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Sure, the Story Seems Simple . . .

Brad Fruhauff

Jenean McBrearty's short story "Reliquary" appears in Relief 6.1. The story encompasses cloning, child-rearing, and the Shroud of Turin, among other things that evoke our relationship to the past and to the spirit world.

Red, white, or old and rugged, the cross is an awesome symbol of Christ's power over darkness and death. In hoc signes vinces. In this sign, you will conquer. Constantine saw the message written on the heavens, put the cross on his shield, and the world was never the same. Dracula ignored the memo, and we know what the symbol does to him! Context is everything.

When life gets complicated, when its course runs, as it inevitably does, and it's time to say good-bye, the things people leave behind in this world—their relics—are precious to the people they leave behind. They are personal symbols of the awesome power of life, of love, and experience, symbols that are testaments to God having let us be. To breathe and cry and laugh, and do all sorts of amazing things.

I've always been fascinated by diaries and faces, toys and tools of people who were once on this earth. Their artifacts are as holy to me as the cross or the baptistery. We live in a privileged era. Our relics will last a long time. Especially our words. They'll last as long as the Internet, and that's predicted to be as close to eternally as any man-made thing can be.

I wonder. Do the dead touch us back when we touch their relics?  Maybe. Maybe the line between the living and the dead will disappear with enough technology, enough research . . . but we should never mistake a marvel for a miracle.

Jenean McBrearty has been published in Main Street Rag Anthology—Altered States, Wherever It Pleases, Danse Macabre, bioStories, Cobalt Review, and Black Lantern, among others. She has self-published two novels and a short story collection. She now resides in Kentucky. God has blessed her with wonderful children, a kitty named Mr. Baxter, and a navy blue Pontiac. Her website is: