The Set-up

Suzie led us to the infirmary herself, insisting that the fewer sisters that were aware of our presence the better it would be for everyone. It was difficult not to wonder if she just wanted fewer witnesses when the investigation of our untimely demise within those walls got underway.

“You three are not to leave this room until I come for you in the morning,” she told us after having a quick conversation with the sister who would be treating Jimmy. Probably procuring her silence on the matter of our being there. “I will not have you hooligans wandering my halls and frightening the sisters.”

“Not a problem,” I said with a quick nod. “Though… might we ask a small favour?”

“Another? As though allowing you to stay here isn’t enough?” She sighed and crossed her arms, the motion pushing her habit tight against her chest and revealing that she hadn’t lost her figure from the old days. Not that I looked, mind. “What is it?”

“We’ve been riding hard these last few days and I fear that the odour our clothes are giving off is proof of that,” I said with an apologetic smile. “Would it be possible to make use of your washing facilities?”

“It’d be hard to keep us secret when anyone with a working olfactory system could track us down from a half mile away,” Ben added, eliciting a delicate snort from the sister examining Jimmy. Suzie gave the back of her head a withering look before turning back to us.

“Fine. Hand them over.”

“We‘d be happy to,” I said, doing my best to look embarrassed, “but, well… we don’t have a clean change of clothes. You wouldn’t happen to have something we could wear while we wait for ours to dry, would you?”

“This is a nunnery, sir. All we have are habits for the sisters, nothing else.”

“Well, I guess that would do the job for the night,” Ben said with a shrug. “I mean, we won’t be leaving this room anyway, and if a sister happens to pass by she’d be fooled into thinking we’re nuns ourselves!” Suzie gave him a look of complete and utter disbelief. “Well, it’s either that or we sit here naked.”

“Or smelling up your fine infirmary to high heavens,” I added. “Er, unless that would be a good thing?”

“Sister Elizabeth,” Suzie said to the woman attending to Jimmy, whose shoulders were now shaking with silent laughter. “Go fetch two of Sister Margaret’s habits - she’s the tallest one here, so they might come close to fitting these fools properly. Not a word to anyone, understood?”

A quick bow and she was gone without a word, though that wasn’t surprising considering she was nearly drawing blood, she was biting her bottom lip so hard. Suzie spent the entire time she was absent glaring at Ben and myself while Jimmy did his level best to become invisible. Ben kept tapping his fingers together like he was ashing a cigar, but otherwise we remained silent and motionless.

Innocent as choir boys, we are. Nothing to worry about here, Sister Suzie.

After Sister Elizabeth returned, her mirth under somewhat better control, Ben and I retreated to the darker reaches of the room and stripped out of our filthy clothes - at least there was no need to lie on that account. We stuffed our laundry into a cloth bag we’d been provided with and struggled into our new outfits. Ben looked like he was going to compliment me on how mine showed off my ankles but I silenced him with a stare and put my boots back on over bare feet.

“Much appreciated sisters,” I said as I reached to return the bag to Sister Elizabeth only to have Suzie grab it instead. “We’ll do our best to not trouble you any further.”

“Well, just one last thing?” Ben asked and I prayed we weren’t pushing our luck. He continued after only receiving an arched eyebrow in response. “It’s been a long time since I was a boy at Sunday school and I’d like to catch up on the good word - could I possibly borrow a Bible for the evening?”

“Of course!” Sister Elizabeth cried, very nearly clapping her hands together before catching herself. Suzie didn’t say anything while the sister dug a Bible out of a nearby desk; she only looked at the two of us like we were up to something.

Only as much as you are, Suzie.

“Good night,” she told us once everything was taken care of. “I pray you sleep well. God bless.”

As soon as the two sisters left the room Ben tossed me the Bible and dug a piece of paper out of the inner reaches of his habit and offered it to me. I took it hesitantly, hoping that he’d found an inner pocket and that it hadn’t been stored somewhere… less savoury.

“Let’s get to work,” I said as I flipped open the Bible and spread the copy of the nunnery floor plan Ben had made across its pages. I shook my head when I noticed the he had labelled our current location as ‘Jimmy’s Crib’. I looked over at our young companion, who was watching us with suspicion in his eyes, and said, “Ben’s going to check out the wing where the treasure’s meant to be and I’m going to keep an eye on Suzie. You stay here - if anyone checks in, stall for time. We’ll be back in half an hour or so.”

“Stall? What exactly am I supposed to say?” he asked in a panicked whisper as Ben and I moved toward the hallway, pulling up our coifs as we went. “That one of you had to take a piss and needed the other to hold his hand?”

“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” I told him with a smile. I gave Ben a nod and he returned it with a wink, then we split off in opposite directions.

The End

190 comments about this story Feed