Conclavenous

The assembled crowd gasped at the color of the smoke.  Four times the black plume had indicated that the new Pope had not been chosen.  But this time they had expected a pure white cloud and a return to influence of the Eurocentric Roman party inside the Vatican.  Instead there was a brief cough of yellow, greasy spume from the chimney.  Droplets of residue spattered onto the flagstones of the square.

A crackle and whine sprang from the speaker in a nearby Carbiniero’s ear.  He tore off his headset and cursed.  Around the square police officers in uniform and plain clothes struggled with communications gear that had suddenly gone haywire.

From inside the chapel came a dull booming sound, and then the staccato popping of small arms being fired in controlled bursts.  The chapel door opened by a crack, and then just enough for a Swiss Guardsman to push his head into the outside air.  “Iscariot protocol!” he shouted, before a clawed hand wrapped around his head, talons gouging his eyes, and pulled him back inside.  The door slammed shut.

The 98 people who died in the stampede from the square were the first of millions.

Pope–Steve Kilian

Dear Enormous Sea Creature

Light Bulbs Going Off

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