The Homeless Woman's Bible

She carried a bible with her. That's how we found her. Matted hair, newspaper blanket, tattered clothes, and a brand new, leather bound bible. We were walking home together, though we don't like each other all that much. It's safer this way. We all live in the same apartment complex. She lay by the garbage can; eyes open so wide her eyeballs could pop out, clutching that bible.

Matthew, my older brother, grabbed our hands and pulled us away, up the stairs, away from the homeless woman with glassy eyes. He called 911 while we shivered in our sweaters, chattering about the dead woman. "Perhaps she had what the preacher keeps goin' on about, a revelation, and it surprised her so much that her heart stopped," whispered Cynthia.

"Nah, she probably just carried that thing everywhere she went, took good care of it," I rationalized. "You know how some bums can recite the entire bible? They don't have anything except their faith left, some of them."

While my answer made sense, it was too boring. We liked Maria's idea was better. "What if there's some crazy guy going around the Bronx killing people with bibles?" We inched forward to hear the rest, as we always did when Maria's imagination started taking off. "What if it's one of those loonies that believes the homeless are homeless because they aren't religious enough, and decided to do the Lord's work by killing off the infidels?"

"Infidels is a Muslim thing," Cynthia interjected. "And this loony ain't Muslim, or else he'd be killing people with a Qu'ran."

"No it ain't; it ain't even an Arabic word! It's Latin-based."

"Shut up!" my brother said. "I'm trying to talk to the police right now!"

The police eventually came and picked up the corpse, but as far as I know, there never was an investigation. No yellow and black crime scene tape. They never even questioned us. Apparently, they thought the same things that I did. Just another hobo reached the end of her rope and died. She just happened to be religious and kept her bible spotless.

The next Monday, it started to rain after we got to school, so we didn't have proper raincoats for the walk home. We walked home running from doorway to doorway to keep out of the rain as much as possible. One doorway we scurried into already had someone there. We didn't pay attention and were about to run to the next one when he spoke.

"Don't hate the rain so much, girls. It's just washing clean this city."

We turned around, and gaped up at him. He was a priest. He had the black suit and collar and everything, even the gentle smile.

"Lord knows the city needs it," he added at a whisper. Then he turned to us. "Hey, you girl's feel the love of Jesus yet?" He opened up his backpack and pulled out a brand new leather bound bible. "I give you the great gift that is the Word of the Lord."

The rest of his speech we didn't hear, we were running so fast that we could only hear our own hearts thumping.