A solitary figure walked through the deserted streets. With every turn plunged he was plunged into deeper, darker shadows as he walked into the bowels of the city, but he wasn’t alone.
“Where are you leading me?” he said to no one.
He came to a dead-end, a courtyard.
“What now?” he asked.
Looking around him he felt hopeless, lost, but he didn’t feel alone. A candle burned in a small grimy window. The only light in the gloom. No wait, there was a door. A slither of light escaped beneath it.
The hinges creaked as he pushed it open and entered a tiny room. He stood for a while as his eyes accustomed to the darkness. The room was empty, but he heard whispers, was someone praying? Following the sound he walked carefully through a darkened archway. A woman sat in the far corner, next to a bed. She turned as he entered.
“Father, how did you know?”
She was holding the hand of an old man. His breath was uneven ragged.
“He’s ready to leave us.” she said. “Bless him Father, help him move on.”
The good father crouched down beside them and held their hands. Eyes closed, they prayed together.
Father Rafferty stood up, his old knees crackling as he did so. The ragged breathing had stopped. He turned to the old lady to offer her comfort, but she was gone. Was she ever there?
The smell of roses tantalized the air and Father Rafferty looked around. A beautiful young woman stood behind him. Her eyes sparkled with life and happiness. She held her hand out, not to him, but to the old man in the bed beyond. A cool breeze passed by him as a young man rose from the old body on the bed.
The young couple embraced and faded into the night.
All that was left was candle light and the smell of roses.