monks

The monks were sat in the monkery, each one settled comfortably upon their egg. It was almost hatching time and the monkery was filled with an air of tense excitement and the pungent stench of outright fear. This could be it, at any moment. This could be the end.

The end of the egg.

And the beginning of what came after.

But what came after none of the monks knew, for it was not in the teachings and it was not in the books and it wasn’t even in the stained glass windows that bathed them all in a pallid rainbow of dead light.

It was a mystery.

And monks hated mysteries.

“Same time next week, hey lads?” one of the monks shouted, but none of the others laughed. The chief monk would have issued a stern rebuke to the monk with his cane but it was too late for that because even the chief monk was perched on his egg and not even he dared move and so he sat there in silence with all the other monks rather than striding across the monkery’s floor and striking that impudent monk’s head down onto the cobbles with a single swish of his staff and then further striking the head and occasionally the cobbles in his pitiless fury as he really wanted to do and as the situation surely demanded.

The silence stretched out

and out

seeming to fill the great hatching hall with its immensity

or with its void

if a void could ever be said to fill anything

which it couldn’t

the monks knew

for that was in the teachings and in the books

but not in the stained glass windows

for how could you represent a void in the medium of painted glass

You couldn’t, that’s how

You couldn’t at all

Not without just painting it black

and negating the art itself

and the form

and the very meaning of the term itself.

The bell tolled. The monks all craned their heads in unison towards the clocktower, and then turned them back again. Stared straight ahead. Stared into nothing and at no-one. Beneath them sat the eggs. Beneath them sat an unknown world.

The monks waited. Shivered. Waited, waited.

The eggs stirred. Pulsed. Began to hatch.

The monks, having waited so long, discovered they had no time to understand what was happening. And then it was too late and there was nothing left for them to do and nothing left for them to be and the new monks feasted on their bodies from below and slivered into their forebears habits and donned their cowls and made their way, bloodied and beautiful, into the chancel, where they would be granted their absolution and with it eggs of their own.

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Notes:

1. Written on July 26th, 2016

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