Shirtless Warrior” is a short story inspired by a dream. Late last year, I recorded the dream upon waking, but accidentally deleted it weeks later from my digital voice recorder. Grrr. The cross being inserted on back is the main incident from the dream. At the time, I wondered if it meant I was going to have back surgery. LOL! Yes, yes, I like to attempt interpreting dreams. So fun! Now, I guess, you’ll be trying to categorize me psychologically. Hahah! Read the dream-inspired short story and go for it.

Shirtless Warrior

By Patricia Spork

An elderly priest inserts the base of a four-inch-long silver cross—blessed with holy water—between two slits on my spine, mid-center of shoulder blades. Stomach-down on the granite table, I clench slab’s cold edges and grit teeth during the short procedure in the monastery’s damp basement.

Once I stand, the priest blesses . . . again, a silver cross embedded in the middle of my forehead. Continuing his Latin mumbling, he sprinkles holy water on my shaved head and muscular body. Afterwards, he slides five, tubular plastic bottles filled with Holy water into my front jean pockets, along with several cloves of garlic, and festers back pockets with cloves.

The priest hands me a braided hemp necklace entwined with a string of handmade garlic beads. I adjust the primitive jewelry around my neck. Hanging heavily from necklace’s center, an eight-inch-long silver cross; its faux base sheathes and disguises a sharp blade . . . weapon of last resort.

Garlic’s pungent odor engages my nostrils, hinders my breathing. Blanketing nose and mouth with a red robe sash tied firmly behind my head, I walk the room, hoping the mask and circulating air will dissipate the overwhelming scent.

Knowing time is of essence, I return to the table where the priest has placed necessary gear for my journey. Shouldering the brown canvas bag containing thirty, twenty-inch-long wood stakes, each end pointed, I bid the priest farewell.

Meeting the dawn, I start the seven miles toward Ireland’s cliff caves. Morning mist energizes me. Emboldened steps lead me through meadow, then down-hill on rocky terrain to the beach. Combat boots grow heavier in the wet sand. Trudging closer to final destination, I question my obligated task.

What am I doing? Why me? Will I survive? If I survive, will I be mangled, disabled? Will this, my first Holy assignment, be my last?

Grasping the cross on my chest, I pray for speed, strength, wisdom, agility, endurance, and above all . . . logic.

Near cave’s opening, God’s gift of logic encompasses me, empowers me.

Evil must be eliminated, exterminated by God’s chosen, even in the 21st Century as in all centuries past. Who other but a young monk—Shirtless Warrior—should be, and, is, the most logical defense against genetically-engineered vampires. Canine-like heathens! Human aberrations! Fanged devils! Blood-drinking sinners!

Thankfully, legendary weaknesses prevail, for now, in the lab-created monstrosities. So as the tide moves out, I move in, protected front and back from Satan’s newest hell-dogs.


Shirtless Warrior” Copyright 2019 Patricia Spork

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