Celebrating the wonders of all things natural!

Posts tagged ‘island’

Chapter 16

“Listen!” Everybody stopped talking and held their breaths, listening.

“Is that what I think it is?” Daniel asked. Alexis didn’t hear anything at first. She could sense the panic building around her.

“To the valley!” Gregg yelled, jumping up and knocking over his breakfast. People started scrambling to get up and make their way toward the valley trail.

“What’s going on?” Alexis asked Hannah.

“I don’t know,” Hannah answered, frightened. Then they heard it. A deafening roar in the distance was getting louder by the second.

“It’s a helicopter!” yelled Kira. “Come on, let’s run!” she called, grabbing Suraya’s hand and motioning to Alexis and Hannah to follow.

“Let’s go!” Hannah grabbed Alexis’ hand and pulled her towards the trail. They ran as fast as they could, following their friends.

“We’ve gotta get to the bamboo forest!” Josiah urged, coming up behind them. “Come on Alexis! Don’t look back, just run!” he told her. The helicopter buzzed right above their heads. “They can’t see us under all the trees; don’t worry,” he was saying.

“Shhh! No talking, just go,” Kenny told them. The last of the group, right behind Josiah, Alexis and Hannah, he huffed and puffed. Alexis was gasping for air, breathing hard, willing her legs to keep moving. The seconds stood still as her heart raced and her mind emptied of all thought besides reaching the bamboo forest. She was running so fast, she felt like she was flying.

An eternity later, huddled in the underground tunnel beneath the bamboo forest, Suzanne and Noah filled Alexis in. “Helicopters are used for search missions,” Noah explained.

“But Dad, what could they be searching for here?” Josiah wanted to know.

“It’s a question we’re all asking, Josi,” Noah answered him.

“Somehow, somebody found out about the island,” Suzanne whispered, shaking her head sadly.

“We’ve got to be quiet and wait ’em out,” said Gregg. “They’ll never find us in here.”

Immediately Alexis knew they had come for her. First Wynn, which she knew was her fault, and now… they were here. All because of her. Deep inside she had known the island could only last as a dream, fleeting and not forever. She put her head in her hands and cried.

Through her tears she heard Pastor J.J. saying, “‘For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness, but of power and love and of a sound mind,'” he read, comforting and encouraging them.

Simon read next. “This is Isaiah 41:10. God tells us, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of righteousness.'” They took turns reading scripture and ministering to one another for the rest of the day in the tunnel. They sang too, and then decided to sleep.

Forty-one people slept and waited in the cave-like tunnel for 24 more hours. Simon Cyrene sat next to his brother Joshua and his family, Amber Martin Cyrene and their daughter Aja.

Josiah Martin stayed near his sister, Amber, and his niece Aja and his mother and father, Suzanne and Noah Martin. Alexis smiled at Aja before falling asleep next to Suraya Justus. Isaiah Justus and J.J. and Kira were next to her.

Judd Michael Adahmson and John V. sat near the tunnel’s entrance, ever alert to any sound. Gregg Manuca and Ronnie Kalau stretched out next to them. Adam Grover and Daniel Cortis were next in the row. Ken and Colette Joyes cuddled with their children, Hannah and Justin.

Will and Juli Cortis Waypet slept near Alivea Malia Adahmson and Victoria Rose Adahmson. Cathy Cress Farl, Allan Farl and their son, Aaron, huddled together next to Jennifer and David Fuensi and their sons, Gabriel and Rafael. Drew Williams and his wife, Karen Satt Williams, were near their kids, Cyrus and Jazmin Williams.

Jenna Kalau, Alana Balta, Kailani Brown and Mira Cullen, who they’d nicknamed, “Miracle,” were also in the tunnel with this group. They had been visiting Jenna’s brother and their friends on the North Shore when the helicopter had forced them into hiding. They hoped the members of their own group on the South side of the island had found shelter too.

After a day and a half, Adam volunteered to go and check things out. He was back in about three hours, after checking the island thoroughly. He announced none too soon to those waiting in the dark for what seemed like a few years to go by, “They’ve cut down a lot of trees, just chopped down all the fruit trees I could see,” he reported. “And they tore up the gardens, trampled them. But I don’t see any sign of anybody on the island now.”

Alexis felt so guilty. “I’m so sorry,” she said. She couldn’t believe what was happening and she felt entirely responsible.

“We’ll replant and eat fish and prawn. Don’t worry,” said Judd, to her as much as to everybody else.

