Thursday, January 1, 2015


[Most recent inspiration is Fred Clark posting about the concept of sanctuary in real life.]
[The more general inspiration is actually related to the TV series Sanctuary which was supposedly "A sanctuary for all," but ended up never really exploring the concept that much.  The idea was to show a place that is a sanctuary for all through the eyes of two characters: An adult mundane human who could use sanctuary for mundane reasons, and a mutant child who could use sanctuary for "I don't want to be experimented on" reasons.  The mundane human would be surprised that "sanctuary for all" included normal humans, having only come to get the child there safely.]
[At this point, of course, they're not there yet.]


"Sanctuary!" came a shout. The inner doors burst open and, "Sanctuary!" was yelled again.  Everyone in the church seemed unsure of what to do with the adult who had yelled it or the girl of perhaps twelve years who followed.  Both were in well worn clothes.  The two looked like they'd fit in at the church's soup kitchen.

"Find somewhere to hide," the adult said to the girl.

The pastor was the first member of the church to regain his voice, "Under the pews," he said to the two.  "Make a space," he told his congregation.

The two strangers hid under a pew.  "Just stay calm," the adult said to the girl.


"Concentrate on your breathing," the adult said.  "It doesn't work if you hold your breath."


"Ok, Marie, concentrate on my breathing," the adult said before slowly breathing in, holding for a moment, and slowly breathing out.

Above the pew the people were trying to act like nothing had happened, and the pastor was trying, haltingly and with difficulty, to resume his sermon.

The doors opened again, this time quietly, men in unmarked black uniforms filed through the doors, leading the way with their rifles.  They spread out through the room without making a noise.  Soon everyone had seen them, and everyone was afraid.

"Where did they go?" the leader of the men asked the pastor.

The pastor said, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Right. That's why you can't remember your sermon." He pointed his gun toward the pastor and made a show of aiming through the sight. "Where did they go."

In a shaky voice the pastor said, "There a lot of witnesses."

"I'm not afraid, padre," the man with the gun said.  "Are you?"

The pastor was visibly shaking, and started mumbling a prayer.

"They went out the back door," a child said, pointing.  His mother quickly put her hand over his mouth and pulled down his arm.

"Smart kid," the leader of the armed men said.  He made some hand motions and his team left the church through the rear door.

When they had gone the mother released her son and said, "You are a smart kid."

He said, "It was Janey's idea."

His sister said, "But I wasn't brave enough to do it."

"I wasn't smart enough to have the idea," he said.

"You're both heroes," the adult stranger said, getting out from under the pew they'd been hiding under.  "May you and your descendants be blessed for seven generations."

"Alex," Marie said in an annoyed tone.

"What?" Alex asked.  After looking Marie in the eyes for a moment Alex hastily added, "At least. " Alex turned to the Janey and her brother again.  "May you and all your decedents be blessed for at least seven generations."  Alex turned back to Marie, "Better?"

"Yes," she said.

"If we double back and hop a train we could be out of the city before they know they're going in the wrong direction," Alex told Marie.  "Thank you everyone," Alex said to the congregation.

"If you'll tell me what's going on," the pastor said, "I'll drive you to the train station."

"Freight yard," Alex corrected.  "Much more useful when you don't want to leave a trail; infinitely more illegal.  Are you still going to give us a ride?"

"If you tell me what's going on," the pastor said.

Alex looked at Marie, who shrugged.  "We're trying to get her to the Sacrum Omnibus."

"The haven for everyone," the pastor said.  "I've heard rumors of it, I didn't think it was a real place."

"It is real," Alex said.  "Probably about the only place she'll be safe."

"Why were those men after her?" the pastor asked.

Again Alex looked at Marie, again she shrugged.

Alex said, "Because when she panics everyone needs to replace their credit cards."

"That only happened one time!" Marie shouted.

"Power went out throughout the entire metropolitan area."

"There wasn't a metropolitan area; it was a small town."

"That got locked down for fear that an EMP weapon had been used against it."

"That was pretty funny," Marie said, a mischievous streak invading her voice.

"The cover story was sunspots," Alex said, mirth entered Alex's voice as well in response to the absurdity of the situation.

"Everyone knows that it's CMEs, not sunspots, that knock out power like that," Marie concluded.

The pastor turned from the antics of the two to his congregation.  "I'm going to pass around a collection plate to help our new friends, then I'll drive them to the freight yard."

"I'll drive," a young woman in the pews said.  "You have a sermon to finish, pastor."

* * *

"This is the most money I've had in ... forever," Alex said.  "I could never repay you."

"It's a gift," the pastor said.  "You're not supposed to repay it."

"If you don't want the money," Marie said, "I'll take it."

"No, no," Alex said quickly.  "I want the money."

"Good call," said the young woman who had offered them a ride.

"This is Beatrix," the pastor said to Alex and Marie.  "Beatrix," he said before nodding at her and walking back to the pulpit.

"Car's this way," she said leading Alex and Marie out of a side door of the church, "and call me 'B'."

"I'm 'M' and this is my buddy 'A'," Marie said.

"Play nice," Alex said.

"That's fine," B told.  "So, is she your sister?"

"No," Alex and Marie said in near unison.

"We met like a week ago," Marie said.

"What she said," Alex added.

"Ok, not sure where to go with that," B said.

"To the car?" Marie suggested.

"Can't argue with that," Alex said.

"I guess not," B said.  Then turning to Alex she said, "You know, you're kind of cute."

Marie shot Alex a meaningful look and Alex told her, "Don't start."  Then, after a moment of thought Alex told B, "That's very flattering, but I'm sure if I were to stick around long enough for us to get to know one another it would turn out I'm not your type."

"I wouldn't pass judgement so quickly," B said.  "Regardless, this is my car."

"Shotgun!" Marie shouted.

"Curse you and your dibs," Alex said in mock anger.


1 comment:

  1. I like the people you populate your stories with. The bits with Janey and her brother were especially nice.