Published by C. E. Wilson
© 2017 C. E. Wilson
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission from the publisher, except in brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Cover by C. E. Wilson
Author Photo by Brent Shermann
Our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – The Blessed Trinity
If not for these people this book would never have
My Beloved Bride – M. S.
Phyllis H., Mark O., Steve W., Kristel & Ryan S., John S.
Cover: Mike P. (model) and Melissa M. (snake handler).
There are so many more to include: Elders, Pastors, and Small Group Members. Everyone we encounter shapes us into who we are today and who we will become in the future. God uses these people to shape us into the very image of Christ.
“I believe that this world, as we know it, will come to an end . . . This is not fanciful imagination but the clear and repeated testimony of the Bible.” – Billy Graham
4:30 P.M. Jerusalem, Café.
Mattithyahu sat and quietly observed the diplomat, Joseph:
Joseph’s black suit was unbuttoned. He reached into his pocket for a handkerchief, and dabbed at his forehead. Then, he checked his kippah to make sure it was still secure on the crown of his graying head.
Mattithyahu had never met a more fascinating American in his life. He sat with his back to the café so that he could watch the street and then he took a sip of his glass of ice water. To his right sat Yochanan, holding his coffee cup in his hands. Both Mattithyahu and Yochanan wore their military fatigues. We must be a sight, sitting with this diplomat.
Joseph set the handkerchief down beside his empty cup and raised his hand to signal the waiter. Mattithyahu was glad that he’d asked this American, this diaspora, out for drinks. Their table sat out in the open, near the street. Their waiter came up to the table with a full pot of coffee and refilled their cups.
“More water, sir?” The man implored.
Mattithyahu shook his head.
Joseph continued the conversation. “Emil Fackenheim said: “Thou shalt not hand Hitler posthumous victories. To the despair of the God of Israel is to continue Hitler’s work for him.””
Over the past half-hour, Joseph had regaled them of the evils of Apophis. Now, he attributed the world leader to Hitler. Mattithyahu spoke up. “I cannot agree more, Joseph. However, over fifty-five percent of our people believe that he is the Messiah.”
“But how can he be? How can you prove that he is the Messiah?”
Yochanan answered. “He has become sovereign over the entire world. Everyone, but Israel, has signed a peace treaty with him. He wants all of our people to come to Israel. That means you, too, my brother. He promises to restore Torah Law.”
“But, is he a descendant of King David?”
The man has a point, Mattithyahu mused. “Perhaps through DNA testing we can prove he is a descendant of David. If we could access David’s bones…”
“That would be sacrilege!” Yochanan fumed.
“They’ve already made plans to exhume.” Mattithyahu began.
“Who told you about this?” Yochanan began to argue, however Mattithyahu waved him to quiet down and shook his head. Yochanan looked at Joseph and continued in a more controlled manner, “Only my clan, of which I am a Levite, have maintained our genealogy.”
Joseph reached down and withdrew that same book he had out earlier from his briefcase. He opened the Bible to the book of Matthew, turned it around and pointed on the page. “Here is our Messiah, and this is His lineage.”
Yochanan looked like he was about to get mad again. Then, he looked at the Bible and reached out for it. Joseph motioned for him to take it. Yochanan began reading the list of names.
Mattithyahu was proud of his cousin. It wasn’t easy being Netza Yehuda, a Heredi serving in their armed forces. Yet, he found a balance between his studies of the Torah and service to their beloved country. Joseph obviously loved Israel, too. As Mattithyahu heard the names read off, he looked over at the Bible. Is this Jesus, the Messiah we’ve always looked for?
Yochanan and Joseph spent the next half-hour discussing how the law, history, and prophets pointed to Jesus as Lord. Mattithyahu enjoyed listening to their conversation, if in an abstract way. Who needs religion? I want to see it and touch it to believe it. He observed how focused Yochanan was on the topic at hand.
Joseph had surprised Mattithyahu when they first sat down. He’s just your average American, Mattithyahu had surmised, but found a kindred spirit in the man. Joseph was born in 1956 and lived in the Lower East Side of New York. He’d spoken of the Judaic shops along Essex Street and that his mother worked in a shmatte, a textile manufacturer. Joseph’s parents immigrated to America in 1945 through Ellis Island.
Mattithyahu looked down at his hands and examined his nails. His hands were trained to kill. He thought back to his own lineage, which heralded back to Oskar Schindler. If not for that man, his great grandmother would have died in a camp and he would never have been born.
Mattithyahu saw Joseph begin to stand up. He looked up himself and saw a beautiful woman approaching. Yochanan stood. Quickly, Mattithyahu stood and offered his seat to her.
“Lamedvavnik.” She said in her usual sultry-smooth voice.
Mattithyahu blushed, circled the table, and sat down with his back to the street. “Adah, meet Joseph. Joseph, this is my fiancée, Adah.”
“Pleased to meet you, madam.” Joseph bowed his head to her.
“Joseph.” She sat down and then the men sat.
“I am not a lamedvavnik.” She always calls me that whenever I pull out her chair.
“Yes, you are.” She teased him.
“She’s right. You are a lamedvavnik.” Yochanan agreed.
“No, I’m not.”
“Lamedvavnik?” Joseph asked.
Yochanan answered his question. “A hidden saint. One of 36 tzaddikim.” Yochanan stopped, he looked like he was having difficulty finding the words.
Mattithyahu continued to explain. “The tzddikim are a group of 36 people who do good for others, such as giving clothes to orphans. It is said that if one of the 36 would happen to die, and there not be a replacement, that the world would devolve into chaos.”
“It also says,” Adah pointed at Mattithyahu, “That a lamedvavnik would insist that they aren’t one.”
Yochanan smiled at Mattithyahu. Mattithyahu sighed deeply and threw his hands up in the air.
“Your fiancée? When are you to be married?” Joseph looked at Mattithyahu.
“Yes. We are pledged to be wed next spring.” Adah took a sip of her coffee right after the waiter set it down.
“Congratulations! That’s 9 months away.”
“His mother prefers a longer engagement.” Adah flipped her braid over her shoulder. Yochanan eyed her for a moment and then Mattithyahu shot him a stare.
“Yes, but with my job, it’d be better if we got married sooner.” Mattithyahu took a sip of his water.
“What do you do?” Joseph asked.
“I cannot really say. Let’s say, that after next month, after my tour with the Israel Defense Force is finished, I’ll be able to travel the world. Perhaps, I could come to America.”
“That would be excellent! I would love to have you come to my place in eastern Ohio.”
“You don’t have a place in Washington D.C.?” Mattithyahu asked.
“I have a flat, yes. But I get tired of politics and I like open spaces.”
“Perhaps on your travels, cousin, I could go with you to America.” Yochanan suggested.
“Perhaps all of us.” Adah smiled.
Joseph reached into his back pocket, produced his wallet, and gave Mattithyahu his card. Mattityahu looked at it for a moment and then pocketed it.
Joseph focused on someone walking by. By instinct, Mattithyahu clandestinely followed his gaze. Two American tourists. They look like they are lost.
“Hello, friends.” Joseph spoke up. “Are you lost?”
“Well, yes.” The man addressed Joseph first.
“Oh, thank goodness!” The woman with him sounded relieved. “A fellow American.”
“We got separated from our tour group.” The man began to sputter, then he took a deep breath. “Hello, my name is Peter and this my wife, Kimberly.”
“I recognize that accent. Where are you two from?”
“Cleveland, Ohio. We have a small home just on the north side. When we’re not there, we’re at my grandparent’s place, hunting.”
“No, you hunt. The girls and I hang back at the farm house making cookies and vacuuming that old orange shag carpet.” Kimberly chided him.
Joseph smiled warmly and shook hands. He introduced Adah, Yochanan, and Mattithyahu. Everyone stood to greet the lost Americans.
Somewhere, deep within the café, a bomb exploded!
3:15 P.M. Jerusalem, Prime Minister’s Residence
Mattithyahu stood guard at the doors to the gardens of the Prime Minister’s Residence. He adjusted his beret under the epaulet of his uniform. Outside, in the gardens, the Prime Minister and the American Ambassador sat for tea. One of the waiters walked into the foyer from the kitchen with a ceramic pot of tea and several cups, which gently clanged together as he stepped through the doorway. Mattithyahu closed the door behind the server. He looked around the room and a single word came to mind. Opulence.
The best woods from around the world had been brought in to line the doorframes. The very door he’d just closed was constructed from ebony. Fine details were engraved throughout every piece of wood he saw. The carpet was crafted of the finest materials and immaculately kept. There wasn’t a speck of dust to be seen anywhere. To his left was a glass case. In it were ivory figurines. Possession of such treasures wasn’t outlawed… but it was against the law to acquire them.
An older American man sat across from him. Mattithyahu studied him. His mind brought up intricate details from the folder which he read about the man. He has been the aide to the ambassador for five years. He even knows some Hebrew. Fascinating. First generation American? His dossier is disagreeably incomplete. Then again, I could use my sources to find out more information…
The American Ambassador was here to try and convince their Prime Minister to sign the peace treaty with Apophis, who had yet to show. Mattithyahu checked his watch. He looked up and saw the man checking his own. He chuckled at the old man.
“Shalom.” Mattithyahu greeted the old man.
“Shalom aleikhem. Peace to you, my brother.” The old man’s voice was smooth and had an honest ring to it. His smile was perfectly white and his skin held an olive tone.
Rather than taking the man by surprise with his knowledge of him, Mattithyahu offered his name first. “Mattithyahu.” He took a step over to shake the man’s hand. The old man stood up to greet him.
“Joseph, personal attaché to the Ambassador.” Joseph looked Mattithyahu over. “Lieutenant?”
