"The earth is full of anger,
[A campsite near the Amazon River]
Tuesday, June 1, 1996
"Dr. Moreau? Where are you going? Don't you want to oversee the starting excavations?"
"Yes, but I have to call my sister first. She'll be so excited that-" Ethan stopped dead in his tracks, his feet rooted to the ground. The hair on the back of his neck bristled as he looked towards the edge of the river.
A tall, dark-haired man emerged from the bushes on the other side. Although Ethan could see the man's face clearly, he could not distinguish any features. It was not one of his men. Ethan cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted to the man in Portuguese. "Who are you? What are you doing out here?" The man stood motionless for a few moments before taking a step towards the river's edge. When he spoke, Ethan felt as if the man were standing right next to him. His voice was clear and firm. "There is no faith left. There is no hope. There is nothing now to stop his wrath."
Ethan watched as the man disappeared into the foliage. Screams broke out all around him. He turned around. "Mother of God! The river!" Jared was screaming. He grabbed Ethan by the arm and dragged him away from the river. He tried to look back to see what everyone was so panicked about. He shoved Jared aside, focusing his eyes onto the river. When he realized what he was looking at, he screamed and ran with the others.
[Angel Island, San Francisco]
"Have you reconsidered your decision yet?" asked Derek.
Phillip looked up from his morning paper. "I'm still thinking about it," he said. He folded his paper in half and tossed it on the table.
"I see," Derek replied. He walked over to Phillip and handed him an envelope. "It just arrived a few minutes ago." Phillip eyed Derek suspiciously, taking the envelope. "I swear, Phillip, I have no idea what it is." Phillip opened the telegram slowly and deliberately. After reading it, Phillip crumpled it up and threw it in the wastebasket. "What is it?" Derek asked. "It's nothing. Just an old friend of my father's. He's a priest in a small mission in Brazil. He says..." Phillip hesitated, "He says that part of the Amazon turned to blood early this morning, and that...that Judgement Day has come."
"Was there anything about it in the newspapers?" Rachel asked. "Only that a large stretch of Amazon was contaminated by a chemical spill. They're trying to keep people out of the area," Nick said. "My brother is on a dig in Brazil right now. I tried calling him last night but I couldn't get through," Alex said. "I wouldn't worry too much about it," said Phillip, "He's probably just in the middle of relocating his teams until the spill is cleaned up."
The room fell silent. Derek turned away from the window and stared at
Phillip. "Do you really think it's nothing more than a chemical spill?"
he asked. "Yes," Phillip said, "that and nothing more."
Wednesday, June 2, 1996
"I don't believe it!" Alex shouted, running down the stairs. She threw her arms around her brother and squeezed hard. "Alex!" he coughed, "You're going to choke me to death!"
"I thought you were in Brazil," she said, letting him go. "I tried to call you, what happened?" Ethan backed away from his little sister. "I needed to see you right away. Alex, something happened in Brazil, and I'm scared that...that it's what I think it is...I just wanted to see you." Alex grabbed her brother's hand and led him into the other room. "Whatever it is Ethan, you know you can talk to me." A shiver ran down Alex's back. She knew exactly why he was there. "Do you have a bible?" he asked her. "I have tons," she said. She went over to the bookshelf and selected a small, leather bible. "Will a regular New Testament do?" she asked. She smiled at him nervously. Before she could hand it to him, he snatched it from her hands. He walked over to the table and sat down, flipping through the last pages of the book. Alex sat down across from him. He looked up at her. "This is it. Right here in Revelations. 'And the second Angel sounded...the rivers became blood'."
Ethan's hands began to tremble. Alex studied him closely. His face was drawn and sallow. He looked like a man that had the weight of the world on his shoulders. She chose her words carefully. "Ethan, the Amazon did not turn to blood. It was just a chemical spill that contaminated the water. Nothing is going to happen."
"Which one of us are you trying to convince, Alex?"
"Then he struggled with the mind;
Wednesday, June 2, 1996
"He saw this man, just before the river changed?" asked Derek. "Yes," Alex said. Phillip leaned back in his chair and rolled his eyes. "Something wrong, Phillip?" Nick asked him. "It's just that everyone here seems to be suffering from mass paranoia."
"My brother was there, he saw it happen," Alex said. "I have no doubt your brother believes that what he saw was real, Alex, but it wasn't. It was hallucinations brought on by chemical fumes." Before Alex could argue with him, he got up and walked into the other room, slamming the door behind him. Derek followed him out.
"Am I to receive one of your infamous lectures?" Phillip asked,
"Now the storm begins to lower,
"God may still be in His Heaven,
"So, how long have you known Phillip?" Rachel asked. She led the young priest into the study. He was a tall man, around Nick's age, with blonde hair and deep, blue eyes. "I don't really know him that well. I've only met him once, in Ireland when I was visiting friends," he said.
Rachel motioned for him to sit down. She looked him over for a few minutes and said, "You know, I find it a little odd that the Church would send someone like you. No offense, Father." Rachel shifted in her seat. "You mean someone my age?" he asked her. She nodded. "I guess I was just expecting a crusty old man with all the answers up his sleeve," Rachel said. "I can assure you, Doctor," he said, "I am quite capable. I am an expert on Revelations. I studied them most of my life. Not just the views of Christianity, but other major religions as well. It all amounts to the same conclusion."