“I can’t say for sure, but I think they probably poisoned the water–the watercress is dying and there’s a strange tint to the water,” Gregg said after walking around the area for awhile.

“We better just eat from our supply for now then,” Ken decided for the group.

“Do you think they’re gone?” asked Victoria.

“Yes, but they’ll most likely be coming back with a full battalion. We’ve got something they want, obviously,” Ronnie said with a look at Alexis.

“I don’t know what to say, you guys, I….” began Alexis.

“Lexy, this isn’t your fault,” J.J. told her. “This was bound to happen sooner or later. It’s all a part of the plan. Listen, in Matthew 18:7, it says, ‘It must needs be that offenses come.’ The end is near, and we all just need to trust that the Lord will take care of us,” he told them.

They ate from their stored supplies of dried fish and bottled water they had saved for emergencies for about two weeks before the supplies started dwindling. The radishes they had replanted had already poked through the ground, as had some other crops, and they were rationing this precious food among them. Isaiah said a prayer before dinner one evening:

“‘When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in the high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.’ Thank you Lord, for your promises and provisions.”

“Amen,” they all said solemnly.

“Have faith,” said Noah. “God will provide.” And He did. Rain fell during that night, giving them fresh water. They got out of their beds and held out their tongues to catch the rain, delighting like little kids. They always had enough to eat, as fish from the ocean was abundant and pure. The next morning, Judd and Adam came running up to the kitchen with a bag full of coconuts.

“There’s about a hundred or so coconuts washed up on the beach!” he announced to the group. Josiah got a machete and set the coconut on the ground and swung at it, tearing at its hard covering. He then poked a hole in the top and drank the sweet juice. “Heaven,” he declared, passing it to Alexis. “Drink.”

“Mmmm… thank you God,” she said after drinking the sweet milk and handing the coconut to Hannah.

“Milk from Heaven,” Hannah said, handing it to Jazmin while more coconuts were opened and passed around. They all sat in a circle sipping coconut milk and singing together, as little children.

Later that day, the noisy helicopters returned, rudely intruding on the peaceful sunbathers lounging at the River Side Cafe. They scrambled up when they heard the helicopter and retreated to their meeting spot under the huge mango tree. Tired and low on energy, the weary group gathered together to pray. As the copters circled, the skies began to cloud up, and in minutes, a huge cloud covered the island, making visibility impossible from the air, and keeping the choppers from landing.

J.J. prayed and read from Isaiah, Chapter 40, verses 29 through 31: “‘He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be wary, and the young men shall utterly fall; But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, and they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.'”

“Let’s get to the tunnel A-SAP!” hurried Judd. “They’ll be sending people down, I’m sure,” he said.

“Agreed. But we’ve got some time. With this cloud cover, they can’t land,” Gregg assured them. They started their hike toward the underground tunnel under the bamboo forest where they would never be found by someone who didn’t know where the entrance to the tunnel was.

Alexis was one of those people. Although she’d taken cover there before, she often got lost in the jungle. It was okay, because she wasn’t usually alone. She had been hiking upriver when she heard the helicopters roar. She ran as fast as she could into the jungle alongside the river and tried to listen for her friends, but she didn’t hear anything, but the noise of the enemy. I’m lost, she knew, her heart drumming in her chest. The sky darkened and she thought it was going to rain, as clouds thickly covered the air above her. She walked along quietly, listening for voices.

“Alexis.” She heard someone whispering her name. She whirled around, looking for the sound.

“Lexy, shhh…. over here,” Allan whispered, shaking a tree limb about five feet in front of her. She slowly made her way to the tree. Allan grabbed her foot from below where he stood under a rock ledge which dropped off abruptly in front of her. She lowered herself down the ledge and he helped her to the ground. They were in some kind of a cave.

“Where?” Alexis asked.

“Shhh.” Allan put his finger to his lips and signaled behind him. She looked into the shadows and saw Cathy lying on a soft fur blanket on the ground. She was holding a newborn baby in her arms and was draped in a green sarong.

“Cathy!” Alexis couldn’t believe it. “Your baby! Already?”

“She came a month early,” Cathy told her softly. “Her name is Alana.”

“She’s beautiful,” Alexis told her, marveling at the tiny new creation.

“Her name means ‘awakening,'” Allan told her. Before she could respond, Allan held up his hand, freezing and putting his finger to his lips.

There were as still as possible while they strained to hear. Leaves cracked above them. Then they heard voices.

