An Espresso Tale
Accipiter G. Goshawk
What would happen if all our pent-up desires and feelings finally found a way to escape?
He had been introduced to the Order at the usual age of eleven.
“It’s best that we induct them slightly before puberty,” Master Ionus had told his parents as he’d sat in their small farmhouse sipping tea. “That way we can be sure that they won’t cede to…temptations. To be in the service of the Mute is a great honour; there is very little room for mistakes.”
His first lesson had been held outside the monastery, on the cliffside far away from the Sanctum and the Silent Hall.
“Now young Ouon,” the old master had whispered, holding a small bottle in his hand, “I want you to think of something you want to say. Something that you desire, that you crave. Don’t tell me, don’t utter a single word. Have you thought of something?”
Ouon nodded, thinking intensely about his old comfortable clothes. He hated the scratchy grey tunic he was now forced to wear.
“Take the bottle,” the grey-bearded man mumbled, “and then cast your desire within it. It may take you a few times to get it right. Above all, face the sea; that way if you miss, it’ll be lost to the waves.”
He’d put his lips to the bottle and yelled, pouring his frustration and anger into the tiny receptacle. With a practiced movement, Ionus had closed it with a cork and had gingerly placed it into a padded box.
Then he’d passed him another bottle.
“Again,” he intoned, pitilessly.
He’d been unable to speak for a week after that.
They trained him rigorously, and soon he felt his desires and wants dulling and fading, as they had for all the others before him. One day, he was officially accepted into the order and they finally gave him access to the Silent Hall, and the Crypt of Bottles.
The first was stark and only contained a granite statue of the Mute. The severe god had glared at Ouon with disapproving eyes; he’d had to fill six bottles after that.
The Crypt of Bottles, however, was another matter.
Lost underneath the monastery, countless glass containers filled lopsided wooden shelves. Each contained a swirling desire, a multi-coloured craving that flitted like magical mist in its transparent prison. At the far end of the crypt he’d also discovered the older earthenware jars containing the dreams, hopes and emotions of the founders of the Order.
Ouon was profoundly fascinated by this room, but instead of trapping his fascination away and adding it to the endless multitude of bottles, he kept it inside.
And there it grew.
He eagerly awaited the days when he was assigned to the Crypt. He would spend hours cleaning the bottles and staring at their contents, his eyes lost in the rejected mind-stuff of his fellow monks and their predecessors.
Slowly something began to grow within him, nurtured by his secret passion and a small forgotten spark of rebellion.-
The story continues in Part II…