“Quick! Put this on!” Gina whispered to Sarah, pressing something into her hand as she slid next to her in the pew.
“You’re late!” Sarah hissed. “They’ve already read the gospel.”
This should have been self-evident since the priest was giving the homily. “The disciples, here in this passage,” the priest was saying, “asked an important question. They wanted to know why Christ spoke in parables, and his answer… ”
Gina leaned close to Sarah’s ear. “I’m not late. I was in the back,” she waggled her eyebrows, “wearing this. Put it on!”
Sarah looked down at the object in her hand. It was one of those stretch bracelets with images of the saints on wooden beads. One bead was replaced with a large green stone–an emerald, maybe? It was too big to be real, that’s for sure.
The annoyed look on Gina’s face was enough of an answer. Sarah slipped it over her wrist.
For a moment, her vision blurred, and her head went light. She blinked a few times until everything came into focus.
Except… Sarah gasped. “Everything” was a little more than she was used to.
There was a flutter from the altar, and her breath caught in her throat. Were those feathers? A great wing moved in and out of sight as it pumped silently in the altar. It couldn’t be… She couldn’t bear it and looked away.
Her eyes fell on the icon of the Pantocrator deep on the back wall. The galaxy behind Christ shimmered and swirled.
She closed her eyes, squeezing the bridge of her nose with her fingers. When she opened her eyes again, she kept them resolutely on the wall beside her. But there she found a pair of eyes looking back. Saint Barbara peered out from her icon with those big, wise eyes. She waggled the frond in her hand gently, then winked right at Sarah.
This was too much.
Sarah slipped the bracelet off and pushed it at Gina, who was grinning.
“Wasn’t that awesome?”
Sarah was too perturbed to speak. She set her jaw and stared at the priest and the podium.
Gina’s smile faltered. “Did you not see?”
“Shh… listen to the sermon.”
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