“Good, I’m starting to recognize your ranks.”
I bet he has a dossier on me as well. “So, how do you like Jerusalem?”
“Well, our language is coming back to me, slowly. Abba and Ima spoke it as much as they could at home. Once I left for college, I found little use for it in the U.S.”
“I could imagine. Our people are scattered all over the world.” Mattithyahu heard a knock at the door and opened it for the waiter to enter the house again.
“Yes, but many are returning to the Promised Land.” Joseph sat down and looked like he was deep in thought.
“Perhaps that is a bad thing.”
“While I can see that some would consider us all coming home bad, we do need to come together. Strength in unity. How long have our people been scattered?”
“Too long. You are a Zionist?” Mattithyahu returned to his post. Why am I the only guard here in uniform? The rest of the detachment were in suits. Before coming into the residence he studied the layout on his tablet and then walked the grounds himself. All entrances and exits were covered with armed guards wearing dress-casual and sport coats.
“Yes. We need to bring our people home. This is the land promised by YHWH.”
Mattithyahu cringed. The man spoke God’s name out loud. Heritage and training demanded that one never use His name aloud, and when used, in the utmost reverence – lest they blaspheme. “Many lay claim to our land.”
“That is unfortunate. None have a claim to this region, yet we do.” Joseph leaned back and crossed his legs. A briefcase sat on the floor leaning against the chair leg. He reached down, picked it up, and placed the case onto his lap. He released the clasps which sprang up and he opened it. Out of it he produced a thick black book. He closed the case and smiled at Mattithyahu. Then, he put the case back on the floor.
Mattithyahu couldn’t see the cover of the book. He ran an initial threat assessment through his mind. Old man, attaché. Weapon? No, he was searched, everyone was. Only the guards have weapons. What does he have there? Perhaps he merely wants to read.
Joseph rested the book on his lap and folded his hands over it. “Mattithyahu, I believe we translate your name to Matthew in the States. Is that correct?”
“Yes, sir.” He disliked the Americanized version of his name, but understood the need.
“You don’t like being called Matthew?”
He must have shown emotion on his face. I need to work on that. “Correct, sir. I understand why, though.”
“Your American English is very good.”
“Thank you.” Now the old man was starting to pick him apart. Most unnerving. A voice spoke up over the monitor in his ear. He snapped to attention and nodded at Joseph. “The President, Apophis, has entered the front door.”
“Thank you, son.” Joseph stood up and straightened his jacket.
A moment later, Mattithyahu heard the clunk of multiple boots on the marble floor. Through the doorway to the south entered Apophis. He was a tall man, about six feet tall. He had dark eyes and dark hair with a medium complexion. Adah would have said that he was ruggedly handsome, but could blend into any crowd if he needed to.
Behind Apophis stood three more men in military uniform. Each one had a different skin complexion, eye, and hair color. Men from different nations. However, all of them stood nearer to six and a half feet tall. Each of them had multiple ribbons on their chest and five gold stars on their epilates. His generals.
Joseph took a step forward to greet Apophis. One of the generals stepped around Apophis and into Joseph’s path. The general held out his hand as if to gently push Joseph back.
What? Mattithyahu was confused. What’s going on here?
The general spoke in a baritone voice. “World President Apophis will see the Ambassador and Prime Minister alone. You’re counsel is no longer necessary.”
“What?!” Joseph exclaimed. His face began to turn red. “This cannot be allowed! You’ll force him to sign the treaty!”
Joseph pressed himself into the general’s hand. The general put his second hand onto the old man’s chest and shoved him backwards. Joseph stumbled, regained his footing, and stepped forward again. He began to wave his arms around as he continued to yell. “This cannot be the end of times!”
Apophis approached the door to the garden which Mattithyahu opened. Their eyes connected. Mattithyahu saw a soullessness in those eyes. A man without remorse, who knew not of fear, life, love, or sacrifice. A man utterly destined for conquest. He shivered. Ultimate evil. Apophis smiled at him and then walked through the door into the garden. The other two generals followed him.
“I cannot allow you to do this!” Joseph yelled and pressed forward again.
The general shoved the old man hard. He fell back into his chair and his head hit the wall. The general turned around and followed Apophis into the courtyard. Anger gripped Mattithyahu’s chest. He left his post and walked over to check on Joseph. Everything happened so fast…“Are you okay?”
“They can’t do this!” Joseph struggled to stand up again.
Mattithyahu gently put a hand on his shoulder to set him back down. “There’s nothing we can do now.” He glared through the open door at the back of the general.
“Do you know what will happen next?” Joseph looked right into Mattithyahu’s eyes when he asked.
“No, I don’t.”
“Seven years…” Joseph still held his book in his hand. Joseph looked around him, presumably in the direction of Apophis.
Mattithyahu checked the back of Joseph’s head and didn’t find anything. “Do you have a headache?”
“No, I’m okay. I’ve taken worse bumps in my life.” Joseph looked at Mattithyahu and plead. “I need to get in there! I can’t let the Prime Minister sign that treaty!”
Mattithyahu crouched down in front of Joseph. “I don’t think there’s much we can do, my friend. Try and calm down.” Mattithyahu stood up and closed the door. When he turned around, Joseph looked like he was starting to cool down, just a little. He suddenly looked frail, old, and tired, not as vibrant as he was mere moments before.
That’s why they posted me here. To stop Joseph. “I agree. But there’s nothing I can do. How about I take you somewhere for a cool drink? We can talk about it.”
Joseph let out an exasperated breath. “That’s probably wise.”
Mattithyahu pressed his earbud. “I’m going to take the Ambassador’s Aide out for refreshments.”
“Understood.” The response was curt and from his director and not the man in charge of house security.
Odd. “Here, sir. Let me help you up.” Mattithyahu reached down and picked up Joseph’s case and then he extended his hand to him.
Joseph took it and stood.
They walked out of the front door, past two posted security guards, and down the steps. Suddenly, the world felt alien to him. Why did the director respond? Why was I posted there in my fatigues? Mattithyahu couldn’t shake the thoughts. He heard Joseph grunt, which broke him out of his reverie.
“A white one. A bright red one. A black one. And a pale one.” Joseph spoke in disbelief while he stood there staring.
Mattithyahu looked to his left, where Joseph’s gaze was focused. Just a few feet away stood four very large horses, all of which were from breeds which he’d never seen. Genetically engineered? The white one stood stoic and still, while the red one pawed the ground and snorted. All of them were tied to a large white chain which gently looped from post to post at about knee height. The posts and chain were a gilded decoration which also served as an emergency barrier should a car barrel onto the property from the road. The pale horse pawed the ground and looked at Mattithyahu.
Suddenly, it felt like Mattithyahu’s soul was being sucked from him. He couldn’t explain the feeling. He looked away and noticed that the black one’s body seemed to be sucking in surrounding light. The effect was quite strange. “Let’s get out of here.” Mattithyahu led Joseph towards the road. To their right were parked both the Ambassador’s and Prime Minister’s cars.
Mattithyahu nodded at the suited guard which stood at the gate. He opened it for them. After they passed through, the guard shut the barred gate.
“The end has finally begun…” Joseph spoke cryptically again.
What does he mean? Mattithyahu was becoming intrigued by the old man. He was a mystery that needed unraveled. They walked to the edge of the road where Mattithyahu flagged down a white taxi. He held the door for Joseph and the old man got in.
Mattithyahu shut the door and got into the taxi himself. Once inside, he spoke to the driver in Hebrew and then handed Joseph his case.
As Joseph put his book back into the briefcase, he asked, “Where are we going?”
“A little café my cousin and I like.” Mattithyahu got his phone out of his pants pocket and texted Yochanan. “Would you mind if he joined us? I think you two might get along well.”
“Certainly.” Joseph paused for a moment and then looked at Mattithyahu again. “Thanks back there. If not for you, I would have done something stupid.”
“Most likely, you would have gotten yourself killed. I’ve read a little bit about his generals. They are men of war. Remember, that one you tussled with?”
“It is rumored that he has, with his bare hands, separated a man’s head from his body.”
Joseph suddenly went pale and then he swallowed.
It isn’t a rumor though. I’ve seen the photos.
They passed by the entrance to the Western Wall. “We need to finish coffee with your friend before sundown.” The text from Yochanan read. “It is the high Passover and I would like to be back at our apartment by then.” In the absence of either mother, Yochanan was at the apartment removing all leavening and preparing meals for the next few days.
Such is the bachelor’s life. Mattithyahu put his phone away and looked at Joseph. “We will have to part ways before six tonight. I’m sorry, my friend. We celebrate Passover starting this evening.” Perhaps I should invite him to join us? Do we have enough food to invite a friend? Yochanan will know what’s best.
As they drove by the entrance, he saw two men walking up. The crowd was incredibly thick. Over the last decade, many Diaspora had come to call Israel home. People came to leave their prayers on small pieces of paper, pressing them into the cracks of the wall. Just a month ago, those cracks had been cleaned out so that new prayers and hopes could replace them. Joseph followed his gaze. The men wore sackcloth.
Where are their tallits and tzitzit? There seemed to be a glow about them…
“Did you see that?” Joseph asked.
“See what?” Mattithyahu looked at Joseph and then quickly back to where the men were. Yes, he had seen.
“Those men, they….glowed.” Joseph looked confused. Then he smiled. Before Mattithyahu could ask why he smiled, his countenance fell. “1,260 days.” He fell silent.
“What is all of this that you speak?” Mattithyahu looked him over. “You said ’seven years’ earlier. ‘End of times.’ Just now you said, ‘1,260 days?’”
“I will explain over coffee.”
