Seven: Chapters 52-56 :: By Alice Childs


Journal Entry: Friday, August 27, 2021


Another two horrific trumpet judgments have just happened, and I need to write about them here, Journal. But first, I want to remember and record something good – something normal and nostalgic, because what happened later in this month of August has been another turning point in the worsening progression of judgments. So before I record the latest judgments and their consequences, allow me to tell about the last really relaxing day I spent with my two remaining best friends; a day we spent reminiscing about what happened over three days one summer in our sixth-grade year when we all learned a life lesson about the insidious nature of lying and deception.

Three days after we had finished planting our garden back in May of this year, Mitch, Trail, and I set out into the woods for another day of fishing and hunting. We had caught two feral hogs a couple of weeks before, and Clyde, the Chief, and us butchered the hogs. Earlier, the Chief and I had built a smokehouse in which to smoke the meat and fish we catch.

Each day we would go out to check and reset our traps. Our daily routine became to get ducks, pheasants, venison or anything else we could find to build up our meat stores. But today, we had planned to just fish – something we three have been doing together from the time we were knee-high to a duck.

Clyde, Chief, and the girls began going out every day gathering whatever herbs, wild greens, and edible mushrooms they could find. Uri was forbidden by Trail to go wandering around the woods on his still- healing leg, but he was able to tend to the hens and look after the home till everyone got back in the evenings. Trail had promised him that by the end of summer, he’d be good as new and could accompany us hunting and fishing. We’d promised to teach him how to fish like a Southern boy once Trail gave him the okay. Hunting and fishing have become our daily routine along with hauling water from the creek, weeding the garden, caring for the animals, and curing our meats. I was also teaching Sarah how to use her bow. I’ve found that she is a natural at bow hunting. She has a good, steady eye and arm. On several occasions, she and I went hunting together. Once she brought home a brace of rabbits. She has gotten quail, grouse, and once even a white-tailed deer.

This was our life from sunup to sundown. We all worked hard, but we were bonded into one tired though happy family.

Izzy strictly rations our salt, keeping it for curing purposes only; however, she and Byllie have become masters at flavoring our meats and stews with herbs and mountain greens so much so that we never miss the taste of salt with our food.

We were soon to realize again just how providential God is in looking after us and providing for our needs ahead of time.

That particular day, the three of us found our favorite fishing spot and settled in for a day of fishing. It was almost like old times.

As we fished on that almost warm day, we reminisced about our friendship since boyhood, and about one instance in particular. This was the time when I learned that lying comes in many forms. We all learned a life lesson that summer – one that none of us, especially I, ever forgot.

“Bobby,” said Mitch as he sat stretched out on the bank of the river baiting his hook, “do you remember that time when we were 12 years old in the 6th grade, I think it was, when you convinced that snotty kid from school that there were aliens living in this river mutating the fish? What was that kid’s name, Trail?” asked Mitch as he looked out over the water and grinned a wicked smile.

“Oh yeah! I remember that! Man, that was priceless! Mama sure was mad as a wet hen over that prank, but it was still priceless,” Trail said, laughing. Still snorting laughter, Trail looked at me and said,

“Bobby, you really got one over on old ‘I-know-everything’ Roger Rabbit.”

“We were all in on it,” I said, not able to keep the grin off my face.

“Yeah, but it was your idea, and it was brilliant,” said Mitch

“The kid’s name was Roger Ramis, but after the alien fishing excursion, we called him Roger Rabbit because he bolted just like a big old jack rabbit. You remember that, Bobby?” Trail asked, laughing.

“Roger Ramis, that’s it,” said Mitch.

” I remember,” I said, grinning.

Roger Ramis was a boy in our sixth-grade class. His dad was some big honcho at the Iverson Bank – the same bank where my Dad worked. Roger was insufferable. He was one of those kids who was a snob and a bully. He was always picking on kids who were poorer than he was or who were shy or had trouble in class or whatever. He made fun of everyone. His dad was a rude bully too. In Roger’s case, the rotten apple didn’t fall far from the blighted tree. Roger was one of those know-it-alls who thought he was the smartest person in the whole school or even the state; and he could lie like nobody’s business. I mean, the kid lied about everything.

My dad was always trying to get me to suck up to the little jerk because he wanted to stay in Jerry Ramis’ good graces. No matter how much I told my dad I couldn’t stand the kid, about how mean and cruel he was to others, my dad kept pushing me to spend time with the little snot. So that summer when I was staying with Grandpa, the five of us: me, Mitch, Trail, David, and Jack Harper, all decided we’d cut old Roger’s ego down to size. We decided that he needed to get back some of what he gave to others.

One week during the summer after we’d finished sixth grade, all the guys spent a week with me up at the cabin. We spent hours every day up in my treehouse laying our plans.

