Chapter Twenty-three: Lighthouse and Liquid
by Tina Semanas
“I want to go too! I need to be a part of stopping this evil agenda of the wholesale destruction of a whole generation of men. My anger boils when I think about the poor drones hooked up to that green poison, The Sister's have turned God’s image bearers into subhuman slaves with no reason for being!” Phen’s rage uncorked, “I too was a lost man in the mindless sea of zombies - - I was being drugged into oblivion. Jonathan, I need this. I must fight those terrible cold-hearted women.”
“Phen you can’t! You heard what Nika said? You are needed here, you are irreplaceable. They must develop more strains of Xenon blockers with your blood. I am sorry, you have to stay put.” Jonathan patted Phen on the shoulder to calm and comfort his crest fallen friend, “Phen, don’t worry, I am bringing Samuel and Thomas with me to deliver the first batch of blocker. We will get this done, let us do our job, and yours is to let that vampire Nika keep sucking the blood from your veins.”
Phen knew Jonathan was right. As much as he wanted to go, it was best for him to assist the research team. “Jonathan, are you sure you know which bottling plant the factory in Lawrenceburg gets their water from?”
Jonathan said, “Yep, there are two main suppliers, both are In the western suburbs in Cincinnati near the Ohio River; each of them bottles up to 40 million gallons per day. Our engineers have figured out how to pump the blocker into the filtration system, but that will require bringing in ten 20 gallon drums of solution pass the guards and manually dumping each drum in the filtration system's water supply.”
“When do you leave?” Phen asked.
Jonathan replied, “Late tonight, the production team has already filled 5 of the drums, and we should have them loaded up and ready to go on a truck in three or four hours. The drive is a good two and a half hours to get to the plant, and hopefully there will be no roadblocks or security patrols along the way.”
Thomas joined the conversation, “Even if there is, all they will find is a clear odorless liquid. No one will suspect a cargo of Xenon blocker. We will pose as plant inspectors and just say we need this to purify the water.” Phen hugged Jonathan, Thomas and Samuel knowing how dangerous it was for them. Security was always on high alert around the Lawrenceburg factories, making sure no desperate individual or roving gang tried to break out a loved one from the slavery of the assembly lines.
Phen smiled knowing The Sisters had no idea that water was the key to the drone’s freedom. Brilliant!
Tranquility 5 spread her massive pink wings across the bright morning sky. Heading west from New York to Cleveland, Dr. Gladstone anxiously awaited any reports concerning Ara and Beck’s whereabouts from the on-ground patrol teams. Sitting behind her desk near the rear of the plane, she dialed Central Surveillance Headquarters, “Hello, this is Dr. Gladstone, do you have anything to report? I will be arriving in Cleveland in less than an hour and I want some answers.”
A voice came over a speaker that was sitting on the desk, “Yes Doctor. We have identified some unusual activity coming from an old farmhouse in the area we are patrolling. Apparently some NWP agents in that area heard a loud explosion and saw three sets of vehicles leaving within a half-hour of each other. We are sending a team there right now and we are waiting for any intelligence from our satellite surveillance.”
Dr. Gladstone said, “Very good, finally, some concrete answers. Trace the path of those cars.”
“Excuse me Doctor,” the speaker voice interrupted, “We have a reading on two black Rovers. It seems they are headed north toward the shoreline of Lake Eve. Yes, let me send you the feed.”
Dr. Gladstone turned on a smaller projection unit in her office. A fuzzy feed showed two vehicles heading past a small patch of woods and over a road to a tiny little lighthouse standing tall near the shoreline of the Great Lake. After parking in a small lot, two sets of black clad guards could be seen leading three captives with hands cuffed behind their back. They were all heading toward a small door on the side of the lighthouse. One of the captives was a smaller framed girl; Dr. Gladstone knew immediately who it was - Ara. A teenage boy was walking with her as well as a taller dark haired man.
“Zoom in on those two faces. I need to know...” Dr. Gladstone demanded, but then her voice cut-off short after the picture came into clearer focus.
It was Drew Dias! “I can’t believe it? I thought he was dead? Drew Dias...unbelievable?” And then the camera panned to the other man, “It is Athan Stone! My, my, my, where is he hiding his darling Beck?” I can hardly wait to find out. Should be fun? Maybe Cleveland has more entertainment to offer than people ever seem to give it credit for?”
Don, Nias and Beck were speeding in their green military Rover down the backroads of the Ohio countryside trying to avoid any roadblocks on the major highways. Don knew Beck was still in critical condition needing the resources and care that were at the community.
“Do you think we were followed?” Nias asked.
“So far so good. I don’t think we are the ones The Sisters are worried about? They really were after Ara and Athan. Our task is to do the best we can to avoid getting pulled over. We have a good two hour drive and Beck needs all the help she can get at this point.”
Nias noticed that Beck was not comfortable in the back seat. Every bump was like a stab in her leg, the pain made her face grimace and hands clench. “How much morphine can we give her, she is really in pain?”
“I’m sorry, she will just have to tough it out at this point. I am worried giving her too much more of the drug will cause her vitals to crash. I am sure she will be alright.” Don stepped a little firmer on the pedal as he drove down lonely country roads passing by nameless abandoned cities and bombed out neighborhoods.
Lake Eve was in a dead calm. Gentle ripples of waves lapped upon the sandy shore. A few curious seagulls circled down and landed on a rough-hewn stone pier that jutted out into the silent, quiet waters. And just as still and quiet stood Duenna Black pondering the recent events and life’s meaning as she looked out from the top floor window of the shoreline’s lighthouse. She knew this quiet wouldn’t last. She wouldn’t allow it.
Her whole life had been dedicated to progress. She believed in following lock-step behind the counsel of The Sisters, they were her inspiration and ultimate desire and career goal. They embodied the fruition of the feminism’s victory over patriarchy. Women finally won! And the embodiment of that win was The Sisters.
But after her meeting with Dr. Gladstone in Tranquility 5 Duenna Black realized the win was nothing more than a farce. Feminism was just like patriarchy, the only difference was the lipstick and coiffed hair. The desire for power and pleasure was no less intoxicating in the heart of a woman than it was in the man. The only difference is The Sisters were better liars. They seemed softer and more compassionate than the brutal frankness of the history of male leadership. But they both were the same when it came to their endgame - they both lusted after having control over others.
And Duenna Black realized she wanted that control too. Her heart was just as dark, just as greedy, and it all came to light when she looked straight in the dead eyes of Dr. Gladstone. Duenna Black saw herself in them, and it was grotesque. It was also then she realized feminist ideology was only a onion skin thin cover for selfish gain.
Something inside of her died. It was as if her life was nothing more than the faux backdrop on a cheap movie set. Looking at the rule and governing of The Sisters from the outside seemed to make perfect sense, Utopia seemed possible, the rule of reasonable women was the answer to the world’s chaos. But once Duenna Black was allowed in, actually able to meet Dr. Gladstone and the other members of the Doyenne Council, she realized the attainment of true progress was fake, nothing more than smoke and mirrors, a beautifully painted facade held up by rotten two-by fours and wood glue.
There was only one thing left inside Madylyn Black’s heart, revenge! Acid laced vengeance. And she said to herself, “Justice must start with Ara - my prize back-stabbing student. She deserved to die. But Ara doesn’t die easy? The bomb on Lacy’s apartment door was meant for her - - but that starlet, Beck Paris, got in the way.”
Duenna Black’s heart jumped as she heard the sound of many feet ascending the creaky wooden staircase of the lighthouse. Her team of mercenaries performed better than advertised - they not only captured Ara but they brought some bargaining chips along in the persons of Drew and Athan.
“Well, well, well, my dear Ara, I have missed having you in class!” A sinister smile on Duenna Black’s face couldn’t be contained. Walking up to the two men she continued, “So you found your brother Drew and Beck’s stooge, Athan Stone? What a treat this is, have a seat.”
The three captives were pushed to the floor. The leader of her mercenaries motioned to Duenna Black, “Madylyn, can I speak to you over here for a moment?” Walking near the window overlooking Lake Eve the man whispered, “We are being followed. Not only did I see a flying drone over top the lighthouse when we pulled in, but we passed at least three sets of NWP agents on our way here. I think The Sisters know our location, and if we are caught they will kill us on the spot.”
Duenna Black thought a moment to herself.
“O.k., leave me two weapons and the three captives. I have already paid you up front and I will wire the rest of our agreed upon amount once I am satisfied. Now is your chance to go. You have served me well.”
The leader dropped two of the weapons, and then circled his men in formation heading back down the stairwells of the lighthouse. After grabbing the weapons, Duenna Black headed to a side window to watch them leave. The men split off in two pairs and each jumped into the two black Rovers. Just as they started backing out two drone missiles were fired hitting both Rovers sending the cars up in the air in an explosive fire blaze.
The sound of the impact rocked the inside of the lighthouse room causing dust and soot to fall on the wooden floor.
“What happened?” Athan exclaimed.
Duenna Black offered no response. Pointing one of the guns at Ara she said outloud, “What to do? What to do? Well, should I kill you all now or try to use you as leverage?”
Looking back outside four Tan Rovers pulled quickly up to the smoking wreckage. Eight Tergament guards jumped out all wielding weapons and stun sticks. Duenna Black saw one guard point up to the window of the lighthouse sending six of the team heading to where they were.
“Well, it looks like we have no choice for now.” Duenna Black held her gun at the approaching guards. When the six made it to the top Duenna Black said, “I want to speak with Gladstone. If you refuse Ara Dias dies!”
The front guard dressed in tan battle gear pressed an earpiece listening intently to a voice on the other line, and then the guard said to Duenna Black, “That can be arranged.”