Yochanan stood up from a table to greet Joseph and Mattithyahu. He wore his fatigues as well. Soon, he will rotate out of the military. They exchanged pleasantries and Mattithyahu sat down with his back to the café. He still felt like he was locked into a defensive mindset for some reason. The danger is gone, there’s no threat here. Joseph is merely an aide. Yet something still tickled at the back of his neck.
“Both military men, I see.” Joseph looked them over.
“Everyone in our country must serve, unless they meet certain criteria.” Mattithyahu waved over the waiter.
“Pardon me, I should have said, ‘Still military men.’ Is your service up soon?”
“For only…” Yochanan looked as though he was searching for the words. He finally gave up and finished his thought. “A few more months.”
“Please forgive my cousin, his time is spent reading the Torah, Talmud, and the Halakha and not on English.”
“I am familiar with Torah, what are the others?” Joseph split his look between Mattithyahu and Yochanan.
“The Talmud is a legal commentary on the Torah, the Oral Law.” Yochanan spoke up.
The waiter arrived and took their orders. I’m on the job. “Water, please.” Mattithyahu smiled genially at Yochanan.
Joseph and Yochanan placed their drink orders. Yochanan continued speaking after the waiter left. “The Halakha is a collection of all of written and oral Torah laws.”
The waiter returned with their drinks. Mattithyahu gave the man enough money to cover their drinks and a modest tip. The waiter graciously excused himself.
“Sounds very confusing.” Joseph sipped at his coffee, winced, and then put it back down. “Someday I would like to pick your mind about our laws.”
“I would like that.” Yochanan replied
Mattithyahu looked at both men as they chatted. Joseph reminded him of someone. It felt like he’d sat down and talked with his cousin and someone else before, just like this. Aha! Yochanan and his grandfather. We sat around their table at Gadot…
Mattithyahu surveyed the traffic. Businesses were beginning to let people out for the Holy Day. Many of the civilians carried either packages or bags that they were taking home after they had finished their shopping. Tomorrow could be a quiet day. Will we have peace at last? The signing of the peace treaty, done in secret, unnerved him.
The passerby looked peaceful and dedicated to returning to their homes. Mattithyahu began to relax. Their apartment was only a half-hour walk from here, they had plenty of time. Mattithyahu listened to them for a moment, and when a lull entered he spoke up. “You had mentioned, ‘1,260 days’.”
“Correct. The two men that entered the Western Wall.” Joseph sipped at his coffee and then smiled. “They will remain there for 1,260 days. They will preach the Word of God and prophesy.”
“Ah.” Mattityahu replied.
“That is outrageous. You said that they were going in?” Yochanan asked.
“Yes. I don’t think they’ll leave, either.”
“That’s not right. What are they going to do? Run everyone off?” Yochanan begun to look perturbed.
“They are God’s two lampstands. Perhaps the last ones to profess the Truth.”
“Which truth is that?” Mattithyahu drank a little bit of his water and then went back to observing the crowd.
“That Jesus is Messiah.” Joseph sat back in his chair.
Yochanan sat forward, his anger showing clearly on his face. “That is a lie. He was only a man. At most, he was a prophet.”
“Be still, cousin.” Mattithyahu chided him. When it comes to religion, he prides himself. “We see many people coming from around the world claiming Jesus is Messiah.”
The men fell silent for a time, each one taking a moment to observe the thinning crowd.
“You two are cousins?” Joseph started the conversation afresh.
“Yes. Our fathers are brothers.” Mattithyahu continued. His phone vibrated in his pocket. Director? He reached into his pocket, it was a text from Adah. “If you’ll excuse me for a moment.” Both men nodded. He looked down at his phone and texted her where they were.
She wrote in Hebrew, “I’ll be there in a half-hour.”
5 P.M. Jerusalem, Café
Mattithyahu’s head screamed with pain. He placed his hand behind his head and felt the ground. His ears were ringing. After a few moments, he began to piece things together. Bomb. He’d always lived with the constant concern of terror. That was life in Israel. Everyone wanted them dead. He struggled to his feet despite the pain in his head. He looked down at his hand, but didn’t see any blood. Concussion? Then, he thought of his love. Where’s Adah?
He looked at the surrounding area. The bomb must have gone off somewhere inside of the café. He was launched into the street by the blast. Concrete, glass, tables, wood, chairs, and various items were strewn everywhere. The inside of the café was dark and a big dust cloud loomed in the air. He coughed a few times.
On the ground, to his right and left, were Yochanan and Joseph. Both of them began to stir. He looked to where Adah would have been, should the blast have pushed her away as well. He looked down and saw her arm sticking out from under the concrete blocks which had comprised the front of the building. Her hand didn’t move. Anger, blood-rage, flooded his heart immediately.
His training kicked in and began to calm him down. Who did this? He began to scan the area. Sometimes there was a handler that stuck around to watch the outcome. Where is he? Everyone that had been in the street were scrambling away lest another bomb go off. Off in the distance stood an observer. He was nearly six foot tall, had trimmed dark brown hair with bangs, and grey eyes. He wore a blue jean jacket with a hoodie, denim jeans and heavy work boots. He looked like an American.
Their eyes met and the man smiled. What? It took Mattithyahu a moment to put it all together. He was looking for someone of Arab descent, not an American. He is the handler! The man stood only one block away, leaning against a building and watching. Mattithyahu wanted to look to Adah’s welfare, but his nation came first.
He knelt down, pulled up his pants leg and removed a Jericho 941 pistol from his boot. The gun frame was made of polymer, compact size, and used 9mm ammunition. He looked up and saw the man turn away from the scene. He looked at Yochanan, who looked up towards him. “Look to Adah!” He yelled in Hebrew. He immediately began to run. He trusted his cousin, now he had to take care of his home!
He leapt over some debris and took to the street. What cars there were had come to a stop. Many vehicles, at the previous intersection, had begun to turn to their left or right, avoiding the area. Mattithyahu slipped his pistol into the belt at his back. He came up to the building where the American had stood and carefully peered around the corner.
He saw the man casually walking, just a half-block away. Mattithyahu slowed his breathing and began to walk briskly after him. If he yelled, the man might bolt. If the man saw him running after him, he might run. Mattithyahu’s only chance was to appear to be in a rush, like he had to get home before nightfall.
The American weaved between small crowds of people, many of whom must have ran away from the blast and stood shell-shocked. Mattithyahu came upon the first gathering of civilians that the American had passed. Several women were crying, and a few men consoled them. Off in the distance, Mattithyahu could hear sirens. Emergency personnel. Adah?
He lost sight of the American because of the press of people. He hopped up onto a bench. Without stopping, he observed the American just twenty feet away. He dropped back down off the bench and power-walked towards the man. How dare he do this? Who is he? The man stopped walking.
He approached the man discretely. The American had stopped at a fruit stand. He was inspecting a handful of fresh olives. Mattithyahu addressed him. “Hello, sir. May I be of assistance?” He had planned to cold-cock the man with his pistol and began to reach for it.
Before the man turned around, he spoke. “Shalom, Mattithyahu.”
Mattithyahu stopped reaching for his gun. How does he know my name?
The American turned around and smiled, devilishly. He casually popped an olive into his mouth and began to chew. Before Mattithyahu could speak, the man popped another olive into his mouth and held up a finger for him to wait.
Instead, Mattithyahu rested his hand on his pistol and drew it in one swift motion. He held the weapon down and to his right with both hands on the handle. The American stood there with his finger still pointed up. Mattithyahu began to speak again, but was interrupted because the man grunted. Mattithyahu swore inwardly.
“It is rude to speak while eating.” He put the remaining handful of olives back into the bin on the cart and then looked back at Mattithyahu. “I’m sorry that Adah was injured. Joseph was my target.” The man shrugged. “Nothing personal.”
In the blink of an eye, the man spun, and kicked Mattithyahu’s hand. His pistol went flying. Mattithyahu tracked the direction of his pistol and then turned his attention back to the man. He prepared to counter-strike. The American had already turned and began to flee on foot.
Mattithyahu swore, ran back ten feet and picked up his pistol. The back of his left hand screamed from the impact of the man’s boot. He ran around to the other side of the cart and saw the American was half a block away already. Mattithyahu pursued after him in a dead run.
“Stop him!” He yelled and pointed. Bystanders looked at Mattithyahu and then at the man. The people who the man was running towards merely parted to allow his rapid egress. Mattithyahu swore in Hebrew. The man had surprised him. I will not let that happen again! He barreled after the American. People dove out of his way; no one seemed willing to help. The man crossed the street against the flow of traffic.
Mattithyahu changed his pursuit course and angled across the street. Cars came at him, much like the American, but he wasn’t as fleet of foot and got clipped by one. He stumbled onto the ground and rolled. He continued the roll and hopped up onto his feet. His right ankle hurt.
The American opened a cab door, waved at Mattithyahu, and then got in. The cab drove in Mattithyahu’s direction. He slipped again out into traffic, brought up his pistol and waved it in the air overhead. The cab accelerated towards him! At the last second he dove out of the way. Traffic came to a halt and horns began to blare as he picked himself up off of the ground.
Two cars back was an unoccupied cab! I have to apprehend him! He ran back to the cab and yanked open the door. He placed his pistol back in his waistband. Cars began to move forward. “Did you see that cab?” He saw the man was Arabic and spoke in the man’s native tongue.
“Yes, sir.” The man replied.
There wasn’t time to be concerned about ethnic differences or that he was in military uniform. He needed to catch that American! Did he kill Adah? Is she dead? Anger began to fill his breast. But he didn’t need anger now, it would only distract him from his task. He locked down his emotions.
Up ahead, he saw the American’s cab take a left. “Take a left here!” They were two blocks behind, but he knew the streets as well as any cabbie. The cabbie was slow to the respond.
