He heard themuffled giggles before he came across the huddle of boys. Emerging from the side door of the bluestone building, Father Benilde Reeson frowned as he strode towards the wayward students. His footsteps were distinctive because of the thick layer of wood on the sole of his left shoe, which allowed him to walk with a less pronounced limp. The boys fled as they heard him approach. He grabbed two of the less nimble boys, holding them firmly by the shoulders. Their hands went instinctively to their ears; the good Father’s twist and yank was notorious.
Six months earlier the priest had caught Jimmy Snodgrass nabbing a juicy red apple from the abbey orchard, and the boy still complained of ringing in his ear. That ear-twist had miraculously cured Jimmy of his aspirations for a religious vocation, and now he realised his destiny lay in the family’s law firm. This time Jimmy had the good sense to run as soon as he’d heard the priest approaching.
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