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The Cathedral (Chapter 2)
The morning air felt brisk against his face as Lequasielle walked outside the cathedral and in to the alleyway carrying the contents of the cisterns. He enjoyed the early morning smells of the city; the bakery down the way with the wonderful aroma it provided always pleased him while performing his morning task. Pausing for just a moment, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, letting the fresh smell permeate his lungs. Smiling, he nodded his head approvingly and continued on.
After he had emptied them, Lequasielle carried the pails up the alleyway and set them by the side entrance, as usual, the sounds of the city caught his attention and he walked to the opening of the ally to watch the morning’s activities The day’s business started early as always. The bustling of wagons carrying flowers and perishables were moving in every direction. Men were pushing their carts with wares up and down the cobblestone roads, even though the sun still hasn’t touched the horizon. He smiled as the noise from the carts and wagons rumbled by; and the sound of the horses hooves clip clopping along the stone surface of the square. Men calling out their wares as the early morning customers scurried about, gathering their needs for the day.
He saw a young woman walking in the street, loaded down with her packages, walking through the square. Glancing to his left and could see a chariot drawn by four horses, quickly coming down the cobblestone road heading strait for her. He tried to warn her but with the noise of the city, coupled with his excitement, he had difficulty getting the words out loud enough for her to hear. So he ran to her and pushed her out of the way just as the chariot came by. The young woman was thrown clear; but, Lequasielle was not so fortunate.
Many people witnessed the accident; women screamed in horror, Men watched almost in disbelief as the coachman cried out, seeing the boy run in front of the horses. He pulled back hard on the reigns but was unable to stop the large coach and could only watch as the boy disappeared under the horses. Trampled by the horses and then run over by the huge chariot, Lequasielle was crushed beneath its wheels
His broken and mangled body was carried into the infirmary of the orphanage to be attended to by the nuns. A doctor was called and upon his arrival, did his best to save Lequasielle. After hours of work and conscious effort, the Doctor had finished. Wiping his hands with a damp towel and then using another to take the perspiration off his face and neck he took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Well, I’ve done for him all that I can. His injuries are great and I had to set many bones. I am still not sure I got them all.” He took a deep breath, “He is sedated now, I will come back in a few hours and see how he is doing. I can’t risk anything else for the pain. I am afraid it is now in Gods hands what happens to this boy. “
“Do you think he will recover?’ The young nun assisting asked.
He shook his head, “I think in this case, it might be better if he did not.” He continued to rub his neck. “He has so many broken bones and deep wounds. I had to wire his jaw together and pull many of the teeth that were cracked and broken, there must be over two hundred sutures in his face.” He took another deep breath; “his bandages will need changing daily. I can not come by to do this so I will need you to handle this. I’d a soon you allow no one else to see him until he recovers some. His appearance might be upsetting and if he sees their reactions it might affect his will to survive.”
“Very well doctor, I will handle this myself and I will keep you posted of any change.”
“Good, I appreciate all you can do. His good deed may mark his whole future; it is a shame it had to happen to anyone, especially to a boy at such a young age,”
“I’m afraid it may be more difficult for him,” the nun paused and took a breath, “He is a simple minded boy and life’s cruelness may be more difficult for him to understand. I will pray for his recovery and that God might provide him some comfort and understanding. The boy will need an angel from above to help, if he is to survive this ordeal.”
“He will indeed,” replied the doctor. “Where are his parents?
“He is one of our children from the orphanage, he serves Bishop Frollo.” She shook her head, “The Bishop has grown very fond of Lequasielle, and he is more like a son than a servant.”
“Well then, perhaps you might get word to the Bishop, I am sure he will want to know as soon as possible.”
“I have already sent for him.”
“Very well then, there is nothing more I can do for him now, I’ll return to check his progress, If he wakes, do your best to keep him quiet.” He bid his adieus and went back to the days obligations.
The bishop, upon hearing of the accident came to the infirmary to check on the child. When he was told of the boys deeds that let to the accident, he was touched by the story and Lequasielle’s selfless efforts. He turned to Sister Quadrille.
“Sister, what is the doctor’s opinion of the boy’s chances?”
“Not good I’m afraid,” she shook her head, “he is badly injured.”
