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The Abbey: Alex Kent

Sarah stared into Chris’s open grave, a single red rose resting on the black wood of his coffin. She was not aware of the others with her and her heart was lead in her chest. Father Michael finished his words and she tossed the clump of dirt in her hand on the coffin. It hid with a soft thud. Friends walked by her and murmured consolations that she didn’t really hear.

The cold air of night kissing her skin was what finally got her to shiver and turn away from the grave. Father Michael and the others had left much earlier. Leaving the hilltop she hurried down the path back down to the Abbey, needing the warmth of her kitchens and the smell of the bread and the grease on her fingers. The Abbey lights came on, torches lit one by one to ward away the dark. She entered the Abby and a pair of monks looked up. They approached but she hurried on, unable to take any sympathy right now, not from anyone. She passed through the inner courtyard. The full smell of the kitchens drew her.

Sarah stopped, hearing voices. She ducked behind a column and waited. The voices passed. Her room was close. It was warm, with no one to bother her. She headed for it, stepping aside and hiding in the shadows to avoid the monks and anyone else. Finally she made it. Breathing hard she pressed her forehead against the door before entering. She opened it and entered. Her room was small, with a cot below a window, a sink built into the counter, a chair with a desk and writing material. Moving to her desk she shrugged off her cloak and threw it on the kitchen table. She froze. There, on the stone sitting on the gray wood, was a single black rose.

“Chris…” she murmured. Shaking she reached for it. The black rose was his. Picking it up, she turned it in her hands. A thorn cut her finger. With a yelp she dropped it on the countertop. That should not have happened. As the rose settled a thick red glow emanated from it. Her heart pulsed deep in her chest as she pressed back against the wall.
“Sarah…” It was his voice. She trembled.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“It’s not your fault.”
“No. I can’t. Don’t ask me. Please.”
“You must. I can not bear to wait any longer.”
She trembled.
“Chris, I love you…but I cannot…I don’t deserve…”
“Loved, Sarah. I am gone. End it Sarah. Take the rose and end it. Please. Come join me. I am waiting.”
The glow was fading now. Sarah reached out to the rose.
“No please, don’t go…”
“I love you, Sarah…you were my greatest…”
The glow vanished. She picked up the rose, holding it to her chest. There was a nock on the door.
“Sarah, are you all right?” It was Father Michael. It took her a moment to answer, but her voice was firm.
“Yes, Father. I am.” She closed her eyes. “Come in.”
Father Michael entered, his monks’ robes brushing across the floor. A wooden cross hung from his neck.
“Do you need anything?” The worry in his voice was evident.
“No, Father. Thank you.” She closed her eyes and breathed deep. She let it out, opening them. “It’s over. I heard him this time.”
“That is good to hear,” he said. “Rest well.”
He turned away and left her standing alone in her rooms, the place she had lived her entire life. She held the rose close for one last moment and closed her eyes. She crumpled the rose in her hand.

Chris was waiting for her.

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