There are faint prayers in Mouse's head. They refuse to fade, even though she's tired and they've been driving all day. Until now, when they stop someplace in the middle of nowhere. It's been a long, miserably hot day, and she needs a break. That's what she tells Tomás when he asks. Truth be told, it's always the middle of nowhere. And, truth be told, she always needs a break.
This evening, though, she doesn't wait. She can't anymore. She leaves Tomás at the motel, with the weariness and the bibles and the rosaries and the cheap snacks they've bought. He needs the rest too, and she has something to do.
She goes out, for another kind of prayer.
Her feet find the way, and take her to a little area full of trees and bushes. It's not the same, she knows, but she remembers the moorside, when she was a girl. She remembers the rose garden at the back of the convent. All the times she sat in silence, with her Saint Francis prayer card and the Song of the Creatures in her head.
It's not the same, but it's enough.
The birds sing quietly, and she closes her eyes. If she concentrates hard enough, she can almost hear the wind back home. She can almost hear the sea. She can feel the world around her. And the splendour of the sun. And the strength of the fire. And the colours of the earth. The Song is still in her head, and she smiles. Saint Francis sure knew what he was talking about.
Her head is full of questions. And sometimes, there are no answers. She is tired, so tired. But she doesn't forget how to pray. If she ever does, the world will remind her.
The world will always remember her.
She takes a deep breath, and she opens her eyes. There's a noise behind her, and when she turns to look, she sees a cat half hidden in the nearby bushes. It's lean and sharp-eyed, with a reddish coat and a defiant stand. It reminds her of Marcus, and she can't help being amused. She's certainly seen stranger signs before. Over the years, she's learnt that it comes with the job. God has a strange sense of humour, and so does she. In this world, you have to, if you want to survive.
She offers a silent prayer, for Marcus, wherever he is. For Tomás and herself as well. The work never stops. The world never stops hurting, and the world needs them. The world needs her, and she is ready.
The cat runs and hides among the trees, and she watches the last birds leaving, as night falls. She feels the embrace of nature, she hears its beloved mystery. She finds answers in the newborn stars, and she hears prayers in the whispers of the wind.