The girl had been dead and then… she wasn’t. It was a miracle. That was the only explanation for what he’d witness. A resurrection, worthy of Christ Jesus himself.
He watched, mesmerized as her chest rose and fell in an uneven rhythm, exposed to the biting cold of the desert air. Quickening and stalling so those hovering about her became certain each breath she took would be her last. She’d been badly beaten. Her pale skin awash with cuts and bruises, but beneath the damage he could see she was beautiful. So perfectly beautiful he found it impossible to look away from her. Looking at her bare breasts, his gaze trailed down her torso, a flush crept up his neck.
Father Francisco said something, a whispered plea offered up to St. Rose—the patron saint to which they prayed. “… ¿Qué clase de monstruo haríaunaco saasí?” He looked up, fixing his panicked gaze on the small knot of early morning worshipers gathered around him as he knelt over the girl on the bench. “Call 911. She needs help—rápidamente.” The last of his words punctuated the thick air around them, a staccato jab meant to prod them into action. The young man next to him managed to break the spell cast by the taboo before them, turning on his heel to run for the gate that guarded the entrance to the small prayer garden in which they stood. There was no phone inside the church—they didn’t even have electricity. From the corner of his eye he could see the flapping white robe as it disappeared around the building, off to find help.






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