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Archive for May, 2020

Return to Paradise: Part II: Chapter 6

6

“I remember when the shift became obvious, because everything turned computer-dependent,” a guy about 45, with brown hair was explaining. Alexis heard someone call him Drew.

“You couldn’t operate without them,” added Adam, brushing a long strand of blond hair off his face. Alexis was fascinated by everybody’s hair. She touched her own smooth head. She suddenly felt self-conscious, but nobody seemed to notice that she didn’t have hair. She turned her attention to a woman with long streaming blonde hair who was talking.

“Yes, government programs like food stamps that used to use paper coupons started using plastic cards that subtracted the food purchase from the total food stamps they were given. This allowed everything to be traced, because it was all recorded somewhere on the computer cash register and also on the card. Theoretically, someone could push a button and find out exactly what you were eating,” the pretty woman called Cathy was saying.

“And what certain types of people ate,” Drew threw in.

“No anonymity,” Cathy said, pursing her lips.

“And if the system was down, the cards wouldn’t work, and there was nothing anybody could do about it,” added Allan, a tall handsome man who sat down next to his wife, Cathy, as he joined the group. ‘You just wouldn’t be buying food that day. It was all electronic, so if it malfunctioned, people didn’t eat.” Alexis nodded politely, having never experienced the growing pains of phasing out currency that led up to the microchip system.

“It also cut out the small farmers who were previously selling their produce for food stamps because now they needed to buy a scanning device,” remembered Ronnie with a laugh.

“And all the grocery chains started issuing plastic club cards that gave you discounts when you used it. People laughed at me when I told them I didn’t like someone having a record of how much I spent on groceries and what I bought. All very strange,” said a woman who looked about 40 or so named Colette.

“Mmhmmm,” several people agreed with her.

“Get people slowly used to an idea until the cards totally replace cash–wouldn’t it be nice to just bring your card? Can’t lose it like cash because it has a pin number,” Colette continued, obviously bothered by the situation.

“And no check books!” Judd said gleefully.

“Those annoying check-writers!” Karen, a dark-haired woman with exotic features joked.

“Talking about the card’s convenience made it hard for consumers to refuse,” Judd explained, getting serious.

“All they needed was just their card that would automatically subtract the discounts, too,” said Cathy.

“Exactly,” Allan agreed. “The stores made it hard not to use the technology. Pretty soon, they just had you walking into the store, getting your groceries and walking out without waiting in line for a cashier. The card, and then the CHIP just automatically scanned when you left the store!”

“I know, that’s the way…” Lexy started to say, but nobody heard her over Alivea Malia’s louder voice.

“And people thought this was great. So convenient!” Alivea Malia, a pretty young woman, about 45 or so remembered, her eyes flashing at the notion.

“And around the same time, the microchip in pets idea really caught on. Nobody wanted to lose their pets, so inserting a finder was the perfect solution. And now look, first it was a choice, today, it’s mandatory,” said Drew.

“My friend even had a Teletrack alarm system that he paid hundreds of dollars for in case someone stole his Ford Explorer, the alarm company could easily track it through the system,” Gregg recalled.

“Yeah, if the crook didn’t unhook it first,” Allan teased.

“Yeah,” Jennifer said. “The main idea is the same–prey on their fears–sales work that way. People fear they’re getting old, and they’re getting gray hair, so they use color to hide it.” Alexis wanted to ask about gray hair, but was too shy to speak up, not wanting to draw attention to her own bare head. Someone apparently read her mind. A blond guy looked at her. She thought she remembered him saying he was Wynn’s son.

“In the city, people just shave their heads–nobody has hair–it takes away your individuality,” Simon explained to her.

“Mine just never grew,” Alexis softly told them, touching her head.

“It’s the frequency of the CHIP–it causes the hair not to grow,” explained Drew. “Yours will probably grow soon.” She smiled.

“It’s unnatural–the CHIP,” Colette proclaimed. “And so were face lifts, boob jobs and liposuction.”

“But people could make a lot of money if we thought we needed such things. It’s a mega-millionaire industry,” explained Judd, looking at her.

“Selling people on what they don’t really need by subtly convincing them that they do,” Cathy said.

“Like the CHIP, you started hearing talk like, ‘if you can protect your pet, why not your kids?’ Microchips in the kids would certainly cut out kidnapping–any parents’ worst fear,” Judd said, looking reflective.

Will chimed in. “People believed they needed it to protect their families…”

“And if it could be used for other things too,” Juli picked up the thought.

“Like shopping,” said Karen, massaging Drew’s shoulders.

“Yeah, and anything and everything else. No more paperwork, which was good because there were no trees left to make paper from. Now, just store all the information on the CHIP,” said Judd.

“A perfect solution to the extinction of trees,” joked Juli.

“All of a sudden we shifted from being identified by our social security numbers, then by the national ID card we all had to carry with us everywhere we went, or risk being arrested,” Will tiraded.

“To needing a microchip for ID!” Gregg finished for him. Several people nodded their heads.

“Talk about a computer-dependent society,” Will added. Lots of people nodded. Everybody was quiet for a few moments.

“I started questioning what could happen with this technology,” Judd remembered. “Side effects of having this foreign device implanted in your body. It ran on a lithium battery, which we found out could break down and cause quite a sore in your body.” He made a face.

“And it was too early to tell what other problems it could cause over time,” said Colette.

“And the potential for abuse. Things aren’t always what they seem. I decided I would never get a CHIP and neither would my kids,” said Jennifer, hugging Gabriel, who at 29 years old was still her baby. “I knew we had to move because I didn’t want to accept the CHIP.”

