Sister Eulalia rose in the early morning hours. She always rose early. She had since she was a little girl, troubled by dreams.
The dreams started when she was eight; startlingly realistic dreams.
It was a day she had long been waiting for, her First Holy Communion; a rite of passage for all young Catholic girls, when they dressed up in their white dresses and walked down the aisle of the church to become the virgin army of Christ in a world of sin and corruption. Slowly she passed the nuns who had instructed them the past months on the Sacrament and its meaning. She knelt before the altar, her eyes gazing upwards and angelically at the crucifix behind the altar; Christ bruised and bleeding, with nothing but a small strip of cloth covering his private parts.
She had always wondered what lay beneath that small tell-tale rag of linen. She knew men were different from women. She had seen men’s underwear ads and knew there was a lump of flesh, and the sisters had always told her Christ was a man… flesh and blood. She stared at the figure upon the cross, but not his face. The flesh beneath the linen began to swell, pulsing in tempo with the novena issuing from the row of child virgins.
Ora pro nobis… pray for us!
She shook away the unholy thoughts and lowered her eyes. She mustn’t think of such things. She lifted her eyes to the two priests at the altar. One was Father O’Brien. The other was a visiting priest. His eyes were a deep cerulean blue, penetrating and mesmerizing. She felt a chill, like a cold wind tickling her private parts and making her tiny nipples erect and hard. She lowered her eyes and became aware of herself. She was stark naked… naked before God and everyone in the church.
She raised her eyes to the cross to implore his aid, but they halted at the flesh beneath the flimsy cloth. It was swollen so much that the rag was in the process of tearing and falling off. She screamed and ran from the church. All were laughing at her, the nuns shouting ‘Whore!’ at her as she fled from God’s house.
Sister Eulalia woke with a start, breathing heavily and gasping for air. Her sheets soaked in a cold sweat. She knelt on the stone floor by her bedside, humbly supplicating for divine guidance through hours of earnest prayer. Another nun found her in the morning, naked and prostrate upon the floor, shivering and cold.
Sister Eulalia was born Mary Connor, of Irish lineage, at least where her mother was concerned. Her father was a mystery, as she was born out of wedlock and raised by her mother, with the help of her grandparents. No one knew who the father was, except for the mother, and she was mute on the subject. People long ago had given up asking about him, and as far as Mary was concerned, her mother would take his identity to the grave with her.
Her mother was very religious and raised Mary in the Catholic church of her ancestors. Mary decided early in her life that she would dedicate her life to Christ and the church. She prayed more fervently than any other child her age, and by high school, the boys never even bothered to ask her out on a date, as they all knew she was to join the local convent and become a virgin sister. She was untouchable and unassailable… at least outwardly.
Inwardly, Mary was in constant turmoil, always asking questions of the Lord, who left her to her own conclusions. Menses was a torture she could not understand. The blood would flow from her doubled-up physique in copious amounts. She felt it to be horribly unfair that she, dedicated to Christ, must suffer the debilitating monthly crimson trials. When she entered the convent after high school, she would declare a two-day fast every month, and suspend herself naked by the wrists from the rafter of her cell, the door bolted against intruders, as her blood would run down her thin legs and into puddles at her feet. This was God’s punishment, she concluded, for the primal expulsion from Eden, where Adam and Eve met in delicious union without guilt or knowledge, until they were expelled, like her menstrual flow, from the womb of Paradise.
She felt that she was born centuries too late, into a world where self-mortification and sacrifice were trite and insignificant things. No one suffered for Christ anymore. Martyrdoms were sometimes heard of in faraway, backward, third-world places hardly known, but not here and now. Mary’s mother would visit periodically, and talk to her through a little grate in the convent wall.
“Anne,” Mary would say, using her mother’s first name, as she had dedicated herself to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Christ, who was now her mother also, “I am troubled, full of doubt. I cry for hours, and I miss you and all my friends.”
“Don’t worry,” her mother would reply, “It will pass. You will soon be wed to Christ our savior, where there will be no loneliness or suffering.”
She quickly grew distracted with her mother’s utterances, realizing how lacking in substance they were compared to the truth that casino şirketleri was her ‘contemplative’ life. Sometimes she contemplated ending it all, tying the cords around her neck instead of her wrists, imagining herself bleeding to death as a martyr for Christ.
