6:34 a.m. local time. Terry arose to find Sarah fully dressed and sitting at the small writing desk, tapping away on her laptop. This was the reverse of their normal routine of her needing convincing to rise and greet the new day.

“Hey, girl, you’re up early. Wassup?” Terry had that infuriating habit of being chirpy in the morning. Sarah wondered how on earth his long-suffering wife put up with such an appalling character defect. Perhaps that was why Linda, his bride of many years, was happy for him to wander the globe while she stayed home and looked after the kids. Nah, that’s not fair.

She looked across to see his features even more in need of a makeover than usual. Then she remembered she rarely saw him in those first few minutes before a prolonged stretch in the bathroom. Terry was invariably up, shaved, dressed and ready for action well before her. For once, she was glad about that. Poor Linda. Imagine having to see him looking like that, scratching at his hair and yawning like a bear coming out of hibernation. And having to deal with his infernal positivity! The woman must be a saint.

The apparition spoke again as it turned towards the electric jug and the packets of instant coffee. “You got something new? Another dream?”

His questions shocked her into parking her daydream and getting back to business. “If you must know, I’m writing down the dream I had nearly an hour ago.”

Terry waited for more, but when it didn’t arrive, he said, “So are you going to tell me about it?  Or do I get to find out the hard way?”

“Neither. Someone else is going to tell you.”

“Whadda you mean someone else will? Who have you told already? Have you rung Father Nolan? Is he more important than your long-time buddy and partner in crime?”

Sarah was enjoying having the upper hand in the conversation. It didn’t happen often, so she made the most of it. “Would I do that to you? Maybe if you’d got up at a decent hour like the rest of us working people, you would know, wouldn’t you? That’ll learn you not to sleep in after too many glasses of red wine.”

But, much to her chagrin, he refused to rise to the bait, preferring to prepare, pour and deliver two mugs of steaming brew. Damn it! How can I be so horrid to a man who does things like that?

So she dialled back the early morning agro as she accepted the mug. “Thank you for this,” she said much more reasonably. “If you must know, I haven’t rung anyone. But I think someone is about to ring me,” she replied obliquely.

He said nothing. He just stood there, looking down at her, sipping his coffee. He’s doing it again. He’s making me feel guilty for giving him a hard time. I have to be the one to talk first. I have to justify myself … to him. Just when I was starting to appreciate him again. 

She turned back to the laptop and, somewhat tepidly, struck a few keys. “It’s something of a test,” she explained. “I’m writing it down, so when the call comes, you can be my witness to the way it happened.”

He declined to look over her shoulder to see what she’d written, preferring the view of the street below. “What happened what way?”

She stopped pretending to write and turned towards him. “In my dream, Dan rang me and told us to go back to Singapore, pick up your gear, and return to the carrier.”

Terry may have been staring vaguely into the middle distance of beachside Ventura, but his mind was well and truly in the room and on the subject at hand. He wanted to ask a whole lot of questions, but settled for just one. “Why?”

“To meet up with our angel.”

He didn’t expect that. “How would Dan know where we will…” he began. 

She turned to meet his gaze. “Dan doesn’t know squat.” Where did that come from? The ferocity of her words surprised them both. Sarah consciously toned them down. “My guess is that someone has put pressure on him to get us back to somewhere they can keep an eye on us. Dan can sell the idea because there are still stories to be told.”

Neither of them bought that. Not for a moment. 

As her eyes went back to the laptop, Terry crabbed his way behind her and took himself and his coffee to one of the comfy chairs, where he scratched his nose as he began to muse.

“But that won’t help the gnomes find the angel,” he reasoned aloud. “He’s hardly likely to go back there just because you’re in the area. Is he? They must think we’re too close to finding him, so maybe they have decided they don’t really want him to be found after all. Or maybe they think they can get him without you? Maybe they know something we don’t?”

“I don’t know about that,” she said. “But I’m sure we are supposed to go anyway.”