The air became palpably thick. Ethnic differences made all the difference. How can I motivate the man? Gun to the head? Money? He had to break this stalemate of differences. It was his land, promised to him by a God he didn’t know. But his people had earned the land. No one else had any claim to it. Yet a few other peoples did lay claim. Israel had always tried for peace. Everyone else wanted them obliterated.
He didn’t want to threaten the man, nor throw him out of the vehicle, but he would. Slowly the cab took the corner. “There’s an extra 200 shekel if you can catch up and keep up!” He wanted to kill that American!
“Make that 400 extra marks, and you have a deal.” The cabbie looked at him in the rearview mirror.
Apophis coins and bills! Ach! “Yes, go – go!”
The cab suddenly accelerated and dove through traffic like a lion chasing down its prey. “Go!”
“Who are we chasing?” The Arab asked.
“Good.” The car wove in and out of traffic and took a hard right. After two more blocks it took a hard left and was immediately on the other cab’s tail. “Christians need to die.”
Very few Americans are Christians. His studies told him that. Fewer still attend church. But he didn’t need to tell that to this man. The only thing that mattered was capturing and killing the American.
The American’s cab jostled left and right through traffic, which was beginning to thin. The road they were on was Ma’ale HaShalom St. Abruptly, the American’s cab locked up its breaks. Mattithyahu’s cabbie didn’t react fast enough and they slammed into the back of it!
Mattithyahu was launched into the back of the passenger seat in front of him. His head hit the ceiling and he fell onto the floorboard. He was jarred for a few moments, his vision threatened to darken. He struggled to remain conscious. As he came to, he struggled to get into his seat, and then he looked at the cabbie. His head rested against the airbag on the steering wheel. Blood dripped off of the bag onto the man’s pants leg.
Mattithyahu tried the rear passenger door. It opened readily enough. He climbed out, fell onto the ground on his hands and knees, and then stood up. He brought his hand up onto the top of his head.
The American stood there, near the Dung Gate. “Give up Mattithyahu. You’ll never catch me.”
Mattithyahu responded in American – English. “Like hell!” He then yelled in Hebrew, “Catch him!” Everyone near the American parted ways. Some just stood there and watched. No one even approached the American to apprehend him! What the…?
“Your soldier-citizens are dead.” The American just stood there, hands at his sides, relaxed. “Give it up. This is Apophis’ world now. Everyone does what they think is right.” He held open his arms towards the crowd around them.
Mattithyahu had had enough. He ran after the American again. “Die!” He wanted to shoot him, but there were too many innocents nearby.
What has happened to everyone? We used to run towards danger to help. Mattithyahu couldn’t stow the thoughts away. Have we lost who we are?
The American ran through the Dung Gate. He proceeded down the stone walkway. The area was thick with tourists who wanted to visit the Wall on this most holy day. The man dove through the crowd, shoving and pushing. He made his way to the security gate, cold cocked a guard and pushed through. Mattithyahu followed in his wake. The press of people was amazing. After he had gone a small distance inside, he lost track of the American. He jumped vertically, saw the man, and continued to chase. The American appeared to be making his way for the wall. Up ahead, instead of a chorus of prayers, he heard yelling. Screaming. A cacophony of noise emerged around him. The voices were astounded and shocked, many yelled, “Blasphemer!”
The press of men became tighter. They waved their arms above their heads. He finally broke through.
Mattithyahu was shocked. To his left stood the American! He wanted to apprehend him immediately, but his single word rooted his attention back to the wall. The two men wearing sack-cloth stood at the wall, only a few meters off, facing away from the Holy Place. A semi-circle of men at a distance of more than 20 meters formed around them. They were yelling and raising their fists at the two men that dared desecrate the holy place while wearing sackcloth and not the traditional tallit.
The two witnesses lifted their hands to the sky and began to speak clearly and aloud in Hebrew, as if their voices were amplified. “’Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?’”
Suddenly clouds, rolled in. Black rain clouds. The air became bitter cold and a wind blew fiercely. Mattithyahu prepared himself for a sudden barrage of rain, and perhaps, hail. It’s not supposed to rain until late tomorrow. Everyone became still.
The clouds clapped together, thunder loomed. As quickly as the clouds drew together, they stopped all momentum up above. They absolutely quit moving. Mattithyahu marveled. He looked in the direction of the American who stared at the clouds as well.
“It is time.” The American called out to him as the winds dissipated, but the clouds remained.
Two guards approached the two men in sackcloth. “We will remain.” One of the old men told the officers. One of the guards placed a hand on one of the old men. Without warning, he was flung backwards! The second officer withdrew his pistol and aimed at the first old man. The other old man uttered something.
It happened quickly. A ball of blue flame formed in front of the old man’s mouth. It spun and curled around as if alive! Mattithyahu began to utter, “Look out!” But before he could get past the first letter, the ball transformed into a streaming jet of flame. He’d seen something similar in war training films, when the Americans used flame throwers to clear out pill boxes in the Pacific Islands of WWII. There was a rush of flame, the sound was near-deafening. It engulfed the two officers and widened itself out into a flat cone. Flames began to arc towards Mattithyahu! He turned to run and, for the press of men behind him, couldn’t!
The smell of sulfur came to his nose, his back felt like it was ready to catch fire! Suddenly, the sound of the fire abated. Mattithyahu checked himself, he was alright, but the back of his arms felt sunburned. He looked for the officers, they writhed on the ground in flames, rolling, trying to put themselves out.
“Beware of the leaven of Apophis!” The other man spoke after the flames died down. “His way is broad! He will lead you to Sheol!”
“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.” The other old man spoke.
Mattithyahu looked around and saw that the crowd was now backing away, clearing out. Only he, the two burned officers and the American remained. The first old man looked at him and spoke. “Follow your heart, Mattithyahu. Follow the good. Seek the Way.”
How does he know my name? Mattithyahu looked at the American who smiled at him. It was a wicked, evil smile. Mattithyahu looked at him directly in the eyes, he focused on those eyes. Soulless, just like Apophis’. A shiver ran down his spine. The American ran towards the north-east corner of the wall. With all of the deft and speed Mattithyahu could muster, he pulled his gun and fired five rounds at the back of the American.
Mattithyahu thought his shots were true. The Director said he was the best marksman they had ever produced. All of my shots missed! The American dove, rolled, and jumped back up. It was like he never lost his stride! Mattithyahu fired off two more shots, dropped the magazine out of his pistol, fished a magazine out of his pants pocket, and then reloaded. Where is he going? He stared at the American in disbelief. The man ran towards the corner, and leapt at it. He grabbed ahold of it with his hands, found footholds, and then began to scale it at an alarming rate. How in the world?
Mattithyahu aimed and fired five more rounds at the American. Somehow he missed again! The American dodged to the left and the right by a stone or two and then centered himself back upon the corner. It took the American 8 seconds to free climb the 62 foot wall! Mattithyahu stood there perplexed.
The American stopped after he summited the wall, turned around, and yelled down. “Give it up, Mattithyahu. This world now belongs to Apophis!” He fell away from sight.
Mattithyahu looked at the two old men. They stood, holding their hands up and praising God. He turned and ran over to his far right. Beyond a set of stone arches, he began to take the steps leading upwards, two at a time. He came to the landing, found a second set of stairs, and ran up those as fast as he could. Then, he ran to the right and found a last set of steps that took him up onto the adjoining wall. Off in the distance, he could see the American running down the length of the Wailing Wall, to the south. He then hopped down onto the top of the ramp and lowered himself inside.
Aggravated beyond measure, Mattithyahu turned around and ran back down the flights of stairs. By the time he reached the base of the ramp, the American was gone. Mattithyahu forced himself through the press of people. Many stood there gawking, with their cell phones held up high, trying to capture the action.
Exhaustion began to creep into his muscles. Fatigue threatened his resolve. He doubled over, sucked in a couple of deep breaths. How much farther can I chase him? Why is he toying with me? He felt a hand upon his shoulder.
“I told you to give up, Mattithyahu.”
The American! Mattithyahu brought up his elbow towards the man’s rib cage. It landed. He spun around and connected a fist to the man’s face! His Krav Maga training kicked in. He shoved the American backwards. The American allowed himself to fall backwards into a cartwheel. He landed on his feet facing Mattithyahu, and then ran towards him. Mattithyahu sidestepped as the man threw a punch. He laced his fingers around the American’s jaw and pulled down, slamming his head into the ground. Mattithyahu knelt down beside his head and began to land as many strikes as he could into the man’s face.
The American dodged most of his facial blows, brought up a foot and kicked Mattithyahu in the head. This sent Mattithyahu onto his backside. The American continued his roll backwards, came back up onto his feet, and turned around into defensive position.
The crowd quickly parted the way and encircled the two combatants. The American dove at him again, intentionally low, and grabbed Mattithyahu’s knee when he tried to side step. Much to his surprise, Mattithyahu found himself being curled up into a painful ball. The back of his head was planted on the ground, he was doubled up, the American had a good grip on his leg, and he was pinned down at the neck by the American’s knee. The American must have found a pinch point in his neck, because he began to feel his world fade.
Mattithyahu summoned all of his strength and kicked out of the position he was in. He planted his hands firmly behind his head, onto the ground, and shoved upwards. The American released him, stood up and backed away, standing above him. Mattithyahu sat on his bottom, legs spread. His escape was granted to him! The American allowed him to escape.
“End this now, Mattithyahu, or I will have to kill you.”
The American isn’t even breathing hard! Mattithyahu’s breath came in rasps. Exhaustion set in completely. Adrenaline had run its course. I must kill him! From his seated position, he pulled his pistol. He had only two shots left in the magazine. He snap aimed and fired a shot towards the American’s chin.
