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My Own Canterbury

Introductory Paragraph:


There was a Writer, who rode along with a small group of artistic people such as dancers and Thespians. She came from the mountains in North Carolina, where she lived alone in a wooden cabin. She was a very energetic, adventurous, opinionated, and respectful woman. She was a strong believer in her faith, even though her faith was of Luther’s churches. Weirdly, she seemed not to like the Catholic faith because when anyone spoke of this faith, she would stray off to the side with her face downcast. I asked her, nicely, the reason why she would do this action but all she said was that she came from a family who had her life planned out and that she will not go into detail about it. Still, even though she disliked the Catholic faith, she was nice and respectful to everyone. Additionally, she saw this pilgrimage as a new adventure and so, she saw this as a chance to find inspirations for her writing. She wore a pair of boot-cut blue jeans, sleek black riding boots, and a yellow, v-neck t-shirt with ruffles on the sleeves. She rode side-saddle on a black-speckled, gray mare with a notebook and a pencil in her hands…and as always, her hair swayed elegantly in the wind.


The Writer’s Tale:


The tale begins with a little child, named Magdalene. She was a poor child; living on the streets and having dinners of garbage. Last year, her orphanage burned to the ground and in the aftermath, no one wanted to adopt her. So, she was left for the streets.

Magdalene lived on the streets until one day, a stranger appeared. He was a tall, buff man with scruffy, black facial hair and black-cropped hair. He stared down at Magdalene with his piercing, blue eyes and he held a devious smile on his face.

He began to talk to Magdalene; questioning who she was and she answered him, not knowing about the rules of caution with strangers. After they talked for a little while, the stranger introduced himself as Reficul and announced that he had an offer for her. Magdalene listened intently; hoping that he would offer of adopting her and taking her away from the miserable street life.

Reficul offered her money, food, drink, clothing, shelter, and many other things in exchange for one thing: that she would do any job that he assigns to her. In desperation for a better life, Magdalene agrees to the offer and she is taken home with Reficul.

********


Many a year later, Magdalene grew up to the age of eighteen. She had become a strong woman with an instinct of a tiger: one that kills without hesitation.

She had just come home from one of Reficul’s assigned jobs. This time, it was a little boy whom had thrown a rock at Reficul the previous day. With pity, she took his life in the fast lane.

Her gut told her that what she did for the man was wrong but she ignored it as usual. Her rewards were the only thing important to her because if she did not have them, she would not be able to survive and would die on the streets. Plus, she believed the words she grew up with “that she would always be a killer and nothing else.”

A flash of a little girl crying with blood-stained hands and a body of a dead dog next to her flashed across Magdalene’s mind. Magdalene shook her head and ignored the flashback. She had to keep strong to survive.

She went straight to her bedroom, which consisted of a dusty old mattress and a dusty wool blanket. Her “bedroom” was placed in a closet space, under the stairs. The house Reficul lived in was not what she imagined, when she was a child, to live her life in.

It was an old shack with smoggy mirrors, dusty furniture, dusty tables, and an old-fashioned kitchen. The only thing that was interesting about the shack was the gigantic fireplace that was placed in the middle of the downstairs living room.
The fireplace was the only thing in the house that was kept perfectly clean. It was made of white marble with a gold-trimming around it and an old, grandfather-clock above it, on its shelf. Magdalene was always fascinated by it. She loved watching it at night when the moonlight glinted off of it…

Reficul entered her bedroom as Magdalene sat up and looked at him. He looked about the same when she had first met him as a child but his facial hair was gone and he had a few wrinkles here and there. He was still young though, probably in his older thirties.

Reficul spoke gently, “Have you completed your task?”

Magdalene responded, “Yes. It is complete.”

Reficul nodded, “As usual, here’s your reward.”

Reficul threw three coins into Magdalene’s lap. They were golden coins and she knew she would use them for food as she was running out of food lately. Magdalene grabbed the coins from her lap and put it in her back pocket of her ripped jeans.

Magdalene was about to get ready for bed, since she was done for the day, but she heard her door lock with a click. She looked back at Reficul and found him coming towards her.

She spoke with agitation, “What are you doing? I am done for the day.”

