Halloween Story

The abbey called “Within” Part 1

Father Rodriguez was the chief priest and monk of a little abbey called “Within”. It was located behind a mountain at the extreme top. The location of the abbey had been chosen by its founders because it was far away from everything. The ones who built it believed that it was only when the priests were distant from anything that was going on in the society that they were able to listen to what was going on within them. The silence needed to be intense and permanent in order for the monks and priests to be aware of what was happening inside their body, mind, spirit, soul and heart. This enabled them to review and clean their inner self. Everything needed to be erased inside them in order for the light of Christ to descend in their heart.

When one was within the abbey’s walls, it was because he had committed himself to silence and wanted to listen to the voices within him. Even the most serious monks or priests could not get inside the abbey. The rules of admission were strict and suffered no alteration. Rare were the people who were even aware of its existence. When they did, it was solely because they heard of the singular conditions under which they had to live at the abbey and decided that they simply could not live under those or they had applied for residency there and got denied the entrance. Otherwise, all the people who heard of it were inside and were not talking about it.

They grew their own food, made their own wine and lived completely isolated from the outside world. The abbey “Within” was a place of retreat. Anybody who got accepted had to commit himself for at least six months. They abbey had fifteen monks and priests who were living there permanently and six others who were either monks and priests from others abbeys and churches or regular people who wished to refine their understanding of themselves. In order for someone to be accepted inside “Within”, a majority of the fifteen permanent needed to form a majority in favour of his arrival.

Each request to live there was carefully studied and reviewed. Before casting their vote in favour or to disqualify anyone, they needed to justify in writing the reason behind it. It was done so not only to preserve the silence and the tranquility of their mind but also to force them to think about why they wanted to accept someone and not somebody else. They could compare their views and see what guided their thoughts when they made their decision. It also helped them to keep track of the reason they were denied somebody or accepted another one and were able to compare if they had evolved or not. Once they had written everything, they past among each other what were their thoughts.

They communicated with the outside world by letters and could received visits every two to three months. It is during one of those visits that Father Rodriguez uncle called Sanchez came to see him. He was extremely surprised to see his uncle because it had been more than ten years that he had not seen him nor heard of from him.

He welcomed Sanchez and offered him a tea in his office. After exchanging news about each other, Father Rodriguez asked him what brought him to this distant place. He was so not accustomed to see his uncle travel such a long distance to see him that he had to ask what was the reason he decided to pass by “Within”.

His uncle looked at him and said that it was a fair question given the fact that they had not seen nor shared any news in ten years. He took a long breath, stood up, walked to the windows and stared outside. Father Rodriguez waited in his chair. He welcomed the situation and gave to that moment the space it required. He observed his uncle looking outside without saying anything.

Looking for a way to begging the conversation or fighting the last arguments his head came up with to prevent him from speaking about it, after a long pause, Sanchez finally said that he came after trying anything he could think of.

He explained that his son had a problem and he did not know how to solve it. He added that his son was not disturbed enough to be in a hospice for mental diseases but he was not quite right to be in the outside world on its own.

His son’s name was Julio. He had never been a problem in the past. He had a regular childhood among loving parents and friends. He presented no particular challenges for his entourage and teachers. It was just that ten years ago, exactly when father Rodriguez took his wow to enter as a permanent in “Within”, Julio fell from a hill while he was on vacation. He had hurt his lower back but nothing serious. Little bruises were here and there but no major injury was visible.

Few weeks later Julio started to develop the strangest behaviour. During the night, he expressed things out loud that did not make any sense. He recalled events that he had not been part of. He reviewed them and told us basically what everybody was thinking during those times. He could not help it. It was coming out without his control. Once people stayed close to him, he was just saying exactly what was in their mind. He yelled out other people fantasies and his. As you can assume, it did not bring him many friends. It created many problems around him. His wife and kids left him and he had to come back home because nobody wanted him around. Even for my wife and I, it was not and is not easy. We sent him everywhere, we saw the best doctors but no one was able to do anything. His situation is getting worst day after day. Everything he says becomes more and more precise.

He told my wife, everything I did not want to tell her and vice-versa. I am tired of him today. I came here to see if you could take him for six months to a year in order to give us a break. We need to relax a little bite.

The Abbey called “Within” Part 2

Father Rodriguez looked at him and stayed quite. He told him that he understood that it was a difficult situation for him and his wife but he did not have the power to accept people in the abbey. He and his brothers had to take a decision together at the majority. Even if he wanted to take Julio, his application will still have to undergo the scrutiny of the others monks and priests. Beside they usually accepted the people who were looking for God and he did not see how he could help his uncle’s son. His situation was not one that they could do anything about.

