The next morning people kept coming to the church site from all around the city and other places, they were welcomed by Pastor James and his wife, Sabrina. Friends, families, and individuals from around the city walked up the hilly side where the church was situated. Pastor James, with the help of Michael, Paul, and other few men, opened a bunker where the pastor and his wife have stockpiled food and water. It was a big underground root cellar on the north side of the hill with screened vent pipes distributed above it. The preacher directed the men as they brought out food from the storage site, varieties of food were brought up and taken toward the location of the church.
Michael was surprised with what he saw. ‘The food must be rationed in order to reach many because I think we will all be here for a long time,’ said Paul.
‘No one is staying here that long, we will all leave when the time comes which is soon,’ said Sabrina, who was standing behind the men.
‘The good Lord has left a guardian amongst us, to lead us,’ she added confidently, smiling at the men but none uttered a word, they moved the food they could and with the help of the women, they made fire, prepared the meal, and shared it to all the people.
Most of the women who were pregnant before the Ambassador took the entire children both born and unborn from harm’s way, discussed the incident amongst themselves and to nearby witnesses that night, saying their wombs went back in and disappeared, leaving their stomach like that of a virgin, as most were saddened as they could not explain why or how, neither could they describe the experience they felt during the quick transformation.
Michael went down into the hole where the food was stored, he made his way down holding a flashlight and discovered that the underground hole was big and had giant pillars holding the soil above it like a bunker, it had lots of bags of food, water, and tents kept and stored among other things. From where he stood, he could see that the space was big enough to contain half of the congregation the church building was built to take and it had heavy concrete work, there were electrical wires running down from above through ground holes but there was no light even though there were signs of bulbs on the walls of the basement. It had passages but only one entrance which also served as an exit. ‘I built it six years ago, took us months to finish it,’ said a voice behind him, it was Pastor James climbing down into the hole holding a search light. ‘She’s big, she got a big belly and we stockpiled what we could according to the instructions I received in a dream the night before the eve of the election seven years ago.
I was going to tell my family members and my wife but I wasn’t ready to be called a madman by people I called family, let alone the world so Sabrina and I . . . did what we had to do after I broke the news to her,’ he added.
‘This looks more of a bunker and a bomb shelter than a food storage cache, you knew this whole thing was coming before you built this place?’ asked Michael.
‘Well, yes! But its sole purpose was for food storage!
As big as she appeared, what is stored in her won’t last us a week,’ said the preacher.
‘Are you kidding me? This can last for a month or two from where I am standing,’ said Michael.
The preacher looked at him, giggled, saying, ‘judging from what the Lord showed me and the total number of people that will come here before we set off for the camp, this entire stockpile you see can only last days, Michael.’
Michael nodded even though he didn’t understand what he meant.
The men had a long conversation, the preacher expressed his fear to Michael concerning what happened when he saw a vision of the things to come years ago but ignored it until he had a personal encounter with God. He told Michael that because of how scared he got after he had been shown the revelation of things to come, he had to go warn the president of the country, who was also his opposition during the presidential campaign years back. He also explained how he approached his wife and how she smiled telling him she knew and it was revealed to her what he was going to do and what she must do beside him before she even married him.
‘I actually didn’t know how I was going to approach Sabrina with such news but I was amazed how prepared she was before I even had my encounter,’ said the preacher, who sat on a dusty bag of rice. Michael listened to the preacher as he praised his wife, Sabrina, and how strong she stood by his side when he took everything he had and did as instructed. The preacher said, ‘I was so afraid that after giving Him all my money he would one day say “offer your wife as a sacrifice to me” but . . .’ The two men laughed and later went silent and the preacher broke the silence saying, ‘I wish and hope that I have been the man she had always and ever wanted and if not I hope she finds a place in her beautiful heart to forgive me. People laughed at me, they laughed at us . . . it never bothered her, and her faith strengthens mine!’ Michael later learned that the preacher and his wife, Sabrina, never had a child in the entire eighteen years of their marriage, the preacher told Michael that he was sent by God on three different occasions to warn the President not to attend the summit abroad, but the President refused to listen to him. ‘I went to God in prayers, crying for a child and he said “I’ve got something greater and better for you! You shall not feed a child, I shall use you to feed a nation” so he asked me to abandon the world before I shall be instructed on what to do next, it wasn’t easy. A man my age who was looked up to by many!’ said the preacher. Michael sat down next to him, the two men stayed silent until Samantha called out and they climbed up.
