What God Knows


abby_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title What God Knows
Synopsis Abby's first attendance at the new church leads to post-sermon conversation and revelations.
Date March 29, 2009

Guiding Light Baptist Church

It's heading into the afternoon, and the little church in Greenwich Village is full. And by 'full', that can be taken to mean, there are some people. Not many, but enough for optimism to feed from. They sit scattered amongst the pews, more individual than he's used to. He knew churches to be places where families congregated with the congregation, but then again, his didn't.

So there you go. Maybe he really is preaching to the right choir. "Actions follow faith," he's saying, his voice spinning through the microphone and out the smaller speakers, enough to reach right through to the back of the room and hopefully a little bit out the still open door. "If you are saved, you're on a road that dictates what you do, and what you do is in the name of Jesus Christ, because you want to serve God."

His hand comes up to adjust his glasses, the Bible lying wide open on the podium but currently not being read. "If it's a Christianity that won't bring you to church, is it a Christianity that will bring you to heaven?" There's a murmur of 'amen' from somewhere around the back, and a less encouraging clearing of someone's throat. Joseph's reading glasses flash a little in the light as he ducks his head with a slightly conspiring smile to add quieter in the microphone: "So I guess you can take that to mean, bring y'friends next time."

A scattered chuckle that echoes, and he's quick to dismiss today's flock with, "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, God be with you from here and out this door. I hope to see you all again - feel free to say 'hi'…"

The pastor trails off a little, because the rustle of people getting up to leave is drowning out even his words. Like a lecturer in a hall full of students. A benign smile later, a nod, and he switches off the mic. That didn't go so badly.

Not badly at all. At least there were people there. One of those people is Abigail. Ye old faith healer. Unlike some others who get up and shuffle out or line up to shake Pastor Sumter's hand, that particular blonde stays put in her pew, ignoring the other parishioners who pass in favor of a bow'd head, moving lips devoid of sound and closed eyes. Someone is trying to get some one on one time with God, or maybe waiting till not so many people are waiting to shake the new guys hand and thank the lord for a baptist church here in New York. Either way, in her sunday best, skinny as a rail, she has her one sided and silent conversation with the Lord, in his renovated house of worship.

Some are quick to leave, others are slow to linger. Names are exchanged over handshakes, even gratitude to which Joseph has no choice but to shake his head and smile bashfully. This wasn't his idea, but here he is, at least. It's also started to rain outside, and so when he goes to walk an elderly gentleman towards the door after securing the promise he'll see him next Sunday, Joseph is quick to shut the doors before any more warmth can leak away.

No locking, though, the church is open until the evening. Which is why Abby's presence is only glanced to, as Joseph sets about picking up the psalm books. My, this is familiar, save for instead of a brooding brunette in the shadows, it's a devout, praying blonde. That has to be an upside. Seeing her head ducked and the faint hint of her mouth moving, Joseph isn't about to bother her, taking off his glasses and moving to clean up after the service and smiling across at a couple of other lingering people towards the hallway, likely avoiding the rain.

Abby doens't brood. She prays instead. Seek answers from the lord, instead of sitting and sulking about the hand dealt you. It beats laying about in a bed all day and staring at the ceiling while Brian version 3.0 thumps around in the apartment trying to find a way to cheer her up or at least erase the frown and replace it with something else. It wa shim that had found the pamphlet about the church and it being open. Who's got her up and out the door then dropped her off with orders to call when she was ready to be picked up.

Despite the praying, the young woman is aware of who all is there, how close they are to her, and when she finishes, the cross around her neck brought up to her lips and kissed, The conflower blue looks over to the Joseph. "Pastor Sumter" The accent that screams of home. It'd been comforting to hear his, close her eyes and for a moment she was home. The book of Psalms she had been using is slid back to it's proper place instead of left on the pew like many tend to do. After a moment she rises up, to go about helping the man with the books. Wanting to linger for a bit.

"Afternoon," is the simple greeting given back, a double-take and a quicker smile when the woman goes to help him with putting the books back where they're supposed to be. The accent, too, is something to register and vainly appreciate, the harsher dialects of New Yorkers certainly something to get used to for a man who hasn't stepped out of Tennessee save for the rare vacation. A little bit of silence, filled with soft footsteps against carpet and the slide of cardboard and wood, and then there's a creak as someone else exits the church, door shutting on its own accord.

As the sound of Greenwich Village is muffled once more, a place Joseph was told was a far less wrecked corner of Manhattan than it is now, it's a good a time as any to speak up. "Thanks," he says with an easy smile, with a head tilt towards the book in her hands. "We can use all the help we can get around here." A slightly wry comment, but genuine nontheless.

