I wandered around the empty church. I stepped up four wooden steps to a main stage, I guess it was the pulpit. It was broken, but the edges of a stone alter were still intact. I wasn’t surprised to see that it was covered with a splattered blanket of dried blood.
That’s when Chirp-Chirp flew up to me.
“Yes, I can see. Where have you been?”
“chirp-Scouting. There’s a lot of chatter on the air about you.”
“chirp-That means Marauders. they must know that you’re here. We have to escape, quickly- chirp.”
“Don’t be a weak-weak sissy boy neh?”
“chirp-Better a weak-weak than din-din Zee. You passed out after eating Mr.puss-in-boots. You’ve been sleeping for over an hour, muttering to yourself like a little mentally disturbed baby-chirp.”
“I was dreaming. About her. I saw the sun, it was yellow. The Earth was green, like how it was inside the Argo, Chirp. It was lovely.”
“chirp-That’s nice. But she’s dead Zee-chirp”
“You don’t know that, for sure.”
“chirp-She would never leave you, leave the source that way- not if she were alive. She would have found you by now-chirp.”
“She was scared. She ran.”
“chirp-Maybe. Either way, I’m not having this argument with you again. Listen, about four klicks to the East, the exiles built a series of underground caves and a small town above it. The enclosures were never destroyed by Artemis, they are still there Zee. Between a hundred and seventy-five to two hundred man-made structures, with hundreds of caves and tunnels underneath -chirp”
“That’s great to hear.”
“chirp-Don’t be an ass! We have to run-chirp.”
“Maybe I’m tired of running, neh?”
“chirp-Are you tired of living? -chirp.”
I ignored the comment.
In the glow of Chirps ambient light, I walked to a hanging banner of Jesus on the opposite wall of the dais. I was surprised to find it was made of some sort of paper.
“chirp-You know this image is false. It was modeled off the face of Emperor Constantine in the third century A.D. to trick the early Christians into worshipping him as their God-head, it has nothing to do with the real Hebrew-chirp.
I dropped to one knee.
“chirp-Oh Jesus. Sweet Christmas what are you doing now Zee?…I mean now, really? Listen to me we have got to get out of here-chirp”
“Shut it Chirp. I’m praying….
“Dear God… I mean Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us for our daily trespasses, as we forgive those who we have to kill. My name is Zildjan and I have nothing, lost everything and live from day to day. Deliver me from my sins, forgive me my evils, and help me to find a reason to live. Amen.”
“chirp-Wow, you are really stupid -chirp”
The sky went darker. The last vestige of the red sun dipped under the Earth. Ever since the moon had been blown apart half way through the middle of the third major conflict in the Seventy-Seven seasons ’ war, when the sun went down the Earth was in black pitch. The billions of tiny moon rocks floating around Earth like the rings around Saturn reflected almost zero light. Tartari liked to hunt in the Darkness since they had excellent night vision.
“It’s so quiet.”
I had not been out in the Dark in a very long time.
“chirp- No shit, it’s quiet. It’s quiet because everything in the Dark is usually trying to kill you. But, this doesn’t feel…normal.-chirp.”
“You are thinking what I a m thinking.” It was not a question. Chirp and I shared the same brain pattern through an implant in our cerebral cortex. It was one of the reasons why we got along so famously.
“chirp- The cat, the church right in the middle of our path?”-chirp
“We are in a trap.”