Smoke & Mirrors: Chapter One | E.A. Copen
JOSIAH I staggered into the church after midnight, a mostly empty bottle in my hand. Thunder rumbled outside, the voice of an angry father. If you listened close enough, you could hear God's belt snap against the raw, exposed flesh of the world. Lightning flashes of pain lit pale, shivering storm clouds. Fat raindrops pounded against the stained glass while angry wind howled. The power was out, but it was bright inside thanks in part to hundreds of white wax candles at the front of the room. A few parishioners warmed the pews, heads bowed in silent prayer while the blessed virgin stood up front, arms open. Rain trailed down from my wet hair, slipping under my collar. I tugged on the stained blue tie and pulled the white cotton fabric of my shirt away from where it was clinging to my chest. It'd been a hell of a walk in the rainstorm, and I was too pissed to recall the exact name of the church. It was Orthodox, and out of the way, not one of the big, fancy churches, but a small and