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The Chapel - Part 8
by Theodore K. Nasos
2015-12-08 11:44:43
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srjn01_400Sir John was never a man of intrigue and mystery. On the contrary his life was a transparent book easily accessible to everybody. Still, here and there, there was a mystery, a personal secret from his past that added to his myth. It was always something to do with this dark era in battle and war. The period Sir John had spent in foreign deserts or strange jungles was always something dark and didn’t matter what he said, you always knew that there was something more he didn’t say.

Another thing in Sir John’s life was the people he met during his service. Some of them now in high places some of them in the backyards of the society, but all of them connected with blood and tears. Just like Frank.

Frank was obviously not a person for high places but there is a place for everybody during war times and Frank had found his place easier than most. For him battling in the desert was not much different than battling in the city. There was something hostile in every shadow. There was an enemy and an opportunity in every corner and Frank had to be quick for either case.

And it was opportunity what led the cylinder into his hands but Sir John had no idea what was inside the metal thing because the cylinder was followed by an enemy and this time the enemy wanted the cylinder and Frank for different reasons. While the enemy’s need for Frank most likely had to do with faith, the cylinder always remained a mystery.

On their return back form the incident with the wolves and while Sir John had gone to report the events of the evening something happened in the camp that resulted the death of a local man who often served as assistant cook for the soldiers. After there was some talk about an exchange with Frank but nothing was ever cleared. What was cleared was that the man suddenly went mad, pulled a kitchen knife and tried to attack Frank.

Incidents like that were rare but everybody knew that the locals weren’t happy to see all these demons from the west fighting in their country, trying to steal their resources and land and most importantly stealing their pride. Sir John could sense the wrong in all that but he had his orders to follow and he was a good soldier.

Frank was never a good soldier, he was an experience soldier, he was a lethal soldier but not a good soldier as Sir John could understand it. Too easy to start a fight with a local and too easy to use force. The incident with the cook even though an example of Frank’s vicious character the same time was not incriminating, it actually looked as self-defence with the body of the young man lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the bog hall.

srjn02_400However what looked strange was that Frank was not his usual self after, bragging about his fast reaction or perfect hit. After checking around to see how many heard the exchange that started everything and after giving a brief statement to the officer who came to check what was going on the disappeared to the back of the camp.

Few hours later he reappeared carrying a small package wrapped in some kind of thick fabric and tied with strong strings of another kind of fabric. Sir John was on his way to his cabin when Frank appeared in front of him.

“You will keep tis till the day comes!”

“Frank you are crazy, I’m not keeping anything for you.”

“You owe me.”

“I owe you nothing.”

“Yes, you owe me your life.”

“And I’ grateful to that, but…”

“You little idiot if it wasn’t me there would be pieces of your left behind and it wouldn’t have been the wolves that cut these pieces but your own comrades.” Sir John didn’t say a word. He knew already what Frank had said.

This was not Sir John’s platoon and only luck had brought him with them that night. He also knew that he was even more alien to them than the enemies they were fighting in the desert and he had already heard them whispering behind his back what his future should be opportunity given.

For two nights Sir John hadn’t slept at all watching the rest of them watching him and when they got separated in the desert he knew that his changes to survive had just dropped to the very little. He also knew that the chance had come when they got stuck to that hill with all the wild cats surrounding them and he had heard them conspiring for an early morning hit. Let his body there to keep the cats busy and then run. But Frank’s sudden appearance had change everything.

I was tempted to ask why this hate but didn’t need to. I had seen it with my own eyes just too many ties. Sir John was not what fulfilled most people’s stereotypes for a country man and the knighthood tittle was just a knife in their back for all of them. The red flag that made Sir John a target. It didn’t just made him equal, it made him superior. And that was nothing to forget and forgive. Even now so many years after.

So Sir John really owned something to Frank and that the reason he took the well wrapped cylinder and that’s why he kept it for so long in his house. I suppose in his mind he thought that war is a place where people like Frank don’t survive on the end and most likely he would be lost in some desert or jungle. And the only thing he had to do was to keep the damn thing untouched.

Sir John didn’t just owned a favour to Frank, but Frank actually owned Sir John. Sir John was among the alive thanks to Frank and that had a very high price for Sir John. And me. You see my life and my faith was now tied with this damn metal cylinder even though I never saw a desert or a jungle in my life.

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