Reficul smirked and pulled of his shirt; revealing his muscular abdomen.

He spoke, “Yes, but for this extra-job I’ll pay you ten golden coins as the reward.”

Magdalene’s gut nudged at her again but she ignored it. The reward was too great to ignore. So, she closed her eyes and reached for his chest.

Sooner or later, the task was done and Reficul went out of her room after he had given Magdalene her reward. Magdalene jumped in excitement as she had enough money to get food and a new, fresh pair of jeans. However, even though she was excited, she went to bed in a depressed mood as more flashbacks from her past came to her.

Some of them were of bloody scenes. Some were of Reficul and other men in her bed. Some of them were of her stealing things. Some of were things that were too horrible to tell.

She sighed with sadness at the things that she had done. She began to wish she didn’t have to do these things and soon, she began to feel guilty of her past…the words of her always being a killer and the rewards she got from her past “jobs” rushed into her mind; eliminating all the thoughts that came from her gut that night.

The next morning, after eating cold eggs and drinking sour milk, Magdalene went into the living room and watched the burning fire inside the fireplace as she waited for Reficul to come downstairs for today’s job information.

He came down the stairs like a prince of England with his silky, white robe and his slippers of gold silk. He had a blue folder in his hand and a cup of coffee in his other hand. He had a grin on his face.

Soon, after a long and over-exaggerated “walk down the stairs”, he sat down while taking a sip of his coffee.

He spoke with a devious smile on his face, “Good morning, Magdalene.”

Magdalene responded, “Good morning, sir.”

He put the coffee down on the coffee table and spoke very deviously, “Last night was a bundle of fun. Wasn’t it, Magdalene?”

Magdalene rolled her eyes.

“Yes, sir. Can we just please get to the job details for today, sir?”

Reficul frowned and threw the folder across the table. Magdalene picked the folder up and opened it. She found a picture of a forty-year old man with a smile on his face.

Magdalene looked at his religious clothing that he wore in curiosity. She did not recognize it.

Reficul informed, “This is Immanuel King. He is a pastor of the Christian faith—

Magdalene interrupted, “A Catholic priest, I’m guessing?”

Reficul spoke smugly “No. He is a Lutheran pastor.”

Magdalene questioned, “Lutheran? But, I though the only type of Christian was Catholicism.”

Reficul spoke with frustration, “No. There is another type of Christian called the “protestant”. Protestants consist of many different types depending on their belief systems. Lutheran is one of the dominations, or as you put it, “types” of the Protestant. But enough with this Christian talk, I hate Christian talks.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, you will find Immanuel in the church I showed you last week.”

“The one that is around the corner from the open-market and is really small?”

“Yes, that is the one. As always, you can complete the task in any way you want but the task must be complete before tomorrow and the aftermath must be cleaned up to where there is no trace left behind. Do you understand, Magdalene?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Now, go and suit up. You’ll need your armor.”

“Why? He’s just a priest.”

“He’s a pastor, not a priest. Anyways, pastors should not be taken for granted. They sometimes have a way of…knowing things that may happen to them or other people. So, stay on your guard.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, go.”

She went away upstairs to her closet and grabbed her armory clothes to put them on.

First, she put on her suit that was made of chain-mail. Then, she hooked on her small breastplate. Next, she zipped up her black leather suit and hooked on her belt that consisted of weaponry holders. Then, she put her weaponry in the appropriate places (the weaponry consisted of small daggers, pocketknives, two swords, bottles of poison, silver stakes, two small guns, extra bullets, a medium-sized whip of thorns in a leather casing, and a taser). As one can tell, she was very creative in how she did her tasks and she changed her tactics constantly for reasons of trying not to get traced. Lastly, she folded up the picture of Immanuel King and had put it in one of her holders on her belt as she swished on her black, hooded cape (which hid her weapons).

Sooner or later, she was out on the streets; heading towards the open-market.

Thankfully, the open-market wasn’t very busy and only had a few people shopping at one stall that was steaming with fresh fish. Magdalene turned the corner, away from the open-market, and found the church. It was decorated with the morning’s earlier rain.

Magdalene put her cape’s hood over her face and entered the church.

