He shook me out of my sleep and pulled the thick blankets off of me, constantly saying: "Killian, Killian! Wake up, son, wake up!"
But I didn't want to wake up, so I kept pulling back the blankets, growling.
My father eventually grew tired, but he wouldn't let his pride be damaged. "Fine, fine. I'll let you win. But get out of bed in five minutes; I have to tell you something before you go to school!" He giggled mischievously, "and you're going to miss out on a lot if you don't hear it!"
With that he closed the door, but he opened the one to my curiousity. It was really strange, actually, that my father was excited about something. Ever since his back got damaged, preventing him from working, leaving the job of delivering food to my mother, all he could do was lie in bed all day, depressed and full of guilt.
Which reminds me... Did father wake me up?!
I immediately jumped out of bed as it struck me that my father had just woken me up, full of excitement.
Not bothering to put on my uniform first, I ran down the flights, jumped of the last step and went straight for the living room. There I saw a man dancing and singing.
It took me a while to realise that it was father who was dancing and singing, dancing and singing.
"Father!" I cried out, scared to death, because he probably wasn't dancing and singing, but getting attacks in his back and crying.
I ran towards him, bracing myself - I was going to need all my power to catch a man twice as big as me, if he were to fall.
But he simply kept on dancing and singing - and laughing!
He even made a pirouette!
"Oh, my son! Do you see it, too? Your father isn't the old inactive baboon anymore! He can do anyting now! All thanks to the Holy Water, the water directly from Mother Nature's core!"
I looked at him questioningly.
"Ah, yes," he stopped dancing to pull out a tiny flask out of his pocket. It looked old and dirty and it was chipped at the top and painted in this ugly yellow.
It was truly disgusting.
Father took off the lif and took in the Holy Water and breathed out peacefully, as if it was the most delicious moon cake, fresh out of the oven - which was father's favorite.
He made me smell it, too, put I stepped away immediately and held back the urge to puke.
"It's disgusting, father! Who made you drink that?"
He pulled it back protectively, as if the flask had a sensitive soul.
"How dare you be so rude, son!"
He looked at me with such hurt and anger in his eyes, that I immediately glanced down at my feet. "Sorry, father," I mumbled.
"Yes, you'd better be sorry," he sighed and his angry face disappeared.
"Because it was this water that has cured your father."
I looked up at him, surprised. That smelly water had cured my father?!
"Really?! But how?"
"Who can say, son, who can say. Only Mother Nature can who has gifted it to me! Just one gulp of this water and a good night's sleep can make all your troubles go away!"
"Can it even help me with my English test tomorrow?"I asked hopefully.
He laughed loudly. "Who can say, son, who can say. You can try it, if you want."
He handed it to me and I took it in my hands carefully.
"Are you sure, father?"
"Why, of course!" he patted me on my head and then cupped my face.
He whispered: "Now go tell all your friends and everyone else you know that the Holy Water has cured your crippled father!"
I smiled at him and nodded. "I will!"
"Good boy," he said and then pushed me out of the living room. "Now get dressed, will you. You can't tell your friends if you're late for school.
At school the teacher taught us things about medicine. She said that most medicine were made in labs with chemicals and very expensive equipment. She even showed us pictures of men in white coats working in one of those labs.
Then the bell rang and recess started. My friends said that today our class got to use the soccerfield so they'd get the ball quickly before the other boys do.
I said I needed to talk to the teacher first.
"Uh, okay, we'll wait for you outside."
I then walked to teacher who was cleaning the chalk board with a brush. I reached for the flask in my pocket and held it tightly in my hands.
She turned around, a bit startled. "O, Killian. Aren't you going to play outside with your classmates?"
"Yes, but," I pulled out the flask from my pocket and showed it to her.
"It's Holy Water," I said, just as excited as father, "this water cured my crippled father. It was gifted to him by Mother Nature. Can those men in labs make this water, too?"
