All posts by emmanuelonimisi

REST: An Invitation to More

Ever since this year began, one thing that I’ve been learning is the value of Rest and what it is. Little did I know that in a couple of months most of the whole world would take a compulsory break. Many are working from home, some are laid off from work, and some are alone or with their families.

But even when work and activity are reduced it does not mean that we are resting, you know. In the past few weeks I’ve come to appreciate this more, and when it’s lacking I know I need to seek rest.
In this short series I’ll be writing about Rest and why it’s God’s intention and provision for us all. You can get the whole lowdown in the Twitter threads I wrote earlier this year here and here. I just thought I should bring it here as well, including what I’ve learnt since.

There’s so much activity around us these days. On and off the online superhighway there’s so much news, so many trends to engage with, mouths to feed, work to get done, deadlines to meet, expectations to reach and goals to, well, score I guess. It can be so overwhelming sometimes. I for one can identify.

The Net used to be my avenue for fun until work moved here this year. I found myself weighed down and overwhelmed. I just don’t seem to have the capacity for so much information and trending topics, with conspiracy theories sewn between. Deadlines whizzed by like traffic, horns blaring an’ all 😅, and I knew I needed a break.

This makes me to better appreciate the concept of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath, or Shabbat, is a Jewish tradition dating from the time of Moses. The seventh day of each week was set aside as a holy day of rest. It was one of God’s commandments to the Jews in separating them to be His very own people. In Exodus 20:8-10 He said,

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

It is still the hallmark of Orthodox Judaism to this day.
Shabbat means ‘rest’ or more correctly, ‘ceasing from work’. See, that was the point. They could do all their work for 6 days but on the 7th day, all work was to cease. Even if it was harvest time, they would either harvest their crops before Shabbat or after Shabbat. As soon as the first star was seen in the sky, families would gather in their homes for the Shabbat meal, commemmorating it with a prayer of blessing. The day of rest would extend until the next evening, and thus Shabbat was done.

Note that this was not idleness. It is rest from work.

Now I’m not advocating the Sabbath day as a rule for all, no. It was an instruction as part of a covenant relationship God had with the people of Israel only. But, like with much of the Law, it was for their hygiene and well-being as well. If we understand the essence of it, it would be of great blessing to us because of what it tells us about ourselves, our work and of God’s nature.

And this is the three-fold essence of Shabbat as I’ve come to learn it.
– Rest for you
– Rest for your field (Note that I didn’t say ‘rest FROM your field. There’s a difference); and
– You know what, this is the best of the three so I’ll leave it for the end.

Shabbat is Rest for You

You need rest.
Our bodies need rest, and the Israelites were no different. They were a majorly subsistence and agrarian society at the time of Shabbat’s origin, so much of their work had to do with their survival. They relied on their fields and crafts for their livelihood, for their food and shelter and as a basis of commerce. They NEEDED to work to live, yet God was telling them to leave it for 24 hours.
It’s kinda like us today. We have needs to provide for, mouths to feed, and deadlines to meet. But if we stay in the constant grind of work it becomes slavery: a curse, far from God’s intention for us. We need a break even if we don’t feel like it. Unless there is a law some of us won’t stop working because we NEED to work.
This is one of the reasons I’m extra thankful for the concept of the Weekend, a legal break from work.

Do you know that the word holiday came from the term holy day? Or that the origin of a five-day workweek and 2-day weekend was tied to the need of Jewish workers to rest on Shabbat? (Check it out, it’s worth googling) It gradually extended to others, and Saturday and Sunday became legal holidays.
Just like Shabbat gave the Jews an opportunity to spend time with family and think on their covenant with God, weekends and holidays give us the opportunity to look at the things that matter apart from our work. To spend quality time with family and friends. It affords us the opportunity to see life as something much bigger than the bubble our work squeezes us into. It’s why when people go to relax they say they need to ‘unwind’.
When we are well-rested, we can go into the new week refreshed.
Just like the beauty of music is in the sounds and the pauses between, life and work are best enjoyed when there is a rhythm of rest even in a schedule of work.

Shabbat is Rest for your Field

Rest is necessary FOR the work you’re doing.
I first learnt this from the concept of the Sabbath years given in the Old Testament for every 7-year interval. After every 7 years, God instructed, the land was to rest from all tilling and cultivation. For a whole year!

Exodus 23:10 and 11 says

“Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove.

I constantly look at that and wonder how they would have eaten or coped during that Sabbath year.
I imagine that they would have had to become more creative and strategic. In the time leading up to the Sabbath year they may have worked extra hard to have an abundance to enjoy in the seventh year. For money they may have had to explore other crafts like carpentry and pottery to make a living, opening their minds to other possibilites as opposed to the monotony they were used to.

I believe God, the primo Creator who paints the skies, loves variety! But that’s a discussion for another time.

The Israelites may have enjoyed a ‘Garden of Eden’ experience, where they are eating without cultivating or planting. For that one year they ate without working because the work had been done. The land was fruitful. That’s some rest.
I have found that when I face my work only for a long stretch of time, I lose the passion and drive that called me to it in the first place. When we see our work as our sole supply and focus it puts more pressure on it than it needs. Like driving an 18-wheeler on a road made for bicycles, the road will wear down until there are more potholes than roadways. Productivity suffers when there is no passion or capacity.

Whether it’s a 9-5 or freelance work or a creative endeavour, this still applies. I have seen it in my work too. When I’m overwhelmed I take a walk, or spend time with family and friends. Anything worthwhile to keep me away from the work. Sometimes my weekly meetings with church are my opportunity to cut loose and relax (And any of my church fam reading this can tell why my dry jokes come easily when I’m with them. It’s me unwinding, really.) And when I do return to the work, my mind is refreshed and rested. The time has afforded me the opportunity to consider and reconsider ideas. Some alternative methods of getting the work done have passed through my mind, or I have sought counsel from another who knows how to do it. Either way, I am coming back to it better because my mind is less burdened.

My mind is refreshed because I rested.

Because, you see, my mind is the field of supply, not the work itself. The work is just a medium to bring out what God has placed in me into a substrate (a job, or assignment, or task) in which it can be fruitful.

This is, in a sense, why academics go on a leave or vacation that is aptly called a ‘Sabbatical’. It is an opportunity outside of the grind of their usual grounds, so they can learn and practise in their field in a different environment. They are still working, but the novelty adds colour to an otherwise drone of monotony.

There are targets to meet and fulfil, but be deliberate about taking time to rest. Not all of us can afford to rest on weekends, but make the time. I know someone who I was told takes his rest on Mondays due to the nature of his work. Some take periods of rest everyday, which I also encourage.
Either way, for the field (your mind) to be refreshed, take time to rest.

The Core of Shabbat

So far I have looked at the essence of rest for you and for your mind for your work. But here is the best part, which gives meaning to the previous two.
You ready?
OK, here we go.
God patterned the Sabbath rest after His Creation Story of Genesis 1 and 2. After working in creating for 6 days He rested on the 7th day. In asking the Israelites to follow this pattern He was inviting them to share in a pattern that had been exclusive to Him alone all this time!

This is why the seventh day was set apart as a holy day. It was God’s Day, the day He set aside for them to come and join Him. So despite the problems they encountered day-in and day-out they celebrated God’s Rest in hopes of a future and completed Rest He would call them into.

Shabbat is God’s invitation to Himself.

Shabbat is an invitation to faith. It beckons us to a way of life where our trust is not in our work or livelihood or our abilities and limitations, but fully in God. That way we would see all these other parts of life as channels through which God, our True Source, can supply every need of our lives.

And, oh, Shabbat is a shadow of a deeper reality that Jesus called us into as He whispered, “It is finished.” Or as the Contemporary English Version put it, “Everything is done.”

Now all who enter in can face life’s battles, and indeed face all of eternity, from the Victory that Christ has already won. Living as something more than conquerors. It’s a life we gain access to by trusting our lives to Him, with the promise of seeing and experiencing greater and greater expressions of His glory in us through us and around us as we go deeper and deeper in Him.

Like in Romans 5:1 and 2 Paul wrote,

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Shabbat has always been about God calling us to His own domain of rest. As if God called us to visit Him for lunch, so we can experience what His kind of life is like.

And in Jesus, He opened the doors wide open so we’d never ever have to leave. In Christ, God is our home.

Hebrews 4 lets us know that there still remains a Rest for the people of God. But didn’t we enter that rest when we came to Christ? Or is that Rest Heaven?

Well, yes and yes. This Rest is an eternity with God, but it’s also the experience of the journey towards that. Truly, eternity with God begins when we accept God’s gift of eternal life in Christ, but the fullness of this will be when we are present with the Lord either in death or at His Return. There is really nothing like it, and it is absolutely something to look forward to.

Until then, it’s a crescendo of a journey as His lifestyle of Rest invades ours.

Even as believers sometimes we have those Martha moments (not the Batman “WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?!” kind 😉. But the Luke 10:40 kind). I can personally identify with Martha in that story much of the time. I have those moments where legitimate work and needs cloud me from the value God has for us outside of it in the quiet stillness, opening the door to pressure and eventually missing the point of what God is saying or doing. And that, missing God’s point, is sin and the root of all sin.

Trusting in His ability. Submission to His Lordship. “Not my will but Yours.” This is His Rest. Anything outside of this is disobedience and causes us to miss out on the Life He’s provided for us.

So I’m learning to live from this place and understanding. To live from His rest and, in my work, take time to rest. To work in and from peace, not the pressure of fear or loss.

His Perfect Love casts out all fear. There is no fear or pressure in love.

Living from that assurance that God is for you and that He loves you, that’s rest.

The Sabbath of the Lord is not bound to a day but for all eternity. The 7th day unended.

Jesus beckons us in. He says,

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 NKJV

It’s an invitation for all to enter.

Have you entered?


Thanks for reading!

I’ll continue this subject next week with ‘Breaking the Sabbath’ (and now you’re probably like, “Wait what?!”)

I’ve also got something planned for writers in my own journey that could be of help. Should be this week.

😁 See you then.

Drawing by His hands

Earlier today my sister’s family came over. And while playing with my 3-year old nephew, practising his writing and drawing, this conversation ensued.

BOY (my nephew): I want to draw Jesus.

UNCLE (me): Ok, here’s what we’ll do…
GRANDMA (my mum, not wanting us drawing Him wrong and blaspheme): Why don’t you draw something else?
ME: Don’t worry. I used to draw Bible characters.
BOY (who copies us every chance he gets): Yes, I used to draw Bible CARROTS!

And that’s where I lost it 😂

We’ve since drawn so many things together, from Jesus to angels to hands to cartoon carrots… I mean characters😉. It’s really my hand holding his, but he’s confident in knowing he drew them too. And when it’s something difficult we want to draw he asks me to draw with his hand.
It reminds me of how God works in us and through us. He does magnificent things through people that trust Him and place their hands in His. Things far beyond their abilities or limits, by His very Spirit alive in them.

Sometimes after he’s told me to help him draw something, he rebuffs my direction and turns humans into 5-eyed formless monstrosities, but he’s exploring his Creativity like I once did 😁 Looking at the mess he then asks for my help and we start again or modify it.
Reminds me how God is patient in teaching us. Our certainty that we know what’s best at the expense of what He says sets us back or delays us from getting to His good result many times. What looks best may not always be good or of God, you know.

And sometimes when we’ve decided what we want to draw, let’s say a face, we (I) may start with an eye. He asks what I’m doing ’cause it looks nothing like the face he had in mind. I just encourage him to be patient, that I know what I’m doing
Reminds me of God too. Some steps He leads us in may not look or feel like the end He told us about or that we were expecting. But have you trusted your life to Him? Is your hand in His; is He your Lord? Then you can trust Him to be with you through it all.
That’s the person who knows God is with them in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).

This person may pass through a valley of crying and turn it into a spring (Psalm 84).

Just like his/her Father Who makes rivers out of the wastelands (Isaiah 43).

Drawing with His hands.

My nephew’s in his inquisitive phase too so we’re answering questions almost every second. It’s fun and exhausting, but makes me grateful for our Heavenly Father who hears my every question, spoken and unspoken, and guides me into His wonder.

