Ron and Aya were dressed in the better clothes they had.  He was dressed in a nice pair of black slacks and button shirt.  She was dressed in a long purple robe.

The stood in front of the church, away from the line of people walking in.  The made their way to the back of the line, stepping in unison with those ahead of them.  As they got the doors, they suddenly shut.  The pastor stood in front of the doors, his closed eyes somehow finding their faces.

“Can I help you?” he asked, his voice mixed with hatred and annoyance.

“We just wanted to pray this morning,” Ron said, puffing his chest out, standing tall.  The pastor smirked, tucking his hands into the sleeves of his gold adorned robes.

“Praying is paying vacationers here, not dirty refugees.”

“Oh, how very religious of you,” Aya said, rolling her eyes.  The pastor moved like a snake in the grass, his face barely an inch away from Aya’s.  Her breath got caught in her throat.

“And religion is for people who want to feel good by giving money and not do anything.  I know it, you know it, these people know it.  Why would I, a man of coin, turn my back away from people who want to give me money so that they can feel good about themselves?”  He moved a step back and cleared his throat.

“Anything else I can help you with?”

“So, what’s that monster underneath your church?”  Ron asked.

The pastor froze.

“Oh, so you know about it then?  What is it then?”

The pastor let out a laugh.  The laugh made Aya’s blood freeze, Ron’s knees buckle.  The pastor opened his eyes, the empty blackness of nothing staring at the two.  The gold that laced his robes suddenly shimmered and started to crawl up and around him, running through his pale skin like blood vessels. His golden hair rose up and swayed like grass in the wind.

“That monster is the last living relic of this shit desert planet.  It swims its ancient waters and we feed it people like you.   We feed it the nosy people, the people who think they’re doing something, the worthless people.”

Something in Aya and Ron woke up, their fingers and toes getting warm, their hearts filling with rage.

With grace, Aya smiled at the pastor.  Ron noticed the pastor stammer a bit at that.

“Then we will take our prayers elsewhere.  To the monster, I suppose,” Aya whispered coolly, before walking off, her robe (and Ron) trailing behind her.

“So, it’s the last living creature here?  How terrible.  I’m sure there were more, but after 300 years….”  Sasha said, helping Aya out of her robe.  Ron rolled up his sleeves and gathered supplies before heading off.

“If y’all talk to Ren or Charger, tell them we’re ready,” he said before leaving the room.

By now, Horne was almost an expert marksmen, Bandie could handle her screaming, the triplets would do their “talking” late into the night.  Bean sat on a box, pouting.  Ren came up to them.

“What’s going on?” He asked, sitting on the floor.

“Every one else has these neat things they can do and I can’t do anything!  Why didn’t you give me something to train with?!”  Bean yelled.

Ren frowned.

“You just didn’t seem interesting in anything.  You just…. Kinda watched your siblings do their thing.”

Bean huffed and crossed their arms.

“I wanna be awesome.”

“But you are!  You’ve been going back and forth between those 5 and making sure they were alright, helping them with their being.  Just because you don’t have something doesn’t make you less awesome at all.”

Bean huffed again.  Horne came rushing in, holding onto the radio.

It’s Charger and nem!”

“Sunrise, two days,” was all that was said.

Ren nodded and looked at Bean.

“Tell ya what.  You can push the button to blow shit up,” he said, watching Bean’s face light up.

Ron and his team were huddled in one of the pipes, a line from them to the a what looked like a wad of chewed gum 500 feet away.

“And now… We wait,” he said.

Charger and her crew were getting their weapons ready.  Ree was with a small band of people, running around serving food, getting first aid boxes ready.  Aya was with her fighters, wrapping their hands in tape.  Sasha was with the runners, those who would help people make it to the ships. 

Plastic Beach went on as usual for 48 hours.  People enjoyed themselves, enjoyed the peace that was given to them, died from overdosing, died from just being old.

It wasn’t until hour 46 when someone climbed down into the hole by the church with a bucket.  It wasn’t until hour 47 when they painted an X made from the red in the bucket on the ceiling, where the floor of the church was.

As the sun peeked over the horizon at hour 48, when the first wave of church goers for the day were settled in their pews, putting their money into the collection plate, the pastor singing “hallelujah” and giving his sermon, that the earth shook underneath them.  The congregation quieted itself, listening, feeling for another rumble.  It didn’t happen after a few moments, so they continued with their songs.  A siren went off, the earth shook beneath them again.  The tree that the pastor told the congregation was the last tree on this planet swayed violently as the earth kept shaking, the thuds underneath their feet coming faster and faster.  The sirens were louder now.  The people in the pews started to scream.  The ran to the door, scratching, clawing at it to get it open.  One more giant thud caused the tree, which was nothing but a realist statue, to shatter and fall to the ground.  Where the tree stood, now lay a hole.  The pastor screamed, his black eyes watching the monster come out from the hole, like a breaching whale, only to be swallowed up by it and taken down into the dark, murky water that was Plastic Beach.

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