Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

The voice on the phone said, "I understand that you are a friend of my son, James. He has gone missing. I require your assistance in bringing him home again...”

A university student has gone missing. Can his friends find out what has happened to James Frazer in 1920s Massachusetts?

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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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The soil was freshly turned, not compact. The urns had nothing distinguished about them, merely being small hand-turned clay pots.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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“Hm, well whatever these things are doing here, they’ll have to be shifted before Prayers,” Joe mutters to himself.

Seeking assistance, he heads back to the corridors in search on an orderly.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Out in the corridor, any orderlies Joe could see were engaged in dealing with patients, removing those who had passed in the night and feeding those who had survived. The sound of ambulance bells from outside of the hospital suggested that another influx of patients was imminent.

He saw Major Parker at the other end of the corridor, directing his staff about their business. The Major looked over in his direction. “Good morning, Father O’Toole,” he said, with a brusque nod of his head.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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“Good morning Major,” Joe replies. “May I distract you for a moment?”

“It appears someone has been carving symbols on the altar in my little chapel, while there’s been a bunch of urns filled with soil, of all things, deposited in there overnight.”

“I know these are trifles in the great scheme of things, but could you put the word out that the chapel is sacrosanct and not to be used as an artist’s garret or storage cupboard?”

“Now I have to find someone to help me shift the urns, rather than start making myself useful.”
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Parker rolled his eyes and glared at Joe. “Urns?! Soil?!” he snapped, with an angry shake of his head. ”I really am beginning to ask myself if you’re the right man for the job! You’re in a hospital, where we are overrun with wounded and dying men and your greatest concern is that someone has left some urns in your chapel?! For goodness’ sake, do you really think that’s the most pressing matter I have to deal with this morning?!”

“Half a dozen men died last night - I suggest praying for their immortal souls and reflecting upon your position here would be the better use of your time!”
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Joe’s knuckles whiten as he clenches his fists. There was a time when such a response would have resulted in a broken nose.

Thankfully such times are long gone.

Hands unclenching, he nods.

“You’re right of course.”
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Phew, finally have 5 minutes to write some more.


Suitably chastened, Joe returns to the makeshift chapel. Knowing that everyone else has better things to do, he begins the task of dragging the urns into a corner away from the altar. At least that way, those who wish to attend Morning Prayers can do so unimpeded.

Assuming this task is completed he, on a whim, draws a cross in the top of the soil in each urn before turning to the altar to pray.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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On finishing his prayers, Joe could hear the tempo of the hospital picking up. Looking out into the corridor, he could see orderlies moving about, carrying ration tins into the rooms to feed the patients, while the nurses carried bustled efficiently backwards and forwards, checking on their charges.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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"Time to administer to my flock," says Joe, and follows the staff into the wards.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Joe found himself alone in the chapel once more.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Sighing deeply, Joe prays that the Lord will assuage whatever demons are driving Mrs. Ogilvy, as well a a heartfelt request to grant him patience in dealing with the woman.

Then, muttering about vandals and how some people have no respect, he draws a copy of the sigil (assuming a pencil and paper are to hand) for Alex.

Deciding that he’s better get on with his duties, he decides to take a tour of the wards, planning to clean out the chapel later.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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As Joe emerged from the chapel and into the corridor, he could see that the bodies of those who had died were being wheeled away, presumably to the corpse shed outside.

At the end of the corridor, looking through a circular window about the door, a large raven ‘cawed’ loudly as it observed Joe.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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“God bless you too!” exclaims Joe, jumping at the sound of the cawing bird.

Collecting himself, he resolves to accompany the orderlies to the corpse shed. Not only can he pray over the mortal remains gathered therein, but also provide some spiritual succour to the orderlies as they carry out their grim task.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Joe followed the orderlies out to the shed, where he found five shrouded forms laid out on the cart to be taken for burial. From behind, he heard a sudden flutter of wings as the raven that had observed him through the window took off and joined a quartet of its fellow birds, staring down at him from the rooftop.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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Joe mutters a prayer over the shrouded forms, before turning to the orderlies.

“Do those ravens often accompany you?” he asks.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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The nearest orderly was pale-faced young soldier with a noticeable tremor. He squinted up at the ravens on the roofline and said, ”I don’t rightly know, father. They just appeared one day and they’ve been here ever since.”
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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"I hope they don't bother you too much my son - they certainly seem to take an unnatural interest in the proceedings, don't they?"

Joe claps a fatherly hand on the man's shoulder.

"As your chaplain, is there anything I can do for you and your comrades? Your work can't be easy."
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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”Beggin’ your pardon, Father,” interrupted one of the other orderlies, ”But if you’ve got any influence with them that doles out the rum ration, that would be great!” The young lad smiled weakly as his fellow orderlies burst out laughing.
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Re: Ch.13b. No.5 (Joe)

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“I may be a priest, but I’m not a miracle worker!” Joe chuckles. “You’ll just have to make do with my prayers, but if I can get hold of a bottle I’ll let you know.”

He pauses for a moment.

“I don’t suppose any of you lads know about the tubs of soil that have been dumped in the chapel do you? Seems an odd place to leave them.”
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