Seven: Chapters 40-42 :: By Alice Childs


Journal Entry: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Here at home, our lives are finally beginning to return somewhat to the way they were before the long winter, though things will never really be the same again. If we knew that intellectually before, our hearts certainly know it now. Will resumed our weekly meetings, but in truth, the town seems to be merely going through the motions. After so many deaths, more and more people are quietly slipping out of town. Many have been talking about going back to the bigger cities. I don’t know why they’d want to go into the cities, but maybe just being somewhere else is what they want. Both Will and Mitch constantly remind everyone that we are only in the beginning of the Tribulation, but those who remain lost don’t want to hear “all that doom and gloom talk,” so many of them have left, looking for an escape from horror and death – an escape that will never come outside of Jesus. Between those who died and those who, for whatever reason, have decided to leave, we are currently down to less than 500 people in town.

At the end of April, Mitch and Clyde reminded everyone that if they want to eat, they were going to have to help grow our food. Everyone has to pitch in and help in some way. Those who are elderly or infirm are not expected to do manual labor, but almost everyone has offered to help in some capacity. Those who are physically able to do so will help plant, weed, tend, and harvest what we grow at Amos’s, which has become the town’s green grocer. Many people have family or household gardens. Even the girls have planted a small garden out back that we all help tend, but Amos’ place is big enough to help support the town – at least for the time being, so the entire town will pitch in to tend it. When harvest time comes around, if we are still able to do so, Izzy will again set up canning and food preservation.

We picked the day of Monday, May 4th, to begin planting if the weather permitted. It did. God sent us a beautiful spring day. Towards the end of April, after we had closed the big grave in Bootstrap and after we had buried Eva and Mike, several men went out to the farm. Using Amos’ tractor, they tilled the ground in his front field, preparing it for Planting Day as we called it.

Almost the entire town went out to Amos’ farm on Planting Day. We planted what we could to help replenish the town’s food supplies. We planted corn, several varieties of beans, yellow squash, cabbages, several kinds of lettuce, cucumbers, okra, tomatoes, mixed greens, onions, garlic, potatoes – both Irish and sweet, – carrots, radishes, eggplant, turnips, and melons. In the fall, Lord willing, we hope to grow pumpkins and winter squash.

Izzy Blake moved into Mike’s apartment and took over the store. Byllie and Cindy reopened the RR store. But after the superflu, supplies, especially of bedding, were greatly diminished.

At this Wednesday’s meeting, Clyde told everyone that our supply of gasoline was nearly gone. He called for a halt to all unnecessary driving unless it was approved by the town council for the benefit of the town, such as working at the farm. He made up lists of work crews so everyone could carpool to save gas. He stated that even the police would only be patrolling the downtown area after dark. In the daytime, patrols were to be done on foot, just like the old days when beat cops walked their towns.

He and the Town Council had decided to leave the quarantine signs up on the way into town to deter anyone else from coming. Mitch, speaking on behalf of the Town Council, also reiterated that each household needed to begin storing, preserving, and rationing food and commodities, and to begin storing water. He also urged everyone who could to ride bikes, and if they had no bike, to try to find one – and as always, to check on those who were elderly and unable to walk or ride bikes. Transportation-wise, we were back to where we began after the rapture. At least we still had electrical power; thank God.

We resumed giving the outdoor survival classes, and the girls resumed their classes as well. A few were uninterested, but the majority still were.


On the news the day of May 14, our gang had once again gathered at the girls’ home. We watched as the Temple in Jerusalem was dedicated and a red heifer sacrificed. The sacrifice was performed out of the sight of everyone, of course, in the ‘holy of holies’ – the most sacred place in the Temple. This new Temple, as we all know, will, in a couple of years’ time, be desecrated by Draken. At that time, we will know that we will be at the midpoint of these last seven years and will be entering the time that Jesus called the ‘Great Tribulation.’

Of course, Draken was at the dedication of the Temple on May 14 along with that creepy ‘Prophet’ Gulden. These two never miss any opportunity to have the eyes of the world focused on them – particularly Draken. His pomposity and narcissism continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Just seeing the two of them makes our skin crawl, but those who are lost – which includes the majority of the world – adore and worship the ‘son of the dragon.’

Ever since the signing of the covenant, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of God’s two witnesses; God’s ’emissaries’ as Will calls them. Then, sure enough, just as scripture foretold, they showed up!

