May 9, 2026
A cold breeze smacked Joan sharply in the face as she sat on top of the building, next to a bricked exterior which housed the heating exhaust. She could see the Victory Day Parade on the streets of Moscow below her, where the military procession endlessly marched into her view momentarily before being interrupted by the roof’s ledge. She also noted the beautiful copulas that capped some of the Kremlin’s towers. She waited, sure to not make a sound, as she didn’t want the gun-man around the corner to know that she was there with him.
“Yes, I am ready and waiting,” the man whispered, seemingly into the air. A few minutes later he added, “No, the president is not yet in sight.”
Joan took a deep breath and rested her head against the hard brick. She closed her eyes for a moment to rest. She thought back to her old life, back to her father’s garden in 1425 in Domremy, France. The lush green foliage surrounded her and the scent of wild flowers filled her nose. She held up a leaf from one of the grapevines in her flat palm. She admired the intricate patterns that ran outward from the spine, following it down a vine that curled inward at the tip.
Church bells from St. Rémy rang through the air, indicating that it was noon. Joan, only thirteen years old, looked up to say a little prayer when a bright light shone behind her eyes. A voice said to her, “Joan, listen to me Joan!”
Startled, Joan looked around to find that no one was there. The light continued to shine. It seemed to come from the church. The voice started again, “Joan, you are meant for greatness. Don’t fight your destiny. I know that you can sense it.”
“What is this,” she called out, tripping over her feet as she shuffled backwards. She fell to the ground, the light still consuming her vision which took on the shape of Saint Michael. Joan rubbed her eyes, trying to get the vision out of her head, but it didn’t work. The face was still there and it spoke again, “Don’t settle for this, Joan. Prepare yourself. The Lord will guide you.”
The vision disappeared. The voice was gone. Joan looked around and felt silly that she was lying flat on her back in the middle of the yard. The sound of birds chirping were a relief.
Still resting against the bricked exhaust, Joan shook her head and smiled at how naïve she used to be. Voices sent from God, she thought to herself. If only.
“I see her in the parade now, sir,” the man whispered, “It should only be another twenty minutes before she gives her address.” He looked through the scope on his rifle which was aimed at a large stage with too many seats to count. Joan took a deep breath. More waiting.