Jonathan and Thomas were sweating profusely. Pouring drums of solution was no easy task, but they were in good spirits because so far they were not noticed. Thomas turned to Jonathan, “Just one more, I told Samuel to pull the truck outside and wait, I don’t want anyone to suspect him.”
Just then a man wearing a white gown and safety glasses approached the two men, “Hey, what are you two doing?”
Thomas looked at the man and said, “What do you mean? We were called in last week to pour in cleaning solution because we were told the water was not meeting the proper bottling ph levels. We have the manifest right here.” The man waved Thomas off, “No problem, I am just a second shift bottle inspector. Carry on.”
Outside the bottling plant a large armed female guard approached Samuel. Walking around the truck she knocked on Samuel’s window. “Hey, buddy, what is this truck doing here? It does not have proper tags?” Ignoring the guard, Samuel feigned as if he was sleeping. “Buddy, wake up. You must leave or we will impound your vehicle.”
Samuel rubbed his eyes, “Oh, sorry, I am here for a pick up.”
“What pickup?” The guard said looking confused.
“I come once a month waiting for damaged bottles to bring to the poor in the neighborhood shanty town. I am just waiting for my two contacts to arrive.” Samuel said.
The guard smashed in the window and said, “You are coming with me. We dont have any damaged bottles to lend out. Who are you and what are you doing here?” Pulling Samuel out of the truck, the guard smashed him a few times with a stun stick over the head. Calling for back-up, two more plant attendants ran over and pulling Samuel up, they dragged him into a nearby office.
Jonathan turned to Thomas, “The last of it has been poured, lets get out of here!”
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me.
Our world, especially the United States, is really sick. It feels like everything I once enjoyed has been spoiled.
I loved watching the NFL on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It was relaxing, even at times exciting and fun to get lost watching the talent of great athletes. But so far this year, I can't even stomach it. Not only am I tired of how politics is infused into everything these days; but each game has been turned into a life or death crisis. If a team loses a game someone must be blamed, "Off with the coaches head, too much violence, get rid of that lame quarterback, it's all Joe Buck's fault!"
I like the movies. But who wants to watch them anymore knowing that most of the women and child actors have at one time or other been targets of disgusting sexual predators?
You can't turn on the news without someone trashing the President or the President trashing someone. Everyone is angry. And I even find myself being angry, at everything and nothing.
We are never satisfied. And I believe the main problem is that we have been spoiled by excess. Our pride and it's unrelenting demand for having things our way is defiling all of us.
Let me show you what I mean. I want to use a hypothetical situation. I will call this the case of the ladies bible study. (I offer a disclaimer: I am not relating this story to any specific situation, and if it offends you I am sorry, this has no direct correlation to anyone I know.)
Three ladies want to study the Bible. Their purpose is very simple and clear: They want to learn more about thier God. That is it. So they begin to meet at one of the lady's houses. It really is fun, so they start inviting more ladies. As more ladies come the desire to make them feel welcomed by one of the original members results in her making muffins and brewing coffee. The next week two of the ladies suggest decorating the tables, and having neat cut out place mats for each lady. More and more suggestions occur: They decide to have a Christmas party, exchange secret gifts and even go out once a month to a local restaurant just for social reasons.
Summer comes and so does a break from the study.
The next year as they begin to start up the bible study the three ladies start off with just studying the bible again. So many of the ladies come, but there are no muffins, no coffee has been brewed, no fancy decorations and no gift exchange has been set up. After a few weeks of just studying the bible many of the ladies start complaining, "Where are the muffins? Last year the study had so much more to offer?"
Another lady replies, "Yeah, where is the gift exchange, and social events?" On and on it goes until many of the ladies agree, "We just aren't doing enough?" So one of the original ladies asks the dreaded question, "Why did we even meet in the first place? To study the bible and meet God, right? That is being done, so what is the problem?"
One angry lady says, "It's just not the same. I am leaving!"
This story sounds silly, but it shows how a life built on expectations formed by excess can kill. The NFL was meant to be about playing football and enjoying the sport. Now it is everything but the enjoyment of football, it has become life and death concerning politics, slavery, cancer awareness, high stakes sponsorship and proving which coach and athlete we should worship as god?
We changed what it once was meant it to be.
Hollywood, on the other hand, hasn't changed at all, it always has been the place to go to brag about sexual deviance and excess. It started off celebrating it's rebelion against conservative morality. Now after it finds itself full of pedophiles, playboys and perverts the moral flag is raised and we are suppossed to be shocked that vampires are on the loose in Transylvania. The problem here is pride. Every starlet and strapping young gun believes they have a right to be earning the mighty dollar, even if the industry they are doing it in started in the world of vanity and excess. It always has been the place to sacrifice your good name and a moral life for excess.
Where are the parents who would never sacrifice thier children for the almighty dollar? Where are the virtuous women who will keep thier clothes on even if they don't get the job? I sound like I am blaming the women...no, I am blaming the expectation that comes with luxury's excess - - the false belief that we all deserve to be rich and famous. What ever happened to "make it your ambition to lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and submission." (1 Thess. 4:11) Excess happened - - fat, overfed, and uncaring excess.
The cultural narrative use to tell people to flee the 7 deadly sins; run from pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. We would warn our children that behind each one of those sins lurks a blood thirsty beast. The new narrative retold by hearts warped by excess is that these 7 sins, are now no longer deadly. They are fun friends to play with.
But then they bite and people cry "bloody murder!"
I read a few years ago how the richest countries have the hardest time with the question of suffering and evil. Luxury makes people mistrust God. I would even say once people taste excess they begin to believe they deserve it. It is owed to them.
What is owed us? Can you answer that honestly?
Chapter Twenty-Two: Being Watched and Watched Again
by Tina Semanas
Three special-ops soldiers dressed in black battle gear and ski masks slowly emerged from the deep shadows of the woods surrounding the red barn. Step by watchful step they drew closer to the perimeter of the building.
A fourth black outfitted sentry still lingered in cover of the white pines. Punching a call button on his wrist-talkie he softly whispered, “We followed the suspects all the way to an old abandoned barn 20 miles outside the city. A minute ago another vehicle has pulled in, it looks like an army vehicle, the kind used 30 years ago by our military... but I am not sure who it belongs to. I couldn’t see who was driving because someone shut the doors to the barn before I got a good look. I will try to have one of my men sneak up closer to get a better look through one of the side windows and I will keep you informed. Do you have any further instructions at this point?”
A stern female voice on the other end responded, “Before you take any action, are you 100% sure Ara is still alive? Are you positive the explosive you put on her apartment door failed to kill her?”
“Yes, there was another woman with her and from how she looked when they left the building she must have been closer to the door than Ara was when the bomb was detonated? Somehow she did not die from the explosion and the driver of the vehicle had to carry her out and put her into their pink vehicle. We followed them into a mall parking lot where they exchanged the Rover with two strange cat ladies for an old brown glider. All three were still alive, but the lady is badly hurt.”
The voice on the talkie responded, “Are you able to get the identity of the woman who is with Ara?”
“That is a negative Mam, and by the bruises on her face it will be hard to make a clear identification.”
There was silence for a few seconds on the other line. “Ok, we have to be cautious because I don’t want to stir up a hornet's nest - - Ara is the new darling of the Doyenne Conclave. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Tergament guards lying in wait protecting her from a distance. So take it slow and watch your back! Keep me updated and we need to know who is in that other vehicle!”
“Where is she?” Athan anxiously asked Ara as he jumped out of the vehicle.
“She is right over there lying on the couch. Beck is in really bad shape.” Ara pointed to a sleeping Beck and then turned to Drew running into her older brother’s arms. “I can’t believe it is you, you are alive!”
Drew hugged his sister tight, and said, “I missed you so much sis!”
As Athan approached the couch where Beck was sleeping soundly, he wiped his eyes with both hands as his emotions overcame him. He never believed he could love someone so much. Kneeling next to her head, Athan gently brushed a loose blond curl off of Beck’s face and then leaned in to kiss her softly on the cheek. As a single warm tear fell from his cheek onto his sleeve, he whispered near Beck’s ear, “Babe, it’s me, I’m here and I am not leaving you again.” Beck made no response. Athan felt for a pulse and it was faint but steady.
“How long has she been unconscious?” Looking towards Ara for an answer he was approached by her driver who said, “She has been in and out of consciousness for the last hour. I have tried to do the best I can to keep her stabilized. But I am afraid she is starting to fade fast; she needs immediate care from one who has more skill than I.”
Athan turned to the driver and said, “Sir, I am in your debt. What is your name?”
“You can call me Nias, I am a simple servant of the Sisters. At present I have been permanently assigned to carry out Ara Dias’ will. I have been trained in first aid, and I have given Beck two experimental shots that have stabilized her vitals, and they have even begun to repair any vascular damage she has sustained. The shots I gave her include some powerful new drugs that are designed to help the body accelerate the process of regeneration, however, they cannot heal broken bones, or stop the damage from the shrapnel she incurred from the explosion. I think her main problems concern regulating her pain, stopping any more internal bleeding and fighting infection.”
“Hello, my name is Don, and I am a doctor.” After shaking hands with Nias, Don continued, “Is there a large flat table to put her on and some running water nearby?”
“Yes,” Nias said, “I think the kitchen table is strong enough and the sink does have some hot water. If you need to, there is a stovetop to boil the water as well.”
“Great, Athan and Drew, I will need your help too.”
After clearing the table and finding some clean sheets to lay on top of the table and to cover Beck, the four men slowly lifted her broken body over to the table. Bringing out four large bags from their vehicle, Don tossed to each man a surgical mask, gloves and an apron. In no time Don had the safe house transformed into a working M.A.S.H. unit.
