Chapter Thirty






Cindy shuffled back to her bunk, distraught with the inhuman, evil things the female guards had forced her to do over the past two weeks.  On their arrival the blue-clad guard who had inappropriately fondled her took charge of her and separated her from the other inmates.  She was granted special favors that the rest of the prison population failed to receive: friendly smiles, a pillow to lay her head on, exemption from work, an extra portion at mealtime, even the use of the guards’ restroom.  As the privileges continued, Cindy’s consternation grew, for she knew that these excesses would come at a heavy price.


That night the guard came to collect.  Coming over to her bunk, she took Cindy by the hand and led her to a private room, where she politely pushed her down onto the large bed.  Cindy could hear her heavy breathing as she undressed them both.  Without speaking, she motioned for Cindy to do something that shocked her in its depravity.  Cindy refused, causing the sky to fall upon her.  A rapid series of open-palmed slaps to her face drove her backwards onto the bed, where a fist was driven into her crotch.  She was left alone, crying, while the guard dressed herself, and then was yanked naked from the bed and out of the room.  “You know what, whore?” the guard shouted into her face as she dragged her out of the barracks.  “You got some meat needs tenderizing.”  She opened the door to the guardroom of the male barracks and turned on the light.  “Got something for you,” she told the startled men.  “Bring her back when you’re through.”


Cindy was returned to the female guard the next morning.  Strangely, she was ushered back to the comfortable bunk that she had been given the day before, and left alone to recover from her night of terror.  That night the guard returned and attempted again to engage Cindy in her unspeakable perversions, to which Cindy again resisted until she was dragged back to the male barracks.  As the violent assaults began again, she focused her thoughts on God, praying for the souls of the men who attacked her.


After the fourth night of this continuous attack her ravaged body could endure no more.  Suddenly, in the midst of the violence she saw a glowing light framing a beautiful woman.  “Your trial is over, Cindy,” the face spoke, overpowering Cindy’s awareness of the world about her.  “You’ve done a magnificent job.  We love you and I’ve come to take you home with Me.”


The guards, perceiving that her soul had departed, responded strangely.  Remembering the words of her prayers, they began to weep.  Kneeling on the floor as one man, they begged God to forgive them.  


Stephen wailed as he heard from Wisdom the words that he had dreaded.  “Don’t be sad, my love,” She said as She cupped his cheeks in Her hands.  “That was the bad news.  Now for the good part.  Your task here is finished.  You handled it well indeed.  You get to go with her.”  





Chapter Thirty One






Earl awoke slowly to feelings that gradually strengthened.  The first was discomfort, followed by confinement.  The feeling of being constrained nagged at his severe claustrophobia, rushing his brain back on-line.  He heard voices, conversational and nearby, but he couldn’t see.  Nor could he move his head more than a few degrees left or right.  He pushed his head forward and quickly encountered an obstacle.  He moved his head backward with the same result.  His arms, in fact, were confined to his sides.  In attempting to raise them he found that they, like his head and back, were blocked by metallic walls.  Realization struck him like the blow of an axe, producing an instant excess of adrenaline that made his heart leap inside his chest and thrust an agony into his panic-filled mind.


“Nooooo,” he screamed as the realization of his condition overwhelmed him.  The tape over his mouth kept it inside him.  As his heart pumped panic into every capillary of his body, he experienced the pain of a torture more severe by far than any mere physical pain.  Each fraction of a second represented an eternity of madness.


Time stretched on.  At the edge of insanity he heard a still small voice: come back. “My God, where are you?” he wailed.  “Why have you deserted me?” Come back was the reply.  “Come back?  What do You mean by that?” he asked sharply.  The voices outside his metal coffin became intrusive, causing him to focus on them.  He failed to interpret the words, but the brief respite from his mental agony allowed him to shift his focus back to God.  “What?” he asked again, and then he remembered the sorrow in Wisdom’s eyes as She told him the story of the feedings, and of how they combined to form the cross, a sign for the generation that would be given to understand. Was the message for now? he asked in his mind. Yes was the reply.