Finally, we got all the details worked out, and all five of us knew our parts well. We made plans to have a three-day, two-night campout in the woods on our property. We invited Roger to join us. Without telling Grandpa what we were really planning, we told him that we all wanted to include Roger in our campout since my dad was always wanting me to pal around with him.

Grandpa hadn’t fallen off a turnip truck yesterday though. He was immediately suspicious. He knew this kid and his dad too. Grandpa called me over and grilled me about what we were really up to. I didn’t outright lie (I knew better than that), so I answered him honestly – sorta. I told him we were just going to go fishing and spend a couple of nights in our tents, which was the truth; it just wasn’t the whole truth. He knew we were up to something, but all he said was,

“Well, you boys be careful out there. Be nice, and don’t you boys go tellin’ that Ramis kid no ghost stories or tales about Bigfoot, or no fake Indian burial grounds being in th’ woods, nor none o’ that kind o’ foolishness; ya hear me, Bobby?” he said, sternly.

“Yes sir, I hear you. I promise we aren’t going to tell him any ghost stories nor nuthin’ about Bigfoot,” I said, sincerely. And we weren’t going to tell him any such stories. The story we had planned to tell him was about aliens in the French Broad River.

The five of us had already concocted our plan and had it ironed out down to the nth degree. We weren’t going to lay one finger on old Roger. We were just going to give him a dose of his own medicine.

On the day of our campout, we got all our gear together, ready to go to our favorite camping spot. Around 4:00 that afternoon, Roger’s dad dropped Roger off at Grandpa’s with his fancy new tent and his brand-new rod and reel. As we got ready to go, Grandma handed me a sack with 2 packs of hotdogs, buns, a carton of Cokes and a bag of marshmallows. She and Grandpa knew that we boys knew how to make a safe campfire – something we did all the time during the summer. Besides, Grandpa knew exactly where we were. Our campsite was within shouting distance of the cabin anyway, so he wasn’t worried about us – not exactly. Grandma, just as suspicious as Grandpa, looked at me closely with her ‘Don’t-you-dare-lie-to me, Bobby’ gaze.

“Just exactly what are you boys really planning on doing out there?” she asked, looking at me pointedly.

“Sheesh, NOTHING, Grandma! We are going camping, going fishing, and making hot dogs!”

“Well alright,” she said, but not entirely trustingly. “But don’t sass me, Bobby. Don’t be takin’ that smart mouth tone o’ voice with me.”

“Yes’ um. I mean, no ma’am. I mean, I’m sorry, Grandma,” I said, ready to bust a gut to get out of the house. She kissed me on my forehead and told me to have fun and to ‘play nice.’ 

That early summer afternoon, we gathered all our gear and headed out to our campsite. We got our tents set up and spent the rest of the afternoon gathering sticks and wood for our campfire, clearing a safe space to build the fire.

Our plan was simple; we were going to catch old Roger telling one of his big whoppers, and then make him know how it felt to be teased, laughed at and ignorant. The plan was to set up camp, roast our hotdogs and marshmallows over a campfire, then spend the next morning fishing. After that, we’d go exploring after we ate our lunch of pb&j’s, homemade doughnuts, and lime green Kool-Aid that Grandma had packed for our lunch. Then we would fish a bit more. We planned to grill the fish we caught for dinner on our last night in the woods. And, if our plans went accordingly, we’d give old Roger a lesson about lying to boot.

We built our fire and made our hotdogs, and toasted our marshmallows. Then we got down to business. As we all sat around the campfire in the dark, Jack began.

“Hey Roger, nice fishing tackle you got there. Do you and your dad fish a lot?” Jack asked innocently.

Now, we knew already that Roger didn’t know a fishing pole from a flagpole, but we also knew he’d never admit to not knowing something – all the while bragging about being the best at whatever it was he didn’t know.

Jack – Harp, as we sometimes called him – was our set-up guy. Like I said, we already knew good and well that Roger had never so much as touched a fishing pole or rod and reel in his life. We knew this because Roger’s dad, Jerry, had once told my dad that he couldn’t stand the thought of touching a fish and that he’d never taken Roger fishing; he took him golfing instead. Can you believe it?

“I can’t stand that lyin’ little squid,” Jack said one day at recess the previous fall after Roger had gotten Jack in trouble with Old Lady Mac, our math teacher, by lying to her and telling her that Jack had tried to copy off of his paper when it was really Roger who’d been trying to cheat off of Jack’s. Of course, Old Lady Mac believed Roger. She always did.

Jack got a zero on the test, and his dad, Little Mike, had read him the riot act that night about cheating. Old Raymond was a squid alright.

“Of course I’ve fished before. I’ve done it lots of times. I’m really good at fishing,” said Roger in that smart-alec way of his that made your fists curl up just itching to pop him one right in his lying kisser; but we played it cool.

