…1…2…3…4, the voice of the predator trailed off into the distance. The pitter-patter of footsteps dispersed and ran for a hiding place trying to vanish into the shadows and holes that the building had to offer.
Bruno rushed through the hallways, his soft brown curls bouncing around him. He turned briefly to look behind and make sure no one followed his tracks; he already knew where he was going to hide. Past the play room, down the old wooden steps, out the blue door, through the crumbling stone arch, a swift left turn and the doors to the chapel stood right there in front of him. However, he was not safe yet. He pushed on the heavy oak door and squeezed through the gap he created nimbly jumping out of the doors way as it swung back to a closed position.
Instead of walking straight out he turned purposefully to his left and started to climb the stone structure that stood before him. Right round the back and quite high up there was a small perch that seemed almost too perfect for any other purpose than ‘hide and seek’. He started to clamber up and placed his hands on the wood, beginning to pull himself onto his mighty throne. He struggled at first, but the knowledge that he was so close to assured victory helped him up those few extra inches before. He stood up and looked around and knew there and then it was impenetrable.
As soon as he had done this, the main door to the chapel creaked open and the single sound of scuffed footsteps echoed throughout. It was definitely not the sound of a search party.
Bruno immediately doubted his invulnerability and curled up into a little ball as tight as he could go to try and make himself even less visible. After what seemed like a small eternity of silence Bruno risked loosening his grip on his legs and ventured a peek over the top of his perch to see who or what was there.
There was a man sitting in a pew, several rows back. He had dark greasy grey-brown hair which was swept backwards. He wore a suit jacket which had various marks and debris from the day’s toil. His scruffy figure leant forward and his fingers were interlocked before him. The man was silent and Bruno was almost certain that the man new he was being ‘observed’, the man started to speak startling Bruno, making him resume his previous scrunched up position, out of sight and out of harm.
“Lord, I need your help. I need your guidance in these times of great need. I can not keep suppressing my overpowering feelings of guilt. However if I don’t… I am in fear what would happen if I don’t.”
Bruno did not risk a look this time but instead let his thoughts wonder to who this man was and who he was talking to as there was no other person in the chapel. The dust fell around Bruno, still disturbed from the great climb. He smiled before the man started again, his depressing monotone filling the surrounding air.
“There are too many bad people in this world. I never thought I would be one of them but I guess that’s how we all started out. I mean no one wants to be the villain… I didn’t mean to do it but it just ended up my fault. I wasn’t drunk or on drugs. Just clean, just me. If only I had bothered to tie my shoe laces before I got in the car or had another cup of coffee before I went, then he wouldn’t have been there, he would have been several minutes gone and it never would have happened. If only… if only.” There was a long pause, and the man stayed solemnly still.
Bruno however, was much more confused than before by this man’s comments and nearly toppled off his perch, lost in all the puzzling questions that were arising. ‘Why was he talking about driving? And what were these drugs thingies? Who was this man who could have been long gone?’ None of it made any sense. It was all just gogoldygoop.
However the man continued regardless of his unknown critic.
“I sit here in front of you, asking for your forgiveness. Everyone else has tried to comfort me but I have not been convinced, their words seem so transparent and do not lift me from my woe, my guilt. It’s all the ‘wrong time wrong place’ philosophy that I keep telling myself. It may have been called an accident but I was the one behind the wheel. I try to make myself believe I’m fine, but since then, since that moment I have not been able to look in the mirror no matter how hard I try.”
He took a deep breath in deep thought and put his hands into his pockets. He appeared to find something that he had not seen before and stared at what was in his hand. The man started shaking, he was crying and Bruno felt pity upon him, he wanted to comfort the man but knew it was imperative that he stayed where he was.
Outside the clouds were clearing and rays of sunshine filtered through the windows. A solid beam of light fell directly before the altar. Almost as soon as the light had fallen through the window the man looked up between sobs and saw this ray of sunshine. In what seemed like more of a moment of coincidence and desperation than he stood up and hobbled towards it, his distraught nature shown through each pained step.
He loomed above the altar and looked down upon it in a hopeless manner and stayed there for several moments. He stopped crying and straightened up before turning, instead of sorrow on his face he carried a gentle smile with old tears still running down his cheeks. He tidied up his jacket and prepared to walk out. After a few seconds he strolled down the aisle with a strange confidence. Just before he reached the door he paused and whispered ‘thank you’ and turned and left, leaving Bruno alone in the chapel.
He waited a few minutes until the coast was completely clear before slipping down from his fortress, mixed thoughts running through his head. He ran up to the altar where the man had stood and saw an opened copy of the Bible lying there. The light fell in such a way that only one short sentence could be read:
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.”
Bruno smiled, turned and skipped innocently out of the chapel wondering whether it was his turn to search.