You’ll take it like a man, he remembered Wisdom telling him.  The message gave him strength.  He strained again to understand the words being spoken outside his coffin, finally coming to the realization that the language was foreign, unknown to him.  Slowly, methodically, he sucked at the duct tape around his mouth, finally bringing enough of it into the proximity of his teeth that he could chew a small hole.  He worked at it, prying with his lips and tongue and chewing at what came close to his teeth until they emerged into the outside of the tape and he was able to scrape at it, slowly peeling it away from the region of his mouth.  Eventually the opening was sufficient to project his voice outside his body.  “Help!” he shouted.  “Help me!”


The voices ceased.  Eventually a rapping sound was made against the front surface of his prison, followed by a voice, quite near.  “Hello?” it said.  The language was English.


“I’m trapped inside!” Earl shouted.  “Get me out!  Please!”  he pleaded, the new hope forcing the urgency back into his mind.


“We can’t,” was the innocent but cruel reply.  “We’re prisoners like you.  We aren’t in boxes, but we’re chained to the walls.”


“Who are you?” Earl asked.  “Why are you here?”


“We’re Jews,” was the reply, confirming what Earl had already expected.  “They think we’re dangerous.  Are you a Jew?”


“You’re close, but no.  I’m a Christian.”


“Oh.  Well, they’ve been rounding up you Christians too.  I guess you already know that.”


“Yes.”  Silence descended on them as Earl struggled through his agony to recall what Wisdom had wanted him to say. Something about feeding. . .yes, the feedings. Suddenly he knew what he had to tell them.  “Hello?” he said to get their attention.




“Jesus was a Jew like you.  In fact, he not only is your own Messiah, but he was your Jahweh, the God who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush.”


“Oh, right,” a man scoffed.  He laughed, a short grunt.  “He’s right where he belongs.”  


“Did you ever hear the story of how Jesus fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread, and four thousand with seven loaves?” Earl replied, his desperation returning.


“So what?” the scoffer said in a surly fashion.


“No, hear him out,” another man said rather more kindly.  The man’s name was Jacob.  “I have,” he addressed the coffin.  “Go on.”


“Well, He wasn’t the only one who did that,” Earl said.


“You’re joking.”


“No, I’m not.  Your prophet Elisha did it too.  He fed a hundred men with twenty loaves of barley.  I don’t know what you call your Scripture, our Old Testament, and you probably don’t have one available, but the account’s in Second Kings Chapter 4 if you did.”


“I remember reading that!” the voice exclaimed.  “A long time ago.  I never associated it with what Jesus did.  So you’re saying – and now I agree – that Jesus wasn’t the first to do that.”


“There’s a reason for that.  Jesus was trying to integrate your Scripture into the Christianity that would soon follow His crucifixion and resurrection.”


“Okay, but it would be more convincing if a Christian were also to have done some feeding like Elisha.  And Jesus.  It would be even better if this Christian were a Jew like us.”


This remark gave Earl the perfect opening, a heaven-sent opportunity to explain what Wisdom had told him back when he had a life.  Agreeing with the kind voice, Earl told him about Peter.  First, about Peter’s denial of Jesus upon His arrest, and then about Jesus’ meeting with Peter after His resurrection, and about how He asked Peter if he loved Him and responded to Peter’s reply by telling him to feed His sheep.  He capped it off by telling how Peter, when he had received the Holy Spirit along with the other apostles at the birth of the Christian Church during the feast of Pentecost, had gone on to feed the Church with the Word of God.  His talk gained the respectful attention of the Jewish prisoners, who remained quiet as he spoke.


“But what truly tied these events together,” Earl continued, “is the pattern that the feedings took.”


“Pattern?” another voice responded.  “How can you get a pattern out of the feedings?”


After first making note of the oddity of the several very specific numbers associated with the feedings, Earl answered his question with the specifics of the feeding patterns, ending up with the rectangles and the differing orientations that the numbers demanded.  He finally came to the punchline – how the patterns dovetailed with each other to form a cross.


Silence prevailed for a time after he spoke.  “The obvious implication being,” the man with the kind voice finally said, “that Elisha’s feeding, even back then, was intended to set the stage for Jesus.  Can you say anything more as to why you think Jesus was our Yahweh?” he added before Earl could respond in the affirmative to his conjecture.


