The Monk of Zege

This story was published by the wonderful editor at Long Story, Short Journal. It chronicles the tale of a monk and his strange encounter with a vervet monkey. Below is a short excerpt from the story.


The monk took a step back caught off guard and looked around to see if his companions had woken up – they hadn’t. The monk reached for the door again, and there it was, the slight knock, almost as if someone had accidentally brushed against the wooden surface of the door. The monk evaluated the possibility of other monks from neighboring peninsulas coming at that time; unless it was an emergency – and he couldn’t think of any emergency that required crossing the lake at that time – he couldn’t think of anybody that would do such a thing. Finally, as he was waiting to hear the knock again, it daunted him, a thought he explored timidly so many times before, but was not quite courageous enough to say it out loud, to himself or the other monks in the peninsula. What if it was his Lord, finally coming to see him? It wasn’t that farfetched, seeing how he had always wanted to see the Lord with his own eyes. But the thought was too strong, too powerful for his frail body to bear at that hour of the night, and he could feel the unforgiving nails of the cold sinking deeper into his bones, waking his rheumatisms and other maladies he didn’t know he had. The thought, suddenly, came to him like a rock thrown at his head; the impact was too much to assess in solitude, and it was too weak to evaluate out loud, and it was too wonderful to deny its veracity, and perhaps even too farfetched in a way because why would the Lord, in his grandeur and resplendent light, choose to manifest himself to the monk? And that second thought destroyed him a little bit inside; it ignored the sharp symptoms of rheumatism, it ignored the laughter that was beginning to shape itself in his lower abdomen and spread slowly all over his weary body, it ignored his big black eyes bulging of joy and wonder underneath the white wrap.

As soon as the monk came to his senses, he was irritated at himself for having allowed his thoughts to go that far, for allowing himself to hope. Again. What a waste. In his clumsy irritation, he yanked the door open and spat the animal on the other side all the way to the fence. When he approached it, the body of the animal was lying still: its extremities stabbing the dirt, its breath steady, its tail immobile, and a trail of blood slowly making its way from the body towards the monk.

The monk stared without really knowing what to make of it.

Click here to read the full story. 

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