Author’s note: “wait upon the Lord and you shall renew your strength and rise like eagles”.
It has been a few months since the last post, and I hope that the wait will be worth it for all of you. This episode, “From the Village to the Vision “, will conclude the short story “The Immortal”. It will also bring to a conclusion the sequel to the previous book, THE VILLAGE ON THE EDGE OF THE SEA.
Many of you have enjoyed these simple stories about life in The Village on the Edge of the Sea, and some have even expressed a desire to live there. Our desire at THE SHORT STORY KITCHEN is that you be entertained and inspired by our stories, and that they may possibly touch you at some level that helps you make positive changes in your lives.
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No time like the present to begin the conclusion.
From The Village to the Vision
The group of prophets broke their fast at the end of the third day. Ariel seemed to be the only one who knew exactly what their mission would be. Even Bernardo was not fully aware of where they were going and what they would do when they got there, but he discerned that he had a large part to play.
They had parked their cars in the lot at the marina near the village. It was raining heavily by the time they reached them. William motioned for them to take shelter under a pavilion that was near the docks.
Ariel unfolded a map and spread it on a wooden table. He pointed to a large city in a Middle Eastern country. It was a city that was considered to be the center of business and trade in the world at that time. “This is our final destination, brethren. This is Babylon, the whore that we will confront.”
The group nodded their assent and choruses of “Amen”, and “hallelujah, praise Jesus” could be heard. When the praise died down, Ariel said, “This journey will take several days, and I think William would be a good one to organize things so that we don’t get split up along the way.”
William thought for a minute. “I think the best thing would be for us to meet at the entrance of a particular city each evening.” He pointed to a city on the map about a day’s journey from where they were. “Let’s try to meet up here tonight, and we’ll set a new destination each day.”
So, as soon as the decisions were made about who would be riding in which vehicle, they began the trip.
The first day passed without event or opposition of any kind. Everyone arrived at the rendezvous point in great spirits. It was as if the Lord had placed a cloak of invisibility around them. They knew that they were being hunted, and delighted in the mysterious ways that the Lord accomplished his purposes.
Bernardo turned to the group. “After everyone is refreshed, let us go aside and partake in “bread for the journey”. And so, later that evening, they seated themselves in a grove of trees and shared the body and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When they returned to the spot where they were going to camp for the night, they saw several men dressed in clerical garb. One of them, apparently their leader, began to address them as soon as they were within range of hearing. “We are here as an envoy from the Pope. We want to gather information about your mission. His Excellency is interested and desires to know whether he should support you and your goals.”
Ariel turned to the prophets and raised his arms to the sky. “Brethren! Do not talk to these men. They have been sent to deceive you and to dissuade you from your mission.” He then faced the envoys with his arms crossed. “Depart from us, evil workers of iniquity! You shall not delay us for one instant even if all the power you have at your disposal is brought against us. It is a fool who says there is no God. How shall He hear, how shall He see?”
The man who had talked to them turned to his associates. “We are wasting our time here. We might as well leave these heretics to their fate and return to Rome.” They walked to their large black van, got in, and drove away.
William laughed. “One thing is for sure. They will be back. They always come back.”
Maria and Dorothy sat on a grassy knoll situated above the car that they had been riding in. William was changing a flat tire and was leaning his substantial weight on the tire wrench, trying to break the lug nuts free. “This certainly isn’t going to come loose easily,” he grunted. Just then, the nut suddenly broke free, sending William tumbling to the ground.
The two old nuns couldn’t resist laughing. “I’ve never seen it done that way before, William,” Maria said.
William got up and dusted the debris from his clothes. “I hope you’ll never see it done that way again, either,” he chuckled..
It was the third day of the journey, and the temperate climate of The Village had given way to much drier and warmer air. Trees were sparse,and sandy stretches had replaced the verdant pastures found near their homes. “The children certainly wouldn’t have to look far for a sandbox around here,” Dorothy quipped.
“Okay sisters,” William called out. “You can get back in the car now. We’re ready to go.”
William’s mother, Anastasia Franc, had been riding in the vehicle width Bernardo and Ariel. Everyone that knew her very well called her Ana. She was hale and chipper, but she was beginning to show the effects of the long journey. She was the oldest of all (except for Ariel, of course).
“Do you know how much longer our journey might be, Ariel?”
“I would have to check with William to be exactly sure. He has the map. But I think that we’re over halfway there.” He turned and patted her hand to reassure her.
“Praise Jesus for that. These old bones don’t put up with long car rides anymore.”
After riding for about another hour, they arrived at the rendezvous point for that day. They pulled into a parking area and waited for the others to join them. When they had all assembled, Ariel addressed them.
“Brethren you have all had opposition in your lives because of Jesus. From this point on in our journey, we will face conflict with all the powers of the world. The world has been given its warning for centuries, and now it will begin the see the wrath and the power of God. Do not fear what man can do to you. When our mission is accomplished, spread your witness of what you have seen far and wide.”
As the sun began setting, they assumed a prayerful attitude. The desert heat abated, a relief for them all, especially the older ones. No one complained, though, because they all knew the path they were on lead that the kingdom of God. And because the spirit of prophecy was upon them, they knew that the time was near when all things would be fulfilled. The wheat would be separated from the chaff, and the chaff would go into the fire.
The next morning, William convinced his mother to join him in the vehicle he was driving. “We might not see each other for much longer, Mother. So, let’s journey together for now.”
They had gone about a half a day on the desert road. The heat from the sun shimmered above the sand and the road, blurring their view. Suddenly, William slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting an object in the road. “Mother, that’s a child! Why on earth is it out here in the middle of the desert alone?”
“I don’t know,” his mother replied. “But we had better rescue the child from what will happen out here in this heat.”
So they picked up the child (it was so emaciated they couldn’t tell whether it was a male or female) and carried it into their car. William used his cell phone to call the car that was carrying Bernardo and Ariel. He explained the situation and asked what they thought he should do.
“People in this country often abandon their children for various reasons,” Ariel explained. “We have seen this and worse over the centuries. Keep the child with you. It will be safe and it will fare better than if we turn it over to the authorities in this country.”
And so, about a day and a half later, they arrived at their final rendezvous with one more member in their small flock. They gathered outside a large city that Ariel referred to as Babylon, the great whore.
Ariel and Bernardo stood in front of the group. Ariel began to speak. “Tomorrow we will go to the center of the city. Bernardo and I will separate ourselves, and you will begin to witness the events to come.
Four years later William addressed a group of Christians in a country far from his home. All the prophets in the group carried a similar message to Christians in many countries, with the exception of his mother, who had passed away soon after their mission was accomplished.
“From the book of Revelations. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophecy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. When they finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, come up here. And they ascended to heaven in a cloud and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.”
William raised his hands and closed his eyes. After about three minutes, he spoke again. “These things have come to pass. We have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears, and testified you so that you may know.”