Bella woke with a start. She had a strong sense that there was something dangerous she needed to do. Something important. What was it?
And then she remembered.
Today was the day she would confront Pastor Toby. Was she ready?
Heart thumping loudly in her chest, she got up and went into the bathroom. Staring at her reflection in the mirror, she wondered if she was brave enough to go through with it. Or was it being stupid? Maybe she should just forget about it and accept it like everyone else seemed to have done.
No! She had already been through this and the decision had been made. She would go confront him today no matter how bad it might turn out. She thought about the possibilities as she got dressed.
- He was an alien and would feel threatened by her knowledge and she would end up imprisoned somewhere in that weird church.
- He was an alien but would deny it and she would be dismissed as having a great imagination.
- He wasn’t an alien and would laugh at Andy’s joke on her and she’d end up a fool.
- He wasn’t an alien and he’d seriously question her sanity and she’d end up in a mental hospital.
She didn’t like any of those scenarios so she created one more, one she hoped would happen: He was an alien and her threat to take what she knew to the media would be enough to make him pack up his church and leave the planet. Without the secrecy, there was no point in him being here to observe anymore. And she might actually come out of this a hero.
Bolstered by the thought of saving the world, she took one last glance in the mirror, saluted herself, then left her apartment.
She was surprised to see how empty the sidewalks were. Being early morning, she’d have assumed at least there would be many people heading to work. “I wonder where everyone is,” she mumbled. It felt weird to have the sidewalk all to herself and she hurried the few blocks to the church.
As she walked, a tiny voice inside her whispered, “What about his love for you?” She had forgotten about that. She let herself remember how accepting he was, how loved she felt in his presence. And how much she longed to spend more time with him. Then another thought filled her mind. She only felt that way because he used some kind of alien technology on people to brainwash them feel that way. It wasn’t real. Shaking her head, she pushed aside all thoughts except the one about confronting him.
When she got there, she found the church door open, as if waiting for her arrival. She squared her shoulders and marched through the entrance, across the foyer, and up to Pastor Toby’s door.
Again, she found the door already open. “What’s going on here?” she wondered, eyes darting around. Was everyone hiding? Did they know what she was about to do and wanted to watch the show? Not seeing anyone, she cautiously entered the living room.
Now what, she thought. Do I wait for him or Jude to arrive, or do I go looking for him?
As she stood there, just inside the door, she heard singing. It was a different song, but the same singer. No doubt about that.
Not knowing what to do, she listened to the soul-stirring music coming from somewhere down the hall. Although she couldn’t understand the lyrics, she felt drawn by the melody, like it was calling her and making her feel safe. And courageous. Like it was encouraging her to do what she had come to do.
Taking a deep breath, she crossed the room and entered the hallway. Where should she look first? The kitchen? Isn’t that where Pastor Toby spends a lot of his time? And it was breakfast time so where else would he be? The garden, maybe? Since the kitchen was on the way to the garden, she decided to try it first.
But when she got to the kitchen, it was empty. Not even food cooking on the stove. Maybe he’s not up yet, she thought. Maybe I should just go.
But the soft sound of a song from that sweet unseen singer drifted into her mind, and she was filled with the sense that something exciting was about to happen if only she kept looking.