As they got to the top, Michael was overwhelmed by the crowd he saw who made their way to the hill looking for food and shelter within a short time, he also noticed the sight gave joy to the preacher. The number of people who made their way into the church area was enormous and growing larger minute after minute, in the next few hours. It became clear that the food they stored would not last a week. Michael spoke to Paul that the three of them needed to move away from the city and find a safer and less crowded place, he lamented that with the current condition of things, rebels or guerrillas might attack the area or the people might lose control and no one knew what could happen because he was sure the food wouldn’t last them long enough. Paul and Samantha told him again that they can’t leave the city, not until they got confirmation from the Ambassador to move out of the city. So they continued to welcome people coming in and offering food to those that were hungry, some of the people offered money to be fed or served but the preacher told them that the food was free for all and not for sale.
While they were sharing food and tents, a young man paved his way through the crowd and met the preacher. ‘I admire your courage, sir, I wish I had a heart like yours!’ said the young man. The preacher turned but could not recall ever knowing him, the young man introduced himself and told the preacher that he was a host of the people’s favourite talk show on the radio but the preacher told him he had never seen nor heard of him.
The men sat down and ate together and the young man told the preacher that he knew about him for a very long time, that he used to make fun of him and other people over the radio, he told the preacher that for the past three years he had been having dreams of demons chasing him and in his dream he always saw a lighthouse over the hills and had no idea what it meant until he saw himself here. The young man and the preacher had a long conversation, the preacher listened to the young man’s story, the young man later cried and ask the preacher to forgive him for the things he had said concerning him, and the preacher told him he can’t forgive a man who had never done him wrong, the preacher told the young man that he could not hold grudge against him even if he had listened to the talk show so he asked the young man to go and forgive himself that he had forgiven him from the bottom of his heart and the young man left happily.
Michael stood watching, looking at the city. It was covered with smoke rising in almost all directions as fire could be seen from afar, burning in most of the buildings. The rest of the people in the church prepared their tents all around the hill provided by the preacher and his wife, many stood watching the city too and could not believe their eyes.
‘So, it is true and it happened in our time . . . unfolding right before our very eyes,’ Michael said to himself, wondering and hoping it was all a dream.
Sabrina walked by and smiled at him, she brought some food to him ‘someone forgot to eat’, she said. ‘This is the last meal, scraped off from nothing,’ she added, laughing. He laughed, too, thanked her and collected the food. While he was eating, she sighed and said ‘what if I told you that tomorrow by this time, hundreds of thousands more would come here from the city?’
Michael stopped chewing the food in his mouth and paused, looked at her and turned, then took a sip of the water offered to him as she added, ‘and what if I told you that you are the one chosen to lead them, to lead us all to the camp?’
Michael turned to her again and kept the cup on the ground, his stomach made funny noises. ‘That’s your message from the Lord, Michael,’ she said to him as she stood. ‘Don’t worry, you will receive your instructions from Him, He said you are the only one He entrusted his own from this beacon to lead us to the camp, there are about seven beacons of hope in every city and town around the world, this is the seventh . . . oh, how I so envy you! When I was shown what became of you when the glory of God came down upon you for the first time, I wished I was born a man, Michael,’ she said as she walked away from him and headed to her husband. Michael turned and saw the preacher and his wife talking, smiling, and looking at him.
