A short story, and some pics of the little church that inspired it

Ramsey and the Child
         
              The child and his mother are stuck at home rather than on holidays in Egypt. Flights are grounded due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland. This news has perturbed the boy. His eyes focus intensely on his favourite television program.
               Each day, the two tv presenters go through a different door; the green door, the yellow door, or the red door.
            “Come with us, across the floor,” they utter, as they traipse across the studio towards the three doors.
            “Let’s see what’s behind the…red door,” one tells the other surreptitiously, and they go through.
            The child has noticed a pattern over the course of several months. He predicts which door the presenters go through each day. But today, the boy is wrong for the first time. He guesses the green door. Instead, the presenters take the red door.

           The child raises the television’s volume until it is loud enough to induce a frown. Still frowning, he drops the remote control, toddling to the kitchen. His mother wipes the breakfast table with a damp cloth. Her smile unsettles him further. The child tells his mother that something is very, very wrong with the world.
            “Aw, my little guy!” she laughs.
            When he explains as best he can about the three doors, she laughs.
            “You’re still unsettled by the volcano!” she explains.
            He starts to cry. She continues wiping surfaces. He finally runs at her, trying to impart the significance of the televisual event. His mother, protected from his little fists by her laminated apron, guides him into his bedroom. She closes the door behind him. He beats on the door, screaming at her that something is terribly wrong.


            She hunches against the door as he beats it.
            She is entertaining the thought of phoning the television station to see if the show was a repeat.
            The doorbell rings. She turns the key in the boy’s bedroom door. The doctors have said that it’s wrong to lock the door. She is past caring. When she wants to get out the packet of cigarettes she keeps in the medicine cabinet, she knows she is beyond her breaking point.
   
            At the hall door, Ramsey stands on the porch doorstep, leaning on the door frame presumptuously. His posture can’t have been comfortable when the door was shut.
            Ramsey’s accent is unique. His eyelashes are long enough to suggest that he may wear mascara. A roofer by trade, because of the recession he resorts to odd jobs. No one knows where Ramsey the handyman is from. He appeared two years ago, to work on the now abandoned building site down the road. Since then, he often does any work he can get in the area.
            When Ramsey is cleaning the nextdoor neighbours’ drains, mowing their lawns or doing some kind of grouting, he sometimes calls to the mother’s house to fill a pail of water because the neighbours’ outside taps do not work. She notices that Ramsey has a cigarette behind his ear.
            “Ramsey.”
            “Ma’am.” His look is open to interpretation, although there is an air of arrogance about Ramsey. He stands expectantly.
            “I never asked you…” she falters. She is always a little overcome by how handsome he is. She doesn’t want to ask him what he wants just yet. “I never asked you if your name…”
            “My name?” He blinks like a fawn. Swarthy in his overalls, she wonders how he’d look clean-shaven in a suit or a uniform.
            “You’ve been paving Mildred’s driveway for a week…”
            “Yes?” he asks, his dark eyes not leaving hers.
            “Your name is just Ramsey? Is it…first name or…or last?”
            “First name or or last?” His English is poor.
            “You know, ehhh. Like…Gordon?”
            “Gordon?”
            “Like Gordon Ramsay? It’s bad manners to use a person’s second name, a person’s surname? You know this? I don’t want to…like…”
            “Like…?”
            “I don’t want to assume. Or is it like…Ramsay…I thought it was like Ramsay McDonald? You know? The Prime Minister, from years ago? Is it like Prince? Madonna? Cher?” She shrugs and laughs. “A one-word name?”
            “Prince!” His vacuous smile broadens. His comprehension appears limited.
            Her son thumps on his door. She half turns into the house, as if acknowledging the noise assuages any implication of negligence in ignoring it.
            “What can I do for you?” She tries not to sound suggestive.
            Ramsey removes a piece of paper from his front dungarees pocket.
            “You have a…” He consults the paper, “highly intelligent autistic child?”
            He looks back up at her, eyebrows raised.
            She instinctively puts a hand to her throat.
            “What do you want with…”
            “Your boy, he know…” Ramsey nods his head encouragingly.
            The boy can be heard bawling: “Let me out of this room this instinct! This instinct!” His mother laughs nervously.
            “Release the boy,” Ramsey says. “I talk him. I say him things? Then he say me things?”
            “You want to talk with my little guy?”
            Ramsey sighs relief that he is understood, and nods.
            She fetches the child, his face red raw with tears and mucus. He looks at Ramsey.
            “Your friend is here,” his mother tells him.
            “The world worked like this before, but…” the child wipes his eyelid with his tiny fist.
            From the living room, a documentary’s narrator blasts from the television:
            “…entry into the Ancient Egyptian afterlife was permitted only if your name was known. So if your pyramid or tomb was unmarked, you were trapped on Earth.”
            The child looks to his mother.
            “The night will come forever and the world will end if his chamber is not named,” the boy says. “His soul is trapped, Mummy.”

