literature

Story - the Angel and the Priest

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Angel really shouldn’t have been in Barracks Two. It was a barracks for grown men, after all, and she was a young girl. But she’d chosen a time when there would be no one there: the men were out playing a game of soccer. She climbed up the ladder from the tunnel, peering around before scrambling out and into the barracks.
Barracks Two was exactly like the rest of the barracks in the camp, save for the decor added by its residents. That, and it didn’t smell like cigarettes. Sergeant Boule had asthma, so smoking had been banned from this particular barracks.
Angel went over to the truck that sat at the foot of one of the bunks. She lifted the lid and began rummaging around. She was searching for cigarettes: she could sell them to the other prisoners for a good price. With that money, she could buy chocolate and other things wanted.
“What’re ye doin’ over there, Angel?”
Angel jumped a mile when she heard her name tacked onto the end of a question. She’d thought she was alone. Looking up, she saw that she was mistaken. Standing at the sink with his back to her was Father MacAimhirgin, doing something with the chalices he used for mass.
“Speak up, now,” he said, still not turning around. “What’re ye doin’?”
Angel stood, staring at the man. “How did ya know I was here?”
“I’m a priest,” he said. “I can smell sin a mile away. And you, young lady, reek of it. Stealin’ from Sergeant Kinchloe, eh? Shame on you.”
He turned to look at her. He raised an eyebrow, the one over his blind eye. “Used the tunnel, did ye?”
“I thought I was quiet,” Angel said.
“Aye, so ye were,” he said. “But not quiet enough. Here, come and help me.”
Angel was reluctant to do so, but she saw no way out of it, and so went to stand by the red-headed Irishman. He turned on the sink and filled the coffee pot before turning to her. “Put this on the stove to boil,” he said, holding out the pot. “Then come back.”
She did as she was asked. “What are ya doin’?”
“Washing,” he said. He bent over and opened his trunk, pulling out several strips of white cloth. Angel recognized them as more of the stiff white collars he wore around his neck. “Fetch me that bucket.”
She did so, and the priest took it from her. “Thank ye,” he said. “Yer very helpful.”
“I really ought to be going, father,” she said. “I shouldn’t be here.”
“Ah-ah-ah.” The priest shook his head at her. “Oh, no, ye don’t. Ye ain’t gettin’ out o’ this so fast. Ye got to atone for yer sins somehow, young lady, and this is yer penance.”
“But father-”
“No.” He said firmly. “Yer stayin’ right here and helpin’ me with me washin’. Go into my trunk and find me my stoll.”
“What’s that?” she asked.
“It’s a long, thin piece of white cloth,” he said. “Got a cross on both ends.”
Angel rummaged around in the priest’s bunk. He had a lot of things in there: several folded-up pieces of cloth of various colors, a box with a cross on the lid, a bottle of wine, and Bible, along with his clothes. “Is this it?” she asked, holding up a length of cloth.
The priest nodded. “Hand it over.”
She did. “Can I go now?”
“No, ye may not. Ah, the pot’s boilin’. Fetch it over.”
Angel handed it to him, and MacAimhirgin poured the boiling contents into the bucket that she’d fetched him. He took a bar of soap, and then began scrubbing his collars. Angel stood there, watching him work, and listening to him sing a song in Irish. He had a nice, quiet voice, and she liked the song, even though she didn’t understand the words.
“That’s a pretty song,” she said when he’d finished. “What’s it called?”
“Buachaill on Eirne,” he said. “It’s about a young Irish lad who’s in love with a lady, and is tryin’ to convince her to marry him.”
“Does it work?”
He shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know. The song is just him singin’, isn’t it?”
Angel hummed. She leaned on the sink. “Have ye ever been in love, father?”
That seemed to startle him. He dropped the soap to the bottom of the sink. “Who, me?”
She nodded. “Yes, you. Have ya?”
The Irishman picked up the soap, seeming to think about the question. “No, I don’t think so,” he said at length. “I don’t remember even bein’ in love, anyhow. Not that it would do me a lot of good,” he added. He tapped the collar at his throat. “I’m married to the Church, now. Sworn to no other lady but her.”
Angel made a face. “Yer nuts, man.”
He laughed. “Ah, why do ye say that, eh?”