What happened defied belief. He’d seen it in the movies. The American, literally, dodged the bullet. His head jerked to the side, just in time to avoid the impact. Mattithyahu fired a second shot. This time the man side-stepped and kicked the weapon from his hand.
The American slipped behind Mattithyahu quicker than he could blink, put his arms around his neck and began to squeeze.
Mattithyahu flailed his legs and arms, trying to break the American’s grip. He struggled to free himself. He clawed for the American’s hair, his eyes, anything he could grab. But he couldn’t break the American’s vice-like grip. Darkness crept in quickly. He knew he’d die soon.
A moment later, he was able to breathe again! Mattithyahu fell backwards on to the ground. From his upside down perspective he saw another man pulling the American away. He fought for breath and brought his hands up to his neck. Then Mattithyahu rolled over onto this stomach and pushed himself up off of the ground. He summoned all of his courage and rage and began to follow them.
The second man had shoulder length white hair, he wore simple clothing common to the times, a long tunic, flowing pants, and sandals. He appeared to be Jewish in some respects. The Jewish man spun the American around, delivered several deft blows to his face and stomach. The American fell backwards onto one knee and looked up. The Jewish man removed a hand-and-a-half sword from under his long tunic. He held it in front of him, up over the American’s head, and said something.
Mattithyahu swore he could partially understand his words. They sounded Hebrew, very ancient. The American’s back was to Mattithyahu. The man shook, yelled out in the same ancient tongue in rage. He got to his feet and ran off, disappearing into the crowd.
The Jewish man walked over to Mattithyahu and stuck out his hand. “It’ll take the two of you to beat him.”
“Two of us?” Mattithyahu accepted his hand and wondered at his statement.
“My name is David.” The Jewish man put his sword, inverted, back under his tunic at his back. “Come with me before Apophis sends his thugs.”
David helped him walk to a non-descript car and opened the passenger door. Once Mattithyahu got a good grip on it, David went to the other side and got into the driver’s seat. Exhaustion took its toll on Mattithyahu and he fell into the seat. He shut his door. Before he could buckle up, David rested a hand on his shoulder.
David began to say something in that ancient tongue again, his head bowed and eyes closed like he was praying.
What is this? A moment later, Mattithyahu began to feel a warming sensation go throughout his body. He didn’t feel 100 percent restored, but he felt much better. “Thank you. Who are you and what did you say?”
“Think of me as your assistant.” David smiled. “Now, let’s get you back to your apartment.”
“Do you know who that American was?” Mattithyahu buckled his seat belt.
“Yes.” David focused on the road and began driving.
This is maddening, he half-answers every question. “And?”
“You’ll find out at the right time. He is the first of many to join Apophis.”
“Do you work for the C.I.A?”
“No, I do not.”
“Who do you work for and how do you know my name?”
“I cannot tell you.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes. In the glovebox are three plane tickets.” David nodded at the glovebox.
Mattithyahu opened the compartment and retrieved the documents. Before he could open them, David spoke up. “Enforcers, get down.”
Mattithyahu looked up, saw two black Humvees, unbuckled his belt and slid down onto the floorboard.
“It won’t take them long to find either of us and bring us in for questioning.”
Enforcers. He growled inwardly. Before becoming elected President of the World, Apophis was given the rank of Secretary – General of the United Nations. His first act was to rename the U. N. Peace Keepers to the United World Peace Enforcers. His reasoning was well stated: “We will strike out first at terrorism before it encroaches upon our hearts.” Apophis had also said: “Why wait until we are struck? We have the wherewithal and the intelligence to strike before terror has denied us our dignity.”
Secondly, Apophis ordered that all of the uniforms be changed to the now-familiar all black. All U.N. vehicles were painted black as well. “To strike terror in the hearts of those that would terrorize.”
Thirdly, he had the U.N. Crest changed to that of a coiled snake. “Does a snake sit back and allow itself to be stepped on? No! It rattles and hisses, giving warning. Beware all that conceive terror. We will strike!”
“And the world applauded him in that speech.” Mattithyahu spoke aloud.
“I’m sorry?” David looked down at him and then back at the road.
Then Apophis began re-training the Peace Enforcers. They were known to correct those that would not pledge fidelity to Apophis. “How’d they get into Israel so quickly?”
“They were staged along the border. Once the Prime Minister signed the peace treaty, they crossed. That was one of the conditions Apophis demanded.” David checked the mirrors. “It’s safe to sit in the seat again.”
Mattithyahu slid back into the seat and buckled his belt again. Then, he looked at the plane tickets. Two tickets were for EL AL Airlines out of Ben Gurion to Boston and then onto LAX. One ticket was just for EL AL to Boston. “Who are these tickets for?”
“You need to take Joseph back to the United States. Apophis will stop at nothing to kill him. You must use all of your skills and connections to help him survive his trip. Once in Boston, you and Yochanan will continue on to Los Angeles.”
“What about my fiancé?” His heart grew troubled as his fears redoubled. He was so focused on the task at hand that he forgot about her. He chided himself.
“I’m sorry, but she will not be able to make the trip with you.” David’s face looked sad.
“I’ll kill him!” Mattithyahu’s anger re-kindled.
“In due time, you will see him die. That is one of your assignments.”
“Assigned by whom?”
“I don’t believe in Him.” Every time he had cried out to God, He had failed him. Why should I believe?
“Speak with your cousin.”
Mattithyahu stared at the road ahead. Today was a complete blur. He tried to settle his heart and mind. Is Adah dead? Is this man lying to me? How does he know? Suddenly, he recognized the neighborhood they were in. His apartment was nearby.
David pulled over. “Gather only your necessary items. You’ll have to sneak yourself, Yochanan, and Joseph out of the country. I cannot assist you any further.”
“How long will I have to stay in the United States?”
“As long as is necessary. You will know when it is time to move. Now, consult your cousin. He will be your guide.”
Mattithyahu pulled at the door handle, the latch popped. He looked at the mysterious man. “Thank you.” He held out his hand.
David returned his handshake. “You are welcome. Now go!”
Mattithyahu got out of the vehicle. He saw an Enforcer Humvee turn a corner just down the block. He hid behind an adjacent car. David drove off, squealing the tires. The Humvee accelerated and began to chase after David’s car. Mattithyahu stood up slowly as he watched David’s car swerve through traffic and draw the Humvee away.
He hurried and ran up the steps to his apartment building. He unlocked the main door with a key-card, ran up two flights of steps, and then opened the door to his shared apartment with Yochanan. He walked to his room, drug a safe out from under his bed and opened it. Inside was a key that he pocketed, extra magazines for his pistol, and a wad of various currencies. He shut the safe and slid it back under his bed.
He walked up to the headboard of the bed and tapped at a single board. It slid inwards ever – so – slightly. Then, he gave it another two taps and it slid open. Inside was his stash of identities and passports. He slid the board back closed and then pocketed those items in his pants.
Mattithyahu walked over to his closet and opened the door. Inside was black overcoat, which he put on. He grabbed a pair of oversized black trousers off an adjoining hanger and slid them over his military pants. Then he took a large fedora and plopped it down over his head. Two fake ringlets dangled down by his ears.
Then he reverently grabbed a cloth sack off of a shelf and withdrew a tallit. His mother had given him that tallit for his bar mitzvah. She’d woven it herself. He carefully put it on in the standard tradition. Mattithyahu looked down at his boots and sighed. He picked up a pair of black dress shoes, sat on the bed, removed his boots, and put them on. He stood up and walked into the bathroom. His disguise looked complete. He was now, Lev Yannis. He drug out the appropriate I.D. from his inner pants pocket and put it in the breast pocket of his over-coat.
He walked out of his room into Yochanan’s. It was lightly furnished with a bed and a desk. On a table in the corner sat a stack of books and a pile of papers. Mattithyahu picked up Yochanan’s copy of the Torah.
Mattithyahu walked out of the apartment, sighed, and locked the door. “None of this makes sense.” He whispered.
He took the steps down, two at a time, exited his apartment building, and walked south on the sidewalk. Two blocks later, he came upon a bakery. He loved that bakery. How long must I be gone? He walked up to the door, took the key he’d gotten from the lockbox, and unlocked the door. Quietly he shut the door behind him and then checked the windows to see if anyone had seen him enter. He locked the door and proceeded towards the back of the shop.
He walked past the display cases of bread (now cleared because of Passover) and through the door marked, “Employees Only.” Immediately after he walked through the door he took a right, withdrew his key ring and unlocked a second door with a different key. Inside was a small cellar where the owner kept his most prized wines, his personal stock that he wanted his wife and employees to keep out of. In the back was a giant rug. Mattithyahu walked over to the far wall and swept the rug out of his way. Underneath was a white box about the size of a pack of cigarettes. On the box was a small black rectangular tab. He put his thumb onto it. A metal door, invisible to the eye because of a lack of light, opened inwards and a light began to turn on in the adjacent room.
Mattithyahu entered, grabbed up a military style satchel. He disrobed, put the black clothing into the bag and folded his tallit properly into its silk bag. His shoes went in as well. Then he grabbed some other clothing he had stashed in the room. He took off his I. D. F. uniform and set it aside. Then, he put on an all-black Enforcers’ uniform, boots and all. It had the insignia for sergeant on the shoulder.
He walked over to the first of two tablets and logged in. “The sergeant’s uniform will get me into the Hospital.” He input all the necessary information about his mission should he get stopped by other Enforcers. He would be taking two prisoners back to the United States. The aforementioned Lev Yannis would be played by Yochanan and Joseph would be a professor named Franklin Yousef. He pressed “print”.