“So, Roger, what was the biggest catch y’all ever made?” asked David as if he thought this was the most interesting question in the world.

“We, uh, well that is, me and my dad, we caught a…a…a marlin one time. Yeah, it was a marlin.”

Roger, momentarily flummoxed, regained himself quickly, and of course, lied. This was such a blatant whopper, it was too much even for such an accomplished liar as Roger to attempt to get away with. I nearly jumped up right then. I was ready to go beat the ever-lovin’ daylights out of him right then and there, but Trail pinched my arm hard and gave me a warning look that said, “Don’t mess this up, Bobby!” 

Jack’s mouth dropped open. Mitch nearly burst out laughing, but pretended he was having a coughing fit till he could get himself under control. David, who never missed a beat, said in all appearance of genuine wonder, “Gee Roger, where did y’all catch a marlin?”

“Righ’chere in the French Broad, but not in this spot. We got a secret fishing spot that no one knows about but me and Dad,” the little liar said smugly.

I know now what a lonely and truly unhappy boy Roger Ramis must have been. As an adult, I can see clearly what kind of dad his father probably was, and how desperately Roger must have wanted to impress his father. Now, looking back, I can feel genuine pity for him; but at 12 years of age, all I could see was a pompous, bullying liar. At twelve, I wanted to flatten him.

“Wow,” said David wide-eyed in tones of great admiration,” was it one of the black-and-white striped ones or one of them really rare, shiny, red-and-black spotted ones?”

Now, my temper sometimes made me a wrecking ball; but David? He instinctively understood subtlety and the art of finesse.

“So, how big was this – red-and-black spotted marlin? Did y’all eat it or mount it like a sports trophy,” I asked, snidely.

Surely, I thought, he could tell by my voice which was dripping with sarcasm that I wouldn’t believe him if he said water was wet, but apparently the nuance of sarcasm went right over his head; because the next whopper he told was an even bigger lie, and he never missed a beat. 

“It was the rare, shiny, red and black one. It was huge! We, my dad, had it stuffed. He hung it on the wall in his office. It’s a’hangin’ there right now. He shows it to all his clients at the bank.”

I looked at him carefully, thinking that surely he was playing us; but, nope, he wasn’t mocking us. He was just outright lying again, assuming that we would be stupid enough to believe him. His sheer audacity stunned me. Before Roger, I had never met a genuine narcissist or a pathological liar. I didn’t know those terms at the time, but I understood the concept of them.

Now, what I knew was that his dad had no such thing in his office. I’d been to my dad’s bank plenty of times – not that I ever wanted to be there; but I’d been in both my dad’s office and Mr. Ramis’ office. What I knew was that there wasn’t so much as a minnow or even the picture of a fish on that wall in his office or anywhere else in that bank. There most certainly was no marlin, shiny-red or otherwise, anywhere else in that bank, in all of Norrisville, Iverson, America, or even Mars!

“Do tell,” said David solemnly, just as if he believed every word lying Roger said. David’s expression was so convincing that I looked at him stunned, thinking Roger was sucking David into believing his lie. But when Roger looked away for a second, David gave me a wink, so I knew it was cool.

“Well, since you know all about fishing, and since you’ve caught a marlin before, you might just be the man we need. Ain’t none of us has ever caught anything bigger than trout or big-mouth bass,” said Trail, preparing to reel him in.

Leaning forward and looking intently at Roger, Mitch said, “See Roger, there’s something we found out about some of the fish in this here part of the French Broad.” Dropping his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, Mitch continued. “Something happened here last year, and since then, we started seeing these really weird fish in the river. Now, nobody knows about what happened but us – and now you, Roger. We’ve seen these things, but until we can catch one of these alien fish and prove their existence, we’re worried that no grownup will believe us,” Mitch said, solemnly.

“That’s why we wanted to have this camping trip – to see if we can catch one of these things so the grownups will believe us. If we can catch one, then they might call in the rangers or the army or something. We might even be famous!” I said, laying it on thick.

The story we told him was the most outlandish tall tale we could come up with. Our plan worked far better than we could have ever imagined.

Around the campfire that first night, we threw out the lure. Strictly speaking, I hadn’t lied to Grandma and Grandpa. We didn’t say one word about ghosts, or Indian burial grounds, or Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster or anything stupid like that. The story I told was this:

“One night last summer we were all camping right’chere in this very spot after dark. It was a night just like this one. It was dark and we were sittin’ around our campfire roasting marshmallows, just like we’re doin’ tonight, when all of a sudden from out of nowhere, we saw this big green streak of light in the sky! It come a’shootin’ down out of the night sky, faster’n a rocket! It didn’t make no sound a’tall, but went woosh right into the river!” We was so scared, we put out our fire, packed up our tents, and went back to my Grandpa’s house, but we didn’t say nuthin’ about nuthin’. We knew the grownups wouldn’t believe us anyhow.”

