Marian heard her baby cry. “Coming, Lanie.” She wrapped her sweater tighter around
her and hurried to the crib. Picking the toddler up, she murmured sweet words to
comfort the hungry girl. Lanie cried harder.
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I know you’re hungry. I haven’t been able to buy groceries for
weeks. Daddy’s out trying. Every place turns him away. Hopefully, today he will find
someone willing to help us.
“Here, let Mama rock you. That’ll make you feel better, won’t it?” Marian threw a heavy
comforter over herself and the baby on her bosom, and after a few moments Lanie’s
cries changed to only whimpers. But silent tears rolled down the cheeks of the grieving
It’s been days since we’ve eaten, or had any decent water. How long have we been
without heat and electricity? "God, if you’re out there, what are we to do? We can’t go
on like this. We have money in the bank that we can’t use. Jobs to go to, if only..."
Marian heard a knock at the door. Fear wrenched her stomach, until she heard her
friend call her name. “Come on in, Joyce.”
“Hey, girlfriend, how’s things going?” Joyce strolled in and flopped down on the couch.
“About the same,” she said, waving an arm about the chilly room. “What have you
been up to?”
“Just got back from shopping. This new method is great! It’s so easy. Just walk into
any store, pick up what you want, scan each item as you put it in the cart, and out the
door you go. No checks, no cash, no cards. It’s so easy. Hey, I’ve sneaked you in a
can of soup, but don’t tell any one. They’re keeping a close eye on how much
everyone’s buying. They’re trying to track down all those like you and Paul, trying to
persuade everyone to join the program.” She pulled the can from her jacket pocket and
handed it to Marian.
“Thank you, Joyce! I’ll give some of this to Lanie right now.” They moved to the kitchen
and Marian opened the can with a manual can opener. “She’ll have to eat this cold,
we’ve not had electricity for a week now.” She fed Lanie herself so as not to lose one
drop of the precious soup. The toddler didn’t seem to care that the soup was cold. She
gobbled it down.
“Eat some yourself, Marian.”
“No, I’ll save the rest for Paul” she said, mouth watering. “He’ll be home soon. He’s
been out since morning looking for help.”
“Marian, how long are you going to go on like this? It could be so easy for you! You
could have access to your bank accounts, Paul could go back to his old job. All you
have to do is get the mark. What’s the big deal? It makes everything easier. They
would give you back your utilities, and you could shop for all you need, every day if you
wanted! I’m telling you, it’s painless.” Joyce laid her hand out on the table. “Look,
Marian. See? It’s not that big, not that noticeable. And you’d never have to listen to
Lanie cry again because of hunger. What’s keeping you from doing what the
government expects you to do? Everyone’s doing it. It’s the way of the future. Come
on, while Lanie’s content, I’ll drive you down to the station where they’re giving the
marks. Then I’ll take you straight to the grocery store. Okay?”
“Joyce, Paul seems to remember hearing his grandmother talk about such a time as
this. She told him to never take the mark. To do so would be to betray God.”
“Look at you, Marian. What has this God done for you? You sit here watching your
baby starve. You’re being an unfit mother. They’ll take Lanie away from you.”
Marian felt nauseated. Where have you been, God? Do you even exist? “Joyce,
perhaps getting the mark is what I need to do, whether Paul does or not. At least one
of us could access our funds and shop for food, gasoline, pay the utilities. And then he
wouldn’t have to go against his grandmother’s advice!
“I’ve made my decision. Joyce, I accept your offer. Let’s go to the marking station...
then let’s go shopping!”
“Honey, I’m home! I found us some help! I’ve found some underground Christians.
They know what we need to do to survive this madness taking over the world. Honey?
Rev. 13:17 NIV ...no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark...
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