“So where, and how, does the angel fit into this?” asked Terry.

She tried to smooth out the deepening furrows in his brow with a smile. “But wait, there’s more,” she said. “If we don’t make a fuss about going back, I’ve got a feeling our angel will come to us while we’re out there.”

He went back to sipping and gazing at the floral wallpaper behind her. “You’ve got a feeling?” he muttered almost to himself. But it was intended for her too, so he went back to focusing on her. “Sounds pretty wild, girl. You sure about this?”

“No, I’m not,” she admitted. “That’s why I’m writing it down. If I get that call within the next hour or so, and if Dan tells us to go back, we can assume the dream is accurate. See what I mean? I’m writing as much down as I can remember, and I will give it to you. Every time something I see in a dream happens and you see it in black and white before it happens, you can be the judge.”

Terry lost interest in the last of his coffee. “Have you thought about how you’ll respond if, sorry when, Dan rings and drops this on you? He will expect you to blow a gasket and tell him where to put his idea.”

He was right. If she gave in too easily and went off without any sort of protest, Dan would be suspicious. “But,” she reminded Terry, “we think Dan is being leaned on by some heavy-duty people, right?” Terry nodded. “So,” she continued, “Dan might want a clue from us that we are aware of that.”

Terry let that thought do some laps around his brain. It took a while. Perhaps he shouldn’t have given up on his coffee so easily. “If Dan is under pressure from outside, then would he want us to go, or would he want us to refuse—if only to get him off the hook?”

“I don’t really care what he wants. I want to meet up with this angel,” she replied with some force, standing up to emphasise the point. There it is again. What the hell is going on here? Why am I talking like that? She picked up her cup and walked to the window. “The second part of the dream showed me a place we’ll visit, and he will be there. At least that’s what I took it to mean.”

Terry watched her move around the room and wondered, “And the fact that you may have the US Cavalry on your tail doesn’t worry you?”

“It didn’t in my dream, Big Fella,” she shot back at him, pausing as she reached the far side of the room. “It didn’t worry me, and it didn’t worry the angel.” There I go again. She realised what she must have sounded like, and she softened her words again in response to his unspoken question. As she did so, some of the fire within her began to lose its glow, and it showed as she came back towards him. Now she wanted him to understand how important the whole angel story was to her. “Don’t ask me how I know because I don’t know. What did Eddie say last night? You just know some things. Well, this is one of those times. And that will be confirmed when the call comes through.”

She wasn’t the same Sarah whom Terry had come to know over their years working together. Something about the angel story was changing her. He needed to keep her focused on what was important right now. “If you’re right,” he said quietly, “a lot of other people will be listening to that call. Will that change what you say?” 

He may have wanted her to look at the situation less impulsively, but it didn’t work. She still had enough steam to push past his caution. “Terry, I heard the whole conversation in the damned dream. I guess I’ll just say what I said then.” She looked at him in much the same way she had the previous night while she was being taken apart by Eddie Nolan. “I know it sounds weird, but nothing we’ve done on this trip has made much sense, has it?”

“I guess that depends on how you look at it,”  bhe said. “Take last night with the priest. What did you make of him?”

Sarah allowed herself to drop back into her seat in front of her laptop as she pictured Eddie Nolan in her mind. “I liked him,” she replied. “I don’t know why, but he had something. I don’t know what it was. It was like he was okay with everything we said, no matter how weird it sounded. And he certainly seemed quite genuine about wanting to go if he was asked.”

Terry reacted almost immediately, leaning forward to make his point. “Why not suggest he come with us?” he asked. “Make it a condition of agreeing to return to the carrier.” He saw her hesitation, so he tried turning up the heat. “It’s the sort of thing you’d never give a second thought about—if you thought it would help you get a better story.”

He was right—again. That Sarah, the one who made a decision to cross half the globe in search of a story, had few scruples when it came to getting what she wanted. Perhaps a bigger question was why did she feel different now? But she parked the question as the more immediate option of asking Nolan to come with them pushed its way to the front of the queue.

