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by D.T. Robbins

The neighbors smile politely, say thank you. He tells them to keep it pinned to their clothes at all times, for protection from the evil one.

He counts what’s left of the little slips of notebook paper he’s licked, ripped, and written bible verses on.

From the yellow house on his left, a little boy peers through the blinds at him. Deep brown eyes, almost black, unblinking.

He squints, touches the verse pinned to his collar. Once he reaches the front porch, the little boy is waiting in the doorway. The boy asks what he’s doing. He takes a slip, holds it out to the boy. The boy says he’s not supposed to take things from strangers.

You’ve heard of Jesus, right?

Don’t know him neither, says the boy.

He tells the boy Jesus is no stranger: he’s everywhere, sees everything, wants to live inside his heart.

The boy screams, calls him a monster, runs inside.

He staggers on, gripping the verse on his collar so hard that it rips.

D.T. Robbins’ stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Hobart, Headway Quarterly, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Chiron Review, and more. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from National University in 2019. He tweets about ’90s bands and his kids at @dt_robbins.