But that would be suicide, and she would burn in the eternal fires of hell. So here she was, suspended between heaven and hell, both pulling at the cords, until she felt that she must be pulled asunder.
Thus she struggled through her novitiate, believing that all the doubts and indecision would evaporate in the sanctity of her marriage to Christ. When she took her final vows, she took upon herself the name ‘Eulalia,’ a child and virgin saint of twelve who died in 304 AD. When asked to make sacrifices to the state gods of Rome, she refused, even under torture. Finally she was tied naked to a cross on the streets overnight in the freezing cold, where she died, still a virgin and dedicated to Christ… a true martyr of the early church.
It had been but a fortnight before; word had come to the city of Merida, that Emperor Diocletian wished to put an end to the Christian intolerance of pagan deities, and ordered that all in the empire provide the proper sacrifices to the gods of Rome. Many did, fearing for their lives, and believing that any sacrifice not made from the heart, was not a true sacrifice, and would be forgiven. Not Eulalia.
Sister Eulalia saw herself being led, virgin and pure, from her jail cell, a child of twelve. No amount of coaxing by her friends or family or Roman guards could convince her to make a token sacrifice to save her life. The guards were brutal as they whipped her and tortured her to acquiescence, but nothing would move her mind. She knelt through the night praying, as the guards outside her cell played at dice and spoke in the most rude and disgusting manner.
“I think we should give her a taste of my meat,” grunted one, “Then she would scream for the pagan gods.”
“Why is that?” asked another, “Is it because she would do anything to be relieved of the awful taste in her mouth?”
“Naw,” replied the first, “It is because once she laid eyes on some true Roman sausage, she would leave behind her Christian ways to get as much as she could.”
“In that case,” returned the second, “we better let her see mine first!”
The raucous laughter split the air as the bawdy comments flew freely back and forth. Suddenly, Eulalia felt a presence. It was a Roman guard who had entered her cell. In the smoky, fading, spent torchlight, she looked into his eyes. They were a deep cerulean blue. Beaten and bruised and shivering from the early evening chill, she implored him with her eyes to save her and stop the pain.
“You need not sacrifice to the Roman gods,” he spoke with a soft and lilting voice. “You can go free if you wish. It is in your hands. You only need to sacrifice to one god.”
“My Lord and Savior?” she asked.
The guard ever so slightly shook his head and smiled. “No, my child,” he whispered as he reached down to grasp the flesh beneath his tunic. It was swollen and tumescent, outlined against the linen cloth.
She shook her head violently and turned her face to the wall, uttering a prayer to the Virgin Mother of God.
“Ave Maria, gratia plena…”
The door slammed, and the bolt was replaced. Soon the raucous bunch, without the guard who had accosted her minutes before, stumbled drunkenly into the cell, and led her out into the street near the public marketplace. The tunic on her tiny, slender body, torn and caked with dried blood from her previous torture, was stripped from her shoulders and left to hang about her waist. Her wrists and ankles were tied to the wooden cross that had been erected in the street upon the cold paving stones. The cross was in the shape of a saltire, an ‘X,’ for she didn’t think she deserved to die on the cross of her Savior.
The guards laughed at her tiny breasts, barely formed on her youthful frame, the nipples hardened and erect from the cold. They walked down the street and left her there, huddling in a doorway with their cloaks wrapped close around them to ward off the freezing wind.
Her shivering body, suspended on the cross, was no match against the chill of winter on an open street. Soon she was numb and praying for deliverance from this life which had treated her so harshly for her love of God. As she began to drift away she saw him against the wall on the opposite side of the street. He could do nothing, and his cerulean eyes held tears that froze as they overflowed their bounds onto his cheeks, so bitter was the cold.
Her body filled with momentary and merciful warmth as it gave in to the cold. An immense flow of menstrual blood burst from her womb, as she burst from the corporeal world and into Paradise, from whence the original sin had deprived all mankind.
She breathed her last. He cut the cords that bound her, and laid her on the paving stones. A snow began casino firmaları to fall, covering her nakedness and sanctifying her virgin martyrdom.
