After a spectacular fiery red-orange sunset gave way to a star-filled evening sky, Tony and Lisa Conrad finally settled in after a long work day. Lisa lifted little Jenna into a booster seat at the kitchen table, while Tony finished peeling several large oranges, smiling.
“These are the biggest oranges I’ve ever seen. Musta been a good year for ‘em”
“They were on sale.”
Marmalade—the Conrad’s black-striped apricot-colored tabby cat—sauntered by, meowing loudly.
Jenna pointed at Marmalade, and exclaimed with a scratchy, high voice, “Orange kitty, orange kitty-kitty!”
Tony tapped Lisa’s arm, and offered, “Here, taste a hunk.”
“Oh, thanks honey.” Lisa took the orange slice and chewed it carefully. “Those are good. Thank you.”
“No—thank you for buying them.” Tony started to give an orange slice to Jenna.
Suddenly, the Conrad’s new suburban home started violently shaking.
Instinctively Lisa reached for Jenna and hugged her to secure her. The shaking intensified and a rumbling like thunder roared.
“Hold on to Jenna!”
Jenna pointed toward the patio doors in the kitchen. “Orange, Mommy, orange! Pretty lights! Orange!”
A copper spherical object--about 10 meters across--encompassed with spinning, flashing orange lights slowly descended into the Conrad’s back yard and gently touched down.
Completely shocked, Tony dropped the orange slice in his hand, narrowly missing the cat’s head.
The shaking subsided.
“Orange! Pretty lights, orange!” Jenna’s cute voice interrupted the terrifying moment.
“Yes honey, it’s orange. It’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay—right Tony?”
“Wha!??? Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s gonna be okay.”
Lisa motioned to Tony with her head toward the yard. “Go check it out.”
Marmalade jumped up on the table near Jenna. Jenna reached and started petting the cat. “Pretty orange kitty, pretty orange kitty-kitty.”
The cat purred loudly, and the sound of its purr oddly matched the hum emanating from the sphere.
Lisa looked down at the cat, then out at the sphere. The lights continued to blink in an almost a mesmerizing way. “That’s strange. That’s really strange.” Then she stepped on the orange slice. “Ouch. Oh, yuck!”
Lisa reached down and started picking the orange off of her slipper when Tony walked back into the kitchen.
“Lisa—just look outside. Just look at it.”
“I’ve been looking at it, Tony.”
“Now come on, what do you mean? What did you see? You’re scarin’ me, Tony. You’re really scarin’ me.”
“I think it’s some kind of sign.”
“Well, the only sign I see is a squished orange on my foot.”
“Watch.” Tony reached for another orange on the counter, and held it near Jenna’s shoulder.
The sphere jumped and moved closer to the Conrads’ home, and the shaking and rumbling resumed.
“Orange, Mommy, orange! Pretty lights! Orange!”
Tony raised his voice over the din, “Do you see?!? It’s trying to tell us to keep the oranges away from Jenna. Something about the oranges! It’s something about the oranges!”
“Ladies and gentlemen, that was 50 years ago.” Doctor Jenna Conrad’s holographic projection intensified after the re-enactment of her childhood days faded behind her. Because she was so passionate about the subject, Jenna emphasized her words with her hands and raised her voice in intervals.
“Back then, the medical science of food allergies in humans and was just a notion, and in many ways it was just in its infancy. I am here to educate you—the doctors, pastors and teachers of our time and the future—about one food allergy in particular: Oranges.”
Doctor Jenna Conrad held out one hand and a holographic orange appeared, slowly spinning, scintillating in the lecture hall.
She continued, “Oranges are a food allergy not many people know about, but it’s just as real—and potentially deadly—as many of the more well-known allergies. Some of the symptoms include headaches, congestion, stomach pain, irritated skin; the face, feet and hands will start swelling, and worst of all, breathing problems will occur. In the worst instance, the lungs can collapse, causing terminal suffocation. Immediate emergency treatment is necessary.”
The holographic orange disappeared. “I’ve dedicated my life to researching food allergies, especially the rarer ones. I believe Jesus spared my life that day when I was so very young. I thank God for my life and the opportunity to stand here and serve you. Remember when you offer food to someone: they may be allergic to its ingredients. Please be careful and respectful.
“Thank you, and God bless you.”
Ezekiel, Chapter 1
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