Bessa opened the door to the altar that lay empty. The seminary was close to the Borders Region and had been deserted since 1960. Graffiti lay marked upon the breeze blocks. She had always vowed to replace the gold chalice into its holder and restore the sanctity of the high altar. The year was coming to a close and she knew it was now or never. There were plans to turn the disused seminary into an Arts Centre where the message of the church would be gone forever.
Only one person knew where the chalice lay. It was in an unlocked cabinet of the brother of the man who had kept the deserted seminary secure for so long. He had retired and had nowhere else to put the chalice. Bessa had played in the old seminary gardens as a child and remembered the shining metal vessel being taken away for safe keeping.
The bulldozers were parked a short walk away. They were ready for the workers to arrive in the new year and take the walls down so an open plan performing area could be recreated. The altar needed to be fitted with the chalice so she could argue her case for the seminary to stay as it is. She would plant it without anyone seeing so the local journalist could find it and report it as a miraculous discovery.
The only thing stopping Bessa was herself. The journey through the marshy bogs back to her hometown to get into the cabinet all alone was what she faced. With one resolution left for the year she turned on her heels only to find a squatter who had called the old building his home collapsed at her feet. He needed her help and she could not turn away. It was her act as a good Samaritan as she waited for the ambulance that caused her to leave it too late. Today was her only chance. Tomorrow the church would be full of developers.
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