Sound the trumpets

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. ~ Revelation 8:1, 6

Winter Garden, FL., 10/5, 3:30 A.M., 39 months left.

"So who's in charge here?"  Doug Said.  They all looked at each other and said at the same time and said, "SHE IS!" While pointing at Jessica.  "Me!" Jess proclaimed, "How  ?" Doug laughed and said, "I don't think she wants the job." However the other 4 agreed and nodded their approval. "O.K. you were the first to come to the truth after the earthquake, and you just took over as we met Doug." Bob said. Then Sam chimed in, "I'm no leader, I'm a worker." Allison looked at Tim as she threw her arm around Jess and said, "We don't want the job, what's next boss?"  Jess protested at first but then warmed to the idea after a short heart to heart with Bob Edwards about her knowledge of current events, her organizational skills, and as he put it her, "Take charge approach." She had to admit that since the earthquake she had felt different.  As if God himself had flipped a switch inside her.  She felt more energy to lead and be God's voice in this last period in history. Just as they were all hugging and agreed that "The way" had a new leader, another rumbling was felt by all. Not as strong as the first one that preceeded the rapture, but definitely powerful. 

As they reached the shelter entrance, everyone heard a loud noise. Sam noticed a flaming ball hit the trees in the distance, "What was that" he said just as another smaller fireball hit directly in front of Tim Gordon. Liquid in nature, it oozed what looked like blood.  After it hit, strangely enough a hailstone the size of a soccerball hit 3 feet from Bob Edwards. "Get inside quick!" he yelled.  Climbing down the entrance to the shelter proved difficult in this madness, but all 6 managed it as quickly as possible.  As they reached the bottom Bob screamed, "What was that?" Jessica countered with, "The first trumpet judgment, hail and fire are being thrown to the earth."  Allison said, "The first what?" As Jessica found her bible and turned to Revelation 8:7, she said, "Judy once told me that one way this could happen was if all the volcanoes of the world erupted at the same time, the resulting lava storm would wreak havoc with the atmosphere and result in what is described here, what we just witnessed." Bob asked, "wait a minute, the closest volcano to us is in new Mexico, How could that possibly reach us here in Florida?" Jess countered, "Actually Bob there are over 5000 underwater volcanoes around the world, with several right next door in the Caribbean."  Sam could only stare at her and say, "This is why you're in charge , Babe."

 After a couple days of study, which they all felt they needed, Bob especially, they emerged back outside as no noise was heard topside. What they found was incredible.  1/3 of the trees were gone, incinerated, and there was no grass anywhere. It was replaced with steaming mounds of earth, not to hot to walk on but definitely hotter than normal soil. 

Lumbering into Kissimmee was no small task.  The highway was in shambles.  Once thriving tourist destinations were now smoldering piles of junk.  As the 6 made their way through the debris, they stopped occasionally to help people in need.  Despite the pain and anguish, several people still questioned the lack of "the mark" on the members of the way.  However with the current crisis, law enforcement was nowhere to be found, so the threats went by the wayside.  Suddenly Jessica heard screaming inside what used to be a small motel.  As the 6 ran into the motel, they saw several people trapped under a fallen section of the building.  They worked feverishly to free the trapped, rescuing at least a dozen people, with at least four of them questioning their lack of a mark.  As they turned to leave, one of the 12 was motioning them over to talk, Sam and Jess said, "We'll catch up to you guys in a minute", as they went to talk to the man, he led them back to a van in the back of the motel.  As they walked he asked them why they had no mark.  Jess felt that she could trust him over all the other marked people in the area.  She told him that they were followers of Jesus, and their mission was to tell as many as possible about him before his return.  All of a sudden the man opened the van's side door and said, "Tell them!" Inside the van were 4 people, all unmarked, being held in the van against their will.  As the man pulled a gun on Sam and Jess, he ordered them in the van and said, "When this is over, the CUE will want to see you unchipped fools."  As Sam and Jess were about to get in the van, Bob Edwards appeared with his gun and said, "Actually, they're not going anywhere."  The man held up his hands, dropped his gun, and Bob told him and his partner in the driver's seat to run as fast as they could out of there before he changed his mind about letting them go.  After the man was gone, Bob said, "Did you really think we would let you two split up the group?  Now lets go."  Jess said, "Wait, isn't this why we are here?"  Pointing to the 4 people in the van.  "What about them?"  Bob couldn't argue with her point and said, " We'll stand guard here , you have at it, Reverend."  The van was big and with Jessica and the 4 strangers inside, there was plenty of room for a private conversation.  Jessica began, " What's y'all's story? As you can see, I don't have the mark either, so why don't you 4?"  One of the four spoke for the others, "We're all friends, known each other for years, we use to work down the road at a resort", he pointed to the big holiday inn neon sign, barely visable,  that was destroyed but still readable. He continued, after prompting from Jessica regarding his religious background, "We always thought we were Christians, but being left behind showed us that we really weren't.  So now, with our former friend's bible, he was raptured, we are now trying to make sense of what is happening and what's going to happen next. That's Miguel, this is Tina, I'm Mike and this is my Girlfriend Wendy.  The only thing we figured out from what Ed told us, that was our friend, was that that mark or chip or whatever was bad and not to get it.  So since the rapture, we've been relying on the kindness of strangers and friends who would never turn us in despite the fact that they took the mark, they give us food and a place to crash now and then." Jessica was amazed and told him that his friends would soon turn on him cause that's what the bible says. Miguel said, " See that's what we need to know, all that stuff, we all believe, it would be nice to know exactly what we believe." Bob Edwards, who had been listening outside the van door opened it quickly and said, "Right now I believe we need to get out of here, we aren't properly marked for this crowd." Jess chimed in, "The roads are awful but this van would be quicker than walking, even with the damage and trying to avoid chaos." Bob countered, " If we got it to within a half mile of the shelter, dumped it in the woods, pulled a wire or two, made it look abandoned...." Tim added, "Great idea, I've had it with hoofing it for hours at a time, and this thing holds 15 or so people, lets go!" Ten minutes later nobody paid much attention to the big van leaving the hotel. 