Today, at the dedication, right on the steps of the newly built Temple, these two men who call themselves Moshe and Elias seemed to just appear. Both men are of an indeterminate age, looking like they could be anywhere from 40 -100 years old, yet they were not at all infirm or feeble. Both are imposing figures, tall and well-muscled. Elias appears to be a few inches taller and of a leaner build. They were both dressed in shirts that looked like – was it some kind of hair? – like camel hair? I don’t know how to accurately describe what they wore. The shirts looked kinda like burlap, but that isn’t the material, I’m sure. Their pants were loose and baggy. Both had belts of canvas or maybe some type of woven rope. Moshe, the shorter of the two by a couple of inches, had a slightly bigger frame. Both have shoulder-length gray hair and full, flowing beards, with Elias’ hair and beard being more white than gray.

Both men stood erect; and from them both emanated a projection of raw power. We could sense that… what? power? authority? even across the airwaves. This was reminiscent of the kind of power Draken projected on the day of the covenant signing, but this – this power felt, seemed much stronger. Although both looked aged, neither appeared old, if you know what I mean. Moshe carried what looked like a large walking stick. Elias had with him some kind of cloak thrown over one shoulder.

These two men stood still as statues on the steps of the Temple. As the smoke from the sacrifice became viable, the crowd began to cheer. Moshe stepped forward and held out his arms with the long stick (staff?) in his right hand extended out over the crowd; suddenly the crowd was silenced, seeming to become immobilized. Even Draken and Gulden seemed unable to speak or move. When they began to speak, all of us got the feeling that they were speaking a language we didn’t know; Hebrew maybe? We don’t understand Hebrew; we heard them in English. Still we got the strong impression that everyone hearing them was hearing in their own native tongue. We had no proof, but we all felt strongly that this was indeed what was happening. In a loud, ringing voice, Moshe began to speak:

“Children of Israel, hear ye today the voice of the Lord! We appear before you today oh House of Jacob because your time of testing has begun. Take heed, oh Israel and beware, for the Son of Perdition and his False Prophet are already in your midst. Take heed! Repent now and come to the Messiah that you, Israel, have rejected – the Messiah about whom you, Israel, cried ‘Crucify him! Let His blood be on us and on our children!’ Repent and come unto the salvation of the Lamb of God who alone takes away the sins of the world! Israel, run to your true Messiah, Yeshua Ha’ Mashiach!”

Then Elias stepped forward and began to quote Isaiah 53:

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12 KJV).

“Hear us now, House of Jacob,” Elias continued, “We are God’s two Olive Trees. We are His messengers; witnesses of the Most High God. We have been sent here for such a time as this! Hear the Word of the Lord. Beware of the seducer, the Son of Perdition who is even now in your midst. Repent!”

Moshe spoke, “We stand in the power and might of the Great I AM – the Ancient of Days, the Holy One of Israel – Yahweh Sabaoth! Do not attempt to thwart us or try to bring us harm. The God of Glory is our strength. If anyone should dare attempt to harm us, God has granted to us the power to stop all who try with fire! Repent and believe upon your true Messiah, oh house of Israel, for the time of Great Tribulation is close at hand!”

When Moshe lowered his hands, the paralysis of the crowd was broken. For a few minutes, pandemonium reigned. We saw Draken look to the side as if giving orders. In a few minutes, a group of soldiers wearing EP insignia approached the two men who stood stock still on the steps of the newly built Temple. The EP soldiers got no closer than 15 feet of the two men when, without warning, both men opened their mouths and fire shot from their open mouths, consuming the soldiers. The soldiers were not just burned; they were – incinerated. There weren’t even bodies left. There were only piles of ash. The crowd drew back in horror. No one dared do anything, not even Draken or Gulden, but the look on Draken’s face was the face of evil incarnate.

“Israel, REPENT!” shouted Elias. Then both men calmly walked down the steps of the Temple. As they approached the crowd, they seemed to disappear into it, although no one could say where or in which direction they went.

“Wow,” said Mitch, excitedly; “there they are! There they are indeed!”

Even now though, for a bit, things in Norrisville have returned to somewhat normal circumstances (whatever normal is now). Across the world at large, the seals of Revelation are still unfolding.

