Anna slammed her car door shut and stalked into the police precinct. Proinsias had left to restock on liquor last night and never returned. Early morning gossip from the town said that he had been last seen in the back of the Sheriff's car. There was no one at the front desk. In fact the building gave off the appearance of being deserted. Anna wondered if Annville even had any deputies.
"Root!" she shouted, headed toward the holding cells, but her voice was drowned out by the sound of a gun firing. "Fuck!" Anna ran towards the sound, arriving in no more than four strides.
The Sheriff sat outside of a cell. Through the bars, Anna was able to see Proinsias, coughing up blood on the ground.
"I'm not sure that's entirely legal, Sheriff," Anna said.
Root turned, startled. "I'm not sure he's entirely human."
"He's not," Anna said. "So let him go."
"Yeah, yeah," Root sighed and stood. "You're free to go." He unlocked the cell and left the room, leaving one last paper cup full of blood.
Anna picked it up and brought it to Proinsias who slurped greedily from it.
"We have to get to the church," he said when the hole in his chest began to heal over.
Anna laughed. "That's your concern right now?"
"Course! Padre's gonna call down God. Do yeh really wanna miss that?" he smirked.
"Alright, alright." Anna helped him. "Let's get going then."
The small church filled up quickly. In moments the entirety of Annville had arrived, packed in like sardines. Even Cain showed up. He shoved his way through the crowd to the front so that he could stand next to his Abrianna.
"You wanna talk to God?" Anna raised her eyebrows.
"I want to see him answer to his people," Cain grunted. "I want to see someone tell him off."
"That could be you," Anna pointed out.
Cain shook his head. "I killed Abel so that his soul would be safe from Lucifer. So that at least my brother would go to heaven. I knew what I was getting into. Just like you. God might be a mean son of a bitch, but we picked our own fates."
"Yeah," Anna sighed. "But I'm tired of mean sons of bitches."
Jesse exited from the vestibule and nodded towards us before getting behind the pulpit. "Peace be with you," he began.
"And also with you," the congregation echoed back at him.
As those with spots in the pews took their seats, Odin Quincannon got up and stood in front of the altar. "Hooboy! Quite a turnout. I'd like to thank you all for comin'."
"Down in front!" Anna hollered, already annoyed.
"Right," the man cleared his throat. "Let's get started."
Jesse nodded at her gratefully and began messing with the contraption on the pulpit. There were several strange beeping noises, but nothing seemed to be happening. A murmur of disappointment ran through the church and then the lights went out.
"Don't panic," Jesse told them. "It's arlgiht."
Then there was a burst of light and a great gust of wind. A white man in a white robe with white hair appeared. "Look upon me!" he commanded. "I am the alpha and the omega. The bright morning star. I am the Lord, your God."
Anna snorted. It was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. "That's not god. That's not god, right?"
"No, that's not God," Cain frowned and pushed his way out through the crowd. It was time to leave Annville, Texas behind.
"My children," the divine imposter addressed the congregation. "Why have you called me?"
"God?" Jesse stepped forward. "We, uh, I called you cause we all have questions. Respectfully, we would like to know-"
"How dare you!" he yelled. "How dare you question your God?"
"No!" Tulip stepped forward. "How dare you! You can't shout at us like that. We're the ones that should be screaming, you sick-"
"Tulip!" Jesse silenced her.
"And you made a baby cry," Tulip sneered.
"I am is the only answer you need," the false-god spoke.
That pushed Jesse over the edge. "That is not good enough!" he yelled. "Look at us down here: greed, hate, and doubt. Sin is winning and you're losing. So if we are your children, why don't you act like a father? Take some time out of your busy schedule and answer some goddamn questions."
"God" burst out laughing. Anna was so startled she jumped backwards into Cassidy. He chuckled and caught her.
"Balls!" "God" laughed, pointing at Jesse. "Very well, what do you want to know?"
"How about where god is?" Anna muttered.
Cassidy shushed her with a gentle elbow to the ribs. "Now yeh're borderin' on disrespectful."
"You're one to talk," she grinned.
Cassidy couldn't help but smile back and offered only a shrug.
"Jesse," Anna tugged on his sleeve to get his attention. "Cain said that's not God," she whispered. "I don't think it's him either."
"How would you know?" he whispered back.
"I don't. I never met him, but Cain did. And the impression I got from Lucifer, He doesn't look like his pictures."
The congregation had begun clamoring, shouting their questions at God.
Cassidy laughed at them. "Yeh know, one time. I took quite a bit of angel dust and then drank an eight pack of Red Bull and then went to a Bieber concert. Honestly, this is crazier than that."
Odin interrupted. "Hey! Hey! You!" The clamoring stop and all eyes turned to him as he addressed God. "My family? My little girl? My little Lucy Lu?"
"What about her?" "God" asked.
"Is she there? With you?"
"Yes, she is here," "God" said and then turned to Jesse. "What about you Preacher? You must have a question."
Jesse gulped. He hadn't actually been prepared to ask God anything. And Anna's voice nagged in the back of his mind. "I've been wondering for a long time, now: What's your plan for me?"
"To be a shepherd to your flock," he said simply. "To tend to them and the church."
"But I failed in that," Jesse protested. "Why did you give me this power if I can't use it to save them?"
"You have not failed, my son. You brought them to me and so they are saved."
"Really?" Jesse blinked. "Even Eugene?"
"Yes, even Eugene." The man seemed to be growing wearied.
"But I sent him to hell!" Jesse admitted and the whole crowd hushed.
"God" paused. "How did you do that my son?"
"With the power," Jesse answered as though it were obvious. "With Genesis."
"Oh, uh, yes, of course. Who else has a question?" The reply deflected.
"Told you so," Anna muttered, just so her friends could hear her.
Jesse moved to the center of the church. "One last question: You're not God, are you? You're an imposter!"
"I am God!" the man cried.
"Where is God?" Jesse demanded. "Where is God?" he demanded a second time when the first was not answered, but his voice changed and the room shook as he spoke.
"I don't know!" the imposter cried. "He's missing! We don't know where he is? Maybe he's down there. We don't know!"
Two men who were out of sight came and dragged the imposter away as he protested. When he was out of sight, the call ended.
Anna looked around, not entirely sure if she could believe what had just happened. It was a bit anticlimactic if anything. She had expected this, but half hoped for the real thing. "Well, I'm hungry," she shrugged and took Proinsias's hand. "Let's find you an umbrella."
"Wait!" Tulip heard Anna. "I want French Fries. Jesse!" She called. "Fries. Let's go!"