EXTRA PART TODAY!
Adam pulled off the dirt driveway and parked on the grass, parallel with the other cars. Their shiny-new rental looked out of place in the lineup of mostly ten year old sedans and pickup trucks. There were a lot of cars—it was Sunday Morning, the climax of Home Coming. The weatherman was not cooperating, however. He warned of the possibility of a strong thunderstorm all day, maybe even a tornado that evening. He promised to keep everyone informed.
As they made their way to the door, the words of the hymn floated out through the open Chapel windows to Adam and Angela.
“…And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known!”
Every woman and half the men were fanning themselves as Adam and Angela stepped into the back of the meeting room. The congregation was sweaty, the pews crowded and the seats were hard. The final ‘A-a-a-men-n-n’ died in the thick air as a weather-beaten Deacon in a short-sleeved plaid shirt escorted the two of them to seats in the second row. In front of them, in the very front row, sat Beulah Mae, her unlucky daughter on one side of her and an empty space on the other. Beulah twisted around to see who was so late, and managed a nod of recognition. Adam smiled and she quickly turned back to the front.
The Preacher was new to the Congregation, according to the announcements. He was young and fresh out of school; his most prominent qualification seemed to be that he was loud. Angela was unimpressed and Adam more than once got elbowed for nodding off. The congregation, however, loved him and encouraged him with amen’s and applause. He was slowly stumbling his way through the Founding Pastor’s favorite sermon, ‘these memorial stones’, from Joshua chapter four. From the sound of it, he was almost reading the original sermon.
In the drowsy heat, Angela let her eyes close once. She shifted her sandaled feet and they touched water so cold it made her gasp. She looked down. Her feet were surrounded with a puddle of water that was spreading from under the pew ahead of her. She looked up. The girl, the one from the Spring, was sitting next to Beulah Mae in what had been the empty space. She wore the same cotton dress, the same wet, straggly long hair. She turned around, one wet hand on the back of the pew, and looked at Angela. Tears filled her eyes and she silently mouthed the words, “Help me!”