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by Rick Phillips
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Time: The near future.
Assignment: Destroy Bible meeting in a local home.
Our platoon was given this assignment, once it was known that these homeowners who were seen as
peaceful law abiding citizens of the new world order, were really holding secret Bible meetings that had been outlawed. Now it was known that these lawful citizens were really outlaws and terrorist.
It is 9pm as we stop our truck and the platoon disembarks. We march down the cobblestone street in formation. My name is David but within the platoon I am known as Trooper number two.
We broke down the back door. In seconds the platoon was all over the home and the Bible readers scatter everywhere. Many are captured but some escaped. One that I saw went through the kitchen window looked like a young girl about 16 years old. Her face seemed familiar but I couldn’t place it. I rush out the door after her and Sam, Trooper number one, is right behind me. Sam makes me nervous. I worked hard to make my way to the top and have only enough kills you could count on one hand. Sam decided that the fastest way to the top was to kill as many as possible. The brass never questioned his
kills as all were found with Christian Bibles, tracts etc. on their persons and classified as terrorist. One I know was not a terrorist as I saw him place the Bible in his hand. I wanted to report it but I was told that Sam was one of the pets of the brass and they would never believe me. Also, with the looks I was getting for suggesting it I was afraid for my life if I went through with it.
Sam and I searched high and wide for the girl but she had a lead on us and she was fast. It was her speed that was my first hint to her identity. The second was when we followed her into a neighborhood that was almost nothing but rubble. It had had once been a nice neighborhood and it had survived World War III. When the world wide earthquake hit, like many neighborhoods, it suffered much damage. This
was a neighborhood that I once lived in. Down the block where I lived was the local Baptist preacher Dr. Bill Baker and his family. I never went to church but they treated me like I was part of their membership and when I was sick and in the hospital members of the church came to visit me. I treated them nice too but was uncomfortable with Christians coming to see me. When what they called the rapture hit I heard
that his family had disappeared. I guess I heard wrong as this girl we were chasing was Shelly Baker the preachers’ daughter. She was a champ on the track team and with our equipment weighing us down we could not catch up.
It looked like we had lost her when Sam noticed a flickering light coming from inside what had been her home. The house was now sitting at a slant as part of the foundation was destroyed by the quake. We quietly looked in to see her on her knees and praying. I wanted to go in quietly but not Sam. He took a step back and kicked in the door. Shelly jumped as she heard the door come down. Without a word of warning Sam quickly aimed his laser rifle at her. Desperately she turned to try and climb out a window. I
tried to stop him but Sam fired and hit her square in the middle of her back. I went over to check on her.
Shelly Baker was dead and I wanted to cry. I knew there would be no sense in reporting this murder as well as the one before.
The room was filled with religious books and paintings. Orders are when we find a place like this we must burn all religious material. We gathered the material together and started a fire in the middle of the room.
One painting I couldn’t help but stare at before adding it to the fire. I was shocked at what I saw. I showed it to Sam. His reaction was the same. We almost didn’t add it to the fire but knew it had to be done. As I tossed it into the flames smoke filled the room. The smoke was too much to take and we set our laser rifles down and went outside to get some fresh air. After standing there for a minute I heard Sam between
coughs say,
“Dave? Where are we?”
My eyes had been closed to keep the smoke out of them. I was about to ask him what he meant but when I opened my eyes I understood his question. It was no longer night. It was a bright sunny afternoon and we were in the middle of a busy street. People were passing us and staring at us in our leather uniforms.
They were wearing what looked like sacks as clothes and the main method of transportation seemed to be riding a donkey or walking. We seemed to be back in what used to be called "Roman Times".
We turned to go back inside the building we had just left but it was no longer there. What was going on?
We hid the rest of the day. We tried to decide what had happened to us. Sam looked at me.
“Maybe we were drugged at that Bible meeting.”
“Why would we be having the same hallucinations?”
“How should I know?”
“There is only one answer.”
“It can’t be that answer.”
“It has to be. We have gone back in time for real.”
“I don’t know. One thing I do know is we will have to find another way to make a living till we can find our way back.”
“Why can’t we make a living the way we always have?”
“Think about it. We dress different then this time and the only skills we have are to fire a laser rifle or use computers.”
“None of those things exist yet.”
Later that night we found some clothes. We had no money from this time period and no way to earn the money to buy the clothes. So when no one was around we stole them. We traveled from town to town.
Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem etc. I stole food and clothing but I think Sam took whatever he wanted. I could tell the merchants began to suspect we were stealing.
Along the way we had heard stories of a man, a carpenter who became a great teacher. Many times we were nearby listening. At the meetings the great teacher held we tried to stay in the background. We didn’t want to be noticed. After awhile, when we were in town, I was drawn to his gatherings. Sam started staying away.