"Well," Rachel said, "I read about them in Sunday school, but I'm afraid that is as far as I've gotten with them. They gave me nightmares." Rachel leaned back and hugged herself.
"On the contrary! They are reassuring, not frightening. All of the suffering and pain will cease. The righteous will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished. We'll be reunited with loved ones lost, and with God," he explained. Rachel's brow creased with pain when she thought of her husband and son. "I wish I could believe all that you're telling me, Father Blake," she said.
"Rachel," he said softly, "You should have more faith."
"Well, I'm sorry. I lost most of my faith when I lost my son and husband," she said, bitterly. "You don't believe in God then?" he asked her, leaning forward."I don't know what I believe, especially after all of the things I have seen," Rachel answered.
Father Blake smiled at her warmly. He was about to speak when Kat bounced into the room.
"Hi sweetie! this is Father Blake," Rachel said. Kat stopped and stepped backwards towards the door. "Well, don't be shy. Say hello!" Rachel prodded her. "Hi," Kat whispered. She turned and ran from the room, leaving Rachel bewildered. "That was my daughter, Kat. I'm sorry about that, she's usually not that shy," Rachel explained. "That's alright," Father Blake said, "I tend to scare people a lot." Rachel looked at him strangely. "What do you mean you, 'tend to scare people'?" she asked him. "It's the collar I guess. It makes people nervous. Priests make people nervous," he told her. "Kat never ran from Phillip," Rachel said, gravely.
Alex came running into the room. "Rachel, Derek wants us all-" she stopped and looked at Father Blake. "You're Father Blake? Come with us," Alex said.
"This doesn't mean anything," Phillip said. "What doesn't mean anything?" Father Blake said, walking into the room. Phillip turned around. "Cyrus Blake?" he asked.
"That's right. We met once in Ireland. How have you been, Phillip?"
"Just fine," Phillip responded. "I heard about your brother," Father Blake said, "I'm sorry about that."
"Do you think that the two of you could have your little reunion later? We've got a crisis here and we're running out of time," Nick interrupted.
"Father Blake," Derek said, "I'm Derek Rayne, and this is Nick Boyle," he said. "I see you've already met Alex and Rachel."
A large world map was displayed on the large screen in front of them. Red blotches covered large parts of Brazil, Canada and Europe. "There was a hailstorm in Canada, it just came over the wire. It happened around 9 o'clock this morning. It was spread all over the country with stones the size of large watermelons. Did a lot of damage yet no one was killed or injured. The weather service is saying that it was a freak storm," Derek explained to them.
"It was," Phillip muttered.
"And-" Alex said, ignoring him, "there were quite a few farms and dairies in Europe, mainly France, Germany and Switzerland; whose entire livestock died off. Cows, chickens, sheep and sheepdogs. Even the field mice, insects and birds. Everything."
"Supposedly," Nick said, "it was the result of an epidemic. Some kind of virus transmitted between animals AND insects, yet no humans were affected."
Derek crossed his arms and looked at Father Blake. "Well, Father?" he asked him. "Yes," Father Blake said, "in Revelations, when the Pale Horse came, ridden by Death, the beasts of the earth died one by one."
Phillip sighed and tilted his head back, closing his eyes.
"Three signs have occurred," Father Blake continued, "the Amazon turning to blood, the hailstorm in Canada and the death of animals, birds and insects in Europe. It's getting closer to the end," Father Blake said, joyfully.
Nick looked at him sharply. "Excuse me, Father. But there are some of us that don't share your enthusiasm. The end of the world is at hand and I don't want to die, I want to live. You were sent here to help us stop it and I'd appreciate it if you would do just that," Nick said.
"I was sent here to investigate, for the Church, any indications that the Second Coming is approaching. I wasn't sent here to stop it, Mr. Boyle. You have to know this is a GOOD thing," Father Blake told him.
Nick threw his hands up in the air. "Terrific! You're the only chance we've got and you don't care!" Nick yelled.
"Nick, keep your voice down," Derek cut in. "Father Blake will help us in any way he can." Derek looked at the young priest. "Right?" he asked him.
"Yes, of course. I'll do what I can. You should have more faith, Mr. Boyle. You should all have more faith," Father Blake said.
"This has nothing to do with faith," Nick said, sarcastically. "Billions of people are going to die. Where I come from, that is NOT a good thing."
Phillip took in a deep breath and looked up. "How dare you do this," he shouted up at the sky. He took another deep breath and sat down on the bench, exhaling.
"You don't have any faith and you don't believe in anything at all, do you?" a voice asked him. Phillip snapped his head up towards the sky.
"No, Phillip, over here," Father Blake said, laughing. He walked over and sat down next to Phillip.
"I haven't seen any evidence to lead me to believe this is the Second Coming," Phillip said. He spit the last two words out venomously.
"Then open your eyes, Phillip."
"I see just fine, Cyrus," Phillip retorted.