“Eulalia… Eulalia!” cried a young nun through her haze of awakening, when dreams and consciousness meet and mingle.
Sister Eulalia once again found herself awakening on the hard and cold stone floor, with her nightgown pulled down to her waist, exposing her small breasts, her ribs, her navel, and she was lying in a pool of blood, which had turned her gown a dark crimson. She thought how nice it would be to wake up in bed, warm and cozy under a quilt, but her dreams would not allow it. For years she had greeted the morning from her berth on the floor, naked and alone.
With the help of the other nun, she rose unsteadily to her feet. She was weak and rather helpless from the loss of blood and a night spent semi-nude on the cold stone floor. She staggered to her cell’s bathroom where she set the reddened gown to soak in the sink and cleaned herself up a bit. Upon dressing, she proceeded to hear mass, the first event of the day in the convent. She was grateful to finally sit for the homily. Father O’Brien closed the Bible from which he had read the Gospel, and stood thoughtfully for a few moments.
“After many years your Pastor,” he began, “I have been assigned another parish elsewhere. I have been fulfilled in my desire to serve God here, and I will ever treasure my memories amongst the people of this parish, and the good sisters who daily dedicate their lives in solitude, praying forgiveness for the sins of this world. You may not think sometimes that he hears your prayers, but believe me, not the tiniest sparrow falls from its nest, but he knows and cares.”
Father O’Brien always expressed himself in few words. He stepped from the pulpit and finished his mass, then walked out the convent’s doors forever.
Sister Eulalia walked with the other nuns to an early breakfast, passing Father O’Brien’s office, and changing room, when he served as the convent’s priest. They all stopped when the door opened, curious to see their new confessor.
He walked from his room, and Sister Eulalia stood as if the world had ended, unable to breathe, in the middle of the hallway. It was him! The Roman guard who had lowered her from the cross with tears in his cerulean eyes, eyes of a deep ocean blue that threatened to drown her on the spot.
“Breathe, my child,” he said, smiling to alleviate her discomfiture.
Then casting his eyes down the hallway to the other sisters, continued, “I am Father Lars Gustafsson. You may just refer to me as Father Lars.”
Sister Eulalia didn’t know what to make of this. The same man from her recurring nightmares, the priest who denuded her at her First Holy Communion, the Roman guard who offered to save her through the sacrifice of her virginity, was now her confessor. The discomfort she felt left her distracted and anxious.
That next Sunday, she sat next to Anne, her mother, in the small chapel. It was one of the few times they could meet without talking through the grate in the wall. A few quiet words were exchanged while waiting for the mass to begin. The opening hymn was sung by the nuns in their high-pitched and piercing voices, echoing through the vaulted chapel, followed by the altar boys and priest processing down the aisle. He turned toward the congregation and surveyed them with his eyes, which stopped and slightly dilated as they fell upon Anne.
Several seconds passed in dead silence as the two locked eyes. It was as if an intense conversation was filling the quiet ether between them. Some of the nuns looked discomfortingly at Sister Eulalia’s mother and Father Lars, wondering what to make of it all.
Hidden behind the pew, Anne took her daughter’s hand in hers and squeezed it slightly, whispering, “Goodbye, Mary, God bless you,” and stepped from the pew into the aisle, genuflecting and crossing herself. She walked out of the chapel, never to visit again.
A fortnight had passed since the incident in the chapel, leaving Sister Eulalia distressed and troubled in her soul, unable to discern its significance. Her dreams continued.
She was often chosen to clean the rooms about the convent, especially the ones reserved for visiting priests and other guests. With her jingling chain of keys, she opened the room that Father Lars used as his office and changing room when he was there. He was to arrive the next day and stay overnight for the Sunday service, but as she was dusting the furniture, she heard his voice accompanied by footsteps down the hallway.
Not wanting to face him, after her dreams clearly indicated an evil intent, she quickly scurried into the small closet of cassocks just in time to hide herself.
“Thank you, Mother Superior, for accommodating me on such short notice. I hope it has not been too much trouble.” “No trouble at all, Father, we are always happy to have you present among us.”