She took the flask and turned it around and even smelled it. She made a disgusting face and quickly gave it back to me.
"I don't think this has cured your father, Killian."
"It didn't?" I was a bit disappointed.
She shook her head. "Anyone can see it simply dirty water - it has nothing of medicine in it. It's simply impossible."
"So my father lied to me?"
"Ah," she sighed. "Well, that doesn't have to be the case. He might've confused it with real medicine."
I wasn't really convinced and looked down at my feet. So the Holy Water was fake...
"Come now, Killian," she said, "don't be sad. I'm sure it's just a mistake - just ask your father about it when you get home."
I nodded and then walked out of the classroom.
My friends were sitting around at the soccerfield.
I scurried over and apologised for being so late.
"What were you talking to miss about, anyway?" asked Charlie who was trying keep the ball in the air with his feet.
I pulled out the flask and told them about the Holy Water. I also told them that miss didn't think it was what cured my father.
"Miss is right! There is no such thing as Holy Water!" Gunter yelled out, who was pulling at the grass of the soccerfield.
"Well," Walt with the glasses said, "my sister did tell me something about Holy Water, once. She said that it makes you prettier."
"Yeah, but your sister is stupid," Ralph said, who lay on the grass with his eyes closed.
"She is not!"
"You are stupid!"
"No, you are."
Suddenly Charlie dropped his ball and yelled: "Shut up, you two! I don't care about your sister or that water. I want to play soccer!"
And so we did.
After school, in the late afternoon, I walked back home and I was thinking about the Holy Water. Was Miss really right? Did father lie to me? But my friends weren't sure, either...
"Oi! You're the boy from 37, right?"
A man in blue clothes and a bag with papers sticking out approached me and handed me a few letters.
"How's your pops doing, kid? Still crippled?" the mailman asked.
"No," I said, "actually..."
I told the mailman about the Holy Water and about how it cured my father. I told him that my teacher thought that he might be confusing it with some other medicine and that my friends had mixed feelings about it.
He simplt shrugged when I finished. "Dunno, kid. It seems too good to be true," he then leaned in and put a hand for his mouth, "besides, that pops of yours has been lying in bed for years now, so he's probably gotten pretty delusional. It wouldn't surprise me if he had just made it up."
"But I saw him dancing and singing this morning...," I said, getting even more confused and more unsure of the power of the Holy Water.
He shrugged again and started to walk away. "Maybe he was just trying to make you happy! But I've got more mail to deliver, so bye!"
I waved him goodbye and sighed. That hadn't made anything clearer.
I was going to have to ask father myself then.
The sun started to disappear behind the thick woods close to my neighbourhood. The street lights were turned on and had put the street in one of those creepy places where ghosts and people in dark clothes with knifes appeared. I knew it only happened in books and in films, but I still wanted to get home quickly. Just to ask father about the water, of course.
I walked closely to the lampposts and kept my head low.
Then I saw the beggar who held out his hands all day, all night. Everybody said he was a dirty old man and didn't deserve any money.
But then I saw a picture of a woman embracing two girls and couldn't help but pity him. So I put a coin in his hand.
He slowly looked up to me and grabbed my hand. He shook it very hard and kept mumbling "thank you, thank you".
I quickly let go and nodded politely. Then I started to walk away again, but he yelled: "Wait!" and I was forced to turn back.
A bit awkwardly I stood before him once again and he then bared his yellow teeth in a smile.
"You are the first one," he said and his shaking finger was pointed at me, "you are the first, boy, you are the first. This is a miracle. A gift," he looked up at darkening sky, "thank you, too, God."
Then he turned to me again. "Is there anything I can do for you, boy?"
I scratched my cheek and thought about this. Father always told me not let a favor go unreturned, especially when the other insists.
"Oh," I pulled out the flask. "But there is."
I told him how the Holy Water had cured my crippled father. I told him that my teacher thought he had confused it with some other medicine and that my friends weren't sure. I told him that the mailman thought he had made it up.