            “Whose soul?”
            “Ramesses’.”
            “Ramsey’s soul?” She looks at her son, then at the sallow skinned handyman. Ramsey nods and grins encouragingly.
            “The world worked differently then, Mummy. Not like your way.” He tugs at her apron. “Come on.”
            He pushes past Ramsey on the porch, to the car in the driveway. He chews his upper lip with his lower teeth anxiously, his eyes still glistening with tears. “Come on.”
            His mother doesn’t want another tantrum. She takes her purse from the kitchen table.
            The child, his mother and Ramsey pull up to the local cemetery, less than three miles away. They get out, walking to the oldest section, which lacks a roadway. The sun is high in the midday sky.
            Ramsey explains on the way that after he battled and defeated the Sea People, his tomb was usurped by an impostor. Some courtiers conspired to kill him, and a butler took his place in the tomb. Ramsey tells of darkness falling when he was marked to die three thousand years ago – but forced to roam the earth till now – and a convergence today, the Icelandic volcano, to allow his passage. The world almost ended then, he explains, because as a god, he was not accorded a burial to enable passage into the Afterlife.
            The child’s mother is convinced that his inelegant language is prone to her misinterpretation.
            A tiny and ancient church on the grounds of the graveyard’s oldest section is little more than a roofless shell. A prochronistic, reinforced metal door, painted green, is in a wall of the ruin. They stand before it.

            “Look, I don’t understand,” she says, stopping him mid-speech. Angered at some of the words he knows, like butler, convergence, Afterlife and usurper, she believes he has a better command of English than he admits.
            “Do you want to roof this church? Are you trying to get a contract with the council, to re-roof this ruin?” She looks at the small building. “I have better things to do, Ramsey.”
            “Contract! Yes! Contract!” he nods, beaming broadly. “Thank you, Missus!”
            He doubles over, kissing her hand. His soft lips tingle against her skin. A chill runs up her spine.
            He turns and walks to the church, stretching as if getting out of bed.
            “He released me. I release him now,” the child says. His mother laughs at the child’s solemnity. Ramsey pulls the heavy, creaking door, steps in and closes it behind him. It makes an unusual echo.
            Mother and child walk around the ruin. She can see into it, above a section of the wall that is only shoulder high. If Ramsey is still there, he is hiding immediately behind the wall. The mother feels like she is watching a magic trick.
            An old groundskeeper appears through a gap in the hedge dividing the sections of cemetery. In a black fleece jacket and a luminous high viz vest, he stands with a shovel alongside the boy and his mother, admiring the tiny ruin.
            “You like Ramsgate Chapel?” he finally asks.
            “Ram’s Gate Chapel?” the mother repeats.
            “Seventeenth century chapel, if it’s a day. Monks reared sheep here in the Middle Ages. Probably why it’s called that. Don’t know for sure, though.”
            “That’s not why,” the child says, before addressing the spring breeze: “You have your name now. Day day, Ramsey.”