She found nobody in the sanctuary.

A deep darkness loomed around the sanctuary but was pierced with streams of rainbow light that came through the stained-glass windows. Magdalene looked around for a little while; fascinated by the church’s style.

Usually, when she had tasks in Catholic churches, the styles tended to be same with their overly-fancy stained-glass windows and gigantic statues of their saints. However, here at this church, it was very simplistic. So simplistic, that it had a “homey” feel to it like it was a regular home but with a religious touch in its style.

Magdalene wasn’t a very strong Christian, since she had jobs to do and didn’t have the time to go to church. Anyways, Reficul always threatened to her that if she ever went to church at least once, he would no longer give her rewards for her completed tasks and would have to do them for nothing. So, she gave up on the whole “hoping to go to church” thing as she did not want to lose her only important thing in life: the rewards.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?”

Magdalene turned around in a flash with a small, silver dagger in her hand as she guessed who it might be.

Her guess was right. It was Immanuel King.

Immanuel was a tall, slim man. He wore a black, rector’s outfit and held a plain, black bible in his hand.

He stared at the dagger in fear and in concern.

“Who are you and what is the purpose of the dagger?”

“I shall not give you my name but I will tell you that you are going to be killed today.”

Immanuel gave a shocked look but, then gulped while calming down. He looked at Magdalene in concern.

“For what purpose do you wish to be my hand of Death?”

“There is only one purpose: is to complete my task of being your hand of Death, as you say it.”

Immanuel raised his eyebrows.

“Task? Is that the purpose? A task?”

“Yes.”

“Are you doing this for something else? A reward, maybe?”

“Yes…wait. Just shut up and let me kill you so I can get this over with!”

She lounged at him, with the dagger, but he moved out of the way just in time.

“Hold on there! Can’t I have my questions answered before I die?”

Magdalene hesitated and considered his question. She shrugged her shoulders.

“Sure. It won’t be any harm if I tell you stuff because you’ll be dead by the time I’m finished with you. Go on. Ask your questions.”

“So, what is the reward for killing me?”

“Usually, the reward is gold coins or money but I never know. Reficul sometimes surprises me with other stuff like expensive clothes.”

Immanuel raised his eyebrows.

“Reficul?”

“Yea. He’s my task assigner.”

“Task assigner? Wait. So, you were hired for these jobs?”

“Sort-of.”

“Sort-of?”

“It’s a long story.”

“Go on. Tell me.”

“Hmm…I don’t know.”

“How about I say it’s one of my questions?”

“Okay. I’ll tell you.”

Magdalene told Immanuel everything from the time her orphanage had burned down to the time when she met Reficul on the streets to the recent events that have just happened like the job she had to do with Reficul last night.

“Well, that’s all.”

“Hmm…so, you agreed to his offer just in desperation for a better life and for survival?”

“Yep.”

“Have you ever thought about that what you are doing is wrong?”

Magdalene went into shock. She didn’t know what to say. She had thought about it but she never listened to those kinds of thoughts.

“You have, haven’t you?”

“Uh…yea. Though, I never listen to them because they always make me feel guilty and sad inside. I hate feeling those feelings. Anyways, I always ignored them because I had to keep strong during my tasks.”

“Have you ever repented?”

“Repented? What is that?”

“You aren’t Christian, are you?”

“Nope. I’m not a religious person. I don’t have a religion and anyways, I don’t have the time for religion with all the tasks going on.”

Magdalene gave a depressed look. When she was a child, she always dreamed of trying to go to church. However, she knew this dream couldn’t come true because of Reficul’s threat and anyways, she did not want to lose the rewards.

“What’s wrong?”

“Well, it’s just I have dreamed of going to a church service. But, I can’t because if I do, I lose the rewards and therefore, will die on the streets because I will not have money to buy food or drink.”

“I see. But, have you ever gone against Reficul?”

“What?”

“Have you ever gone against Reficul? Against the wrong?”

“No. No, because I will be killed if I do. Reficul told me so and he tells me that I will always be a killer and nothing else.”

“Reficul is wrong.”

“Huh?”

“Just because you have killed people, doesn’t mean you will always be a killer or even a bad person.”

