Hymns For The Twilight Children
Work of Fiction
Placed first were the youngest, from the stillborn to the toddlers. Little bodies, emaciated and lifeless, soon filled the old wells by the hundreds over those early-middle decades, wrapped by night in white shrouds by God’s sweet Sisters, shuffling in silence by the river’s edge. No prayers were given, for these were bastards, in death, taking space still. No markers, but stacks stonewalled. Secret atop secret. Soon swollen, then sealed.
In a Northern sky, over and again, sun and moon trade places. Both cast upon the town from their heavens, altering light and line, cyclically. From the river’s divide, framed by fern, alder, and stone, there are two sloping shoulders: the people on one side, safe in their colorful council flats and churches, comfortable in their schools, songs, and stories, their comings and goings, a filtered buzz. On the opposite side of the river, demolishment begins of a hundred and twenty-year-old abbey estate, condemned. Its leveling has been planned since the last summer months. With a single implosion, grounds will rumble—beams breaking, glass shattering, bricks crumbling. Vacant since 1962, almost ten years ago, The Home’s sour past held little holy, but ghosts.
Holy, holy! Our God is right. Our God is good. Most of the townspeople do not believe in such ghosts, or of the nighttime tales, the wailing woman-voice heard by the river, whispers entwined, although they sometimes indulge them when all else makes little sense. Confusion is temporary. They believe what they’re told to believe, collectively, looking upward toward light, and what they believe validates their condition. When faith begins its shifting, as it does born into flesh, it must be The Devil in bone. Thou shalt not fall prey to outworn superstition. Thou shalt not question authority. Reward comes heaven-bound. Return to faith. And always name your blessings.
A new tale is a blessing.
The old will fall fast to the ground.