Outside the small kitchenette window, two keen eyes under a single dark mask was peering in.
A bashful attendant came to the foot of Dr. Gladstone’s bed waiting for her eyes to open.
“What do you want? You better have some information on where Ara and her band of miscreants have gotten too?” After rubbing her eyes, Dr. Gladstone reached out waiting for her attendant to come over to help her on with a black satin robe.
The small servant said, “Yes, news has just come in from the Central Surveillance Headquarters. They were able to hack into the pink Rover’s navigation system and it had them stopping at a large mall in North Olmsted, Ohio. That is about 20 minutes away from Lacy Dias’s apartment. They were able to hook into the local satellite feed of that area and they zoomed in on a brown glider that was seen leaving at the same time the Rover was leaving with the two cat ladies. The feed shows Ara, Beck and their driver getting in the brown glider and heading west on old highway 10. It leads into an area of abandoned farm houses and adjacent land that hasn’t been cultivated for some time.”
Dr. Gladstone stood and said, “I know the area well. It is pretty close to my office headquarters in Oberlin. Do they know where exactly the brown glider went?”
The lady continued, “They pinpointed a range of two miles where it could have gone. The satellite feed had a short period of two minutes when it went dark, and the surveillance team just sent out three units to comb the area. They will notify you when the location of the car is found. Is there anything else I can do for you Doctor?”
“Yes, have my cook make me something with bloody red meat and wine. I am starving. Also prepare my bags I want to head back to Ohio, I have a feeling there is alot of unfinished business that needs to be attended to there.” As the attendant bowed and slipped away softly, Dr. Gladstone went into the shower room to rinse off the crustiness of a bad night's sleep. Thinking to herself, “Ara is so close to power, but too young to be dying so soon.”
“Boss, we have recognition. By using our facial scanning equipment through one of the barn’s windows we were able to identify the five people with Ara. They are all names I am sure you will recognize, with two of them being Athan Stone and Drew Dias.” The leader of the special-ops team continued talking in his wrist-talkie, “The lady with the bruises who was with Ara at the apartment is Beck Paris, the vlogging celebrity. The other two people we were unable to find identities for.”
The voice through the talkie sounded confused, “Drew Dias? I thought he was dead? And Beck Paris, how did she get messed up in this?”
“Well, from the looks of it Mam, Beck Paris probably isn't of much help to the group, she is in critical condition so they have set up a makeshift E.R. to work on her. The doctor they have definitely knows his stuff. I also have had two of our guards checking for any signs of a Tergament force in the area. After conducting a thorough check of the perimeter and the woods surrounding the farm there is no sign we are being followed or watched by The Sisters’ security force.”
The voice responded, “You better be sure?”
“I am.” The special-ops leader replied.
“O.K., I want you to move in and take Ara, her brother Drew, and I want Athan Stone as well. I am sure he has information that could really help us.” The woman continued, “At this time I don’t want anyone killed but you can do what you need to for them to comply; if Beck Paris dies, so be it. Your window is shrinking, so make your move as soon as possible.”
“Yes Mam. Signing off…”
“Athan hand me the vascular clamp, I need to stop the bleeding in her leg while I take out some chunks of metal that are deeply lodged near the Iliac vein.” Handing Don the clamp he was then able to stop the flow of blood as he then proceeded to pull out three large pieces of sharp metal. Athan couldn’t bare much more of this.
“Drew, give Beck more of the morphine drip, her heartbeat and breathing seems fine, so I don’t think a little more of the morphine will harm her at this point.” Don wiped some beads of sweat off his forehead as he reached in to grab a shard of metal that was buried deep into the meat of Beck’s thigh. After a few more minutes Don released the clamp, handed it to Athan, and started stitching Beck’s skin where he made his original incisions. “That should about do it.”
“Don, will she be alright?” Athan nervously asked.
“I think she will pull through, but she needs some serious rest. Hopefully we will have no complications bringing her back to our community…”
“BOOOM!!!” The two large doors of the barn blew into the room of the safe house smashing into the green military Rover, with one landing on the hood. Ara fell backward in shock, as she turned to where the explosion was she saw four men in black battle gear emerging from a cloud of orange smoke streaming in the barn. The men quickly took positions all around interior of the room each carrying a large assault weapon. The tallest one in the middle approached the group wielding a stun stick stopping just a few feet from Ara.
“Ara Dias, we have been ordered to take you, your brother Drew and Athan Stone into custody.” He took off his black ski mask revealing a dark beard with a bright red scar zig-zagging across a wrinkled and pock-marked face. He continued, “We want to make this easy, so come with us where our vehicles are parked up by the old farm house. Make it fast.”
Athan said, “No way! We have a patient that is in critical condition and if we leave now she will die.”
“That is not my concern,” the man responded cold as stone, “we have one job, to take you three alive, and our window to get out of here without someone dying is shrinking. So you three must come with us now, or we will take you by force.”
Drew looked for an opening to run, and as he tried to move backward, he was swiftly hit over his head by one of the guards knocking him to the ground. The main leader said, “Ara and Athan, I suggest you come with us. It is obvious Drew has no choice now but to be dragged out of here.”
“But what about Beck? She will not survive, I need to stay with her.” Athan was insistent.
“Yeah, well, my stun stick is pretty insistant too, and it doesn’t seem to care a wit about Beck and her condition. So Athan, move or be moved.” Athan kissing Beck on the forehead said to Don, “Take care of her. Keep her alive.”
Don nodded to Athan, and grabbing his arm handed his something small placing it in the palm of his hand. Athan quickly clenched his hand into a fist hiding what Don gave him. “Don’t worry Athan, Nias and I will take her back with us, and she will be well cared for. As you for, go, and watch over Ara and Drew. And take those when you know you must.”
The man with the stun stick raised high said, “Now or never...let’s go! The boss is waiting.”
Ara turned to him and asked, “Who is the boss?”
“None of us really know her,” As the man slipped his ski mask back on he said, “We have never seen her face, but she told us to call her simply Madylyn.”
Joy Behar on Vice President Pence: “He doesn’t go out with women, that cuts down on networking for women,” Behar argued. Another co-host said his reasoning was to protect his marriage and Joy responded, “Oh please!”
Joy Behar on Harvey Wienstein: After joking about Weinstein being fired from his own company, she said he’ll have “plenty of time to take showers now” — which got big laughs from the stage and from the audience.
Why is progressive Hollywood so surprised? Why even get upset?
Earlier this year when Vice President Pence expressed how he will not have dinner with single women alone for sake of his marriage and protecting an image of blamelessness with women, the progressive left had a cow. Not only did they ridicule him but they claimed it was a sign he was a mysoginistic male pig. Here are some of their comments...
“The revolting thing about Pence’s no-meals-with-women rule isn’t prudishness. It’s that he’s limiting key professional opportunities to men,” wrote Ian Millhiser, an editor at ThinkProgress.
This isn't about mocking Pence for his lifestyle, it's about women being denied access to professional opportunities powerful men control. — Faine Greenwood (@faineg) March 29, 2017
So instead of having a man being accompanied with thier wife to a lunch or dinner, the culture would rather have women end up with a man like Harvey Weinstein. Not to excuse his sick behavior , but this is what we can expect when traditional morality is mocked and ridiculed in today's morally lax world.
So what is more dangerous, promoting traditional family values or sexual freedom and liberty for all?
We currently live in a society that hates the idea of traditional values, and as a result they relish in the later - - that's why we end up with sexual predators, perverts and addicts roaming all sectors of society. And don't just blame this perversion problem on powerful men, there has also been an epidemic of female teachers exploiting younger male students for pleasure as well.
So what is the cause of this sexual quagmire? The same as it has always been, Romans 1:21-24 -
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.
When God and his moral boundaries are mocked you let the beastial heart of mankind run wild. In order to have unlimited freedom people would rather risk a Harvey Weinstein getting loose than acknowledging how good and proper moral standards of a man like Vice President Pence are.
We have sown to wind sexually, we are now reaping the whirlwind. Two weeks ago when Hugh Heffner the founder of Playboy died, article after article praised his entrepreneurship and record of fighting for social justice causes. Here is one short paragraph on how Hollywood reporters saw him:
A dashing, erudite figure often pictured at work and play at the Playboy mansion smoking a pipe and clad in silk pajamas, Hefner established himself as the embodiment of his “Playboy Philosophy,” which preached personal liberation and championed social causes, including civil rights and gay rights.
You see, even though this man spent a lifetime expoiting young women for his pleasure and profit, turning them into objects for men to use without shame, the Hollywood crowd only praised him. This includes the progressive female left who smiled at his debauchary because they wanted to be considered cool and sophisticated and sexually liberated as well. So why are they so suprised with Weinstein's lechery - - they helped foster the conditions for it? Such hypocrisy!
God wants us to be sexually pure not because he is a prude, it is because he doesn't want our daughters to be deflowered and destroyed by predators like Heffner, Weinstein, Nicholson, and any other godless misanthrope.
God knows what he is doing.
Chapter Twenty-One: Tattoos and Tears
by Tina Semanas
“Ara, are you sure you want to do this?” The driver looked hesitant before he took a right into a giant parking lot full of mothers and daughters milling outside a massive shopping mall. A 20 foot neon pink sign blinked on and off, “40% of all Dowager Apparel...Merchandise is Going Fast!”
“Ara, this crowd looks crazed; like a pack of rabid hyenas fighting for the last scraps of meat on a dead elephant.” A line of outdoor tables with all the latest fashions was being swarmed with hundreds of bleach blond giggling girls each telling their mom, “This is so cute, I want it. Buy it for me!”