In His much larger world, some questions fade away. Some persist and lead me to more in Him. Some questions I may never get the answers to until I see Him face-to-face.

And you know what? Then He’ll be all that matters, because He always has been.

POST-SCRIPT

I cannot express just how much it means to me how you all pushed out my story, The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy. Thank you so much ❤️🤗. I hope it blessed you. And I hope to be even more of a blessing. God bless you, everyone.

Here’s a little secret just for you: God willing, there are even more amazing and deeper stories coming. Already been doing some research on the subject matter. Anytime you remember, say a prayer for me please.

Also, I hope these have sparked something grand in you. All of this is just a tip of what God can do.

In this and in coming weeks I plan to share some lessons I’m learning on my writing journey. If you haven’t already, follow this page so you’re the first to know.

And finally before I go, I recently had the privilege of writing a feature in The Journey to the Extraordinary for the #21stCenturyBibleStories series by the amazing Osetemega Iribiri. Check it out by clicking this link, and also share your stories in the information at the end. Don’t forget to follow her on Medium. You’ll be really glad you did.

Thanks for coming by!

My Curious Case

If you are here then you most likely have read the story, The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy. Wait, you haven’t?! (dramatic gasp) Please go check it out at this link.

Good.

Are they gone? Are they all gone? Alright, now it’s just us people-who-have-read-the-story-already people 😁. Great, now we can get started. Phew!

I’ve always loved the symbols and pictures the Bible uses to describe how God came to save us from sin and death, and how He works in our lives. Light piercing darkness. A groom courting a bride that felt undeserving. A shepherd seeking a lost sheep. And, the image this story was based on, receiving God’s very life like we eat bread and drink wine.

If the part in John 6 where Jesus told them to eat His flesh felt strange to you, don’t worry. You’re in good company. The people in the room that day felt the same way. Eating His flesh and drinking His blood? “This is too tough to swallow,” someone said, pun intended or not. And I didn’t make that up. It’s recorded here:

Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”

John 6:60 (MSG)

But He didn’t mean it ‘literally’. It was a symbol of a sacrifice He was going to get done. So that the essence of it could forever be emblazoned on our minds, He solidified at His last supper with His disciples in what Christians call Communion or the Eucharist.

As the bread is broken we are reminded of His body that was broken for us. As the wine is poured we are reminded of His blood that was shed for us, His very life given so that we who were dead could come to life and have a relationship with God. I loved looking at these things, and I still do.

But as I grew and encountered the world outside my bubble, I came to see that the world is complicated. Not everyone sees things the way I do. People have sincere questions about the evil and decay in the world, and how that jibes with the idea of a God that loves us. Questions went all the way back to the beginning in Eden. If God loves us, why did He let us fall knowing it would hurt us? These and more made me consider what I believe, if I truly believed it or if I was just going with something because it felt comfortable.

Sometimes we need our bubbles popped, you know, so that the only thing that remains is what truly endures.

But then this made me come to realise, understand and appreciate the promise of Immanuel, a Hebrew term meaning ‘God with us’. As first seen in Isaiah 7:14, In the midst of Israel’s troubles God promised “Immanuel”, that Someone would come Who would be God with us (that’s what immanu-el means in Hebrew). But it’s so much more, and here’s why.

God has not been aloof from all our suffering. In His love He gave us free will and, when we chose the way that led to destruction, He didn’t leave us to our fate. He came to be a part of what we experience. Our hunger, our thirst, our joy, our pain. He knew no sin, but He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He became one of us. God as us. God amongst us. God with us. That is what Immanuel means, and that is what Jesus came to encapsulate.

Like someone once said, that’s why He’s the Word of God: He’s everything God ever wanted to say to us. And it’s true. God has always loved us and in embodying what love is, He wants to be a part of our lives and wants us to have a part in His.

But He is holy, and sin cannot stand in His sight. Friendship with God could not work.

And that’s why God went for the jugular in dealing with our biggest problem first, sin and death. Just as the bread is broken and loses its form, Jesus would be broken for our sakes, dying the death we deserved. Just as the wine is poured out and drunk, His life would be cast down for us. And this one offering would be what saves us from the slavery to death that we had lived in. And now that He is risen everyone that believes in Him and receives His sacrifice receives God’s life just like one swallows something eaten.

It’s as close as it gets.

Like the beloved poem by William Cowper goes

There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Immanuel’s veins

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains.

This is why my story went the way it did. We were the walking dead and we didn’t even know it, because of the virus of sin that plagued our very souls. Death reigned in us, dooming us to eternal separation from God. But God did everything to end that. He came to have a union with us, becoming Man, so that He could extinguish that virus.

This lover of symbols couldn’t resist using this story to represent the mother of all living, Eve as Eva (well, Eve and Adam, actually) who instigated it all just as we would have. Andy represented Jesus obviously, and the greenhouse was Eden. DIABLO is Latin for devil, and pictures how the devil deceived them and prodded them towards the mistake.

But the story and work of Immanuel is not over yet, and that’s where Lisa’s story comes in.

One of the reasons there seems to be a disconnect between the loving Father the Bible speaks of and the God the world understands is because of the need of this, for lack of a better word, incarnation. People don’t see where the good all-powerful God fits in all the decadence we experience around us. But His plan is that everyone that has the life of God represents Him on Earth. We are the Light in a desperate, dark and dying world. There need not be a disconnect because He has placed you where you need to be to shine His Light. So that when they see your actions and reactions, they’ll see what God is about.

Even in suffering, they’ll see how God delivers us from or sustains us in the midst of the trial. Jesus said,

In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration;

but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]!

For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

John 16:33 (AMP)

One of God’s children, a man named Paul, told us of a time he also went through a rough patch like this, a problem that didn’t seem to let go. But here’s what God said to him:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (KJV)

That’s why the life of a child of God is not dictated by circumstances. God’s grace and power that He provides is enough for us, and that’s why we can trust Him.

Even as believers we may not always ‘feel’ upbeat. There may be more month at the end of the money (no, that wasn’t a typo), or nothing in the bank, or many other reasons to be discouraged. There may be more questions along the way. . While we have a responsibility to always trust in Who our Father is, He knows us – our strengths and weaknesses– and He reminds us of His promise and helps us up. That’s where strength comes from.

…He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

Hebrews 13:5 (AMP)

We’re human and for now, until the day we are fully united with Him in death or at His return, we see Him and His eternal realities dimly. As clear as it may seem, as close as God feels in our best moments, there is so much more ahead of us than anything we’ve ever experienced.

This is the promise Communion reminds us of. Fully in union with God, that’s what Jesus made us. And nothing can ever separate us from His love.

I truly hope this story has moved you and has been as much of a blessing to you as it has been for me. Thank you for reading this far.

God loves you, so much! Talk to Him today. If you haven’t already, ask Him for this Gift of His Life that He has for you. It’s yours for the asking, and it’s just the beginning.

No matter where or when you are in your life’s journey, He’s right there at that table with you. He knows what you feel. He knows who you are. And He loves you.

May the eyes of your heart be open to see Him better.

He adds life to the mundane.

He makes bland colourful

He calls it all very good.

He makes it beautiful.

Thank you so much for reading once again!

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 005

Lisa Bynes put the last of the care packages into her car outside the warehouse.

It had been a very quiet past few weeks, and things didn’t look like they would let up. She was glad that her church had gotten a food bank ready as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions came up, but sometimes she wondered if this was all worth it. No one on the Welfare Committee had shown up all day and now she was the only one here to make the deliveries to the homeless. And then there was still going to be a Last Supper re-enactment on the church Zoom and she had to be online for it.

It felt wrong. It felt unfair. Times like these made her wonder what she was even doing here or why she even bothered. She just wanted to get back home to her daughter, Kelly.

She turned back into the compound to lock up the storehouse for the day. What an Easter this would turn out to be. No church services except those online, no songs in the streets, no creative drama presentations for the season, no Easter egg hunts (or maybe that one wasn’t so bad). The whole world had paused and, as much as she tried to encourage herself that there was purpose to all of this, it was difficult to remember all the time.

The door of the warehouse burst open and a woman staggered out and fell to the floor.

Lisa started at that. She instinctively reached into her bag for the mace spray, but she couldn’t find it in the midst of the hand sanitizers her bag was stocked up on.

Lord, please don’t let these be one of those looters…

The woman looked dishevelled, but she was laughing maniacally. Probably on drugs. But when she stared up at her, recognition dawned.

What in the world? “Eva?” What was her sister doing there?

“Lisa?” Eva’s eyes widened. “LISA!” She hurried towards her.

Now Lisa had been maintaining social distancing measures all this time so her first instinct was to take a step back. But her little sister looked like she had been through a lot, and she didn’t seem to care. She embraced her and Lisa put her arms around her slowly.

“What’re you doing here?”

Eva seemed more excited than she had ever seemed. “What am I doing here? What’re you doing here?”

Lisa gave her a good look up and down. “Are you OK? How did you get here?”

Eva pointed inside. “I’ve been in there for hours. It feels like a day already.” She grabbed her hands. “Oh, Lisa, you wouldn’t believe all that happened to me in there. Oh my, you’ve got to meet him!”

“I’ll bet.” She sauntered into the warehouse. Oh Lord, I pray my sister’s not on drugs. “How did you get in here? Who else is here?”

But when Eva followed her in she looked surprised. She looked over the stacks of bags with questions on her face. “We were … just here.”

Lisa squinted at her sister’s eyes. “Who else was here?”

Eva looked genuinely worried. “Andy. I mean … he wasn’t really Andy. Andy wasn’t Andy at all. You see—“

“Eva, I’m going to ask this once and you have to be honest with me. What are you on?”

But Eva’s eyes did not look high. If anything she looked concerned. “I was just here. There was a table over there, a-and a window there…” She walked into the room. As long as Lisa could remember this had always been an enclosure. No windows whatsoever. “And there was a hall beyond that wall. Lisa, you’ve gotta believe me.” She rushed to the back wall and knocked on it. “I’m not lying. It doesn’t look like it, but I just came out of this place.”

Lisa measured her words carefully as she approached her. On one hand she was tired and wanted to get home, but this was her little sister. And no matter how stuck-up Eva had been all this time she was really worried for her. “Eva, I’ve been waiting for my church members in this room for hours. There’s been nobody here but me.”

“Oh my…” Eva sank to her knees in genuine wonder and Lisa didn’t know if she should be worried. “I mean I can understand He could do this but…“

“Who could do this?” She stooped beside her.

Eva turned to her, excitement in her eyes. “God,” she said.

Now Lisa had been used to the cynical comments Eva had been making about God all these years so the sincerity of her words now felt weird.

“God?” Lisa didn’t know what to make of this. It was one thing if a stranger gave a testimony about a supernatural miracle, but this was Eva. The Eva she had known all her life.

Eva looked over her shoulder. “See, I don’t know how this works, but you know what happened, right? It was in the news. The thing with the werewolves on campus? It was all my fault.”

Now Lisa was convinced she was on drugs. “Werewolves?”

Eva nodded frantically. “I was doing this experiment a-and it blew in my face. I didn’t know it would do that—”

“And you saw werewolves?”

Eva nodded. “Why, yes! I even became one.”

Lisa put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s take you home, OK? You must be coming down with something terrible.”

And so as she helped her sister towards the car, wondering what to do with her, Eva launched into the most bizarre story she had ever heard. It was full of monsters and lab mistakes, a pandemic, and the weirdest interrogation she could have ever imagined. She was praying under her breath wondering what to say when it was over.

But as Eva continued, the core of the story began to look familiar. The part about Andy and the things he did, and the things he said. From disbelief Lisa was slowly coming to understand that her sister had truly experienced something. Was it real? Was it all in her head? This couldn’t be the Eva she had known. This could not be really happening.

But then there was so much more in what she was saying. Lisa parked the car along the sidewalk and placed her head on the steering wheel.

“Eva, there were no werewolves,” Lisa finally said. “The things you said never happened.”

Eva seemed genuinely confused. “What do you mean—“

“There’s a pandemic out there, alright, but it’s not the one you experienced.”

