29 Apr 2011, A New Novel, Part 207 Have You Heard from the Demon?
For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.
The priests form the Ecclesia have gone to conduct morning prayers. Aksinya and Ekaterina follow them…
Aksinya followed Ekaterina into the Ecclesia. She paused at the door for a moment, but didn’t feel any pain. Instead, she felt her spirit leap when she passed through the doorway. She was surprised to see so many people in the hard seats. Most of them knelt in front of the pews with their heads bowed. Father Makar and Father Dobrushin stood behind the rail at the back and also prayed. Ekaterina led Aksinya to a rank of padded seats at the side. She gave a smile, “Being the Matushka of the Ecclesia has some privileges. She knelt on the padded kneeler in front of the seat, and Aksinya copied her.
Right at seven, Father Makar started the service. They celebrated the morning prayers without communion. Father Dobrushin helped him and lectured the readings. Father Makar gave a very short homily. At the end, they sang a hymn and Father Makar announced the blessing. The people left and Ekaterina led Aksinya back to the kitchen. The water was hot by then and Ekaterina made tea while Aksinya poured boiling water into the dish tub and mixed in some cooler water and lye soup to wash the dishes. Ekaterina put more water on to boil, “On wash day, we get all the tea we want. The water has to keep boiling all day, you see.”
Aksinya’s lips turned up at that. She didn’t glance up, “What do Father Makar and Father Dobrushin do during the day?”
“They visit the parishioners who are sick or have needs. They pray with people and take communion to those who can’t get out. They go to the train station when we hear that refugees are coming in.”
“How would they find out about the Lady Natalya?”
Ekaterina sighed, “They would check with the hospitals and the doctors we know. They would check with the police. The authorities have been very good to us here. They will check with the school…”
“Do you think they would check at my house?”
“Makar told me he went there first…”
“There was no one at home.”
Aksinya let out her breath.
Ekaterina whispered, “Have you heard from the demon?”
Aksinya shook her head.
“Thank God for that blessing,” Ekaterina crossed herself, “I don’t know what I would do if you said you had seen him in here.”
“He would not like it here.”
“That is doubly good for us.”
They spent the rest of the day doing the wash. They had a break at noon when Father Makar and Father Dobrushin conducted the noon prayers with communion. The Ecclesia was filled. Aksinya and Ekaterina communed, and Aksinya was amazed that she could take the bread and wine mixture without nausea. They drank tea in the afternoon and finished the wash. When all the laundry was hung in the weak sunlight behind the rectory, they cleaned the Ecclesia.
Ekaterina remarked, “Usually, on wash day, I don’t have time to get to the Ecclesia, but today with your help, we were finished early.”
They didn’t finish cleaning the Ecclesia. Around five, Ekaterina took Aksinya back into the kitchen and Aksinya peeled potatoes and cut onions. Ekaterina put the vegetables with some thin slices of bacon in a pot and left it to cook while they went to evening prayers. The Ecclesia was almost as full as in the morning. Ekaterina and Aksinya sat in their seats to the side. She sent Aksinya back once to check the food on the stove. They all ate together after evening prayers and Aksinya went to bed. She fell asleep with the prayers of the rosary still on her lips.
I am setting you up for a time transition. Plus I am giving you some information about the days in the Ecclesia (among other things). Note the changes in Aksinya. Her spirit leaps and she has no nausea, no pain. Ekaterina has brought Aksinya into the fold of the Ecclesia. They use the special padded kneelers and seats. I don't tell you anything. From what I show you, can't you feel Aksinya's joy in participation. She gets to help, and she gets to participate in the small joys of a Matushka--tea all day on wash day.
Aksinya wants to know about what the priests do all day (other than lead the services in the Ecclesia). Note the last comment about their work: they go to the train station when they hear about refugees. These are refugees from Russia moving from one war torn country to another.
Aksinya drops a bomb: “How would they find out about the Lady Natalya?” You knew this was at the back of Aksinya's mind--I couldn't let you forget. Look closely at the answers Ekaterina gives--especially the remark about the authorities. This is a foreshadowing. Then Ekaterina tells Aksinya a bit of disturbing information--no one was at her house. I leave it at that. Aksinya lets out her breath--if you think about the ramifications, they aren't good. Aksinya's house has been abandoned. This is a foreshadowing. I won't tell you all the ramifications--you should guess (soon you will know).
Ekaterina is more concerned about the demon. We know the demon would not come into the Ecclesia--or any other holy place. This is a foreshadowing.
Then, the rest of the day. The purpose in giving you a full day, like this, is to provide information for a transition. I'll give you the transition tomorrow. Not only that, I also give you info on the Ecclesia itself. The description of the area behind the rectory is an intentional foreshadowing. We get to see their supper and the evening prayers. Note, in all, Aksinya can participate in the worship. She falls asleep with her prayers on her lips. All is peaceful for Aksinya--perhaps too peaceful.