“They’re around here somewhere.”

“We won’t leave until we find her.” Alexis recognized the gruff, gravelly voice of Gus, her parents’ boss’ righthand guy. Always around, watching. Cathy and Allan looked at each other intently. Cathy held her squirming newborn to her breast. The baby sucked noisily. The voices started to fade farther away, and then, Alana let out a wail.

“Waaahhhh!” she cried. This is enough, thought Alexis. These people have suffered long enough for me. As two men in camouflage suits ran towards the child’s cry, Alexis leapt from their hiding place in the cave and ran out into the open.

“Alexis!” Cathy cried. “Wait!” But it was too late. Alexis called to the men.

“Hey! Over here! Here I am, so come and get me!” she shouted bravely, waving her arms in the air. The men jumped down the ledge over the cave and ran towards her, roughly grabbing her arms and handcuffing them behind her back.

“It’s all over now, you guys. I’m not afraid,” she called out to the group she knew was hiding all around her. “The Lord is my shepherd, I will not fear what men can do to me.” Nobody moved. Cathy and Allan watched sadly from their hiding place as the two men stood with Alexis. Their heavy breathing could be heard in the silence of the still day. As they walked down the trail with Gus leading, Alexis in the middle and a stocky man with steel-colored eyes holding a gun behind her, Alexis heard Josiah.

“‘And they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee,'” she heard him saying loudly. “We… I love you Alexis!!” he shouted.

“If the Lord is for me, who shall be against me?” she declared as she was suddenly filled with a deep peace.

“Stop talking that nonsense,” the menacing steely eyed man ordered. She recognized Gus, but she didn’t know who this guy was.

“We’ve got her; we’re bringing her in,” Gus spoke into his handheld radio. “Let’s go,” he ordered, leading the way up the trail to the top of a steep hill where the helicopter sat waiting. She could hear the prayers of her family in the distance, and she was comforted by their words.

Joshua’s voice rang out clear and powerful. “Do not be dismayed or afraid; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”

She stumbled on the little rocks crumbling on the steep hill. “I can’t keep my balance with my hands behind my back,” she complained, almost falling.

“You’ve caused all kinds of trouble, little girl Lexy,” Felix, as she had heard Gus call him, sneered at her. “Just wait until we get you to headquarters,” he threatened, ignoring her complaint.

With boldness, Lexy answered him, remembering Hebrews 13:6. “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear what men shall do unto me.”

“What are you babbling about?” Gus mocked, turning around and pulling her by the arm into the helicopter. She sat down uncomfortably and Gus slid in beside her.

“I’m talking about the God that made the world and all the things in it. He gives life to all life and breath to all things. You should seek the Lord, for in Him we live, and move and have our being. Because there will come a day when He will judge the world in righteousness…”

She noticed the helicopter pilot had turned his head and was looking at her intently. “Yeah, yeah, okay. Be a good little prisoner now, okay?” shushed Gus. She was encouraged by the pilot’s look.

She continued, “He raised Jesus Christ, his son, from the dead, and it is through Jesus Christ that we can all be saved.”

“Shut her up!” demanded Gus. “Let’s get outta here!” The roar of the propeller was deafening and soon they were in the sky. Lexy, still handcuffed, was strapped in the seat and could barely make out Felix’s words.

“Let’s see what your Jesus Christ does with this one!” he yelled. The helicopter rocked as a huge explosion lit up the island below. Flames reached toward the helicopter, a giant bird barely escaping the ascending flames.

“NOOOOO!!!!” Alexis screamed, terrified and in disbelief of what she was witnessing. For that, she received a swift punch in the face, knocking her unconscious.

Return to Paradise, Part II: Chapter 13

13

“Will you live all the days of your life loving God?” asked Pastor J.J.

“I will,” Alexis answered, standing waist-deep in the flat ocean, arms crossed across her chest. Next thing she knew, she was dipped back into the water, head under too. She held her breath, and a split second later, she came out of the water and stood straight up. She smiled as her friends clapped for her on the beach.

“Good for you, Alexis!” congratulated Hannah, giving her a tight hug. Jazmin and Karen stood behind her, waiting to hug her too.

“I’m dripping wet,” Alexis laughed.

“That’s okay, I am too,” said Jazmin, who had also gotten baptized.

“Welcome to the Family,” Victoria told her. They stood on the shore and watched Amber and Joshua Cyrene get baptized together as husband and wife. Little Aja ran around the beach with Aaron.