Now, I never said that what we saw was an alien spaceship diving into the river. It was, in fact, a streak of lightning, and we were afraid to stay outdoors in a tent in a big storm. We hadn’t lied outright, but we hadn’t told the whole truth either. But that was the bait we threw out, and old lyin’ Roger swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. His imagination did the rest.

I told him that, after that night, we began to see these weird fish in the river; fish that looked different from the bass or trout that were in the river. I told him that most of the fish still looked like normal fish, but that these different ones came out mostly near dark. I told him we were planning on catching one of the different ones the next night. Then I said nothing else, and we all went to bed.

All the next day, he waffled between total disbelief and believing our story totally. I could never lie to Grandma, but I found out that I had the makings of being a perfidious storyteller by what I didn’t say – not a quality I am proud of now – but it worked on old Roger like a charm.

By the next evening, as it was just beginning to get dark, all five of us pretended to argue over who should be the one to try to catch one of these ‘alien’ fish. As we knew he would, Roger demanded that he should be the one to try to catch the fish – if it existed – which he doubted – and that we should stand by to identify it. “A’ course,” he said, “y’all are all prolly liars.”

He asked what this thing would look like, so we gave him a very detailed description.

“It will be real ugly,” I said, portentously. “These fish ain’t like no normal fish; not like, say, a rainbow trout that has sparkly colored scales. These here fish are ugly! First off, they ain’t got no scales like a normal fish does. These things are smooth and have this ugly, pukey green/brown color.” I kept going, ominously, but secretly gleeful.

“They got these wicked sharp spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins; and they got a flat, shovel-like head. The worst thing is that they got these nasty, long, whisker-lookin’ barbs on their mouths. They are long and skinny. They don’t have no big teeth like sharks, but them sharp fins might could cut ya to ribbons if ya ain’t careful. Some of them can grow really long! Some of ’em are as long as four feet, an’ look big enough to weigh a hunnert pounds! But they can’t live outta the water – we don’t think,” I finished, in the most foreboding tone of voice I could manage.

“Maybe you better let one of us try to catch one,” said Trail. “After all, you ain’t never seen one before, and we have.”

“Besides,” said Jack, “we don’t really know how one of them things might act if we get one. Your dad might get mad if you get hurt by one of these things.”

“NO!” shouted Roger, the great marlin angler. “I think y’all are all bald-face liars. I don’t really believe that a fish like that exists at all; but if there is one, I’m gon’ be the one to catch it,” he said, fixing us all with his mean, piggy, little eyes.

“I ain’t no liar,” I said flatly. “And there is too a fish that looks just like that. We’ve all seen ’em. They are right here in this river.”

So, we baited his hook with some live crayfish that we had caught earlier in the day and kept in a cooler full of river water for just this occasion.

As the sun began to go down, we offered one more time to try to catch the fish, but old Roger was not going to go for that. So we baited his hook and threw in his line. We honestly didn’t think we’d get a bite, but it wasn’t but about ten minutes before Roger started yelling and hopping up and down. Jack quickly grabbed his rod or else he’d have lost it. It took all of us together to pull it in. It was a big one; almost 4 feet long and well over 30 pounds. Even we were impressed.

When we got it on the bank, it was flopping around so much we were afraid we’d lose it back into the river. Jack found a river rock and smacked it on the head to kill it. Mitch shined the flashlight on it so Roger could get a good look. When old Roger saw what it was that he’d hooked, it scared him so bad he started screaming and yelling and crying – carrying on about aliens in the lake and mutant fish and invasions from Mars and I don’t know what all. He was so panicked that he was in tears. We couldn’t get him to shut up long enough for us to explain. The more we tried to calm him down, the worse he got. Finally, Grandpa heard all the ruckus and came running out to our campsite with his 30.06, thinking we were being attacked by a black bear or a cougar.

When he finally got the boy calmed down, he took a long look at the fish, then made me tell him the whole story.

“Shoot, Grandpa,” I said, aggravated, “he just caught a good-sized old mudcat, that’s all; just a big old flathead catfish. And didn’t none of us say nuthin’ about seein’ no spaceship. He made that up hisself.”

“No, you boys didn’t lie outright, but you did deceive by not telling the whole truth. That’s called lyin’ by omission, and it’s jest as deceitful as a outright lie. Plus, you boys meant fer him ta think it was a alien. That’s being deceiving, and deception is a dangerous, insidious thang,” said Grandpa.

