a young ambitious priest, dreams of power and influence.
hours of research leads him to his church’s relic- the fingerbone of a saint known for signs and miracles. machinations and bribes secure him the hiding place of this artifact, which he steals and fashions into a pendant, which he wears on a thong around his neck, next to his skin.
at night the saint whispers to him in his dreams. every night… and sometimes during the day. but the voice is faint, and the secrets tantalizing but vague.
the first time he swallows it, he pounds it with a mortar and pestle into a fine powder and mixes it with holy water. the next day it passes from his bowels- once more intact.
after that he simply snatches it from his bedpan each morning and swallows it whole. he no longer needs any other sustenance. and the saint now appears to him in visions, with promises and premonitions.
finally, he straps his left arm down to a board and grips a thick strip of leather between his teeth as he flays open his hand, resurrectionists anatomical diagrams on the table beside him. with infinite care he prises loose the bone from his finger and replaces it with that of his otherworldly guide. before he can even reach for the needle and thread to sew up the mess he’s made of his flesh, the pain rolls his eyes back in his head and he collapses into darkness.
the following morning he wakes to bloodstained frock, tools, and table, but his arm is flawless and whole. the saint is with him now- they are one.
he smiles, and goes out to greet the new day.