The güvenilir casino door closed and Sister Eulalia heard the lock click, and the deadbolt likewise. She was locked in with him, and frightened, cursing her stupidity. The room was sparse, consisting of a bed (a cot really), an old metal swivel chair and a desk possessing the only modern item in the room… a computer, a prie dieu with a Bible, and the closet that hid her from his view.
He sat down at the desk and turned on the computer. This had been installed by Father O’Brien to look up words and passages on the online concordances, as well as typing out his sermons (always after they were given, not before). Father Lars, though, was eyeing the screen with a different intent.
He rose from his chair at the desk and began walking toward the closet, unbuttoning his cassock as he approached her hiding place. Slowly it fell from his shoulders as he undid the buttons at the bottom, revealing a torso, totally naked. She shut her eyes and shoved herself into the back corner of the closet, hoping he wouldn’t notice her. He opened the door and tossed the cassock carelessly on top of her, walking back to the desk.
She was breathing heavily from her fright for several minutes, hoping he could not hear her. Finally, she peaked around the edge of the open door. Her eyes were met with images of a man’s penis, huge and hard, upon the screen of the computer. A small delicate hand was rubbing its length from top to bottom. It was the hand of a tiny teenager, younger than Sister Eulalia. Just as the eyes of the teenager were absorbing the stature of the man’s organ with unconcealed lust, Eulalia’s eyes were discovering the true nature of man. As Adam was created to fill the void between the legs of Eve, she wondered if Father Lars had been created to fill another’s void. Or for that matter, was she created as an instrument of man, to be filled and fulfilled, the void between her legs an offering upon the altar of God’s creation?
Her hands roamed down her sides and to her ankles, lifting her habit up and over her head. She rose and walked, totally nude and Edenically shameless, from the closet.
Father Lars, seeing her reflection behind him in the computer screen, turned in his swivel chair to face her. Eulalia’s eyes descended from the enlarged penis on the computer screen, to the first real penis she had ever beheld, magnificent to behold, and every bit as large and erect as the one on the video. She looked back up to the screen to see the teenage beauty impale herself on the man’s tool, blood trickling down the man’s shaft onto his pendulous sack beneath.
Eulalia gasped at the sight. It seemed that whatever a woman did, because of that original sin, she was condemned to bleed… monthly, during her initial sexual fulfillment, childbirth. When would she ever be absolved? The womb was always the fountainhead of that crimson flow. Was it because this was the original sin? Man and woman’s desire to unite as one? If so, what defined good and evil, and the knowledge mankind derived from this act? What type of tree was mounted, and what fruit was plucked in that garden so long ago? And could any of God’s creatures ever hope to return to that prelapsarian idyll?
She felt the firm, large palms of Father Lars upon the skin of her hips. They were warm and soft, and they guided her body ever closer to the penis, rising like the Tower of Babel from his groin. Slowly she lowered herself, guided by those knowing hands onto that tower, straining toward her opening, like a child seeking a warm shelter from the cold. She tore her eyes away from his instrument and looked into his eyes, tumbling into their cerulean depths.
Suddenly the blue depths changed into a sea of fire as pain unbearable spread from her pierced maidenhead, and she felt herself falling through a vast emptiness toward that sea, ready to accept her and burn her naked body through eternity.
Upon hearing Sister Eulalia’s screams, several of the other sisters ran down the hall to her room. There they found her naked and writhing on the floor, crying that she was burning. Finally they woke her and in the few seconds it took her to come to full consciousness, she saw Father Lars standing in the doorway to her cell. A second later and he was gone. She struggled from the concerned hands of her sisters and staggered to the door. It couldn’t have taken a second, but he was nowhere to be seen, though the hallway was long and narrow both ways.
When the other nuns had left, determining that she was recovered from her nightmare, she sat on the edge of her bed. Her fingers wandered to her vagina, feeling to see if the maiden membrane was still intact. It was, but a fire was still burning hot within her.
She pleaded illness for the day, lying in bed and thinking of all that had passed the past few weeks. She wondered why the cerulean blue of Father’s eyes captivated her so. She wondered why he recurred so often in her dreams. She wondered why her mother had acted as she did. She had a vague theory, but seriously needed to talk to her mother in order to make sense of the puzzle. She went that afternoon to the Mother Superior’s office. The only phone in the convent was there, and permission had to be granted to use it.