My heart shall sing of the day your bring,
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.
“Burn is more like it,” a voice said from the back of the chapel. “The world is about to burn.”
Bulletins crinkled as the parishioners stopped fanning the late summer New Orleans humidity off themselves and turned to see Kalea striding up the aisle of Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel.
“That was a beautiful opening hymn,” Kalea stepped beside the St. Jude Shrine to the left of the altar. “The Magnificant has always been one of my favorites. It’s prophetic, isn’t it? Not just at the birth of Christ, but now as well.”
“Ma’am, we don’t allow women to speak in the church,” the Priest said softly from the pulpit.
Kalea smiled. “What about the alien amongst you? Didn’t Moses tell you repeatedly to welcome them?”
“I believe the word is ‘foreigner,” the priest said.
Kalea shrugged, staring at the shrine. “It’s appropriate, don’t you think, to lift up your prayers to Saint Jude now. Humanity is, after all, a lost cause. You’ve never been in a more desperate situation than you face now.”
“Save us!” a woman shouted from the back. She started to rush up the aisle toward Kalea, but Kalea held up a hand, holding her in place. The woman froze in the center of the aisle.
“It’s too late,” Kalea said.
“It can’t be!” another voice cried out.
“I told you. I told you ten months ago that you would listen to us, or die. You chose to turn our help away, and now you will die.”
“That was the government! We had no say in that,” a voice shouted.
“You elected your leaders. You put them in power. You are as responsible for their failures as they are,” Kalea proclaimed. She wandered to the pulpit, where the priest stared at her for a moment before shrinking away and allowing her to step to the microphone. “You did fine for a while. You cooperated. You even helped us to discover more. But you allowed doubt to seep in, and once it won over, there was nothing that could convince you of the true threat you face. Typical human beings. You start the course, but you can’t stay the course. You aren’t built to endure. We thought you were, but we were wrong. Only the elite amongst you are destined to survive, and they are too few to save the rest.”
“Who’s side are you on?” a woman shouted.
Kalea leaned forward. “I’m on the side of survival. We wanted to help as many of you as possible. We wanted to save the planet, but you didn’t want that. You wanted your petty wars more than you wanted to preserve the sanctity of what you have, and now you will lose it.” She stared at the Saint Jude shrine. “Pray your rosaries. Lift up your petitions. Cast your spells. Whatever faith you observe, cling to it, because it is all you have left.” She stared at the congregation, her eyes glinting silver. “God help you, because nobody else can. You’re too stubborn for anything but extinction, because death is the only thing you cannot fight and win.”
A gasp rose as Kalea stepped from the pulpit and walked down the center aisle. The woman from the back, now unfrozen, threw herself at Kalea’s feet.
“Please!” she sobbed. “We don’t want to die. We’re sorry. Please, save us!”
Kalea shook her head. “It’s too late. We’ve inhabited our chosen ones and bound our army. The ones that accepted us have been taken under our protection.”
“What about the cyborgs?” a voice asked.
“They’re here. It’s too late now.”
“But you can beat them,” the woman said softly. “We saw that. Please, can’t something more be done to make this right?”
“We will fight them as best as we can and protect those that have chosen us,” Kalea said.
“And what about the rest of us?”
“You’re already dead,” Kalea held out her hands, forcing open the doors and disappearing in the flood of early morning sunlight.