His uncle said that when people stay at their abbey, they end up feeling better. Why would his son be denied the possibility of feeling better? It was not his fault if he was in this condition. If God put him under these circumstances, God will have to find a way to get him out of it. We have tried everything in the outside world. It was the time for God to handle the situation and he could not see a place better fit for this job than the abbey “Within”.

Rodriguez was surprised by his argument and he told him that he could not stop him from applying. He added that he will submit his application to his brothers but he could not guaranty that they will accept him. As a matter of fact, he was sure that they would deny him. He ended up saying that whatever answers they will give; he will forward it to him.

The case was brought to the monks and priests attention. They were usually booked for months in advance but for the past several months they had not been enough attendees to their abbey. It is true that the lack of attendees gave them sometimes to rest. They were somehow often tired of explaining the scriptures and how to apply it in the daily life of people. They wanted something different.

They never had a case as curious as the one that was presented to them and many of them wanted to see the applicant with their own eyes. They thought that since they did not have a lot in their plate at that moment, it would be good thing for them to cope with the difficulty that Julio might present. Time and availability allowed them to accept cases they had never tried before. It was unanimously that they all accepted Julio in the abbey. Rodriguez was surprised that no one considered the rules of silence, no one seemed to care about the difficulties of such person around them and about the troubles it might cause.

He sent a letter to his uncle telling him that Julio was accepted and that he was expected in a month. The news was a relief for Sanchez and his wife. His son has been accepted for at least six months. It would give them time to breath and have a normal life for a while. They announced the news to Julio and he told them that it would be good for them. They had suffered enough because of him.

Julio arrived a month later in the abbey. As it was customary, every priest was out to welcome the new guest but it was not an ordinary arrival. They knew they had invited someone different then the others and they wanted to take a good look at him. Who was the precious soul they all have accepted within?

They were all there when he arrived. Julio was greeted and he responded well. His father thanked the priests and monks for accepting his son and he promised that to pray for them every single day. They thanked him and he asked his son not to trouble the peace and sanctity of the abbey. He hugged his son, said good bye to everyone and left.

Julio asked them where he was going to stay. They said that they were going to show him but before that, they wanted to introduce him to the abbey permanents and their rules.

After they did the explanation, Julio told them that they welcomed him as a curiosity when the only thing they should be curious about is who they are. The monks and priests smiled and they shown him to his room.

The day went perfectly well and everybody minded their own business and nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. They ate together lunch and dinner and they went to sleep.

In the middle of the night, Julio woke up and started yelling. Everybody woke up abruptly upon hearing him. All the permanents went in his room. They asked him what made him yelled so much. He told them that he wanted to sleep with a girl. He gave her description. She used to be in his neighbourhood when he was younger he said. When he named the place he was living, Rodriguez told him that he had never lived in that neighbourhood. He knew it because he was very close to his uncle Sanchez when he was younger. He and his brothers used to visit his uncle every time and he was sure that they never lived at the place he mentioned. He concluded that it was a dream and asked him to go back to sleep. Julio did as he was told.

When they left his room, one of the permanents named Ramirez begged to speak to Rodriguez. Feeling sleepy, Rodriguez asked him if it could not wait for next morning. He insisted and said that it was urgent. He received him in the corridor while the others went back in their respective room. Ramirez told him that he was the one who lived in the city Julio mentioned. There was indeed a girl he knew who matched the description given by Julio. He had wanted to sleep with her back in days. He had never been able to take her of his mind. He dreamt of her every single night.

Rodriguez shook inside but did not let it appear. He simply asked him what he was suggesting. Ramirez said that maybe, his dreams went in his head. The chief Ramirez looked at him and said that he should not have those thoughts. It was merely a coincidence. He advised him to go back to sleep which he did. Rodriguez stayed awake and thought about what his uncle had said about Julio being able to say what people thought. He had just received the proof and dismissed it. He was not able to go back to sleep.

Half an hour later, Julio banged his head on the door and said that someone wanted to kill him with a knife. When everybody arrived in his room, they thought that they would have seen someone but there was nobody. They told him once again that it was just a dream and Rodriguez asked them to all go back to sleep. When he was living for his room, he was scared that another permanent will come and tell him that he dreamt of something that was related to the scene they had witnessed but this time, no one came. He was glad.

Two hours later, the same thing happened. Julio yelled, woke up everybody and they all run to his room and this time, it was a man with a black face with snakes coming out of his eyes, nose and mouth. They were moving in and out of those pores. He saw it and he got scared. Once again, they told him that it was just a dream and they all went back to sleep.