“I don’t understand why ye wouldn’t want to get married,” she said. “Ye can’t be married to a church!”
The priest laughed again. He was a good-looking man, with beautiful green eyes, full lips, and flaming red hair. He had very nice legs, too, or so Nudge thought. She was of the opinion that MacAimhirgin was ‘hot’, and although Angel thought he was handsome, she didn’t quite understand what Nudge meant by that word. “Sure I can. You just don’t understand yet. Romance isn’t everything.”
Angel shook her head. “I still think yer crazy.”
He chuckled. “So do most of the fellows here. Awfully rude. Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t gone mad, yet.” He sighed, setting down the collar he was scrubbing and stared off into space. “I’ve been in one prison camp or another for three years, now. Switched around from camp to camp; seeing all aspects of humanity. Courage, cowardice, mercy, cruelty. . . I’ve seen both God and the Devil in these camps. I’ve seen men hurt and killed. And yet I’m still here. I’m all right.” He looked back down at the collar he held in his hand. “I suppose I’m lucky, but I ain’t so sure.” He exhaled softly, as if he were laughing, but without humor. “Funny, isn’t it? A priest doubtin’ God.”
Angel looked at him. She’d never seen him look like this before. He appeared vulnerable, softer, melancholy. “I suppose ya must miss yer family, don’t ya?”
He nodded. “Aye. I do.”
Angel nodded, too. “I miss home, too. I’ve got the Flock with me, but I wish I could go home.” She looked down into the sink. “I really want to go home. I’m starting to wonder if I ever will.”
“Here, now.” MacAimhirgin lifted her chin, directing her eyes to his. He smiled down at her, his eyebrows tilted up in concern. “Don’t ye be talkin’ like that, ye hear? Ye’ll get home. I promise.”
“Ya think so?”
He nodded. “I’ve got a bit of sixth sense,” he said with a wink. “And I got a good feelin’ on how things are going to turn out for you.”
“But the war,” she said. “Hitler’s doing well.”
He nodded. “Ah, but ye got to remember what the Good Book says: Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. What I’m sayin’ is, good is forever, and evil is fleeting. This war will turn around, you’ll see.”
“Sixth sense?”
“Common sense,” he said. “Hitler’s got three armies fightin’ him, doesn’t he? The Soviets, the British, and the Americans. Three against one seldom ends well for the one.” He laid down the soap. “Well, I think we’re done here. Be off with ye, now.”
She stared at him. “Yer not going to report me to the colonel?”
He shook his head. “No. This here was yer penance, remember? Now, get along, and don’t be lettin’ me see ye at this again. Off with ye!”
“Yes, sir!” Angel scrambled back to the tunnel and climbed back down. She reemerged in her own barracks. She grinned. She’d fooled the man, she thought, reaching into her pocket for the cigarettes she hadn’t put back. To her surprise, they weren’t there. She checked every pocket she had, but they just weren’t there.
How had that happened? she wondered. She must have left them in Colonel Hogan’s barracks. Disappointed, she went back outside, and joined Gazzy and few RAF men in a game of soccer.
Back in Barracks Two, Father Seadhna MacAimhirgin placed the pack of cigarettes back in Kinchloe’s trunk. He smirked slightly. “Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile, mo seo.”

END
A story featuring my Father MacAimhirgin, and Angel, a character from :iconcommander456182:'s stories.
Hope Angel is written ok.
© 2017 - 2021 DisplacedSoutherner
Comments5
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Excellent. I can't wait to see, what you do next. You're a brilliant artist, and writer. 

Now.. I want to give some information. D-Day at Stalag 13, will be split into four parts. One for each of the groups (but, Hogan's part will also be in part four). 

I look forward to your feedback. 
DisplacedSoutherner's avatar
Aw, shucks. :blush: Thank you!
I'm excited to see what you do, too!
I have a question. 

I'd like to write this story.. But I don't think I can. I believe I said once, that Hogan made a promise to Angel. The promise not to leave, until the war was over. He made this promise in the December of 1942. (Angel even made him pinky swear). 

Perhaps.. Since you've done a drawing about.. Christmas in a POW camp.. Could you do that story? Perhaps, even add a drawing?   
DisplacedSoutherner's avatar
Yeah, if I kept it short. It might take a little while, but I could do it.
Okay. Works for me