“Do you think he would come if we asked him?” she wondered aloud.

“You heard him last night. He said he would jump at the chance.”

Sarah wasn’t convinced. “That was if he had the dreams, if he was invited by his god. And what would he do on board the carrier? Do you reckon they would let him come?” Am I looking for excuses to say no? And if so, why?

“That would depend on what’s going on in all those back rooms,” Terry said mysteriously. “What do the men in dark suits really want to achieve in all this?” He was asking himself rather than her. “Surely, they would let us take whomever we want if it helps achieve their agenda? And what damage could a priest do? They would only be humouring a couple of naïve journalists.”

“They wouldn’t be humouring me,” she said with some feeling.

Terry, warming to his own good idea, ignored her outburst and continued. “You could present him as some sort of expert on supernatural matters. It would show we were serious about unwrapping the whole angel thing. I’m sure they will check Eddie out. Hell, they probably have already. They’ll know he came to visit us last night, and for all we know they may know everything we talked about.”

Sarah turned to add a couple more lines to the script on the screen of her laptop.

He took her silence as licence to carry on. “I think they still need us, or more accurately, they still need you. Nolan and I, we’re just extras on the set. You’re the one who is getting the message or messages. That’s the one thing they can’t do. You’re the only contact they know about, the only one who can lead them to this guy.”

She stopped writing, and to prove she had been listening to him, said, “But should we lead them to the angel?” The fire and passion of a few minutes ago was giving way to doubt and insecurity.

Terry could see that too. It was his turn to physically walk away from their discussion. That signalled that he didn’t want to push the point if she wasn’t ready to at least consider it. “You really have changed, girl,” he said. “The old Sarah wouldn’t have cared less about this angel or why anyone else may want to shut him down. You would have cared about the story only. And you’d want to be in the front row when they arrested him.”

She read the signal accurately. She didn’t know why things had changed. Good ideas were one thing, but as Terry was so good at pointing out, they needed to look at realistic options for what they needed to do next. It was a way of pushing the extraneous out of the way in favour of focusing on the practical.

It didn’t take long. “Well, it doesn’t make much difference in terms of our next move, does it?” she pointed out. “We only have a couple of choices to make. Do we agree to go back to the ship, and do we insist on inviting Eddie Nolan along? As far as the first one is concerned, we don’t have much of a choice. Even allowing for all the players and all the agendas, that’s where the angel will be, and that’s what the dream said to do. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” he confirmed, a lot happier that Sarah was back on the job again.

“So it comes down to whether we invite Eddie to come along for the ride or not. 

“It’ll cost a bit of money to fly him out and time to look after him while he’s there,” Terry added.

“That’s something I have to put to Dan when he calls.” Sarah was surprised how confident she sounded when she spoke of Dan calling. She knew it would happen. Mind you, he is probably due to call anyway, given I haven’t made contact with him since sending through the story with the selected footage of what happened in La Conchita. Then a fresh thought struck her.

“Perhaps I should ask Eddie first, so I know if he’s a starter before asking Dan. And that would give Eddie a little more warning in terms of getting ready to come, wouldn’t it?”

Terry was gazing out the window again. “Sounds reasonable to me,” he murmured. Glancing at his watch, he added, “He should be up by now.”

Sarah reached across and picked up her phone from the table where it had been charging. A couple of moments later she heard the familiar brogue on the other end of the non-existent line.

“Sarah,” Eddie exclaimed with more than a hint of obvious pleasure. “I was hoping you wouldn’t forget me, but I didn’t expect a call quite so soon. Did something else happen overnight?”

“Yes it did, Eddie,” she answered him with the same warmth he had provoked in her the previous night. “As Sherlock Holmes apparently said, the game’s afoot, and we’re going to run with it—at least until I see a good reason to change.”

“That’s wonderful,” he said as if he genuinely felt and reflected some of that wonder himself.