“Most people don’t realize it, but it’s all been prophesied,” said John Justus, his brown eyes sparkling. “Look at Revelations 13:16.” He turned in his Bible to the right page. His wife Kira, daughter Suraya and son Isaiah sat next to him, listening for the umpteenth time as he read:

“‘And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bound to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast…or the number of his name.'”

J.J. looked at Alexis.

 “Wow! I can’t believe it says that!” said Victoria, looking at her mother for confirmation. Alivea Malia nodded.

“That’s in the Bible?” Alexis asked.

“It’s pretty explicit, huh?” J.J. said, looking at her with a smile.

“I’ll say,” Hannah spoke up.

“And it was written way before computers, yet warning of this time,” said Isaiah. “Right Dad?” J.J. nodded at him.

“It had to be inspired by God,” Cathy thought aloud. They were quiet again, remembering the old times. Alexis was slightly shocked, feeling very surreal and thinking this couldn’t possibly be happening to her. She looked around at all of these people, with hair on their heads and above their eyes. They were all so different from herself, but she felt at peace with them. She had a warm, full feeling in her chest. She remembered feeling like this a few times as a little kid when her mother and her laughed together as they ran around playing. She really liked it, but she felt like she should be doing something, and here, there was no school, no job–just beauty and rest. Judd Michael’s voice brought her out of her reverie. She looked at the dark-haired, gentle man. At 47, he was still very youthful and nice-looking.

“Microchips were supposed to save time, but they didn’t really speed things up like they said it would,” remembered Judd.

“Yeah, we just waited for different things. After people were scanned, it sometimes took a long time to get approvals,” said Will.

“You’d wait until the computer said it was okay to go,” David recalled.

“And how about when the computers went down?” Jennifer asked, leaning back against David’s lap.

“A mess!” Karen remembered.

“Nobody could buy anything. We just waited for the computer to come back,” David said. Allan nodded, as did others.

“And if you think that was a hassle, what about when the CHIPs malfunctioned? It took about a week to get a new one. If you weren’t stocked up on food, you’d be begging and borrowing groceries from everybody,” said Ken, a tall guy with a sweet smile.

“Unless you had a garden,” John V. said with conviction. He had been silent up until now, lightly strumming on his guitar.

“Foresight,” Allan put in.

There was silence as everybody thought about their conversation. They had gardens? Lexy thought. Where? She wanted to ask so many questions, but decided to wait as it had gotten so quiet, and she felt uncomfortable breaking the silence. John strummed his guitar a little louder. Lexy listened to the pretty sounds. They seemed to lift her mood, elevating her to a happier plane. They started singing.

“Cause we’re livin’ on the land-Foodland!”

The song was obviously an old favorite because everybody joined in singing the chorus. Alexis found herself humming and then singing with the rest of them. The words were easy to learn, and it was actually fun to sing!

“That made me hungry,” declared Ronnie as the song ended. People laughed. Jovial and rotund, Ronnie had the face of a cherub. He held what Vicky had said was a flute in his hand. “What’s for dinner?” Ronnie asked no one in particular.

Everybody laughed. Alexis didn’t get the joke. Ronnie crossed the circle to talk to her. “You’ll get to know me,” he told Alexis. “Eating makes me tired and sleeping makes me hungry, and so does singing,” he said, grinning at Lexy.

“And just about everything else!” Ken poked his head over her shoulder and smiled. Lexy returned his smile and nodded, overwhelmed by this preparation going on just to eat.

As people scurried to get water and gather guava branches to stoke the fire, Alexis found herself sitting alone with Vicky. Although she had only spent a few hours with her, she felt a connection. Victoria Rose, what a pretty name, Alexis thought. Vicky had a way of making her feel like she’d known her for a long time. And instinctively, she trusted her. When they talked earlier, Alexis had learned that she and Vicky were the same age, born just months apart. But Vicky had been born on the island because her mother, Alivea Malia, and uncle, Judd Michael, traveled there when her mother was pregnant. She had said something about her father being replaced by a clone. She had never known him, but her mother loved her enough for 10 fathers, Victoria Rose told Alexis.

Just then, Vicky looked up from her book, her light brown hair softly framing her face. She looked at Alexis expectantly as if she knew Alexis wanted to say something. She smiled. “How are you? I bet you’re exhausted, huh?”

Alexis nodded. “Yes, this is a big change. I haven’t ever really felt like this, but I’m somehow really awake. I was thinking about what someone said about damaged CHIPs. If they can get damaged and people couldn’t use them, maybe that’s what happened to my CHIP? When it wouldn’t fill up on the laser, or let me get food or get on the rail, maybe it’s broken?” she sort of pleaded.

Vicky’s heart went out to her. The poor girl didn’t want to accept she had been all but erased by her family. Turning off the CHIP made it so people couldn’t operate in society since it controlled everything: access to food (what they called food), transportation and communication. And then the high frequency soundings.

Eventually, if she somehow did survive a little while, the vibrations would’ve killed her as the CHIP screens out the high frequencies, but without the CHIP, the human body could not survive the attack. Vicky had learned all about the CHIP from her mother, Alivea Malia, who brought her to the island to protect her from it. But Vicky didn’t know if tonight was the time to enlighten Alexis. There would be time. Instead, she put her arm around Alexis’ shoulder. “Maybe you’re right. Anything’s possible. But whatever is the truth will be revealed in time. You can be sure of that because the Bible says so. Now, let’s go get some food,” she suggested. “I’m starving!”

 

 

 

 

Return to Paradise: Part II: Chapter 5

5

Exhausted, Alexis sat cross-legged on the ground in a circle of unfamiliar but friendly faces and looked around at them, one by one. She watched a little girl she heard called Aja chase a cute little boy with brown hair around the circle made by the group. Her gaze rested on the man who was singing and playing a wooden thing with strings on it. He had long black hair and a face that smiled even while he sang. She listened to the words he sang.