We all had to go home and face the music from our families; but before the guys left, Grandma lined the five of us up, and old Roger too who was still sniveling and threatening that his dad was going to have us all locked up. Grandma lined us all up along the wall in the great room where she went down the line and gave us all a tongue lashing I’ll never forget. She also lowered the boom on old Roger about being a liar, a braggart, and a bully. I’ll bet that was the first time in his life that lying Roger had ever had his ears peeled by anyone; and Grandma was a master at it. We’d all rather have had a stroppin’ from Grandpa’s leather strap than suffer one of Grandma’s tongue lashings. After everyone left, from Grandpa I got a whack across the ‘seat of learnin’, as he called it, with his big leather strap – but I only got one.

He never knew I heard him; but as I was going up to my room, I stopped in the doorway listening as Grandpa spoke to Grandma. I heard him say,

“Ellen, iff’n you knew what a insufferable, boastin’ little liar that Ramis kid is, you’d know that it was really him that oughta’ve got a good stroppin’ – an’ with more’n one whack on his backside. I ain’t gon’ give those boys a pass fer bein’ deceivin’ or fer prankin’ that lyin’ little rattlesnake, but I git why they dun it.”

As I stood in my doorway eavesdropping and rubbing my stinging backside, I thought Grandpa’s voice sounded funny – kinda odd. It took me a minute to realize he was trying not to laugh out loud. I went to bed with a sore backside, but with a smile on my face. Grandpa ‘got it.’ He understood.

After Mitch, Trail, and I finished up our catch that day in May, and after reminiscing, we brought home a whole string of rainbow trout, three little-mouth bass, and one good sized ‘alien’ fish.


Same Journal Entry

“And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed” (Revelation 8:5-9, KJV).

Well, Journal, here’s the part I’ve been putting off writing about. Let me begin by first recounting how gracious God has been providing for us.

Our 150′ X 75′ garden area fared pretty well even with the diminished sunlight and cooler temps. From our side-yard garden, we planted half with corn and buckwheat. In the other half, we planted potatoes, carrots, turnips, several varieties of beans, summer squash, zucchini, lettuces, mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, cabbages, garlic, and various herbs. God was so gracious to give us a good yield. We now have food to can and dehydrate to put into the root cellar, corn to dry and grind into cornmeal, and buckwheat to use for bread. This, along with our wild fish and game, means that, for a while at least, we are well-set. Of course, we are more than aware that the majority of people worldwide are literally starving to death. We always pray for our suffering brethren and for the lost. We are careful to thank God for His provision, just as we are always mindful that eventually the ten of us too will soon be in their shoes.

On Sunday, August 22, without any warning, several formerly dormant and some fairly active volcanoes in diverse places across the earth erupted. Uri told us that he felt sure that these eruptions marked the first of the trumpet judgments of Revelation eight. The judgments from now on will come closer together and grow stronger in intensity. Here’s how the first of the trumpet judgments began.

In Tanzania, the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano erupted without warning. In Iceland, several huge volcanoes erupted simultaneously, utterly devastating Iceland and rocketing ruptured ice, smoke and burning ash miles into the atmosphere. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano, a name I can’t begin to pronounce, explosively erupted. Within minutes, several other Icelandic volcanoes also erupted – all as if they had been set off like fireworks. Hekla, known as ‘the gateway to Hell,’ erupted, as did her sister volcano, Katla, just 90 miles north of Hekla.

In the Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, Öraefajökull, the great ice-covered volcano that was Iceland’s largest mountain, also erupted with unprecedented explosive force. Iceland, as it was, exists no more.

On the island of Bali Indonesia, Mount Agung erupted, as did both Mauna Loa and Kilauea in Hawaii. According to the news sources on the dark web, scientists are clueless as to what could cause such a phenomenon. The aftermath of these eruptions is just what the Bible said they would be: fully a third part of the earth’s trees were burned up and all the grass died. We will likely be seeing the effects here too before long.

Oh Father, what are we going to do about poor old Balaam?

Within days, the next trumpet judgment slammed the earth. Will always speculated as to what the ‘burning mountain’ of Revelation 8:8-9 might be. Well, now we know. The Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, blew with such devastating force that the unthinkable happened. An enormous burning section of the western flank – almost the entire Western flank of the volcano – sheared off, slamming into the Atlantic Ocean with unimaginable force. This ‘burning mountain’ crashing into the sea created a massive mega-mega-tsunami that wiped out fully one-third of all ships in the Atlantic Ocean along with a tremendous loss of aquatic life. This unprecedented grand-tsunami also wiped out the coastline of the eastern United States and Canadian seaboard, killing an untold number of people and burying completely the Caribbean Islands and Cuba, along with most of the states of Florida and New York, the coasts of both North and South Carolina, and all the way inland from Charleston to Columbia, South Carolina – over 100 miles inland. The coasts of Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, as well as what was left of the irradiated DC area, were further decimated with water coming inland as far as Richmond in Virginia.

