Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
Jesus came strolling through the corn, two women in winged armour following behind. He had a hemisphere of light flickering about his head and nothing caught on his robes as he walked barefoot across our yard to stand in front of my sister, Annelise.
I’d been wondering why she’d stopped playing with the deer that came to greet her every morning. Must have felt his approach. Come to think of it, things did seem nicer hereabouts, all of a sudden.
“Can we take my brother?” her voice is pitched so I can hear.
“No, Annelise. Not this time.”
This time? I thought there was only one Judgement Day?
“But he doesn’t deserve to be left behind.”
He turns his gaze upon me and I’m shot through with light.
“Eventually, for certain – if your Grandfather doesn’t corrupt him first.”
“But Granpaw Trey used to be a preacher. He wouldn’t corrupt anything.”
Jesus gives a little grin, then composes his expression before turning back to her: “You’d like to think so, but it’s not always true. Anyway, we need to go.”
She clutches a posy of daisies against her chest: “Now? I’m sure Granma Laiden would love to meet you, and she makes the best lemonade.”
He crouches down and smiles: “I know. The granny witches of your family and I have talked on many occasions. I’ve no doubt we’ll talk again. You’re right, they make wonderful lemonade.”
Annelise turns and waves to me.
I step off the porch: “Can I ask a question, sir?”
“Are you real godly, or one of them alien imposters?”
Out of nowhere, Granma Laiden cuffs me round the ear.
“Mind your manners, Johnny boy. The son of our maker don’t need to show credentials.”
He smiles: “Thank you, Anne Marie.”
Granma blushes: “You remember.”
“Always and everything. It’s my burden.”
There’s so much unsaid interesting stuff between these grown-ups it’s not fair.
Annelise reaches out to tug his robe: “Granpaw’s coming.”
He smiles at me. Again, I feel… Lifted.
“You have other questions.”
How did he…?
“How many you taking, sir? How come Judgement don’t have all the angels in the skies an’ fanfares an’ stuff?”
Granma cuffs me lightly: “Just because you’re talking to a god doesn’t mean you can forget your grammar, my boy.”
He waves a hand: “Judgement isn’t a day. It’s all the time. I come along when someone shows a talent that can be better used on other worlds within Father’s part of the heavens.”
Annelise ‘harrumphs’ at him like she does at me when I’m being tight-mouthed about something.
He chuckles and grins at Annelise: “As I’m being told off, I’ll admit to the occasional extra visit to have lemon meringue pie. You just can’t get it better anywhere else.”
Granma raises a hand.
He smiles: “You don’t need permission.”
“How many, this time?”
“Nine, including your granddaughter. There’s a world in dire need of their gifts.”
She nods sadly and waves to Annelise: “Do good, sweetie. But remember to have fun, too.”
“I will, Granma. Look after Johnny. Don’t let Granpaw corrupt him.”
Jesus and Granma laugh.
The sound of vigorous swearing punctuated with apologies for blaspheming reach our ears.
“Here comes Granpaw.” Annelise shakes her head.
Jesus offers his hand. She takes it. With a flash and a waft of meadowsweet after rain, all four are gone.
Granpaw Trey storms in, pulse rifle waving: “Awright, where’s the varmints? What were them dang lowlanders peddling this time?”
Granma winks at me.
“Redemption, Trey. You scared ‘em off, thanking you.”
“Darn preachers. Can’t be trustin’ them.”