Emily knocked on the door and Priestess Sara let her straight into her cramped little office. Sara had a desk and there were two chairs facing the desk, but that was about all the office could hold. The bookcases made the room feel especially small. They covered every wall apart from the door and the window and were filled with books, mostly religious tomes.
“Not much room,” Emily commented.
“Not much budget,” Sara responded. “The Chaplain’s office does not rank very high on the priority list these days.”
Emily nodded and took one of the chairs that faced the desk. Sara opened the window a crack and spoke. “I know it is December, but the fresh air helps keep things from getting too stuffy. If it gets cold, I can close it.” Emily nodded and held up her hands to indicate she was fine with the fresh air.
“I’m sorry I didn’t come by here earlier in the semester.” Emily started right out with the apology. “I suppose it wasn’t fair for me to get you tangled up in all this and then not spend some time, you know, helping you sort all of this out.” Emily slouched a little and ran a hand through her hair.
This time Sara held up her hands to say the apology was not necessary. “The others and Lisa and Heinrich have helped tremendously. My rational mind still says no way, not possible, not real, occasionally, but my gut knows better these days. I don’t even jump anymore when someone calls me priestess.”
“Priestess.” Emily had to say it just to check. She smiled.
“See? I didn’t jump either.”
“Yes.” Sara turned serious. “But it is a lot to swallow, having your whole view of life, the universe and everything turned upside down.”
“I don’t think what is going on around here is in any way normal.”
“I wouldn’t think so, but you could help me, maybe. Tell me, what was it like to find out you were one of the elect?”
Emily’s smile fell away. She hardly knew where to start. She rambled a bit about some incidents in middle school and high school, but opened up when she arrived at New Jersey State University for her freshman year. She told everything as she remembered it, and it took well over two hours. Sara was a good listener. By necessity, much of what she told was about Pierce. He was made in a lab by Doctor Zimmer, and said he had a younger brother. When Pierce was activated, he could not help acting as a super soldier or assassin or whatever the government wanted him to be. She told how she had to kill him. She explained how Pierce knew and could have blocked her knife and could have stopped her, but he did not. She began to weep, and Sara came around the desk and held her until the sobbing subsided.
“I really loved him, you know,” Emily said as she sniffed and Sara handed her a tissue. “And he really loved me. He said it was part of the test. His handlers wanted to know what was stronger, his love or his programming.”
“Love won,” Sara said softly and Emily cried a little more as the phone rang.
Sara stepped around the desk to pick up the phone. “Hello?” She mostly listened before she said, “Excuse me.”
Emily saw what looked like a double image for a second. She imagined it was the tears and rubbed her eyes. It sounded like the door, but when she looked up she saw Sara by the window. There was a young man on the ledge outside the window. It looked like Pierce, but Emily knew it was Pierce’s younger brother, and he must have been listening in. She saw him staring at her. She saw him jump from the ledge and Emily jumped to her feet only to find it was not Sara by the window. It was Zoe. By some exercise of godly power Zoe made Emily retake her seat and calm down. Then she spoke.
“Trust me,” Zoe said, and vanished. Then Emily jumped to the window, but Pierce’s brother was gone. Sara, the real Sara took that moment to come back into the room.
“Getting too cold?” Sara asked as she shut the door quietly behind her.
Emily looked and shook her head before she explained what just happened.