"Many hands make light work Pastor Sumter. I'd have come sooner but I didn't know you'd decided to offer service here and i've been occupied. If there's things that need being done, I'll make sure to set aside some time to do them" Another book sinks home in it's holder as she continues an old familiar task from childhood. "Abigail Beauchamp, by way of Louisianna. What else needs being done around here?" one after another, stooping once to pick up a scrap of paper, receipt for five dollars and eighty two cents to the seven eleven.

The glasses in his hand is tucked into the pocket of the pale grey suit jacket he's wearing, on a paler blue shirt with a darker blue tie, professional and sedate and the tailoring isn't as good as it could be, but it works for his job description. Eyebrows raise a little not quite in surprise at her questions and the implied offers behind them, before he's offering out a hand to her. Last time this happened, there'd been a strange, somewhat otherworldly glow and everything had turned for the worst. Too many handshakes since then for Joseph to be shy now, even if the circumstances parallel.

"It's nice to meet you, Miss Beauchamp. Feel free to call me Joseph, most do. First thing I could ask of any member of congregation is to keep comin' back. Otherwise there's plenty to do. Right now all we need is people."

Handshakes. Much as she doesn't want to, there's rules of conduct, social codes. "Call me Abigail then Joseph" Hesitation written on her face about taking his hand, but she does it anyways. Gentle but firm, no purple glow, not even warmth and tingle. "Coming back is a given. St Johns while beautiful, doesn't hold a candle to hearing southern comfort from here"

A smile, one of agreement and understanding this time. "St. John's does great work, from what I've seen," and of course he's seen it, "but there's no place like home, huh? I'm glad you find that." Joseph's moving once more to resume putting away the books, just one or two more before the hall's neatness is restored again. All the same, keeping within an amicable talking distance, sliding a book into the hold before he's smoothing down his tie.

"We offer volunteer work - haven't gotten around to establishing real organisation or structure in that department, we're still new here. Next weekend, though, we're headed down the trailer parks with the refugees to see if we can't spread the word - you're more'n welcome to come along. Otherwise, if you're gonna be turning up regular like, it'd be nice to have someone familiar greet the congregation at the door, help set up things for service. Whatever suits you best."

"Right now, setting up service might suit better. There's.. issues with walking into a crowd, for now at least. But I can see to baking some things for you and the others to bring with you to the trailers." Her last book is put into place, rubbing her hands on her skirt and looking around. "You'll get things in place soon enough Pastor Joseph. By the will of god, he'll send you the people you need to get it all in order, and running smoother than you can possibly imagine" She circles the bench, meandering back to her own bench and her coat and purse sitting neatly therein. "You have family with you? Or are you alone?"

Moving towards where the hall leads out into the boxy front area leading into rainy Greenwich, as if to walk her to the door when she's done collecting her things, Joseph slips his hands into his jacket pockets, which is convenient because it disguises his wedding ring when he's forced to give a mysteriously rueful smile and a quick shake of the head. "No family, no ma'am, not in this city," he states, honestly, then his smile becomes less forced when he adds, "But I don't consider myself to be alone."

His chin tips up to nod at her once. "Baking, by the way, would be great - Lord knows I'm liable to set things on fire if I try." As for crowds, it causes his view on her to narrow, slightly, to something more specific than a sweet Southern girl who wants to help, a slightly studious look swept over her but he doesn't pursue it.

There's a smile. "Never alone. Through trials and tears, we are never alone" Skinny, too skinny. But Abigail catches that look, watches him as she zips up her jacket. "He put me through trials these past two months. It's taking time to .. find my way back Pastor Joseph. I don't do good in crowds right now, but when I do, I'll… be right there, helping" Her purse slid up onto her shoulder she holds onto the strap. "If.. youc ome across anyone who's hurt" She digs into her purse for a pen and that seven eleven reciept is scribbled upon, her number. "Call me. I can help. I did it back home, and I do it here. Don't spread my name round, but call" The reciept is offered out to him.

Blink, blink, but ultimately the receipt is taken after only the slightest of confused hesitations, pinched between two fingers and flipped this way and that. "Will do," Joseph says, looking over the number before neatly folding up the scrap of paper and pocketing it. "And you know where to find me if you need anything."

Brown eyes now study blue ones from beneath a serious brow. "You'll be familiar with the idea that our church offers counsel along with a place to go for worship and shelter from the rain," a slight glance towards the door, back towards her, "and if you're having trouble figuring out what comes after these trials of yours, I can help. It's a gift I have."