When Father Sun has done his day,

Mother Earth she tucks him in.

Then Sister Moon comes out to play

and Brother Joy laughs on the wind.

Days of bliss on distant shores, 

Mother’s kiss from valleys pure,

so I kicked right back ’cause I knew,

yes I knew, I was right where I should be….

I was dreaming of the light

under Heaven’s eyes so bright,

and angels through the night,

they touched my cheek.

Waves roll to a soft and sandy beach

drifting my ideas within reach.

Words of love are what I longed to hear,

so Brother Joy whispered a secret in my ear.

He said, “Trust me brother, you’ll get yours, 

just have faith, look to the stars, 

so I kicked right back ’cause I knew,

yes I knew, I was right where I should be….

Dreams came true that magic night 

under Heaven’s candlelight,

and an angel through the night,

she kissed my cheek.

And I knew, yes I knew,

I was right where I should be.

Yeah I knew, yes I knew, 

I was right where I should be.

Gregg ended the song looking right at Alexis and she couldn’t let go of his gaze, nor did he look away. He gave a slight nod as if to confirm, yes, the song was for her. In those few moments she tuned out the conversations around her and didn’t even hear the next few songs as she lost herself in her thoughts. Can this really be happening? I’m not dreaming, she told herself. She stared into the fire in the center of the circle and was mesmerized, remembering Wynn’s words–“a friendship maker.” Friends. She thought about her best friend Isabella and wondered if she’d ever see her again. And Dan. And Mom and Dad. Had it been just a few days ago? It seemed like a lifetime ago. Amazing how your reality can change so drastically just by being in a different place. Tears welled in Alexis’ eyes as she thought about her mom. What was she doing now? She wished she could tell her she was okay. Her mom probably thought she was dead. If only she could be here too. But Alexis knew it wasn’t possible.

“Are you okay?” Juli sat down next to Alexis. The music had stopped and people were getting up and saying goodnight.

“Yeah, I’m just thinking about my parents. My mom probably thinks I’m dead. I wish I could tell her I’m here,” said Lexy.

“I know. When I first left home, about 7 years ago, I couldn’t tell anybody where I was going. I just told my mom and dad that we had to get away from the city because something was going to happen soon. They thought I was a nut. ‘Give us your address, Juli,’ they told me. I told them that where I was going there would be no address, and that they should come with me. Of course, they wouldn’t.” Juli’s eyes filled with tears.

“And you left anyway?” asked Alexis.

“Yep,” Juli nodded her head. “With Will. Some friends told me about Wynn. They said they wished they had the courage to try and see if the rumors of the island were true. I decided to try. And I’m glad I did. But I miss them so much, and I wish I could’ve convinced them to come too,” said Juli.

“And you haven’t seen them since?” asked Lexy, incredulous.

“Well, Will and I do the mainland shuttle, so I did manage to sneak over to our old house and see them. But I couldn’t talk to them–it would’ve been too risky. It’s hard, but I’d be dead too now if I’d have stayed.”

“Dead?”

Juli’s voice shook as she told her story. “They were killed during the riots. Chaos broke out about two years after we left. From what I heard, a bunch of guys in uniform just started knocking on doors and shooting people. Went on a rampage–that was before martial law was enacted. I guess my parents were some of the unlucky ones who were home.”

“That’s unbelievable. I can’t believe that could happen. I’m so sorry, Juli,” Alexis said, forgetting her own troubles.

“I’m sorry too,” Juli nodded. “I only wish I would’ve tried harder to convince them to come with me. I knew it was going to happen.”

“You did?”

“Of course. The end result of all the commotion was that people embraced the protection from the military on their streets. They had so much fear. They felt they needed the security and protection that the military offered, never questioning just who they were being protected from. Control through chaos. Because of all the chaos, martial law and its strict controls were welcomed.” She was quiet and then she added, “I do thank God we’re here though.”

“God?” Lexy shook her head. “How could a god let that kind of thing happen?” she asked.

“You can’t blame God, Lexy,” Juli told her. “There is evil in the world. We all know that, but God gave us free will to get away from it. I hate to say it, but if my parents had been vigilant, they would have seen that danger was imminent and that they should get away like some of us did. But most people are just too complacent and won’t use their eyes to see or their heads to understand that their lifestyle can’t last forever. Eyes that are blind, ears that can’t hear…”

“I don’t know, Juli. You’re pretty forgiving,” said Lexy, doubtfully.

“It’s called faith, Alexis. Faith and the knowledge that God will save his children and take care of us.”

“I hope so.”

“Why do you think you’re here?”

“Well, I don’t really think it’s because of faith, as I can’t say I knew God, or believe in one,” Lexy countered.

“Well, God knows you. In fact, he set it up that you would come to know him, just as you are.”

“What? Why would you say that?” Lexy looked at Juli.

“‘By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone boast. He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will‘,” Juli read. “It’s in Ephesisans, Chapter 3. Want to hear more?” Lexy nodded, wondering if Juli knew what she was talking about. “Okay.” Juli turned the pages in her small book. “This is the Bible,” she said. “It’s God’s word and you’d be amazed if you sat down and read it sometime. Let’s see, okay, ‘in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in Heaven and which are on Earth, even in him. In who also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worked all things after the counsel of his own will… In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in who also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise… The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.'”

“Interesting. Not that I really understand it,” said Lexy. “Something about your purpose. Who wrote it?”

“Paul, a student of Christ, actually wrote this part. Different people wrote other books in the Bible, and it was all inspired by God.”

“How do you know it’s not just made up stuff, Juli?”

“Well, Lexy, because a lot of it has come true and I also have faith. See, there’s an Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was written in a time before Jesus Christ was born. It starts with the beginning of the world, and it contains a lot of prophecies that came true by the time the New Testament was written.”