It happened like through the night. They all did the tours from his room to theirs all the time. They listened to the weirdest dreams and visions he had. He was a woman who had snakes at the place of her hair, he told them about rats which were invading the abbey, he witnessed somebody putting his own shut in his mouth and his face, drinking his urine, another one was slicing his body bite by bite because he could not stand the sufferance he was under, one was beating a woman to death with a rock, burnt her, took a knife and slaughtered her. It was absolutely wild. None of them slept well. In the morning, all the permanents left their bed completely shocked by what took place during the night. At the breakfast table, nobody spoke. They ate and they went to their regular duty. As a chief of the abbey, Rodriguez watched everything and needed to take action.

The abbey called “Within” part 3

Rodriguez observed everybody. They were exhausted. They went at their duties at a slow pace. Usually, there was a rush to do them and some kind of enthusiasm but that morning was a slow day for everybody. He tried to do his regular tasks but was unable to focus. He was just like everybody, extremely tired. If the first night was that tough, there was nothing that suggested that the following ones will be easier. They had all embarked on a journey that would require their patience and their understanding. They could not tell him to leave now that they had accepted him. It was against the rules. Isolation was out of question. Those two options although available were used before and Rodriguez did not want to create a precedent. He did not want to be the first to break the customs of the abbey. They all took pride themselves to be the one who were chosen by life to continue the great tradition that had survived through the centuries and inside the walls of “Within”. As a chief, he needed the keep the rules that helped them survived through time. He could certainly not bent them and definitely go against their own rules. He had to come up with something.

He decided to organize the abbey around this particular situation that they were facing. They could not continue as if nothing had happened. If they were unable to sleep, they would not be able to do anything. Since one of the reasons they were all tired was because they all had run into Julio’s room every time he woke up, he needed to do something about it. They were stressed not only because they woke up but also because they heard all the stories he told them. It created an atmosphere in the abbey that was not good for anyone. Having said that, he could not leave Julio alone when he woke up. If no one was around him, his cry and yell would have awakened everybody anyway.

He came up with a solution that both protected the monks and priests silence and calm for their meditation and the necessary attention that Julio required. He called a meeting in the middle of the day that included only his brothers. He explained them that given the circumstances, he had no other choice than to include one of them inside Julio’s room in order to calm him when he wakes up. Each night, it would be a different monk who will sleep in his room and he will make a report of what he saw and heard during his night. He told them that the plan will help them to cope with the situation they had in their hands. It was the best way for them to continue to honour the objectives that created the abbey and to give ample help to Julio. He reminded them that they all have accepted Julio unanimously in the abbey and that now was the time to assume their decision. He told them that he would be the first one to sleep with Julio and he gave them a paper where they had to put their name on the day they wish to do the surveillance in his room. He asked them if they had any others suggestions or something that they wanted to alter.

They answered that it seemed like a good plan. One of them suggested that since the monk who was going to sleep in Julio’s room was almost sure that he will have a sleepless night, maybe it was a good idea that he slept few hours before he spent the night in Julio’s room. Rodriguez and the others approved the suggestions. After everybody agreed and put their name on the paper, he went to see Julio and explained him the situation. He understood and said that he did not mind having someone sleeping in his room even if it would be a different person every night.

Once he had dealt with that, he went back in his office and could not help worrying about the troubles they engaged themselves in by accepting him in their abbey. The prospect of sleeping in Julio’s room instead of his and to have to wake up all the time was not something that particularly pleased him. He regretted that they had accepted him but what could he have done then? Nothing at all. They had to stay with him. Tranquility, calm and meditation were his habits. With Julio arrival, he had stress, worries, and tensions. He could not bring himself back to a calmer state of mind.

Realizing that his thoughts were far from being the most beautiful one that a Christian was supposed to have, he dismissed them. Instead, in order to change his mood, he decided that he was going to sleep. Beside, he had to sleep few hours before in order to balance the lack of sleep he was going to have for sure during the night as one of the monks suggested.

He rushed all the tasks he had to do and jumped into his bed. He skipped the lunch and dinner. He woke up around eight. He did his meditation, read a little bite the bible and around ten which was the hour of sleep in the abbey, he went into Julio’s room. They both prayed and went to sleep.

Even though Rodriguez had slept a good five hours during the day, he fell asleep right away. Julio went in it more gradually. Two hours later, Rodriguez woke up with a start and did not know where he was. It took him few seconds before realizing that he was in Julio’s room and why he was there. Then he heard Julio speaking. He thought that he was already awake but Julio was talking in his sleep. He was saying: “I want you to leave. You are disturbing us all. We had to change our lives here because of you. Who do you think you are? You are just a crazy person. You do not belong here. I want to kill you myself.”