Ara looked at the driver and said, “This is the perfect place, no one will notice us while Dowager wanna-bes are shopping. It is a religion for them. What we need to look for is a girl with a lot of tattoos, they are the most gullible.” Driving slowly around the mall parking lot, Ara spotted a mother and daughter who were the ideal targets. “Look, over there. They have whisker implants and tattooed black cat noses wearing pink fur! Perfect! Pull in front of them, I will do the talking.”
The pink Rover slowly veered close to the mother and daughter stopping halfway in the parking spot purposely forming a barrier between them and the sale tables. “What the h….?” An angry Siamese looking cat lady raised her hand in a claw like fashion ready to scratch the pink Rover for obstructing their path to the sales table.
Ara jumped out of the backseat holding the Rover keys in her hand and said to the angry mother and daughter, “Congratulations! You have been randomly selected to receive this pink Rover as a tribute gift of goodwill between The Sisters and the great people of the State. My name is Ara Dias, the newest member of the Doyenne Council, and I have been given the honor of choosing a mother and daughter for this reward! To receive this gift all we ask is a trade: Your old glider for this brand new delux model Rover.”
The Siamese mother looked shaken - - with arms crossed she asked with a cat like hiss, “What’s the catch?”
“There is no catch. Consider this as a token of love from our fearless leader Dr. Gladstone. Will you accept?” Ara dangled the keys in front of the excited ladies.
“Mom, take it. You know how I love the color pink!”
“Ok honey, whatever you want!” The cat lady handed over her old keys and took the Rover keys from Ara. “First let me get my precious babies from my old glider.”
Following the lady to her old brown glider, the lady opened the hatch pulling out a cage of five Siamese cats that were hissing and clawing at the metal bars of the cage. “Come on my lovelies, we have a new royal carriage waiting to escort your royal highnesses.” Opening the back door of the Rover to put the cage in the back seat, Ara noticed her driver already had taken Beck out of the backseat and into his arms carrying her over to where the brown glider was parked.
Ara grabbed the remaining handbags, first aid kit and digital communication equipment out the Rover, and then turned to the ladies who were already had the keys in the ignition of their new vehicle,”Well, on behalf of The Sisters, enjoy!”
With the motor revved up, the two cat faced women pulled out of the parking lot screeching the Rover’s tires leaving a trail of burnt rubber and exhaust. The driver turned to Ara and said, “That was a brilliant acting job. Already showing the poise of a leader! Now let’s get out of here before they realize they have been fooled.”
The brown glider was a ten year old economy electric class and it just barely fit the three passengers comfortably. Ara started sneezing, “Oh boy, This glider is full of cat hair. But who cares, at least this way we won’t be followed. How far is the safe house from here?”
The driver looked back and said, “Only 10 minutes. We need to hurry so Beck can lie down more comfortably, that anesthetic will be wearing off anytime now.” Looking in the rear view mirror of the glider the driver noticed that Beck’s grimace looked more severe, the pain from the broken bones in her leg was already coming back.
He stepped on the acceleration pedal causing the small car to leap forward...like a frisky cat.
“When is that flying drone going to be ready, we can’t let them get away?”
“Well Dr. Gladstone,” a voice over the intercom said, “We will be bringing you a visual in two minutes. We have the Rover’s location, it is heading back north again toward the city.”
Dr. Gladstone looked confused, “Why would they be heading back in the same direction they just left?”
The voice replied, “I will bet they realized that one of our NWP agents saw them leaving heading south, so they might be back tracking to fool the agent thinking they might be followed? The drone is almost over top of them.”
Watching her projection screen, Dr. Gladstone sat down on her black leather lounger waiting for the live video feed to be uploaded. A wide panning view of the Lakewood slums came into focus, and there it was, the pink Rover weaving in and out of the busy side streets. Dr. Gladstone muttered to herself, “Something is wrong with this picture? Why would Ara and Beck be meandering so slowly through this dirt poor neighborhood? And why would all the people come running up looking inside the vehicle?”
The pink Rover pulled into a small dilapidated strip mall. Dr. Gladstone said to the intercom, “Zoom in on the store sign.” The camera quickly focused on a pink sign that read ‘The Cat Castle.’ And out of the Rover jumped two ladies dressed in furry pink clothes, and their faces looked like cats. One was holding a cage full of angry animals.
“Wait,” Dr. Gladstone stood up enraged, “that isn’t Ara Dias and Beck Paris! They are nothing but two lousy cat freaks! How did they get their dirty paws on one of our Rovers?” Pounding her fist on a mahogany coffee table Dr. Gladstone roared, “Notify our agents to pick up that trash...Now!”
In a matter of minutes the projection screen showed two black Rovers screaming into the small parking lot. Jumping out of the Rover were two large Termagant guards who slammed the ladies against the brick wall of the store. The cage of cats fell to the ground with five screeching cats scampering away. The ladies immediately were handcuffed and thrown into one of the Rovers. One of the guards looked inside the pink Rover looking for any signs of Ara and Beck...nothing.
Dr. Gladstone said, “ As soon as those two cat ladies are taken to the local reconditioning center make sure you hook my feed up to their room so I can interview them personally! Understand?”
“Yes doctor, I will notify you immediately.” The intercom clicked off.
The safe house was hidden behind a nondescript deserted old farmhouse. Located off a dusty dirt road, the entrance to the winding driveway was bordered by two rows of monstrous arborvitae trees. The foliage surrounding the house had a certain haunted feeling about it: Tangled branches scraping the white faded wood siding, cobwebs bordering windows and knee high weeds poking out of patches of uncut grass. It was the perfect front.
Winding past the house the driveway led to a large red barn. The driver pulled the brown glider up to the front of the two pull out doors. Outside a punch pad was stationed to release the lock. Ara punched in a four digit code that Athan provided which allowed them to pull the glider in.
Closing themselves in, they switched the lights on revealing a huge room with two sets of bunks, a small kitchenette with a fully stocked fridge, and two large couches facing a mounted projection screen on the wall.
“Ara, grab some water, Beck needs all the fluids she can get. And see if there is something to eat - we all need our strength.” The driver carried Beck to the far couch and laid her down. Pulling out another needle from his kit, he injected her with some more of the purple wonder drug. It was the last of it.
“Ara you need to get some rest as well, the medicine will last her for awhile. Let’s hope her friend Athan gets here in the next couple hours with a doctor because she is going to be in some serious pain.”
“How long will the shot last her?” Ara wondered.
“We have a good four hours of peace. Go lie down on the bunk, I will keep watch. Is there anything to eat in there?”
Ara threw her driver 3 sticks of deer jerky. Ara said, “this place sure is old, I have heard of jerky but never knew people really ate it? It looks like leather.”
“Live feed from the reconditioning center is now active...Dr. Gladstone you are on.”
Dr. Gladstone stood tall and serious in front of the projection screen, she wanted to bring an intimidating presence to those on the other side of the feed. In the basement of the reconditioning center the two ladies were stripped down to their underwear both revealing identical Siamese dark brown and white permanent spray tans. Both of their arms and legs were stretched out and chained to the gray concrete wall behind them. The mother was trying to soothe her delirious daughter who was howling like a caged cat.
Dr. Gladstone thought to herself, “Such wretched pitiful creatures. This is what all our teaching on expressing your true self has led to, human idiocy.” Clearing her throat she spoke to the two frightened women through the screen, “You can both make this really easy, just answer one question: How did you acquire the keys to one of our pink Rovers?”
“We won the random give away!” The hysterical cat mother said. ”We were told by Ara Dias the Rover was a gift to us from The Sisters and out of the goodwill of your heart Dr. Gladstone. Naturally we believed her, why would we not?”
Dr. Gladstone leaned in closer. “How long have you known Ara Dias? And are you working with her?”
“No, no, no...I have never met her before in my life!” It was clear the mother was both ignorant and honest. Shivering in her chains, she was something to be pitied. There was no way these cat ladies were smart enough to help plan a daring getaway. “So, ladies, where did you meet Ara?”
“At the shopping mall south of town. They were having a sale on fuzzy sweaters. I wanted to get my darling daughter one to match her new five Siamese cats. Isn’t that right honey?”
“Meow,” replied the daughter with large tears streaming down her face.
“O.k., one final question. What kind of vehicle did you see them leave with?” Asked Dr. Gladstone.
“We gave them our old brown glider. It has cat stickers all over the side with big whiskers taped on the front. It looks like one of our cute kitties. You can’t miss it.” The mother said.
“Did you have any idea where they are heading?”
“No, we immediately left the parking lot to show the neighborhood our new vehicle. We didn’t even see them leave, we were too excited. Right honey?” By this time the daughter was nervously licking herself lost in a strange world of her own.
“O.k., O.k., thank you for your help. Guards reward these two crazy cats for all their help.”
As Dr. Gladstone went to click off the screen two Tergament guards could be seen smashing the two ladies with stun sticks over their head causing them to hang limp and unconscious on their chains. A small trickle of blood from the daughter’s leg dripped on the concrete floor.
“Good, no more howling from those sorry animals anymore! Now do everything in your power to find that brown glider. One of our surveillance satellites must have picked them up? There must be an eyewitness that had to see a brown cat car driving around. I need answers! ”
“Yes Doctor.” The intercom voice replied.
An agitated Dr. Gladstone walked to her bedroom to think and lie down mumbling to herself, “Where are you Ara? I will find you, and when I do it will not be pretty!”
“Headlights are approaching! Ara, wake up!” Her driver was shaking Ara while handing her a glass of water.
Outside a green heavy duty military Rover pulled up to the double doors. A tall dark haired man wearing all black got out and punched in the code numbers to open the doors. Ara knew it was Athan.
