John noticed Maria was smiling at him. John can’t help the way he feels about Maria; he is in love for the first time. Maria stood and made her way over to the fireplace, and extended a hand to Andrea in friendship.
“Hi Andrea”, Maria said, “Welcome.” Maria sat down and held Andrea’s hands for a moment, giving her the courage to push back the tears. After a moment of silence Andrea squeezed Maria’s hand in return. “Hi Maria,” Andrea said.
Kris made her way over as well. Maria was distraught over the situation. Kris sat down next to Maria and put her arm around her. “I don’t know what God has planned for us Andrea,” Kris said. “I’m very glad John saved us though.”
“It’s so odd being here with you all; everyone seems to have a purpose. I don’t have a purpose Kris, and I’m scared. My last memory was leaving my work Christmas party; in the back of a limo being escorted home alone, I’m always alone,” Andrea said.
“Tell me about Andrea,” Maria said.
“There’s not much to tell Maria. I’m a divorced mother; I poured my life into my son Craig. All Craig wanted to do was get away from me as soon as he could, just like his father.”
“I’m a bitch to everyone I know; it’s a defense mechanism to keep people from rejecting me. When people get too close, bad things start to happen. It’s been that way since I’ve been a child. I push everyone away for their benefit; I’m cursed;” Andrea said.
“I’m not scared of you Andrea,” Maria said. God has joined us together for a reason. What’s going down in Minneapolis with John will be written in the history books Andrea. We’re glad you’re here with us.”
“What going on in Minneapolis John,” Andrea said?
“I’m going to announce to the world during our Christmas worship that we’re doing it wrong,” John said. “Christ came into this world to set us free from religion, not to invite us into another man made interpretation of the kingdom.
He wants a personal relationship with each and every one of us. He doesn’t want pew warmers. He wants us to love Him, the way He loves us.”
“Wow, I thought I was the most unpopular person around,” Andrea said. “Not by a long shot Andrea” John said. “By this time on Monday I predict I will be hated by believers, and unbelievers alike. People don’t like change Andrea, and we’re talking traditions here, beliefs that have been passed down from Fathers to Sons, from Mothers to Daughters over thousands of years.”
“People are going to be pissed,” Maria said. “Try explaining to people they’ve been sold out by King James and his interpretation of the Greek word Ekklesia. He ordered Ekklesia to be translated as Church; instead of its original intent, an assembly, a calling out of believers to gather together.
“This makes a lot of sense,” Andrea said. I’ve never felt welcome at Church, I don’t belong, and it sounds like I’m not alone.”
A solitary tear ran down Andrea’s face; so much pain over the years, released in just a few minutes. John, Maria, and Kris got down on their knees and asked Andrea to join them. “We’re really not into group prayer; it’s a personal thing between us and God,” Maria said.
“And you’re not alone Andrea, most people feel like failures to some extent. We project this façade that our lives are great; that we’re always having a great time, and that life is easy. I have a secret for you; everyone feels like a failure at some point in their life. And everyone is scared.”
Everyone joined hands and bowed their head. Everyone talked personally with God. They prayed like Jesus taught everyone to pray; for God’s will to be done, not their wants and needs.
John was disturbed by something stirring outside as he finished his prayer. He opened his eyes; the smile on Andrea’s face brought peace to John. Maria was also noticing Andre’s smile as well; their eyes locked. I love you; Maria didn’t say it out loud, her lips silently forming the words to John. I love you Maria, John answered the same way.
It was getting brighter outside. John walked to the cabin door and looked outside; it was Mike, stoking the camp fire. Mike motioned for John to join him outside. Mike looked tired; John hurried and grabbed his cold gear.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes,” John said. “Mike’s back”, John stepped outside closing the door behind him. Andrea’s smile faded quickly after her prayer. She was looking frantically around the cabin; trying to locate the voice speaking to her.
“What’s wrong Andrea,” Maria asked.
“I hear whispers Maria; coming from different locations, but they seem to be just in my head.” It’s just a word; wacko, repeating over and over, and faster with more variations. It sounds like ten different people whispering to me at the same time.”
“Did you say wacko”, Maria said. “Do you have any idea what it means Andrea?” “This is how I hear important things from the spiritual world sometimes Maria,” Kris said. “When the Watchers are trying to get my attention for something really important, it happens just this way.”
“Let’s go outside and join the men ladies, just to be safe,” Maria said.
“I agree,” Kris said. Kris and Maria gathered all of the coats and cold weather gear, staging them by the door.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this Maria,” Kris said. Let’s gather the equipment as well. “Come with me Kris,” Maria said. Andrea was holding her hands over her ears; trying to quiet the voices, she didn’t understand what the voices were trying to say.
Maria and Kris carried several large bags of items from the bedroom. Maria opened an expandable bag and grabbed all of the warm clothes, the dried food, and the computer equipment and staged them by the cabin door as well.