“Yes, he did say there was something worse.”

Lisa shook her head. Could it really be? “The coronavirus is out there, but it’s not what he was talking about either.”

Eva seemed to be the only person on Earth that did not know what she was talking about. The confusion never left her face. “I remember that. I remember everything. But, it feels like a distant memory. Like … it wasn’t even an issue where I’m coming from.” She placed a hand on her head. “What is going on? Where was I? Is this real?”

Lisa didn’t know what to do with her. How long had her sister been cut off from the world? “Eva, are you messing with me? Because if this is a joke you have to stop. Now.”

“I wouldn’t mess with you. I would never do that!” Her eyes lit up with an idea and she reached into her pocket for her phone. She searched through her news feeds frantically and couldn’t find what she was looking for. “I don’t believe it.”

Lisa ran a hand through her hair. “You and me both.”

“Andy’s number’s not on my phone. I can’t find our emails either.”

Lisa couldn’t believe she was going with this. “Maybe there never was an Andy,” she muttered.

“Lisa I’m serious!”

“What do you want me to say? That you’ve had a vision or something? So that you can make fun of me again?”

Eva shook her head. “Is that what you think? That I had a vision?”

Lisa clenched her fists. “I don’t believe this. How did you get into the warehouse of all places? It doesn’t make sense!”

“I don’t know! Maybe that was a miracle too?”

Lisa shook her head. Her heart was burning with an idea, but she wouldn’t embrace it. She just couldn’t.

“If God could do anything,” Eva said. “Would it be impossible for Him to do that? I mean, between us both, you’re the God-expert. Does He do stuff like this?”

“But why? Why you? No offense.”

Eva pursed her lips. “Maybe He did that for you?”

Lisa thought about that for a moment. Before she knew it a chuckle escaped her lips. For me? The chuckles kept coming until she found herself laughing. For me?! And then the laugh just wouldn’t stop. She pounded on the steering wheel despite herself. She shut her eyes and kept on slapping her knee at the incredulity of it all. A tear ran down her cheek. And the weird thing about it was that it felt refreshing.

She exhaled and set her hands on the dashboard. She could feel Eva’s confused gaze all over her.

Lisa shook her head. “I needed that.” She couldn’t believe it, but it was true. “All this time I thought I was alone. But God was there. I felt I was wasting my time, but He was there. Working on you, but He chose where I was?” She kept shaking her head. “It’s incredible.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “You have no idea what that means to me. It’s just like Him to do something like this.”

Eva had been smiling shyly. She probably didn’t get the depth of what Lisa was feeling. It was like a love letter to her, a personal one signed by her Heavenly Father. Thank you.

“So this virus is worse than we thought, but you say it’s not what he was talking about?” Eva was now staring out at the empty street.

Lisa was still taken by it all, but she shook her head. “It’s not. If we’re right, he’s probably talking about sin.”

Eva arched a brow. “Sin? Like lying and cheating and stuff? You’re not serious, are you?”

“He is. All sin is worse than any virus. And we all got it. Everyone.”

Eva seemed to be getting it now. “And He is the cure?”

Lisa nodded. “He is.”

“But did I really have to … you know?”

“Eat his body?” Lisa had to admit, that sounded very weird. But then the concept of Communion had always been a symbol to her. To imagine it now brought to mind just how Jesus’ disciples must have felt when He talked about it. But if this what got through to her sister, then it was worth it.

And then she realised what day it was and she couldn’t wipe the grin off her face. “You just wait ‘til we do Communion at home. You’ll get it. It’s just like Him to do that. He loved parables when He walked the Earth.”

“Jesus?”

Lisa nodded. “Jesus.” There was so much she would still tell her.

But all the way she was basking in the fact that God had not left her. This was all worth it. And that’s what made all of this, with all its pain and uncertainty, beautiful.

She had her own questions too, but she had hope, and that’s what made it all beautiful.

Because He is here.

He makes it beautiful.

 

THE END

 

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If you eat this bread, you will live forever.

The bread that I will give you is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.

Jesus in John 6:51,56

For more details, check out some of my thoughts in MY CURIOUS CASE

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 004

Eva wanted to scream. She wanted to shout. But all she could do now was stutter because words were just not coming. Andy?

This man, who really could not be here, walked around the table towards her. “It’s always been me.”

How had she not recognised his voice all along? It really looked like him. Same hair, same height, same cologne. She wanted to run. She wanted to cry. Reality and all that was sensible had shattered before her very eyes and this dead man was here.

Is here. Had been here all along.

In the light she could even make out the faint profiles of Mitch and Briella beyond the window. She turned back to Andy. His green eyes were full of life. She could remember his body on the floor, and here he was. “H-how? What’s going on?”

“The room works like your heart. You are free to see, but you could only see what you were able to see.”

“My eyes were open.”

He pointed at her chest. “I meant those eyes. You could have the sharpest eyes, but if the eyes of your heart are clouded in darkness, you couldn’t see me even if you tried. Only the Truth could really make you see.”

“Wh-what are you saying?”

“I came to help you see.”

“I mean, this—all of this! What is this?”

God, it really is him!

“I killed you!” she cried. It was probably not the best thing to say at this point, but it was the only thing she could blurt out at the moment. “I was the one that … I killed you… Are you a ghost?”

He turned his head and pointed to his neck. There was a bite mark. Deep bite marks. “See? It really happened. But I’m not dead anymore. I’m really here. And you know the best part? Because I live, you will too.”

Limp from the rush of adrenaline she sank to the floor but he pulled her up and embraced her instead. She didn’t realise when she started crying, but when she did she couldn’t stop. All the rage, fear, anxiety and uncertainty of the past day and a half poured out and wouldn’t stop.

This guy who had been her assistant for the past few years looked the same as ever, but he now felt more mature and more lived in than he ever had. Every status structure she had kept in place between them before now was broken because right now all she was, all she is, is embraced by Andy.

“I’m really sorry,” she said between sobs. “I’m really very sorry. I was wrong.”

“It’s OK.”

She pulled away. “But who are you? What are you?”

He smiled, and his smile had never felt so rich. “Who do you think I am?”

She rubbed an eye. “But it can’t be. All this time?”

He nodded solemnly. “You said I never have problems, that I’m perfect in all of my ways. I came to show you that your problem has always been mine. You wondered where I was all this time. Eva, I’ve been here all along. I never left you even when you thought I did. In your darkest moments I’ve always been here, and I never wanted you to feel alone. You couldn’t see me, you couldn’t know me, but I would do everything to help you see. To break through the dark and give you a slice of heaven and bring you home to me, always.” He lifted her glasses and wiped a tear from her eye. “Can you see?”

This was all too much for her. She stepped away, steadying herself by her chair. She was still reeling from the shock of seeing the person whose death she had agonized over for hours on end, and now he was implying to be something impossible. Something she would rather not engage.

But engage she did. “But-but why didn’t you stop me? You knew this could happen. Why didn’t you stop all of this?”

“I tried. But you wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t protect you from this and it hurt more than you could imagine.”

She could remember it now. “I said you could never understand it. That I knew what I was doing.”

He shook his head. “Watching it all go wrong, watching you helpless, it pierced me too. I don’t want that for you; I don’t want that for anyone. It’s why I came back.”

“You knew your blood would be the cure?”

“Eva, I’ve always been the cure.”

Everything in her wanted to fight the weirdness that was unfolding. She could not deny that her chains were broken, but this just couldn’t be Andy. None of this could be real. But then it was happening all around her. “But you could’ve told me.”

“I did, but you couldn’t hear me. Not really.”

“But look at you! If you could do … whatever it is you did to not stay dead, why let this happen at all? People are dying! There’s disease, and war, and evil out there! Why don’t you do something about all of that? Where were you?”

She could feel her pulse trembling all through her body. She was in the presence of the impossible, but that went against everything she understood about reality.

He placed his hands on her shoulders. “I could try to explain it to you, but you might not get it yet—“

“It figures.”

“But I’m doing something about it. The world is broken. Everything is dying. Yes there’s disease and yes there’s war and yes there’s evil. Like the virus that’s out there. But I came to bring life, to make all things new. Someday–“

“Why someday? Why not now when it really counts, before we’re all dead?”

He sighed and dropped his hands. She folded hers. Her heartbeat had still not slowed down in all this time. He turned and tapped on the table.

“Maybe you should see this,” he said.

And before her eyes, all the walls turned to glass. Each wall was adjoining another room, but all the walls were all opened up to her and she could see into what looked like probably hundreds of rooms in every direction except the hallway. And in each room, a man or a woman or a boy or a girl was seated under a spotlight. People of different shades and colours sat at their respective tables in their respective rooms, just as she once had.

Just like me.

She could see a man in prison jumpers. There was a woman applying make-up. There was a girl, probably a college student, hunched over her laptop streaming a TV series while eating out of a bag of crackers. Each of them were in different states, but they all had their own rooms.

“What is this place?”

“This is what I see,” he said. “They may not look like it, but every single one of them is shut up in their own rooms. Their fears, their insecurities, their joys and hopes and dreams … all shut up in there. They only let you see what they’re comfortable with you seeing, you know. But I see it all. Suffering hits everyone in its own way. And so do the mistakes they make. Everyone has need. This is what I see every moment, Eva. I look and I see great need out there.” He placed a fist on his chest. “And how I want to bring them home to me. How much I want to hold them close and never let them go, to let them know that they I’m the one they’re looking for.”

“Then why don’t you just do that?”

He shook his head. “They can’t hear me or see me.” He pointed to his chest. “Their hearts, it’s still dark. To some I’m still nothing but a judge. Or an interrogator.” He winked at her. “They can’t see me yet. But I’m there still in the questioning and uncertainties. They don’t know it, but I’m there in the smiles, in the relief after a long cry, in the moments of joy and peace in the middle of storms. Little pieces of heaven in the middle of the darkness. I’m always there.”

“But…” she walked over and placed her hands on the closest glass wall. The man in the next room was playing chess. He was concentrating on the board so hard, she wondered what was going on. He seemed to be waiting for whoever was on the other end of the table to make his own move. “Why don’t you just go in there, like you did to me? Show yourself. Help them.”

He pursed his lips. “I did.”

“But I mean … you know what I mean.”

“That’s why I need you, and more people like you. You’ve got my life in you. My very blood flows in your veins.”

She shuddered. “That whole vampire bit was your plan all along?”

He winced. “I had to make do with the circumstances presented. But see, now that you’ve got my life in yours, you were made free. But they don’t know that they can be. Take this vaccine to the lost, the hurting, to those who walk in darkness. Carry my light to these ones and shine, my dear. Shine and heal their hearts like I healed yours. Light up their rooms. Let them know that there is more. Bring them to me. Let them know it’s going to be alright.”

“But is it?” she turned back to him. “Is it really going to be alright?”

He spread his arms wide. “Can you trust me? Trust in me, that’s all I ask.”

She traced a hand across the glass. “Is this real?”

He joined her at the wall. “Do you perceive it? Can you see it?”

She squinted. “You’re showing me. You could have made this all up. They could be holograms for all I know.”

He nodded. “Maybe. Right now, and for the rest of your life, you will see as through a glass too. But as my light shines in your room, you will see me better. One day the glass, with all its distractions and limits, will be gone.”

She took a step away. “It’s really you? Like … you you?”

He took a deep breath and nodded.

“I’ll admit, this is a lot to take in. I don’t even know if I understand all that you’re saying.”

“But you will. The rest of your life is an adventure. There is so much more you will discover. You won’t see me for now, but I’ll never leave you.”

The glass walls slid back into the opaque frames they once were and now it was just the two of them. She had a feeling her time here was almost over. He had said she was free, and she knew that it was time to go.

“So the thing with the virus, and the walking dead outside … all made up?”

He shook his head. “Oh no, it’s all real. Even worse than this. But not in the way you think.” He tapped his temple. “These eyes don’t tell half the story. Never forget that.”

She placed a hand on her chest. “But this does?”

“If it’s flooded with light, yes.”

She stared at the door. “I still have lots of questions. Like a ton of questions.”

