This scene is a pivotal scene in the story,
a scene that explains much of what has gone before.
It's taking me a while to figure out exactly
how to present it, so this opening segment is fairly short.
The Father fell against the Abbey’s door
and gasped for breath. He’d never run this hard
before; he dropped, exhausted, to one knee…
and yet he knew the pounding in his chest
came more from fear than any mere exertion.
He forced himself to rise. Through gritted teeth
he heard his breath – great hissing bursts of air;
ragged, angry, mirroring the pure rage
he felt as his weakness impeded his
efforts to get to Dietrich. Foolish man!
What had he been thinking? What had he done?
At last he forced his way inside the Abbey.
He stumbled down the hallway to his cell…
and there lay Dietrich, curled into a ball
and moaning on the cot. The Father crouched
beside him; Dietrich’s shirt was soaked.
A film of clammy sweat coated his brow.
He wondered… was it just a fever dream?
Then Dietrich, still unconscious, shoved his hand
toward the Father with an anguished grunt.
Caught by surprise, Benedict lost his balance
and sat down hard. Then he saw Dietrich’s hand –
his left hand – palm spread wide just inches from
his face. The paw tattoo was swollen, blood red,
almost aglow with superhuman power.
The Father scrambled back and crossed himself,
then started weeping. “Sweet Mother of God!”
he cried. “Forgive me, Dietrich. Forgive me!”