Monks in the Cloister of the Church of Gesù e Maria, Rome, by François-Marius Granet, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Last week I challenged you, my lovely readers, to write a piece of flash fiction based on the painting above (original post here). Kelly came through with an excellent piece of ekphrasis that captures the Gothic moodiness of the work. Thank you for submitting your story, Kelly!
It was a long hallway but not a particularly dark one, thanks to all the windows giving the illusion of light and freedom to the heavy stone room. The men were careful to stand in the shadows, and the boy wondered if they hid from the light, fearing it, or if they had so deep a respect for the light that they would not block it with their bodies. Perhaps it was both. The boy lived in dark places and had grown accustomed to dark’s murky shades and its closeness. The men seemed not to notice all the extra space and air weighing down upon them, but the boy sat hunched against the wall, huddling over a pan of embers, his bony shoulders holding up the room.
A bell rang, its noise jarring in the room, echoing off the stone. As the ringing faded from the room, it was replaced by the shuffling sounds of sandals sliding across dusty stone and muffled slap of fabric striking itself and its wearer and the occasional cough from a monk unaccustomed to exertion. It was time for prayers.
The boy did not pray. God had no ears for the poor or the young, and, anyway, what would the boy say? I hope my mother is happy. I hope my sisters have enough food. I wonder if they think of me. No, the murmurings of the boy’s heart were not grand enough for an Almighty God. The boy wondered when his heart would become quiet and dim like the men’s. He wondered if it would be a relief when it did.
I have to say, I loved this challenge. Maybe I'll turn it into a regular feature on this blog and post another painting for flash fiction/ekphrasis later this month.
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