As the sacred objects were removed from the tower I was standing across the yard with my hands tucked into my waistcoat pockets, watching the events unfold with uneasy interest. The doors had been propped open and the excavators were coming and going as they pleased carrying the items out one by one, wrapped in clean white sheets, and placing them gently in the tall green grass. For each of these items God had chosen to represent himself in a physical form, and though we could not see them now, on account of the clean white sheets, I knew each was burned with a scorch mark where they were handled by infinity.
The only object not covered was Raphael's self-portrait. It was the first removed and still propped on its easel as if it was a work still in progress. The sheet had blown off and was crawling beneath the wind inches at a time just a few feet from the base of the easel. For all the excavators there, none seem concerned I was standing so close I might've reached out and touched the painting, but all I did was look as it stared right back at me, though every once in a while its eyes moved to the doorway in disdain to watch the demeaning affair.
They never told us much, but of course we all knew Raphael had been the start. We had all seen it coming like the phasing moon. Though without him some questions were left to us. I looked to the portrait, it looked to me, and I asked, "Why did you tempt us? Was there anything to gain by stealing admiration?" Its eyes rolled upwards and instinctively so did mine. God's arm was reaching below the clouds holding something in the palm of His hand. It was a man. It was Raphael. In an instant he was dropped from that infinitely high spot and sent tumbling through the wind torn atmosphere, yet there was no progress towards the ground, as the wind was so powerful it seemed he was stuck there, rolling over and over into the sky. As this fate made sense to me I had to look away and to the ground then back to the painting. Sad and shame-faced, it was now looking to the ground. I'm sure we had both seen in the rippling currents of Raphael's great overcoat was the perfect outline of a devil, shifting and choking on the high air.
Just about the whole lawn was filled with the sacred objects. All of them were wrapped loosely in clean white sheets being tugged by the warm breeze and some of them were uncovered slightly. The exposed corners glistened in the summer sunlight. The tower must've been just about empty when I left Raphael's portrait alone in the yard. Two excavators were resting at the doorway enjoying the air and talking to one another. I nonchalantly moved past them and began climbing the tower.