Seeing that Julio’s voice was increasing, he decided to touch him and woke him up. Rodriguez told him that he was talking in his dream. Julio apologized for waking him up. “Don’t worry about it, just try to sleep” said Rodriguez.

Julio slept right away but Rodriguez could not. He thought about what he had heard and he realized that Julio had just expressed exactly what he was thinking about during the day before he went to sleep. He remembered what father Ramirez had told him the night before and what his uncle told him about him but he had a hard time accepting it.

He wondered what else he would have heard if he had not awaken him. Then it occurred to him that there was a possibility that everything he said the day before was what the monks and priests where thinking. The thought of it frightened him. Nobody except Ramirez had made the connections. Or maybe, they had and did not have the courage of Ramirez. It suddenly scared him to be in the abbey and to be next to Julio. What if Julio was to reveal everything he had in his head? He told himself that he needed to stay awake because Julio could yell out loud and tell everyone what he was thinking of.

Few seconds after he finished thinking that, Julio talked again in his sleep and said word per word what Rodriguez had just thought of. He was scared, he wanted to shut Julio’s mouth but almost when he thought about it, Julio said it. He did not know what to do and he woke him up.

The Abbey called “Within” Part 4

Both confused and scared, he stayed in his bed and listened to what Julio was saying. Everything he had ever thought was coming out of Julio’s mouth. Everything he had ever done whether he thought it was good or bad, it was out. The things he was ashamed of were in front it. The lies he did to everyone and to himself were also coming out. Facing his reality, he wondered if he was not under the illusion of something or perhaps it was a scheme done by the devil to trap him or maybe Julio was the instrument of evil. He took his cross and asked for protection against anything that was there to get him.

While he was still sleeping, Julio asked him if he wanted to protect himself against his truth. “What kind of father in chief would it be if he would invoke Jesus Christ to protect himself against his own truth?” Julio said. He wanted to know what was it that was so awful that he needed protection against it. He wondered if he would rather continue to lie to himself about who he was. If he could not face his own truth, how could he be able to face the truth of the world? He added: “You are supposed to bring people to their truth and the truth about yourself; you are doing everything you can to run away from it. What have you learn in those years of studies of the Word of Jesus Christ? Are you that scared by what you are that the moment you hear about you it makes you so uncomfortable that you are ready to destroy who you are by any means necessary? You just rejected yourself few seconds ago.

What are you representing when you are acting as such? You called your truth evil as if there was another you in the world. You are the only you. If you judge yourself as evil then there is not another body you are going to live in at least in this life. Which part of you are you ready to slice in order to get ride of who you are. Which part of you are you going to keep? Are you sure that the part you are going to keep is not going to remind you of who you were before you cut yourself or maybe the part you cut will want to comeback or grow back? What do you know?

Father Rodriguez was trembling and he said with a shaking voice that he had no order to receive from the instrument Satan. He started to pray in Latin the “Pater Noster”. He asked for the protection of Christ against the evil he was confronted to.

Julio said abruptly that he should stop calling Jesus to fight against himself. He added that there was contradiction in his head. Julio asked him: “If you see your house burning are you going to ask someone to make you blind because you are scared to witness the fire consumed your house or are you going to ask for help to save your house? What you need is not a protection against yourself. You need to be able to look at yourself and listen to what you already heard and more without fear. If you, the father in chief, you can not look at your fear, then you have no business telling others to look at who they are. You can not expect them to do that job for themselves if even you are unable to do it. Your attitude is showing that everything that you do is not for real. I am not saying that you do not have good intentions but it is good intentions for nothing.

If you are so scared, it is because you judge yourself very badly. If you are so vicious to yourself, how can you be welcoming to the others? If you judge yourself, you judge others and ultimately, everybody judges you. Guess what, they judge you the same way, you judge yourself.

If you are not able to call Jesus for help in order to look at yourself, how could you be sincere when you call him for other stuffs? What you heard me saying were your fears. Leave the cross for a moment and continue to listen. If you do not do that, how do you think the one who is going to sleep here tomorrow night will behave? Remember you accepted me for at least six months. Are you going to break your vows? They will need someone to lead them. If you are not capable of doing that, who do you think will be able to? They drink your words so much that if you make a mistake by calling me evil, by your guidance, they will make a huge mistake themselves and you will bear a serious responsibility. I am not saying this to scare you or to put some pressure on you or even to blackmail you but just in order for you to see how far the consequences of your actions can go. I am not saying that they do not have their own responsibility because at the end of the day they chose to follow you or not but if they trust you and you know within yourself that something is wrong, shouldn’t you at least tell them to be aware?

