Sanctuary – IOTW Report


(a short story by Mary M. Isaacs)

The old wooden door opened noiselessly; a young woman hesitated on the threshold, looking in from the darkness outside. The brick walls of the room were in shadow, lit only by two oil lamps on either end of a plain wooden table and the glow of a hanging lamp: a candle in a red glass holder.

“Sanctuary,” she breathed, closing her eyes in thankfulness.

She entered the room and quietly shut the door behind her. In her arms she carried something wrapped in blankets; over her shoulder was slung a large knapsack, which looked more bulky than heavy. Her clothing was wrinkled and stained, as if she had been wearing it for many days–which she had been.

There were a few benches along the walls. She crossed to one and sat down gratefully. While still carefully holding what was in her arms, she unslung the knapsack and set it on the floor beside her. She then leaned against the wall and sighed deeply. This was her penultimate destination; the difficult journey was almost over. Although she no longer had a watch—she had no metal objects of any kind on her, for that matter—she had a good sense of time. She knew she wouldn’t have to wait very long for the final service of the day. She rested quietly, eyes on the hanging lamp.

After a short while, a bell started to ring…

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3 Comments on Sanctuary

  1. Thanks, Claudia, for posting this. And Mary M Isaacs for writing and sharing it. Can’t say I ‘enjoy’ them, as these stories are as challenging as they are short, but they draw me in and make me contemplate an uncertain future and the certainty of what really matters.


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