He didn’t know what she meant or why she said so, but he didn’t take her seriously even though he had no choice but to believe almost anything ever since his last encounter with the one they called the Ambassador.
That night, Michael could tell that the electrical power grid in the city was down, little fire on buildings and lights from bunch of cars stuck from a distance could be seen, the city looked dead from where he was sitting. His mind was distorted by the events unfolding but more disturbed about what he heard concerning Jana, his wife, from the mouths of detective Samuel and Junior. Michael pulled out a picture from his wallet, he was in the middle of Jana and Gillian, they looked happy together and in the picture Jana was kissing his cheek happily. He smiled looking at Gillian’s eyes but wore a straight face staring deep at Jana’s smile from the photo looking at the ring on his finger at the same time. Many disturbing thoughts hovered around his mind, and it troubled his heart. Michael didn’t know what to believe any longer, and under the tension of how things were the night Big Grandy and the rest were killed, and from the look of things, Samuel and Junior had no reason to deceive him with lies.
He was glad that Junior was still alive, and he needed to track him down. First, to extract the truth about Jana’s affair with Junior, if it was true and then kill him either way the next chance they meet.
He could not take the thoughts out of his mind, he hated himself the more as the number of people that fluxed the church grew more than twice as many that night. Michael slotted the picture back into his wallet and put the wallet into his pocket, he then got up and went to assist some of the people in setting their tents.
With many tents set around the entire place and around the hill, the people in their great number where organised and were always talking about the dreaded experience that occurred and many were speechless. Some held onto their bibles and even non-Christians who said they have been visited by the Ambassador found their way up the field and into the midst of the people in the church and were given food and tents to set up. It was as though the preacher and his wife knew the number of people coming and trooping to the church area, the entire field was with people in tents and some outside, many passers-by were also invited and asked to stay while the preacher and his wife kept moving around attending to the people as they preached to them at the same time.
Each tent was lit with candle or flashlight, both new and old couples, singles, and even the physically challenged were there. Michael later sat down under a small tree alone, his mind went back to his wife, Jana, again. Samantha saw him seated alone so she got some food and water, as she was about going to meet him, Sabrina stopped her and told her he had already eaten, so Samantha offered the food to another person and didn’t go to meet or talk to Michael.
Hey, Michael,’ said Sabrina, who came and sat next to him. Michael told her she worked hard and should go get a good sleep but she said ‘no, when something is in your mind for almost twenty years and it comes, the next thing you want is for it to be over’. Michael smiled as if he understood what she meant. ‘You, every man will envy you sooner or later. Try and let it go, Michael, I know how much worried you are about Jana and what you are passing through. You are a king, and a king who would ride and rise from the shadows of dark clouds to meet the sun. Don’t let the past hold you back, to err is human. Did you know, first six months of my marriage I caught James with his secretary but he felt bad and promised to change and change he did. The trust and love I have for him changed him and made him a better person, I don’t even want to talk about it, but all I am trying to say is that true joy comes when you let go and forgive those who have wronged you, both known and unknown. If you can forgive the devil, do it if it will give you peace. Course it will!’
Michael nodded and said, ‘I do not know if I can do this, Sabrina.’
‘Yes, you can,’ she said, smiling.
‘No, I don’t mean Jana. I don’t have what it takes to guide these . . . people. I don’t even understand what you’re talking about,’ he said.
‘He chooses his own and he has chosen you! It is a great privilege and you better brace up and get prepared, for tonight you will have a visitor,’ she said. She stayed with him for a while and then bid him goodnight and walked away singing a song.
Michael removed his shoes, cleared the ground behind him, and laid his head on his shoes looking up at the sky. There were no stars and the moon was hidden behind the thick dark clouds that night.