The 60 minute drive back to the shelter was not only complicated by the terrain but also hiding and disabling the van. After over 2 hours they found themselves back at the shelter. The place they would call home for the next few years, if all went according to plan. Mike was the first to speak after they were safely inside, "This is a sweet set up, whose place is this?" Sam said, "My friend's dad built this place in the years leading up to the rapture, they were all taken, his whole family, and we were left with the shelter." Wendy was next and asked nervously, "So where.. I mean...What happened to..." Jess said, "Where are they now, you mean?" Tina asked the same question almost at the same time Jess answered, "Physically or spiritually?" Miguel and Mike said, "BOTH!" Then just Mike said, "We just want to know what has been and will happen next and what we are suppose to do." Jessica played her leadership role well taking over the conversation, "As followers of Christ, we are called upon to seek and save the lost during this period, which includes all who have no chip, and don't know who Jesus really is." Miguel asked, " Does that include us?" Jess said, "I don't know, what do you know about Jesus and the bible?" Mike took over at that point, "All we know is that we worked with this guy, Ed, who was always reading the bible, always trying to tell us about the bible and Jesus and the coming rapture, the whole 9.  We thought he was a nice guy but a little too religious for us, but when he collapsed along with so many others at our resort, we decided to try to remember all the stuff he told us all these years. All we remembered was some vague stuff about the rapture, and that the cue would take over. He didn't call it cue but we knew what he meant. And he was big on not taking the mark. He told us we would not be able to be saved if we did, so when they started chipping people we took off and have been on the road ever since hoping we would find someone like Ed that could explain it all to us. Now that we believe it all, we need to know what we believe." Jessica opened her bible and said, "There's no time like the present, you ready?" 

The next 2 hours were a mix of prophecy, bible know how, and logistical planning so that these 10 soldiers under the Lord's command knew what to do and how to do it. One thing was clear, all travelling had to be done at night to give them a fighting chance to avoid situations like at the motel. All unmarked were to be turned in and detained by any and all marked citizens. "We gotta be more careful, and no more splitting up, agreed?" They all agreed and Sam turned on the satellite tv as they all heard the news. The lead story was the discussion of all volcanoes worldwide erupting at the same time. "Judy called it." Jess said. "Who's Judy?" Mike said. "My old boss." Jess said, "Sweet lady, got raptured, Should have listened to her more. Actually i guess I listened more than i thought, just never took it to heart. She called the volcanoes." Mike said, "What else did she predict?" Jess stood pointed at the screen and simply said, "That." As the ten members of the way all looked at the screen, they heard the reporter talk of the massive asteroid headed for earth and expected to hit in 12 hours. They all chimed in at different points, "Where's it hitting? Over the ocean? Land? Imagine the tsunami, no more coast lines, God don't play around, when he says its time, it's time." Jess said, "All the more reason to get out there, there's gonna be alot of confused people out there that need us, lets go." 

