Chapter 12

Rise of The Way

"For the great day of his wrath has come; and who shall be able to stand?"~Revelation 6:17

96 A.D., Isle of Patmos.

“How is the writing going, Brother John?” The voice of Marcus was a welcome distraction for the elderly Apostle. Marcus was on the island for crimes against the Roman empire. Marcus had come to be the right hand man on the island for John, giving his life to Christ long before he arrived, John felt a bond with the former Roman soldier, and considered him the closest friend a man could have in these troubled times. “Very well”, John began, “But troubling in nature. Once this message gets out, it must multiply quickly through the church.” Marcus replied, “Why so quickly, my brother?” John's reply captivated the young man. “Because, Marcus, The Lord could return in a year or 2000 years so all generations must know these writings. They must be prepared, and to those who will be left behind, due to their stubbornness, pride, and lack of faith, they must learn how to band together around this message if they are ever to have a chance at eternity with the Lord. Can you imagine, Marcus, to be left behind while all your brothers and sisters are taken by the Lord? What a dire situation to remain in a world that denies God and desires nothing but carnal pleasures and the pursuit of all things temperal, all while being hunted by AntiChrist. Finding new faith and maintaining it in those circumstances will be hard. Pray, Marcus, pray hard for the people of that generation, no matter when it may be.

OCTOBER 4, 5:59 A.M.(B.S.T.) LONDON, YEAR 4 OF THE LAST 7 YEARS ON EARTH.

“Arise!” That was the only thing Anthony Chardanay heard or remembered from his dream, if you could call it a dream. As he woke and dressed for the day it was all becoming clearer. As he turned on the television in his room to reveal the worldwide chaos and panic, it was now crystal clear. What his spirit guide was telling him was too prepare for victory. As he watched the screen, that conversation came into focus. “The enemy is no longer present to interfere with our plans”, he was told, “Proceed with plans to conquer, your path has been cleared, no resistance will be given.” As a smile came to his face, he buzzed his secretary to join him. After 30 seconds, he buzzed her again. He checked the time, 6:00, “perhaps I need to have her schedule changed to reflect an earlier start to my day.” He thought. Finally, out of sheer frustration, he stormed to her desk himself to find her slumped over her desk appearing lifeless. He lifted her head and observed her eyes, empty, colorless, and void. Another smile came as he mused out loud to himself, “let the games begin.”

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, OCTOBER 4, 1:00 A.M. (E.D.T.)

The Browne shelter was akin to what a clubhouse would look like if it had been tossed into a blender, with one exception, that was the 5 people who were still alive. Sam was busy punching walls, appliances and anything else he could take his frustrations out on. Tim was trying his best to console Allison, and failing. Bob had his face buried in a bible trying to make this compute. While Jessica simply stared at Tracey Jennings lifeless body. The only body in the shelter whose eyes were clear, colorful, and whose face was full of fear. “She wasn't taken.” Jess said, loud enough to illicit a glance from all except Sam who was busy beating up the microwave. “She just died.” Jess said. Bob was the first to respond, “What are you babbling about?” “Look at his eyes.” She said, pointing at Kevin Johnson. Bob rose from his studies to examine the man. Jess continued, “no color, no pupil, void of anything we would call a soul. Now look at her.” She was now shaking with fear pointing at Tracey, at the concept that was now becoming clearer to Bob. “Color, bright, fear on her face, all the things you would expect to see in someone who just plain died.” Bob stared at amazement, but couldn't deny what was happening as he ran to every body in the room and discovered the same state in all present, except Tracey. “So what does this mean.”, Bob said, “and where is it found in the bible?” Jess was calmer now and said with the conviction of pastor Allen who only hours ago was preaching and now was with the Lord, “The answer is not in your bible, it's in your heart. They all had a pure heart, we don't, she didn't either.” She was now pointing at Tracey. She continued, “We all believe here.” she said, while pointing at her head, “But not here.” Slowly her hand pointed to her heart. She concluded, “24 people just got raptured, they're with Jesus. One died, she's not. Do you know where she is?” Bob looked somber and afraid and said, “What about the other 5?” Just then Sam walked in and asked what all the shouting was about. It was then that Jess answered Bob's question, “The other 5 are fools, phony and compliant fools.” As she ran out of the room through the debris and bodies, Sam began to run after her, and Bob took his arm to stop him, “Let her go.” He said, “She'll be o.k., she just needs to calm down and we all need to come together to figure this out. As he turned to the bible on the table, Allison could no longer hold back and said, “Figure it out? She just did! Weren't you listening? Look, I don't know about you, but I heard this all my life and never wanted to listen. Well I'm listening now! Bob, Hell is full of people who simply believe. Hell is full of people who know the laws of Moses or the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and Hell is certainly full of people who can recite John 3:16. Look at her!”, She said, pointing at Tracey, “Attended studies, believed, wore a cross necklace, She's dead! Not raptured, dead! Bob, the Devil believes in Jesus too, but he never repented, confessed his sins, and asked Jesus into his life. Neither did we. And now the Holy Spirit is gone.” In the corner of the room, Jess was clapping louder as she walked toward Allison to embrace her, and they all wept, except sam whose anger was still evident. “I just want to know what we do now.” Sam said. And Bob Edwards, for the first time in his egotistical life, took a position of deferrance and echoed Allison's words, “Repent, confess, and ask the Lord to save us.” And as he joined the group hug, he said to Allison, “And by the way, the Holy Spirit is still here.” And he tapped his heart.