“Wow! I’ve always wondered about how the world started,” said Lexy.

“Here, take this. I have another one. Read it and learn,” said Juli, giving Lexy her Bible. “The New Testament was written after Jesus Christ was sent by God to save the sins of man and reunite people with God. ‘For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son.'”

 

Return to Paradise, Part II: Chapter 4

4

“Are we almost there Will?” she asked after the fifth day.

“Almost Alexis. The winds seem to be blowing with us, pushing us toward the island. We’ll be there soon.” They spent the day talking about themselves. Will told them about his job as a Navy captain. “That’s how I discovered the island, by accident actually,” he said remembering, “or as part of someone’s plan,” he added impishly. “Thank you God.”

“Tell me more about it,” begged Alexis.

“Well, it was 2018,” Will began in an announcer’s voice, making both girls giggle. “I was off-course and it was stormy. We were on a small vessel and somehow, it capsized. We all went overboard. I don’t even remember all the details, but it was as if I was carried in someone’s hand and put on land.” He paused, remembering. “I never saw my shipmates again. I woke up cold, but on a beach with the sun shining on my face. I walked around, and after a few days, I met some people. Wynn was there, and Lauren. Also John and Kira Justus and some other families. I was surprised to see them there. They were suspicious of me, but they saw I was in trouble and that I had no boat. They took care of me until I was strong enough to leave.”

“Why didn’t you just stay?” Juli asked him, even though she’d heard his story before.

“I guess I wasn’t ready. I had work to do. I was in the Navy. I was important. I used a large piece of the ship that had washed on the island as a raft and I navigated my way back to the mainland using the stars, something I learned from my grandmother years ago. Make a long story short, I ended up moving there two years later and became the shuttle boat captain.” The three talked into the evening. That night, Alexis dreamt vivid dreams and heard the voice again.

“Remember that voice I told you guys I’d heard when I was looking for Wynn” she asked them. They nodded. She went on excitedly. “I heard it again. It said, ‘Now you shall go forth out of the city and you shall dwell in the fields.'”

Return To Paradise: Part II: Chapter 3

3

A brilliant golden orb rising in a rainbow-streaked sky beckoned Alexis from the cabin. It was a breathtaking sight, and Alexis sat in solitude studying the pastel composition of orange, pinks and yellows that painted the sky. She felt so awake–genuinely alive and filled with a sense of wonder and deep appreciation for the beauty around her. The blue expanse of water shimmered with the reflection of the sky’s hues and the sunlight bounced off the water as if it were frolicking with a friend. Juli emerged from the cabin and stood by Alexis, taking in the morning beauty.

“Good morning,” she said to Alexis and also to the day itself. Alexis smiled.

“I’ve never seen something so beautiful. I feel it right here, ” Alexis told Juli, putting her hand over her heart.

“I’d say that’s your heart, honey. Full of hope and joy, as it should be. I don’t think that was the norm in the city,” said Juli.

“True.” Alexis nodded. “I wonder why that is?”

“Well, Wynn explained the CHIP to you, how it shuts down your emotional and intuitive centers. Since your CHIP has been off, it’s not interfering with your heart. Now your body can function at its highest capacities. It’s not shut down anymore–it’s full now. Feels pretty good, right?” Juli asked her.

“Incredible,” agreed Alexis. “Why wouldn’t people want to feel this way all the time?”

“Maybe because they don’t know they can,” Will chimed in, climbing up the ladder to join the girls. “A lot of that is masked because of the powers-that-be and their agendas. People don’t learn about the heart and love. They might follow their hearts then rather than advance the agendas of their rulers. Instead, they learn about practical things like programming computers and making money. Since there’s never enough money, one’s lifetime is absorbed trying to chase it.”

***

Five days and nights passed by during which Alexis wrote with an abandon she never knew she had. It felt so good not to have to hide while she was writing. She liked Will and Juli and she was excited about reaching their destination, but she couldn’t understand why Wynn wasn’t with them. She decided to ask Juli.

“Remember you said I could talk to you about anything?” Alexis asked Juli one evening as the sun set.

“Sure, what’s up?” Juli answered her sincerely.

“I’ve been wondering about Wynn. He said the island was so perfect and all, so why doesn’t he come there with us? Why would he want to live in that little hole underground?” Alexis asked.

Juli looked at her. “Wynn is a very special man, as I’m sure you must know.” Alexis nodded. “He did live on the island–he has two sons, Joshua and Simon–they’re twins, who still live there,” Juli began. “He and his wife Lauren Jacobs were active in getting many of us to the island, myself included. He wanted to help as many people as possible to escape the present state of society. So he stayed back and helped people as they crossed his path.” Alexis wondered where she’d be right now if she’d never met Wynn. I would never have learned to write, she thought, a little irritated. Then she chided herself for having a negative thought about the man who saved her life and introduced her to the joys of writing. “About 30 years ago, when the boys were about 5, Lauren decided to take a trip back to the mainland to see if her family could be saved. Wynn insisted on going with her. The boys were left in the care of the group, mainly Wynn’s sister, Suzanne Avia Cyrene. Well, Lauren and Wynn split up and agreed to meet four hours later. Lauren didn’t show up. Wynn is still waiting for her. He refuses to give up hope, even though it’s been more than 30 years.”

Alexis was choked up. “But the boys? Don’t they see their father? What could have happened to Lauren?” She was bursting with questions.

“Wynn sees them every few years. I’m sure he’ll end up staying one of these times, but he just can’t believe Lauren could be gone,” Juli explained.

“So what about Lauren?” Lexy asked again.