“We will keep him in our prayers and let God determine his fate. Such a selfless act surly will not be in vain. This boy came into my chambers every morning and evening. Often I was so engulfed in my work I seldom spoke to him except in the evening, after his chores were done.” He took a deep breath, “He has learned so much, I have grown very fond of him, and now….” He drifted oft on thought.
“Lequasielle cane to us as a very young child and has grown up here, He is very fond of you, we all can see it in his face.”
“I have seen him working in my chambers; he has always seemed to be dedicated and preformed his task with no difficulty. And yet,” he paused for a moment, “if what you have told of this mornings events are true; this child offered himself to save a stranger.”
“Yes sir, it seems it was that exactly.”
“Much like Christ offered himself, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I suppose yes; I never thought of it from that perspective.”
“Keep me informed of his progress. This child may be one of great consequence to our Cathedral. We may see what Gods plans are for bringing him here.”
“As you wish sir.” And she bowed her head.
The bishop glanced over at the boy lying on the bed covered with bandages. “I suppose I will need a new Chamber boy for the time being?”
“I will select a child to take over Lequasielle’s duties until he recovers sir.”
“Thank you Sister Quadrille, I will return to my duties and remember this child and his sacrifice, he may provide a new topic for the Bishop’s sermon Sunday.” He smiled to her and nodded his head, “Take care of him for me, will you?”
“Of course father”.
When Lequasielle woke, he felt sharp rays of pain shooting through his body. It felt like shards being stuck in him from all over. He tried hard to understand what had happened, crying out as the volleys traveled through his body. Agony consumed him from the throbbing injuries and broken bones, coupled with the lacerated skin on his face and hands. A young orphan girl came into the infirmary to clean and she saw him suffering, bandaged from head to toe. She walked over and took his hand and softly spoke to him. “Its’ going to be alright, I can’t know the pain you’re in but I will hold your hand and stay with you if it will help.” Lequasielle nodded his head and looked at her. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. He held the pain inside and looked at her there beside his bed.
Each day she came to visit him and the nuns saw how he calmed him, so they allowed her to stay with him during his recovery. Weeks passed, in time he felt well enough to try and speak, but with his broken jaw not quite healed it was difficult for him. The young girl’s heart went out to the boy, she sensed his efforts to talk and she tried to calm him. “You must be patient; you will be able to talk soon enough. Just relax for now and in time you will see.”
She came daily and sat with him and Lequasielle looked forward to her arrival. One morning after school, she walked into the room to see how Lequasielle was doing. When she arrived, the doctor had returned to remove the bandages. Lequasielle cried out in pain and the doctor turned and saw her standing there; “Get her out of here, Now!”
Lequasielle reached out with a bandaged hand and grabbed the Doctors arm, Trying to talk through his wired jaws, “No…Ppppple..plea plea”
The nurse looked at him then to he child. She looked at the Doctor, “Sir she may help calm him, if you please, let her come.”
He nodded, “I suppose if you think it will help.” The nurse motioned for her; Esmeralda walked over and held his hand once again. He stopped his cries of pain, and tried hard to hold it in, as the warmth of her hand penetrated deep within, and helped to calm him.
The doctor removed his bandages and exposed his face. The nun, gasping from the shock of his appearance, turned away. The Doctor grimaced and let out a deep sigh. Esmeralda saw his face but kept her reaction hidden from him. She just looked into his eyes and smiled, “See it will all be over soon.” And the Doctor carefully removed the wires from his jaw.
Lequasielle took a deep breath trying to recover from the pain. His jaw was misaligned and his teeth were out of place. The left side of his face looked normal but the right side still held the marks from the chariot and its impact. The side of his face that was crushed, now healing distorted, his eye lower than its normal position. His skin was marbled and coarse. She tried hard to look past that and softly spoke…”Can you tell me your name now?”
He looked up into her soft green eyes, “La La qua….si, La qua…si..Mot..onn Mot…onne, “ he tried to tell her but even before the accident it was difficult, he couldn’t get it out for her…he kept trying harder but it only became worse. “La..quasi…Mo Moto” exasperated he let out a gasp and collapsed turning his head away.
She smiled, “Quasi Moto? Is that it? What a fascinating name, I like it!”
