Lisa was surely the holiest among us. Every Sunday she would enter the chapel behind her parents, forming a processional triad of bent heads with eyes cast down. Sitting close to us but still set apart, she remained shrouded in a silence that seemed to shiver off her. Vapors off dry ice. During morning service greetings she would sometimes place a cold, limp hand in yours while you pretended to shake it, like the tail of a dead snake. But her smile captured you, and her overbite, slight and innocent, made her face somehow complete, almost pretty, and so you would stand holding the lead, gelid weight of her hand in yours while facing the warmth of her smile.

No one had heard his cries and now she, like broken art, all at once stopped speaking to us.

It wasn’t until Disciple Now, a long weekend of hardcore youth worship, that the cloud of her enigma began to dissipate. Still new to town, it was my first sleepover with other middle school girls, our sleeping bags aglow with flashlights. We gossiped and called it prayer, and even scanned a dirty magazine someone stole from their older cousin. And I, at long last, learned the lore of Lisa’s story.

When Lisa had turned 11, her only brother vanished. When he went missing the whole town became a lit vigil, praying for his return, swelling with empathy. But eight days later, the news fell. He once was lost, but now was found—stabbed to death. A senseless murder without a single fingerprint in his cold blood…

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