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RETURN TO GOD COUNTRY-PART FIVE
by gwendolyn Ransom
05/10/04
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"AUNT FELICIA!" CRIED STEPHANIE AS SOON AS SHE HAD AWAKEN, AND WAS SURPRISED TO SEE FELICIA STANDING NEAR HER TREMBLING. FELICIA KNEELED DOWN AND EMBRACED HER, "HOW ARE YOU?" SHE ASKED LOOKING DIRECTLY INTO MICHAEL'S EYES, WHO HAD STEPHEN ON HER LAP.
"GREAT!" SHE SANGED. "DAD DID NOT TELL US YOU WOULD BE HERE THIS MORNING."
"THAT WAS BECAUSE I DID NOT KNOW," MICHAEL SAID CONTROLLING HIS ANGER, "WHY ARE YOU HERE, FELICIA?"
FELICIA TRIED TO TEAR EYES AWAY FROM HIM. HOW COULD SHE SAY SHE NEEDED TO BE HERE MORE THAN EVER? SHE COULD NOT EVEN EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT SHE NEEDED GOD MORE THAN EVER FOR GUIDANCE.
"I CAN LEAVE, MICHAEL. I DO NOT WANT TO INTRUDE ON A FAMILY MOMENT."
"NONSENSE," SAID ERIC WIPING HIS WEARY EYES, "BESIDES, DAD IS SUPPOSE TO TAKE US TO THE UNDERGROUND TODAY, I HOPE THERE IS BREAKFAST ON THIS TRIP."
"THERE IS," COMMENTED MICHAEL AS HE BEGIN TO UNFOLD HIS SLEEPING BAGS, "AS SOON AS WE CLEAR EVERYTHING AWAY, WE CAN GO OUT AND EAT. FELICIA, YOU CAN JOIN US IF YOU WANT."
SHE WAS ABOUT TO REFUSE, WHEN THE DISAPPOINTED STEPHANIE WHINED, "COME ON, WE HAVE NOT SEEN YOU IN LIKE FOREVER."
"I WAS NOT AWARE THAT YOU KNEW ONE ANOTHER," SAID MICHAEL STILL DUMBFOUNDED THAT THE KIDS KNEW HER AND HE DID NOT HAVE ANY PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF IT. HE ALWAYS TRIED TO KEEP WHAT HE FELT FOR SECRETLY IN HIS HEART. HE DID NOT EVEN ALLOW PHOEBE TO KNOW THAT SHE WAS THE ONE HE ALWAYS LOVED. HOW COULD HIS KIDS KNOW HER? WHEN DID THEY SEE HER?
"DAD, DO YOU REMEMEBER BEFORE MOM DIED THAT WE WENT TO JACKSONVILLE WITH GRANDMA AND STAYED FOR A WEEK. WELL, WE WENT AND STAYED WITH AUNT FELICIA," ADDED ERIC, "AND I AM GLAD THAT YOU ARE HERE ANYWAY, I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT. I HAVE BEEN READING IN THE PAPER ABOUT THE SANTANA TRIAL, WHAT DO YOU KNOW?"
MORE THAN I WANT TO KNOW, SHE WANTED TO SAY, BUT INSTEAD, "I HAVE NOT BEEN READING ANYTHING LATELY."
ERIC LOOKED AT HER SUSPICIOUSLY, AS HE CONTINUED TO ROLL UP HIS SLEEPING BAG, AS MICHAEL TOOK ALL THREE OF THEM, "WATCH STEPHEN UNTIL I COME BACK," HE LOOKED AT FELICIA, "HOW ABOUT WALKING ME TO THE TRUCK?"
FELICIA TRIED TO LOOK AWAY AND MAKE LIGHT OF THE SITUATION, "MICHAEL, NOW IS NOT THE TIME."
"i INSIST."

