Going back to Part 2
The bad news haven’t went through the city yet when Matthew set off to the amphiteather, at sunrise, some minutes before the city was fully awake. He took the chains and he rounded his body with them. He pressed and he closed the lock. He put the sign by his side, a big wooden table with red letters that prayed ‘God Saves Me’.
He sat there, still dressed with his best church clothes, looking at the floor. After an hour, some curious tourists rounded him, looking. Most of them laughed with sardonic cruelty and only some passers-by stopped for a quick pray. It was the middle of the morning already when a police officer approached. He knocked the chains with his bat, thoughtful, while he asked something that the priest answered almost immediately, without looking up from the floor.
-This is a hunger strike. I’m going to complain until this city stops praising the Antichrist-
The man in the blue uniform made a long whistle.
-Antichrist. Please, I need you to leave. It’s not allowed to make this class of exposition in this place-
-I don’t have the keys-
-Then we’ll call a locksmith or someone to cut the metal-
-I’ll put another chain and another lock- Said the priest with patience.
The policeman shook his head while snapping his tongue, disapproving the situation. They argued for a while, at first with politeness until the end, when they started to interchange opinions while screaming. The discussion, that didn’t go anywhere, finished with the furious exit of one of them, while the other didn’t have where or how to go.
The church boy, who wasn’t a boy but an early teenager, walked fast. He wasn’t wearing his church clothes and he looked really frustrated. He bended down to the height of his superior, and he waved his hand in front of his eyes.
-Earth to Matthew, what happened? Are you senile already? – The priest took his hand and put something on it.
-Take care of this- It was the key of the lock. The priest committed the sin of lie, and he hoped God would forgive him, even though God is not a being known for mercy.
The young man looked at the lock that closed the tense chain; it was old, thick and quite heavy. It was going to be difficult to cut, but not impossible. They would probably need a blowtorch.
-No. We are going- And he got closer to unlock the chain that kept the senile old man tied to the metal column.
The man punched him in the stomach, which surprised him and made the young man to sit back in the floor. They interchanged heavy looks. The teenager stabbed him with his glance.
-Okey, then. Let it be like this- And he put the key in one of his pockets.
The church closed that morning and it didn’t open the next morning, or the other, or any other morning after. While the prayers gathered around the convalescent martyr, the building was left alone to its fate. Without caretaker, the little crack in the ceiling that let the snow came in got bigger. And it didn’t took long in drowning the place with burning white, burning the cross, the candles, the walls, making everything black, like coal.
The lack of food started to be noticeable after that weekend. The media didn’t know how to call this situation. It didn’t matter by which transport or where which way, there wasn’t a way to scape from the city. The wall that separated them from the external world was getting bigger each day.
They resolved to move the people to the other side by the sea. They took the two biggest fisher boats and the first tourists on paying the ticket, got on board with their luggage. Only a few miles away were where they realised what was happening, where they met the wall. The captain stopped on time and gave an alarming signal. In front of him it extended to the horizon, a plain of a frozen sea. The ice shined with the salt crystals and it was getting slowly wider.
One fisherman went over and extended his hand until he touched it, then he fell backwards on the boat floor, moving the ship violently, with a terrified scream. He pressed the blistered hand.
-It burns like live coal! –The most intelligent passenger turned over a fridge full of fresh fish and ice.
The real ice, the original, the cold one calmed the burned hand.
It wasn’t until two days after that the ice finally covered the entire coast. The speed, with which it covered the last metres with the anxiety of devouring everything, had the waves frozen in mid shoal. The foam was shiny snow, transparent and deceiving. They closed the beach to the public because the frozen sea burned so much that one could feel it by standing some steps away of it.
-Don’t get desperate. It’s impossible to be trapped here- Said the mayor that afternoon, in a public act.
Up there the sky didn’t shine, it was covered by a dome of black, heavy and threatening rains.
-Soon help will come, for now we have to ask you not to stay outside for too long. Try to stay at home or at the hotel. We will divide the provisions, giving priorities to families with children, babies and pregnant women. Together and united, we can-
The stands in the supermarkets were starting to get empty, and the restaurants, after days of scratching meals from the menu, decided to close.
They didn’t even reach the second week until the first riot. Men and women started to push the doors of a supermarket, shaking the windows and breaking the glass. The protective grilles divided the owner and his family with four children, with the people outside. He knew he lost the option of going outside again and he asked himself what will happen after two weeks without eating, after a month.
One morning they got up and the snowfall was as tall as the knees. Warm and friendly, it was the first time it fell so much at the same time. They called volunteers to shovel the snow, at least to put it on the corners with the intention of make walking easier.
It was there, after uncovering the first metres, that they realised that everything down there, even the plants, the windows, even the volunteers legs, everything had turned black. It was black like the night, like ashes, like the burning wood, like the darkness.
Next day, the snow duplicated its height, reaching the hips. When it reached the chest was when no one offered as a volunteer, without mattering the calls and virtual contacts that called home by home, asking for help. Soon after that, the snow covered the houses. And the city was left with silence.
Matthew sat alone in front of an audience of loyal dead people. He had let his eyes close, the night before, he ha let his head fall over his chest and when he woke up, some hours after, and the snow covered all the followers. They were still sited, but with the heads tilted in a terrible way, without breathing. They were still holding hands over the snow, hands red because of the heat.
He saw how it snowed until the white blanket covered the houses to the roofs, like he was drowning in white well. He thought he was delirious, due to the fever caused by the hunger and thirst. But as soon as he recover consciousness he realised the snow didn’t fall upon him.
He tried to think that God had chosen him, that God had saved him, only him, only him, and that he could walk over the snow without suffering because he was the chosen one. The chains jingled when the priest, desperate, tried to get up.
The chains protested with the hit, but they didn’t give up. It rounded him by the legs and chest, while retained him strongly to a column. He looked the big lock and patted his pockets, but he didn’t have the key. And he let his head fall down, looking the deep grey sky.
He asked for water, he asked for food, he repeated the prayers without stopping until he lost consciousness because of the hunger. The reality was mixing with fantasy, while his head spinned. It was when he realised that he wasn’t being saved. He just was about to have a special death.
White. Everything was white. The priest left himself fall down, tired, and he closed his eyes, looking for a little bit of darkness.