After the vehicle pulled in the barn, Ara’s driver immediately closed and locked the doors from the inside. Athan and an older man stepped out of the front seat, and then a door opened in the back of the vehicle.
Ara couldn’t believe her eyes, it was Drew!
CHAPTER TWENTY: Purple Haze
Simone was growing impatient.
She was sure she had the young Ara wrapped around her little pinky finger - who wouldn’t want to be the special darling of the great Dr. Gladstone? But nagging doubts about her loyalty remained. It’s been a whole day and there was still no report concerning the whereabouts of Ara and the pretentious Beck Paris. Reasoning with herself she said under her breath, “They should have checked into the condominium hours ago?”
Smashing down on the wall intercom buzzer a voice was summoned on the other end that quickly came over the speaker, “Yes, Dr. Gladstone, how can I be of service?”
“Just inform me when you get some solid information on the arrival of Ara Dias. And let the concierge at the front desk of the Cleveland condo complex make sure she calls and checks in with me right away. Also, I want a glass of some sparkling water with a slice of lemon and a pain capsule. I have a throbbing headache!”
The voice responded, “Yes Doctor. Be right there. Would you like me to bring you your virtual goggles, they always seem to soothe you after a busy week? I would be happy to get you a list of the top male escorts who will show up in your apartment to pleasure you any way you like?”
“No, I just want to be left alone! Bring me my water and don’t bother me until you have news from that stupid girl!” Grabbing the nearest vase, Dr. Gladstone hurled it at a large oil painting hanging on her Manhattan apartment wall titled ‘Semiramis, Lying Dead’. Simone Gladstone found great pride in owning the famous 19th century Italian masterpiece that depicted the death of the sensuous Assyrian warrior queen. She had it placed in the center of the large living room so there would be the constant reminder of the real dangers that haunted any female who dared to rule. Usually Simone basked in the hatred and jealousy of others that came naturally with power; but tonight she felt vulnerable and alone. Her mind raced.
“I will not risk betrayal, and I will not suffer fools. I hope for the sake of her future success, Ara learns to fear me?”
“Someone wired Lacy’s door to explode...either they were targeting Lacy or me? We need to get you out of here before the person who did this comes back to check out their handiwork.” Ara was kneeling down next to an unconscious Beck stroking her matted hair as the Rover driver came running up with an emergency first aid kit.
“Miss Dias, I know what to do. I have been trained for all possible scenarios - - it is my duty to keep those under my care alive.” After assessing Beck’s wounds the driver took out a small needle and injected a thick purple liquid into her shoulder. A warm calm immediately came over Beck’s wrinkled brow.
“I call this the wonder drug. It has been developed especially for The Sisters. It would cost an average person nearly two years salary just to get their hands on this through black market channels. It numbs the body’s pain while restructuring collapsed blood vessels and tissues in any of the lacerated organs. The new medical advances are nothing short of miraculous.”
After the injection, Beck not only was breathing easier but she was quickly regaining consciousness. Looking at the driver, Ara pleaded, “Can we move her now to the Rover? We need to get out of here!”
“We have to give the medicine five more minutes before we can transfer her. She needs to remain perfectly still for it to properly reconstruct the damaged cellular pathways. Just hang on, stay with her while I go downstairs to run interference if any NWP officers come to check out the disturbance.” He checked her pulse while rubbing healing salve on a few of her open wounds. “Ara, she looks fine, I will be back in five.”
Beck’s eyes blinked open and she immediately saw the worry on Ara’s face who was leaning over her. “Am I still alive? I was hoping I could die in peace.” Moving her fingers over Ara’s hand Beck said, “You would be better off without me my dear, just leave me here and take care of yourself. I am sure that witch Gladstone is wondering where her precious charge is at? Leave me, and tell them I am dead, that is what they wanted.” Bending her arm without pain, an astonished Beck remarked, “But Ara, I do have one request before you go - - give me another shot of that stuff you gave me, I can actually feel the inside of my body repairing itself. It’s like someone is pumping lost years back into my bones. I can taste life, it has a sweet flavor, better than eating a piece of Pineapple Tiramisu. And if you have some Tiramisu, I could go for that too!”
A buzz could be heard coming from Beck’s handbag that was lying on the ground next to the smoldering splintered door frame. “Should I get it Beck?” Ara wondered.
“Bring it over here and check the number first.”
Ara reached into the bag and pulled out a black flat pad. Opening it up she looked at Beck and said, “It says it is an unregistered number.”
Beck quickly remarked, “Answer it, quick, answer it.”
“Hello?” Ara said, “Who is this?”
The person on the other line hesitated, “Umm, who is this?”
“This is Beck Paris’ number, she is indisposed at the moment, can I take a message for her?” Ara said shyly.
“No, here, give it to me Ara!” Beck was clearly winded, she couldn't keep her head up.
“You need to stay still Beck, you're really hurt!” Ara whispered to Beck forgetting her voice could be heard over the pad.
“What? Who is this? Let me speak with Beck! Is she O.K.?” A strong worried voice was awakened on the other end.
“My name is Ara Dias and I am with Beck. She has been badly hurt and I can’t let her speak to you because I have been instructed to keep her still for a few minutes. Can I tell her who is calling?”
The voice on the other line came through loud and clear, “Tell her it’s Athan.”
Jonathan never saw Nika’s smile so big before. He knew immediately what it meant, “Did you do it? Was Phen’s blood able to be used?”
Nika replied, “Find your dad, Phen and the rest of the group. I want them all to hear what we discovered.” Jonathan jumped up in a start knocking over the chair he was sitting on causing it to crash into a few of the computer stations. “Jonathan, careful, your clumsiness is going to destroy all of our hard work! Take a deep breath, slow down and go get your dad!”
Bolting out of the lab, Jonathan ran to the front of the Rock House’s entrance to notify the group of the good news, “Dad, I think they did it? Come on back in.”
Don, Phen, Drew, and the rest of the group started back through the double doors and proceeded down the hallway to the lab. Passing by the surveillance room, Don poked his head in motioning for Athan to join them. But he waved Don off obviously distracted by something he was listening to on the flat pad he was holding. Don smelled trouble. He knew somehow Beck was on the other end. Athan was like a dog with a bone, once it was in his mouth he wouldn’t let it go.
“Come in, come in,” Nika said to the large group as they got to the end of the hall. “Once we had extracted Phen’s blood, the atomic stippling process turned out to be much easier than I thought.” Pointing to a large projection screen, Nika started explaining her calculations. “After analyzing Phen’s blood, the computations perfectly reflected what we hoped the original algorithms of the MILK formula would bring us to. His body responded immediately to the enzyme catalyst which excited the oligosaccharide chains in the blood to cancel the inordinately high production of the Alpha 2 Macroglobulin…”
“Enough Nika, everything you just said sounds Chinese to me...Oops, sorry, I wasn’t criticizing your race I just don’t understand a word you said?” Jonathan said cringing.
“To break it down simply, we have been able to develop a serum from Phen’s blood that we are 99.7% sure will block all Xenon poisoning in human blood. Right now three of our chemists are trying to link the serum with DNA exciters so the protein inhibitors will naturally bond with hydrogen molecules. This will allow you to pump small amounts of serum into whatever source the factories are using to provide water for the drones. One small gallon of serum could completely change the chemical composition of a body of Hydrogen Dioxide up to the size of a small lake.” Nika’s excitement over her discovery made it hard for the group to understand.
Don asked, “So to put it simply, you found a way to get the Xenon blocker into normal drinking water?”
“Yes.” Said Nika smiling.
“And it will still look clear so it can go undetected?”
“Yes. That is our calculation - it will only take a couple more hours to have the exact formulaic numbers.” Nika said.
“Nika, I could kiss you!” Jonathan burst out.
“Please, keep that smelly, long-haired homo sapien away from me. I don’t want him disturbing any more of our calculations and equipment before we get this completely done.” Nika’s small frame stood firm with her arms crossed while staring up a laughing Jonathan.
Don pulled everyone out, “Ok, let's let Nika and her team finish. We have our own business to take care of now. Once the serum is complete, we will have to somehow sneak into the factory where they bottle the water. There we can tap into the water source and then dump the serum in. This will be easier said than done.” The determined group headed back out to the front of the Rock House and into some other side rooms where they planned their next moves. Passing bye the surveillance room, Don could hear Athan talking loudly on his flat pad, “Ara Dias, what are you doing with Beck?”
Drew, who was walking behind Don, said to himself, “Did he just say Ara?”
“Can you stand?” The Rover driver asked Beck as he grabbed underneath her right arm trying to lift her from the ground.
“I think I can, even though my leg looks twisted, I feel nothing.” Beck said.
Putting one arm around her waist the driver got Beck to put weight on her feet, leading her to the front entry way where the pink Rover was waiting. Ara followed behind still talking on the flat pad. “Athan, we are heading to the Rover right now. We need to bring Beck to the local hospital but I am afraid Dr. Gladstone has agents everywhere. If she is found out they would surely have her incarcerated and then killed. Dr. Gladstone wants to make an example out of her, especially considering how she embarrassed The Sisters during Vanity Night. I am really scared for her safety.”
“Wait, wait, wait....Ara, what did you say? Beck is hurt and in trouble?” The concern on Drew’s voice was palpable.
“Yes, her body is broken, a few of her bones were shattered in the blast, and Athan it still is really bad and I don’t know where to turn?” Ara’s voice was shaking.
“How bad is she? Could she make it for a few hours without going to a hospital?” Athan asked.
Ara turned to the driver, “The man on the other end wants to know if Beck could make it for a few hours without immediate medical attention?”