Mike and John noticed thehasty activity and went inside to find Maria and Kris staging most of the belongings by the door. Andrea was covering her ears mumbling wacko. John knew right away this wasn’t good.
“Everyone outside,” John said. “Take the goods and move them now to the clearing on the opposite side of the fire.”
“Why John”, Maria said.
“Just trust me Maria.” Having said that, John’s world went into slow motion, just like the bicycle accident a couple of days earlier.
The human brain knows when we’re in trouble; when we have passed the point of no return in a dangerous situation. To compensate, our brain begins taking in large amounts of information to store away for later. We’ll learn from this experience so we know exactly how to react the next time something like this happens, it’s a defense mechanism, and a part of the flight or fight reflex. But it comes with a price tag; an ominous feeling that we are totally out of control. John watched as everyone grabbed the gear and ran outside. He was powerless to help, only an observer.
His eyes focused on Andrea who was still in the cabin; still holding her ears. John could understand what she was saying. Andrea wasn’t saying wacko, she was saying Waco. After a moment John regained control, finally able to move at normal speed, John ran up to the Cabin to Andrea.
“Are you saying Waco, like Waco Texas,” John said. Andrea’s eyes lit up; “That’s it John; it’s Waco. “Take cover,” John said. Everyone ran for the clearing, on the far side of the camp.
Maria and Kris yelled at Andrea who was still at the Cabin door. “Run Andrea, hurry and get out of there. Mike stood up and went to Andrea’s rescue. But he was too late. The cabin exploded with a force that sent Mike flying backwards in the air, landing on his back in the snow.
Andrea is dead.
The cabin explosion was deafening and the percussions rippled through everyone. “Mike”, Maria screamed. The fireball mushroomed into the sky forty feet. Maria tried running to Mike but she couldn’t get close. Mike wasn’t moving, and the heat from the fire was simply unbearable for a human.
John and Kris were too close when the cabin exploded; they were knocked unconscious for a few seconds.
Maria stepped back and unrolled the blanket out of her backpack on the ground. She grabbed a gallon of water from the case of supplies and poured it over the blanket while debris rained down everywhere throughout the camp. Maria wrapped the blanket over her hair and then wrapped it around her body.
John and Kris both tried getting up from the ground after regaining consciousness. Kris witnessed Maria’s daring dash to rescue Mike. Maria got close enough and grabbed Mike’s legs. She pulled with everything she had. The fire burned Maria right through the wet blanket. The heat so intense it produced steam from the water in the blanket.
She dragged Mike’s body far enough away from the fire; then collapsed on the ground next to him. Kris tried to help John up from the ground; but he didn’t have the strength. The whine of a small turboprop drone was barely noticeable. The aircraft flew slowly over the camp surveying the damage it just caused.
John was speechless from the trauma. Kris noticed the confused look in John’s eyes. She grabbed him by the hand and sat down next to John. “You’re in shock John,” Kris said. “Set down here for just a moment while I help Mike and Maria.
John lay down on the snow, it didn’t even feel cold. Kris shoved a backpack under his legs to get the blood pumping to his organs again.
Kris checked Mike’s pulse; “Mike’s alive John”. Kris moved next to Maria; and checked her pulse; it was good, but Maria seemed out of it. Maria swung at Kris, barely missing. “Where am I and who are you, get away from me” Maria said. She looked around and tried to stand up and walk, staggering a few yard before fainting and falling next to John.
Kris knew exactly what to do, she sprang into action removing the steaming blanket from Maria and unzipping her coat. Maria’s was burning up, her temperature was dangerously close to the critical 104 degree Fahrenheit limit. Kris packed snow around Maria’s body to quickly cool her down.
“Maria has a serious combination of heat stroke John from the heat and the exertion. She’ll be brain dead in a few minutes if we can’t drop her body temperature. I need your help John, please get up.
At that moment Kris closed her eyes and lifted her hands into the air, “Please help us God; please, I beg of you. I wasn’t saved just so I could watch everyone die, I’m sure of it. Please help.
Hearing Kris’s prayer helped John regain his strength enough to set up. He kneeled forward on his knees and bowed his head. “Are you OK John? That’s not the best position for you right now.”
Kris was interrupted by the returning drone flying back towards them. The fire died down enough that the handlers could now target them. “John, it’s now or never,” Kris said.
Kris’s eyes grew huge; she watched John as he transformed into Michael; standing up he towered over Kris, almost seven feet tall. “Don’t be afraid my child,” Michael said. He drew his sword as the drone flew towards the clearing; “all glory to Yahweh” Michael said, raising his sword to the heavens.
Michael wound back like a pitcher, targeting the drone. He threw the sword with precision. The sword flew up breaking the propeller of the aircraft in two. Losing control, the drone crashed somewhere behind the remains of the cabin.