“Mommy! Mommy!” called Aja, as Amber walked out of the ocean. Josiah handed her a towel.

“Congratulations, Sis!” he told her. “And you too, Alexis,” he said shyly to Alexis, on whom he obviously had a crush.

“Thanks Josiah,” Alexis said. Then, in a burst of courage, she gave him a hug. Josiah turned red. Amber smiled at her parents, Suzanne and Noah, who sat on the grass, watching their son fall in love with Alexis.

***

Alexis lay on a big blanket, soaking up the afternoon sun and basking in glory. “You’re glowing,” Josiah looked at her.

“I feel really good. Happy,” Alexis answered him. They had spent as much time as they could together since Alexis was baptized a week ago. She was surely in love, and it felt nothing like when she and Dan had been together. But she didn’t tell that to Josiah. “I was just thinking about what J. J. said about being chosen. Why me of all people?” she wondered.

“Called out of the darkness into his marvelous light,” quoted Josiah. “It’s 1 Peter 2:9, from memory,” he added. “We are partakers of the divine nature, in Christ,” Josiah told her. “Because He loves us. And it’s all part of His plan,” he said, reaching for his Bible lying above his head on the blanket. Opening it and turning quickly to the page he was looking for, he read, “‘It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ It’s from the book of Luke. ‘Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.’ That’s Ephesians 1:4-5,” he told her. “That about says it all. God’s word is powerful stuff.”

“Yeah,” Lexy agreed. She looked around her at the magnificent mountains jutting dramatically into the sky. Rising up against a bright blue sky, the fluted mountain tops formed a jagged line marking the horizon. A place more beautiful than this can’t exist, Lexy thought to herself. She gave thanks for her surroundings and for the safe haven of the island, and for Josiah and her new island family. It made her feel better to believe someone or something wiser than herself was in control and would take care of her.

“Now that we know the truth, we have a greater responsibility than most people in the world, who were never shown the truth,” Josiah said a little while later, after they had swam. They were laying down side by side, drying off in the sunshine.

“What do you mean, Josiah, by a ‘greater responsibility’?” asked Alexis.

“Well, we have to live righteous lives, not that we wouldn’t. But now, it’s our responsibility, knowing the truth. Here, let me read this to you.” He turned right to the section he was looking for and read, “‘If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.’ That’s 2 Peter 2:20-21,” he told her. “Then there’s Ephesians, um, I think it’s 5…” he was flipping through his Bible. “Here it is. Chapter 5:8, ‘For you were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.'”

“Wow!” said Lexy. “The Bible talks about everything, doesn’t it?”

“It’s a good instruction manual. Keep reading it; you’ll learn a lot,” he advised. She nodded, silently noting that she had called the Bible an instruction manual too. She felt like she had this incredible connection with Josiah. She studied his profile as he looked out toward the water. He is so cute, she thought. His short brown hair and his warm blue eyes seemed to pierce right through to her heart and touch her.

“I never thought about the responsibility,” said Alexis. “What about the people that never learn about God in their lives? Like those living in the city, where I was?” she wondered.

“Well, the Bible says the Gospel–God’s word–will be spoken in all the world before Jesus Christ comes to claim his family. So if they are ready and willing and have not hardened their hearts, they will hear it. That’s what I believe,” Josiah told her.

“Yeah.” She thought about her parents, and Isabella and Dan. Her community, and all those from Masonville. Would they ever listen to the truth? She didn’t know. Josiah touched her hair that had grown a few inches since her arrival to the island.

“So soft,” he said. She looked at him. She could see herself in his dark blue eyes. “You’re beautiful,” he told her. Then he gently kissed her.

***

After a delicious, festive dinner, they sat in a circle around the fire. Light danced off their faces as they talked among one another. Alexis sat next to Josiah and listened to Gregg.

“The end could come at any time, nobody but God really knows. Our job is to be ready, be peaceful and without blame, living righteous lives,” Gregg said, mostly to David who was sitting with his wife, Jennifer.

“I think we must be in the tribulation period,” said Jennifer. “The Bible says God will come after that.”

“And when do you think that will be?” Gabriel asked his mother.

“Some people say it won’t happen because things have been the same for hundreds of years,” Ken offered.

“To God, a second is like a thousand years, or something, right Mom?” Raphael looked at Jennifer. She nodded at her younger son.