Without allowing him to get in a request for more information, Sarah continued. “Eddie, I have a proposition to put to you.”

“Sarah, that would indeed be a pleasant change. It’s been a long time since a beautiful young woman has propositioned me.” She could hear the impish twinkle in his eye. “What did you have in mind?”

She loved the man’s light touch and his way with words. All sorts of people could have said that, and it would have been so wrong, but he could get away with it. Impudence with impunity. “Last night you implied you would give almost anything to be, what did you say, something like ‘to have the chance to go where your god is’. Were you serious about that?”

The priest’s casual attitude abruptly changed. His voice came alive in a strange and almost hypnotic way. “Yes, Sarah. I was, and still am, very serious about it. Why do you ask?”

Here goes. I’m about to make a fool of myself. “I believe I know where I can meet up with our angel, and I wonder if you would like to come with us. We may well need your experience and insight on a trip like this.”

“Can you tell me anything more?” he asked. “When were you thinking of leaving?”

“I don’t know for sure, but probably sooner rather than later. Maybe as early as this afternoon. We’d be going back to South East Asia.”

“Do you know when you will know for sure?”

“No, Eddie, I don’t. The dream has still to be confirmed. But I’m convinced I will know reasonably soon. And when they call, I’d like to ask that you come as part of the party if that’s what you want. So, Father Nolan, now it’s your turn to make a choice. Are you in?”

He hesitated for a fraction of a second before answering without any trace of reservation. “Yes. All I need is a time, and I can meet you at LAX. Sarah, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Thank you so much for all that you have done.”

Sarah gave a huge sigh of relief and made a thumbs-up gesture to Terry, who had heard only her half of the conversation. He responded with a broad smile and a nod.

“You’re welcome, Eddie,” she replied warmly. Then her tone took on a more serious note. “I don’t know how much notice we can give you, but be ready for hot sticky places and to stay for a while. Don’t ask me how long; I’ve no idea. If things go the way I expect, I doubt we’ll have too many problems with the paperwork, but it may help if you give me your passport details.”

There was no hesitation at all this time. “Surely. Just give me a moment. I’ll get them for you now.”

While he went to do so, Sarah leaned across and gave Terry a hug. Things were back on track. Barely a minute later, she had the necessary information and had terminated the call. Now all they had to do was wait for Dan to ring.

“Suddenly I’m hungry!” she exclaimed. “How about some breakfast, Big Fella? Let’s eat while we can.”

“Good idea,” he answered with some enthusiasm. Food was always a good idea. “Do you want room service or shall we go out?”  Then Terry realised he was still in his pyjamas and hardly in a state to grace any dining room.

Sarah made something of a face at the sight of him and suggested, “Why don’t you clean yourself up, and then I’m happy to be seen with you in public. We may as well go and see something of the town.”

“I can live with that,” he said. “Give me ten minutes.” That was one of their points of difference. He meant it. 

* * * * * * *

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No longer famished, Sarah and Terry strolled leisurely along the beach towards the pier when the call came through. Terry could hear one end of the discussion only that followed, but he wasn’t worried. He knew the whole conversation was being recorded, and he’d get to hear it in due course. He did, about half an hour later, back in their suite.

The recording went for about five minutes only, but it was as if he had the complete transcript written on the pages she gave him. Sure, he saw some minor differences, but the overall conversation followed exactly the same sequence and the same subjects. For the most part, Dan Williams set the course of the conversation, not Sarah. She couldn’t be accused of trying to make it happen.

The end result was exactly as she had predicted. They were told to return to Singapore, pick up his camera gear, and then fly on to join up with the same carrier. The only bit she didn’t have in her transcript was her request to take Eddie Nolan with them. She brought it up in a very reasonable way, saying he had been a very helpful advisor about what had happened here. There had been a brief pause at the Wellington end. No doubt Dan had to get his riding orders. Although the answer came back as a yes, it came along with an agreement that Dan would make all the arrangements. 

