We were finished with the graveside funerals. It was a small secretive gathering. Five more of our friends were recently murdered by terrorists bent on the destruction of every Christian they found and left to rot where they lay to feed the wild dogs and scavengers. They had been found trying to steal food for our eclectic family unit that was decreasing in size almost daily.
Almost a decade ago the old cemetery lost about ninety percent of its occupants. Stolen? That was the start of a new era. We've buried many old and new friends here, at this new location, since. Not that anyone would hunt for them, a dead Christian was a good Christian and not worth the bother. I wiped the sweat from my unmarked forehead with a clean rag. Four people digging five holes, with shovels, the old fashioned way, is not easy, physically or mentally.
The building we convened in to mourn our losses used to be the community center for my family. Now it was a dormitory and refuge for those of us that missed the calling years ago. my parents, sister and I had spent the majority of our time here when I was growing up. It held many memories for me. This was the last place I saw my parents before they disappeared. It was the last place I saw a lot of people. I wish I had paid more attention to what was taught here instead of being boy crazy, and influenced by the teen culture. It was where my nightmares started. It was where my hope started. Over the years, under cover of night, recent converts to Christ assembled here to watch preaching videos, (before we lost electricity for failure to pay, and we failed to pay so our location would be concealed), find answers and read bibles: those bibles that weren't destroyed by marauding villains, or confiscated by high-ranking officials. Scoffers. Anarchists. The group that resided here now encouraged and supported each other. We protected each other from harm the best we could though we failed the five we just interred. This edifice was home and store house. We had provisions stacked up below to last our uncertain lifetime, hopefully, since we couldn't go to public places to shop, not without the chip embedded our hands.
We discussed recent news reports of soldiers hostile to believers being strategically relocated. Something ominous was brewing. Our enemies were assembling in great numbers getting ready for some mysterious military maneuver. Most likely it involved bloodshed. That's what they thrived on, good clean Christian blood. They were more than likely planning on another wholesale slaughter of us. What's new? They'd been killing us for approximately seven years now.
There was a loud sound outside. Looking at each other we hurried to the window. There wasn't a pane of glass left, having been victimized by rocks hurled by angry mobs. It sounded like thunder. In the sky a dark cloud was approaching at full speed. It was going to be another horrendous act of nature. We've seen our share of earthquakes, epidemics, hail storms, blackouts, droughts with accompanying heat waves and fires. What was left to destroy? We were in a dilapidated building being held together with a prayer and paper clips. What our foes hadn't, destroyed "father" nature had a slap at. I shuddered. This was going to be a long night. This structure was probably about to be flattened. It looked like we'd be sleeping in the storm shelter again with canned spam and bottled water for dinner. We had created the basement room at the beginning for safety. It was not common knowledge it existed and had harbored many a hiding criminal. That's what we were once we became Christians. Criminals against the government, stamped guilty with treason.
Lightening flashed through the room. Thunder got louder. No. Wait. Did we hear hoof beats? We rushed to the window again. Scanning the horizon we didn't see any sign of a horse. Galloping. That was definitely galloping. We stared at each other very puzzled. Lightening flashed again. No. Fire. Wasn't lightening fire?
I directed my gaze up at the dark cloud. That was a strange cloud and it sure was coming fast. I blinked. I heard a collective gasp from my comrades. That wasn't a cloud. Those were....Unbelievable!! That black cloud was ...the bottom of.... thousands upon thousands of ...horse’s hoofs!!!! The nearer they got I could see a lone stallion out front. Its rider wearing a blood soaked gown, with a name embroidered on it that I didn't recognize. He was brandishing a sword above his head, sunlight glinting off it. Fire came from his eyes. He was being chased by, no, followed by, I repeat, thousands upon thousands of white horses ridden by an army in white, all wearing at least one crown, some multiple crowns.
They were close enough to discern now. I could see... Oh, my gosh!! My family! My friends! My Lord!!! They waved at us and gave us the high five. We did it, we had survived to the end. My mom, dad and sister were laughing so hard if it had been possible they'd have been crying. They didn’t stop but spurred their steeds on faster as if they were on a mission. I heard someone yell something about Armageddon. I was satisfied knowing we’d catch up with each other latter.
Those with me whooped and cheered and pointed to the makeshift cemetery. I was speechless. This seldom ever happens. The caskets we had lowered into the earth hours ago were bouncing around, popping up like jacks-in-the-box through the earth with the others we entombed over the years. The dearly departed had returned to the land of the living. Death couldn't keep its grip on them any longer. They were also victorious, not to mention dumbfounded as they stared at their own tombstones.
Several horses separated from the envoy and trotted down to us. The riders, somehow we all knew they were distant relatives, offered their arms and we were hoisted aboard.
"Where are you taking us!" I asked as we ascended higher and higher to join the rear of the white robed army. Birds, birds and more birds, the rear guard of this regiment, whipped about us, eager to be fed at the end of the journey.
"To kick some serious butt!" was my answer.
I said good-bye to the old church as we headed to one hell of a final battle. I hope someone brought hotdogs for the bon fire! The birds wouldn't go hungry tonight.