It wasn't there when he left two hours before -- for dinner.
At least, he could not remember seeing it.
But there it was. He caught only a glimpse of it in the peripheral glow of his flashlight.
He stopped. And centered the beam on the apparition.
There could not be a shadow of doubt. An occult group had performed some abomination in his courtyard in front of an inverse crucifix.
Witches? Druids? Satanists? Maybe even -- Masons.
Only Professor Robert Langdon could resolve this dilemma. [Cue eerie, cheesy horror music with plenty of broad chords on the organ.]
Some of the debris that appears on my courtyard wall could make a nice living for a symbologist. You know the type. The Dan Browns of the world who make up tales to scare the bucks out of readers.
I have been watching this bit of gardening detritus for the past two days. I have no idea how long the bougainvillea stick has been hanging from that piece of twine. But it has offered up a cornucopia of charchters as the light changes throughout the day.
It is not quite Monet's series of the Rouen Cathedral. But it will do. As an art form.
And, of course, in almost every film where the inverted cross appears, there is no black magic. It is merely Peter's cross -- the one on which he was traditionally crucified: upside down.
It is a good reminder that what we sometimes take for heresy is actually orthodoxy in a different -- and more practical -- form.
It is Sunday. And I am in a sermon mood.
For that, I will not need the services of Robert Langdon.