“Incredible. You’ve certainly convinced me.” Terry meant every word. But then he noticed Sarah was now sombre and reflective.

“And me,” she murmured. “I don’t know why, but I knew it would go like that. In one way, I’m glad. But in another, it’s kinda scary.”

Terry agreed. “You’re not wrong. But what can I say? You were right on the button. So no turning back now, right? Decision made?” He wanted her to commit.

Sarah’s nod was far from convincing.

“Right.” He kept it up, trying to spur some of that earlier passion. “Good. Onwards and upwards. We’d better get packed up and ready go. Are you going to ring Eddie and let him know?”

She sighed. “Sure. I’d better do that. Why don’t you go down and see Maria and ask if Ramón wants to take us through to LAX. He might as well get the fare.” 

“I’m gone,” said Terry, departing as instructed.

Sarah rang Nolan’s number again and told him everything had been approved. She’d have flight details within the hour. He, in turn, told her he was packed and ready.

Barely 15 minutes later, they had dropped off their bags at the hotel storage room and paid the bill. Maria confirmed that Ramón was very happy to take them through to LAX. Both knew Ramón’s reasons had little to do with any financial reward. He would want to know what had happened and where they were going—perhaps even what they hoped to find there.

Both knew they needed some exercise if they were to be cooped up in a plane for goodness knows how long. So having left a healthy tip, they walked out into the streets of Ventura one last time. 

“You’re Sarah Long, aren’t you?” The obviously local voice came from among a group of mainly men lounging around on the sidewalk. The rest of the group reacted as he spoke, and suddenly she was the centre of attention. Questions came from all directions. What did she know about the angel? How did she know to come to Ventura? What was she going to do now? Did she know who he was?

What a bloody circus! It’s worse than a rugby scrum. Is this what I do to people? No wonder they don’t have much respect for my profession. She tried to walk on and leave them behind, but it didn’t take long to figure out that wasn’t going to work. She shouldn’t have been surprised. Sarah knew how the system worked.

“Come on, Sarah, give us a break.”

“What’s happening with the angel?”

“Where will he turn up next?”

“What does he look like?” 

Her phone rang. Saved by the bell. She and Terry headed back into the hotel reception area and allowed the security staff to keep the rabble at bay outside.  She opened her phone, happy for once that her boss was calling.

“It’s all go, Sarah,” Dan Williams told her. We have the three of you booked on a Singapore flight leaving LAX at about 1.30 this afternoon your time. Same deal as last time, but you’ll have to slum it in Business Class this time, I’m afraid. I’ve booked you into the same hotel near Changi Airport. I’m not sure how long you’ll be there though. We’re still working on the leg through to Djakarta and beyond. Can you make that work?”

“Sure, Dan. No worries. And by the way, how much of the material that I sent you did you release to the world? I seem suddenly to have become hot property here. I can’t say I’m enjoying it. We reporters are a bloody pushy lot!”

“Really?” His sarcasm was very much in character. “My heart bleeds for you. Try and get some sleep on the plane because you’ll probably strike more of them at the other end.”

“Gee thanks, Dan. That’s really sweet of you.”

“I’ll leave a message for you at the hotel. Good luck, Long. I don’t know how you’re doing what you’re doing, but keep on doing it.”

“Thanks again.” But there was no point—the recipient was gone.

Sarah put the phone back in her bag and headed for the desk. “Hi again, Maria. Thanks for keeping the hounds at bay out there. Could you tell Ramón we’re ready when he is?”

Maria smiled at the compliment and picked up her phone to call her brother. Sarah couldn’t follow the rapid Spanish, but she got the general idea that Ramón was to get himself there, post haste! Clearly, Maria had no problems being blunt and direct with her brother, at least when these two were concerned.

“He is just filling up the car with gasoline. He will be here in about five minutes. Is that still alright?” There was a gentle pleading in her lovely brown eyes. 

