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Roger Arcot explores the fringes of a really never forgotten world, the introduction to which is an aged manuscript De Necromantiae , and the wish, not too repressed, to pledge your soul to the Devil! There are many strange memories and unhappy frustrated souls in this Fantastic Universe of ours strange and sinister memories and stranger urges, frightening urges that refuse to die in the heart of Brother Ambrose.

g r r r...!

by ... ROGER ARCOT

He had borne the thousand and one injuries with humility and charity. But the insults! These were more than he could suffer....

Gr r r! There he goes again! Brother Ambrose could scarce restrain the hatred that seethed and churned in his breast, as his smallish eyes followed Brother Lorenzo headed once more for his beloved geraniums, the inevitable watering pot gripped in both hands, the inevitable devotions rising in a whispered stream from his saintly lips. The very fact the man lived was a mockery to human justice: God's blood, but if thoughts could only kill.

Ave, Virgo!

The thousand and one injuries of Fray Lorenzo he had borne as a Christian monk should, with humility and charity. But the insults, aye, the insults to faith and reason! They were more than a generous Father could expect His most adoring servant to suffer, weren't they? To have to sit next to the man, for instance, at evening meal and hear his silly prattle of the weather. Next year's crop of cork: we can scarcely expect oak galls, he says. Isn't petroselinum the name for parsley? (No, it's Greek, you swine. And what's the Greek name for Swine's Snout? I could hurl it at you, like the Pope hurling anathema.) Salve tibi! It sticks in one's craw to bless him with the rest. Would God our cloister numbered thirty and nine instead of forty.

For days now, for weeks, Brother Ambrose had witnessed and endured the false piety of the man. How he'd ever got admitted to the order in the first place beat all supposition. It must have been his sanctimonious apple cheeks or (Heaven forbid such simony), some rich relative greased the palm of the Prior. Saint, forsooth!

Brother Ambrose recalled just a week previous; they had been outside the walls, a round dozen of the brothers, gathering the first few bushels of grapes to make the good Benedictine wine. And all men tended to their duty in the vineyard save who? Save lecherous Lorenzo, whose job was to attend the press. Picked the assignment himself, most likely, so he could ogle the brown thighs and browner ankles of Dolores squatting on the Convent bank, gitana slut with her flashing eyes and hint of sweet delight in those cherry red lips and coquettish tossing shoulders. A man could see she was child of the devil, flesh to tempt to eternal hellfire.

But how skillful Brother Lorenzo had been in keeping the glow in his dead eye from being seen by the others! Only Ambrose had known it was there. Invisible to even the world, perhaps; but lurking just the same in Lorenzo's feverishly disguised brain. Si , there and lusting beyond a doubt. By one's faith, the blue black hair of Dolores would make any weak man itch; and the stories that had floated on the breeze that day, livelily exchanged between her and that roguish Sanchicha, the lavandera ; Lorenzo must surely have lapped them all up like a hungry spaniel, though he cleverly turned his head away so you would not guess. After all, Ambrose, scarcely a step closer, could recall clearly every word of the bawdy tales!

Back to the table again; and Brother Ambrose once more noticed how Fray Lorenzo never let his fork and knife lie crosswise, an obvious tribute he, himself, always made in Our Senor's praise. Nor did Lorenzo honor the Trinity by drinking his orange pulp in three quiet sips; rather (the Arian heretic) he drained it at a gulp. Now, he was out trimming his myrtle bush. And touching up his roses.

Gr r r, again! Watching his enemy putter away in the deepening twilight that followed the decline of the Andalusian sun, Brother Ambrose recalled the other traps he had lain to trip the hypocrite... Continue reading book >>




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