Miss Anna shrugged and smiled slightly, apparently unconcerned. “How and when God chooses to speak is none of my business. The proof, my Auntie used to say, is in the gumbo.”
Tugging her shawl closer around her, Miss Anna turned and started back toward the meeting hall.
“Wait,” Lamont requested, touching her arm. “Where are you going?”
“Back to the meeting,” The older woman replied, her unusual eyes flashing up at him. “I expect you’ll want to find out why the ship has changed direction.”
“I will,” the newspaperman acknowledged, “But I still have questions for you.”
The prophetess turned to face him again with an expression of polite forbearance.
“The visions you’ve had on Westward,” Lamont resumed, “Did you experience them during our Escherspace jumps?”
There was a glimmer of expression in Miss Anna’s wide-set eyes. Surprise? Suspicion? Lamont couldn’t be sure. “Why, yes,” She answered him after a moment’s hesitation. “As a matter of fact, they did.”
“Have you ever wondered why?” Lamont asked.
“God often speaks most clearly in times of transition, when our perception is confronted by the unexpected,” Miss Anna speculated.
“I don’t mean to be insensitive,” Lamont pressed, “But doesn’t that make you wonder? Whether perhaps it’s just a side-effect of normalization—a byproduct of brainwaves aligned to induce a trancelike state?”
Miss Anna shrugged and smiled slightly, apparently unconcerned with the notion. “How and when God chooses to speak is none of my business. The proof, my Auntie used to say, is in the gumbo.”
“Whether the prophecy comes true,” Lamont clarified.
The older woman nodded, beginning to turn away again.
“One more thing,” Lamont persisted. “That first vision, the one you had when you were younger. Can you tell me about it?”
Miss Anna’s eyes took on a distant expression. “I saw this place; ordinary folk, cows and goats, with stars passing by. I saw good, tall corn growing from blue soil under a purple sky—with a sun and moon side-by-side. The vision got me through; I never would have seen this day without it.”
“Got you through what?” Lamont asked.
“Through everything that followed,” The older woman summarized, as if the answer to his question was obvious. “I was five years old when I had that vision. It was the second of January, 1949. The moment of Epiphany.”
Next: Unexplored Territory