Box of Sky

Kyle Hemmings

I held my breath. The limbs of the pinyon pines stiffened. Behind closed lids, I saw the scrublands, the austere blueness of the sky, the fig trees past ridges. They all spoke a language I could only begin to understand. I opened my eyes and everything could turn into a miracle: sand into water, blasphemous tongues into instruments of worship. You just have to believe strongly enough.

I was one of five orphans of the Gran Quivira Mission, raised on hard bread and long penances. Now that I’d reached manhood, it was time to leave.

Frey Hernando, before he died, had made an arrangement. Arguing with a man of God would only leave me weary. And who was I to argue against whatever dictums, dogmas were handed down from a mountain? Frey Hernando had chosen a girl I never met for me to marry. I was to take a simple path to find her.

I could tell by the length of shadows that it was time. Within the stone walls of the San Buenaventura Church, I was to meet Padre Francesco. Walking lightly along the flagstone floors, I eyed the roof, the corbels and vigas, the beams strong enough to hold heaven, until I found the Padre kneeling in silent prayer.

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