1:00 A.M. It took longer to get to the populated areas of town at night with all the damage. They decided to leave the van until it could be decided how best to use it undetected. When they approached the same area they left just 12 hours ago, there were still lots of people milling about. It looked no less like a war zone at night than it did in the afternoon. "Its hard to believe something under the ocean hundreds of miles away did this." Tim said. "If I wasn't standing in the middle of it I'd never believe it." Allison said. Bob Edwards said, "Last week nobody would have believed it, but the bible says mans knowledge is foolishness, we say it can't happen and God says, Watch this." All the raining lava was cooled down now and there was no grass anywhere.  All burned up from the heat, and a good chunk of the trees as well. Whole sections of forestry were simply gone, they considered it a divine miracle that the woods surrounding the shelter were in tact. All of a sudden Bob looked ashen, "When's that asteroid suppose to hit?" Miguel said, "Upon further research they said in a day or 2."  Jess said, "Are these the same people who said that a global earthquake was impossible and 5000 volcanoes could never erupt all at once? Lets all assume less than a day and work with that, why are you worried anyway?" Bob said, "We are in Florida, surrounded by an ocean, with a mountain sized asteroid about to hit the planet, a tsunami of that size would bury the state under water,  why should I be worried?" Mike said, "Like you guys are fond of telling me, either God's got this or he doesn't."  Allison added, "He's not going to bring us together only to tear us apart this soon." "That's my girl." Tim said. "Logical to the end." Allison beamed, "your girl? We'll see." As the sun came up, more people emerged from their hiding places, some without the mark, most with it. "Lets get these folks back to the shelter." Jess said. "Wait!" Said Bob, "Let's make sure they're O.K. Some people who have no mark hate Christians as much as the marked people do. We sure don't want to jeopardize the whole group until we are sure." Jess caught herself, "Oops, I never thought of that, I just want to help as many as we can, so how do we separate the wheat from the chaffe?" Doug chimed in, "Like this." As he made his way over to 2 unmarked people, a man and a woman who were looking sheepishly around at the crowd, trying to stay invisible among the people because they were unmarked. "Hi." Doug began. "What do you want?" The man said. Then Doug noticed the woman's leg was bleeding. "She O.K.?" Doug said. "She'll be fine, Just leave us alone." The man said. "Hey, its O.K., I don't have the mark either, are you guys Christians?" Doug asked, a little over confidently. The man became agitated and said angrily, "No we aint religious whackos, we just don't like being told what to do that's all, what's it to you?" Doug was flustered, "Hey dude, calm down, I'm just trying to help that's all." The woman spoke up, "Don't mind him, he's harmless once you get to know him, I'm Angela and this here's Tony. Say hi to the nice man, Tony." She sarcastically quipped. Tony looked embarrassed, "Sorry, just can't trust anybody nowadays, this C.U.E. garbage has got to stop." At this point Sam and Jess walked over noticing the man's agitation and asked if everything was O.K. "Oh great, more people, this can't be good." Tony said. "No they are cool, they're with me, if you ain't Christian, why no mark." Doug said "What's it to you." Tony barked. Angela chimed in, "Tony, hush up! These folks are clearly as against C.U.E. as you are, so cut 'em some slack." Jess then noticed her leg and asked if she was O.K. "I'll be fine. I'd be better if I could find a first aid kit, I'm worried it'll get worse if I don't treat it." Tim spoke up, "Can you walk a couple of miles?" Bob shot Tim a look and then asked Tony, "So what do you have against religious whacko's?" Tony answered him, "Personally nothing, this is a free country, or it use to be before these C.U.E. freaks started running the show. I just don't need God in my life, I don't need anybody telling me what to do that's all. You gonna try to save me, boy?" As he inched closer to Bob in a threatening posture, Bob noticed that while this man was as old as him, he was also a lot bigger and this was no time to pick a fight. "listen Tony, I can't save anybody nor am I gonna try to. That's above my pay grade. Its just that we got medicine back at our place and we are here to help if you need it, I just want to make sure my friends and I won't regret helping you." Tony said, in a much friendlier tone, " y'all ain't got nothing to fear from us, those cue punks are my number 1 enemy, they ain't getting nothing out of me." Everyone gave Bob a look of shock when he invited Tony and Angela back to the shelter. When they arrived back at the shelter, they fixed up Angela's leg and began to tell her their story. "This is why i hate these cults!" Tony exclaimed, "Your explanation is the only way, that's alot of ego, it isn't the only way and I don't need your God." Just then Miguel came in yelling, "The T.V. Quick!" As the 12 rag tag survivors of the worst calamity to hit the earth in history Sat and watched the screen, the announcer said, " The asteroid hit just over 1 minute ago and according to our experts you have to feel bad for anyone living on the east coast our prayers go out to all of them." Tony said, "What's going on?" Sam answered, " It hit in the middle of the Atlantic, and a wall of water is headed toward the east coast, a tsunami like we've never seen in history." As they all turned back to the T.V. A camera on an airplane high above the Atlantic showed an immense wall of water headed west toward the coastal United States, which they all knew included the Florida peninsula. "Is this place waterproof?" Sam said to Jess. "I think we are going to find out." She answered back. "We gotta get out of here!" Allison said. "Hold on, we are in the center of the state and a higher elevation, logically that thing will either not reach us or wash over us and end up in the gulf of Mexico." Tim chimed in, "Its the washing over us part I don't care to stick around for." As the 12 of them argued weather or not to stick around for the arrival of the Tsunami, Angela quietly turned to Jessica and said, "Tell me about God."

Chapter 14