Gift. Holy lord, he's evolved as well. It's a few slow blinks. "What did God give you Pastor Sumter" See what comes after her trials. "He lets you see his plans for people?" Obviously, she's familiar with the whole evolved abilities thing.

Strange how people in his small town back in Tennessee would take this as a metaphor, but then, New York is rife with Evolved and Joseph isn't the only one who sees it as a gift instead of some footnote of evolutionary theory. Still, he's taken aback for a moment before that pleasant, now slightly sheepish smile returns. He stays a little guarded, all the same. "That's right," he says. "It's like a meeting of fate and free will. I can show people what's lying ahead for them, whatever's important. Part of the reason I came up here, I think. There aren't a lot of— churches for people like us." The us doesn't necessarily include Abby, although now he looks at her. Silent question.

What do you do. That question is loud even when unspoken. "He gave me the gift of making a person whole. I heal. Fix a heart, give a person back an arm, mend a bullet wound back to nothing, burns. Nearly everything." There are not alot of places period, for people gifted by god. "I call it Faith healing, for I have to give Him his due, his permission, before I could do it but.. with a touch, I can make, He makes it all disappear" Sheepishness flits across her face. "Your gift? By touch? some other way?"

Joseph seems to start to ask a question during her explanation, but he makes himself pause, teeth clicking quietly together as he shuts his mouth and listens, seeming uncomprehending by the time she turns the conversation back to him. Caught off guard when he has to stop turning the possibilities of Abby's gift over in his head and focus on his own for a moment. "Oh, I uh. Yeah, through touch. Hold their hands and all they see visions and— stuff, you can heal people?"

Still caught up in the wonders of Abby's ability, it seems. Awed, almost. "That's amazing. What about sickness, you can— forgive me, I'm not so familiar with others who can— do things."

"Welcome to New York. You'll find that almost every second person can do something Pastor" It still sometimes, amazes her, depending upon what it is that she's doing. "Depends upong the sickness. Not much that the Lord lets me do with things involving blood, though I can mend a bruise. Works on Animals too. But pneumonia, Cancer, tumors, the list is very long Pastor Sumter. THough it's only so amazing until someone decides they want what you can do and make you do it regardless of whether you want to or not" Too bad he can't see the past. There's a glance down to his hands, almsot as if trying to decide whether she offers her hand out to him again.

It's enough to miss any surreptitious glances towards his hands, Joseph's eyes narrowing at this concept of what she's suggesting. He's not so naive to be shocked and amazed at what people are capable of, and it's a bitter reaffirmation of exactly what side he's chosen to fight, in a sense. "Then it really has been a trying time for you," he says, gently. Almost apologetically. "Abusing a gift like yours… I'm glad to see you've gotten yourself out of such a situation?" He can't help the slight, questioning lift at the tail end of his statement. Imprisonement and coercion, God knows, can extend passed walls and physical boundaries.

"By the grace of god and friends, Paster sum.. Joseph, I will. I will. Some days a little harder than the last, but.. He won't throw at me more than I can handle. If there's someone who's hurt. Call. I'm going to school and I work down the street, at Old Lucy's" Yeah, that place, the place that sells alcohol and good baptist girls probalby shouldn't work at. She glances up at him, rubbing her fingers together before she holds her hand out. "I have a friend, who tells me it's wrong, that I believe God plans things out. That the future isn't set out. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. You, Pastor, what God gave you…"

An uncertain smile manages to break through his otherwise serious and concerned expression, gaze shifting away. "It's not an easy thing to come to grips with, believe me. Makes your brain twist. Fate, free will. You can spend hours debating it either way. If you were to ask me, I'd say both've you are right. God has plans for us, or else there'd be nothing for me to show people. But He gave all of us a gift, somethin' even more fantastic from what you and I can do."

He shrugs slightly beneath the light grey suit. "Free will. Some of the things I show people are inevitable, things happen and you can't control it. Some've it… they have decisions they gotta make to pursue that future or avoid it."

"I'd.. like to see. If you can, if you would" Abigail's voice is considerably more quiet when she asks it, not wishing her voice to reverbrate through the front of the church. "I've seen enough in the past, i wouldn't mind seeing a glimpse of what he has planned for me"

If there's hesitation, it passes by too quick to really be recognised. His uncertainty is his own fault and wouldn't be fair for the other woman to see, going into such an experience. Of course, it's also not his fault about needing to call the carpet cleaners late Wednesday, so maybe a minor moment of worry is warranted. All the same, Joseph offers her his hands, fingers relaxed with that one band of gold around his ring finger, palms turned up towards the ceiling. "Take my hands," he instructs in his usual gentle way of speaking, softened further with his familiar accent. "And just stand still. It'll look a bit like we're prayin' together."