Michael knelt next to Maria and held both of her hands. He bowed his head, transforming back into John. Maria transformed briefly into Michael and then back to herself. Maria was immediately healed.
When John morphed back into Michael; his sword was magically available again. The sound of an incoming chopper got everyone’s attention. “Let’s go everyone,” Maria said. Michael picked up Mike and placed him on his shoulder in a fireman’s carry.
Maria grabbed her firearm from her backpack and slung it over her back. “She grabbed Kris by the hand and took off running into the clearing. Michael was following closely behind carrying Mike.
The helicopter wasn’t looking for them; it was looking for the drone. The helicopter fired a small missile that erased all of the evidence of the campsite and the drone. A secondary explosion rocked the area the entire area, the woods lit up brightly for a few moments.
Maria led the run up the hill towards the cave. When they reached the property line Maria pointed towards the entrance where the fire was. It was smoldering and Jerry was nowhere to be found. Maria led everyone a couple of hundred more feet to the east, towards the entrance of the cave.
Maria moved the camouflage to the side that hid the cave entrance; everyone followed her into the cave. The dim light emanating from the cave was a crank type emergency light that looked like an old lantern. She picked up the lantern, turning the crank twenty times, the light became much brighter.
The winds were still howling outside. Maria lit a couple of modern propane heaters. Michael knelt silently on the cave floor; He bowed his head, transforming back into John. Maria turned to find John just a few inches from her face, staring into her eyes. “I thought I lost you,” John said.
“This is amazing,” Kris said. “The Bible says there is a war going on since the beginning of time. I never believed it was physical though, I thought it was just spiritual.”
“Maria your burn marks are all gone,” Kris said. It’s like you were never burned when you pulled Mike from the fire. It’s a miracle,” Kris said.
Everyone huddled together as the cave warmed up; waiting for the sound of the helicopter to go away. After a few minutes it was quiet, the blizzard winds were oddly soothing.
Mike opened his eyes and looked around. His eyes told the story of confusion, “what happened,” Mike said. Mike was weak and spoke quietly. “The last thing I remember is Andrea freaking out at the cabin, and then a flash before everything went dark.”
“It’s all gone Mike; Andrea died when a drone dropped something on the camp. You were too close when the explosion hit and were knocked unconscious. Michael saved us.”
“That’s terrible about Andrea,” Mike said.
“Save your strength Mike,” Maria said. “We thought we lost you for a moment.”
“I’m so glad you’re alive, I thought we lost you too.” John said.
“God works in mysterious ways Mike, “Maria said. She gave her life back to God right before she was taken. I’ve noticed this pattern over the last several years. I believe God takes his children out of this world as soon as possible, when needed, for their spiritual safety. They don’t have a chance to fall away again.”
“I’m surprised any of us are alive. What in the heck happened back at the camp site with you and John?”
“We’re just vessels,” Maria said. “Think about how Angels are portrayed in drawings and film.” Not once in the Bible are Angels have described as having wings. Angels have used people like us throughout history; for whatever reason they choose people who are RH- Negative.”
“I’m RH- Negative.” Kris said.
“It’s the same way the powers of darkness can use anyone who does not have God’s hedge of protection around them Kris.
“How did you get here Kris,” Maria said.
“It’s a bizarre story Maria.”
“We have a few minutes, Mike said.
“I woke up early, two o’ clock in the morning which is very unusual for me, I’m a great sleeper. I fought the rest of the night to get back to sleep; sometime before daybreak I realized that it wasn’t going to happen.”
“I was moved to take some pictures of the sunrise; not being able to get to sleep I packed my camera equipment and headed for the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”
“I’ve been there before,” Maria said. That is one of the most beautiful places on earth”.
“Isn’t it,” Kris said. So, I’m I driving through the mountains on the curvy highway in total darkness; I remember clearly because I had lost the suction cup to my GPS. The GPS was sitting on the dash of the rental car. As I turned it slid across the dash out of reach, as I rounded the next corner it came sliding back and bounced off of the dash onto the floor.”
“I’m not sure why but this enraged me, but my reaction was to start cussing. I’m human, and like everyone else I make mistakes. But I flew into this rage Maria. I had turned from a reasonable human being into a raving lunatic instantly.”
“I used to worship Satan,” Maria said. “Don’t be too hard on yourself.”
“Wow Maria, I want to hear more about this later. So anyway, I arrive at the park and set up my tripod and camera and get everything ready for the best light of the day. Out of the corner of my eye I notice a car parked behind me several hundred feet.”
“I didn’t think much about it; part of me was happy they were smart enough to be safe and not hurt anyone, part of me was pissed I was sharing this breathtaking experience with a stranger . The day was filled with juxtapositions.”