‘Michael!’ A voice called in the dark. He stood up, turned but could not see anyone so he lied down again, but the voice called out again and he stood up wondering who it was. ‘Michael’ The voice spoke again and Michael followed it, and away from the people and far he kept walking, he came to a place where many fireflies rose from a nearby dry tree without a single leaf, the fireflies formed a pathway leading him into the bushes. Michael walked in between the two long lines of fireflies set for him to follow, he arrived at a certain place and stopped where the fireflies ended.
The fireflies flew up, some back into the dry surrounding trees and some disappeared. The place was quiet and then a tiny bright light appeared in front of him, glowing and increasing in size until it became so bright, obstructing his vision, all he could see was white, he looked around and all there was from far and near into the distance was plain white and a much brighter and shiny figure of a man appeared to him smiling, calling his name and Michael answered.
‘Fear not, for I am with thee! Fear not, for the lamb that is lamp to thy feet is here with thee! Fear not, for thou art before the root of thy wholeness!’ said the voice of the bright shiny man.
Michael looked but could not see his own hands, legs, or body but he could feel them. ‘What do you want from me?’ Michael asked.
‘To lead my own through the darkness, the dark hour is cometh,’ said the man.
‘But I have got nothing, I am not strong, I have no knowledge or qualities of a leader, I am bereaved and I am weak! My heart is dark and filled with the venom of vengeance, I am not whom you seek . . . I am not worthy, I am a sinner!’ added Michael, whose heart spoke truth of its nature, he could not lie before the man that stood before him. A thunderous storm stirred in the surroundings with beautiful lightning that did not harm Michael, in the presence of the light Michael could not hide what was in his heart, he poured out his fears and doubts, pain and anger. ‘Yes! Weak yea appeareth, but I mouldeth thee and breatheth in thee something greater, something only useful in these times and the times are nigh my child. So fear not, I shall utter my words unto thee and into thee and command my words unto thy hands and from this beacon yea shall lead my own. The words that I speak shall cometh down from the heavens and landeth upon the dying world, a sword in thy hands it shall be in the eyes of men but a light in the dark it is to thee. My words bring ruin to darkness and its seeds. Fear not, for I am with thee, when my words are spoken, yea and thy sword shall become one! Yea and thy sword shall be guided by the same thought which is mine words, I shall renew thy heart and giveth thee a fearless heart, and strengtheneth thee such that no warrior amongst men have ever seen, heard, or hath. A heart with such great beat like that of a thousand lions, even the beast of the earth shall flee at thy sight. This words spoken shall never fail thee for they have already come to pass in spirit, keep thy heart and eyes opened for when the time cometh which is already at hand, sons of men shall run to thee and darkness shall want to take thy life but fear not, for it is in that hour that my glory shall be brought forth upon thee and thy crown restored fully when the journey endeth. Bring they that calleth mine name and survived through the trials set against and before them by the world to the camp, a temporary place I laid for my own before the gates are opened!’
Michael fell to his knees and said, ‘Lord, if my foes shall be brought to justice, my life is laid for the purpose you created it.’
‘Vengeance is of the Father, do not take into thy hands that which is of the Father, when the words cometh in form of a sword, yea shall be pure in thoughts and shall follow it, and be one with it. Protect my own, Michael,’ said the man who disappeared, leaving Michael alone.
The surroundings gradually gave way to the night, Michael regained his vision and noticed that all the dry trees around him were alive and green with thick leaves, flowers, ones he had never seen had grown and blossomed around him, and greener grasses under his feet, he ran back to the people and his eyes were shining and his shoulders have broadened.
On sighting him, Sabrina shouted, ‘the good Lord be praised!’
All the people came out of their tents and saw Michael and how he had changed and were astounded. No one asked him anything, the preacher and his wife were very happy, the two then announced to the people that soon, God will lead them to safety using this man, Michael, and because of the current event that was unfolding, all the people looked happy and joyful, they felt as though the end of what they experienced had come and many went to their knees and asked the preacher to pray for them, the preacher went on his knees along with Sabrina and Michael, and prayed.