Hopkins / Devotion / 1 William Hopkins 416 Lakeview Dr. Newark, DE 19711 (510) 972-4841 whopkin1@swarthmore.

edu about 700 words

DEVOTION By William Hopkins

Hopkins / Devotion / 2 The chill October wind nipped at his heels. The scent of

autumn, of woodsmoke and decaying leaves, mingled in the gently sharp air. The young man rounded the corner, intent only on his Several

goal, the warmed and perfumed air within his apartment. of his fellow students stood within the courtyard of the dormitory, discussing the day's news.

He took little notice, Inside, he placed the As an elder student

passing quickly to the heavy green door. woolen scarf upon the hook by the mantle.

he was entitled to a fire and took full advantage of the privilege. The fire had been stoked and fed only recently, so the logs crackled merrily above the hearthstones. Ignoring its cheer, he

added his academic's coat to the hook and turned his attention to his writing desk. Situated in front of the room's sole

window, it looked out upon the park established by the College's late founder. He often enjoyed strolling in the crisp, leafy

solitude during the semester, though in the cold, Eastern winters the luxury was quite rare. The kettle soon whistled, though he could not recall putting it on. He found that such things happened more and more Like

often, like pages of a manuscript missed by the printer.

some of the British students, he preferred tea to the American coffee, though few of his foreign counterparts would deign to

Hopkins / Devotion / 3 sip the tea prepared by the Irish to supplement their breakfast. A dash of comb honey to sweeten the taste and he returned to his desk. He flipped to a new page in the fine journal and picked Both fell easily into place.

up his pen.

Hours later the light had fled and he was obliged to light the gas lamp beside his blotter. He laid down his fountain pen

whilst he lit the wick, turning up the flame only enough to make quite clear the letters upon the page. The sable ink stood out

well against the yellow paper even in the half-light, but it would not do to make mistakes. weight," he mused to himself. "After all, words do carry such Absentmindedly he licked the ink

from his fingertip, long habit making the gesture seem quite natural. It was many hours again before he thought to check the timepiece silently marking the march of eons in his pocket. Much later than he should be about, but the damnedest things happened in the witching hours. Others might mock his odd hours

and devotion to the pen, but it yielded such things of beauty. Beauty, beauty, beauty if only they could see it. The words

spread out before him, crawling an eternal march across the pages. The manuscript neared completion daily, and his work

seemed about to come to a long-awaited conclusion. The words took on a life of their own, sapping his desire

Hopkins / Devotion / 4 to take part in the cares of mortal life. What were words, in

the throes of that terrible ecstasy but the stuff of life itself? His fellows could see only what was before them, a

sheet of cold-pressed paper and inky scrawlings, scribblings of a half-mad academic. him. To a mortal, mere scribblings, but not to

Each page filled to the hat-brim, a repository for the One human man. Beyond was

life and love of exactly one man.

more than just a man, but to reach that nirvana required sacrifice in total, complete surrender to the ineffable words so rarely divined. He raised his head, allowing the power to fill him once more, a conduit for raw energy. panting with the effort expended. At last he lay, speechless, The words had ceased to write The pen fell from his

themselves onto the manuscript's pages.

fingertips, seeming an eternity before the brass nib touched the paper's surface, splattering a single droplet of ink--or was it blood?--towards the lightening sky. his labored breathing. As he slipped into an inky blackness, he contemplated the power of the written word and the price it asked of those seeking to bask in its glory. Silence reigned, save for

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