After one meeting Sam and I talked when I got back to where we were hiding.
“So did you enjoy listening to the great teacher?”
“Yes, but not in a way that I usually enjoy things.”
"What do you mean?"
“I don’t know, but I only know that I just feel he wants me to be a better man.”
“Well that is all good but how can one man make you a better man?”
“When I think of the things he has said at his meetings. Like not doing good deeds just to be seen and thought well of by others. Anyone can do that even hypocrites. We should do them just because we want to. Not just to look good to the people around us.”
“Well we wear the cheapest clothes and we have to steal to survive. I doubt the people think well of us.”
“What about when he says blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. And the ones that really get to me from our former lives…blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy and this one most of all gets me where I live, blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“In other words he gives you hope.”
“Yes and something to think about. Don’t you think about these things when you hear him?”
“I did. But I decided to stop. You make your own way in this world and no other man can help.”
That was a lie and Sam had to have known it. As Trooper number 1 he was in charge of our platoon.
There were many tests to see who would replace the older commander and it was the old commander
who helped Sam study for those test. He practically gave him the answers. In a few years he would have been in a position to do the same for me as I was second in command. If he really believed what he just said then I doubt he would have helped me. Something just occurred to me. The old commander left the service before the Bible was outlawed. At one of the great teachers meetings he said if a man ask you to go a mile with him then to go with him two miles. In other words give more then is expected of you. The
old commander use to say the same thing. Maybe that’s why he helped Sam get his promotion. Maybe
that’s why once the Bible was outlawed we never saw him around town again.
All of these thoughts occupied my mind in the following days. Then one day we were caught. Sam was caught stealing money from a merchant in the Temple. It wasn’t even money that we needed. He just wanted it and decided to take it.
Our trial was swift. Even though I told them I knew nothing about the stealing of the money I was found guilty. We were sentenced to be crucified. On the day of our crucifixion we both carried our crosses up a hill. Once at the top the guards tied us to our crosses and set them up. They left us there to die.
I don’t know how long we hung there but one fog filled day I looked down the hill to see a huge crowd coming with another man carrying a cross. Sam was weak from lack of food and drink as he slowly turned to me.
“Well Dave it looks like company is coming.”
I was about to respond till I saw something that left me speechless.
The man carrying the cross was the great teacher.
Once he reached the top I saw that his punishment was worse then ours. He was not tied to a cross as we were. The guards nailed him to his cross. I saw the look of agony on his face as they hammered each nail into him. He had just gotten use to that, as much as anyone could, when they set up his cross between Sam and myself. The jolt it made as it hit the ground made him shake and I saw that look of pain
again. The crowd laughed and mocked him. Many of them had been to his meetings before. Finally a
Roman guard put a crown of thorns on him. The thorns cut deep into his forehead and the blood from his scalp flowed down. It mingled with the blood from his hands and feet as it dripped down to the foot of his cross to form a small pool. Next to the pool of blood the guards cast lots for his robe. As I saw all of this I
thought of what he had said before. “I am the way, the truth and the light. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” It must be true. Only a man of superhuman strength could take this pain.
Sam looked at the great teacher.
“If you’re really who you say you are, the Son of God, then save yourself and come down off the cross.”
He remained silent. Then I turned to him and said “Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” His answer amazed me.
“Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Suddenly the sky grew dark. The wind grew stronger. The crowd started to leave. He looked up and said “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
The darkness stayed and the fog grew thicker. Hours later as I breathed my last I heard him say, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
My spirit left my body and I saw the fog grow denser still. As I passed through time and space I saw the fog change to a black smoke. As it cleared I could see into the room were we had burned Shelly Baker’s belongings. The fire, where the painting that shocked us, was still burning up. A ring of fire had encircled
it. As it got closer to the center I could see the three figures that was the focus of our previous attention.
In the center was Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. To his right and left were the two thieves that hung with him. One had my face and the other had Sam’s face. The ring of fire grew closer and closer to the middle until the painting was gone. I did meet Jesus again later that day in paradise. Three earth days
later He had conquered death and was back visiting with his followers and spreading the good news.
Copyright 2006 by Ricky L. Phillips

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Member Comments
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Melissa Martin 28 Oct 2011
The ending is creative and unexpected. I liked the plot and the first person writing. Very interesting story line! I suggest that you brush up on your writing skills as far as using quotes when characters speak and starting and ending sentences and so forth. Edit sentences and take out the words that are not absolutely necessary.
Melissa Martin 28 Oct 2011
Sorry. I read your story again and you did use quotes.


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