“Nobody knows for sure, Alexis,” said Juli. “We can only guess. I’ts vulnerable to be out there without a microchip. Most people won’t even see you and if anyone does, it’s most likely someone who realizes you’re different. And that’s dangerous,” Juli added. By now it was dark. “We better get some sleep. We need our strength. Goodnight Alexis,” said Juli.

“Goodnight.” Alexis slept.

 

 

Return, Part II: Chapter 2

“This is it, honey. Time to go.” She sat up and looked around. Where am I? she wondered.

Excitement filled her. Wynn and another man and a woman were scrambling around. Surveying the amount of bags and blankets scattered around the small room, Alexis guessed somebody was going on a monumental journey.

“Time is precious, Alexis,” said Wynn. “Why don’t you get up and meet my friends, your guides. Alexis Ryan Roberts, meet Will and Juli Waypet.” Alexis met the 6’1″ man named Will halfway across the tiny room. She raised her wrist to Will’s. He didn’t put his wrist to hers as was the usual way citizens recognized one another. Instead, he hugged her. Alexis stood back, shocked yet extremely comforted at the same time by the quick gesture. She smiled, looking at the light brown hair on his head. She almost wanted to touch it.

“Hello Alexis. We’ll be taking you to the island where you’ll be safe.” The island? thought Alexis. Is this really happening? Things were quickly changing, but she’d never heard anything about an island. What about my parents? she felt like asking.

“No worries, Alexis,” said Will. “You’re in good hands with us.” Gazing into his clear, blue eyes, Alexis was somehow assured that she was.

Juli finished stuffing containers of food into a big bag, zipped it up and came over to Alexis too. “Hi Alexis. I’m Juli. Very happy to meet you.”

“Thank you, you too. I mean, I am too,” answered Alexis, feeling calmed by her presence. Even in the dim room, Lexy could see the sparkle in Juli’s eyes.

“You can talk to me about anything that’s on your mind,” Juli told her when they were sitting alone together at the table, she with a cup of coffee and Lexy enjoying her new favorite drink–freshly squeezed orange juice. “I know you’re going through a lot, and I’m here for you. Okay?”

“Okay.” Alexis nodded and swallowed the lump forming in her throat. She had a lot of questions, but it felt better for her to just trust these people and let them take charge for awhile. Will walked over to the table.

“About ready, ladies?” Juli nodded, her blonde curls bouncing on her shoulders.

“Where’s the island?” Alexis managed to ask.

“It’s about 3,000 miles from here, in the middle of the ocean. And the sooner we can get out of here, the better,” Will told her gently.

“The sooner the better is right,” agreed Wynn, joining them. “Everything’s packed. You should be out of land’s sight before the sun rises,” he said briskly. “I better say goodbye now.” Alexis looked at Wynn.

“Goodbye? You’re not coming too? Don’t you want to go to the beautiful place you were talking about Wynn?”

“I do more than anything, honey, but I have work to do here first.” He paused, looking sad. “I’ll be along though, don’t worry. I’ll surprise you one day.” Will and Juli exchanged solemn glaces. Wynn held her hands and looked deeply into her eyes. “Be strong, have faith and trust in God.” With that, they joined hands and became silent. Each one was deep in thought, though conscious of their intertwined roles in each other’s lives. “Dear Heavenly Father, we deliver to your care, Alexis, who, along with Will and Juli, will add to the believers helping to share your love as living testimony to your spirit in the world. Watch over them, Father, on their journey and help us to create a world based on love rather than fear and hate. Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be your name,” Will and Juli joined voices with Wynn: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” They were quiet for a few moments, and Alexis felt a tingling sensation flood her body.

“I feel tingly,” Alexis told the group, breaking the silence.

Juli smiled. “That’s the anointing of the Holy Spirit. God is with us.” Grabbing the last backpack from the floor, Will climbed the ladder and motioned for the others to follow him up into the impending dawn. A short walk down the hill behind Wynn’s house led to a stream with a waiting canoe hidden in the tall green grass near the water’s edge. They were silent, communicating only with their eyes and hearts. Wynn gave Alexis a tight hug and slipped something into her hand. She turned and Juli helped her into the small vessel, which rocked gently as she sat down on the wooden bench. Will dipped the oar and expertly guided the boat into the river’s current. Juli and Lexy waved to Wynn, who stood beaming an eternal glow in the night’s darkness. Alexis watched as Wynn got smaller and smaller and then disappeared.

Night passed quickly. In what seemed like two hours, the canoe was approaching the river mouth. Thinking about the journey ahead, Alexis didn’t realize they were leaving the river’s calm until a wave spilled into the boat. She screamed.

“Stay calm!” Juli told her. “Just hold on!” Alexis held on and held her breath, watching Will guide them through the waves into the open ocean where he paddled them around a point and into a small cove where a larger boat was anchored. Arriving at the boat, Juli leapt from the canoe onto the front of the boat, and Will threw her a rope which she tied to the larger boat’s railing. She held out her hand for Alexis. Lexy stood up, unsteadily and, clutching Juli’s hand, took a big step onto the boat. Will handed them their backpacks and jumped on too. He took a knife from his pocket and cut the canoe free. They watched it escape out to sea. Alexis was more comfortable on the larger boat and she was grateful when Juli showed her a cabin filled with cushions where she could rest.