He turned back to face her, her smile seemed to remove all pain. He nodded his head, it wasn’t right, but he liked the way she said it. And so it became his name from that point on.
Well.” She smiled, “My name is Esmeralda.
Quasi attempted a smile but still sore from the injuries, he was only able to nod his head and mumbled “ni…ce..to to to…”
“Nice to meet you as well Quasi.” She interrupted him; grinned and gave his had a friendly squeeze.
As time passed Quasi’s injuries started healing. The Doctor made periodic visits to continue checking on him and his progress, and encouraged Esmeralda with the progress she had helped Quasi to make. Quasi was told by his doctor that if he wanted to gain use of his arms and legs he needed to exercise them often and work hard to develop the muscles if he were to overcome the injuries. Though his body was contorted, his heart was pure, and he tried hard to regain the use of his legs.
Because Esmeralda was able to see past his appearance she was allowed to spend her free time with him. Each day she would work with him, helping him slowly learn to use his legs again. The walks were short at first and extremely painful for him, but in time, with Esmeralda’s constant encouragement and sweet spirit pressing him on, he soon was able to go for long distances with her beside him. They found themselves venturing into many new and beautiful areas inside the massive cathedral, from high top the steeples, to the furthest levels of the basements and aquifers down below.
Esmeralda became his first and only friend. Once Quasi was physically able to return to his chores, he thought nothing of it and never did his appearance come in question.
But on one fateful day he ventured outside the Cathedral grounds and into the alley to watch the early morning activities as he had so many times before, and was confronted by screams from ladies passing by, incensed by his slumped over contorted body and face. Boys threw pieces of rotted fruit and stones at him. He couldn’t understand why, what had he done? His simple mind was unable to reason the cruelties of man.
Later after school Esmeralda looked all over the grounds for him. Finally, she went to his favorite place, the bell tower and found him sitting alone sobbing from the rejection he had received that morning in the streets. Through his tears he did his best to communicate to her what happened. Though his words were difficult, she was able to understand Quasi, so she sat on the bell landing and tried to console him.
Their friendship grew in time, and when their chores were finished and she was through with school, they would spend time together in the grounds of the great Cathedral. They explored its secrets, hidden passageways and often climbed to the top of the bell tower to gaze at the magnificent bells, and the city below.. The walls of the Cathedral were thick and gave them both a feeling of safety, secure with in its boundaries.
Quasi had much time when his chores were completed waiting for Esmeralda to finish school and her chores. He ventured high above the cathedral, and out on to the buttresses and the top of the roof. Often he would sit gazing down at the people so far below. Sometimes he would pretend he was a Gargoyle and sit among them along the roofs edge. His once broken body, became strong, much stronger than most. He became agile and could move freely anywhere he wished to go.
He enjoyed his life in the parish; often he would sit up in the belfries and loved the sounds the bells made as he rang them. He even had names for the bells and he would greet them, calling them by name each day as he arrived. Their sounds brought happiness and pleasure to him
His friendship with Esmeralda became stronger as well and they were almost inseparable. Many times she found herself defending him against the cruelties strangers tried to inflict on him because of his distorted face and malformed body. But Esmeralda saw through that and came to know the genuine spirit trapped inside. Though he was slow in speech and thoughts, she came to love him as a brother and did her best to protect him.
As time passed, his spine became more misaligned and he started to walk more stooped over. The cruelties from the children of the orphanage made sport of him and they began calling him monster and hunchback. But Quasi ignored them, and when he had finished his chores for Master Frollo, he spent his time with Esmeralda. The rest of the time he would venture to the many places inside the cathedral walls, often high above in his own world among his friends suspended in the belfries.
Quasi became closer to his master Frollo as well. Frollo often guided Quasi and tried to help him learn new task; working around his deficiencies. Frollo even went to the Cardinal and asked if Quasi could be assigned to care for the great bells and ring them before each mass. His request was granted and he helped Quasi form a schedule to follow. Quasi learned fast and soon mastered the task with great pride. Each day he would clean and polish his friends, taking great care and pride in his work.
To be continued…
Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: Thu Jan 13 20:15:00 UTC 2011
Title :: The Cathedral
Category :: Novel
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