The Grey Monk

Death in the right circumstances could be a wonderful conclusion.

Oscar watched the page light up with these words. It was a frightening appearance but with Hyun- Su, Bran and the butterfly on his shoulder, his eyes glittered at the thought of the axe falling. It was the axe that had always meant terrible things and it felt like it would never fulfil its dreary promise. It was the dancing hour in this dark tunnel of delight. Oscar felt like he was running to meet it but this was just the sound of his heart beating faster as they drew closer to the open carriage of the train.

The butterfly flew from its perch on Oscar’s shoulder and towards the bright glow of the carriage. Oscar asked Hyun-Su, “Are we taking the train?” “Yes, we go by train”, he motioned. Oscar followed the butterfly into the carriage and linked the arm of Hyun-Su, and Bran remained by his side. As soon as they stepped aboard, the train began to move. The carriages were like dark chests of drawers. It was dimly lit by box lanterns that hung from the ceiling and had a sweet floral fragrance in the air. The drawer of the carriage slid shut behind them. The butterfly had landed on one of the polished wooden tables and was flexing its wings.

“I see you meet my grey monk”, Hyun Su said. Oscar’s head spun around on hearing this and was caught off balance with the moving train. Surely Hyun Su was the grey monk. Hyun Su sat down next to the grey butterfly and Oscar looked at the butterfly’s wings, camouflaging against the grey robes of Hyun Su. “Is it your messenger?” Oscar asked. “Ah, yes mess-en-ga”, Hyun Su nodded and laughed. Then he stopped and his whole demeanour became serious as he leaned towards Oscar with a deep frown marking his brow. “You look for ansa but ansa is many form”. He continued, “Spir-it everywhere”.

Oscar stared gravely at the table but there was a strange comfort in the monk’s words. When Oscar looked up the man had disappeared. He could not have moved. The grey monk butterfly flew into the air and fluttered in front of Oscar’s face, and then rested on his shoulder. The book flashed with another message.

The most perfect instrument is in your head. Beware of those who call it dead.

Then the lights of the train went out and the train stopped. Oscar and Bran were once again plunged into the dark terrors of their skulls.

The door of the train slid open. The train was not the place to stay. Oscar and Bran made their way to the white foggy exit. Before Oscar had the courage to look outside, he searched the book. “You cannot stay. You must go your way”. It was the most comforting eviction notice, unlike the one he tore up that day Bran had come in with the day’s letters in his mouth. How far had they travelled? Oscar looked out onto the forest covered mountain and stepped off the train with Bran and the grey monk on his shoulder.

Lena O’ Connell

Lena O’ Connell graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2009. She specialised in fine art, sculpture. Lena currently lives and works in Tipperary, Ireland.She teaches art to children and is aspiring to undertake a higher diploma in art teaching.

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