The opening lines to Second Coming were posted on my last entry. The opening words were: THE END... . It was to set the stage for the drama to come.
In the following weeks I plan to post more of the story. This post has the story's short prologue. Check back frequently to read the opening chapter.
Second Coming on Kindle
Storm clouds moved in from overhead and took up strategic positions as if following a preconceived plan of action. They blocked out what little starlight filtered through the poisonous firmament. The dark clouds hung heavy, pregnant with moisture until they could support the weight no longer and water began to fall from the sky. Completing the age-old cycle, the rains returned to earth, and as they fell they mixed with sulphur and other pollutants creating a lethal chemical solution.
In the town below a man ran down a dark street with singleness of purpose, spurred on by desperation and fear. The rain fell in blinding sheets and he sought to protect his eyes from acid-filled drops that were known to blind. He shielded his eyes to a point where he feared he might lose his way. Parts of his skin were starting to tingle which told him that his protective clothing had allowed some of the rain to soak through. Despite the personal danger, he had not allowed the poison rain to keep him from getting the things they needed. He clutched the cloth sack close under his coat in hopes of keeping it dry and free from corruption. Fearful and alert he ran, not relying on the rain for cover, but rather hiding behind hotels, houses and stables whenever he could. Both he and his wife had shared the same frightening sense of imminent danger for the past several days. They were being stalked- of this they were certain-- but neither knew by whom or for what purpose. They shared these feelings with no one; not even the old woman, Ezra, who had helped them without question and for reasons of her own. But here in the dark, the man wished he had confided in someone, for he was running scared and feeling the danger close at hand, tightening around them like a noose.
The man ran home in a circuitous route, darting in between the shack houses, down alleyways and finally arriving at the door to a small, darkened dwelling. He tried the door, knowing it would be locked. He rapped twice, paused then rapped three times.
"Hurry! It's me!" he said harshly but quietly to the person inside. He heard the locks being pulled back and he shot a glance into the semi-darkness. He thought he heard a noise in the shadows that shifted restlessly in the dark rain. The door opened and the man plunged inside to a room lit by a single candle. Once inside he immediately shut and bolted the door. Handing the package to the woman, he placed a board across the door, praying it would be sufficient to keep whoever was out there at bay. The man stood against the door with eyes closed waiting for his heart rate to slow to normal. He wiped perspiration and rain from his face. He and the woman faced each other for a moment, both terribly afraid. So afraid in fact that neither could say so, yet each sensing it in the other. He threw off the rain gear that helped protect his skin from the acid rain. It had done him little good tonight. His eyes burned and his skin tingled unhealthily. The man peeled off his wet clothes and wiped himself dry with a towel.
The man and woman embraced and kissed with lips that trembled slightly.
"Were you followed?" the woman asked anxiously.
"No," he said. "I don't think so.... Well maybe."
"Who are they? What do they want? Why are they doing this?"
The man shook his head.
"What are we going to do?" she asked desperately.
He paced the room wringing his hands. He stopped, looked about and motioned to her with palms turned up.
"Where is the baby?" he asked her.
"Safe," the woman said, and she cocked her head to the rear of the house.
He nodded approval. "The two of you have to get away," he told her. "Start packing some things together."
"No!" she said emphatically. "We won't leave without you!"
He approached her and gripped her shoulders firmly.
"This is important!" he said. "The two of you have to go. Don't ask me how I know but you have to get away. Perhaps if I stay it will throw them off your trail. You go away. Far away. Far enough so they'll never find you."
She shook her head adamantly.
"Listen to me!" he spoke angrily. "This could be more important than either of us realize. The old woman seems to think so."
"You talked again with Ezra?"
"Yes, and she more or less said she would help us get out of here if we wish it. I don't know how she knows but she knows."
"No!" she repeated with even more passion. "We won't leave without you! We're in this together. We stay together, the three of us."
His face grew stern and he wanted to argue further but knew it was futile. Whenever she got like this she proved unmoveable. He loved her for her strength and her stubbornness, that was undeniable. His face broke out into a grin despite himself.
"We will go together then, the three of us."
She smiled back at him.
"We'll leave tonight," he said. "Can we be ready to go within the hour?"
The woman nodded, choking back her tears.
They embraced clinging to each other. He pulled away with a jerk.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Shhhhh!" he hushed her.
Then she heard it. A sound from outside. They were here.
The door and windows were barred, but they knew that would not keep them out. A sudden bang on the door made them jump and they looked towards it. Another bang, this time louder and delivered with more force. Whoever it was, they were trying to break down the door. It would not hold them long.
Moving with a slow, unnatural calmness the man picked up an old axe handle he kept close by. She took up a rather large butcher knife which she held in both hands.
They looked to the door, then to the back room, then back to the door. They would be in soon, that much was obvious. The couple stared at one another. They read the love in each other's eyes. A small nervous smile played on their lips. And in that smile was everything they had been to each other. With it came the beginning of a new era neither would live to see.
Confident that they would die to protect what they had made with love they turned and faced the door again. It would surely give soon.
"I love you," the woman said simply but with all the conviction she possessed.
"I love you," the man said back to her.