Chapter 48

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There was a light knock at the door.

“Probably Flutter,” Alex said, “Back to tell us our fate.”

I walked over to the door.

This is it. I took a deep breath. Please, God, don’t throw me to the wolves.

I opened the door and let Flutter inside.

Thanks,” she mumbled.

We looked at her, waiting to hear the news.

She glanced away nervously.

Alex tapped impatiently on the armrest of his chair.

“So…” I swallowed. “What did He say?”

“He–” She took a deep breath. “He says you aren’t authorized to speak for Him. And… and He can’t allow it to continue.

Oh, crap. That’s what I was afraid of.

“You’re turning us in?”

She shook her head. “He–He wants you to turn yourselves in. To atone for your sins.”

He wants us to walk ourselves to the slaughter.

“And if we don’t?” Alex clenched his hands into fists.

“Then…” Flutter took another deep breath. “Then I have to turn you in.”

“So what’s the advantage of doing it ourselves?”

“A chance at forgiveness. He–He understands you were low on options, and is willing to forgive you for it if you turn yourselves in.”

“Forgive us?” I asked, hopeful, “Meaning… He’d tell the Church to let us live?”

Flutter shook her head. “You’d–you’d still be executed, but–but He’d judge you based on your other actions, instead of… sending you straight to the deepest pits of Hell.

I guess that’s still better than nothing. At least… at least we’d have a chance to get into Heaven…

“That’s all?” Alex asked, “He wants us to die for something that happened by accident, and that’s all he’s offering? A promise not to punish us for it again in the next life?” He laughed. “I’ve got a better idea. How about we just deny it. You can go ahead and tell everyone we’re false prophets, and we’ll convince them we’re not. You have no proof, so it’ll just be your word against ours.”

I… I know.” She looked down.

He gave her a fierce stare. “You really think they’ll believe you?” He laughed. “You can hardly even talk to people. You sure you want to start a public debate like this? If we win, you’ll go down for falsely accusing us. Is that what you want?”

She shook her head vigorously. She was trembling so hard I could hear her feathers rustling against each other.

I took a deep breath. “Flutter? Could you–could you give us a moment alone? So we can decide?”

She nodded and left, still trembling.

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