"SHE IS HIDING SOMETHING," ERIC EXCLAIMED SNAPPING HIS FINGERS, "I RECEIVED THE LASTEST NEWS FROM THE INTERNET AND SOURCES SAY THAT SHE IS SECRET WITNESS IN THE SANTANA TRIAL."
STEPHANIE DID NOT BELIEVE HIM, "ERIC, YOU HAVE BEEN ON THAT LAPTOP TOO MUCH. IF SHE WAS THE WITNESS SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM?"
"NOT REALLY. THE TRIAL IS A COUPLE OF MONTHS AWAY. SHE LOST HER HOUSE. SHE BANKRUPTED HER DAD'S COMPANY AND NOW SHE IS HERE."
"YOU ARE FORGETTING ONE PART OF THE PUZZLE, WE ASKED AUNT KATHY TO FIND HER AND BRING HER HERE. HOW COULD SHE BE PART OF THE PUZZLE?"
ERIC PONDERED FOR A MOMENT, AND DREW A BLANK, "I HAVE NOT FIGURED OUT PART YET. I KNOW THAT I AM NOT WRONG ABOUT THIS. I AM GOING TO INVESTIGATE THIS FURTHER."
"YOU BETTER NOT LET DAD FIND OUT, YOU KNOW HOW HIS TEMPER IS."

"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME YOU KNEW MY KIDS!" HE ROARED ONCE THEY REACHED THE TRUCK, "WHAT ELSE ARE YOU HIDING?"
"MICHAEL, IT IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK. YOU KNOW HOW THINGS WERE BETWEEN US WHEN I LEFT HERE. WHEN ADRIAN AND I WERE HAVING PROBLEMS, PHOEBE FOUND ME AND ASKED IF SHE COULD BRING THE KIDS. WE SPENT A WEEK TOGETHER GETTING TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER AND I AM GLAD THAT I DID."
"WHEN ELSE DID YOU SEE PHOEBE?" HE DEMANDED.
"I WAS THERE AT THE END. WHENEVER YOU WAS NOT HOME OR AT THE HOSPITAL, I MADE SURE THAT THEY CALLED ME. I WAS THERE WHEN SHE DIED."
MICHAEL REMEMBERED. HE WAS IN COURT WHEN HIS PAGER WENT OFF, HE HAD TAKEN A LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM PRACTICING LAW, DETERMINED TO BE WITH HER THROUGHOUT THE END, BUT SHE INSISTED THAT HE GO BACK TO WORK. SHE STATED ONCE SHE DIED, SHE DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE HIM IN DEBT ALSO. HIS MOTHER HAD TAKEN OVER THE ROLE OF CARING FOR HER IN HIS ABSENCE. HE HAD ONLY BEEN IN THE COURTROOM A WEEK WHEN HE RECIEVED THE NEWS FROM HIS MOTHER, "IBARELY SAW YOU AT THE FUNERAL. WHY DIDN'T YOU STAY THEN."
I RETURNED HOME TO FIND MY FATHER-IN-LAW HAD DEFRAUDED MANY OF THE CLIENTS. I HAD TO MAKE A STATEMENT FOR THE SEC, AND I WAS GOING THROUGH A TERRIBLE DIVORCE, BUT INSTEAD SHE SAID, "I COULD NOT HAVE INTERRUPTED YOUR LIFE LIKE THAT."
"FELICIA, WE ARE STILL FRIENDS AND NOTHING YOU COULD WILL SEEM LIKE AN INTERRUPTION. WHY DON'T YOU HANG OUT WITH US TODAY?"
EVERYTHING IN HER SHOULD REFUSE HIS OFFER. "I CAN'T TODAY," SHE SAID AS SHE THOUGHT ABOUT JACKSON AND HOW HE WOULD BE LOOKING FOR HER ALONG WITH BRANDON SANTANA, "BUT I WILL BE AT CRYSTAL LAKE FOR DINNER, HOW ABOUT WE DO SOMETHING THEN?"