“Yes, I can,” Earl replied.  Many of the main characters in the Book of Genesis foretold the unique character of Jesus and the nature of His mission on earth.”  Earl told them of how the relationships between Isaac, his father Abraham and his wife Rebekah foretold of Jesus’ crucifixion and spiritual marriage to His Church.  “Genesis isn’t the only book to talk about Jesus, as a matter of fact,” he continued.  “Your own Psalms, written by David, talk about Him and His Godhood.  If you were to read Psalm 22, for example, you’d find that David was describing the punishment of crucifixion before it was known to the Jews.  And then, of course, are the prophets, who wrote about and described Jesus with precision.  Isaiah Chapter 53 very explicitly describes the suffering Messiah, a description that Jesus very thoroughly fulfilled.”


“He’s right about that,” another voice allowed.


“And then there’s Daniel, whose prophecy in Chapter 9 of the coming of Messiah was related in time to a decree that would be given a century into the future.  The prophecy was spectacularly fulfilled to the very day out of a hundred seventy-three thousand, eight hundred eighty days when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on an ass.  There are many more links between your Messiah and Jesus besides those, and those that have to do with events and their timing can’t be repeated by any other.”


Silence reigned in the prison as the Jews attempted to assimilate all that Earl had told them.  Then he heard a man snore, and soon several others followed.  A dark depression enveloped Earl.  He had fulfilled the task that Wisdom had set before him and his terror of confinement agreed with Her sadness at the time She had given the task to him.  Was he now to be abandoned to continue in this awful horror forever?


As his inward darkness grew into an intolerable panic, God gave him an answer.  His metal box shook in savage violence as the prison was subjected to a strong earthquake.  At first his hope was merely to die from the hammer blows of the ground upon his coffin, but then the box itself rent apart.  Slowly, unbelievingly, he understood his sudden freedom.  Immensely grateful to God for the relief from his phobia, he crawled out and stood, surveying the wreckage of his barracks.  Many prisoners wandered aimlessly, but some, more aware of what had just happened, headed for a collapsed side from which light from outside entered the ruined building.  Earl followed them, emerging into the sunlight and immediately looking toward the womens’ barracks.  Seeing that the womens’ building had also collapsed he ran toward it.  Occupied by the disaster, the guards failed to see his running figure.


Women began to drift out from between collapsed timbers and rent siding.  Earl searched frantically for the woman he loved. There! he shouted joyfully in his mind.  She saw him as he neared and ran toward him, arms outstretched.  They met and clung to each other, sobbing in relief.  Behind them, a great company of male prisoners strode purposefully toward their own women.  Several of them, having found their mates, drifted back to Earl and Joyce, surrounding the two.  Finally, one of them spoke.  “You’ve given us a reason to live, Earl.  You may be a goy, a gentile, but you’re a righteous one.  We knew you were suffering in that box, but yet you gave us Jews a powerful reason to believe in Jesus.  We must get out of here and return to our homeland.  Will you go with us – you and your wife?”


“Yes, of course!” Earl responded joyfully.  But do you have any idea as to just how that might be accomplished?”


“I don’t,” the man admitted.  “But thanks to the information God passed on to us through you, I’m certain that He does.”


“Hey!  Look over there!” one of the men shouted, pointing to a troop carrier lying on its side.  Several blue-clad figures were lying haphazardly on the ground nearby, obviously having been flung from the truck during its capsizing in the earthquake.  None of them were moving.  Earl glanced around, checking every direction for signs of functioning guards.  There were some in the distance, but they were preoccupied with the aftermath of the enormous quake.


“What luck!” the man next to Earl said as they ran up to the overturned vehicle.


“There’s nothing lucky about it,” Earl corrected him.


“Gotcha!” the man replied.  It took eighteen minutes for twenty three people with several timbers from a collapsed barracks nearby to right the truck.   After another twelve minutes they were wearing the blue uniforms of the former prison employees and sporting government-issue .45 caliber handguns.


“Move out!” the new leader called to one of his men, who now sat behind the wheel.  Earl sat in back with Joyce, holding her tightly.  “I’m never going to let you out of my sight again,” she told him.


“Nor I you,” he responded as they jounced along the rutted dirt road at the highest speed the truck could go short of going airborne.  “Sorry about the bouncing, after all you’ve been through.”


“Are you kidding?  After that hellhole, I feel like I’m drifting on a cloud.”    



















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