“I know you do. And as you go through this world you’ll have even more questions. But I’m there with you, Eva. And I look forward to the conversations we’ll have.”

She smiled, placing her hand on the doorknob. A moment ago she had been here for manslaughter. The world was in disarray, and he said it was somehow worse than she’d imagined. Her job and career were probably over, but was it really? “What’s waiting for me out there?”

“You are free, and that’s done. But it doesn’t mean it’s a smooth ride outside.”

She ran a finger over the knob. “Will I ever see you again? Does this have to end?”

He walked over to her, opening his arms for an embrace and she walked into it. “I will never leave you, or abandon you. Don’t forget that.”

And then they came.

She was back at her Mum’s burial. A 7-year old girl holding a clump of earth over the coffin that bore her mother’s body. The preacher and all those friends and neighbours all stood waiting. But for her it was the final goodbye to the only good thing in her life. The tears came. She couldn’t say goodbye. She just couldn’t. A part of her still prayed for her Mum to come back to life, but the coffin remained shut.

And then she was a teenager living with her aunt when her big sister, Lisa, was going off to some African country on a missions trip. It was a gap year before college, but Lisa felt ‘called’ to do that. All well and good, but for Eva it was the last smidgeon of the life she missed leaving her forever. She never felt so abandoned before, no matter how much her sister said it wasn’t.

Almost immediately she was back in her college apartment, working through the night on a term paper. Her roommate was out late with her friends for a party. Eva had never felt the need for large social gatherings like those, but it didn’t make her feel any less lonely.

She was at the lawyer’s office with Norman Harrison years later. He had not told her he was married before overseas. Like, who does that?! That had just been four months ago. Right there before Norman and their lawyers she would never give them the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Holding it in was way worse than death. The weight of the love built up over years and the rejection she felt was rolled up in that moment, and it tore her insides.

One by one the darkest moments of her life rushed through her mind, and everything she had ever done to hide them gave way. She balled. She wailed. She cried. And Andy’s hands were around her. He was saying something but she couldn’t quite hear it all. Wait, was he crying too? Goodness, he was crying with her!

She really didn’t know what to make of it. She was just in the moment and there seemed no need to say anything.

He put her face in his hands and shook his head. “Eva, listen to me. When I said that it is finished, I meant it. I suffered so you could have peace. Everything is done. I give you peace. In the midst of the storm, I will be your peace.” He smiled past teary eyes.

She sniffed and tried to smile.

“Do you hear me?”

She nodded. “I do. I do.”

“I’ll never leave you. Even though you don’t see me, I’m always with you.”

“How will I know—?“

“I have sealed you for myself, child. My earnest promise.”

She was used to being sceptical. She was a cynic with good cause. But for some reason she believed him.

It’s going to be OK.

When he let go she didn’t know what to say. “Wow,” she exhaled. It didn’t quite encapsulate it, but that’s how she felt. “Wow…”

Andy was grinning too. “Wow?”

Now she was grinning as well. “Wow.” She didn’t know why she was grinning now but instead of chuckling, she made the mistake of releasing a snort, and that’s what broke the gates. They were thrown into full-blown guffaws now. She didn’t know why, there was no reason to it, but it felt cathartic.

She held on to the wall to stabilise herself, but now she was in hysterics.

It’s going to be OK.

He reached for her hand and opened the door with the other.

“Now?” she asked as she took a breath.

“I make all things new, my child. I make all things beautiful.”

Her world was flooded with light.

The story ends in the next file, CASE FILE-005

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 003

A day ago.

Stanley Kirby usually took his lunch breaks at the Circle Q at the other end of the campus. It was his one chance to hang out with his buddies and catch up on the goings-on around. His own corner was probably the most boring because it was the same faces that turned up every day, and they barely ever struck up conversation beyond official greetings.

Not to say he hated his job. Being security guard at the Greenhouse had its perks. For one, it was one of the most beautiful fixtures in Providence with its colourful interiors. Rumour had it that the kids called it Eden because of the exotic plants, like in that story in the Bible. He’d even brought his girlfriend here on a date once and she’d loved the fragrance so, perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

But, today of all days, his car would not move. He was certain he’d gotten that oil change two weeks prior, but even the ignition would not start. He grumbled as he popped the bonnet and checked the oil. Or maybe it was a battery problem…

But then a scream from within the greenhouse caught his attention. He realised he had been hearing that sound intermittently for the past thirty minutes or so, but he’d just assumed it was some over-excited kids in the distance. Now he was concerned.

He wandered in, the plethora of fragrances overwhelming him. Usually the enclosure greeted him with a barely imperceptible hum of silence. But now he was hearing more. A crash. Another crash. Screams coming from Doc’s office. Had someone come in without him noticing?

“Hello? Hey!” He walked cautiously towards the office. “Who’s there?”

Good thing he still had his radio. If he needed backup he would call for it.

Doc’s office was usually quiet, as Doc would usually keep her door closed. There was little if ever any noise or chatter from her until that kid came along. It was uncharacteristically boisterous this time and now Stanley was actually worried. He stopped by the window.

A hoarse growl. And a voice.

“…It’s OK, Eva.” It was the kid. He sounded in pain. He was talking between gasps. “You gotta do this. You don’t understand it now … but I’m doing this for you … AAAAAAARGH! Oh God, Father, this hurts!!!

Good heavens! What crap are these guys into? He wondered if he should bust in or not.

It took another scream before he rushed into the room. Nothing could have prepared him for the sight he met.

“…ohmiGAAAAD, I’m gonna diiiiieeee…” The young man was screaming, flailing as much as he could on the floor.

The office was upside down. Table broken, cabinets wrecked, papers floating, blood splattered on the everywhere. Doc was on all fours facing away from the door, her hair undone. The kid was on the floor before her, fighting for his very life. A choke escaped his lips and he went quiet.

Stanley was frozen. “D-Doc?”

With a swiftness that sent a chill down his spine, Doctor Maundy turned to face him. Her pupils were shrunken to slits and she was breathing hoarsely. Like an animal. Her mouth was dripping with blood, and so were her hands. Before his eyes, Maundy’s pupils dilated and her breathing slowed. She blinked and stared around. The ferocious glint in her face was gone.

“Where am I?” she said, her voice choking. She stared at her hands and then at the bleeding kid in front of her. He wasn’t moving anymore.

Andy was spread eagle, blood sputtering from his neck.

Oh my God!

Stanley couldn’t hold it in anymore. He rushed out of the door and threw up. It was a full minute before his nerves had calmed down enough for him to call for help.

——

Eva, now in sound mind, was cuffed to the desk with her interrogator taking notes. The pictures depicting Eva’s recent beastly episode were strewn on the table. He had shown her the security footage on his tablet, and she never wanted to look at that again. It only brought home further what she had done.

If they didn’t finish piecing this puzzle, many more could turn out like Andy. And worse, who knew how many more would die?

But some things had been made abundantly clear.

Fact One: the rodents introduced into this environment probably carried a pathogen hitherto unidentified that was capable of affecting the nervous system and, as such, made their hosts feral.

Fact Two: they had bitten Dr Maundy, transmitting these hypothetical pathogens to her. She had turned feral and lashed out at her assistant, killing him.

Fact Three: these rats had possibly escaped from the enclosure, infecting other individuals in the vicinity and turning them into feral mindless zombies like Eva once was. And while officials out there were now on the lookout to identify possible bite marks on the infected, there was still one more factor to consider.

Final Fact (for now): Eva was cured within an hour of infection, while other victims seemed to be getting worse. What had made the difference?

“I’m going to jail for this, aren’t I?” she said staring at the glass of water in her hand. Overwhelmed by the revelations, she finally agreed she needed the drink. “Who am I kidding? Jail would be heaven compared to what I’ve done.”

“Day is not over yet, Eva,” he said. “We can work through this. Now did you take any vaccinations within the last three months?”

She was still staring into space, shaking her head. “I’m nothing but a monster.”

“Eva?”

She pursed her lips and looked up at him. “Vaccinations? No. If I did I would remember.”

“Ever been bitten by a rodent?”

“Not that I can remember.”

The man’s tablet was propped with its keyboard, and now he was typing on it. “So there’s no chances you’ve built up immunity over time.”

“Not to this, no. As far as I know.”

“Closest thing we’ve seen that can be caused by rat-bite is streptobacillosis, but that’s majorly a fever and infection, not a catalyst for delirium or psychotic episodes of this scale.”

She wasn’t listening anymore. I did this.

“So what made you different?”

That’s what she was still wondering. A thought made its way through her mind but it was too crazy to even consider. All that was true now was that she had unleased this biological menace. For all intents and purposes, she was an unintentional bioterrorist. “There’s no way I’m moving on from this. My life is over.”

“Eva, please…”

She closed her eyes, trying to focus. But what was the point anyway? “None of the cases have recovered yet?”

“Except you, none has.”

She had a theory, a very weak one at that, but at this point there was no reason to hold on to anything. She had lost everything in her stubbornness. “Nothing makes sense anymore.”

“Come on, Eva. You were on to something. Don’t stop now.”

She bit her lip and exhaled. “The victims, the infected, they’re getting violent. Just like I was.”

“We’ve got fatal injuries inflicted, yes, but no deaths yet. But the cerebral degeneration we’ve detected will ultimately lead to death if we don’t narrow it down to a solution soon.”

“And these injuries were from biting and scratching?”

“Yes. Until now.”

“Any … cannibalistic tendencies?”

The man paused before responding. “Cannibalistic—“

“You know that’s how I must’ve done it, right?” She knew this was going to sound crazy, but it was the only thing she had at the moment. “How I killed Andy? If there’s a reason I’m not infected it has to be tied to that.” She shrugged. “It has to be him.”

He closed his notepad and set in on the table. “Eva…”

“I …” Her stomach churned at the very thought “I … ate him. I bit his neck and ate his flesh. I tasted his blood…” She felt sick recounting it, but it was true. She pointed to one of the pictures on the desk. “This – the cavity in his neck – that had to have been me. I know I sound crazy right now, but that’s the only difference I can think of.”

Whoever thought vampires were an appealing concept? The very thought of what she knew she had done this time was sickening. This is so messed up.

“I don’t know if he knew all of this was going to happen,” she said. “He’d been in my office earlier, and I practically shut him out. But he came back. Did he know what was going to happen?”

“Andy came back.” Hearing him repeating her words to her made her realise just how it must sound. He probably thought she was crazy. She thought she was crazy.

She nodded toward the tablet. “The footage. We saw him show up. Maybe that’s the solution. If any of the victims bite a human, maybe they’ll get cured. Human blood must be free of those impurities. Like a vampire thing.”

He shook his head. “We’ve had three maulings now. None of them have turned back.”

She shrugged. “Maybe it’s just a matter of time. Or maybe it’s just Andy. Something in his body chemistry could have altered something in mine. Ugh, I can feel centuries of scientific pedigree rolling in their graves right now. I’m a total screw-up. I don’t know what to do.”

He cleared his throat. “Let me go over what you just said. So if we identify and isolate the pathogens that caused this incident, and extract a blood sample from your deceased assistant, we can find a cure?”

You do realise you’ve gone insane, don’t you Eva? She shut her eyes, but the thoughts would not stop.

She stared at her cuffs. This was her reality now. “What have I become? Is this what I wanted? To change the world, make us something more. Well, I made us something more alright. Now my life is over…”

“Eva, don’t—“

“I mean, look at all this. I’ve cursed them all. I’m a mental case. A total screw-up! The very thing I’ve always wanted to get away from caught up with me. No matter what, I still fail. And maybe Andy’s right. Maybe I do these things to escape the fact that I really am messed up. Couldn’t save my Mum. Couldn’t keep my marriage. Couldn’t get the job I wanted and I had to settle for this. And the grant I got this time was way out of my league.” She shook her head. “I’m cursed.”

“Don’t do that—“

“It’s just like you said; immortality doesn’t cure evil. It sure wouldn’t cure stupid. If we were screw ups when we could die, we’d be even worse screw-ups when we can’t. Better that there’s an end because I really want this to end. I just want to go home and forget all of this ever happened. But then again, hope … what’s the use?”

