I held his body in my arms, felt the life draining from it with the blood that was everywhere. On me. In the street. The bullet had passed through Reese, through me. Reese was dead. He had taken the bullet meant for me but that would have hit Paula. I held Reese in my arms. He was dead. I fell to my knees, Reese in my arms. I could feel my pulse, the warmth of the blood in my veins, I was Zoë and no bullet could harm that. Reese wasn’t. Paula wasn’t.
The Sheriff grabbed Edward, who fought to get loose. The Sheriff bulked over Edward but could barely hold him. I saw pure animal rage overtake a man and leave him a snarling animal, and I knew at that instant I had within me the power to destroy Edward, to unmake him like Casiel unmade Reese. All I had to do was focus on Edward and he would die. He was a murderer. I had the right to stop him from harming anyone else. I looked at him, focused my thoughts on him, and then I felt a wave of grace sweep over me. I saw Eddy struggling and was reminded of a boy when I was in grade school having a tantrum while the teacher bulked over him, holding onto him. I let go of my hate. That let me mourn Reese.
Paula sat beside me on the curb and threw an arm around me and we both cried for Reese. I barely knew for a while what was happening. In the back of my mind I knew the people from the interurban had disembarked. The crowd stirred then parted. Edward stopped thrashing. The Sheriff was still holding him when Jesus walked up to them. I knew who he was, but to the Sheriff He put his hand out and touched Edward on the forehead. Edward slumped a bit then stood still, no longer struggling against the Sheriff.
“You can release him now, John,” Jesus said. The Sheriff let go of Edward.
“Do you still think I’m an alien, Edward?” Jesus asked him.
“Maybe,” Edward said. “Maybe this is mind control.”
“Does it feel like your mind is being controlled?”
Edward shook his head ‘no’ with a small wag.
“Walk with me,” Jesus said.
He stopped where I held Reese’s body in my arms.
“Why do you weep, Helen Amber? You know he will return.”
“Because I waited so long for him, Lord.”
“Then wait no longer.” He knelt down, tugging Edward who knelt with him. He placed Edward’s hand over the bloody red hole the bullet had made through Reese’s heart then placed his hand over Edward’s. “Reese,” he said, “hear my voice. Qum.” I felt an electric jolt go through Reese and through me. Reese gasped then a huge shiver ran through his body. Edward pulled back his hand with the most astonished look on his face. Jesus stood up, and then Edward stood. Reese opened his eyes and just said “oh,” then smiled.
“What was that?” Edward shouted. “What just happened?”
“Now you know, Eddy.”
Eddy stared at Reese. Reese blinked once, then coughed. Then he began coughing hard and after a moment he sat up.
“We did that?” Eddy said.
“No, Eddy, Jesus said. “I did that. But I did it through you. That’s the way it was until my Kingdom. What I did was always through others. It was the way the Father wanted it. Small, meek, tender. You never understood that. But you should have, Eddy. Everything you did, everything you wanted to do, you did through others. You organized people to stand up and be proud of their labor. That was a good thing, Eddy. You fought for them, suffered with them. When they won, you won. When they lost, you lost. That was how my Kingdom on earth worked, too, Eddy.”
“Okay, but that world’s done, right? That was the old world, right? Why the crater outside of town, put there by your angel? And why the tornado? Look at what it did. People lost everything they built, all they worked for. Homes, businesses. This is supposed to be your Kingdom. Heaven on earth, right? The endless banquet? Oh, I know. I took my catechism. But there’s still pain in this world, Jesus. Why?”
“Ask yourself what is not like the world you knew? What is missing?”
“You’re not answering my question. Why is there still suffering?”
“I removed one pain, Eddy.”
“Death. I conquered it long ago, but now that victory is lived out. There is no death in my Kingdom. People have lost their greatest fear. In the old world, being fearless toward death was hard to do. I know. But not anymore. That is my gift. My gift is what’s missing.”
“What? What’s missing?”
“What about Mortimer. Ain’t he dead?”
“Mortimer is where he fits better.”
“So that’s it? We don’t die. We live, but we suffer?”
“How much of that suffering did you bring on yourself, Eddy? What was it you showed Reese at the Hardware?”
“It’s not important now.”
“What was it you showed Reese at the Hardware?”
“I’d rather not say.”
“If you want their forgiveness, Eddy, you need to tell the truth.”
“I thought I was supposed to ask your forgiveness.”
“You already have it. What was it you showed Reese at the Hardware?”
Eddy mumbled something. Mumbling wasn’t like Eddy.
“Speak up,” the Sheriff Gosyln said.
“I said a pipe bomb. I was making it for protec… I wanted to scare people with it. I wanted the Zoës out.” Eddy looked around, then hung his head. “Okay, okay. I screwed up. But why punish everyone, Jesus? You still aren’t telling me why there is suffering.”
“Hear me, all of you,” Jesus said. His voice surely carried as far as anyone who had ears to hear and was listening. “What I say, I say to you all. To be human, you need to know all your emotions, and those include loss as well as joy. But the greatest loss, loss to death, you will never know again. What you once had to believe, that I have conquered death, now you know. No other differences are necessary. I have removed every obstacle not of your making. This earth is heaven, if you want it enough.”
“There’s a lot I don’t get about this,” Eddy said. “But I’ll give it a go.”
“It’s all I ever asked of you.”
“So now what?”
“I will tell you that as we walk together,” Jesus said. He reached down a hand to Reese and pulled him to his feet, then he raised me as well. Paula had already gotten up and was clapping, which got the whole crowd clapping. Jesus embraced Reese, then me. “Let’s go Eddy,” he said, and the two of them walked toward Resurrectorium 1920. I never saw Edward again.