How history lies! How many times did they say “the war to end all wars”, only to have another war arise later, and worse, worse still?
But wars are funny things. They can leave some places largely inviolate, as though a special god watches over these sacred sites and no conflict can arise there. That’s what the nuns always believed of their home. Generation after generation told their stories of wars, but somehow they never breached the walls of the convent.
“God protests his brides’ the mother superiors would say, “and the blessed little children we protect.”
Still, every covenant runs its time and is no more. Perhaps this last war was the real war to end all, for it surely ended more than any of us would have imagined. I still hear the mutters of those conspiracy theorists still left alive that this was planned, the destruction of ninety per cent of the world’s population so the rich could take the spoils.
Well, that’s about right on the amount of death, though I think the rich fell too, from all I’ve heard. Hardly surprising, the Devil will have his due, and if anyone ever thinks the bargain falls in their favour they are kidding themselves. The Devil is the ultimate casino, and the house always wins.
And after the deluge, even the nuns have suffered. There is a story about the nunnery, about the death and destructions there, and one particular nun trying desperately to save a single baby from the hordes. She failed, of course. There aren’t many happy endings in wars.
But they say she lingers on, in the nunnery, even after the end. Apres le deluge, she remains. I think I saw her once, on my travels, passing the once hallowed place. A flickering ghost woman holding a child, though as I drew closer the image was far more frightening than comforting.
Still I thought I heard her cooing to the baby, just before I ran away.
“God protects his brides, little one, hush now, and all the children we protect”.
Well, perhaps, even still. Even still.
(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018