“Try to get some sleep. You’ll need all of your strength for this adventure,” Juli advised. Lying on the soft cushions in the cabin, Lexy stretched out and quickly fell asleep. Despite the circumstances, she didn’t feel scared, only confident and joyful. Instinctively, she knew she was heading toward a destiny that she had restlessly waited for throughout her lifetime. Her society was so cold. All people did was work to earn money to buy things or to pay for things they already had. As long as people kept consuming, everything was fine, but if they couldn’t have something, they’d work even more to get it. And there was always something new being invented that everybody had to have. So everyone kept busy earning and spending. Alexis wondered if there had to be more to life. She grew bored of things and so didn’t have the drive to work for objects. Instead, she asked questions that nobody could or would answer. Why can’t we go to other places? Why is there a New World Order? What are its plans and purposes? She was never satisfied with the answers, so she wrote down her suspicions, which she gleaned through listening to conversations–her parents’ and others they knew. While nobody had seen her writing, the penalty for the act itself was harsh and might even mean death for breaking the rules and ruffling the order in society. Maybe she would find some answers on the island.

Return to Paradise: Part II: The Island

 

“Oh that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest.

Indeed I would wander far off

And remain in the wilderness.”

–Psalms 55: 6-7

 

Part II

The Island

Not wanting to waste any time, Wynn woke Alexis at daybreak. “We’ve got a big day ahead of us,” Wynn told her while they drank a strong, dark-colored liquid he said was coffee and ate little round balls full of sweet juice called grapes.

“I don’t want to scare you Alexis, but I think you should know the truth. I believe you have a major role to play in it.”

Eyes wide, Alexis gazed steadily at Wynn, feeling the depth of the moment and bracing herself to hear the words that would lead her to her destiny. She had been waiting for these words her entire life. “Okay, I’m ready,” she said, meaning it with all of her being.

“Alexis,” began Wynn. “Our world has changed immensely in the past 20 years.” Alexis shivered. I’m 20. “In the beginning, the signs were subtle to those who vigilantly watched for them. For most millions of others, programmed already by the TV, there was no seeing what was happening. While Americans focused on sensationalized news like O.J. Simpson, secret, classified experiments in DNA, genetics and cloning were being conducted. Who knew? Certainly not the taxpayers who paid for the experiments. We were engrossed by Rodney King’s trials, Bill Clinton’s affair and impeachment trial, not to mention the announcement and introduction of the New World Order, which seemed to happen suddenly without anybody really understanding anything about it. Also, increased terrorism led to toleration, and even welcoming of increased governmental protection and control. There was always some big news happening to focus the nation on, gluing millions of people to their televisions for day by day updates to these situations.

“I don’t really know how it came about, but out of the blue one day, all of our pets were required to harbor an electronic tracking device, the microchip. People understood the need, however, because pets needed to be protected, and what a good idea to be able to track down a lost pet! And why not protect the kids too? Prevent kidnappings. Fear motivation. And then convenience became the big reason to use the microchip.”

“Soon, people were voluntarily getting microchips implanted so they wouldn’t have to carry the required identification and so they could be located anywhere.” Wynn paused and looked hard at Alexis. She nodded, remembering having read such information in the book Wynn had given her. She didn’t try to interrupt him, as she was eagerly waiting to hear more.

He went on. “Having a microchip implant became even more attractive to the masses when currency transactions became microchip-friendly. Rather than carry cash–paper money–you could add and subtract your income and expenses on an internal monitor located on the microchip. Soon it became hard to use cash, and those of us labeled “paranoid” who didn’t want to use the internal device for currency transactions, had a hard time shopping, then driving, and even operating in society. It was the same way with the social security number, which used to be voluntary and now is mandatory.”

“Within 15 years, most people in the United States and some of the other NWO countries wore a microchip.” He took a breath. Alexis blinked. She’d grown up in the “Digital Generation” and felt no fear about it. She knew no other reality and, in fact, recalled what a hassle it had been when she couldn’t refuel her CHIP when she was leaving the city.

Still waiting to hear the big news, she raised her eyebrows at Wynn, feeling the adrenaline surging through her body. “What’s wrong with people using technology? It’s definitely made my life easier. And everybody else’s.”

“Technology, my dear, is the way it’s worded, but it is a tool for a much larger, evil plan. Control. C-O-N-T-R-O-L. First control the individual, then the family, then institutions like churches and states, and finally the whole country–and it doesn’t stop until it’s worldwide and maybe even global–and then it’s too late and too big for anybody but God to end it. Do you even realize what you have never experienced in this world? Well, how could you? You can’t really miss what you never knew existed. God Alexis, I don’t know, maybe it’s already too late. People are content, or complacent; they wouldn’t break their chains if eternity opened the door and rolled out the red carpet,” he despaired.

Alexis thought about her dream, and the overwhelming happiness that had flooded her body briefly touched her again, as if tapping her on the shoulder and saying, “Wake up and remember.”

“Wait!” she said to Wynn. “I know what you’re saying. I wake up some nights and I feel like something’s missing from my life, some meaning, and I used to think I’m crazy, but well, do you think maybe I am missing something?” Without waiting for his answer, she went on. “And then the other night, I had this incredible dream and I think I heard a voice telling me to ‘walk by faith,’ yes, that’s what it was… Can you please tell me what I’m missing Wynn?” begged Alexis.

“I think you’re about to discover that for yourself, Alexis. You’re a peculiar one, for sure. Growing up in your environment, and you still feel the spirit. I can tell you there is hope, and that is what I have for you. There is still a place in this world where people laugh, sing and dance. They grow healthy food in the ground and eat around a campfire.”

“What’s a campfire?” she innocently asked.