“Yes, that’s true. But if you look at the history and read the Bible, you’ll see. God warned Noah about the flood that would destroy the Earth, and people just laughed at Noah as he was preparing, building the ark,” Jennifer said.

“I remember reading that the Lord is waiting for as many people as possible to repent. I can’t remember where exactly I read that,” said David.

“God sent His son, not to condemn the Earth, but to save it,” Gregg added.

“‘For the son of man is come to save that which was lost,’ Matthew 18:11 tells us,” said Suraya Justus.

“I know where it is,” said Daniel. “Look at 2 Peter 3-4. This part tells us that fire, and not water, will end the world this time. Let’s see, let me find it from the beginning.” He cleared his throat and began reading in a loud, clear voice. “‘Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and with the Earth standing out of the water and in the water; Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the Earth, which are now by the same word kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.'”

“If you keep reading, it goes on to say that ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Meaning just what it says. His time is not like our time,” Daniel went on. “Be assured, the Lord is not ‘slack concerning his promises, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.'” That’s the part you remembered, right David?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” David answered.

“There’s more here,” said Daniel, his young face looking wise. He glanced up at the faces around the fire, a little unnerved that he had everybody’s full attention. He was usually pretty quiet.

“Keep reading,” Gabriel urged him. Suraya sat next to him and gave him a smile of encouragement.

“Okay. ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the Earth also, and the words that are therein shall be burned up.'” Daniel finished reading and put his Bible down in front of him. “It’s all right here in the good book. Believe it and prepare your hearts.” People nodded their heads in agreement, but there was not very much conversation. The intensity of Daniel’s point caused everyone to contemplate their own lives.

Am I prepared? Alexis wondered to herself. What will happen to my family? Will they be burned in the fire? Even though she was so far away from them, Alexis did not want her family to burn up in the fire; she wanted them to be saved too. “How can we help all those people living in Masonville and everywhere else?” Alexis asked J.J., who had sat down next to his daughter and listened to what Daniel was reading.

“We can pray for them,” J.J. told her. “God’s word will not return void; it’s alive and powerful. You’ll learn this in the Bible too. So, if you ask Him to open their eyes and hears, He will find a way to do it.”

“Because God will make a way, when there seems to be no way,” Suraya added. “I remember singing that song as a little kid,” she told him. “Do you Dad?” she asked J.J.

“I remember,” he told her.

“But how will they even hear about God over there?” Alexis asked him.

“I’m not sure, Alexis. People like Wynn, Juli and Will have been intercessors for those on the mainland for a long time. They’ve led several people to the knowledge of Christ, or at least planted the seed,” J.J. said.

“What’s an intercessor?” Alexis asked.

“It’s someone who intercedes, or prays for others,” Colette told her.

“Oh,” Alexis said.

“And do people see Wynn and Juli or Will? I thought they couldn’t see them or that they were secretive?” Alexis asked them.

“They are a lot more careful now,” Jennifer told her. “But God has led people to them, and then they share the truth.”

“Like me,” Gregg spoke up. “Wynn saved my life.”

“He did? How?” asked Alexis.

“Well, I guess it was about 2025 or so and it was getting really hard to do anything without getting in trouble, because I didn’t get the CHIP. Well, my hair,” he pointed to his long dark hair, “seemed to attract the attention of these thugs in black that patrolled the streets.” Alexis remembered the men in black loading bodies into a truck. “They tried to arrest me and shave my head,” Gregg told them, horrified. “But I managed to escape. It was really a miracle,” Gregg was saying. “I was in prison and it was midnight and I prayed to God–my grandmother had taught me about our heavenly father. The next thing I knew, the door to the cell was open. I didn’t really believe what I was seeing, but it was opened and as I tiptoed out, all the guards were sleeping and I slipped out of the building. I just started running in the night and in the morning, don’t ask me how, I was laying in Wynn’s house.”

“But how? Did you know him?” Suraya asked.

“I’d never met him. But he knew me and knew I was in trouble. Well, the next morning, Will and Juli took me here. And here I am,” said Gregg. “So I think that was God at work. Even though I don’t understand it, I know it couldn’t have happened without Him,” Gregg said.

“Incredible!” said J.J. David and Jennifer nodded.

“God is good,” said Daniel. Several people audibly agreed.

Return to Paradise, Part II: Chapter 11

11

“She didn’t tell me anything, really,” insisted Isabella in a pleading tone. Beads of sweat glistened against her dark skin.