As the documents printed, he walked over to a lavatory, picked up an electric razor, and began to shave all of the hair off of his head, except his eyebrows. Then he donned a patch over his right eye. He stuffed some more clothing into the satchel, and the two tablets.
He grabbed up the papers, checked the letterhead, and folded them properly. Then, he made his way back out of the front door, locking up as he left.
Everything is happening too fast. He noticed a strange glare from the cabbie he hailed. Fear? This one was darker skinned and spoke Hebrew as a second language. Mattithyahu didn’t care what his country of origin was. He just had to find Adah! He assumed that she would have been taken to the hospital nearest to the café. And that was where he’d told the driver to go. Mattithyahu shifted forward and grabbed a few paper Marks out of his wallet and handed them to the man before he exited the cab.
Mattithyahu rushed into the hospital, his satchel in tow. Inside, he approached the nurses’ station and presented his initial set of papers. She checked them, looked up the listed names on the computer, and directed him where to go. He held the papers in one hand and his satchel in the other as he approached the elevator. He stabbed the up button and got in after the maddenly – long wait.
It took forever for the elevator to reach the third floor. He walked to room 305 and entered. Yochanan was reclining on his bed. He had a bandage over his head. In the bed next to him was Joseph, who had his arm in a sling and had been carrying on a conversation with Yochanan.
“Yochanan.” Mattithyahu whispered.
“What? Who? Mattithyahu?”
“Yes. Be quiet. Don’t use my name for now.” Mattithyahu gently closed the hallway door.
“What is all this?”
“No time to explain. I have orders here to remove you from this hospital.” He waved the papers in his hand. “They’re working up your discharge papers right now.”
“Wait? Why are you dressed like an Enforcer?”
“Again, no time to explain cousin. Move.”
Yochanan slowly sat upright and began to swing his legs over the side of his bed. Joseph stood up and began to get changed himself.
“Remember how I told you there might be a time that you’d have to do what I say, as quickly as I say it?”
“Yes.” Yochanan slid off of the bed and begun to change clothes. His pace quickened.
Mattithyahu weighed his options. Should I tell him? “I never told you that I’m Mossad.”
Yochanan’s eyes became wide. “Mossad…” he whispered. His pace increased.
“What about Adah? Is she okay?” Mattithyahu’s heart raced.
“They didn’t tell you?” Yochanan looked at him. “No. No one told you.” A look of dismay appeared on his face.
Joseph walked over to Mattithyahu. “Son, Adah died. She was dead before we could get the rubble off of her.”
Mattithyahu wanted to scream, to cry. The dread he’d carried since the explosion hammered home. My love is dead! No, I must think of something else. We must get out of here. “Where are the two Americans? Peter and his wife?
Joseph put on his shoes and laced them up. “They are just down the hall. Should we bring them along as well?”
“No, they will be safe.” Mattithyahu closed the door to the room. “We must hurry. Apophis meant for you to be killed Joseph. I do not know why, you are an honorable man.” Mattithyahu shook his head.
“It is because I stood against him. We’ve crossed paths several times in the past. I’ve always stood for Israel. He stands for himself.” Joseph grabbed his briefcase and straightened his jacket. “I’m ready. Where are we going and how are we going to get there?”
“We’re on our way to Ben Gurion. From there to Boston where you will be dropped off.” Mattithyahu walked over to the window and looked outside. He saw an Enforcer Humvee pull up to the emergency entrance. “Yochanan and I will continue on to LAX and find somewhere to hide. Will you be able to find safety in the United States?”
“Oh, yes. I have a safe house in eastern Ohio. I purchased it under an alias.”
Prepared, good. Mattithyahu was surprised at the readiness of this American.
“What about us?” Yochanan looked as though he was going to start one of his long-winded arguments that Matithyahu barely tolerated.
But now isn’t the time. “While we are on the way.” He saw four Enforcers climb out of the Humvee. That’s our transportation. “Where are the stairs?”
“I saw them when they brought us into the room. I’ll guide the way.” Joseph walked over to the door and quietly opened it. He looked left and then right, then walked forward towards the elevators.
“I’ll take rear guard.” Mattithyahu motioned for Yochanan to follow Joseph.
Once they came to the elevators, Joseph took a right and then walked through a set of doors, one of which was propped open. Mattithyahu lingered behind at the doorway. The elevator dinged and four Enforcers stepped through. They looked to their right and walked directly towards room 305. Mattithyahu looked at the door, it was held open by a wedge. He kicked the wedge out of the way and quietly shut the door.
He turned around and caught back up to Yochanan and Joseph who were walking through another doorway marked “Stairs.” “Good, we’re going to go down one flight and then double back to the elevator. They’ll be onto us shortly.”
Joseph led the way down the first flight of stairs. It was a steep staircase. Once they got to the bottom, Joseph led the way back to the elevator. He jabbed the down button. Mattithyahu put his ear to the elevator and listened. When it came to a stop, he heard voices. One of the nurses at their station looked at him funny. He ignored her.
Mattithyahu pulled a flash-bang from his jacket pocket and pulled the pin. Please let the occupant be a civilian. The door opened and he saw two Enforcers standing there. He reached in, jabbed the door closed button, dropped the flashbang and ran out. He grabbed Joseph and Yochanan by the sleeves and pulled.
BANG! A bright flash ricocheted off of the walls surrounding them. Mattithyahu ran back to the elevator, jabbed the down button. Once the doors opened he went in, tossed the two Enforcers out, and waved both Joseph and Yochanan in. Joseph scurried along quickly, without a word. He’s a tough man.
The doors closed and Mattithyahu pressed “1” with his finger.
Yochanan yelled. “Do this often!?”
“Nope, this is my first time!” Mattithyahu yelled back. Obviously, their hearing was slightly impaired.
Joseph smiled like he was on an adventure.
The elevator reached the first level. Mattithyahu guided them out of the hospital and over to the Humvee. He opened the rear door behind the driver and threw in the satchel. Joseph climbed into the front passenger seat and Yochanan clambered into the back. Mattithyahu started the engine and before it settled into a steady idle, he threw it into reverse, and hammered the gas pedal. He guided the beast, stopped, put it into drive, and floored it.
A moment later, he heard bullets ricochet off of the vehicle. Joseph looked unfazed, but Yochanan was scared. “Yoh, open the bag.” Mattithyahu looked at him over his shoulder and then back to the road. “See the passports? You are now ‘Lev Yannis’. Joseph, you are ‘Franklin Yousef’. Do your best to memorize the information. Use the clothing in there to make yourself look like the passports.” Mattithyahu reached into his pants pocket and handed the airline tickets to Joseph. “Pick out the Boston only ticket for yourself.”
“I still can’t believe you’re Mossad. When were you going to tell me?” Yochanan unzipped the bag and began digging through its contents.
“Probably never. Sorry, cousin.”
“Our planned trip to the United States?”
“We were going to go to Los Angeles. But, I was going to learn more about the American culture and attempt to blend in. The Director was concerned about the state of affairs over there and we lost our L.A. operative. I’m his replacement.”
“What are we going to do for food and shelter?”
“In the satchel we have around $500,000.”
“Wow.” Joseph spoke up while he was trying on the fedora which had ringlets attached.
“In the brim there are grey ringlets.” Mattithyahu told him. Joseph searched the inside of the hat and found them. He removed the black ringlets and put the grey ones into place. “I’m amazed at your preparedness, Joseph.”
“After I became Saved, I began to study the Scripture with an enormous appetite. All of the Scripture – the Torah and the New Testament. I began to see a pattern, that we were headed toward the End Times.”
“Huh.” Mattithyahu sounded dismissive.
“He’s right cousin.” Yochanan spoke up. “We spoke at length about the New Testament and he proved to me that Jesus is God among us.”
“Yes, and that He died for our sins. For all of the things we’ve done wrong. Oh, cousin, can’t you lay your suspicions aside?”
Who was David, really? How’d he know all about me? He even had the airline tickets made up with the correct names written on them. Who is he working for?
“You look like you’re lost son…” Joseph’s voice became calm.
Mattithyahu frantically checked his mirrors as he negotiated the road and looked for pursuit. A calm settled over him, like the feeling when the white-haired man laid his hand on him.
“…let me help you find your way.”
Halfway towards the airport, Yochanan and Mattithyahu switched seats. “You can drive it cousin. Just think of it as a really big, lumbering car.”
“Easy for you. I do not have Mossad training.” Yochanan put the Humvee into gear and focused on the road.
Mattithyahu sat in the back. An officer can get us through security quicker. He removed the eye patch and dug through the bag. Then he dug out a mustache and attached it to his upper lip. He fished out a compact and checked his disguise. He makes sense. All of these stories from the Torah and the New Testament are connected. Everything his mother and father taught him. David knowing everything about him. He thought back to the past and all of the good things that happened to him. Has God really been looking after me this whole time?
His hand fell upon one of the tablets while he dug through the bag for a wig. Secured satellite network. I don’t need two of them. He turned it on and logged in. “What is your favorite passage?”
Joseph told him.
“Good, memorize this password.” He handed the tablet to Joseph. “Contact me. Keep it close. I might have more questions for you.”
Joseph took the tablet. “Thank you.”
“Do not share that tablet with just anyone. It’s Mossad secured, using our own proprietary operating system and triple layer encryption. Do not forget your password and do not enter it wrong more than three times.”
“Why? Is it going to explode?”
“No, but it’ll catch fire and you’ll be disavowed.” Mattithyahu smiled. It was the first time he’d felt light hearted since he saw Adah, before the bombing. Oh, Adah. He suddenly became sad again.
Joseph laughed as well.
“What? What’s so funny?” Yochanan looked over his shoulder at Mattithyahu.