In America, a person or some group of persons were able to breach the security at the Centers for Disease Control – the CDC in Atlanta Georgia. Whoever these terrorists were, they were able to make their way into the biosafety level 4 labs where they stole one of the few vials of archival smallpox left in the world. Within two weeks’ time of the theft, the dreaded disease of smallpox was loosed in the state of Florida. As of now, the outbreak is spreading throughout Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean islands. The governors of Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee have closed their borders, and ordered their National Guard units to shoot to kill anyone trying to enter from states that border Florida. From the Caribbean, smallpox is migrating into South America via the archipelago of islands that stretch for several hundred miles, connecting to the continent of South America.

As a result of this act of terrorism, the governor of Georgia ordered the complete destruction of the entire CDC complex. The risk of the release of other incurable plagues was simply too great. The entire complex was incinerated and razed to the ground.

The situation in what’s left of the United States is critical. The Pacific Northwest and the Pacific coastline are just obliterated. DC and New York have become absolute hell zones. The food basket of the heartland has been devastated by both ash and intense rain and flooding; and along America’s Southern borders, it has become a war zone.

In Europe, the guillotine has made its terrifying return. Outspoken believers as well as former politicos and any others who dare to criticize or oppose Draken, these by the hundreds of thousands all across Europe and the Middle East are dying by the blade of the guillotine. The same death that is slowly marching westward towards what’s left of America to those of us who follow Jesus Christ.

In South America, earthquakes are on the rise. Santiago, Chile, was just struck with a 7.5 magnitude quake and strong aftershocks continue. India and Pakistan are still in the bloody throes of war as is the entire peninsula of Korea, Japan, and parts of China. In Africa, the DRC is being decimated with a seemingly unstoppable pandemic of Ebola Zaire, while across the African continent there are swaths of outbreaks of rabies, leprosy, Dengue Fever, and Yellow Fever. Meanwhile, the continent of Australia, from the Outback all the way into Sydney, is a burning cauldron of wildfires. Australia looks like a Hellscape. Beautiful New Zealand was rocked again by a tremendous earthquake of at least a 7.8 magnitude that hit Auckland, as the seals of Revelation continue to be unrolled.


Journal Entry: Monday July 27, 2020

Well, Journal, did you think that I’d forgotten you? Of course, I haven’t. We all stay so busy now, and with no gasoline available anymore, we’re back to traveling by bike or shank’s mare, as Grandma used to say.

About two weeks after Planting Day, the six of us plus Izzy, Clyde, Carter, Will and Grant Owen, had all gathered at the girls’ house to grill out. We invited Chief Little-John and were delighted when he agreed to join us. Both Grant and Chief Little-John had some venison tenderloin and backstrap steaks that they were going to grill. Izzy brought some of last year’s corn from Mike’s freezer, and Carter brought potatoes and fresh-churned butter. Both Byllie and Carter were almost back to full health. Byllie baked another fudge cake using the last of our own store of sugar, while Izzy brought her old hand-crank ice cream churn, and using the last of her sugar, made homemade vanilla ice cream.

Carter, Mitch, Trail, Will and I took turns turning the crank on the ice cream churn, while Little-John and Grant grilled the steaks. It was an amazing meal and a really relaxing time – probably the most relaxed we’ve been since the awful losses from the superflu. It was almost like old times – almost. We could not have been more aware of Mike and Eva’s absence. Their absence was still a fresh wound, tender and raw.

After dinner, we were all full as ticks about to pop. We sat outside on the big back patio, enjoying the darkening sky, watching the candle flies – lightning bugs or fireflies, as some people call them, but I grew up calling them candle flies – dart in and out, stitching the evening air with their yellow light. Our conversation was casual and desultory. Finally, Clyde, whom we’d noticed had been quieter than usual all evening, spoke up.

“I ain’t wantin’ to throw no cold water on what’s been a fine evenin’, but while we’re all gathered t’gether, there’s sumpin’ that’s been layin’ hard on my mind fer a while now, an’ I thank we need ta discuss it,” he began.

“On Sundays, young Will has been takin’ us through th’ sixth chapter o’ Revelation. It’s purty clear that th’ first five seals o’ judgment are in play right now. Would you agree with that, young William?” asked Clyde, turning to look at Will.

Will nodded and said, “Yes. I agree with that, and the next seal to be opened frankly scares me to death. Go on Clyde.”

