Storm warning

. . . Sean put his hand out, staying Maureen when she made to rise, whether it was to flee or face the noise, he wasn’t sure. Maureen grabbed his arm and jerked her head towards the altar. Behind it, he knew, was the sacristy where Father Rathborne and Sean’s fellow servers prepared for the mass. From that room was a door to the outside, and freedom. . .

A: You know, I was an altar girl once.

D: You? Ha! (Howling laughter . . . minutes pass . . . still more laughter).

A: D. D, you can stop that now. . . Oi, D!

D: I’m sorry, A. I am. I needed that. Thank you. That felt good.

A: I’m so glad.

D: Wait, no, not done . . . (more laughter).

A: D? Come back, D.

D: Okay, okay, I’m better. I am. Or n–

A: Knock it off, D.

D: I’m sorry, A. It’s just . . . well . . . do they allow people like you up there?

A: . . .

D: You’re a heathen, A. I was at least born to apostates and a learned Druid, but you . . . well, I think there was a lightning risk allowing you up there.

A: But I was nine. I think that’s before you’re lightning-fodder.

D: Seven is the age of accountability, A.

A: Oh.

D: You put the entire congregation at risk from a conflagration of God’s wrath.

A: You’re at risk from a conflagration, Druid.

D: Oh, come on, A, laugh with me. You’ll have fun. I promise.

A: Sigh.

. . . Sean realized that once he would have been aghast at using the sacristy as a means of escape, just as he had been horrified when Maureen suggested they search the tabernacle. But, considering they were sprawled in front of the altar, having just careened through time using some sort of supernatural gateway, Sean’s notion of sanctified was experiencing a radical shift. . .

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