“I could administer another shot but she needs her bones set. She also has severe burns and some wood splinters that have entered into her side and arms that she will need extracted before they become infected. I would say I could keep her comfortable for four more hours - - but she will definitely require professional help after that.”
Ara relayed the message to Athan and he gave them the address of a safe house 20 minutes away. “Ara, can you assure me your driver can be trusted not to contact Dr. Gladstone or any of her minions? I will be there in two and a half hours with the best doctor in the state. Do you understand?”
“Yes Athan. And of course I can trust him. He has sworn loyalty to me for life, it is part of The Doyenne guard's oath.”
Beck was fading in and out of consciousness in the back seat of the Rover. Ara sat next to her holding a cold cloth on her forehead, she was burning up. The driver punched in the address for the safe house as the Rover headed south. Estimated time of arrival, 17 minutes.
“Beck, hold on, Athan is coming!” Nodding off to a calm sleep, Beck’s head landed softly on Ara’s welcoming shoulder.
“Don, I need you! You must come with me - Beck is in desperate shape, and you are the only doctor I know. She needs your help!” Athan was insistent, eyes blazing.
“But Athan, we must stay here and plan how to get the serum into the water source; this is not the time to go down a rabbit trail chasing your stupid love fetishes. It is time to grow up Athan, your dad was right, there are more important things in life than wasting time on sensual pleasures. And Beck is nothing but plastic, cosmetics and Sepia filters and a selfie stick.”
Athan was furious! “No Don, Beck is not who people think she is. She needs our help and is a target of The Sisters. If they get to her, she will be tormented and she will die. I thought your Christian ethic compelled you to be an agent of mercy? That is what you taught me. I understand how important the discovery of this blocker is..I get it...but Don, Beck is my wife! For the Christian, is not your wife your first duty?”
Standing by the opening of the door, Drew was listening in. Waiting for the right moment, he said to Athan, “I’m coming too! They don’t need me here, and I have to see my little sister. When are we leaving?”
Athan stared at Don waiting for an answer.
“Give me 15 minutes. I need to make sure Jonathan has everything under control first. Drew I am just not sure Phen will let you go? It is going to be dangerous.”
Drew answered, “I don't care. I'm going!"
The intercom bell in Dr. Gladstones room sounded. “Dr. Gladstone, there has been some movement with regards to Ara Dias and Beck Paris. Some local NWP agents in a western suburb of Cleveland have notified us that the door of Lacy Dias’s apartment has been blown off by some small explosives, very amatuer work. Apparently three people were seen leaving the scene in one of the Conclave's pink Rovers, heading south. After further investigation, bloodstains were left by the threshold of the door and they are a match with Beck Paris’.”
A few seconds of silence went over the intercom.
“Anything else?” Dr. Gladstone asked.
“Oh, yes. Using cell pad surveillance, we know Beck received a call on her flat pad right after an explosion was heard. We are unable to decipher who the call was from or where it came from. Apparently the call has some very high tech scrambling equipment we are unable to crack. We have Beck’s number marked so if he calls again we will tryto pinpoint where the call is coming from.”
Dr. Gladstone took the slice of lemon out of her water and sucked it dry still thinking. “Tell me, is there any way to track the pink Rover with our satellites and then find out exactly where they are heading?”
The intercom sounded, “Well the pink Rover does have stealth capacity, untraceable from satalitte and radar. So we are going to send out a flying-drone locator that will follow the Rover without being noticed. We will provide for you a digital uplink that will be sent to your projection screen in ten minutes. But for now, they are on the run somewhere southwest of Cleveland. Should I notify State police and send a special Tergament force to subdue them?”
“No, no, no…” Dr. Gladstone stood up quickly, and she said, “I want to watch what they are doing. We need to play a little cat and mouse game with them. I want to know who is calling her on the phone, even though I have my suspicions, I want the snake rooted out. But don’t do anything as of yet, this game is just getting interesting.”
“Will do, can I be of any more service Dr. Gladstone?”
Looking up and thinking Simone eventually responded, “Yes, there is one thing. Could you bring me that list of male escorts? I’m feeling much better!”
Raising a glass to the painting on the wall, Dr. Gladstone offered a toast, "Well Queen Semiramis, here's to you, the pursuit of pleasure and the joy of power! Now it is getting fun!"
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength."
Wallace: Was that a tear? How do you people do it? Do you poke yourself in the eye? Or are you thinking right now "My dog is dead"?
Lorelei 'Lori': What's the matter with you? Are you enjoying this?
Wallace: Enormously! "My dog... is dead".
(Bill Murray from ‘The Man Who Knew Too Little’)
Can you cry at will?
If you can learn to master this difficult art, you can have people eating out of your hand! There is nothing more powerful or persuasive than a good tear. Hot beads of passion rolling down the cheek of a child, or crystal pools of dissappointment welling up in the bloodshot eyes of your wife can move you in ways nothing else can.
And if you know how to manufacture these liquid bullets while preaching, or program them to stream like a silver faucet when sharing with friends about how God spoke to you - a popular prophet you will become. Religious gravitas can be yours for the taking, just cry. I once worked with a lady who could curse a blue streak with the roughest of sailor before church, but once she started singing with tears cascading down her face while up on the platform, the audienced became like putty in her hands. Moved by her pious presentation many a sentimental heart would praise her for how close she must be to Jesus.
Tears are power.
Tears can also self-decieve. For instance, if I am praying or singing a song and I cry, it must mean I had a profitable encounter with God. Right? My devotional time was not dry and dead? In the book of Malachi 2:13 the people were coming before God praying and crying hoping he would answer their prayers, but he would not. Listen in. . .
"And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, 'Why does he not?' Because the Lord was witness..."
In other words, God alone knows what is truly in the heart of man, tears notwithstanding. God knows emotions and feelings don't neccesarily indicate authenticity. Sure, sometimes a good cry can be authentic, and quite cathartic, but not all the time. And here-in lies their hidden danger, they are very persuasive. Many a person has allowed themselves to be led astray by the presence of tears, visions, heart driven convictions, impressions of their own or other's often leading to nothing more than empty sentiment.
Faith does not spring from tears.
Faith stands on one sure foundation: "...hearing (not crying, experiencing, or feeling), and hearing through the word of Christ." I am convinced when faith is detached from the certainty of God's word it usually ends up being nothing but a fiction embraced by a gullible heart. Listen to how Miles Stanford in the Green Letters puts it, "Faith has nothing to do with probabilities. The province of faith begins where probabilities cease and sight and sense fail. Appearences are not to be taken into account. The question is - - whether God has spoken it in His word."
He continues, "Too often the attitude is, 'The way things are going I wonder if the Lord really loves me,' but that statement is based on a probability...not a reality." Listen to how 2 Peter 1:16-19 puts it...
"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,' we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place."
Just think Peter heard God's voice audibly, he saw Jesus shining in his lightning white clothes draped in the Glory of his Father. And yet he says, "we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed." Translation: the written word is to be trusted more than the experience he witnessed. It is more sure.
So even if there is crying or no crying, when you trust in the promises of God's word you will stand firm. I love it when tears are born from truth, it does change me. But tears without God's testimony are empty puddles soon to evaporate into the realm of nothingness.
Go ahead and cry if you want, but if they are not you aint fooling God.
(Idea comes from Peter Kreeft’s fascinating book about the waiting room of heaven titled ‘Between Heaven and Hell’)
Off-screen Announcer: “Welcome with me our host for tonight’s show, standing center stage, that friendly familiar face, the American icon of schmaltzy television game shows, the one, the only, the master horse trader himself, Monty Hall!” (Applause)
Monty: “Welcome ladies and gentlemen, boy do we have a show lined up for you tonight! In fact this will be my last show, the final deal. I was notified last Saturday that I was given the opportunity to air my final program before I go. But my final deal will be no ordinary deal, it is the great deal reveal. Tonight our three contestants have already made their choice on which curtain they would choose. We are simply here to see if they chose wisely, our viewing audience wants to know what’s really behind the curtain?”
“Stay tuned with us because after the break we will once again return to everyone’s favorite game show, ‘You Made a Deal!’” (Applause)
Commercial Break: “Tonight’s Show is sponsored by the fine people from Purdue Pharma - makers of OxyContin and Fentanyl. Keeping people addicted since 1991. Now back to ‘You Made a Deal.’”
Monty: “Welcome back friends and my faithful television audience. You know how this game is played. We have three contestants who have chosen what is behind one of the three curtains - and today we will see what they bargained for. This also is being shot before a live studio audience.” As the cameras pan the crowd everyone is decked out in a variety of colorful costumes: bearded men in ballerina dresses, ladies in blue pantsuits wearing President Trump and Obama masks, women in army fatigues holding yellow daisies and men in ties wearing white aprons waving large rolling pins. (Applause)
Monty: “Such a fine and diverse studio audience tonight. As we say here on ‘You Made a Deal’ everyone has the right to be what they want to be without judgement. Don’t you love it?” (Applause)
“Our first contestant comes from our very own Las Vegas, California. Like myself, this will also be his last show, his final deal you might say. Dressed in blue silk pajamas and wearing his signature captains hat, let’s hear it for Hugh Hefner.”
A smattering of Applause could be heard. One man dressed in a loose black tie and charcoal gray suit stands up and throws his shoe at Hugh yelling at the top of his lungs, “That sick creep corrupted my 16 year old daughter. She was lied to by an advertisement in his stupid magazine promising her that she would be famous. What fame did he offer her? Abuse, disgrace, shame and addiction. Now she is a broken down stand-in for a ten cent porn agency. Monty, that man doesn’t deserve a deal, throw the bum out!”
