City of Miracles

by Zélia De Sousa

Brendan looks around the sanctuary, then up at the statue. ‘Lady of Fatima.’ Also known as The Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, who appeared to three shepherd children, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, from a poor, underprivileged family living in the parish of Fatima, rural Portugal, on May 13, 1917. She had requested them to pray the Rosary every day.

Today, Fatima is known as ‘The City of Miracles.’

A group of pilgrims, who are walking on their knees, in a huge circle in front of the church, call him over.

‘Good morning.’  

‘Good morning,’ he replies.                                                                                 

‘Please, join us.’

He nods and walks with them.

‘Why do people come here and pray?’ The silence is broken.

‘Certain individuals are praying to Heaven, asking to grant their heart’s desire. While others are praying to Heaven, thanking them for answering prayers.’

‘Praying on your knees looks very painful.’

‘One prays the way they feel comfortable,’ answers a pilgrim.

‘How do you pray?’ 

‘From the heart,’ they reply in unison.

They get up and introduce themselves, one by one. He feels kind of strange, for some reason, while they keep hugging him.

‘Enjoy your stay, Brendan.’ They wave and walk away.

Exploring Fatima, an Angel’ The book, displayed in the window, catches his eye. He quickly goes inside, takes the book, and flicks through it.

‘That’s impossible!’

‘What is?’ asks the sweet man.

‘I was with a group of pilgrims who look like these people in this book, even their names are the same! 

‘They are the Angels you called upon, Brendan.’

‘I didn’t! Besides, Angels are bright white! They’re invisible!’

‘Heaven listened to your painful heart and guided you here.’

‘How do you guys know my name?’    

He stops flicking through the book and looks up… he’s gone.

While walking home baffled, a white feather softly falls in front of him.

***

Looking around his unhappy home, he remembers his flashback… Intoxicated, looking at himself in the mirror, closing his eyes, asking Heaven for help, a sign, if the ‘realm world’ really does exist.

Lying on his bed, Brendan is underlining his Angel book with his feather and reading how each Angel helps those who call out to them.

He looks out the cracked window, closes his eyes, and says, ‘Archangel Sandalphon, you carry prayers to Heaven, here is my request…’

‘Archangel Michael, I would appreciate a job, anything will do. A home that I can call my own. With a larder, full of groceries, so I may never go hungry. A bath to smell nice. And a warm bed to dream sweet dreams…’

‘Archangel Chamuel, I would like some friends to brighten my day.’

‘Archangel Raphael, give me strength to keep believing that the above will come true.’

‘You see, I’m staying in this abandoned building. Life has not been kind. Soon, my temporary home will be demolished. I have nowhere to go.’

***

A year later, kneeling outside the church, feeling the Angels’ presence Brendan says, ‘Thank you.’  

Zélia De Sousa is a Portuguese-South African living in the United Kingdom. Brazilian Author Paulo Coelho inspired her to write after she’d read The Alchemist. She likes to write novels/short stories, poetry and scripts. Zélia loves travelling and turning her adventures into stories. Her work has been published in a different anthologies, Bosphorus Review of Books, Pure Slush Books, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, Another Chicago Magazine and Culture Cult Magazine. She has contributed to The Dear Loneliness publishing magazine project and is acknowledged in the memoir, The True Adventures of Gidon Lev: A Holocaust Survivor.