“With the sun in the perfect position I took about a hundred photos in rapid succession. The view was awesome; and I was very proud to be a part of something so beautiful. Even though I was tired, I was feeling fantastic.”
“So, I’m packing up my equipment when I notice movement from the car. I was alone; and I normally would never have approached that car, but I was drawn to it. I packed my camera and equipment in my rental car when I see the driver. It looks like he has blood on his face. At first I thought he probably got too drunk and got into a fight, or fell down a hill in the dark. He looked like he needed help, and was having trouble sitting up, so I went to help.”
“As I walked closer I noticed a note on the dash. Did this guy piss off his girlfriend and she left him out there? I wasn’t focused on the note, but on his face as I got closer. It was bloodier than I imagined. He kept bobbing back and forth, like he was falling asleep and waking back up; I really didn’t know what to think.”
“So, I knocked on the window, no response. I knocked louder; hey buddy are you OK in there? That’s when the feeling hit me; something was terribly wrong. When I bent down to look into the car his face bobbed back up. There was blood everywhere Maria, it was dried all over the windshield, the car seat, and his face.”
“Somehow he managed to turn his head. I’ve never seen anything like it. His face was totally out of place; he had blood still streaming down his face, it was dried all over his clothes and everywhere in the car.”
“That’s when I looked at the note. It was titled to “Whoever finds me”, and the note read “I’m sorry for the mess, I really am. I just returned from the war in the Middle East. I’ve caused so much death and pain, I cannot live with myself anymore, so I’m ending it all here in the Garden of the Gods.””
“Oh my God,” Maria said. “What happened then?”
“So, I called 911; When emergency answered they didn’t believe me at first, “What does it look like they asked.””
“ I told them it looked like someone tried to killed themselves but they missed. The bullet ricochet off of their skull literally ripping their face off. It was just hanging there, totally not functional. The guy was breathing, but he couldn’t talk, and was very close to death.”
“The operator asked me if I could see the gun anywhere. I looked briefly inside the car and couldn’t see a gun, when I told the lady that, she told me to run. Get as far away from the car as you can and wait for the police to arrive.”
“After she asked my location my phone chirped and I noticed it was now locked into emergency mode. This was probably the longest ten minutes of my life, waiting for the police to show up. The things that went through my mind were absolutely terrible. The intrusive thoughts were off the hook.”
“When the first responder arrived he talked with me for a second; just to make sure I didn’t kill the guy I guess. When my story checked out he drew his gun and ran up from behind the car, screaming at the guy, where’s the gun sir, where is it.””
“He had his gun in one hand and his flashlight in the other. Once he located the gun he relaxed a little, putting his gun away and radioing some information back. That was what he needed to see, I guess the cops get very nervous when a weapon is unaccounted for.”
“I was supposed to work that day but I never made it in. The police wouldn’t let me leave as they cordoned off the area and I was the only witness per say.”
“This is where things start to get hazy. I’m being questioned by the detective; and I start feeling hot, next came the dizziness and the ringing in the ears, and to the best of my knowledge I passed out. The next thing I know I’m standing in the middle of the road in front of your property freezing my ass off, while John is exorcising demons out of a group of people. I didn’t know a Christian could get possessed, I guess I was wrong about that.”
“I felt like a million dollars when John tossed the disembodied spirit out of me. It was really tough seeing Andrea get killed back there; but for some reason, I feel like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.”
“We’re glad to have you Kris,” John said.
“And I thought I was having a weird day,” Mike said.
“Mike was sitting up and looked much better. “I’m glad you’re OK Kris. I don’t know what happened to Jerry, but I’m glad you’re here with us.”
“So Maria, you were a Satanist,” Kris said.
“That’s a story for another time Kris; but yes, Jesus saved me from that life,” Maria said.
“I’m feeling better,” Mike said. Mike smiled as John and Maria both extended him a hand. Mike closed his eyes to pray and spoke up for once. I’m not praying for what I want anymore. I want Your will to be done Father. A lightning strike echoed through the valley.
In the distance a faint noise could be heard. The sound gradually grew louder until everyone noticed.
“What in the hell is that,” Mike said. Maria stood up and retrieved rifles and a sidearm for everyone.
“Do you know how to use these Kris,” Maria said.
“I do”, Kris said.
The sound is best described as a rhythmic thrust; like a crane pounding a steel beam into the ground.
Mike sat up and chambered rounds into all of his weapons. “This might be it folks, let’s get ready,” Mike said.
“Mike put that down,” Maria said. “Gabriel said he would be back for us.”
“I’m not taking any chances,” Mike said. “Get the gear ready Maria.”
The faint roar of engines broke through. Mike put on some additional winter gear and headed outside the cabin. “Go with him John,” Maria said.” There is no telling what he will do. Kris and I will be right behind you.