Another man was standing next to him dressed in a greasy college fraternity sweatshirt holding a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in his chubby fisted right hand. Taking a swig, the man wiped a drooling fat mouth and slurred, “Shut up and sit down old man! Hugh is our hero in the frat, and I think a poster of your skanky daughter is hanging on my dorm room wall right now? So I guess you could say she is famous...Cheers!” While taking another sip, the man in the gray suit cocked his right arm back and proceeded to land a round-house punch square on the man’s nose sending a spray of beer into the cheering crowd, and a stream of blood started pouring out of the chubby man’s right nostril.
Monty: “Settle down folks, remember this is a game show. It’s all in good fun, all in good fun.”(Applause)
“Hugh, the last time you were here your mom was with you trying to convince you to choose curtain number 1, remember?”
Hugh: “Monty, how could I forget? When they opened the curtain and I saw it contained a conservative Midwest home, and a missionary’s salary, my mom begged me to take it! I told her trying to find happiness behind that curtain was ridiculous. In fact, thinking back on it I even told her that her superstitious idea of God was nothing but a myth. My mom was raised a guilt ridden Puritan - there was no way I was choosing that curtain. So yeah Monty, I choose curtain number 2 instead.”
Monty: “And what a great choice it has been! A package of bikini clad, blond haired naive girls, offering life-long sexual pleasure at other people’s expense. Well today, since that was your choice would you like to see the final outcome?”
Hugh: “Yeah, hopefully there is more than the monotony of trying to satisfy my sexual hunger and personal need for meaning? It never was enough, and in my last few years I just wanted it to end...it seemed like everywhere I turned I was being sued? Being called a pimp and a home wrecker. Hopefully there is more than this...and I just can’t wait to spend eternity with Marilyn?”
Monty: “Sorry Hugh, you won’t be seeing Marilyn, and in fact you won’t being seeing much of anyone or anything. Show him Jonny what is in the far back of curtain number two.”
Off-screen Announcer: “Well Monty, curtain number 2 doesn’t just end there, yes there is more, so much more! Hugh, you will be traveling to a far away land of utter darkness. The temperature never gets below a steamy 200 degrees, and there is no water to cool your tongue. But before that, you will get to hear the testimony from every father whose daughter you despoiled, every mother whose son you corrupted, and of course you will answer to the God you thought was a myth. Thank you for playing ‘You Made a Deal!’”
Out came two ugly demons with red tails both wearing a pair of white bikinis each taking Hugh by the arm dragging him through curtain number 2. Watching the curtain close behind them the crowd went silent.
Monty: “Well, I don’t think that was a good deal. Let’s take another advertising time out and we will be right back to ‘You Made a Deal.’” (Applause)
Commercial Break: “When that pesky mom wants to ruin your life by teaching you truth, head to the great state of Colorado where reality and a stable future will go ‘Up in Smoke!’ Sponsored by Colorado marijuana growers. Now back to ‘You Made a Deal.’”
Monty: “Welcome back again, and maybe our next contestant has chosen rightly. From Santa Monica, California, we have one of our crowds favorite with us for his final deal, please Welcome the popular Tom Petty.”
Walking out front of an uproarious crowd, came a tall thin man with long blond hair, wearing a dark gray top hat, and wire-rim sunglasses. Random whistles and shouts came from the crowd, “Don’t Back Down Tom!”, “Run Down Your Dream man,” and “You Got Lucky dude!”
Monty: “Wow, the crowd loves you!”
Tom: “Thanks man, I love you too, even though I don’t know any of you personally.”
Monty: “Well when you choose curtain number 3, a life of fame and fortune, it sure seemed like you got lucky after all?”
Tom: “I did. I got to do what I loved to do. Make music.”
Monty: “You seemed to choose that curtain right away. Did you want was behind number 1 or 2?”
Tom: “No man, I was too busy to think about it. I saw that curtain number 1 included people who followed the Christian God, but they all seemed like hypocrites and child molesters. So I thought I could do better just going it on my own. I don’t believe in any God, I’m too cool and too busy for that. I’m fine with whatever religion you want to have, but for me, I’m just ‘Free Falling.’ Whatever happens, happens.”
Monty: “Well, according to the producers, you will be fallin, but it isn’t so free. In fact, well...Jonny..you tell him.”
Off-screen Announcer: “Well Monty, curtain number 3 had some fine print Tom ignored. While he is cool guy, I hate to say it, the place you are heading to is not so cool. In fact he gets the chance to see if he can indeed, ‘stand up at the gates of Hell.’ Since you had no interest in the beautiful God, you get no invitation to his beautiful wonderful place. I know that fans love you down here, but sadly Tom, it breaks my heart to say it, but you often stole his love for yourself.”
Tom: “What does that mean Monty? That playing a guitar wasn’t enough?”
Monty: “Sure looks that way?”
A sad Tom slumped away slinking into the back of curtain number 3. Two large curtains closed behind him. No applause was heard.
Monty: “We have one more contestant, dressed with a belt of high powered ammunition and carrying semi-automatic rifles, come on down, the Las Vegas killer, Stephan Paddock...”
The crowd went nuts! Furious screams were heard and the bull rush of angry studio audience was captured by every camera. The last thing that was seen before the station went off air was a man being pummeled under boot and fist.
I’m a part of the chain gang.
No, I did not rob a bank, forge a check or break the heads off parking meters like Cool Hand Luke. The chain gang I am on runs the first down markers for my son’s varsity football team.
I love it because I get front row seats to the game. I see up close and personal every hit, every block, every run and every penalty. But that isn’t the best part. I also get to be on the sidelines of the opposing team. I am able to get the inside scoop from the other side of the field.
I get to listen to their play calls, watch their players interact, and hear the opinions of how they view my son’s team. It is fascinating to be privy to the unvarnished truth about your son and his team. Especially when they announce his name on the loudspeaker and one of the coaches smirks and says, “What kind of idiot would name their son Giovanni.” I am tempted to say, “Ahem, that would be me, would you like to talk about it?” But I am not supposed to make my presence felt, as a member of the chain gang I am merely meant to be a silent, neutral part of the field.
Now that I have done this for three years, I have learned a few things on how the other side thinks and feels - - I have been forced to learn “the art of empathy” firsthand: Seeing a situation from another’s perspective. I’m thinking that these insights can help me navigate the political maelstrom America is presently facing. In fact, it is always good to try to learn how the other side thinks.
Here is what I found:
When there are two opponents wanting the same thing (a victory for a football team, expanded rights for an ethnic group, more power for a political party, a bigger piece of the tax dollars collected), I have found the other side goes through four stages of thinking trying to accomplish their goal.
It is strange being on the inside of the other side. I wonder what opposing groups would think of me and my group if they listened in to our discussions?
From having the opportunity of being on the other side I have found that a good team first and foremost teaches and coaches their own. They first acknowledge their own faults - - they see and admit the areas where they have not trained and taught their side well. They appreciate the abilities of the other team, respect the rules and authorities that are put in place, and they stop blaming their loss on the things they can’t control.
And ultimately every team needs to shake hands when the game is over. Hatred is killing us as a nation. Three weeks ago the other side was so angry at losing to my son’s team they reverted to violence. They wanted to hurt any player on my son’s team, and they did.
Sure we won that day, but we all lost something in the long run. Enjoyment of the game and respect for each other’s common humanity. Our country is starting to lose it too...Pray for Las Vegas.
Chapter Nineteen: Liquid Gold
by Tina Semanas
"Here, put this on," a cotton white hotel robe was thrown to Beck who was still rubbing her eyes trying to wake up. Ara was also wearing a similiar robe as she walked into the large bathroom turning on the shower to a scorching hot setting. Waiting for the room to steam up she stood by the door waving for Beck to join her.
"I think it is safe enough to talk." Ara said. "First of all, how are you feeling? You were knocked out for the whole night and most of the morning?"
"My head is throbbing and every muscle aches. I need to sit down, I feel sick." Beck leaned against the damp white tile wall of the bathroom and slid to the floor while rubbing the temples of her head. "I'm glad we are in the bathroom, I may need that toilet in a second."
Ara walked over to where Beck was sitting and joined her on the floor. She said, "Ms. Paris, I can't tell you how sorry I am to see you like this. I have always been a big fan of yours, I just wish I didn't have to meet you for the first time under such horrible circumstances."
"Yeah, horrible is a good way to describe it. . .and why am I here? . . . And how did you end up working with that dragon-lady, Dr. Gladstone?" Beck grumbled.
"Shhhhh, I still am not sure how much they can hear? I know there are cameras in our main room, I am just hoping the noise of the shower and the steam blocks out most of the sound." Ara stood up to get Beck a drink of water from the sink, and sat back down handing her a cold glass. "Ms. Paris, I really don't know how to explain this whole crazy situation to you, but I am asking for you to trust me. You are in big trouble."
"You don't think I know that? So Ara, how do you know so much? And why should I even trust a 12 year old?" Beck rubbed the cool side of the glass on her hot forhead.
Ara looked at Beck in the eyes with a suprising intensity, "Because I am smarter than they think I am, and I am not going to be anyone's child spy! That's why!"
After taking a sip from the glass, Beck replied, "Spy? What exactly does that mean? And who are you spying for, that Gladstone woman? She wants to use your apparent innocence to get info out of me, huh? Well I have nothing to hide, because I don't know anything! I'm just a washed up Dowager who is of no use to anyone. Maybe Lacy was right, I was nothing but a product of the state, a plastic doll keeping people stupid, happy and entertained? And for what use...to be shackeled in diamond chains by those power hungry Sisters? What I could use right now is a stiff drink."