"I promise, if it's not good pastor Joseph, I won't blame you. It can't be worse than where I was" Carefully though, she lays her palms on his, a deep breath taken as she does. "It's okay" Reassurance coming from probably an unlikely source.

Joseph nods once to her, a slight smile at her reassurance. "Close your eyes," he suggests. "And keep holdin' onto my hands." That's about all the warning left to give, before the darkness of her own eyelids suddenly fills up with light, movement, and the quiet of the near-empty church is replaced with the slightly distorted, confused sounds of another place and time.

As Abby's consciousness is preoccupied, he offers up a prayer she can't hear, but not really intended for her ears anyway. "Oh Lord, I pray that what Abigail sees here today will help guide her path, that she might see Your will and understand what it is You desire her to do and that she might make the choices necessary to keep her safe and by Your side. Oh Lord, I give thanks for Your gift you've given me to let others see Your will. I am forever thankful and honoured."

His eyes remain open, watching her carefully and waiting for her to come back. "Amen."

None of this falls on Abby's ears. What does is the sound of rushing wind and desert ground flying beneath her vision. She's without body, feeling, only sight and hearing, and she can feel Joseph's firm grip around hands that don't exist in this place she's been sent. In the distance, a building of cement, without doors or windows and barbed wire decorating the edges like a crown of thorns, and it's still so far away that it's unclear if the rushing of desert beneath her is taking her further away or closer.

Then, an explosion that would rattle teeth if there were any to rattle. It's light, heat, electricity, general chaotic disruption that sends this fortress sky-high in flaming pieces. There's an eagle's screech that sounds like it's dying, makes everything go to black, and then—

And then a girl— someone familiar. Someone Abby's healed before. Eileen Ruskin. This is not the same abstract landscape. A segment of New York City, an interior building that's gone dark, as real as the church she stands in. Eileen's hair is dank with rainwater, and Abby will see herself extending a hand towards the woman, perhaps to heal, to help. The girl who could talk to birds almost bares her teeth at the blonde, and jerks away. "Don't touch me!"

It's over in a moment, the quiet of the church flooding back before Abby's eyes even think about opening.

Her palms never let go, instead her pinky fingers and thumb curl over the sides, eyes going back and forth beneath her eyelids. There's a flinch as the explosion rocks her, but there will be no need to call a carpet cleaner this time around. Whatever Jospeh and the good lord saw fit to show her, doesn't cause her to loose whatever meal she ate before coming. It's over though, soon enough, puzzlement on the blonde's face. and she blinks her eye sopen when it's all over, when the sounds of the present and no the future assault her ears, gently it may be. Her hands tighten just a fraction, searching Josephs face. "I was the bird… " It's murmured, as if trying to make sense of it. "I was her bird"

Sometimes it'd be so useful to see what others do, or somehow figure out how to induce logical visions. His eyebrows lift a little at Abby's words, hands tilting in a sort of shrugging gesture before letting go, wise enough to sense that if crowds are on the list of things to avoid, unnecessary human contact might be too. "You saw someone you know?" The look on Joseph's face very much states that he isn't privy to her vision in any way. It's not his to see.

"She speaks… to birds" Her own hands are taken back, thankful for the release, shoving her own hands into her pockets. "I saved her, once upon a time. Pastor, I think I know .. what I saw, and if I did… Thank you" She's still confused, trying to puzzle it out, but she has an inkling. "I'll.. let you know, soon. What happens" That she saw a prison blow up, an eagle die and somehow she was that eagle. Maybe. Or Maybe it's something else. "Thank you. I should, i've taken up enough of your time. I'll bring by some baked things, tomorrow. I have the day off tomorrow"

"Give it some thought," Joseph agrees, and doesn't pry anymore than that, just nods once when Abby says she'll let him know, and smiles at the mention of baking. He turns his shoulder to her, and moves to open the heavy door, letting the hazy early afternoon sunlight stream through. It's stopped raining to something of a drizzle, at least, and the wind whips cold through the door. "I'll see you soon in that case. Thanks, too, for helpin' out, I'll— be sure to let you know if I encounter someone who needs your gift in turn."

"Doing Gods work pastor, any way we can. God bless, I hope the rest of your day is uneventful" Because the good lord knows, hers won't be. Not after this. The hood comes up on her scooter jacket and down the steps the woman goes, to the green scooter chained to a lampost. Lazarus in gold lettering beneath the seat of the pea green scooter, her phone out and sending a text to Brian so he can come check in and head back home.

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