God had teleported himself from the swirl of a brimming old monk wine into a chimera, that haunted his dreams within the brick walls of his chamber; decorated with fine tapestries that provided an extra layer of warmth.
“Winter is coming” a disembodied voice declared, the chunky and titian haired pope grasped.
He flipped into a sitting position and swung his head from side to side. The fenestral windows with lattice frames, covered in fabric soaked in resin and tallows, allowed in just enough light to locate his white zuchetto.
Donning his white mozetta, a gold pectoral cross and red papal shoes, he scurried down the Vatican hallways and into the basilica; where he summoned the head of the college of Cardinals.
“Someone broke the Rule of St. Benedict. A long winter is fast approaching. Summon the benedictines; let their Knights go to every door and collect their tithes and offerings. Let them pay for their baptisms with seeds, wine, harvested grains and animals. If peasants have not the means, let them work on Vatican lands so they may be baptised and sanctified at teshuvah tomorrow.”
“Bu…but Holy Father, if winter is coming, surely the people must preserve seeds and grains for their families or they will be famished” the Cardinal retorted.
“I’m the vicar of Christ on earth. Shall my house be empty? There is a reason I bear the holy ring of St. Peter and not you Cardinal” the pope barked, his voice reverberating the walls as he stretched his hand to the Cardinal for a kiss on the ring.
St. Peter square buzzed with nobles and peasants alike. The holy father arrived in his gestatorial chair. The pallium covering his shoulders, extended down the length of his body.
The benedictines and their Knights perched on every house, performing the cleansing rites in the pope’s stead as teshuvah proceeded.
They had come to a house made out of sticks, straw and mud when they noticed a young boy devoid of muscle mass, underneath it’s roofing. He clutched a freshly plucked purple fruit with both hands, cheerfully devouring it.
A knight pitched closer to where the boy sat. He discovered the fruit to be from the Orlah tree – one only the holy father would eat from at the end of each year.
“Behold he that defy the rule of St. Benedict.” he announced.
They dragged the boy to St. Peter square; before the pope and onto the rostrum where he could be seen by all.
“Please leave him alone. He is my son. He has done nothing wrong” a brittle female voice pierced the crowd as she wriggled cursorily from amongst them.
She groveled at the pope’s feet clutching the end of his pallium as he took to the rostrum. The papal guards peeled her off of him, restraining her just beside her son.
“People of Rome, I bring you the reason our city is under siege” the pope started, before an uproar from the crowd interrupted him.
“Rid us of him for he has brought infirmity upon the eternal city. Burn him at the stake…Burn him at the stake” they chorused, totally disregarding her pleas to take his place.
Jeff Ugochukwu Emmanuel