She was trembling now. She really had no idea what to do or what would happen here. “And now I’m talking garbage. I’m losing my sanity in front of a total stranger, and I don’t know what to do.”

Her statements hung in the air for a moment when no one spoke. But could it be true?

“Andy knew the danger I was in. And if I’m right, and he knew that he would be the cure, then he did that for me. He came back for me.” She shrugged. “I can’t explain it better. I don’t understand it. But that’s all I’ve got.”

The man turned in his seat and stood as he exhaled loudly, shoving his hands in his pocket. She wondered how much of a nutcase he must’ve thought she was. “If you’re right,” he said. “Then we need to start working on it. How to effectively get it across to everyone.”

The lights in the room flickered on one by one. She had to shut her eyes from the swift transition to brightness.

“But you’d be surprised how much we agree,” he said.

Just take me to prison already! She really didn’t want another long discussion.

“I’m sorry you had to go through all of this, Eva. Really I am. But if it helped you come to terms with the truth then it’s worth it.”

“What ‘truth’? That for all my strengths I was helpless where it mattered? That this was all my fault and now my life is over? That Andy died because of me?” She still couldn’t see well, so she lowered her gaze and blinked away the pain in her eyes.

“It’ll take a moment for your eyes to adjust, sorry about that. See, coming from the dark to light is like when we come to Truth. It hurts at first, but it’s what really sets you free. It makes you free, Eva. That’s when you can really see.”

She ran a hand through her hair, shielding her eyes from the light with the other. “Well if anything, it just makes me see myself for the idiot I really am. This feels nothing like freedom.”

“Your hands say otherwise.”

In that moment she realised something had changed. She actually had one hand in her hair and the other in the air.

Her heart skipped a beat. Her handcuffs were undone.

They lay broken on the table, and her chains dangled as they dropped to the ground. What the –? She jumped to her feet and staggered away.

“What just happened?”

“It will take a moment for you to understand, but you will. Eva, you are free.”

She turned to the man, questions on her face, but then everything changed. She could now see the person that had been speaking with her all this time. But it was impossible! It was crazy!

She placed a hand over her mouth to restrain the gasp building up. It can’t be!

“Andy?”

He smiled. “Took you long enough.”

The story continues in CASE FILE-004

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 002

A day ago.

“Yes, Lisa, of course I know where you live,” Eva said, balancing the land line between her ear and shoulder while simultaneously typing on her laptop.

“We’ve been living in the same town for five years, Eva. Five years, and you’ve barely even bothered to visit once.”

“We see at the mall.”

“Yeah, like that’s supposed to be normal … for family?!

“I’m just busier than most, is all. Let’s trade jobs; you’ll get just what a real drag this is.”

On the contrary, Eva loved the seclusion her office afforded. Stationed at the end of the long botanical reserve they called the Greenhouse, she could work without disturbance while enjoying the fragrance of exotic plants and hybrids from across the world. The Centre was studying the medicinal and curative properties of these plants for experimental purposes and, while Eva felt this job was a dreadful waste of her capabilities, the isolation was heaven to her. If her plans turned out well she wouldn’t be stuck here for too long.

On the other end Lisa sighed. “I believe in you, Eva. I still believe you’ll find the cure to cancer or whatever it is you’re doing. But you gotta cut loose once in a while. Even genius needs fresh air. You won’t get that Nobel by cutting us out of your life.”

“I’m not cutting anybody off…“

Just then, Andy appeared at the open door, knocking slightly. She motioned towards the phone to indicate she was busy, but he held a wooden crate. That wooden crate.

Uh-oh.

“Lisa, I’m gonna have to call you back.”

“Yeah, that’s original.”

“I’m sorry, but I really really am busy this time.”

“As opposed to other times when you really weren’t?”

Eva winced. “I promise to call you back.”

Lisa sighed. “You just make sure you do that sometime before 2050, or you’re dead to me.”

“Give Kelly a hug for me, OK?”

“Sure, if she still remembers who you are by then.”

“Lisa! I really have to go now.” Andy was already by her desk, placing the crate on the table.

“Alright, alright. Just don’t … don’t go crazy on me, okay?”

Eva smiled. “Love you too, Lizard-Breath.”

“Wait, did you just—?“ Click.

She took her time placing the phone back in its cradle, considering how to explain the situation to Andy as the squeaking mice in the crates filled the silence between them for the moment. She had not planned for him to know about this yet. He wouldn’t understand.

“I can explain,” she said.

He arched a brow. “I’m not accusing you, Doc.” He motioned towards the crate. “I just found this.”

She really didn’t have time for whatever he was going for. “They’re lab mice,” she said. “Like that’s not obvious. It’s for a, uh, control experiment. Something I’ve been working on.”

He nodded slowly, but he still didn’t seem satisfied, and she really needed him to be convinced so he could get way off her back. He lifted a folder. “And I saw these delivery notes with the crate back in the greenhouse.” It was then that she realised he knew everything.

“You read that, huh?”

“Doc … I really hope you don’t mind me asking, but what’re you doing?”

“Like I said, it’s just an experiment.”

He took a seat. “Please don’t let it be what I think it is.”

“Andy,” she placed a hand on his. “Can you trust me on this one? Please? Just trust that I know what I’m doing, is all I ask.”

“Even if it’s dangerous?”

“Every new discovery was dangerous, possibly even illegal, once. Don’t make me feel like a monster for this.”

“Even if it could cost you your career? Or your life?”

“Gee, thanks a lot, Dad.” She pursed her lips. “Andy … you weren’t supposed to find out about this.” With the look he gave her she realised that had come out wrong. “I mean … ugh, you wouldn’t understand.”

“I’m begging you, Doc … you do not have to do it this way.”

“What do you mean, I don’t—!” Realizing her voice was rising, she lowered it to a whisper. “What do you mean, I don’t have to do this? If I don’t, somebody else would.”

“Then let them! Not you. Let’s say you get the grant. That’s another load on your plate. You’ve got so much already. What else do you need to prove? Not this way. This won’t be enough for you. You’ve got to let go sometime, Eva.”

She remained resolute, sitting up. “Mr Davies, I have given you much freedom and access to me. But let’s not forget who you are and who I am. You can’t tell me what to do, and I don’t have to listen to this. Got that? Now if you’ve got nothing to say, there’s the door. Don’t let it hit you in the butt on your way out.”

In all their time working together she had never needed to pull rank. There had always been an understood modicum of respect in the midst of everything. But now they were just not going to see things the same way.

He just sat there staring, his eyes still pleading. He eventually sighed. “I was going to get some coffee and head home. Wanted to know if you needed anything before I go.”

“I’m fine, thank you.” She turned back to her laptop, avoiding his gaze as he stood and headed out. She really didn’t know what to say, and she was not going to apologise for something she was convinced was not even a problem.

He paused at the door. “Take care, Doc.”

She didn’t bother to look up. “I always do.”

It would be their last conversation.

—–

Eva, now in cuffs and seated under a bright lamp in the dark, could still remember that day. She wished she could go back in time. “Andy was my assistant,” she said. “But he was also my friend. We worked together at the Greenhouse. It’s not actually green as in the colour. It’s—“

“I’ve been there.” the man said. “I know what a greenhouse is.”

“Yes, there’s thousands of exotic plants there. Hybrids from across the world. We collaborated on a lot of research, Andy and I. Did a lot of good. He was always quite nice. Wouldn’t hurt a fly. It’s probably why we complemented each other. Where he would question things I was the push.”

“Your relationship was purely professional, yes?”

She stared at him dryly. “Get your head out of the gutter. He’s like … he was like ten years younger.”

He was actually gone. After a rollercoaster of a day, the reality of this fact was dawning on her more and more. It wasn’t just any dead body. It was Andy.

“I get that. So this young guy with big dreams comes into your world, he gets attached to your corner, and you work together. Ever feel threatened by him?”

“You’re trying to establish motive for homicide,” she said more as a statement to which he just spread his hands wide. “No. We were a team. Where I was the one pushing for new discoveries, pushing boundaries, he was the reality check. He did have big dreams, no doubt. He was just maybe a little too conservative for his own good. He needed me, and he knew it.”

He seem amused. “Have I ever complemented your flawless humility?” Ok, that one deserved at least a smirk from her. He cleared his throat. “So you pushed a number of boundaries.”

She bit her lip. “I admit I have a bit of a reckless streak sometimes.”

The agent flipped through the pages. “Yes, your colleagues testified as much.”

“Oh, really?”

“They did mention something about a spat you had with the dean, Professor Wildsmith, over a comment he made regarding your, uh, gender and your relevance at the STEM Colloquium last year.”

Did she remember! “He had it coming.”

“So … you’re telling me there was nothing you didn’t disagree with Andy about? No fights whatsoever?”

“None that I can remember.” But the one that she did remember was the very reason she was here. And she could feel the agent’s eyes all over her face, drinking in every tic and tell.

Ever since he told her about students exhibiting feral traits she knew that she had done this. How, she didn’t know, but she knew it must have come from her office. But every time she tried to remember what actually happened she drew a blank.

All she could remember was sitting at her desk one moment, and then the next moment finding herself with her office trashed, blood everywhere, and Andy dead. Oh, Andy…

Andy, why do you have to be always right?

“We found a crate in your office, and I assume it was for mice per the labelling. Was he complicit in your eugenics project?”

She tried to hold his gaze without giving away the panic building up. Why did she feel responsible for this even though she didn’t know how? “Mice?”

“Oh, it’s from the STN Foundation Grant. Something about a project on disease resistance, and with rats as your subjects. It was the most recent entry on your case, hence my interest. And Davies’ name was conspicuously absent from the by-line, unlike your other projects. Wasn’t he party to this one?”

She knew hiding information would never do any good. “He … wasn’t.”

“Mm, and what did he think about it?”

“I didn’t … I mean it’s not like we fought or argued about it. We don’t always have to collaborate. Our careers are mutually exclusive.”

“So he was fine with it?”

“He, uh … he was actually pensive about it.”

“How so?”

“He thought it was dangerous. He actually tried to stop me.”

“He ‘tried to stop you’?”

She looked up at him. “Ok, I realise the mad scientist vibe that must have given off. It’s not like that. But, he felt it was a bad idea.”

“And you didn’t.”

“Well I do, now.” It was as he looked up that she realised what she’d said and all it could mean. “I mean, h-his major hang-up was my bringing my pet project into the greenhouse, which is out-of-bounds to, you know, pets. No pun intended.”

“I got it.”

“I probably shouldn’t have done that.” She was leaving out a whole lot of relevant info, she just didn’t know whether it would further condemn her or vindicate her. “Now that he’s gone, I feel really bad about it. Our last conversation wasn’t our best.”

He’s dead, the world is going crazy out there, and even though you really don’t know how or why, this is all your fault, Eva!

It was still so bizarre to accept, let alone imagine. How? Why? And again, HOW?

Something nagged at her mind about the whole thing. Something that was very obvious but that was just beyond her sight.

The man turned a page in his notepad. “The work you’ve done is not as streamlined as usual. From botany to phytomedicine and disease control to climate change to biological immunity and infectious diseases…” He took a deep breath here. “And your most recent interest, Eugenics and the transformation of the human genome.”

She was fidgeting now, but tried to keep herself stable. “What can I say? I’ve got an eye for discovery. I’m science-y like that.”

“You’ve got quite an impressive range.” He looked up at her. “What’s your motivation?”

“Is this really necessary?”

“Please. Humour me.”

She shrugged. “It’s ‘cause I want to make the world a better place.”

“Seriously, Doctor.”

She stared at the table for a moment. “I think … it’s easier to say that I want to make the world a better place, and I really do. I mean, that’s a good thing. I want to save the world. There’s a lot I can do and that I want to do. I want to use my abilities to … stay at the cutting edge. And, of course, to make the world a better place. I’m sorry, hearing myself say all that makes me sound selfish, right? But then, who isn’t?”

“Did you feel selfish?”

“I don’t know. Andy felt I was trying to prove something; that I was pushing myself too hard. Now that I’m the one in a mess and he’s, you know … I don’t know if that makes him right.”

