Cecily was on her way to the only place she could think of to find answers. She walked down the road leading to the castle, passing the barley fields and turning to the right when she came to where the little chapel stood bathed in cold moonlight.
Slipping in unnoticed by a couple of people talking in a corner, she walked up one of the shadowy side aisles to find a place near the altar. Kneeling down with an awkward finagling of skirts, she bent her head as she’d often done and folded her hands together, squeezing her eyes shut and summoning up a feeling of trust and reverence. She tried to concentrate on a prayer, tried to mouth the words, and almost cried with frustration. How many times had she done this? How many times had she sought solace in the dim smoky chapel, filled with statues that seemed to mock her with their silent lips.
How broad and great and fantastic God seemed when the vicar spoke on frosty Sunday mornings. How her heart flew at the thought of His power when the choir sang their rough impression of and angel’s hymn! Any height of ambition or fantastic imagining seemed possible at those times.
But what was left on a Tuesday night with a drizzle just starting and Mum hacking herself to death at home alone? Cecily bowed her head even lower, concentrating on her heart where something or someone was supposed to live. She tried to break open her soul before an almighty God, before a Someone who was limitless and magnificent. She tried to love Him, tried to rouse an attitude of wonder and respect.
But her thoughts would not stay quiet. One more unanswered prayer, how can I keep this up? I know it’s all right with my head, but there is nothing else. She gritted her teeth, determined to wait for an answer, for a voice from Heaven, for anything that could signal a response. What good is information separated from awareness? What are facts apart from passion? Why are they asking me to believe something I’ve never felt much less seen? She banged her fist on the railing and stood up to stamp down the central aisle, purpose in the movement of her body. The statues were left to themselves, staring into space out of blank, soulless stone eyes.