Sid completed his tenth lap around the room, his shoes tapping in the silence. He walked to Isabella, who was sitting, hands in her lap, knees together on the hard metal chair. Sid knelt in front of her and looked at her face. “You have information. You will tell me what you know about this book,” he said menacingly. He had used the same words with Trevor and Dan just hours earlier. Both boys denied any knowledge but had both broken down and cried from Sid’s intense accusations. Isabella, too, started crying. She was obviously scared to death.

“Sid–” Cynthia started, having pity on the girl. “She doesn’t know anything; leave her alone.” Gus turned his head slowly toward Cynthia. His anger seemed to lash at her from his eyes.

“That will be all Cynthia,” he said evenly. “Start talking!” he yelled loudly in Isabella’s face.

“I don’t know! I swear!” Isabella was shaking.

“Come on Sly…” Shelby tried to intervene.

“Silence! Gus, escort the women out,” Sid demanded. Gus instantly stood up and ushered Cynthia and Shelby to the door. The only sound was Isabella’s sniffling, trying to hold back sobs.

“Murphy, activate deceit detector,” Sid spoke to his computer.

“Activated,” Murphy answered seconds later.

“Gus, scan the girl.” Gus roughly pulled Isabella out of her seat and placed her wrist on the scanner. “What have you heard about Alexis Roberts’ writing or book?” he asked Isabella sharply.

“I don’t know,” said the frightened girl, whose 5’10” frame seemed dwarfed by her surroundings. The computer flashed red.

“Murphy doesn’t lie!” Sid informed her. “If you don’t tell me what you know right now, I’ll put you in prison for life!” Sid barked at her heartlessly. Ed and Jerry held their breath, while Gus stood at attention, already relishing the prospect of taking Isabella to his personal kingdom.

“Okay,” sobbed Isabella. Ed whirled around, surprised at the breakthrough. Jerry, Gus, Ed and Sid looked at her intently, waiting.

“Go on,” Jerry urged her.

“I think I remember she said something about meeting a man, years ago.”

“Where!?” Sid interrogated.

“Somewhere in the country, her parents took her, a meeting. Oh, please don’t hurt her,” Isabella pleaded.

“It’s Graybeard!” Gus interjected, excitedly.

“Gotta be,” said Ed.

“Coastline,” Sid said. “Go get him.”

“On it,” Gus answered. He left the room in a flash, intent on his hunt.

“It’s time,” Sid announced to Ed Blitz and Jerry Roberts. “Wipe out the opposition. Let’s sound frequencies worldwide. We need every life under control. We’ve been too relaxed. If there are people out there, let’s get rid of them.”

“Time to step it up a few notches,” said Jerry.

“Let’s do it now,” Ed agreed.

 

Return to Paradise, Part II: Chapter 8

8

The next morning, Alexis sat on a log in the kitchen watching the breakfast preparations. Karen, Drew, Cyrus and Jazmin were in charge.

“At home, Mom just orders us food pellets and when I think about it, or she reminds me, I swallow them.” Alexis was telling the 19-year-old black-haired beauty named Jazmin. “Here you guys spend a lot of time cooking and eating,” she said. “And growing it in the garden too. Wynn showed me his garden. He didn’t eat pellets either, said they weren’t healthy.” They smiled at the mention of their friend.

“I bet he said that,” Karen laughed. “He always tells it like it is. And you’re sure making me feel my age,” Karen told Alexis. “But I have to say, sometimes the old ways are the best. As you can see, here food does take some time. But so what Lexy!? It’s all worth it. It’s easy, and it’s a gift from our maker,” Karen said.

“I think you’ll like this whole food/eating thing if you just give it a chance. You’ll feel better, look better,” said Cyrus, who at 17, had never experienced pellets. “You’ll wonder how you ever survived swallowing pills.”

“Okay Cyrus,” Alexis agreed, grinning at her new friend. “I’ll have to believe you, but this seems a little weird,” she said, looking at the breadfruit that Drew set in front of her. She supposed she’d adjust. Nobody was popping pellets here.

She tried some clear liquid called water. Not too much taste, but it was refreshing. Lexy sat and watched quietly while Drew blew in the fire, causing the flame to grow. By the time the sun was warming up the earth, the kitchen was aflutter with activity. Lexy felt okay. She wasn’t scared, but was relieved because she realized she had been right in feeling that something was wrong with her world. It was missing something. But here on the island, with these people she hardly knew, she felt safe and alive and full of a joy she had never known.

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.