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P for Perched up high: #atozchallenge fiction

Today’s story starter (in bold at the beginning of the story below) comes from Boysmum2 and the picture prompt is another, my favorite, snapshot by Joseph. W Richardson.

Perched up high in a church bell tower waiting for the rain to pass, he cowered as he watched things fall apart. Would he be spared to later tell the tale of the times when the earth quaked, the wind sang, when outside there was a storm, as much in his heart inside?
His eyes fogged with tears, he curled himself in a corner of the conjuratory, a preacher who’d forgotten his prayers against the rain. The bell rang through his body, sending ripples through his being, incessant, like the howling of the wind through the broken glass panes.
As afternoon became evening and evening rolled into night, he clung on, trying to remember the holy words he had learned for years at the seminary, but none came. The bell tolled through him, till he and the bell became one. It purged him of all thought, and only the breath and the vibration remained through the night, wordless, but no longer agonized.
They found him in the morning lying in a silent heap under a quiescent bell.
Your prayers saved us from the worst of it Father. A few were hurt, but none died, they said as they lifted him on their shoulders and down the dark stairs and into the sunlit church courtyard.
He opened his eyes and looked at them, You were the saved by the bell, my children, he said, and fell quiet, listening to the tolling of the bell within.
Those were his last words. Another took his mantle in the church, because from that day onwards till the hour he died, the good preacher never uttered a word again.

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

If you liked this story you might like some of the stories I wrote for my A to Z last year

As a co-host, I end with A to Z Challenge  reminders:
1. Turn off your word verification. It helps no one. You may moderate comments for a while if you’re unsure.
2. In your comment id, link only to your AZ blog, NOT your profile which may have five other blogs.

3. Leave a link to you when you comment.
4. Comment when you visit blogs. Start visiting with the blog below you on the linky list.
5. Make it easy for people to follow your blog and follow you on social media.
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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