“Well, iff’n ya read the next seal judgment that’s comin’ anytime now, it’s clear ta me that we ain’t gon’ be able ta hold t’gether as a town much longer. They’s gon’ come a point when its gon’ be ever man fer hisself. This world an’ Norrisville in it is like th’ Titanic. We’ve done what we kin fer th’ good o’ th’ town fer jest about as long as we kin. But, on th’ Titanic, thar came a point on that freezin’ April night in th’ North Atlantic when Cap’in Smith an’ t’other officers could do no more. Thar came a point when th’ Cap’in had ta issue th’ order ta abandon ship. When he did, it was ever man fer hisself. I thank we may be close ta that place here,” Clyde said, gravely.

None of us said a word. None of us moved. Looking straight at me, Clyde continued.

“Bobby, I thank it’s time that all y’all begin ta make plans ta head on up torge Yellow Top. Meybe not in the next few days, but certainly after th’ harvest iff’n thangs hold out that long. Once th’ next seal is broken – the huge earthquake o’ th’ sixth seal, then thar ain’t gon’ be no Norrisville ta try ta hold onto anyway. We may’r may not git th’ harvest all in afore the Lord breaks th’ next seal, but iff’n the Lord holds the next judgment back fer jest a little longer, then I strongly urge y’all ta start makin’ yer plans to move on up thar now. What do ya say, Master Will? Agree’r not?” asked Clyde.

Will replied, “I agree totally.”

“Bobby,” said Clyde, addressing me again, “I know th’ cabin’s only got three bedrooms upstair, and a course yore master bedroom downstair. But that huge great room’ll hold a slew o’ mattresses not includin’ those two big couches an’ Clayt’s recliner. Plus, thar’s th’ shop, which I know ain’t heated, but it could be used most o’ th’ time as long as th’ weather ain’t freezing, if need be. So, by my reckonin’, yer cabin could house as many as a dozen, an yer workshop even more if push comes ta shove.”

I was already nodding my head, and replied, “As long as the power holds out, I can heat the workshop with space heaters. Plus, I have a window air conditioner in the shop already. If we got enough mattresses and bedding, I could house another 6 or so there. I mean, it is a workshop, so it wouldn’t have the comforts of home, but if we cleared the center area, it could work. Also, I’ve got the root cellar that still has some of Grandma’s canned goods stored there, and if we put our allotment of produce together, we could have a good store of food. I could certainly house everyone that’s here and a few others.”

Both Chief Little-John and Clyde were shaking their heads. Little-John said he was fine staying where he was since he was between us and town anyway and could be on Yellow Top in short order. Clyde’s response surprised and worried me.

I won’t be leavin’ Norrisville,” said Clyde, flatly. I got ta stay on fer a bit. They’s thangs that need seein’ to yet, so I’m gon’ be stayin’ in town, at least fer th’ time bein’.”

Maybe it was because the loss of Mike and Eva was still so raw and my own emotional equilibrium was still off kilter, but his dogged response upset me way beyond what it should have. I could feel myself getting really angry. I wasn’t so much mad at him as scared for him. My response to him was terse and my rising temper was evident in my voice. I was scared and worried; and even though I knew I was overreacting without fully hearing him out, I couldn’t seem to grab hold of the reins of my emotions and get them in check. I could feel the color rising in my cheeks as the hold on my temper slipped a notch.

“So, Clyde,” I began, my voice dripping with scorn, “pardon me if I call out this stupid romantic notion you seem to have embraced, for the dung heap that it is. Although the Titanic analogy is apt, let me be blunt here: you are not Captain Smith. You do not need to ‘go down with the ship.'”  I knew how stubborn Clyde could be. I was so upset with him and scared for him that I was nearly shaking.

“This isn’t some game, Clyde, and it isn’t some stupid Hollywood movie either! You aren’t playing a part in a movie! You must have some noble, heroic, romanticized notion that you’re some ship’s captain who has to stand on the bridge of a sinking ship all gung-ho with this stiff-upper-lip bravado because of some misguided sense of duty! Norrisville’s not the Titanic, or the Lusitania, or even the blessed Bismarck!” I roared at him, “and you’re not Captain Smith, John Paul Jones, Errol Flynn or Captain Kirk!

“Come up to Yellow Top with us! You can still go down to check on the town. You said yourself that once the big earthquake hits, there likely won’t be a town to worry about. Shoot, Clyde, there may not be a Yellow Top left either, but we would at least have a better chance of surviving if we stick together for as long as possible. You’re not expendable, Clyde! We need you!”

