“Did you see that?’ The young woman steps forward and peers at the art. She is pretty with long black hair and hot pink nails that match the shade on her lips.

She grips the velvet rope dividing the vast church Parrocchiale di Sant’Agostino from the only portion that still remains of the original building, a flaking section of wall near the choir. On the wall is the famous Tommaso da Modena painted polypitch Modonna fresco.

“No, can we go get some pizza, I’m tired of dusty old churches.” her partner whines. He is a man in skinny jeans and crispy gelled hair. He looks at himself in the reflection of his phone.

“You didn’t see the Baby Jesus wave at me?

“Jesus, what? Come on I’m hungry.”

Tabby doesn’t acknowledge him she instead climbs over the rope and glides closer to the fresco, The child sitting in the lap of the knitting Madonna turns and smiles at her. “You didn’t see that?”

No. Stop it, you’re just hungry.”

The former cheerleader from Paramus looks around to make sure she isn’t being watched and leans closer to the fresco painted infant, “Hello baby Jesus.” She reaches out a pinky to touch the child’s outstretched hand and recoils at the soft warm palm.

The Baby Jesus rolls over as if he is about to crawl toward her and away from his mother, but instead tumbles off the wall.

Tabby manages to catch him before he falls to the rough 12th-century laid ground.

The baby starts to howl. On instinct alone, Tabby holds the warm, flesh and blood boy to her chest.

Mario turns and gapes, his mouth moving like a fish out of water. “Jesus Christ,” he points.

“I think so,” Tabby smiles snuggling the newborn closer.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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