“That’s fine, Maria. He needn’t rush. We’re okay for time,” she said with a smile that matched her words. “I’m very grateful for all you and Ramón have done for us. I just hope that rabble outside will leave you alone when we leave. I’m sure you can manage much better without them.” Sarah looked at the clock—9.20. “Is the dining room still open? I could use one last cup of your excellent coffee before we hit the road.”

“Sí, Sarah. I’ll tell them you’re coming. It’s on the house.”

Soon after they had thanked the receptionist, Terry and Sarah were shown to the best seats in the dining room. So much the better to enjoy their brew before having to push through the crowd again. And then the long drive back to the airport, but at least the driver was friendly.

Sarah pulled out her phone again and dialled Nolan’s number. He was obviously waiting for the call. She told him the little that was new and arranged to meet with him at the Singapore Airlines check in. As she hung up her call with Nolan, Sarah again felt that strange sense of peace about Eddie coming with them. A week ago it would have made no sense at all, but now…

Terry glimpsed the familiar features of Ramón at the dining room door. He had a worried frown, and it didn’t suit him. Terry waved for Ramón to join them, which he did if somewhat tentatively. He obviously didn’t feel comfortable in this place.

“We have a few minutes to spare, Ramón. Why not join us for a cup of coffee or something else if you prefer.” Terry made the invitation loud enough for the staff to hear. Ramón was his guest, not a waiting driver. It helped raise the shadow from Ramón’s handsome features, but he still wasn’t at ease.

“Good morning, Sarah, Terry. It is good to see you again.” Would they revert into some other sort of character, not like the open and searching people he’d seen the day before. What if they had taken offence at his suggestion about the Padre? What if…But no, nothing had changed. He relaxed a little more and sat a little awkwardly in the chair Terry had pulled out from the table for him.

“How is Rosita this morning?” Terry asked.

“She is a lot better, thank you. She and Douglas stayed at my house last night and are expecting Douglas’ parents later today. They’ve had problems getting out of Chicago; the weather has been very bad there also.”

“I’m glad she’s improving. It must have been a big shock for her.”

“I doubt it will be the last one,” Ramón said with a grin. “Life seems to have ways of making sure we all get them once in a while, does it not? For the most part, we seem to get over them. Is it the same in your country too?”

They chatted amicably, but not getting into anything too deep. There were too many other people sitting nearby, and it was obvious they were the subject of a great deal of curiosity. Any real talk would wait until they were in Ramón’s SUV, well clear of unwanted Klingons.

Ramón had parked his SUV around the back, by a service entrance, to make it easier for them to leave without having to run the gauntlet of the waiting media. He was conscious that he didn’t want to abuse the privilege and block that entrance for too long, so once the coffee was in, they were out.

* * * * * * *

Had she ever left? The same quarters with the same grey walls and the same people in the same places. How long had she been away? Hard to tell, given how much time she’d spent in aeroplanes crossing an unimaginable number of time zones.

But it was also different. Not as many media people aboard meant they stood out more. Elsewhere the impact of the disaster had passed from the minds of many. The world wanted new news. But for those in uniform and the thousands upon thousands of men and women who volunteered their time and energy to help, the job was a long way from done. She supposed they were used to it. Once public interest has faded, along with the circus it generated, they could get on with the job—the plain hard work, day after day, receiving little to no recognition. They probably prefer it that way. Most of them aren’t here for the recognition. They get their rewards in other ways.

People looked at her, at them, differently. Sarah was the angel lady, the one who just missed him in California. And Nolan provided an additional curiosity. All three knew their every move was being watched—not necessarily in a threatening way, but more because they were now celebrities. 

Meanwhile, the angel carried on doing his thing, although no one knew if the world’s media had reported everything he’d done. The media can only sustain the sensational for so long. Let’s face it … the paying public can stand only so much good news before they get bored with it. Fortunately, the angel is like the clean-up community. He doesn’t stop when the publicity machine has moved on.

