From the Sky - Part XX

Seconds later, Sal stood in front of her sisters. She was out of breath, her eyes wide and her hair slightly disheveled. Perhaps that alarmed her sisters most of all; Sal was always immaculately groomed with never so much as a spot on her apron or a single hair out of place.

"What's wrong?" Rae asked.

"Your nun!" Sal gasped after a moment, then turned to Zia and said, again, "Your nun!"

"Nuns? You saw nuns?" asked Rae.

"In the church parking lot. Papa sent me to give Father Genovese the rent for the bingo machine. Uncle Gio was supposed to do it, but he forgot. There were nuns."

"How many? Two? Three?" Rae inquired.

"A busload! Thirty, forty, maybe fifty. They stepped off a bus and walked right past me. It was a wall of nuns! A procession! Last night was bad enough, and now there are nuns!"

"So Father Genovese is having a penguin party!" laughed Zia. "Really, I don't see why you're so upset. It's a gaggle of nuns, that's all! What are they going to do? Drink too much of his altar wine? Sing hymns too loudly? Play strip bingo? 'B17' …Bingo! Don't clear those cards, ladies, until Sister Abigail checks the winner …yes, it's a 'bingo' for Sister Beatrice! All you losers …off with your scapulars!"

"It's not funny, Zia," Sal cried. "Don't you see: this is a horrible, horrible omen! I ran home, but I only passed a few people on the sidewalk. 'Your nun,' I said to them, and I touched every street sign and iron fence post I passed, and all the tent stakes here, too, but it wasn't enough, I know it. There were too many nuns!"

Zia was still wearing a grin, but Rae's face was nearly as pale as Sal's.

"We should go see Madame Béatrice," Sal pleaded, clutching Rae's sleeve, her breathing almost back to normal.

Rae weighed Sal's words a moment and replied: "There's no time. We can't leave the picnic, there's too much left to do. And don't forget: Zia is going inside soon to work on the wedding cakes."

"But, Rae," Sal pleaded again, "Something terrible is going to happen. I'm sure of it!"

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