6:00 P.M.

The next few hours were mostly status quo as Jess was the first one to officially give her life, or what was left of it, to Jesus. She did it moments after the rapture, realizing what had happened and why the 5 of them were left behind. She was also the first to realize their mission now was very clear, spread the word. Allison was next less than 2 hours later. In her heart she felt the pull of God listening to pastor Allen days earlier but fell short of actually sealing the deal, which she regretted, despite the fact that she had bonded with Jess as close as 2 girls could get who were not related by blood. Jess had also unintentionally took on a leadership role in the shelter which was looked upon by Tim and Bob with confusion and flat out ignored by Sam, whose anger had only subsided to the point of ceasing his appliance abuse.

8:00 P.M.

2 things were happening to Tim Gordon. 2 things that he never felt before. And the strange thing was they both progressed naturally and came easy. First, was his growing love for Allison. Which, as a Gay man, was confusing and frightening. Had he ever been really gay? He wondered. Or was it all an act? An act of a rebellious kid who hated his father and was afraid of a stable relationship. No, he decided, his feelings for Frankie were real. However, he couldn't help but wonder if his love for Allison was more real. He just decided to let it progress naturally without any force or prodding on his part. Second, was his feeling of belonging for the first time. Belonging to anything. He would do anything or go anywhere for these people or the greater good of not only them, but for the Lord. Although these were new feelings, Tim decided they were of God, and he would devote the rest of his life for God's glory. Praying the prayer of salvation, alone, in his room, Tim finally realized that he would never be alone again.

As Bob read his bible frantically searching for answers, he listened to the other conversations coming from the next room. They were laughing. How could they be laughing at a time like this, he wondered. Isolated from the others, he studied and studied until all of a sudden, as if a feeling from above took him over, he fell on his knees. With tears in his eyes, for the first time in his life, the truth hit him. All his knowledge meant nothing. His head was full, his heart was not. With all the remorse he could feel, he begged God to forgive him for his ignorance and pride. He rose from his position a new man, a new creation as the bible called it, ready to apply all his knowledge and training to the task at hand. He was now ready to join the others as an equal partner.

Sam was the last one who realized what he had to do. Always the hot head, always the big man on campus, it was most difficult for him to sucumb to the authority of others, be it his girlfriend, or God himself. But his ego crumbled the more he thought about the reality of his situation.. How could he ignore the truth any longer. The truth of what his Dad, Pastor Allen, Jed and all the others who were now obviously with Jesus, tried to tell him. As he hit his knees, the tears came first, then the acceptance. Sam scrolled through his life like a catalog of sins, confessing to the Lord, and asking him to save him. When he finally emerged from his room, he heard Jess in the living area.