“Your mother passed away when you were 7,” he said, reading his notes. She hadn’t seen that detour coming. “Leukaemia. That must’ve been quite traumatic for you at that age.”

She kept staring at the table. “Well … yeah. That happened.”

“I’m truly sorry for your loss.”

“It is what it is.” She didn’t want to talk about this, and wanted to change the subject whenever the chance came up. “I barely even remember her now, so it’s fine.”

He kept staring at her with that apologetic stare that she had wanted to move on from all her childhood. “Was that what made you want to go into disease control? A deep-seated desire to take away what took your mother as a child?”

She hadn’t thought about that in a long while. “I don’t know. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do—”

“I mean, your undergrad dissertation was a study on…” he checked his files. “An exploration of natural solutions, and an analysis of the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy in cancer treatments. And your case study? Leukaemia. Bizarre for a degree in botany.”

She shrugged. “So sue me. I got the degree.”

“Yes, and you’ve done well with it too. But you do get where I’m going with this, right?”

She really did not want to talk about this. “What is this? Some kind of therapy session?”

“Like I said before, I just need to know who I’m talking with. Call it a profile. We’re getting somewhere, aren’t we?”

“Are we? What’s this got to do with anything? If you’re right, lives are in danger out there and you prefer to waste the time contemplating our navels? And what’re you writing anyway?!”

He stopped writing. “Does not having control, or not knowing what is going on, tick you off?”

She clenched her fists. “What do you think?”

Actually, even before all of this, she had always been quite the perfectionist. Why trust things into other people’s hands when they could just mess it up? Getting Andy attached to her workstation had been a real pain, but the younger man had found a way into her space by persistence and his usually unbearably cheery disposition.

He turned the pages again, scribbling. “Got any other friends at your workplace?”

“Everyone’s got their own thing. We see when we see.”

“So no close friends. Except for Andrew.”

“I tend to be a bit … introverted, I think. I prefer the solitude of my work.” How Andy became a friend was more to his credit.

“But you like the accolades too.” She gave him a look. “Oh, I’m just speaking off of the framed awards in your office. You are reserved and introverted to the casual observer, but you are basically a torpedo. You see a good prospect and you go after it. And you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished.”

“What’s wrong with that? You make me sound vain. In my world modesty gets you nowhere. People respond to what they can see. I earned it so I flaunt. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.”

This line of questioning made her more nervous because it was only prolonging the inevitable. She was expecting the gavel to drop as quickly as possible, not to be recounting the story of her life.

He cleared his throat. “Alright then. So, tell me: why Eugenics? I’m not an expert, and the only thing I think of when I hear that word is Hitler and the Nazis.”

She snorted at that. Most people didn’t give themselves to do the reading to find out these things, and she loved to show them how much she knew. “We prefer the term Transgenetics. Hitler ruined a lot of concepts just by association. It’s not about killing people or making one race superior to others, as far as my work is concerned, anyway. It’s genetic progress for all humanity. The next step in our evolution.”

He folded his hands. “Really?”

“How do I put this? OK, do you know that many species have resistance to some diseases that plague us? OK, there’s this tumour-suppressing gene we call p53. There’s 20 times more p53 in elephants than humans, and only 5% of elephants die of cancer. Bowhead whales live up to 200 years, and molerats live up to 6 times the total lifespan of their sister species because of these death-defying provisions in their genomes.”

He smirked. “I have to say, you’re good. I feel I’m at a TED Talk. But please go on.”

“Yeah … but just think what would happen if we could modify the human genome. What if we’ve been short-changing ourselves by seeking help from beyond the stars when nature has already provided what we needed? A puzzle for us to figure out? What if immortality was possible and death didn’t have to be a problem anymore?”

She remembered discussing this with Andy. She was amazed how much remembering the things and moments they’d shared made her miss him even more, and it made the grief and confusion of it all pierce even deeper.

“If death could be hacked, sounds like every homicide would be moot,” he said. “Even this one.”

Especially this one! Don’t you see? How could I say no to the prospect? What we could discover about ourselves. I mean, if He even exists, God sure didn’t ‘heal’ my mother, did He? What if we’ve just been deluding ourselves expecting some miracle, when the answer could have been in our hands all along? But we’re too stupid to even try to find out.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“Hey!”

“So we become immortal,” he surmised. “Become like gods?”

“Maybe not ‘Zeus and Hercules’ immortal. More like immune to diseases. Senescence could be delayed when aging is slowed down.”

“And if more diseases come up? Pathogens yet undiscovered?”

“Then we’ll just further the research and find an immunity in nature that the next generation would be enhanced to beat. Evolution in motion.”

“You seem really interested in all this.”

“Oh, you bet I am.”

“I understand that these genetic modifications are not legal—.”

Yet. They’re not legal in the country yet. And I don’t see why.”

“The ethics, maybe? The risk to human life?”

“Gene enhancements are no different from the mind enhancements we all go through in education. Of course we’d need to examine the compatibilities of the enzymes or genetic codes we extract from other mammals, but we don’t even have the freedom to do that. We’re too stuck up behind religious bigots calling it a sin to ‘meddle with creation’. Too stuck-up to smell the science.”

“I take it you’re not a fan of religion.”

“Ethics aren’t the sole property of religion, but come on, are you kidding me? What kind of God would create more p53 in elephants than in humans and still expect us to believe He loves us still? I’m supposed to believe He’s got bigger problems to deal with in His ‘Big Plan’. God works in mysterious ways, so let’s forget how He lets people — good people — die for no reason. It’s a godforsaken world because there’s no way you look at all of this and still believe that a benevolent God exists.”

“Hmm…”

“Maybe if we did become immortal, this Big Plan would make the tiniest bit of sense to us because it’s clearly too complicated for our wee little minds to comprehend. Maybe then we’d understand what problems He’s facing up there that keep Him too preoccupied to show up when we need Him. Oh wait, He’s perfect in all His ways, so He’s got no problems whatsoever. How could He ever relate with ours?”

She wondered why the interrogator was bringing these thoughts and emotions to the surface. Or was she the one going beyond what he asked because of the emotional stress? The last time she had spoken about God this long was with her sister, and was probably the reason she tried to avoid visiting her too often. But she did have many hang-ups about the subject.

“Problems,” he repeated that word. “Like the problem of evil, or pain. Does immortality solve the problem of pain and evil?”

“I was being sarcastic. But what is evil? Who or what really determines morality? Why should I be kind to my fellow man except for self-preservation? You can’t possibly look at this messed up world and really believe there’s some big cosmic plan ‘cause that just makes it worse. There can’t be meaning. There’s no grand purpose. We only do enough to get by until it’s over. Nature is cruel and random, and the sooner we all realise that, the better.”

He tapped on the table. “You don’t really believe that. You make it sound like there’s no hope.”

She was still staring into space when she responded. “Hope is an illusion. It’s baseless.” She stared at her handcuffs. “We’ll be expecting the hour of release, but it’ll never come. Hope is just a fairy tale. This is where we die. This is where I die.”

He exhaled. “Come on, there has to be a reason you want to break that immunity code. If you’re going full-on nihilist, then why pursue something better?”

She was going to respond, but then the awkwardness of it all dawned on her. She was the suspect here, but somehow this man had made her leak. People were dying out there, and now she was arguing theology and reality. “Everything dies,” she said. “We’re all going to die someday, but we really don’t want to. Not just yet.”

The more she thought about it, the more alone she felt. She had had to come to accept the lack of a reason because she had tried to find it. If God was real, He’d really dropped the ball on making a big entrance. Life, the stars, the universe, all of it was meaningless. And temporal. It was all going to end someday, and that made it ugly. Beautiful in its intricacy, but ugly in its totality.

An image of Andy’s dying bleeding body flashed in her mind and it stung. What was she doing? “I don’t want to die either. I just want to live a little bit longer.”

It would be easier to gauge how this man was taking these things if she could see his face. All she had to go on were his body movements.

The man jotted again. “So the rats would be your test subjects.”

She sat back, deflated. This was an interrogation after all. “Mice,” she corrected. “We share a similar homology with the species – all supraprimates do. Makes them perfect for controlled studies.”

But something else wasn’t right. A lot was wrong in all this.

“Eva, don’t mind my train of questioning. But do you know where these mice are, right now?”

Another memory flashed in her mind. “The plan was to groom them in a facility off-campus. I had been collaborating with a foreign fledgling company over the past few months. I just got a delivery of the first batch for tests on Monday. It was in a crate. In the greenhouse.”

He glanced at a page. “You got this delivery from the Daemon Intelligence and Biological Logistics Office. You do realise that DIABLO’s a black market operation unrecognized by most legitimate institutions.”

She snorted. “Call me a snitch, but ask everybody. They all cut corners too. Nobody wants to admit it, but DIABLO’s the shortcut we all take. Go on, ask them.”

He was already shaking his head, probably bemused. “You really aren’t trying to make this easy for yourself.”

“I figure I’ve got nothing to lose.” But she felt light in the head so she held on to the table.

“I inquired with faculty, and usually the college has a perfectly available supply of equipment and facilities for studies requiring livestock testing. Why didn’t you go through those channels?”

She knew she was wrong here, despite the fact that she still felt somewhat right. “It would have been turned down. They don’t see what I see. Yet. And if I were to wait for the approval of the system the grant would’ve gone to someone else. We all want to do the right thing, mister, but sometimes bureaucracy is just a b—”

“But you did it anyway?”

“Yes … yes I did.” A screech. A snarl. What were these memories?

“Do you know what kind of mice you got, Eva?”

The mice. The crate. I opened the crate. She was remembering something. She felt cold all of a sudden.

The man closed his book and placed it on the table. “Eva, the only crate we found in your office was empty. The mice are gone.”

A slash. A bite.

A bite. She could remember that.

She turned to check her right leg but she couldn’t reach it. Only when she placed it against the chair did she feel the wound. It had clotted by now, but it proved this wasn’t a false memory. She had been bitten in the leg! I’m remembering.

And then she realised that she knew what had happened. When she looked at the man again she feared he could see the realisation dawn on her face.

“What would happen if those mice escaped from containment, Doctor?”

It all fell into place now. Her pulse quickened as the memory washed over her, but there was nowhere else to go. No doubt the man was seeing all of this. She had tried to evade everything about the experiment, but now it was glaring at her in the face.

“Are you OK, Eva?”

Dear God! The memories were piling on top of each other. She remembered. She knew.

Oh God! Oh dear God!

“Eva!”

She looked up, all the colour gone from her face.

“Eva, do you need a medic?”

Her eyes watered as the realisation of it all dawned on her. “I swear, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I didn’t know … I didn’t know…”

“Eva. I need you to tell me what you remember.”

“Those freaking mice bit me! I didn’t think that’s possible, but they did. I remember now.” Her fingers trembled and her efforts to keep them down didn’t help.

“Do lab mice do that usually?”

“They shouldn’t, right?” She swore under her breath.

“How many were there?”

“I don’t know, four? Maybe five?”

“And what happened after that?”

“I was … I felt dizzy, but it was … there was this rush. I remember toppling through my office. I remember falling to the floor.” She looked up at him. “That’s all I remember. I don’t know what happened after that. You don’t think … Oh my God!”

“So you’re telling me that the mice bit you, and you lost consciousness? Is this like a rabies thing?”

If she didn’t realise before that she was in big trouble, she did now. “Oh my … I don’t know what happened! I really don’t!”

He didn’t argue. “I believe you, Eva. I need you to understand that.”

She nodded frantically. She wished this was all a dream. Maybe this was just a dream.

But the man opened another folder and slid some photographs to her. “This is from security cam footage. We’ve always known.”

Security Cameras?! She didn’t know there were cameras in her office.

From these pics the cameras were most likely in the corners of the ceiling. The time stamp at the bottom matched the timing of the incident. Her office was trashed, framed photos hanging at odd angles, the table toppled on its side, and papers strewn all over the floor. But the one image that drew her attention and crushed whatever spirit she still had left was of the hunched beast at the centre of this mess, its face turned up at an angle. Its very posture was an affront to nature. Its clothes were the only giveaway of its nature because she could remember the very day she had bought it on a splurge run three years ago.