This abbey was called “Within” for a reason. Today, it is only name that stayed. Nobody remembered what it stands for. Everything you do around here is a mere copy of what it used to be. Nothing is the same. No one knows how to go deep into who they are in order to look for their answers. They just come here for calm. I am not suggesting that it is bad but it is far from what this place used to be. You are now entangled into the rules and regulations of this abbey that dated from more than a thousand years but you are no longer close to the teachings of “Within”.”

There was just a small candle in the room. Julio was still lying in his bed and had his eyes closed. Rodriguez was glue in one corner of his bed and did not move at all. His eyes were staring at Julio and he was sweating. He kept the same position while Julio was talking. He did not blink an eye. He was terrified. He did not know what to think. What ever he was thinking was known by Julio anyway. What was within Julio that made him be this way? He stayed there completely afraid. When he dared swallowed his saliva, a huge thunder hit the sky and the wind turn off the light of the candle. He was even more afraid now.

The abbey called “Within” Part 5

They were in the dark. Father Rodriguez was frozen. He did not risk any move. He stayed for two or three minutes and then his eyes were able to distinguish things inside the room. He was breathing slowly. He thought of what Julio said about what he was about to do when he called Jesus for help. He asked himself if he was trying to run away from his problems or fear. He had to recognize that they were things he was not particularly proud of. He thought that even if he was not perfect, nobody had the right to rub in his face the things he did not like about himself all the times and beside who gave the right to this person to remind him (Father Rodriguez, Chief Father of the famous abbey called “within”) of those things.

The remembrance of his flaws and others things brought back memories of things he had done and was ashamed of. Indeed during the month break they have each year, he was not in the abbey but in the city. While he spent his time there, he occasionally slept with men and quite often with women.

He allured prostitutes from both end by telling them that sleeping with him was a way of asking forgiveness for their sins. He was the link that would help them reach God or Jesus Christ faster. He was going in those streets where prostitutes were and pretended to evangelised them.

They were so surprised to see a monk among them that they were ready to do anything to by their way to the Heaven. They were drinking his words and his orders. After he performed his sexual activities, he usually asked them to pray with him for their sins and he did the sign of cross and they were happy.

The people in the city respected the fact that he was trying to bring the word of Christ to those poor women and men. They admired that about him. Nobody knew how he was doing it or they pretended that they did not know or they just did not want to think about it but they loved him for that.

Father Rodriguez was applauded and admired for what he was pretending to do. He had rationalized the whole thing in his head by saying to himself that if it was not for him, no one would have delivered the message of Jesus to those girls and boys. He was doing them a favour. The few officials who knew about him also believed the same thing and they allowed him to do whatever he wanted. It was a good service he was doing to the city. At least one of them had the courage to bring there something that was a little bite positive.

There was also the time when he sold a small property of the abbey six times its price to a Christian who wanted to be gracious to God. He pretended after that he had only received a fair amount for it. He kept the difference for himself and sent it his family. The abbey needed renovation and new sheets, covers, plates etc but instead of using the money people gave him for the reparation of the abbey, he spent only a small amount for the renovation and the rest of it disappeared. Nobody ever knew how much was given and how much was spent. He was the sole guardian of money and everybody trusted him.

Rodriguez knew his sins. He did not want anybody to remind him of those. The presence of Julio and his actions were a wake up call. He feared that what he had done would be known to everyone if Julio continued to speak. The reputation of his abbey would be destroyed. Then Julio said that he was not there to judge anyone as Jesus himself said but to teach them how to love.

He added: “What you have done is done. Nobody can change that even if they wanted to.  I am not here to remind you of those to make you feel guilty. I am just pointing towards them to show you how you lied not the others as you probably think you do but to yourself. Your family lives a good life based on the lies that you tell not only to the people in order for them to give you the money but also to your family in order for them to accept what you are sending them. You probably think that it is because you love them but it is only because you want them and the rest of the world to admire you. Off course, you are lying to them but you do not know even the reason you are doing so. I am just here to remind you the reason why you are doing so.

The abbey was built for the sole purpose of loving our self. Along the years, everything got lost. No one even remembered today where to begin with these teachings or even what it meant “Within”.

Julio told him that there was reason why it used to be called “Within”. The monks used to train people to love who they were. It was the only goal of this abbey. Upon entering those walls when people used to look at a monk, they could not stop crying because they were facing their truth. Each monk who was residing here and who was authorized to help people had already undergone at least ten years of hard training to love himself.

The people whom we used to accept here were committed to do their best to change from within. They were the one who were supposed to represent the way of the Christ in the outside world. By seeing the way they had changed and how committed they were to do so, others were either influenced to do the same or to learn about it. They were eager to know how it was possible behave the way they did.