“A magical, warm, friend-maker, family gatherer, Alexis. You’ll see. A spirit like yours will thrive learning about beauty, love and friendship. The world you’ve grown up in is in a dangerous time. This microchip ‘technology’ is also a receiver for information sent via computers and airwaves–it’s programming–what used to be called brainwashing, but scientists found computer programming is more reliable and permanent than brainwashing because with the computer chip in control, one’s own mind, feelings and thoughts can’t influence his actions. People are virtually run by computers. Computers, rather than their hearts, minds and souls virtually run their lives. You may not see it everyday, but if you looked, you’d see the atrocities being committed today. People used to travel around the world, meet new people, visit with friends, go to the beach and swim, climb mountains and hike… now all they do is work, and, even scarier–they like it! They’re consumed by the daily routine day in and day out in the same place. Today, people take virtual reality trips to take a “break.” Family? Food? Pop a capsule, who’s got time to chew? There’s work to be done. And still with all their hard work, just about everybody is pretty poor–who are they working for and why? Nobody knows!! What’s in it for them? Money, in a limited amount, but it can be cut off at a moment’s notice. What is the point of a life like this? Where is the joy? People don’t know, and what’s even sadder is they don’t care. They’ve forgotten there’s another reality, and that they have the choice to make decisions and change, or they used to. It’s gotten fairly dangerous in today’s times. But Alexis, don’t give up, because there is a place where people have escaped ‘technology’. They’ve maintained a more natural way of living. It’s been a battle, but it’s one worth living for. Alexis, your CHIP must’ve been turned off. You’ve been cut off from your society. That’s why you couldn’t get money and why nobody looked at or talked to you. They didn’t feel the computerized frequencies–which is how people maintain their connection–everyone else is as good as gone.”

“You’ve actually been blessed, ‘chosen’ to go back to the garden. You can live life, rather than exist in an ignorant hell of robots.”

Alexis blinked. She felt sick. Everything she had ever known was a lie. Her beliefs had been shattered in a few hours of insight. Her head was spinning with information and questions, but she also felt a slight weight lift because she knew it was time to break free from her burdens. A burning, anxious wave came over her, and then the world went black.

 

 

 

 

Return to Paradise: Chapter 14

14

He knew. He just didn’t know how far it had spread. He thought back to when people were protesting the CHIP. Developed by businessmen with an agenda, the implants were in high demand by some citizens of the New World Order (the public). The CHIP would streamline your life, the advertisers said: make theft impossible, money automated, children trackable–the benefits were countless! But not everybody was sold on the idea, including Mom and Dad–it hurt to think of them. Wynn’s parents were among the few individuals who spoke out about the perils of such a chip. “What if?” they’d protested, presenting all kinds of sordid possibilities that such a device could have. They and others of their opinion were silenced. Either they changed their mind after being educated about their false beliefs, or they were give a ticket for an airplane ride from which they never returned–it was rumored that they were all pushed from the airplanes. Wynn had taken shelter when he’d come home from school one day and found the curtains drawn in the kitchen.

The average person may not have noticed such a minor detail, but because of his upbringing, Wynn picked up on the subtle clue that something was not right immediately. His father, a farmer-turned-security guard, had foreseen some sort of disaster and had come up with the signal for danger. His father had coached the whole family, his mother, his sister Lynette and Wynn, that the closed curtains meant something was wrong. They had often made fun of his father, calling him paranoid; Wynn might have even thought his younger sister Lynnie was playing some sort of a joke on him, trying to scare him the day he saw the white kitchen curtains closed. But since he himself would never forget the beating from his father when, feeling mischievous, he’d jokingly closed the curtains on his mother, he knew this warning was for real. He’d run to the underground camp his father and uncle had built for “play.” They’d often advised him that he should go there in case he ever needed to be alone.

In case of what, he’d never asked his father. He somehow hoped he’d never need to know, though deep down he was sure he’d find out one day. He wished his parents were here with him now–though he did know they were in a happier place, and that someday he would join them again.

Lexy’s snoring brought him out of his reverie. He was pretty sure Alexis’ CHIP had been shut down. Otherwise, she would’ve been able to access food pellets, the lasers and monorails. It would also explain why nobody saw here. He knew the feeling. How he missed the days when you could walk down the street and smile at a stranger. Lexy’s existence seemed to have been deleted from society. Being the daughter of Jerry Roberts, she’d have to be extra careful. Surely, they wouldn’t keep her permanently shut off to perish on the city streets with the other outcasts. They’d have to come looking for her, and probably soon, before the next wave of frequency testing.

When people were kicked out of society, i.e., CHIPs inactivated, they were basically sentenced to death, as they could not get food from the machines, and only a handful of people ever made their way out to the countryside (what was left of it) to find the wild herbs and fruit that grew on the trees. Instead, they would try to steal or starve until they were wiped out by the high frequency vibrations that were sounded monthly to basically eliminate those survivors who managed to hang on long enough without their CHIP. Those with the CHIP were able to survive the high-pitched sound waves because the CHIP blocked out the high frequencies from its carrier. CHIP protesters had discovered that holding a piece of copper also blocked the high frequency waves, so they carried copper chips with them wherever they went.

Wynn looked at the floor, thinking about what to do. He wondered why Lexy was led to him. He believed he was meant to help her, seeing he had met her when she was only a little girl and here she was again, almost a grown woman. Was she the one that would make the difference–and was he destined to help her? Maybe they were brought together years ago by “accident” to prepare for this time.

He would help her, he decided, not that it was really a decision. There was never any question about if he would help her, only how he would do it. He hoped Lexy was up for the journey she must take–it would be a long, hard road, but it was their only chance for survival. He had a feeling it might be the world’s only chance, too.

Return to Paradise: Chapter 13

13

After walking for miles, though the time passed quickly, she started to see some familiar landmarks. The big, red barn, and she didn’t remember so many houses, but then just as she was feeling the first creeping of doubt, there it was–the barely noticeable path, hidden between two bushes. She started down the tree-lined paved walkway until it came to a clearing. She veered off to the left and stumbled down the hill, looking to see if anybody was watching, though she didn’t know why–nobody had been paying any attention to her anyway. Her heart was pounding in her ears. She recognized the green bush with the tiny orange and red flowers that Wynn had called Lantana. She crouched down and reached her hand under the bush, feeling for the handle on the small, square piece of plywood that blocked the entrance to Wynn’s home. She sighed heavily with relief. It was still there!! The handle! She lifted the door easily and lowered herself down the hole, her feet searching for the ladder in the dark.