She was a monster.

Somewhere in the back of her mind she had always known, but it all felt like a distant fantasy, a crazy thought that just would not shut up. But facing this reality was more than she could bear.

She tried to lift her hands to her face but the chains stopped short. There were more pictures showing her at different angles.

There are more of me out there. There is more of this out there!

But in the midst of the shuffling and reordering of memories, emotions and realisations, what hammered the final nail in her heart was the one picture that showed a young man standing by the open door. Andy.

I killed him.

She could remember blood flying everywhere. She could remember his body.

Her pulse thumped in her neck. She could barely breathe. He stared at her hands again. Her nails. “What have I done?”

“We knew that you needed time for your mind to relax, so you could remember every detail,” the interrogator said solemnly. “That’s why we did this.”

But she wasn’t all there anymore. Her mind was crowded with so many thoughts she could barely think. “What have I done?!

“The trauma caused you to subconsciously lock up some details. We needed you on the same page with us before we could make any progress.”

She knew she was guilty. She had killed him. Dear God, she had killed Andy! “Oh my God—“

“Doctor, please I need you to calm down.”

Her head weighed heavy on her as the pain of the shock racked through her skull. “I can’t do this. I knew, I just knew, but … I didn’t really know. Oh my God, I’m in so much trouble…”

“Everyone’s in trouble, Eva! Please try to calm down and think. What details are we missing?”

“The mice. They could’ve escaped from the greenhouse, maybe?”

He took notes. “It’s a start. You think they’re the hosts of this thing? Are they contagious? If they infected you and all those students out there, that changes a lot of things.”

“What if they’re still out there? What if other people get infected? No one is safe!” She swore again. “What kind of mice did those people send to me?!”

“Have you worked with this species before?”

I did this…

Oh my God! I actually caused this! All along she thought she had an edge over this interrogation. But now she realised that she was a ticking bomb, and many more people were going insane. Or worse.

She let the tears flow freely. The snarky comments weren’t coming anymore. You really did it this time, Eva.

“I didn’t mean to torture you with this, Doctor. This is a day of Truth, and Truth isn’t always comfortable. Now that everything’s on the table, literally, we can finally get somewhere.”

She couldn’t stop staring at her hands.

Murderer! You’re a bloody murderer! And now the world is going insane because of you!

“Eva, are you listening to me?”

You’ve doomed all those people. You killed Andy.

“Eva, could you look at me? Eva?”

She tried to, past her tear-filled eyes.

“Everything is going to be OK.”

“How can you say that?”

“Because, as far as we know, you’re the only person that has been infected and has returned to sanity. If we can figure out how or why, perhaps we can fight this thing and save the day. Would you like that, Eva?”

The story continues in CASE FILE-003

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 001

“Providence State College remains on lockdown as reports keep pouring in of the spread of what has only been described by the administration as a ‘deadly virus.’ The college remains largely quarantined with every gate and entryway sealed off by security officials…”

Every screen in the lobby was reporting on the same incident. It had been much of the same coverage for the past day and all through last night, and they weren’t any closer to solving this it seemed. The man straightened his jacket and continued beyond the lobby. The two guards, Mitch and Briella, stood by the door at the end of the hall. He nodded to them in greeting.

“How’s she doing?” he asked.

Mitch winced, motioning towards the two-way mirror behind him. The room beyond was dimly lit, except for the overhead lamp right over the suspect. Her eyes were shielded from his gaze by the glare of the light in her glasses. She was seated, wrists cuffed to the table but with chains long enough for limited mobility. The tray of food and water on the table remained untouched.

“We did everything you requested,” Mitch said. “She refused to eat.”

“And has she said anything?”

“Not a word,” Briella said. “Her only request was to use the loo.”

“I don’t blame her. She’s been through a lot already.” It was time. He palmed the briefcase in his hand and reached for the door handle. “Let’s see how this goes, then.”

The woman at the table looked up suddenly as he walked in. The circles around her eyes and the shadows cast on her face framed her gaunt appearance. Her hair was in rough tangles and she looked like she hadn’t slept in days. It had only been about 24 hours.

“Doctor Maundy,” he said as he approached. “We haven’t been properly acquainted.”

Despite her dishevelled countenance, her indifferent gaze was enough to make a less secure person feel like a minor inconvenience. “Which one are you?”

Confrontational, he noted. A defensive measure. He stopped at the table. Right now she would not be able to make out his face in the dark. He wondered how long it would take her to recognise his voice. “Sorry, you can’t see my face right now. My identity is … classified. You know how it is.”

“I’d shake hands too, but…” She lifted her cuffed fists but they stopped short over the table, the chains dangling in her wake. “You know how it is.” She smirked.

Humour, he mused. Looked like they were off to a good start.

“Are these really necessary?” she still held up her cuffed wrists.

He sat in the chair. “You tell me,” he said. “I trust Officers Mitch and Briella have been good hosts.” He motioned towards the food in her plate. “It’s not poisoned, you know. We don’t do that here—”

“I’m not hungry.” She set her hands on the table now, pushing the tray away.

“At least take some water. They tell me you haven’t spoken in hours.”

“I had nothing to say.” She didn’t seem interested in any of this. But she was talking, thankfully.

He smiled. “Fair enough.”

“I want my lawyer,” she said. ”If you’re going to make me talk, I want a lawyer present.”

“Funny story. I would’ve brought you that present but then … you’re not a lawyer.” He’d thought it was a good joke, but she didn’t even react.

He leaned back in his seat. “Doctor Maundy, I know you are upset. Maybe even scared. But believe me when I say that … with the craziness going on out there, and the charges against you now, it’s in your best interest to consider me not only as judge and jury, but also your counsel.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and throw in ‘executioner’ to that list? Heck, is this even legal? Who are you, anyway?”

She really doesn’t know. “I don’t think you understand. See, if this leaves my desk and my offices, there’s no way you’re getting out of this mess. Right now, I am your only friend. It would do us both a lot of good if you understood that, and cooperated. We don’t have much time.”

She still eyed him cautiously. “So you’re supposed to be the ‘good cop’?”

“Will you trust me, Eva? Can I call you Eva?”

“So we’re chums all of a sudden?”

He refused to take the bait, but a cynical response was better than none. She was not making this easy. “Will you tell me everything?”

“I gave the cops my statement. What else do you want me to say?”

He exhaled, reaching for his briefcase. This wasn’t going how he’d hoped.

“Can we just get this over with and get me out of these chains?”

He pulled out her statement and scanned through it. “You seem pretty sure that you’re getting out of this.” That actually got her to keep quiet. He’d thought it would. “But, like I said, it’s really up to you now.”

She scowled and definitely rolled her eyes this time. She was every bit a child of the ‘80s.

He placed an audio tape recorder on the table and hit RECORD.

“Didn’t know they still made those,” she mumbled.

“Call me old-fashioned,” he said as he cleared his throat. “Let the record show that today is Thursday, April 9, 2020. This is the secondary review of case file one-oh-nine-dash-five in respect to Eva Louise Maundy and her role, or lack thereof, in the Providence Incident…“

She was shaking her head, looking away again.

He leaned back in his chair, folding his legs. “Are you nervous, Dr Maundy?”

“No?” She raised her voice, probably trying to make it a moot point. She glanced at the recorder. “No I’m not. You try sitting here for hours and see how this feels.”

She kept avoiding his gaze, but there was nothing else she would see in the darkness around.

“I’ll cut right to the chase,” he said. “Right now you’re the most important person in the State. No one out there knows what’s really going on, and everybody wants to talk to you—”

“Careful there, mister, or you’ll make me blush.” Her face was still devoid of emotion.

“Now I know you’re coming out of a very traumatizing experience so I won’t pressure you. We can settle all of this right here, right now, and hopefully save many. I want you to know that I have your best interest in mind, so talk to me. OK? Why don’t we begin with you telling me about yourself? I want to know you.” He placed another file on the table. “Pretend I’m meeting you for the first time.”

She smirked, leaning back in her seat. “What, you trying to ask me out, mister?”

He smiled in spite of himself this time. “Doctor Maundy, I need you to take this seriously.”

She shrugged. “Ok—”

“No, do you get what’s going on? I get that you’re using this cynical sarcastic … whatever-this-is to annoy me, but I need you here — body and mind. People could die, Doctor. There’s not much time.” Now her eyes actually registered the shock he was looking for. He didn’t mean to scare her, but the more open she was to the gravity of the moment, the better. “Now I need you to be serious and answer my questions. Is that clear, Doctor Maundy?”

Now she was more sober. She clearly didn’t know the gravity of the problem, and he was contemplating how to ease her into it. She nodded. “Crystal.”

He motioned for her to go on.

She exhaled, lowering her head. He hated forcing her to do this, especially with the pain she’d experienced over the past twenty-four hours, but whether she realised this or not, she needed this as much as the hundreds out there. She nodded towards the briefcase. “Anything you want to know about me is in your dossier already.”

He nodded, glancing at the open briefcase and files on the table. “Smart. Now you were originally Eva Adams, yes?” She squinted at him, incredulous. “It’s for the recording.”

“Adams was my father’s name. Never knew him. Maundy’s my mother’s.”

“Sorry for asking, I understand it’s a sore subject.”

“And before you mention Harrison, he was a mistake. We’re divorced. Moving on…”

There was really no need to go that route so he allowed that. “Your Bachelor’s in Botany, but you got your PhD in Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases from Penn State.”

“I’m aware of my history.”

“Yeah, congratulations. For the sake of the recording, let’s just stick to yes and no answers, OK genius?”

“Deal.”

“Until yesterday, you worked as lab supervisor at the Centre for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Providence State College. You were caretaker of the Experimental Greenhouse.”

She looked up, a question on her face. “Until yesterday? Am I fired, officer?”

“It’s pending review.”

“Great,” she muttered.

His voice droned on as he read. “Published in up to ten peer-reviewed international journals. Quite commendable. You’ve spoken at conferences on subjects varying from environmental to technological influences on disease control…” He flipped a page. “…with a note of recommendation from the Societe Transgenetique de Nouvele Foundaçion.”

Her head had been lolling at an angle in boredom, her eyes betraying her indifference, until now. “I never heard back from them.”

“That’s true, you haven’t been online all day. You got a mail two hours ago. Apparently you got the grant you applied for.”

For a moment, a glint of apprehension actually flashed in her eyes. But it was only for a moment before it was replaced with the indifferent act she was putting on. He sensed that there was more. What trauma was she trying to avoid thinking of? Even more importantly, why was she trying to hide?

Her official photograph attached to the dossier was strikingly different from how she looked now. The smile of the lady in the picture shone in her eyes and her hair was neatly arranged in a top-bun. She was standing in her lab coat, with her arms folded. Very unlike the dishevelled cynical crestfallen lady before him. What happened to you, Doctor Maundy?

“That is,” he continued, palming through the pages. “If, and only if, we get you out of this case in one piece. Because, Doctor Maundy, this bit doesn’t look good on you.”

She smirked. “Like I care about my looks now—?”

“Eva, are you taking any of this seriously? Because I want to help you out here—”

“And what if I don’t want to be helped?” She slammed her fists on the table, sending her plate and the remaining nuggets to the ground. For a moment that’s where their gazes went, to the scattered grains and the spilled water spreading on the floor. The room was still but the rising tension was so thick you could slice it. She looked up at him. “What if I don’t need your help?”

Perhaps they had been too forward about this. “Would you prefer to see a therapist instead, Doctor?”

She shook her head. “Just get me out of here. The electric chair’s gotta be better than this.”

He sighed, bowing his head. Whatever this lady had done, she was as much a victim of it. He bit back every other comment he could have made. “Let’s start over.” He reached for the tape recorder, snapping it off. “Without this old thing.”

She scoffed. “Right, like you expect me to believe we’re not still being recorded somehow.”

He smiled, stealing a glance back at the two-way mirror beyond which Mitch and Briella were definitely having a laugh. “You didn’t get that PhD for nothing, I can tell you that.”