Jess thought the only thing worse than being left behind in the rapture was dying in your sins without ever having received Christ. As she stared at Tracey's body, she thought 2 things; one, they couldn't spend the next 3 1/2 years in this shelter among dozens of bodies. Second, how could the reach others for God and stop all the Traceys in the world that would be dying. As they gathered for a discussion that evening, they tried to outline how the next 3 1/2 years would be spent. “I know that nobody wants to address this, but something has to be done with all these people.” Jess began. “I'm sure I'm not the only one here who doesn't want to stare at dozens of reminders every day what a fool I was, agreed?” They all agreed the best thing to do was relocate them to the extreme rear of the shelter that was never seen by anyone except Jed and his dad, who emerged from that area from time to time. Nobody ever knew what was in that room, although at first observation it was large enough to hold everyone. The door was double locked, so it fell to Sam to break it down. Once inside, they all froze in amazement. There before them was an array of weapons that would make some armies of the world envious. On a table in the middle of the room were 2 envelopes. One was a note from Johnathan Browne which read, “My friends, I don't know who will be reading this, hopefully nobody. However, biblically, I know someone will be reading this. I don't know what else I could possibly tell any of you that you haven't heard already, but this might help.” What followed were his notes on the book of revelation, the Gospels, and his best take on a post-rapture world and how it would take shape. Along with a string of self defense verses from the bible that would remove any guilt of using the weapons before them. It concluded with, “I know how frightening this must be for all of you, but knowing you all tells me that you will do the right thing, end your stubbornness and come to the truth. We will see you again on the other side. Go with God, and take care.” As Allison studied the letter, Bob and Tim surveyed the weapons, and Jess walked over to Sam who was reading the contents of the other envelope. It was addressed to Sam personally. “Sam, I hope you are not reading this, but I know better. You have a lot of me in you, but your mom's stubbornness is apparent. I loved your mom, and it hurt when she left me, but as you now see, some things are more important. Hopefully, you now belong to God and he has chosen you to be a force for good in this world. I know you will do the right thing. If Jess is with you, and again just a feeling that she is, you guys must band together like never before if you are to make it through this. There is a whole world of people out there just like you who haven't found the truth yet, go harvest some souls, Love Dad.” Sam suddenly felt 20 years older and wiser as he looked at Jess he said, “We got work to do.”

11:00 P.M.

When all the gruelling yet necessary work was done relocating people and weapons, they began to more seriously map out the next 3 1/2 years. It included surviving judgments, battling the enemy of their souls, and winning converts to Christ. They were about to enter a world that was owned and operated by Satan, who would destroy anything connected to God. The world was now geared to hate and blame religion for all the woes the people had suffered. These were only 5 people. Tired, ragged, and defeated by their failures. But they were also armed with a Passion for God, truth, and a desire to help others. Tracey was their inspiration to avoid similar stories. Sam found her picture in Al's wallet earlier and kept it as a bookmark in the groups bible. As Sam turned on the satellite t.v., they were horrified at the images on the screen. Death, chaos, rioting, and confusion dominated the news. “These are the people we need to reach.” Jess said, “Who's with me?” Sam stepped forward and said, “Saddle up.” Tim Gordon came forward, and for the first time in his life he felt like not only that he belonged to something, but also that he was bulletproof with the armour of God. He grabbed the bible from Bob Edwards in his left hand, and a pistol from Sam in his right and declared, “Lock and load.”

October 5, 3:00 A.M.

