They found him the next morning, tangled among the branches of the topiary tree.

It appeared Father Reg had managed to stagger back from the local pub despite severe inebriation.

However, on reaching the monastic retreat where he had been living in meditative isolation, Father Reg had confused the symbolic door of the religious installation with the concealed door he had been using for regular excursions to the outside world.

The door in the ‘Tree of Our Church’ opened onto thick branches, a blocked passageway, representing the hard work required to find a path to our Lord, the tangled and twisted road to fulfilment, the many obstacles to be faced along the way.

Father Reg decided, with religious certainty, that the best way to surmount such an obstacle was to take a good, long run up and batter through head first.

Impressively, he made a good dent into the branches of the tree, so much so that he couldn’t extricate himself and fell asleep in the trees embrace.

As a result of this incident, the door on the topiary installation will now include a lock, providing yet another obstacle in the metaphorical path to spiritual enlightenment.

Copyright John Brand

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit HERE.

To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.


  1. michael1148humphris Avatar

    I have read it twice Iain, and enjoyed it twice, but I feel like I am missing something, so I will just have to read it again later when my head is clearer.😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor father Regg. Why did he get so drunk not to find his way in? What was bothering him?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think probably alcoholism…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, that spiritual enlightenment is a dog.
    Tried it once, didn’t like it.
    Love the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Especially if they put a ruddy great tree in the way.


  4. XD
    Really smart last line! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed this one Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LOL great story. I thought they were going to find him dead. Interesting topiary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Janet, it certainly is 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Perhaps this embarrassing episode will persuade Father Reg to abandon his excursions to the pub. Interesting story, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I fear he is more likely to abandon his faith!


  8. So many paths… so many distractions.
    Sometimes the rules need a little bending?

    (Most of but not all of my fiction is at another place…Strands is for poetic rifts. I know my icon goes to a closed site. Too long of an entangled story.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I think rules need to be tested sometimes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Don’t you hate it when prickly reality comes in the way of religious belief?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just one of many obstacles to overcome 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Iain,
    This reminds me of the old saying, God watches out for drunks and fools. Father Reg will undoubtly live a long life.


    Liked by 1 person

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