The beggar started to laugh and took my hand. "Look up at the sky, boy."
I did as he said.
"This entire world is envelopped with this sky. You know why? Because it is the gate to heaven where God sits and watches over us. He looks at every single one of us, He looks at you and me and sees how we live. And if you have lived as He wanted you to, He will give you a miracle, a miracle that can change your life."
"A miracle? Can God really do that?"
"Yes!" the beggar exclaimed. "Yes, of course! He just did! You and your coin were my miracle. And your father's miracle was that Holy Water! Your teacher, friends and that mailman haven't had their miracle, yet, so they cannot understand His power and the power of His gifts. God has cured your father, boy!"
God had cured my father...
God had cured my father!
Of course! Miss also said that a lot of people believe in God and that they pray to him all the time. Perhaps father had done that, too, and had gotten this gift in return!
I thanked the old beggar and then ran home excitedly.
And then another miracle took place right in front of my house.
A fancy car was parked before my house and a tall man stepped out of it. Under the lamppost light I could see his glossy hair and glasses and his neat clothes.
"Brother!" I yelled and I ran straight at him.
He kneeled down and spread his arms. He caught me in an embrace.
"This is a miracle!" I said and then looked at him. "God has also given me a miracle!"
He looked at me questioningly. "God has? Since when are you religious?"
He then sighed. "What did father make you believe this time?"
"Nothing!" I said excitingly, "but there was this beggar..."
I told him the entire story. I told him about father and his Holy Water that had cured him of his crippleness. I told him that my teacher didn't think it true and said he just confused it with real medicine. I told him my friends weren't sure. I told him the mailman thought that father just made it up. And then I told him about the beggar who said it was a miracle of God and that my friends, teacher and the mailman couldn't know any better, because they haven't experienced such a miracle yet - that explained why father was so miraculously cured and why he was here!
He wore a frown on his face when I finished my story. "O, Killian, what have all those people put into your head?"
I looked at him angrily - he always said such things. "They didn't do anything to my head."
"Look, Killian, actually that beggar and father don't differ too much from each other. Actually, all of the people you spoke to today are all the same."
"Father is not a beggar! Miss and my friends neither!" I cried out. How could brother say that! He couldn't speak about the people I cared about like that.
"Okay, Killian," he said an held up his hand. "You're right, I'm sorry. But here's the thing - what they all have in common is that they believe in something, in something special.
"People always need something special to believe in. It must either be scientific - your teacher who thinks only medicine can cure diseases - or divine - the beggar who thinks that you giving him money is God's gift to him - or magical - father who thinks some expensive water has cured him. It's not good or bad - it just is. That's why some people do believe in the Holy Water and others don't."
I didn't say anything, because I knew he wasn't done yet. He never was.
He got up and looked down at me. "The important thing is this," he tapped his forehead, "it is you, your mind, your soul. That is something you can always be sure of - as long as you stay true to yourself, as long as you believe in yourself, it doesn't matter whether it's 'Holy Water' that cures you or good medicine."
We started to walk towards to front door and after waiting for a while, I was sure he was done.
"I don't get it," I said. "Is the Holy Water real or not?"
He laughed softly. "When you're older, you'll understand. For now, let's just say that father just got sick of lying in bed all day. You just tell him that all your friends and even your teacher couldn't believe it and that it must've been a miracle."
Father opened the door and screamed when he saw brother in front of him. He took him in his embrace and yelled for mother to come and see what kind of magical gift Mother Nature had given him this time. He also gave me a hand and told me to get in and tell me all about what my friends and everyone else I knew, said about the Holy Water.
"They couldn't believe it, " I said, "it must've been a miracle."
My brother winked at me.
I hope you enjoyed today's "short" story! (Hehe... Very short indeed...)
See you on the next page!
[Pic origin: www.deviantart.com; made by rainbowboo]