Maria is Bleeding
Match Twenty-Six: Maria is Bleeding:
Antonio was in church when he saw the effects of the first seal. The priest was in the middle of mass when drops of blood fell on his open bible. He had to stop and look up. Blood drops fell in a consistent flow. A drop landed on his face.
“Santo padre en el cielo!” the priest gasped. The congregation whispered to each other. Was this work of a saint? Antonio turned grim as he shook his head.
He knew what this really was. It didn’t take long to put the pieces together. Antonio jumped up to his feet and hurried out of the church.
Antonio pulled out his phone and dialed up the number he needed to call. He started pacing around as he waited.
“Come on, come on,” he muttered. “Pick up the damn phone. This is really important.”
“Hello?” a guff Italian voice asked on the other line.
“Lovino, where is your brother?” the Spanish man asked. There was a pause on the other line.
“Lovino?” Antonio asked.
“I don’t know,” Lovino said. The Spanish man rubbed his forehead.
“When did you last see him?” he asked. “Come on, think hard.”
“Um… last night,” the older Italian said. “Why?”
“How did he seem?” Antonio asked. “This is really important. How did your brother seem?”
“Why are you asking me this?” Lovino asked. “What is going on?”
“How did he seem? Tell me!” the Spanish man shouted. There was another pause on the other line.
“I don’t know,” the older Italian man said. “He got in late. I was half-asleep. He didn’t say anything. He just went to bed.” Antonio looked so pale after hearing this.
“Okay, thank you,” he said. He hung up before Lovino said another word.
The older countries met at Antonio’s house.
“Thank you for coming,” he said with a tray of spicy tea and coffee. “It’s gotten worse than what we thought.” Roderich picked up his glass.
“What is this about?” the Austrian man asked. Antonio joined them on the couch.
“The first seal has been broken,” he said in a low voice. All eyes fell on him.
“You can’t be serious,” Gilbert said.
“Si,” the Spanish man said. “Have you had any calls from the hospital?”
“Yeah,” the Prussian man said. “Ludwig woke up. They are going to discharge him in a couple of days.”
“Just as I thought,” Antonio said. Gilbert gave him a strange look.
“What do you mean? You can’t possibly suggest…” he said.
“I’m afraid so,” the Spanish man said. Gilbert shook his head.
“No… No, that can’t be,” he said.
“I’m so sorry,” Antonio said. He set down his glass. “The righteous man shall be tempted to join the fallen.” Elizabeta shook her head.
“No,” she said. “Feliciano wouldn’t…”
“He has,” the Spanish man said.
“But…” the Hungarian woman said. She seemed to answer her own question. “He wouldn’t…” Roderich put his arm around her shoulders. His girlfriend started to tremble.
“There must be something we can do to get him back,” Elizabeta said. “Isn’t there?” Antonio pressed his lips together.
“There is, but…” he said.
“What?” Yao asked. Antonio looked down at the table.
“We have six more seals,” he said. His gaze turned to Yao. “Has Im Yong been talking to his sister lately?” The Chinese man froze.
“Not that I know of,” he said. “Are you suggesting…”
“A torn nation shall reunify again,” Antonio said. Yao shook his head.
“Im Yong knows better,” he said.
“Hey if Feliciano can sell his soul to get Ludwig out of his stupor,” the Spanish man said. “Who’s to say that Mi-Soon won’t get to him?”
“I won’t let it happen,” Yao muttered under his breath.
“What about the other seals?” Roderich asked.
“I am trying to remember them,” Antonio said. “Those are the first two that I have remember so far.” Everyone looked at Gilbert.
“What?” he asked. “I don’t remember much about these seals either. I haven’t been in church much. Spain would be the one to know more.”
“In any case,” Antonio said. “We have to act now or we will all die.”
“Agreed,” the others said.
“I will talk to Feliciano myself,” the Spanish man said. “It might not be much but we can try.” Elizabeta perked up. Her boyfriend rubbed her back. Antonio didn’t know why he said that. He couldn’t promise anything. Maybe… Just maybe…
A promise was a promise. But first, Antonio needed to make an important stop. Ludwig hadn’t been discharged just yet. The doctors needed to run one set of tests. Antonio made it to the patient’s room. Ludwig sat up in his bed fully awake.
“Hey!” Antonio said in an upbeat tone.
“Antonio?” the German man asked. “Is that you? How have you been?” The Spanish man breathed in relief.
“Oh good, you still remember me,” he said. “Have you had many visitors?” The German nodded.
“They come and go,” he said.
“I see,” the Spanish man said. He pulled up a chair and sat down next to the bed. His face looked so grim.
“Have you seen Feliciano today? Or ever since you woke up again?” he asked. “Think hard now. This is important.” Ludwig did his best to remember.
“No,” he said at last. The Spanish man didn’t know whether he should be worried or relieved. Antonio leaned in close enough for the German man to hear him.
“There’s something I need to tell you about Feliciano,” he whispered.
“What about me?” the men heard behind them. Antonio’s stomach dropped as he turned his head. Feliciano stood in the doorway of the room. Everything looked normal about him except for that cold smile on his face.