Quiet blackness surrounded her. “Wynn?” she cried out softly. “It’s me–Alexis. Remember? I need help. I think I’m in trouble.” The silence that followed was sliceable and Alexis started to think maybe nobody was there, when she heard a tiny flicker and then saw a dim light appear in the far corner of the dark room.

Alexis stood frozen as she watched a huge figure loom out of the corner. She relaxed as she made out the visage of Wynn. Older, more lined and gray, and with a shaggier beard than she’d ever seen, was Wynn.

She ran to him and embraced him, burying her head in his chest. While surprised at his visitor and her intense emotions, Wynn comforted the ruffled girl. “Alexis Roberts. Little Lexy. What’s happened?”

“Oh Wynn,” she started, her voice shaking, “the writing, my parents… I didn’t know where else to go.” She choked on her tears, which turned to sobs.

“It’s okay, honey, let it out.” Wynn’s towering frame leaned over her 5’7″ body, and his hands gently soothed her smooth head. He wondered about her hair color. With her deep blue eyes, her hair could be any color, were it permitted to grow.

After she calmed down enough to talk, Alexis told him her trouble. Brows together, forehead wrinkled, the wise old man nodded, listening. He digested her story, remaining silent for several minutes. Then, still without a word, he handed her an apple, knowing she must be weak from hunger. Alexis wasn’t sure how to eat it until Wynn demonstrated. She followed his lead and bit into the crunchy fruit. Her taste buds delighted in the sweet juicyness of the round, red ball. Satiated after devouring the entire apple, Alexis sunk into Wynn’s lambskin-covered couch and drifted off to dreamland, leaving Wynn sitting by her side with his thoughts.

Return to Paradise: Chapter 12

12

The sun rising in the sky almost blinded Alexis as it shocked her awake with its brilliance. She felt natural in the sun, and unlike what she had been told, the heat felt nice and her skin was not burning or melting. She was the only soul around. She got on her feet and headed toward where she remembered Wynn to be. We walk by faith, she heard herself thinking. She tried to recall the details of a powerful dream she’d had, though it wasn’t quite clear right now, and she tried to focus on her thoughts as she walked along. It had been years since she’d been to Wynn’s and she had always gone by tram or car to his house, still she was somehow guided in the right direction. She was hungry, but she put the thought aside and kept walking. Her thoughts were wild today. She wished she could write them down. She wondered if her parents knew where she was. She passed a man dressed in black and said hello. He didn’t answer her. Am I still being ignored? Did they all know about her betrayal to society’s rules of order–her secret writings? She really couldn’t understand why it was so bad–but then, nobody did was was forbidden, and she had, so yes, she was bad. But somehow she was not sorry.

She walked along beside piles of junked computers, stacked about 4,000 feet high. She seemed to walk next to the heap for a long time. She guessed the computer graveyard must have stretched on for almost 10 miles. She’d never seen anything like it. The strange thing was, she recognized the letters on a flat piece of equipment–they looked like buttons. This stuff must be really old, she thought. Her jumbled mind seemed to slowly form into clear thoughts and as she walked, she felt lighter and in awe of the mystery called life that the world was living.

Return to Paradise: Chapter 11

11

Cynthia Roberts sat with her trusted friend, Amy Andrews, who tried to give her some comfort.

“I just had this feeling when she was growing up, Amy, that she was different,” explained Cynthia. “Deep down inside, I almost knew something like this would happen.”

“I know Cyn,” said Amy. “All mothers have those feelings.”

“But I knew it,” Cynthia insisted. “Remember when she was really little and you or I covered for her when she would be the only kid not lining up for drill practice? All the kids would get the message through the CHIP frequency, but Lexy would still be playing, totally unaffected. You’ve got to remember those times, Amy!”

“Yes, I admit I do. Between you and me, Cynthia, some of the younger children seem almost immune to CHIP’s functioning. I’ve seen it a few times. But we’ve always managed to keep Lexy sheltered from the consequences.”

“Somehow she slipped through the crack,” her mom mused. Her mind took her back 20 years to a time when her first husband, Michael, was alive. She remembered his own resistance to the CHIP system, a rebellion that led to his elimination from this world. When he voiced his dislike of the new system and demanded alternatives to CHIP-exclusive grocery stores, he never returned home. Ed Blitz himself had shown up at her door with the news of Michael’s car crash and instructions for her as well. They had never recovered Michael’s body, which was believed to have probably been burned up in the explosion or eaten by sharks in the deep waters at the base of the cliff his car had careened off of one dark, rainy night.

Blitz had been sympathetic, but businesslike. He’d come with orders; he’d told her that if she wanted to ensure her own well-being, she’d have to marry Jerry Roberts. Genetically altered, Roberts was sure to be loyal to CHIP’s cause, and there would be no chance of Cynthia getting out of line or expressing herself as Michael had.

What choice had she had? Though it was unspoken, she understood foul play was involved with her late husband’s death. She felt she had no choice but to go along with the game.

Alexis had shown up a month earlier than expected, and the love she had for her daughter helped ease Cynthia’s pain. Inside her, she knew Alexis was a very unique child. Different, which often made her mother uneasy about her future. As a young child, Alexis had asked questions about the sun and the moon and where they came from and who made them and where they went when we couldn’t see them. She’d often sat staring at the sky and the stars for a long time, as if they held the answers to the mystery she lived, while the other children seemed to never even notice them.

Find your answers, Lexy baby, Cynthia thought to her child, but she sat in fear and cried as Amy comforted her in her arms.