The talk shows had a field day. Experts of all opinions and persuasions were wheeled into the public’s gaze to comment on everything from the angel’s motives to where he might appear next. Of course, there was no agreement among them; that wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t about the angel; it was about ratings. If only I could get the angel in front of a camera, our ratings would go through the roof. And then what? Joe and Josie Public would tire of that in time. They always do.

And the predictable wannabes had surfaced on talk-back radio and the odd TV show, claiming to be or to have seen the real thing. As usual, it didn’t take long for them to prove themselves wrong. But a part of Sarah hoped they were happy with their moment in the limelight, even if for some it was the darkness and anonymity of talk-back radio.

Sarah wanted so much more than that. She wanted to know the real story, the whole story. She still believed the angel would turn up back here, and she would meet him. Her dream had revealed that. The first part had come true. That allowed her to believe that the second part would too.

Terry remained his reliable and hard-working self. Nothing seemed to faze him. And Eddie was there too. She could hardly imagine what it would have been like without him. Eddie had insights that, for all his other strengths, Terry couldn’t match. She felt a little guilty that she had left Terry high and dry, but it didn’t seem to worry him. Terry could make friends anywhere, with almost anyone. She envied him in that.

They’d been back at sea for three days. Three days of helicopter rides, loading and unloading cartons and bags, and shifting people. It was hot, sticky and tiring, and she was only watching. Sure, there were stories to be filed, but somehow it all floated anaemically below the surface of her incredible sense that she was sitting on the side of the unknown, about to see it revealed.

But now it was another day, another opportunity. And as luck would have it, they were with the same crew they had been with on that fateful day when she was given the necklace. She had to make sure she always carried that necklace—just in case. But would today be special?

* * * * * * *

They landed in a town similar to a thousand others—perhaps tens of thousands of others. How many had she seen? The remains of broken shanties, the dust, the flies—and worse still—the pain and the hunger in hundreds of eyes. No, countless hundreds of eyes. Those eyes also showed gratitude, but it was guarded. These people still had the tattered remnants of their pride, and the arrival of people often seen as their enemy disturbed many of them. Such things challenge our deepest prejudices. No one gives those up without a fight.

She could sense something different in the air without knowing what it was. Eddie saw the light in her eyes. She knows something, he thought. It was still a miracle for him when he saw such things happen. It helped to restore his oft ailing faith. Faith is such a hard thing to hang onto in a world that seems to despise it so much.

“What do you see, Sarah?” he asked quietly, not wanting to attract too much attention to her. That wasn’t easy because the others were watching. Perhaps they too were hoping, even expecting, something would happen. But Nolan knew they were only interested spectators. Sarah was involved, engaged. She knows something. It’s written all over her, but they can’t see it. None of them can. Nolan was sure of that. He could tell by their body language, their faces, their eyes. No, they hadn’t seen it.

“I’m not sure, Eddie. There’s something different about this place. It could be him, but I can’t tell at this stage.” But her all-knowing Mona Lisa smile said something else.

The rotors stilled and a sort of silence descended once again. The expectant crowd waited. The chopper meant food, water, medicine, and construction materials—the necessities of life in concrete form. But they also provided hope when so much more than the land and buildings had taken a battering.

Terry and Eddie went through their now familiar rituals. Camera on, notebook out.

Terry captured the initial rush. Eddie was writing his thoughts as he witnessed this mechanical mercy mission. He looked at the faces—nothing unusual there. It all seems much the same as everywhere else. What can she see?

Eddie glanced across towards Sarah, who was now in the middle of the now jostling crowd. She must have sensed his gaze because she turned and flashed a knowing smile back towards him. The priest waved and returned to his writing. Part of him was annoyed that she obviously knew something, even if she didn’t yet know what she knew. A voice inside niggled at him that she had been chosen, and he had not. But he checked it immediately. I don’t make the Almighty’s decisions for Him; I’m just grateful to be here to watch it unfold.


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