Monifa sat there, her mind still reeling from her horrific ordeal. They had kept her overnight at the hospital for observation but that morning the Doctor had discharged her, saying that she was fine. She was waiting now in the parking lot of the parish for Mrs. Wisenthal. Even though she was no longer in any danger, she was still going to stay with her for a while.
She had been hysterical when they found her in the “secret room” because Father Kiesler lay in a crumpled heap on the floor. They got to the girl in time to save her life. After knocking the priest hard in the head with a piece of wood, Gracelyn had been about to give her a lethal injection when Sister Paschek and the police burst in.
The police ordered the parish secretary to drop the syringe, raise her hands and stand up slowly. A few minutes passed before she did as she was ordered. When, she was on her feet with her arms raised, she looked at Father Kiesler. “I didn’t mean to kill him,” she muttered. “He got in the way. I didn’t mean to kill him.” She broke down as she was handcuffed and led away.
After she was gone, one of the officers picked up the syringe while another attended to Monifa who was shaking like a leaf and sobbing uncontrollably. She tried to free herself so she could crawl over to Father Kiesler. A third officer knelt over him and checked him. “He’s bleeding at the back of the head and his pulse is a bit weak. We need to get him to the hospital right away.”
“An ambulance is on the way,” Sister Paschek said. She was visibly shaken but she went over to Monifa and held her, rocking her gently. What an ordeal this poor girl had gone through. For asl long as she lived, she would never forget the sight of Gracelyn kneeling above the cowering girl with her hand raised above her head about to stick her in the arm with the syringe. She tried not to think of what would have happened if she and the police hadn’t shown up when they did.
Why was Gracelyn trying to kill Monifa? Why was she dressed as a nun? She had so many questions but they would have to wait. Right now, Father Kiesler was in desperate need of prayers. Raising her head heavenward and closing her eyes, she prayed, “Dear Lord, we place the good Father in Your loving care.”
Monifa clung to her and sobbed. If Jürgen died, she wanted to die too. In between the sobs, she mumbled, “God, please save him.”
Father Kiesler was immediately rushed to the hospital while Monifa, accompanied by Sister Paschek was taken there shortly after. She was examined and kept overnight. Sister Paschek offered to stay with her. It was a terrible night for Monifa. She kept reliving the nightmare and seeing Father Kiesler lying on the ground, unmoving. How she prayed and prayed, begging God to save his life.
The next morning, before she was discharged, she learned from Sister Paschek that Father Kiesler had regained consciousness and was in fair condition. He had suffered a blow to the back of the head but thankfully, there wasn’t any bleeding in the brain or brain swelling which could have been fatal. “When can we see him?” she asked the Sister.
“I don’t know. Right now, they want him to rest. They want to keep him here for as long as is necessary while they monitor him and to make sure that he’s recovering as he should. Maybe, we can see him after he has been discharged and is back at the rectory.”
“But, he’ll be alone there.”
“Don’t worry, we will have one of the other priests stay with him until he is fully recovered.”
Monifa wanted so desperately to see him but she would have to wait. Sister Paschek and she went back to the parish. She told the nun that she was going to be staying at Mrs. Wisenthal. While Sister Paschek went and got Monifa’s suitcase, Monifa called Mrs. Wisenthal.
The woman was shocked. “Are you all right?” she asked.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“And Father Kiesler?”
“He’s going to be all right.” Tears spilled down her cheeks. Jürgen was going to be all right. God had answered her prayers. “He can’t have any visitors yet.”
“That’s all right. He needs time and rest to fully recover. We’ll see him soon enough. I’ll come and pick you up in about an hour. Where will you be?”
“I’ll be waiting in the parking lot of the parish.”
“All right. I’ll be there in an hour.”
After she hung up the phone, Monifa left the boarding school hall lounge and went outside to wait for Mrs. Wisenthal after Sister Paschek returned with her suitcase. “If you like I can wait with you until Mrs. Wisenthal comes?” she asked.
“Thanks, Sister but I don’t mind waiting alone.”
“All right. Take care until we see you again.”
Monifa managed a smile. “I will,” she promised. They hugged and then parted ways.
Monifa stood up when a car pulled up and a woman came out. “Monifa?”
“Yes. Mrs. Wisenthal?”
“Yes. Let me take that,” she said, referring to the suitcase. After stowing it in the trunk, she opened the passenger-side door for Monifa. Poor girl, she thought. She made sure she was settled comfortably in the seat before she got behind the wheel. They pulled out of the parking lot. “Have you had anything to eat?”
“Not since breakfast.”
“You must be hungry then. As soon as we get in, I shall fix you something to eat.”
“I don’t have much of an appetite.”
“I don’t imagine that you do but you need to keep up your strength. You don’t want Father Kiesler to worry when he sees you.”
“I hope I get to see him very soon.”
When they got to the house, after showing Monifa to the guest room, she went into the kitchen to fix her something to eat.
“It was by God’s Saving grace that Father Kiesler and you are both still alive,” Mrs. Wisenthal said when they were sitting at the table.
“Well, let’s not think about it anymore. Let’s put the whole thing behind us. Eat up.”
Monifa picked up the fork. The Beef Stroganoff looked and smelled really good. She took a mouthful. It tasted really good too. “Do you live here alone?” she asked.
“Yes. This has been my home since I left Munich. I moved here shortly after my husband died.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your husband.”
“He died twelve years ago from a heart attack.”
“Do you have any children.”
“Yes. Three. Two sons and a daughter. They’re all grown now with families.”
“How do you know Father Kiesler?”
“I’ve known him for years. I was his professor at the University of Munich. He was my favorite student and I had hoped that he end up being my son-in-law too but he decided that he wanted to become a priest. I was shocked at first, but I could see that he was serious about it and supported him.”
“Did he and your daughter date?”
“No. They were good friends although, she would have liked them to be more. Anyway, it all worked out in the end. My daughter is now happily married to a wonderful man.”
Monifa was glad that things didn’t work out the way Mrs. Wisenthal’s daughter had hoped. “I’m glad that Father Kiesler came to St. Albertus Magnus.”
“Me too. After he graduated from the university and I moved here to Hamburg, we kept in touch. When he told me that he was going to be a parish priest at St. Albertus Magnus, I was delighted for him and urged him to visit as soon as he could. Which he did. We’re very good friends but he’s like a son to me. I love him dearly.”
“I love–” she had been about to say that she loved him too but stopped herself.
“I know you love him, my Dear and he loves you too.” She reached over and patted Monifa’s arm. “He told me everything.”
“Yes, everything about the two of you and about the danger you were in.”
Monifa didn’t answer.
“I’ll leave you to finish eating. When you’re done, come into the sitting-room and we can talk some more, if you feel up to it or we can pray and thank God that your ordeal is over.”