From last week’s wordage, for all my write-a-thon supporters:
“Come on,” Isabelle said, pushing a small stone door in an unremarkable corridor; and Philippe, with a sigh, followed her.
To stop, awestruck, at what lay inside.
It had been a church, once. You could still see the columns and the beginning of the vaulted ceiling, a first row of arches gracefully bending towards each other; and the remnants of wooden benches, burnt where they had stood. The stained-glass windows were broken, or absent; but the gaze was still drawn, unerringly, down the nave and to the altar at the other end–or where the altar would have been, if it hadn’t been turned to rubble long ago, and the only things remaining were the wrecks of three statues–the centre one was least damaged, and had probably been a Virgin Mary carrying the corpse of Jesus.
No, not a church. A cathedral, like the pink-hued edifice the French had built in Saigon–he could still feel the fervour of its builders, of its worshippers, swirling in the air: a bare shadow of what it had once been, but so potent, so strong, so huge.
“Notre-Dame,” Philippe whispered.