It was in the reception room, on the left as you came into the white room—the painting
with spikes, by Brother Benedict Tully. There was a wood whorl, it seemed an eye, near
the spikes, so that they could have been a beak. The spikes were blunt, but if you pressed
hard enough, you could draw blood. I often ran my hand along them and said I wanted
that. He said, ‘Yes! Oh, now, I love the wildness of it.’
After walking across the reception area with me behind him, intoning things like, ‘Yes.
Thank you, Father,’ once he had closed the door behind us, his face changed, his robe
making a sweeping sound as he gathered speed, rushing me against the wall between the
slit windows, where the other monks were passing. I stood as he knelt. I looked at the
painting, disappearing into its eye.