I was wound up and nearly shouting at him. Sarah put her hand on my arm and told me gently to calm down. Both Trail and Mitch were looking at me pityingly, and I was ready to wheel on them too. All of a sudden I felt like all of this was some movie plot I’d been dropped into. Everything felt surreal; I felt as if my life had become some big, old-time Hollywood epic like Gone With the Wind or something where civility was dying and the leading character was going to make some ‘noble sacrifice’ that would cost him his life.

“Just what good do you think you’re going to accomplish by staying in town?” I went on, relentlessly, daring anyone to shut me up till I’d had my say.

“We are hemorrhaging people every week! More and more people are just walking out, not bothering to come back. Something I totally understand, but which still seems somehow, I don’t know, a bit ungrateful to me since we’ve all done everything we know how to provide for them and to prepare them to survive. I mean… Trail, Sarah, and Lilly stayed on the front lines day and night for that town. Brent and Vera died caring for that town. Almost all of us put our lives at risk to get the town through the aftermath of the rapture and the superflu. Clyde, you and poor old Dewey and Norm all put your lives on the line more than once. Now Dewey and Norm are both gone.

“We’ve even planted food for the benefit of everyone, and instead of others stepping up to the plate, a lot of people just sit back and wait to be told what to do by somebody else. Others are leaving, and most of them because they don’t like having to work to survive. I mean… that’s okay; they have the right to go wherever they want. We’re going to do the same too, but my question to you is the same. Clyde, I’m asking you, what more can you do than you’ve already done, and what good can you do for yourself or them by putting yourself at further risk?! If we really are at the ‘abandon ship’ stage, and I think we are, then come out with us. Don’t stay and become a martyr for a town that’s already as good as dead!”

I waited for Clyde to cut me down to size, but he didn’t. Instead, he got up and came over to where I was sitting. He hunkered down in front of me and made eye contact. In a voice hushed and more gentle than I ever remember hearing, Clyde said,

“Bobby. I thank ye. And just so’s ya know, I love you too. I love all y’all. Y’all mean more ta me than I kin ever say.” Making sure he had my eye, Clyde continued, “Now, Bobby, I want ya ta hark to what I’m tellin’ ya. Listen ta me, son, I ain’t playin’ at bein’ Cap’n Smith, Cap’n Ahab, or even Cap’n James T Kirk. Here’s whar I’m comin’ from: y’all are my family an’ I want ta see y’all all taken care of as best as I kin. Makin’ sure yall’r safe as y’all kin be will take a great load off’n my heart an’ mind. I feel responsible fer y’all cause y’all are my family.

“But see, here’s the rub; I’m also responsible fer those in town that ain’t got no family or nowhere else ta go, includin’ those who cain’t go cause they ain’t able ta go nowhere. Even those who’re still fool enough after all that’s happened who thank they’re gon’ wake up one morning an’ things is jest gon’ go back to what they used ta be, well, meybe I’m responsible fer them too – at least to a degree. Now me an’ Chief Little-John an’ a couple t’other ol’ boys like Orson Reese, Ollie Reeves, an’ Butch Miller – a bunch o’ us older men, we all been talkin’. All you youngsters has done yore share an’ then some. The town owes y’all a much bigger debt than they will ever know.

Truth is, y’all are young; and iff’n the Lord sees fit ta allow it, y’all stand th’ best chance o’ surviving ta th’ end; better’n us older folk. A course, that’s all dependent on what the Lord allows. Like I said, me an’ th’ Chief, we all been talkin’, an’ we aim ta give y’all that chance iff’n the Lord is willin’. Izzy’s gon’ stay up on Yellow Top with y’all, an’ the Chief here’s gon’ watch out fer ya too since he lives betwixt Yellow Top and town. The rest o’ us old geezers…” he paused and winked at me. He actually reached up and ruffled my hair like he used to do when I was 8 years old… “th’ rest o’ us, we’re gon’ see how thangs shake out – no punnin’ intended. Once this big quake hits an’ we see how much damage it does, we’ll take care o’ those we kin as best as we kin. After we attend the hurt an’ injured, we’ll do what we kin fer those left, then we’ll see.