“And don’t you forget it.” She was smiling weakly now though she avoided his gaze. “Sorry I flipped out.”

“It’s OK.”

“I’m not usually like this, you know.”

He glanced at the smiling face in the folder in his hand. “I can imagine.”

“This isn’t me. The past day has been … I’ve just…” She lowered her gaze. As she exhaled he could tell that whatever was broken inside her was finally leaking. Was she actually going to talk now? She took a deep breath. “It’s messed up. I don’t even know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know what’s going on anymore. It’s like … it’s like I’m outside this body and I’m just watching my whole world spin out of control, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Do you understand that? Do you get what I’m going through?”

He nodded slightly. “Eva, I’m not trying to get you in any more trouble.”

“Can you imagine what it’s like to just, all of a sudden, find yourself with bloodied hands, and your … a … a dead body right in front of you? And now I’m a murderer? A-and I don’t even remember anything that happened! Do you know how violated I feel? And now I’m going to jail for this?!”

Her written statement, where she’d said as much, was in his hands. Considering her amnesiac line was what had opened the door to this particular investigation. He measured his words carefully. “Then why did you run?”

“Why did I run? What else was I supposed to do? There was a body in front of me! Security was asking questions all over the place. I didn’t know what to do!”

That was the second time in a row that she’d referred to the deceased as a ‘body’, he noted. Either she had not been able to accept the personal loss, or she was simply refusing to acknowledge it as a coping mechanism due to the trauma.

“Why don’t you just shoot straight?” She stared over her glasses now, her eyes red from all the stress. “Forget the theatrics for now. Ask me what you really want.”

He winced, staring between her and the file in his hand. He pursed his lips before he read. “Andrew Davies.” He saw her visibly shrink when she heard the name. She had dreaded this, but there really was no way out of this but through. “25 years. Teaching assistant on attachment under your supervision. Do you know this person?”

He could see the tension in her throat veins as she built up the confidence to respond. “Yes. We … worked together. Three years now.” She still avoided the obvious.

“His body was found in your office yesterday, gutted and with multiple lacerations. Reports place you in the same vicinity. Blood splatters in the room were also found on your person by the time first responders got there.”

She was shaking her head already, eyes shut, muttering silently.

“What’s that?”

He heard a sob, despite her attempts to hide it. “I didn’t do it. Whatever it is you think I did, it wasn’t me!”

“DNA results match. It was his blood, Doctor Maundy.”

“It wasn’t me! I don’t understand what happened, I don’t know who it was, but it wasn’t me.

“You do realise how that sounds, right?” He closed the file and placed his hands on the table, folding his fingers in. “Doctor, I could’ve said that I believed you, but it doesn’t help you one bit.”

Her eyes were red now. “Please…”

“Either way we slice it, we’re looking at a homicide. I want to hear your story. We have reasons to believe that this is more than it appears. If we say you didn’t do it, then we have bigger problems because that doesn’t exonerate you. We still have to account for the blood in the room. But if, and just go with me here, if we consider the other possibility that … maybe you didn’t have full control of your body and mind for those few minutes… it gets us somewhere because—“

“I didn’t do this…”

He didn’t have a better way to ease her into it, so he just went full tilt. “Perhaps you should listen to this.” He switched the tape recorder from ‘RECORD’ to actual radio and the reports came pouring in.

“…a total lockdown on information on the particular nature of what is going on in Providence, giving rise to rumours and bizarre reports. The most popular of these peaked with the upload of the now viral graphic video from a student’s TikTok account. It depicts her roommate exhibiting feral and possibly rabid behaviour. The hashtag, #Werewolves has been trending on social media all night long, with accompanying pictures and…”

He turned the dial. This one had a man’s voice. “…on all parents to compel their wards to stay indoors. I repeat, stay indoors. We don’t know where the infected are at the moment, or just how far they have spread. We have no idea if and/or how this is being transmitted. This is not as contained as you think. They could be anywhere. They could be right where you a—“

He turned it again. This time it was a young student that sounded stoned. “…like in the movies, man. It’s like those zombie apocalypse flicks or some sh—“

And another station. “… She’s not there anymore. I don’t know who that is, but that’s not the Cindy I know. She wouldn’t do something like this—”

And another. “…‘werewolves’, for lack of a better term, frothing at the lips, mauling their colleagues, destroying and vandalizing the college. These students are out of their minds…”

Her face was contorted in confusion at the frantic voices she was hearing. It felt refreshing to see someone untouched by the incident thus far receiving its news for the first time. It probably still sounded like something from the world of myth and Twilight to her, and that’s how it had sounded to everyone else too once before. Before their innocence was stripped away and fear had taken its place. For Eva, all of this had only been about a homicide. She didn’t know just how much bigger the problem really was.

He turned it off.

“What’s going on?”

“There may be a chance that what may have affected you may have had more than a localised effect. And it may be spreading. Call it a virus, call it hysteria, MPD, or even demons and sorcery – whatever it is, it’s spreading like crazy.”

“No…”

“Around the same time as your ‘incident’ occurred, we had an increase in bizarre behaviour among students and staff. Got people with … animalistic tendencies. Frothing mouths, clawing with their nails, growling and snarling like beasts. The world’s gone crazy out there, Eva.” With each new revelation she seemed to cringe even more. He could see her facial expressions alternating between disbelief and shock.

He pulled out his iPad, flipped to the trends page and slid it over. “It’s everywhere now.”

She really didn’t know what had been going on, and her widening eyes as she scrolled through the posts and videos gave away her shock. “It’s gotta be a prank. It has to be…”

“In the space of 24 hours we’ve had reported cases of almost 300 students becoming these … monstrosities. We’ve got our smartest trying to figure out what’s happening.”

She looked up at him, probably expecting this to be a trick. But it wasn’t. “You’re saying this is what happened to me?”

“I’m saying that it’s possible.”

“And this is going on out there? Right now?”

He nodded.

“It can’t be…” Her voice was a little above a whisper.

“I’m afraid it is. Right now they’ve got a couple of the infected on tranqs and are examining them for signs of cause and chances of recovery. Best we’ve got so far is an inflammation of the brain tissue and a degeneration of neurons. This could get worse before we even have a handle on what’s going on. Now, Doctor Maundy, I know you’re thinking about your dead assistant but do you see the big picture now? Not only should your expertise be able to sort through this mess, but I also need to know. Do you have any idea how this all could have happened?”

Her face was still overwritten with confusion at the madness she had just been exposed to, but she still looked up at him. “No. No I don’t.”

He understood the pain she must have gone through to dig through those memories over and over again, right in front of him. He knew how difficult it must have been for her to hear how this had escalated, and how difficult it must’ve been to respond under tension.

And that’s why he also knew that, this time, she was lying.

THE STORY CONTINUES IN FILE-002

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy

Eva Maundy finds her assistant dead, and she’s the sole suspect. Questions uncover mysteries and dark things come to light. Perhaps she’s not as innocent as she thinks. There’s more at work here than meets the eye.

This story is sure to leave you with lots to think about. And, despite its somber tone and tense scenes, I actually had a lot of fun writing this one.

It’s a reminder that in the midst of the dark and uncertain times we find ourselves in, God has not left us and is very much with us. His Light shines, still. He makes it beautiful.

Read online here:

CASE FILE-001

CASE FILE-002

CASE FILE-003

CASE FILE-004

CASE FILE-005

My Curious Case: A (lotta) word(s) from me

Or if you’d rather read it offline and in your own time, you can DOWNLOAD the full story in PDF, EPUB , MOBI or LIT formats

Here’s what some readers said…

“I love the book! I love the scriptural undertones. I love the scenes. I love everything.”– Oyinkansolami


“It’s a very beautiful one. I really did enjoy and appreciate how it reminded me of Christ’s love in a fascinating manner. Excellent!”
– Esther

“It got me curious. At first I thought I was reading the movie Interrogation, then Resident Evil, then I thought to myself this is the movie Evan Almighty or could it be Passion of Christ? It is suspense-filled with an explicit message. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
– Anu

“…this is different. Wow!!! The twists and turns in the story were intriguing. It shows grace, forgiveness and a whole lot of things. Also, so timely.”
– Joana

“You really can’t separate me from a good book. It’s the best Easter story I read in years.”
– Dr Adeyemo

“This story is full of thought, well done. It’s funny how we chase for the cure of human virus but postpone getting rid of sin because there is no physical devastating effect. At this time when we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, may we continually cling to the redemptive power in this body and blood shed for salvation. Well done.”
– Osetemega

Don’t forget to leave a comment, and tell someone about it if you like it too.

Thanks for coming by!

(Photo of woman in glasses by Elina Krima from Pexels)

All this Time by The King of Fools

Hello. Today we have a guest post from my good friend and brother, The King of Fools. I believe this call-to-arms in these times will be a blessing to you as it is to me as well.
Without further ado, I present to you, ‘All this Time’…


“All this time
Since the day that I was born
I’ve never known a time like this
And I don’t wanna let you down..”
– All This Time by Delirious?

There are times in our lives that we feel the weight of change. Sometimes it’s as simple as a change in the weather, clear blue skies become filled with dark grey clouds and we know it’s about to rain. Sometimes it’s major like a change in seasons; Chelsea FC beat Liverpool FC in the community shield and you’re sure a fantastic premier league season full of blue England skies is about to start. Wives and girlfriends know that they’ll only have their men for at most 5 days a week. Sometimes it’s very personal, like a man becoming a father and knowing he’s about to have many nights with too little sleep. Or a child leaving home and her parent’s allowance money behind. One thing is certain, the true proof of the flow of time is change.

History has proven that the world as we know it can go through major change in a very short time. Our change is usually brought about by the weight of an intense season. The pressure shapes us into the outcomes of our choices. World war II, The Black Death and such periods in history have been known to produce some of the most extraordinary choices made by man. Some people saw beyond the challenges of the time and made choices that truly shaped and affected the future. And among these “choosers” were everyday people.

This is another intense season in human history. We can feel the weight of what is happening and we know the world would not be the same after this. Most believe, and I hope you would agree, that many of the worst case scenarios painted to us are quite far fetched. There is no cause for panic. Yet, we have never known a time like this. And, while the pressure would tend to push forward the baser version of ourselves, we must awaken to a greater sense of purpose. This is the time to make those defining choices and take solid strides.

God has destined and empowered the church to thrive in all seasons, and it seems especially so in tough times. Darkness has always been and will always be an opportunity for light. The greater the darkness, the greater the opportunity for, and value of, light. One common factor in times like this is fear. It can cause people to panic, make selfish, irrational and often destructive choices. Fear can cripple possibility and blur the picture of hope as people shrink back into self-preservation. That’s exactly why this is the time for the righteous to be as bold as lions. We would not cower into a corner to save ourselves. If we do, we would be doing the world an injustice, be letting down our Father who is on our side for the win, and be putting ourselves in danger of a future full of regrets. We will not be passive about this and not stretch beyond the norm. This season is exactly why we are where we are, have what we have and can do what we can do.

Heroes are not made for war, they’re made from war. We must be the bravest we’ve ever been and use the wisdom and power God has given us to push back the darkness till there is no trace of it left.

Whatever it is that you do, whatever platforms you stand on, this is the time to give the
world what you have been given by God. Be brave for your family. Stand up boldly for the body of Christ, for your community, for the nations and, last of all, for yourself.
It is inevitable that many in the world will only respond in fear or folly or selfishness. In light of
this, here’s what the bible suggests:

“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the
most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand
what the Lord wants you to do.” – Ephesians 5:15-17

This is the time to ask God what is His will for you and your family and community. You can
stretch your faith for the whole world. It could be clandestine missions in the secret place of
prayer or it could be that you become a “shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm”
(Isaiah 32:2) when everything falls apart. It could also be that your work in these times would
help shape what the unknown future would look like.



History has it that Isaac Newton came up with the Newtonian Laws during his self-isolation as
the Black Death ravaged Europe. The book Mere Christianity was a result of the radio broadcasts C. S. Lewis did during World War II. Now is your chance, because we’ve never seen a time like this.