"No, your eyes are clouded over with hate and anger over what happened to your brother," said Father Blake."And your eyes are clouded over by false promises of salvation," Phillip snapped. Father Blake turned away from Phillip and looked out over the bay. He heaved a sigh and said, "I'm sorry you feel this way, Phillip. These friends of yours want me to help them and I don't think I can. There are only four signs to go, and nothing can stop God's will."
"And now as he lay with his face turned away,
June 3, 1996
Nick awoke out of a dead sleep, his heart pounding painfully. He wasn't alone in his room, something was in there with him. He waited for his eyes to adjust. In a quick, and cat-like movement, he flung his hand over to his nightstand and grabbed his gun. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye and turned, jumping out of bed. A bright, white light filled the room and he lowered his gun to the ground. "Oh my God," he cried.
Derek kicked the covers off of his bed and stood up. Someone was in the room with him. "Who's there?" he asked out loud. There was no response. His eyes scanned the room. He saw nothing, even though alarm bells were ringing in his head. Then he felt a small breeze against his back. Whatever was in the room was standing right behind him. He whipped around and stumbled backwards. The next thing he knew he was engulfed in a bright light. He looked up. "Dear God," he gasped.
Nick walked wearily into the dining room and saw Derek already seated at the head of the table. His hands were shaking as he lifted the cup of coffee to his lips. He looked up at Nick. "You look like you've seen a ghost," Derek said. Nick walked over and sat next to him. "I could say the same to you, Derek."
Derek blinked and said, "That's because I have."
"So have I," Nick said.
"Who?" Derek asked him.
"I saw my father last night," Derek replied. They both looked at each other intently for a few minutes. "Did Julia say anything to you?" asked Derek.
"No, did your father?"
"No, nothing. It was as if he couldn't say anything. He tried, but he couldn't. He just stood there, shaking his head back and forth," Derek said.
"So did Julia. Did you see the light too?" asked Nick.
Derek smiled. "Yes, he was engulfed in light. As was Julia, wasn't she?"
"She always was," Nick said, "even when she was alive."
They both stopped talking as Phillip walked into the room. "Am I interrupting something?" he asked them. Derek looked at Nick.
"Phillip, Nick and I had similar experiences last night."
"What's that?" Alex asked, walking in.
"Well, we might as well wait until everyone else gets in here," Nick said to Derek. A few minutes later, when everyone was seated at the dining room table, Nick and Derek recounted their nightly visits. Father Blake smiled and fished a small bible out of his pocket. "Don't," Phillip said to him.
"Why not? You know what this means Phillip, don't you?" Father Blake asked. He opened the bible to a bookmarked page and scanned his finger down. " 'And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held'. Julia Walker and Winston Rayne both died fighting evil. They died for the world to be saved," Father Blake began to preach. Phillip laughed.
"You can take anything and turn it into whatever you want to believe. There's an earthquake here, it must be a sign. There's a flood over there, it must be a sign. How many times has someone preached and foretold the end of the world? Don't sit there so smug and righteous, this is nothing. You're overreacting, Cyrus. You're scaring these people for no reason!" Phillip shouted. Father Blake slammed his fist on the table and stood up. Alex and Derek jumped in their seats.
"Mom?" Kat said. Everyone looked at the doorway where Kat was standing. Rachel ran over to her daughter and picked her up. "What's the matter sweetheart?" asked Rachel. "Nothing. I want to go outside. I don't want to play with Ethan, he just sits there and stares. He's really scared, Mom." Alex walked over to them. "Where's my brother now Kat?" she asked. "He's sitting in the other room," Kat replied. Alex excused herself and left. Kat tugged on her mother's shoulder.
"Mom, can I go outside?" Rachel put her daughter down. "I don't know, Kat," she began. "Please? I'll stay right out in front, I promise," Kat pleaded. "Alright, go ahead," Rachel said
After Kat ran out Phillip looked at Rachel in mock horror. "Do you think that's safe, Rachel? What with the end of the world and all?" he asked her.
"Stick a sock in it, Phillip," Nick snapped at him.
This time it was Derek that slammed his hand down on the table. "That's enough! I'm sick to death of your attitude, Phillip, and quite frankly I'm getting a little sick of you!" Derek yelled.
"I wonder what the hell is going on in there?" Ethan asked. Alex sat down across from him, ignoring screaming coming from the next room. "Everyone is just a little on edge, that's all," she said. "You call that on edge? They're at each others throats in there."
"Well, what do you expect?" Alex said, loudly. Ethan blinked and put his head in his hands. Alex got up and kneeled in front of him. "I'm sorry, Ethan. We're all upset and we're all scared," she said. He looked at her. "Not that priest friend of yours. He thinks this is all a big joke," he said. Alex looked at her brother as his attention was caught by something outside. He shot out of his chair and ran to the window, with Alex right behind him.
"My God, that's the man. That's the man I saw from Brazil!" Ethan shouted. Alex looked outside and saw a tall man with dark hair staring back at them.
"Do you see him, Alex?"
"Yes!" she breathed. "Oh God, no!"
They both watched in horror as the man picked up Kat and walked out of sight.
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