Magdalene became angry.

“How can you say that? I have killed little girls and boys! I have killed innocent souls! How can you say that I am not a bad person!”

Tears began to stream down Magdalene’s face. She touched one of the tears and watch as it glistened in the light. She was fascinated by the tears because she had not cried for a long time.

Immanuel put a hand on Magdalene’s shoulder.

“The reason is because you are God’s child. He sent his son to die…yes, I mean die for your sins, the things that you have done wrong. All you need to do is to be true to your heart and ask for forgiveness from God through prayer. In other words, repent.”

“Pray? I have never prayed before. How do you pray?”

“There is no true way of praying to God. But, you can start with “Dear God” and end with “Amen”. Find your prayer, Miss Magdalene and don’t be shy to pray.”

“But, I must complete my task. I must complete a so called “sin” in order to survive.”

“No, you don’t. Grace from God will help you through your troubled times. But, that does not mean your life will be perfect because you have God. It will not. There will be times where you will have your worst struggle or struggles ever. But, when that time comes, ask God to help you keep strong through those times.”

“I am afraid though. If I refuse this task, I will be killed.”

“That is a risk you must take. However, God will protect you from an evil’s harm.”

“Okay. I’ll try.”

“Now, the first good thing you can do is put away that dagger please.”

“Oh.”

They both laughed and that was the first time Magdalene felt over-powering joy. Then, Magdalene said goodbye and returned home.

With a gulp, she sat down on the living room’s sofa; waiting for Reficul to appear. When he did, he sat down next to her.

He spoke with the gold coins ready in his hands, “So, is the task completed?”

With another gulp, Magdalene whispered, “No. I shall not do these tasks anymore.”

“What?”

“No! The task is incomplete and it will stay that way! So, will the future ones too!”

“WHAT! YOU DARED TO NOT FOLLOW ME! YOU SHALL DIE FOR THIS BETRAYAL!”

Reficul latched onto her throat and pushed her to the sofa. She kicked and twisted as her face began to turn blue. Then, she kicked him in the private place of men and she was set free.

She dashed out of the house and ran for the church as lighting roared in the sky. She was afraid…very afraid.

Something flew over her head. It was a dagger and it had missed its target by an inch.

Magdalene looked back to find Reficul roaring behind her. She kept on running.

Soon, she was inside the church.

She called desperately, “Immanuel! Immanuel! Help!”

Immanuel appeared and ran to her with concern in his eyes.

“What is wrong?”

A hard knock came from the church’s door.

“Wait, here. I shall go and see who are visitor is.”

“No! It is Reficul. He is here to kill me because I have betrayed him.”

“O my!”

Reficul called from the outside, “Magdalene. Magdalene. Now, be a good woman and come out here so I do not have to kill you in a holy place.”

Magdalene sat on the ground and grabbed her knees with her face downcast.

“It’s all my fault. I should have not gone against him. Now, I shall pay for my betrayal.”

“No. It is not your fault. It is his.”

Immanuel went up to the altar and took off a metal, cross statuette. Magdalene eyes went wide-eyed as Immanuel stood next to the church’s entrance double-doors.

“What are you doing, Immanuel?”

“Sssh. Please, I ask of you to tell him to come in.”

Magdalene knew what was going on but she knew she had to go through with it, in order to protect her and other people who Reficul could assign “tasks” to.

“Reficul. I rather you come in and kill me then me go out and be killed out there.”

Reficul yelled, “Okay. If that is what you wish.”

Reficul entered the church as Immanuel completed the last “task”.

Now, one might have wondered of what happened in the aftermath of the “last task” but all I will say is that Magdalene and Immanuel used knives and fire to clean up the last task’s aftermath.

To the rest of the story, I must say, is the usual happy ending. Magdalene was taken in by Immanuel and was baptized into the Christian faith. Immanuel continued his lifetime in the church as Magdalene went to a ministry and became a Deaconess. However, I must say, the happiest last words of this tale is that Magdalene learned to follow God or in other words, she followed her gut.

I, the Writer, would like to say something important to you, my friends: whenever you are in a vigorous struggle, look towards God and pray to him to help you “keep strong” in your time of trouble.





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