A few miles away from the airport, Mattithyahu and Yochanan swapped places again. Mattithyahu brought the Humvee to a stop in long-term parking. He didn’t want to park too close and draw more attention. Better to walk. “Can you walk that far, Franklin?”
“Yes, I believe I can. You, Lev?”
Both men looked at Yochanan. “What?”
“Lev.” Mattithyahu frowned at his cousin.
“Gah, I can’t memorize all of this crazy stuff! My day has been a wreck!”
Mattithyahu glared at him.
“Alright, alright. Lev.” He threw up his hands.
Mattithyahu pulled his officer’s cap down onto his head. The wig tucked out just a little bit around his ears and from under the cap. It took ten minutes to make their way to the main entrance. Eight Enforcers stood there, checking identification. There were two long lines leading up to the doors.
“Calm down, Lev.” Joseph’s voice sounded reassuring. “I trust that God will get us through this.”
“Please present your identification. There has been a terrorist attack in Jerusalem and we wish to provide you with a secure flight.” A female voice spoke over the airport intercom. It repeated the same message in English. The line they were in was moving forward quickly.
“Identification, Sir.” A corporal stood stiffly to attention. Mattithyahu had chosen the rank of first lieutenant and added a bronze serpent to his row of chest medals. He presented his identification and his papers. The papers should get them past without further delay.
The corporal checked his I.D. and then read the papers. He showed them to a private to confirm what he read. “Very well, Sir. You may go through.”
“Come on gentlemen.” Mattithyahu tried to sound encouraging as well as directing.
Joseph followed behind him quickly while Yochanan stalled. He’s scared. “He’s afraid of airplanes.” Mattithyahu tried to reassure the other Enforcers. He grabbed hold of Yochanan’s elbow and directed him through the doors. Once inside, he noticed that Joseph was already heading towards their gate.
“We needn’t worry about him, my cousin.”
Yochanan appeared to be getting over his fear. “I want a faith like he has. Lord, give me faith. Give me strength. Help me to believe.”
“Yoh, do you believe what he told you about Jesus?”
“Yes, I do. And he told me that I would be a priest. That I would help you lead a flock. You would be like Moses and I would be Aaron.”
“Moses never entered the Promised Land.”
“Well, at least we flew over here instead of floating over on a boat like Noah. Matt, if you accept Jesus as Lord, you will be in the Promised Land too, my cousin.”
Mattithyahu still couldn’t get past his unbelief. But the hole in his chest stirred, it needed to be filled with something. He thought Adah would fill that void. Are you calling me, God?
They approached the gate. Mattithyahu checked the ticket and noticed that they had arrived just on time. He never thought to check the departure time on the ticket before now. Amazing.
The stewardesses were greeting everyone and motioning them into the plane.
“He is the God of perfect timing, wouldn’t you say?” Joseph smiled at him.
They entered the plane and found their seats.
A few hours later in Boston, Joseph gave them his leave. “I have your tablet dear brother. I pray we meet again someday soon.”
“You will be missed.” Mattithyahu thoroughly enjoyed the man. His heart wished that they could remain with him and travel to Ohio. But we can’t.
“Brother, thank you for taking the time to share the Truth with me.” Yochanan shook his hand. “Shalom.”
“Shalom.” Joseph turned around and blended into the crowd.
“Let us go to our next gate.” Mattithyahu began to lead the way. Yochanan stepped up beside him and they walked together. “I’m sorry for keeping my enrollment in Mossad secret.”
“Cousin, it was necessary. If you hadn’t acquired that training, Joseph would be dead. He is a good man.”
“That he is. He will be missed.” Mattithyahu let a little air into the conversation. “Perhaps we can venture to Ohio one day.”
“Perhaps. But, I do not believe we will be heading that way.”
“Yes. I think we will be coming right back to Israel.” Yochanan stopped for a second.
“The Scriptures tell you that?”
“Sort of. It’s like I’m hearing this still small voice in my heart occasionally.”
“Huh.” A strange thought, God speaking to man.
“The last 24 hours have been crazy.” Yochanan sighed. “Did you see footage of the two witnesses at our wall? Fire breathed from their lips at those two officers.”
“I was there. One of them spoke to me directly. He said to follow my heart.”
Yochanan grabbed Mattithyahu’s sleeve and stopped him. “So, cousin. Have you decided if Jesus is your Lord and Savior?”
That hole in your heart, you know the one I’m talking about, that emptiness you try to fill? Do you try to fill it with T.V., the internet, or games? You’ll never fill it with the things of this world. You see, God put that hole there, to help you seek and know Him. Often we fill it with inappropriate desires, anger, or drugs.
If you’ve come to recognize your need of a Savior. If you know that hole will never be filled, all you have to do is seek God. He wants you to know Him. He wants to take care of you. All you have to do is turn your heart, your mind, and your soul to Christ. Bow your head, close your eyes, and ask Him into your heart. Ask forgiveness for your sins and all the things you’ve done wrong in your life. Your words do not have to be perfect, all they have to be is heartfelt.
Choose to do your best to never sin again and repent when you do. Get yourself a copy of the Bible, find a local church that fits your style, and tell an Elder that you’ve just accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. They will want you to get baptized and will explain to you what that means.
Most of all, trust God to guide and lead you. He will help you along your path in life and be there for you in your time of need. It won’t always be easy, life never is. But He won’t forsake you.
Every chance you get, in the car, at home, even at work. If privacy permits, speak with Him aloud. The rest of the time, let your heart sing to God, think about all of the good and righteous things in life, and He will guide your paths.
C. E. Wilson
C. E. Wilson is just your normal everyday factory worker who is chasing after God as hard as he can. His hobbies include writing, woodworking, and playing with his beloved daughter.
For more information about the author or the book series or to purchase other books please visit:
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October Falling (Baqash Origins) – Free EBook
The old orange shag carpet was worn. Months of brown mud had been rubbed into its surface by trespassers who had broken the laws of old: remove your shoes at the door. She sat off to the corner of the old house in the living room looking at her tablet. During the day they migrated upstairs and spread out, a few of them carefully wandered outside. There were nearly 20 of them, all of their belongings were squeezed into haversacks, backpacks, or even garbage bags. At night, they’d collect their things and shuffle down into the basement where the depth and the cool earth would conceal their presence from infrared goggles.
The house, over a century old, sat on the edge of a woods. The farm land had long been left to weed, a garden lay out back, which was home to a lone volunteer tomato plant. Nothing productive grew; the farmer and his wife were long gone or dead. Much like the infertile land, the power didn’t produce either.
A solar panel sat next to her, propped up in the window, charging the tablet. Hazel eyes flicked down the page, her freckled petite nose twitched as she squinted.
“Sarah,” Joseph sat in the corner opposite her in an old rocking chair, pulling on his gray beard. “You seem perplexed.”
“It says here from Matthew 6:33 in the King James Version: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’ but what does it mean?” Sarah removed her ball-cap to reveal chopped-at red hair.
“I don’t know.” Joseph’s eyes twinkled blue and wrinkles appeared at the corners of them. Then he smiled, his teeth were still mostly white even though the toothpaste ran out two months ago. He ran a hand through his white hair, then he tapped his nose with his forefinger. His olive skin was still radiant despite his 70 years.
She suspected he knew; she awaited the answer. He’d pulled her leg one too many times, it had taken her a while to figure him out, but she knew that he knew. Two patient souls, one 20 and the other older than dirt, examined each other.
“What do you think it means?” He was being obnoxious again; trying to get her to think for herself.
She thought for a bit, closed the KJV on her tablet and re-read the verse in ESV and NIV. She looked at him. “Seek God first.”
“Yes, but what other topics have we spoken on as of late? Put them all together, my girl.”
She pondered for a moment, then her stomach growled. Joseph chuckled, “I sent Peter out at first light to hunt; he should be back soon. Let’s pray he returns with something other than root vegetables.” They’d finished the last of the deer jerky the night before. Autumn was approaching quickly and the only food left in the cupboard was canned vegetables. And barely enough for them to make it through the winter.
Sarah looked out the window still lost in thought.
Joseph grabbed his knobby cane and stood up. He slowly made his way to the kitchen which sat off of the dining room out of view from the living room. “Derek, prep the fire quickly. We’ll be having a meal shortly. Make it a hot fire made out of dead wood. Janine, grab the skillet from the basement and spices.”
“Peter hasn’t even returned yet. How do you know he’ll have anything?” Derek’s voice reverberated into the living room.
“He is bringing three rabbits,” Joseph continued. “It won’t be much, but it’ll be enough. God never promised we would have an over-abundance of food. But we will have enough.”
Sarah heard Derek sigh. He always challenged Joseph. She thought, when will he learn? At least Derek cares. To bad he’s 30… She looked back in the direction of the kitchen.
There was a long silence, “…and a wolf.” Joseph came hobbling back into the living room, his eyes glossed over in deep thought. He grabbed up his satchel, hurried over to the back door and then outside. Sarah looked through the window and watched him make his way towards the sheep barn just across the gravel drive.
“A wolf? What does he mean,” she muttered. Her mind flooded with concern which reflected in her eyes. A moment later she gathered her things into her backpack, slung it over a shoulder and headed out to see if he was okay.
“Hey Sarah, hold the door would you?” Carl was carrying a load of wood into the house. Of the three fireplaces, only two were used and only during the day. Then Jamie called for her to help bring in a few pitchers of water. Thankfully the old hand pump still worked.
Sufficiently delayed and slightly dismayed, almost 20 minutes later she finally made her way to the sheep barn. Just as she was about to knock, “Thanks Sarah, but I need some alone time with Abba right now. I’ll see you at supper time.” There weren’t any windows on this side of the barn, yet he knew she was there. That didn’t surprise her – Joseph seemed to know things somehow.
