed the flowing hand gestures of a leader. One pasty-faced guy, though, wasn’t bothering. He looked at me with eyes that suggested secret knowledge, and he angled his mouth into a smirk. Words entered my mind like a god’s, and I wondered if they weren’t his. “Ryan, I have heard your impish pronouncements and deem you deserving of your own sweet medicine.”
I considered, for a moment, how wild it would be if I, rather than dreaming myself, was actually just some dude in this choir man’s dream—playing a part for him similar to the one the old lady had played for me. What would that mean?
I felt a tugging of fabric at my ankles. I looked down and could see that I was somehow now dressed in a priest’s vestments. The hunchbacked woman, genuflecting before me, was tickling her fingertips up my leg. I thought: Okay, now’s probably a good time to wake up. But the god-like voice in my head spoke up once again. “Not yet, lucky boy. We haven’t even cracked into that wine yet.”
© Thad Fowler. All rights reserved.