“Now, Terry, I know yore thankin’ that you an’ the girls kin still hep, but ya cain’t. We all know that thar ain’t no more medical supplies ta go around. Mitch an’ Will are constantly remindin’ folks ’bout that and urgin’ them ta prepare fer their own household. Some o’em has an’ some o’em ain’t. But that ain’t yore lookout. Ye’ve done all ya kin do, so I’m sorta orderin’ y’all ta stay up here an’ take care o’ each other from now on. You girls with yer classes has already done all y’all kin do ta prepare people ta survive on their own; you boys have too. Ye’ve quitted yerselves well. I’m proud o’ all y’all.

“I promise, once it gits ta th’ point whar there ain’t nothin’ else that kin be done, then I’ll join y’all up thar. But I owe th’ town that much – ta see ’em through this next big thang iffin’ there’s anythin’ that kin be done. I ain’t never asked nobody fer nuthin’, but I’m askin’ ya fer this: please stay up here. Knowin’ yall’re all t’gether here’ll keep my mind at ease; knowin’ that y’all, th’ only family I ever had, are as safe as kin be will give my mind peace. Will y’all do that fer me?” Clyde turned from Trail and took both Sarah’s hands in his big ones and said,

“Little Lass, iff’n I thought that y’all stayin’ and workin’ th’ clinic would do one bit o’ good, I’d have ever’ one o’ y’all stay, but I thank we’re at the point whar we’re close ta the ‘abandon ship’ order bein’ given. Ya have my word, Lassie: once th’ dust settles, so ta speak, then everbody, me included, will abandon ship.” Clyde leaned over and kissed the top of her forehead. I’d never seen Clyde act so tender or speak so gently. Sarah flung her arms around him and cried. Clyde hugged her and then gently put her hand in mine.

“Look out fer her, Bobby. All y’all stay here and look out fer each other. Now, here’s what me an’ the Chief here are gon’ do: we’re gon’ git Amos’ ol’ mule Balaam an’ the buckboard an’ we’re gon’ load up as many o’ y’alls mattresses, blankets, quilts, sheets, clothes, pots an’ pans, household goods, food an’ such as we kin, an’ we’re gon’ take ’em up ta Yellow Top. We goin’ do this a little bit at a time as inconspicuous as possible. I don’t want no newcomers, few as they are, knowing nothin’ ’bout nothin’. So y’all, start now boxin’ up yer clothes, an’ all extra beddin’, blankets, quilts, household wares an’ such, an’ we’ll make a run up the mountain ever so often. We gon’ be usin’ Balaam an’ th’ buckboard ’round town anyways so’s people are gon’ git used ta seein’ ’em.

“By th’ by, Bobby, I’ll bet ya didn’t know it, but using ol’ Balaam and Amos’ buckboard was how me an’ Mikey had planned on gittin’ you an yer bike back up th’ mountain the first few days after the rapture. A’ course, we didn’t have ta do that ’cause th’ pawr came back on. But me an’ Mike had it all figured out.” Clyde finished with a smile.

I dropped my head and told Clyde I was sorry I’d yelled at him. I told him I understood, but that I still wanted him to come with us so he’d be safe too. His next comment both soothed and shamed me.

“Bobby, we’re all safer’n we’ve ever been ’cause now we’re safe in Jesus no matter what happens ta our bodies.”

I realize now, after Sarah and Trail both explained it to me, that my overreaction was one of delayed shock – a kind of hysteria; sort of a transient PTSD reaction. Knowing that made me feel a bit better, although I was still ashamed of how I’d yelled at Clyde.

So we began to plan our trip to Yellow Top. We decided to pray, asking God if we should leave now or wait. We all sensed that we should wait until after the harvest was finished if indeed God allowed us time to wait for it. In the meantime, we began gathering our things together. Once a week or so, Carter would hitch Balaam to the buckboard and carry loads of clothes, winter bedding, extra cooking pots and utensils, supplies, sundries, and such up to the cabin. We even took some of Balaam’s feed and hay up there for when he had to overnight. Grandpa had a two-stall barn where we kept Balaam.

People got used to seeing Balaam around town hauling stuff here and there, so after the first week or so when the novelty wore off, we began to make our trips up the mountain. We would wait to load up our mattresses until the very last minute after harvest time, after we canned or dehydrated our allotted portion of the food, and after we divvied up the town’s portions among the households.

At every town meeting now and every Sunday, Will went over again the events of Revelation chapter six, Daniel 9, and Matthew 24-25, doing his best to help people realize where we likely are on God’s Tribulation timeline and what the dreadful judgments are that are still to come.