The Canary Islands were obliterated, as was the west coast of Africa which was hit with waves over 300 feet high. The coastal parts of the UK and Spain took an enormous hit as well. The loss of human and aquatic life as well as shipping and sea-going vessels is incalculable.

As far as how these two trumpet judgments will affect us, we can’t yet know for sure, but one thing we do know; this was likely the last crop that we will ever be able to grow, and the fate of our dear Balaam and the hens is in grave jeopardy.

Oh, Father, please don’t let dear Balaam suffer. Show us what to do. Lord Jesus, help us. 


Journal Entry: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Fall has come again to the North Carolina mountains. After a whole year, Uri is still with us. His leg has fully healed, although Trail says he will most likely always walk with a limp; well always being a relative term in these last few years of human history from creation. In truth, Uri reminds us that, either way, he will soon have a new resurrection body, so a few years or whatever time he has of limping is not that big a deal. Uri has such an upbeat personality; his infectious laugh and obvious joy in the Lord is a blessing and a boost to all of us.

It’s getting harder for old Balaam to forage now. We can’t stand to see him losing weight, and we aren’t sure he will survive a really cold winter which we are likely to have due to the tremendous amount of ash still in the air and what we know will be added to it with the coming of the next judgments. We’re going to have to make a hard decision soon, I fear. Clyde has already said that when he sees that poor Balaam has come to the place where he can no longer get enough to eat, that he will take him out into the woods and put him down. We can’t bear to think about doing that, but we can’t let this faithful friend starve or freeze to death either. What we’ve decided is that the day it’s to be done, we will give him as big a meal as we can of corn husks, corn and some of the barley, then Clyde will take him into the woods and put him down.

I truly hate this fallen world. How I long for Jesus’ kingdom! We all do. We are so tired of death and loss. At any rate, we are not to that place yet with Balaam, but we soon will be.

On a much happier note, Sarah and I have set a date for our wedding. We’ve thought long and hard about this because neither of us wants to bring a child into a world that’s deteriorating into the coming Great Tribulation. Oh, how we’ve agonized over this and prayed over it. Finally, yesterday, as we were out in the woods hunting rabbits with her bow, we knew we needed to make a final decision one way or the other. After she’d shot three good-sized rabbits and a couple of quail, we found a hollow log and sat down to talk. The air was brisk and cold, but we were warmly dressed. Besides, in the woods was the only place we could be alone to talk undisturbed.

“Bobby,” Sarah began, “you know the only thing keeping me from saying let’s get married tomorrow is the worry about children. I’ve wrestled with this for the past two years, ever since you proposed. I know that things are only going to get worse; but, Bobby, the truth that I keep coming back to is this: if I’m going to die, then I want to die as your wife. I want to face whatever comes from now on carrying your name. I know we won’t have a marriage license or a preacher now that Will’s gone, but do you think Clyde could marry us?” she asked, those stunning blue eyes holding me with her gaze.

“I know babylove. The last thing I want is to bring a baby into this hell on earth; but, like you, I’ve been praying and asking God for discernment. Sarah, my Sarah; I’ve loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you. I told you when I asked you to marry me that when I came home to Yellow Top, I wanted to make you my wife. Well, right after we got here, the great earthquake hit, then Will died and Uri was hurt and took a long time to recover, then we had to plant and hunt and then harvest, and it just seemed like everyday living kept getting in our way. We’re living in the apocalypse. There’s nothing we can do to change that. In fact, we’re heading into the third year….

“Within six months after that, we will be in the Great Tribulation. We can’t kid ourselves about how slim our chances are of surviving that. Still, I feel the same way you do. I want you to be my wife come what may; and as for children, we will be as careful as we can be and leave our worries and fears and whatever may happen in God’s hands. As for a marriage license, it’s not a piece of paper that makes a marriage, but the vows me make to each other before God. Besides, Clyde would be happier than a pig in mud to officiate our wedding; you know that. So, if you’re willing, let’s set a wedding date. Sarah Arrowood, when would you like to become Mrs. Bobby Thorpe,” I asked?

“I’d like a Christmas wedding,” Sarah immediately said, smiling and wiping tears from her eyes. I want to be married on Christmas Day – on the same date that you asked me to marry you,” she said, now laughing and crying all at once.

And we will be careful, but if God sends us a child, then we will protect it with our lives for as long as we can.

“Then, Lord willing, Christmas it will be, my love. Now stop crying before your eyes freeze shut,” I said and kissed her as I wiped her tears. “Come on, Dead Eye,” I teased, “let’s get these rabbits and quail home before they freeze solid.