"IT WILL HAVE TO BE A LATE SUPPER, THE KIDS AND I ARE GOING TO PHOEBE'S GRAVE. WE KNOW THAT SHE IS NOT THERE, BUT WE FEEL AS THOUGH WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO PAY OUR RESPECTS."

"DAD, THIS IS OUT IN THE BOONDOCKS," WHINED STEPHANIE AS THEY WALKED FURTHER IN THE WOODS A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER, "AND BESIDES I DO NOT SEE A HOUSE, JUST ALL OF THESE HOLES AND THIS RUSTY STRING, WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT ANYWAY?'
MICHAEL WAS GLAD THAT HE LEFT STEPHEN WITH KATHY, AND HE HAD A HALF OF A MIND TO TAKE STEPHANIE BACK HOME ALSO. SHE WAS REALLY WRECKING HER NERVES, "THESE HOLES ARE WHAT MANY PEOPLE HID IN DURING PERSECUTION. WHEN THE NEMY BEGAN TO APPROACH THEM, THEY WOULD HIDE FROM THEM. AND THE STRING WAS LIKE A MAZE, IN THE DARK WHEN THEY COULD NOT SEE THE PATH, THEY GRABBED A HOLD ON THE STRING," HE BEGAN TO DEMONSTRATE AS HE WALKED TEN PACES UNTIL HE CAME TO AN OLD HOUSE WITH NO WINDOWS, "WE HAVE REACHED THE UNDERGROUND."
"WHERE IS THE DOORS? OR WINDOWS?" ASKED ERIC AS HE LOOKED AROUND, "HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET IN THE HOUSE?"
MICHAEL POINTED TO THE LARGE BOULDER, WHICH WAS DIRECTLY UNDER THE HOUSE, AS HE BEGAN TO PULL IT FORWARD, "MANY TIMES THERE A LOOK OUT MAN, SO THEY WOULD NOT GET CAUGHT. HELP ME, ERIC, PLEASE."
WITH ALL THREE OF THEM HELPING, THEY WERE ABLE TO MOVE THE BOULDER, "I AM GOING IN FIRST. YOU MAKE TEN PACES AND PUSH YOUR HANDS UP AND YOU WILL BE IN THE CELLAR. OKAY."
THEY BOTH NODDED, TIRED FOR MOVING THE BOULDER.
AS SOON AS THEY WERE IN THE CELLAR, STEPHANIE EYES WENT TOWARD THE CORNER, AS SHE WIPED THE DEBRIS AND DIRT FROM HER CLOTHES AND LOOKED AT THE PIECES OF BROKEN CHAINS WHERE DRIED BLOOD STAINS WERE STILL VISIBLE. SHE PICKED UP ONE OF THE CHAINS, "DAD, IS THIS WHAT I THINK IT IS?"
MICHAEL NODDED, "BRITTANY HUNTER AND OTHERS OFTEN REMOVED CHAINS FROM SLAVES WHO RECIEVED CHRIST AND HELPED THEM FIND SAFETY."
ERIC LOOKED AT THE CHAINS ALSO, AND HE BEGAN TO PICK ONE UP AND EXAMINE IT CAREFULLY, "DID EVERYONE WHO ESCAPED MAKE IT?"
"NO, SOME DIED BEFORE THEY GOT HERE.SOME DIED IN THE HOLES WE PAST. YOU KNOW WHEN I FIRST CAME HERE I NEVER WANTED TO COME BACK, I COULD NOT BELIEVE THOSE STORIES MY GREAT-GRAN ABBY TOLD ME, UNTIL THIS HAPPEN TO ROBERT JOHNS."
"I REMEMBER SOMEONE TELLING ME THAT HE WAS SHOT HERE, WHY, WHEN WE HAVE FREEDOM TO SERVE GOD?" ASKED STEPHANIE, NOT REALLY BELIEVING IT TO BE TRUE.
"BECAUSE EVERY TIME WE TAKE OUR FREEDOM FOR GRANTED, SOME ONE IS PLOTTING TO TAKE IT AWAY!"


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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