Here is the second installation of Birettas & Poison: The Novel. This section is written by me. I hope you enjoy it.
…carefully placed the small envelope in the pocket of his cassock.
He knew he had to find his way out of there fast, but he had no idea where his biretta went and his candle had rolled under the bookcase. “For the love of God,” he hissed, as he groped vainly under the shelf for the candle. Incensed at the loss he stood up and struck a match. By its pitiful light he made out a wall sconce with a torch in it. “I guess that will have to do,” he thought. With the match almost gone he lit the torch which blazed into life, illuminating the scene. He caught his breath, the room was even larger than he first thought. The bookcases towered above him giving the room the feel of the twisting narrow streets of Bergen’s most ancient quarters. He quickly forgot his wonder and remembered where he was, why he was there, and why he needed to get out.
He grabbed his biretta off the stone floor and to his horror his scrap of paper was gone. “No!” he yelled, forgetting where he was, he now had no way of finding his way out of this labyrinth of a palace. He doubted he could get back the way he came, but he had to check. As he guessed the organ bench had risen back to its place, five stories above. Trapped. “There’s got to be another way out,” he said to himself, “all I need to do is find it. If I’m caught here…” He swallowed hard and absentmindedly rubbed his hand around his throat. The thought of imminent death gave him new resolve, he went row by row, searching desperately for a door or some passageway. He got to the end of the long room, and to his relief there was a door, and, to his even greater relief, it was unlocked. There was no way to know what was behind it, but he couldn’t risk staying there, he had already dawdled enough and he was sure someone had to have heard him.
Easing open the door a few inches to peer out, he saw a corridor with at least twenty doors on each side. With no one else visible in the hallway he opened the door and closed it silently behind him. The Monsignor started on one side and worked his way down the hallway, trying each door, and peering to see what was behind each. All had stairways behind them. He reached the final door and opened it, he felt a slight breeze on his face, “This is it,” he said, “This has to be it.” Silently he stole up the stair with considerable agility for one of such rotund proportions. After what seemed to be eternity he reached a closed door, this too wasn’t locked. “Jeez, the Archbishop must be a few bells short of a full peal to leave all these doors unlocked.” He blew out the torch, set it on a lower step, and slowly opened the door. Closing the door behind him he was in what he thought was a small closet, but there was light streaming in from a small window above the smaller door in front of him. “Where the hell am I?” he whispered. He opened the smaller door in front of him slowly and stepped out into the darkened Cathedral of St. George.
The familiar smell of incense and beeswax made him sigh with relief. The cleric turned around and saw he had just come out through the priests chambers of a confessional. “My God,” he muttered. He had sat in that very confessional to hear the confessions of the pitiful and powerful hundreds of times, and there behind that wall, the wall that he had sat against time and time again, was a door leading a room that had eluded him and his brethren for decades.
Making a mental note to go back and see how to get that hidden door back open, he started to make his way towards the north transept. In his mind he couldn’t believe how easy it had been to get to it, and then to have it fall into his lap, “must be Divine Providence,” he muttered. To him there was no other explanation, and he felt sure the Brotherhood would feel the same way. Now he just had to make it out of the Cathedral without being seen. Too many questions would be asked if he was discovered in the Cathedral that early, seeing as he was famous for sleeping till noon everyday, and then taking a further two to get out of his bed. First making sure to make himself presentable in case he met anyone on the street, he checked his jeweled pocket watch, it was 5:30. He paused in front of the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and drew a fine candle from his pocket, pleased to see a brilliant green flame as he lit it. His hurried prayer of thanksgiving was rudely broken in upon by the sound of a door opening in the west end of the Cathedral. The Monsignor hurried towards the door in the northern transept. His hand was almost on the handle of the door when he froze, the handle of the very door he intended to leave by was turned and the door opened. He had no time to hide. “Good morning, Monsignor, what are you doing here so early?” It was…