Everyone was thrilled when we told them our news. The girls cried (of course), and Trail looked at me and said,

“Well, dang, Bobby, now I owe Mitch both drumsticks off of our next turkey. He said you’d be married before the end of the year, and I said old Mr. Cautious and Miss Slowpoke would still be single this time next year,” he said, slapping me on the back so hard, he nearly knocked me over. Then he picked Sarah up and danced her around the room, singing ‘Here Comes the Bride.’

“I’ll gladly give Mitch-man the whole turkey to be wrong in this friendly wager! I’m thrilled that y’all are going to finally tie the knot!” said Trail.

As the guys and I went outside to dress the rabbits and quail, Lilly, Byllie, and Izzy all huddled around Sarah, whisking her upstairs to start making wedding plans. Clyde was so touched to be asked to officiate that he was grinning like a possum. When she asked him if he’d also ‘walk her down the stairs’ to give her away since we don’t have an aisle or she a father, I thought I saw the gleam of moisture in his eyes. Both Trail and Mitch were to be my groomsmen, and Lilly and Byllie her bridesmaids. Chief Little-John, Izzy, and Uri were to be our witnesses.

This was a happy day. We don’t fool ourselves. We know the next judgments will happen anytime, but come what may, Lord willing, on Christmas Day, I am finally going to marry my Sarah.


Journal Entry: Sunday, November 14, 2021

Today was the day we’ve all been dreading. We found dear old Balaam down in his stall this morning. We finally got him up, but we could see he was very weak. Clyde told us that today would be the day to let him go with love and dignity. We made him as big a meal as we could, then we all came out and brushed his coat, loved on him and prayed over him, thanking God for him and asking God to somehow let him know how much we loved and appreciated him. Each one of us told Balaam how much we love him. We thanked him for being such a faithful friend. Even Uri spoke to him in Hebrew, petting his nose and thanking him for carrying him here to us.

I absolutely believe that Balaam understood that we were saying goodbye, and honestly? – it almost seemed that not only did he understand, but looked relieved. He nuzzled all of us, whinnying softly as if he were telling all of us goodbye too. After about an hour with him, Clyde led him out on wobbly legs and took him out into the woods to one of his favorite grazing spots. When we heard the shot, all the women were openly weeping, and the rest of us were wiping tears away. When Clyde came back in, he took off his hat, put the gun away, sat down in Grandpa’s chair, and putting his head in his hands, he wept.

Sorry, Journal, I can’t write anymore today.

Merciful Lord, thank You from the bottom of our hearts for dear Balaam. He was a gentle, faithful, hard- working fried. We loved him. He served us well. Thank You for the time You gave us with him. We will miss him. Father, these losses hurt so bad. 


Journal Entry: Thursday, December 9, 2021

“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” (Revelation 8:10-13, KJV).

So often now, we can see in retrospect, the mercy of God in everything that happens, as difficult as it is to endure. Eleven days after we put down old Balaam, the next two trumpet judgments happened one right after the other. Of course, it was a few days until we found out exactly what happened. We’ve had to make some exceptions to our rule of staying off of the deep web as much as possible. We need to know what’s going on. Via Mitch’s dark or deep web internet connections, we monitored both the uncensored news we got from his contacts and the managed propaganda from Draken and the EP. After a few days, we pieced together what happened.

Even though we are not affected by the main event that occurred, the entire earth will be affected by the results of it. We were right in thinking that our garden this year will certainly be our last. God was so merciful in granting us a good harvest. He was also merciful in letting us know in time to let our Balaam go so that he will not have to suffer further hunger, cold, or not being able to breathe in the soot and ash-choked air. Even in our greatest heartbreaks, God’s mercy always shines through. Will and Mike and Vin and so many others we love, including old Balaam, have been spared all of these horrors. Even in pain, God is merciful. First, let me set down what happened.

It was an asteroid – well over a mile and a half wide. Even the pagan scientists unwittingly fulfilled Bible prophecy by naming it ‘Wormwood,’ which it absolutely was. It came seemingly out of nowhere and took the entire pagan world by surprise. We believers, though, knew that Wormwood, whatever it was to be, was coming. This over-a-mile-and-a half-wide behemoth traveling at speeds of over 50,000 miles per hour, bludgeoned its way into our atmosphere; a cosmic battering ram. Upon entry into earth’s atmosphere, it broke into three enormous pieces plus a multitude of smaller ones, the smallest piece being the size of a two-story house. Wormwood struck, slamming into the earth like a mighty hammer of God. It broke apart, striking the earth in three main places, causing indescribable damage where it hit, contaminating fresh water supplies over one-third of the earth’s freshwater sources.

The smallest of the three largest pieces of the asteroid, a piece of galactic rock that was the size of a 30- story building, landed in Hudson Bay, Canada. The impact nearly destroyed that huge bay, contaminating the waters of a lake so large that all of the Great Lakes could have fit inside that one body of water. It left a shockwave of destruction one and a half times the size of the city of Chicago. It was a tremendous impact. But it was the two biggest portions of Wormwood that caused the worst damage.