When it became time to go topside, Sam was chosen as point man. His youth, agility, and proficiancy with a weapon made him the perfect choice as all agreed with Bob chiming in, “If this was 30 years ago, I'd give you a run for your money.” As he opened the latch that led to the false tree trunk entrance to what had been there home for so long and would be for up to another 42 months, Sam drank in the fresh air that did not exsist so far below ground in the shelter. What he saw, however, was what took his breath away. Trees were down or gone, the ground was torn up, and earth had been relocated. One thing was for sure, if they were hidden before, they were more so in this new world. As he surveyed the area, it became more clear that they were invisible to this new society, and would be for the foreseeable future. Although it was also clear that to venture out of the area should be a night time only excursion. An hour later the 5 members of what would soon become known as “The way” made their way into the darkness toward what had become of civilization. Their philosophy was simple, find as many people as they could and spread the truth without compromising their well being. Not an easy task, but one that had to be done. Armed with light self defensive weapons, the bible, and the knowledge of where Tracy Jenning's soul was for eternity, they were determined to help save as many souls as possible. The first sign of anything was Johnathan Browne's house at the edge of the woods. “Wow!, It's totaled.” Said Tim. “It's got to be good for something.” Bob said. “We'll revisit these ruins later and assess the situation.” As they passed, they heard noises inside. “Shhh. Listen.” Sam wispered. The silence of the forest was eerie, and then, a thud, then shuffling. “Something's in there.” Said Allison. “Or someone.” Said Jess. “Do we go in, or get out of here?” Said Tim. “We're all packing something, and there's 5 of us. It's either someone or something, either way, I'm good. Whose coming with me?” Sam said, sounding like a man on a mission. “We all are.” Jessica snapped back, obviously not wanting Sam to go in alone. As they stepped on to what use to be the front porch, Sam slowly opened the front door, now hanging by a hinge on a crooked frame. As he swung it open, an oversized racoon ran out which made Allison scream which made Bob laugh. “I hope every little noise doesn't envoke the same reaction for the next 3 1/2 years. As long as we don't get complacent, we should be able to....” But he was cut short of finishing his thoughts when a ragged scrawny man was on him in seconds, wildly fighting for his life. The struggle lasted 10 seconds before Bob's military instincts kicked in and he had the man subdued. “Impressive.” Sam said. “I guess you could give me a run for my money.” Bob dragged the man inside the delapitated Browne house where he was flanked on either side by Tim and Sam, holding the man to prevent another attack. “You cue ball's aren't taking me without a fight.” The man said, “And you know what you can do with your mark.” Bob replied, “Who are you and what makes you think we want to take you anywhere?” The man looked scared and confused and replied, “Wait, you're not Cue? I saw your weapons and assumed...” Jessica cut him off mid sentence, “We're not cue, we don't have their mark, see?” she presented her hands and forehead, the only 2 places the mark would be, for inspection. “She continued, “ We're fighting them too.” The man relaxed slightly and replied, “If you're not cue, who are you? And how do I know I can trust you?” Sensing he could be trusted, Jessica approached the man, dropping her weapon in a show of faith, “We are followers of Jesus Christ, we are on a mission to find survivors so we can spread his gospel and warn them of what's coming next.” The man ran to Jessica, threw his arms around her and began to cry. “Hey Dude, that's my fiancee.” Sam said. “Fiancee?”Jess said “Where's my ring?” She added trying to compose herself and her new found admirer. “It's back at the shelter, I've been waiting forever for the right time but....” Sam saig gesturing all around him for the obvious reasons for the lack of a proper proposal. “Guys, can this wait?” Tim interrupted, “we need to figure this out first, if that's o.k. With you.” As the man backed away from Jess he said to her, “I'm Doug, by the way, and theres nothing to figure out. Jesus is lord, you are the first people I've seen who don't have the mark. I've been hiding it seems like forever, in forests, abandoned houses, eating garbage and scraps for too long to admit. How do you people survive as an obviously organized unit?” Jessica answered first, “I wouldn't say organized yet, but a unit, definitely. And I think this guy just nailed it.” Bob chimed in, “Nailed what? What are you two talking about? 10 minutes ago he was trying to kill me.” Sam beamed with enthusiasm, “A unit, a group, an organization.” It was as if his words were simultaniously understood by all. And they all spoke at once almost in unison, seperated by only seconds. “We are the chosen.” Allison said. “We are the offense.” Sam added. “We need to grow this concept.” Jess continued. “To find the lost.” Bob said. “together as one.” Tim said as he took Allison's hand. Realizing they had to form this group into an organized biblical force, they seemed in a hurry to return to the shelter to put plans in motion when Doug added, “You guys know where I could get some food?” They all laughed and hugged their new friend and headed back to the shelter, now numbering 6. “The Way” was born. To embark upon the mission of the ages, to seek and save that which is lost.

Chapter 13