The people who had lived at “Within” for two, three or four years were devoted to the love of who they were. Once they went back into their daily lives, they were showing to everyone that it was possible to live outside of the abbey in the difficult reality of the everyday life and to love not only everyone but most important to love themselves with the most profound and deepest understanding. Their attitude toward what was within them was not only respectful but kind, patient, soft, perseverant and full of love. What ever they were doing, they were never too hard with themselves. They never judged anyone no matter what they were doing. The only thing we were doing here was to guide them to increase the presence of God within them. Today you are the chief of something that only has appearances.”

Those words hit Father Rodriguez. He did not know against who he was going to fight and a soft and intense voice asked the next question: ” Rodriguez, what are you going to do about this situation?”

The abbey called “Within” Part 6

Father Rodriguez took his time. He was scared to say that he did not want to do it. The force he was dealing with was beyond his understanding. He had never witnessed something like that. Fearing for his life and the consequences if the thing that was communicating with him would reveal his little arrangements for money, he said that he wanted to bring back his abbey to the times it was not link to dubious financial affairs.

After that, the room was silent. Outside, the rain that came after the thunder stopped. The candle enlightened itself alone. Father Rodriguez was sweating and shaking because those phenomenons were the most bizarre things he had ever seen. In the church he knew people usually attributed these strange situations to the devil. He had heard of people who used to have those powers but they were all burnt and associated with sorcery. Being confronted with these things was just the proof that he was attacked by the forces of evil and he needed to get out of there before it was too late.

Where could he had run and not find this thing? If it was capable of turning of the light of the candle and enlightened it at if it had the control of the weather as he saw with his own eyes, what exactly could he attempted to do against it. Running away was just an illusion. If it wanted to find him, it would and besides at this time of the night, he had nowhere else to go.

The voice of Julio told him that it was very curious that he worried about the evil now but when he was taking the money of the abbey for his own purpose, he did not seem to pay attention to the devil that was corrupting him. It is only when he saw nature at play that he wondered if it was evil or not.

“I repeat: I did not come here to judge you. It looks like you really believe that you want to get ride of me because you want to protect life against the attack of the devil. Unfortunately, you could not be more wrong. If you invoke the things you want to invoke, it would solely be for your own protection. You are now scared of two things: your death and the truth about the financial scandals and sexual affairs that you wish I was here for. It would justify your attacks against me. I insist, at this moment and probably at all the times, you fear two things: your death and the truth. Do you really think that you would do yourself a favour by calling strange forces to protect you against your own death and the truth? Those are the two things that are certain in this life. Rodriguez, I want you to answer to a question for me. What are those forces that are fighting reality? I am sure you have done your classes very well in order to be a Father. How do we call the forces that are fighting the truth and death?’ asked Julio.

Father Rodriguez hesitated. Julio said: “I want an answer. Stop running away”. Father Rodriguez had to admit that they were called the forces of darkness. The voice put his contradiction in front of him by asking this question: “If he was fighting the two certain things in life, it meant that he was fighting reality with the forces of darkness. Yes or no? He answered: “yes”. Julio wondered out loud if he really wanted to call the force of evil to protect him. He did not say anything.

Then it went on asking Rodriguez the ultimate question: “if you are using the forces of darkness to protect you, I believe the other side, the one that tells you your truth is called… Come on, I am waiting for an answer”

Rodriguez mumbled something in his mouth that was not understandable. The voice insisted that it wished an answer and it wanted to hear it out loud. Rodriguez answered angrily: “the light. Are you happy now? I said it”. He stood up as if he was no longer scared and he said to the voice that if it thinks it would impress him because it did those little dirty and evil tricks, it thought wrong. He had the church behind him and it will sort things out very soon. He said that the church will protect him and not the forces of darkness.”

The voice said very calmly that if the church was going to help him to lie about his finances and to pretend that death did not exist, then on which side was his church? Was he really ready to use the church to play this role? When he took his vows, did he actually sign for that? What exactly made him change? Was it because he saw others doing the same thing? Or was it just because he could? Or maybe it was because his love of fame and high position and the money that came with it was bigger than everything else?

Facing those questions, Father Rodriguez was confused. He did not know what to answer. He was tired. Due to the sweating, his clothes were humid. The pressure he had felt since the night has started had exhausted him. He needed to rest.

Julio said: “The only thing that interests me is to re-establish the sanctity of this place. You do not have to do it. If you do not want to do it, please feel free to walk through that door.” And the door opened itself alone and the candle was turned off again.

Father Rodriguez had only the strength to say that he wished to sleep. The door locked itself alone and the candle was enlightened again and Julio said that he could sleep. He gave his word that he was not going to interrupt his night. He wished him a good night. Rodriguez closed his eyes and he slept the rest of the night.