Ara quickly stood up and said, "That's it! Lacy's place! I still have her key. If we can slip out of here - as one of the five I have been given my own security escort that is to be loyal to me - I am sure we can travel unnoticed and then hole up there for awhile, let you get some rest, because I have an idea."
"Oh, no!" Beck insisted, "I am not going anywhere near that beast of a woman. Not only does Lacy still hate me, but she won't stop until I get her some of Athan's money. And don't let her fool you Ara, I am sure she can't stand you either."
"You haven't heard?" Ara replied, "Lacy is dead."
The Rock House was a good hour hike through dense woods and some steep rocky trails of the southern Ohio hills. Midway up a 150 foot Blackhand sandstone cliff, a dirt trail led to two large openings naturally formed out of the massive rock walls. Don led the group of ten people through a 25 foot archway that brought them into a vast cavern patrolled by four armed gaurds. "Any sign of trouble today?" Don asked a muscular bearded man standing ready by the cave's opening.
"No Don, it has been a relatively quiet day. All ten of the chemists you asked for are already inside. Is it really true? Have you found a way to actually block the Xenon? I haven't heard from my brother the past year since they shipped him off to the factory, and I would do anything to see him alive and well and in his right mind?"
Don, squeezing the man's shoulder, offered him words of reassurance, "I have complete confidence that we can help your brother and other's like him. Do you see that man at the back of the line? He was given the formula we developed and he is fine. Not only has he been restored to health, but he is completely immune from the Xenon drips ever effecting him again. It is amazing! That is why we are here my friend, keep praying for us!"
"Will do," the man said after wiping a tear off his cheek. "Good luck Don."
Near the middle of the cavern a rough hewn passage way was cut into the heart of the mountain hill. Don punched in a five digit passcode on the wall lock which opened up the two thick steel doors leading down a long hallway. At the end of the hallway was another double door leading into a entry room where a female attendant welcomed Don with a hug.
"Jenny, great to see you. Could you outfit each man with a lab coat, gloves and mask? We have 10 in our group." She replied, "Sure thing... this is an exciting day."
Athan walked up to Don and whispered into his ear, "Don, while you and the other men go into the lab, I would like to go back and peek into the surveillance room. I need to catch a glimpse on what is going on in the outside world. Ever since the bombing of the Dayton shelter and our crazy drive here, I haven't had the faintest idea what is going on. Besides, you don't need me for your research, that is not my expertise."
Don looked at him and said, "If you want to Athan, go ahead? I know this is about Beck. Just be careful and watch your heart. She has to be a target by now and we are so close, I wouldn't want to do anything to stop us from setting the men in captivity free."
Athan curtly replied, "Don, you can trust me. I just need to know."
A worried look remained on Don's face as he nodded approval for Athan to leave. The rest of the group was outfitted while waiting to enter the next door leading to a complex laboratory of high-tech computers, test tubes, cold rooms, and chemists. A pint sized Asain lady approached the group and asked, "Which one of you is Phen Dias? We need to start right away taking some of your blood - - come with me into the next room." Jonathan, who was buttoning up a long white labcoat, winked at Phen with a smile, "You better listen to her, Nika runs this lab. And if you are not careful, she knows how to draw your blood while causing as much pain as possible!"
Nika turned to Jonathan with wry smile, "Shut your mouth Jonathan! Or you may be next!"
Phen followed the stoic serious lady without uttering a word. She had him sit down on a 4 foot table with a white paper pulled across the top. Wrapping a rubber cord around his arm she waited for the vein on Phen's forarm to swell up. After drawing four quick vials of blood, she handed them to Don smiling, "Here it is, liquid gold, we don't need your formula now. His body has naturally produced in no time what we have been wracking our heads for years to figure out!" Turning to Phen she said, "Here is some orange juice, keep drinking because we are going to need more of your blood. Consider yourself a permanent resident of this place for awhile. You are the new Rock House Blood Bank!"
Before taking a sip, Phen rolled his eyes saying, "Whatever it takes, whatever it takes!"
The flight from Manhatten to Cleveland was a short two hours on the state owned small jet that was requisitioned for Ara's private use. She was right, flying under the insignia of the five turtle-doves of the Conclave shielded her from any questions and monitoring by the local Tergamant gaurds she saw patrolling in their tan Rovers around the airport. Waiting for Ara at the tarmac was a large pink Rover fully equipped with heavy armor and stealth capacity cloaking equiptment so they couldn't be followed or watched by any satellite uplinks.
When the small jet came to a stop, Ara and Beck ran quickly to the Rover with heads hanging low each carrying a small bag of clothes. "Hurry Beck, I don't want to be spotted by any regular spying drones that are always hovering around for security purposes."
"I'm trying to keep up. My head is still throbbing, not to mention my stomach is completely emptied out from that terrible terbulance over New Jersey." Beck said as she ducked into the large vehicle. Once inside the quiet of the Rover she looked at the driver and asked, "Do you have any soda water in this tank? I need something to calm my stomach and my nerves?"
In the side panel of the Rover there was a drink dispenser that Beck punched the number for a pink sparkling water and a shot of Gin. After the bright liquid was squirted into a small crystal glass Beck took a long swallow letting the cool drink slide down her throat slowly. She then turned to Ara and asked, "So sweetie, what is your plan and how can you assure me this is not a Gladstone trap? I know how she works."
Ara replied, "Because she is expecting me to head to the new Condominium in the upscale part of the city. She thinks I will be going there. She looks at me only as a stupid little girl that ony wants the frills and special amneties of power. I guess the apartment is fully equipped with a new wardrobe, chef, and full service bed, bath, spa, work out facility and pool. The attendents are waiting for me to come and start my leadership training there."
Beck looked skeptical, "Yeah, but don't they know you are meeting with me?"
"They think I am bringing you back there too where a secret police unit is waiting to bring you into state custody. And I hate to even think about it, but I overheard Dr. Gladstone on her flat pad say they want to extract information from you, and they will use any means possible. I think she even gave them permission to drain you of your bodily fluids while still keeping your brain and senses fully functioning if you are unwilling to talk..."
"You mean they want to use the Extirpation Procedure on me? Ara, I have read about that. That is only used for exile runaways...suspended animation of sheer torture and hell. How do I know you can protect me from that? I want out of here?" Beck pushed open the Rover door getting ready to jump even though the Rover was already traveling fast.
"No Beck!" Ara quickly leaned over to grab the door to shut it while pulling Beck back at the same time. Catching her breath Ara continued, "Why would I tell you that if I was going to hand you over? Trust me - I dislike Gladstone as much as you do. Her evil system full of power hungry, blood thirsty women killed my mom and made a drone out of my dad for crying out loud!" Ara swallowed back hot tears. Turning toward Beck with a reassuring look, she continued, "Beck, I am sure they completely forgot about Lacy's apartment. After they killed her they were too busy getting ready to travel to New York. Her place is being ignored. It is the perfect cover for you, and you can have your old room back. Besides, I know the equiptment Lacy was stashing in the back room, it is some highly lethal stuff. You can use it to protect yourself."
"I guess I have no other choice. I am sure they already confiscated Athan's place. So that leaves me without a home. I'm at an impasse." Beck buried her face in her hands.
Ara replied, "Don't worry, it is a 15 minute drive and you will see, Lacy's apartment is perfectly safe."
The rest of the drive the two passengers remained silent. 15 minutes later the sign for M. Sanger Luxury Condominiums overlooking Lake Eve was in view. "Driver, please pull to the front." Getting out, both Beck and Ara carried a single bag up the stairs to apartment number 217. Reaching in her coat pocket, Ara pulled out a small card key. Beck grabbed it and said, "Here, I will take the key. I want to go in alone because I need a few minutes to myself, there are alot of bad memories I have left behind here." Ara stepped back and sat down against the other wall waiting for Beck to have some time and space to herself.
After inserting the card key, a green light above the knob flashed letting Beck know the lock was released. Pushing open the door a bright yellow powder flash and loud boom sounded, sending Beck's body flying backward slamming against the opposite wall. Ara saw her limp body come crashing to the floor, a partial hole was blown out of the side of the door and wall. Black smoke was curling through the air. Ara's eardrums where popped.
"Beck, Beck..." A high pitch ring was piercing Ara's skull, and trying to form her mouth to speak, all she heard was a hollow tinny scrape of sound that she could decipher coming from her own voice box. "Beck...Beck..." Beck's unresponsive broken body lay flat, with singed hair and a half-twisted leg lying on the floor. Ara ran over to check for a pulse. Leaning next to Beck's face, she felt a small puff of wind. She was still breathing, she needed help fast.
Three large projection screens on the wall were playing random footage from the previous week's top news and headlines. Every wall picture displayed talking heads discussing the fate of Beck Paris. Athan had to watch. Asking if he could sit in one of the seats in the surveillance room, he sat down turning up the sound on one of the live feeds.
"Beck Paris completely embarrassed herself this weekend..." A plastic, yet perfect, female reporter said staring into the camera, "Not only did she show extreme hatred and bigotry toward a few of the beauty contestants, but she openly mocked the current government of our state. No word yet has been recieved from the representatives of the Doyenne Council if they will prosecute Beck Paris. One thing is for sure, her career is over."
On the screen flashed the last night of the Vanity festivities, Beck was outfitted in a black dress with a simple string of pearls and matching earings. Athan instantly remembered to himself, "That is the exact outfit she was wearing on our first date. I told her that was my favorite look. She wore that for me."
Picking up his flat phone, Athan knew he needed to find her. He knew this dress was a message - - she could be trusted completely. Dialing yet getting no answer, Athan in desperation said out loud, "Oh Beck, where are you? I am sorry. I am so sorry."
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10