A Holy Man

Cardinal Giardi sits in a room, looking out over the rebuilt Vatican city. Most of it is as he remembers it, but there is the occasional change. A new building here, a bit of glass there.

Behind him, the door clicks shut as a smiling young man, pushing an empty wheelchair, leaves. A woman walks over to him wearing a white, plastic apron. As she tends to him, golden light flows over the city from the low sun, and the city of Rome, stretching into the distance, seems to glow slightly.

'Are you feeling comfortable, Father?'

Revelations tries to nod, but the movement is difficult. His breathing is laboured, and in the background a faint 'beep' seems to be getting slower.

'Are there any more to see me today?' He asks.

She looks at a clipboard. 'No. He was the last of them.'

'How's the rest of the world?' His voice is still strong, but dry and not as commanding as the Giardi famous for sermons of forgiveness and hope.

'It's fine, father. Your hospital has barely half the beds full - most of them in recovery. There's an outbreak of some virus in Bankok, but medical aid is on its way there, and it should be contained. There are no battles being fought, or wars declared. It's all…okay.'

The man smiles.

'Good. I think I've done all I can, anyway. I hope I did Him proud.'

He lies back, and closes his eyes. The sun sets over the city, bathing it in a firey red glow. The beep slows, perceptibly, before being replaced by a single monotone. The woman looks down for a second or so, at the thin, old man in the hospital bed, before pushing an alarm. Soon the room is filled with doctors and shouting and trolleys being wheeled in, but, before long, quiet returns as a sheet is pulled over an old man's corpse.

The woman goes back to her station, and picks up the newspaper. The headline reads - 'Escalation of Insurgencey in Italy'. She looks at the story, and makes a note to increase the number they were sending there. There would be more casualties than expected. She inclines her head, and prays for a good man who just died, and for the many other good men who will be dying elsewhere.

He did all he could. But it wasn't ever going to be enough.

fic/a_holy_man.txt · Last modified: 2010/03/09 16:18 by gareth
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