The abbey called “Within” Part 7

When he woke up in the morning, the first thing his eyes caught was Julio’s big eyes staring at him. It made him jumped start in the back of his bed. Julio asked him to forgive him and said that he did not want to scare him.

Father Rodriguez said that it was not his fault. He was just surprised. He did not expect to see somebody looking at him. He added that after the night he had, anything would have frightened him. It was normal that he reacted that way. Julio who was sat in his bed asked him with a worried faced if he had spoken during his sleep.

Father Rodriguez looked at him and tried to see if there was any chance that he could have been lying about not remembering anything in front of him but Julio seemed sincere. Father Rodriguez asked him if he did not remember anything at all. Julio said that he did not and he added that he was sorry. He thought that because he did not yell during the night that everything went well. He remembered that Father Rodriguez woke him up at one point during the night but it was nothing like his first night at the abbey when he was yelling every one or two hours.

Father Rodriguez came closer to him and told him that according to him, something had taken refuge into his body. He told him that whatever that thing was, he needed to have a different relationship with it because it scared everybody including him. He said that he had witnessed the strangest thing during the night and he had not made up his mind whether it was something good or bad that was within him.

“I am very surprised that no one has reported you as something demoniac so far. If anybody would seen and heard what I saw and heard, they would have probably done it by now and I can tell you that, you would have been dead by now. The church does not joke with evil. They would have killed you. Now that you are on the constant care of the abbey, if anyone reports you to the highest authorities of the church, you would be condemned to death because of your interactions with the devil.” Said father Rodriguez. He did not know why he had said all those things. Was it to scare Julio or to take his revenge on Julio because of what he had gone through during the night? Nobody knew. In anyway, it did not matter because Julio was focused on something else.

“Are you going to report me” asked Julio. Father Rodriguez: “Like I told you earlier, I have not decided if I should classify you as evil or as something good and you are also part of my family. I will have to take all those aspects in consideration before moving in any direction. So I don’t know yet”.

Julio told him that he was sorry for what he had said during the night but he had no control over it. He told him that he was sure that he was going to do everything to get ride of him. He understood people around him. His reaction was not the most common and people were scared to hear their most hidden secrets being revealed to the public. His wife had already left him. If even his parents were trying to stay away from him, how could he expect that somebody else would keep him? He was sad. He really thought that by living in the abbey, he would have been protected from the thing that was in him. He thought that if there was something that could have helped him, it was the abbey called “Within”. Maybe his case was just beyond repair. Maybe, there was nothing that anybody could do for him. He was destined to disturb and trouble people. He could not change that. He needed to accept that about him and bare the consequences no matter what they would end up being. If he was something bad, then he should disappear from the surface of the earth. He did not want to be a problem for people.

He thought that it might not be such a bad idea if the church would decide to kill him. It would have the advantage to take away his problem and the difficulty he had to live with himself and the consequences of his behaviour. He did not like to make people suffer. Every time someone would be offended by what he had said, it would take him days to recover. He could no longer support the idea of hurting people without his will and especially when they had done nothing against him or people he knew. He found that unfair, unjust and most of all unchristian. Whatever the church was going to decide, he was ready for it. He no longer wanted to fight for his life or to control the thing inside him. He had lost everybody and everything that were important to him. He had nothing to loose anymore.

Whatever and whenever things would happened, it did not matter. He was ready to follow the wind happily. He was no longer scared of the consequences for himself and his parents. Anyway, he had already created so many problems that even if he wanted to fix his reputation, it would be impossible. There was no reason for him to attempt that because everybody he cared for had already left him and started their new lives. He was alone and it was a good thing.

No more people to disappoint or to shock or to explain his situation or to be careful about. He had done that for too long and it did not change a single thing about what they were thinking or what they ended up doing or what he thought about himself. On the contrary, it only made him feel worst about himself.

He looked at Father Rodriguez and explained all that was going on in his head and he told him at the end that he should feel free to report him as something evil. He told him that he did not want to continue to cause difficulties for people around him. Now that he had accepted this reality about himself, he realized that for the first time in years, he was happy and felt joy. Father Rodriguez looked at him and did not know what to say.

The abbey called “Within” part 8

During the day, Father Rodriguez couldn’t focus on his work. He kept reviewing the night he spent in Julio’s room. He revisited each part of that night. All the discussion he had with the voice that was using Julio’s body to express itself or himself. He had to admit that there was lot of truth to what Julio said. He did not know want to report Julio himself because he did not want to betray his uncle. After all, Julio was part of his family and he had a sense of attachment to it. Nobody would have understood that he alerted the church knowing very well that Julio risked to be condemned to burn at stake. It would not have played well on his image. But if it was the others monks who were denouncing him as a heretic to the church, it would be perfectly alright. Everybody would understand that after they had done that, there was nothing much he could have done to stop the process.