On her way back she saw Peter emerge from the woods with three rabbits and a new person. The guest stood near six foot tall, had trimmed dark brown hair with bangs, and grey eyes. He wore a blue jean jacket with a hoodie, washed denim jeans and heavy work boots. The fact that the jeans looked washed amazed her.
The ladies of the house carried on about how difficult it had become to keep clothes washed. Sarah only wished there was a way to wash up – some of the guys’ hygiene were in dire need of attention.
In the end, something seemed odd concerning him though. “Sarah,” Peter called, “meet Daniel.” She nodded politely then looked away when their eyes met.
A wolf, her thoughts continued from earlier. She walked off towards the west side of the house and did not greet them.
“Don’t mind her,” Peter spoke to Daniel, “she’s shy. Spends most of her time reading her tablet or talking with Joseph.”
She wandered off to a swing that hung from the branch of an old oak tree. It was near the overgrown gravel drive. She sat down, dropped her bag on the ground and it clanked. Funny how my life is all squeezed into one bag. Sarah began to reminisce of a time, not long ago, when she and her parents lived in townhouse in upstate New York. And now she lived in Ohio. She looked around to make sure no one was watching her. She saw Peter’s back as he ducked into the house and shut the door.
“Father, please be with Joseph. I don’t know what’s bothering him. Please be with our people here. We need you Abba. Jessica has a bad blister on her foot; would you help us figure out how to heal that? And help Meredith as she studies the medical books that were left behind here. Thank you for the house. Keep us safe, Lord. Amen.”
Everyone was gathered in the living room and it was packed. Joseph stood there staring at the newcomer. Sarah examined him as well, she attempted to discern what kind of man he was.
“I shot my last rabbit and then Daniel came up out of a thicket. He looked like he’d just woken up. There was like drool running down the corner of his mouth.” Peter stuck his tongue out of the corner of his mouth. “We spoke for a bit. He seemed cool, so I invited him to follow me back here.” Peter recanted their encounter and all that they had spoken of on the way back.
“Daniel, during your time here, and until we feel we can trust you, someone will remain with you at all times. Peter, he’s your responsibility. Look after him well,” Joseph instructed.
He’s mad, Sarah mused, he’s normally happy when someone new arrives.
Joseph blessed the food and released everyone to eat.
Someone asked, “What are we having?”
“Three rabbit stew,” Jamie smiled. Everyone murmured their approval. Sarah loved her cooking.
Sarah let the room clear and spoke with Joseph. “You ok?”
“Yes and no. How’s your study of Matthew 6:33 coming along?”
“Oh I forgot. We got busy preparing for supper after you wandered off. Daniel was paraded around, I’ve heard that story now 5 times. I don’t know if I trust him.”
“I wouldn’t,” Joseph dismissed himself with a nod and a brief smile.
After supper everyone headed down to the basement. It was dry and cool. They gathered into a semi-circle on the floor around Joseph, who sat on a wood dining chair.
“Friends, Brothers and Sisters. We’ve come to that time of the month again when we celebrate our Lord’s Supper.” He nodded to Jamie who started passing a plate of crackers.
“Speaking of Jesus,” Joseph stood with a copy of the Word in his hands, he opened it and turned. “Luke chapter 22, versus 17 through 22. ’And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
“Eat everyone.” He waited and then ate his cracker.
“And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.””
“Please drink.” He paused again. And then continued, “But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”” He looked directly at Daniel. Sarah’s blood ran cold.
Joseph waited a minute, the air became thick. Joseph nodded in Sarah’s direction, “Sarah, fire up that tablet of yours and give us a song!” Then a smile spread across his face. Everyone joined in chorus to a worship playlist.
Sarah awoke with a start. “Mattithyahu,” she whispered. The dream she awoke from was fading fast, a man had tied a woven ring around her wedding finger. She had smiled at him, they kissed and she said, “I love you… Mattithyahu.” She’d never met a man with that name and was perplexed. Then it felt as though someone was sitting staring at her.
Everyone slept close, there was barely enough room to move in the cramped basement. They were piled down on blankets, scattered around, wherever they’d fallen. She thumbed on her USB light which she’d taken out of her pocket. Joseph! “Oh you gave me a start,” she whispered.
“Sarah, you must find him. I don’t know where he is or how you’ll get there; but you must seek God and seek Mattithyahu out. Only God can lead you to him.”
“But, I don’t want to leave you…”
“Here girl, take this, there isn’t much time.” He passed her a note. “Read it later. Now follow me.”
He led her across the basement to the old coal chute. They boarded it up to keep the cold winter out. He pried one of the boards loose with his bare hands. “Get in there and go up to the top my child. But don’t go out. Wait.”
“Wait a minute, I don’t understand…”
“Just go, there isn’t any time!”
Reluctantly she went into the chute. He closed the board back up behind her. She peered out through the boards at him. “Go on and get up there and turn the light off. No matter what you hear, don’t come back down!”
Someone snorted and then murmured back to sleep. She found some footholds and made her way up the chute until she found a board that was jutted out just enough to sit on. In front of her was the outside door. A cold breeze blew through the cracks.
She turned off her light and the darkness drew her in immediately. Outside she could see the play of flashlights against the brown lawn. Then both front and back doors crashed in and she heard shoes scuffling all over the first floor.
“They’re down in the basement!” She thought that sounded like Daniel. She heard her friends voices from down below! They sounded confused and then there was more yelling as the sound of many people ran down the stairs. Below her she could see lights searching throughout the basement. “There should be 20!” There was a lot of scuffling sounds, yelling, grunts, and crunches of broken bones. Then crying and sobbing.
“I count 19! Shut up! Where’s the 20th one?” Asked a hoarse voice.
“The girl with a ball cap,” Daniel advised. “She must be outside somewhere.”
It must be Daniel! She thought.
“Go search! You three stay here, we have work to do.” There was a long pause then Hoarse Voice continued. “Will you bow down to our lord?”
“No!” Derek spoke, “We will not bow down to that abomination!”
“I didn’t ask you!” She thought she heard the wind get knocked out of Derek.
Sarah wanted to go down there, but she was too scared to. Joseph told me to stay up here no matter what, the thought ran through her mind. It competed with, my friends, I must help them… She began to sob and then tried hard to stop. They were out there looking for her. Perhaps she should run. She pushed at the chute door, it moved freely. Suddenly a light shone over in her direction and she froze.
“Are you going to bow down to our lord!?”
“No,” the response was sheepish, it was Jessica.
She heard metal sing through the night, then the most disgusting sound imaginable, repeated over and over. She heard scuffling and a chorus of sobs, mostly from the women.
“That is enough!” Joseph’s soft voice commanded. “We will not bow down to you or your false ways!”
“I’m so sorry Joseph, please forgive me,” Peter pleaded.
“Forgiven my brother, I’ll see you in heaven soon.”
“Enough! Have at them boys. The old man, though, he’s mine!”
It took less than 15 minutes for the yelling to finish and another 15 for them to leave the house. An hour later, after the lights faded off into the distance, she eased herself down. It felt like the nightmare had lasted an eternity. All of her muscles were sore, her eyes stung, and throat burned. She kicked open the board, stepped out and slipped. Her light illuminated the scene, she found the floor covered in red. Where is Joseph?
She found his body, his head sat a foot away facing upwards, eyes vacant. Others were martyred as well. Fresh tears sprang forth as she sobbed. She ran from the basement, slipping up the staircase and out of the house. She didn’t make it to the swing before she fell on her knees and got sick. Not a single star twinkled in the night. All manner of thoughts ran through her mind. All those people she loved were killed! Murdered! She couldn’t drive the sounds out of her mind. She imagined the slash of swords and the disgusting sound of heads rolling away from their bodies. Sarah brought her hands up to her ears and screamed.
“Oh Father!” She wept. “How could you? How could you allow them to be killed? None of them deserved this!”
Run! She had to leave the house. Her bag? Where was it? She found it dropped a few feet back in the dead lawn. She gathered it up and stumbled off into the night. Her eyes stung, she had to get away. Her mind filled with the faces of all of those in the house, then it was crowded out by the remembrance of the sounds.
“Oh Father, Abba, take this from me.” Her voice cried out into the dark in rasps, “I hate you!”
She panted, driven forward by something. Deep into the thorn infested fields and onto a path that seemed familiar, but the night made everything eerie. A cold breeze snapped at her neck and she zipped her jacket up all the way and re-adjusted her cap. She hugged herself and continued on, stumbling, running in to the night. Tripping.
“How could you? How could you? How could you? I loved Joseph! He was like a father to me.” Sarah remembered some of their discussions, she loved picking his mind, extracting God’s wisdom from him. He’d shown her the grandfatherly love she’d never known before.
She stumbled on in the dark and didn’t dare turn on her USB light. Two hours later she wandered upon an unkempt lawn. She turned on the light and shined it on the house and remembered that she’d visited this house countless times in the past to find solitude. At those times she needed the solace, but now she needed the noise of her friends.
Sarah made her way over to the back side of the house where she left a basement window slightly ajar. She wedged her fingers in and pried up, it opened with a creak and she slipped into the house. She pulled the window closed behind her. The modestly furnished home was nothing fancy. Thankfully it wasn’t ransacked after the first hail storm and it had survived the earthquake.
Over in the corner she’d taken a mattress from upstairs and laid it out with a quilt on it. She ran over in a fresh fit of sobs and collapsed on the bed and slept.
During a secret meeting with Apophis, the Prime Minister signs away Israel's future, thereby securing world peace. As the first World President, Apophis takes steps to rid himself of anyone who stands in his way. The Zionist movement is in his crosshairs, poised on the brink of extinction! How will God's faithful survivte the next seven years?