A tiny man in a dark brown robe bustled into the library.
“Brother Marcos: come quick. There’s a miracle. We’re witnessing a miracle.”
Brother Marcos raised his eyebrows and Robin looked horrified. Will didn’t know what to think.
“A miracle?” Brother Marcos asked. “What kind of miracle?”
“There are angels and visions. Oh, I can’t explain. It’s happening now. You must come and see. Oh, you must come and see.”
The tiny man scampered out of the library door and Robin and Will followed him.
“Ship of fools,” said Robin to nobody in particular. “We’re all sailing in a ship of fools.”
“Wait and see,” said Brother Marcos. “We must not pass judgment. Wait and see.”
The man in the brown robe led them to the main altar at the heart of the monastery where the lignum crucis stood on display.
A group of tourists clustered around a man on his knees in front of the true cross. A ray of sunlight pierced the stained glass window and picked out the kneeling figure whose arms spread out like an angel’s wings as he knelt there motionless.
It was LJ. His eyes were open and his chest hardly moved. Fragments of colored light from the stained glass window flowed over and around him and at times they gave the impression of flowing through him too. They gifted him with what, in the shifting light of the sun’s ray, seemed to be a halo round his head. Golden specks of dust sparkled in the sun’s bright rays and danced like little angels in the air.
Brother Marcos drew in a deep breath, knelt, and made the sign of the cross.
“Little angels, ascending and descending,” he mused out loud. “How many, I wonder, could dance on the head of a pin?”
“It would depend on the size of the pin,” said Robin. He pushed past the staring crowd. Some were on their knees, their rosary beads clacking through their fingers. Others stood and looked on in wonder at the light descending. Others crossed themselves and looked towards the altar where the lignum crucis was displayed, the time-blackened nail hole exposed in all its glory.
“Come along, now, LJ,” said Robin, touching him on the arm. “That’s enough of that. Get up off your knees now. We’re going.”
There was a low mumble of disapproval from the absorbed spectators.
“Don’t touch him,” said one.
“It’s a miracle,” said another.
“Noli me tangere.” The voice, a deep voice, not at all the voice of LJ, rose seemingly from the kneeling man’s mouth.
The crowd sighed. Some drew closer, in seeming awe. Others drew back in fear.
“I didn’t know LJ spoke Latin,” Will said.
“He doesn’t,” Robin shook his head. “But he could have learned those words at any time while he was in school. Even I know them. It’s a neat trick with the voice, though.”
“It’s no trick,” Brother Marcos crossed himself. “We have witnessed other miracles in this very place, though none quite like this.”
“This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” The voice spoke again. And immediately the crowd responded and with the exception of Robin and William those still standing dropped to their knees and joined in the prayers. More rosaries appeared.
“Let the night’s stone be rolled away. Let sunshine pierce the shadows. LJ, my son, pick up thy cross and follow me.”
Two things happened almost at once. First, the sunray that illuminated the scene flickered and vanished and then LJ toppled over and lay on his side.