Nuns on the Run
“I’m always the last to hear about these things” is a phrase that should be stricken out of my mouth. It was bad enough to watch Sister Mary Agatha’s head disintegrate right in front of my face as I was coming around the corner from the kitchen headed to the chapel for Vespers.
Her head did not disappear like one of those movies where it just poofs away as smoke. It was more a cross between one of Sister Margaret Mary’s tomatoes squishing under a dull knife and a watermelon exploding because of an enthusiastic blow from Sister Angelina Ruth’s mallet. I probably would not have been so upset if what was left of her head had not splattered all over my scapular. (Sister Mary Agatha, no matter what Mother Superior said about her, was just a bitch.) Sister Aquinata Clare—who I now remember lying in a bloody heap over by the ovens—had just brought it to me, freshly washed not an hour before I heard the bells for prayer.
Now I was in the back of a car watching the bakery burn to the ground. Sister Margaret Mary was driving as fast as she could muttering about weapons and God and needing a new habit. I could not help but stare and watch as the bullets rushed to meet the night. The car sliced through the fog in an attempt to hide from the blaze of horror we were leaving behind.
“Did Mother Superior get out alive?” Sister Frances Magdalen was damn near screaming. “Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been nine hours since my last confession. I just thought the word ‘damn.’”
“I didn’t see her! I didn’t see her!” Sister Margaret Mary was hyperventilating. How she was keeping the car on the road, I am sure, is a mystery of the Church.
“Is that the best you can think right now? Who fuckin’ cares?” I was beside myself watching yet another bullet fly through the back window and pierce Sister Frances Magdalen’s left temple and exit out to the headrest in front of her.
“Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been thirty seconds since my last confession. I just said the word ‘fucking.’ But at the moment I think I’m pretty fucking sure that’s the least of my problems.”
“Just keep driving!” I yelled at Sister Margaret Mary. “And stop huffing like that. You’re going to wreck and kill us faster than they will!”
Sister Margaret Mary drove like a bat out of our belfry as her breathing subsided to something approximately a rhythm about four hours later. The night swallowed us in a haze of smoke and fog only to spit us out into dawn on the other side of the mountain range in a small farming town that seemed a bit too quiet.
She parked the car next to the barbershop and turned off the engine. The three of us, two alive and one dead, just sat there. Sister Frances Magdalen’s brains dripped in an awkward beat until the sound was just irritating enough that I opened the door and shoved her out onto the sidewalk. Her body seemed to twitch a little and I almost thought I saw her mouth open up to say something. Nothing but blood ran from between her lips and her eyes remained a bit bulging from the bullet wound behind them. There was nothing I could do for her so I closed the door and turned back to Sister Margaret Mary who was still sitting in the driver’s seat, hands welded to the steering wheel, and staring off into the distance.
“You couldn’t just marry him,” she asked?
“You couldn’t just marry the man? You had to come and join our convent?” Her tone was flat. Even the attempt at frustrated exasperation was monotonous.
I was suddenly furious. “You expect me to actually marry the man that did that?” I smashed my finger into the back window as I was jabbing it toward the burning bakery and convent we had left behind.
“Jethro Midas only did that because you wouldn’t marry him!” Sister Margaret Mary finally let go of the steering wheel and turned to face me. “Look around you. This doesn’t look like too bad of a town to settled down.”
“Yeah,” I replied. “It definitely has the look of that Midas touch.”
“What does that mean?”
“Never mind,” I said quietly. “Let’s get out of here.”
Sister Margaret Mary opened her door.
“Where are you going?”
“I want to get out and walk a moment,” she replied.
I got out and met her at the back of the car. We started to walk down the main street of town, stopping at various shops along the way. In one, we bought new clothes to change into from our habits. In another, we sat down to have lunch. I ate a wilted salad while Sister Margaret Mary claimed she was not hungry at all. Her mood seemed to become dull and slow and her pallor was somewhat greying.
Hours passed by and it seemed we had finally run out of shops. Our arms were full of new things and we turned to head back to the car.
“Do you even know what Jethro Midas does for a living,” Sister Margaret Mary asked?
By this time, I had almost forgotten about the whole ordeal. Not entirely, of course, but the morning spent talking and shopping had taken the edge off my fear and given me some time to regroup my thoughts. “No,” I admitted. I had never really thought about it. I just knew that I did not want to be married off to someone that I barely knew because of some bargain my father made when he was a child.
“Jethro Midas created the ability to live forever,” she said.
I turned to face her as I saw her eyes glaze over and felt her teeth buried in my neck.
[Author's Note: This was written for Catherine Chambers to the tune of precisely 1,000 words on a storyline from a web-based random story generator (for which I've already forgotten the URL since I was playing with it as a joke anyway) at 2:00am. You're welcome.]