He thought that the only thing he needed to do was to pretend that there was nothing unusual during his night and let the others monks who were going to sleep in his room to see for themselves. He knew that Julio’s behaviour had many things that qualified as an heretical behaviour. Once those monks would have witnessed that, for sure they were going to ask him what he thought about it. He knew that they were going to tell him all about what they saw and heard because that was not only their duty and above all they were not supposed to lie. After they would have shared the horrible things they have witnessed and heard, he would have any others choices than to propose to alert the central authorities of the church about that matter because that was his duty.

His uncle would not have been able to blame him about it and Julio would be killed. This plan allowed him to get ride of Julio while keeping his hands clean. Nobody could blame for anything and above all he had the opportunity to continue his days at the abbey called “Within” without any trouble in his future.

Although he was scared to loose his position due to the scandals that could be revealed by the voice within Julio about the money he took away from the abbey, his curiosity was nonetheless important. He wanted to know what was actually going on. He wanted to know if he could have the same power or maybe to have that voice as an accomplice. With that voice as an ally, he will know everything about everyone not only in the abbey but in the city as well.

In order to negotiate with the voice an agreement that could have satisfied both side, he needed to stay with Julio for a couple more nights before anybody could approach him. There fore he needed a reason to break the arrangement he and the others monks came up with about sleeping in Julio’s room one after the other each night. He had to give a good explanation.  One that no one would question nor would even wonder whether or not he wished to keep Julio for himself.

After processing his thoughts for a while, he decided to go with the simplest reason. He called for a meeting and brought them around him. He gave them few details about the night he spent in Julio company. He told them that he had to sleep in Julio’s room for a while because the voice in Julio’s body had demanded that. He said that he did not feel like it was a good idea to refuse. He explained that his gesture might help to learn more or at least something that could help Julio’s situation.

They asked him if he had the strength to do it because he looked already a little bite tired. They wanted to know if it would be good for his health to do that. Father Rodriguez said that it was a sacrifice that he was willing to make. As the father in chief, it was not only his responsibility but also his duty. He gave his words to that voice and he did not think that it would be good idea to retract himself. He added that as a Christian, it was against beliefs to act the way they were suggesting him to react. He thanked them nonetheless for their concerns about his health and reinforced that he had to do what he thought was right and at that moment, he felt strongly that he needed to respect the commitment he had taken.

The others said that they had no problem letting him stay with Julio but they wanted him to promise that if he felt a little tired later, he had to let them know and they will try to think of something in order to change the situation. He agreed and everybody left the meeting with the exception of one of the monk.

It was the monk who had told him two nights before that Julio was saying what he was feeling. He asked Rodriguez if Julio had told him things about him. Father Rodriguez said: “no”. The monk started whispering that since Julio had spoken about him two nights ago, he was extremely worried. When he understood that Julio was just telling the truth about himself, he was scared at the beginning that all his secrets would be revealed. But something happened the night before when father Rodriguez was sleeping in Julio’s room, everything became clear. He realized that the truth about him came out not to embarrass him as he believed but in order for him to embrace it. He just needed to face it and to accept it. He even felt as if Julio kept on talking to him even when he was sleeping. He woke up during the night at 3:00 am and it was as if a huge range of understanding was just flowing through him. He had a constant connection with Julio even when he was not around him. He added that thanks to Julio his meditations were calmer and deeper. He ended up by saying that it looked like the truth was setting him free.

Father Rodriguez looked at him and felt paralyzed for a moment. He asked him why he was telling him all those things. The monk simply replied that he felt the urge to. He did not process it that much. Something was telling him to share his experiences about Julio with him. He said finally that he thought it might be useful to him to know about it.  Rodriguez asked him why he thought that he might need it. The monk answered that a voice in him was telling him to do it and he did. He did not think it over. He felt that it was necessary to do it and he did. He asked if he shouldn’t have done it and Rodriguez said that he did the best thing he could have possibly done and he was sure that his advises will help him for the nights to come.

In order to get ride of him because he could not stand that the monk appeared to be sending him a message, Father Rodriguez told him that he wanted to recuperate and he needed to sleep a little because after the night he had spent with Julio, it was more than necessary. The monk said that he understood and was sorry that he had taken his time and he left.

Once alone, he breathed heavily. Everything the monk had just said was almost like a warning. It was as if somebody was telling him to be careful about what he intended to do because people were watching. If Julio could speak to that monk, he could easily tell the truth about his affair and the way he was taking money of the abbey. Maybe Julio had already told him about it. Father Rodriguez was not calm. He did not have the capacity to think straight. He felt trapped.


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