The second largest portion, the size of two football fields, struck earth in the northern Andes with a force great enough to cause an earthquake of nearly 8.9 magnitude. The shaking could be felt nearly 2,000 miles away. The headwaters of the Amazon were utterly befouled by the components of the asteroid itself and the resultant debris generated from the impact of this gigantic chunk of space rock. The result of was that the headwaters of the Amazon and its tributaries have become poisoned. The loss of aquatic life, animal life, and human life all along the Amazon River basin is beyond staggering.

If these first two gargantuan asteroid impacts were horrific, the annihilation caused by the largest portion of Wormwood was beyond description. What word is there to describe an event so overwhelmingly destructive that it impacts the topography and very lifeblood of an entire continent?

The biggest portion of Wormwood struck earth in Central Africa about five miles from Lake Victoria. The impact from this nearly mile-wide, burning asteroid tore a gash into the earth that shattered and pulverized bedrock for almost a hundred miles out from the point of impact. The impact gouged into Central Africa a crater equivalent in size to the states of Virginia and West Virginia combined. When the largest portion of Wormwood hit there, it set off an earthquake off the Richter scale that demolished nearly all of Kenya as well as Uganda and Tanzania. Mt. Kilimanjaro erupted, sending even more ash and debris into the earth’s already highly polluted atmosphere.

Lake Victoria was all but obliterated. The ‘White’ Nile which had its source near Lake Victoria and its multitude of tributaries, including the so called ‘Blue’ Nile, were completely polluted, their headwaters poisoned, as were hundreds of other lakes, rivers, and waterways throughout Africa. Lakes, rivers, streams, and tributaries fanning out from the point of impact were contaminated by asteroid debris along with the atomized remains of animals, humans, and vegetation. The effects of Wormwood on the freshwater sources in Canada, the Amazon, and most especially in Central Africa are beyond anything that could be called devastation. The rivers, lakes, and waterways corrupted by Wormwood will destroy most of Central Africa and the other African countries and areas that are dependent upon the Nile.

To give a picture of the absolute ruination of this event on central Africa alone, including the surrounding areas that will suffer long after the initial impact, perhaps a little geography lesson might help. When I began to look at the area of devastation in Africa, I took out Grandpa’s atlas and was stunned. The vastness of destruction the initial impact of Wormwood made in Canada, South America, and especially Africa is beyond my ability to comprehend, let alone explain. The effects from it will be even more far-reaching and calamitous than even the best scientific minds can have imagined; yet incredibly, according to Revelation, during the last half of the Tribulation, there is far worse destruction yet to come.

The so called ‘White Nile’ is the headwaters or prime stream of the entire Nile whose source was thought to begin near Lake Victoria. The ‘Blue Nile’ tributary which begins in Ethiopia at Lake Tana carries most of the volume of water because it has a greater depth. The ‘Blue Nile’ tributary carries two-thirds of the volume of water of the total Nile River. The two major tributaries – the White and Blue, form what some call the ‘Red Nile’ tributary in Khartoum, Sudan. In reality, all of these are part of the great Nile River which continues through Egypt, flowing northward to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nile River is considered to be the longest river in the world, well over 4,000 miles long. It flows northward into eastern Africa, eventually emptying into the Mediterranean. The Nile flows through eleven countries whose inhabitants depend upon it for their very life. With the freshwater of the Nile and its tributaries poisoned by Wormwood; with Lake Victoria obliterated, corrupted with literally tons upon tons of ash and other biological contaminants from Wormwood’s impact that now covers the entire continent of Africa; the dead and rotting corpses of animal, fish, and human remains – nearly all freshwater sources in that entire region are now irreversibly blighted, and many more will become so once the immense cloud of pulverized, atomized rock, vegetation, and human/animal debris spreads across earth’s atmosphere.

Before long, the effects of Wormwood will be global, and nearly one-third of daylight, moonlight, and starlight will be darkened.

Even here in the mountains of North Carolina, we will soon be suffering the effects of Wormwood which will include much less sunlight, much more darkness, and much, much colder temperatures; and this just as we are going into winter. The darkness, dying vegetation, and further contaminated atmosphere will affect not only our ability to grow food next spring (if we will even have a spring, which seems unlikely), but it will also kill off many of our fish and other food animals that will be affected by the diminished light, less food for them to forage, and longer and deeper cold. Wormwood will affect one third of the world’s trees, vegetation, and available sunlight as well as one-third of the earth’s fresh water.

Very soon, we will be entering the second year of the Tribulation; moving ever closer to the midpoint of these last seven years. Day by day, we move closer to the time that Jesus Himself called the ‘Great Tribulation.’ God help us all.