Tag Archives: fiction

FATHER OF CHIBOK

Father of Chibok

…must … make it…

Can’t stop … can’t turn back…

I must…

… must …

… SIMBI …

With every step, Adamu ibn Gafar’s heart pummeled harder into his chest. His breath had turned to intermittent gasps. His strength was giving way. But he could not stop. Would not stop. His rifle weighed heavy on his neck by the strap.

A dry wind caressed his bearded face as he crested a knoll, leaving a gritty taste in his mouth. The valley before him, dotted with trees and sparse undergrowth, was laid out bare like an unfurled scroll of green and brown. The Sambisa forest. It would have been the perfect landscape were it not for the dark secrets hidden in there.

How many nights had it been now? Seven? Eight? Yes, eight nights since he’d left the village.

Three since he last ate.

Two since he last drank water. Dirty water, at that.

His head was already feeling dizzier with each new hour. He could feel every bone in his body. He knew he should have turned back a long time ago, but he had to keep his attention on something more important. His sole purpose for being here. His only purpose for living now.

Simbi … Simbi … must make it… It had become his mantra.

He did not even know where he was going. Everyone knew that the terrorists sometimes set up camp in this forest, but they were also constantly on the move. Only God knew exactly where they were. Gafar knew that he would most definitely die out here. His next step could plunge him to his grave…

Something about that thought must have been taken seriously, because the next thing he knew was that the horizon was rising unnaturally. The sandy ground was rising to his eye level … and growing darker. His scraggly beard bit into his skin as it touched down on sand.

Am I … falling?

BAM! His world faded to black.

 

———-

A crackle played at the back of his mind as he slowly regained consciousness. It could’ve been gunfire in the distance. A salty tang filled the air, assaulting his stomach. Oh, that churning curling feeling. How hungry he felt. Slowly, one of his eyes peeled. There was a fire, alright, but it wasn’t gunfire. More like a camp fire. It was in sharp contrast to the dark night around.

Wait a minute. Camp fire meant camp…

…and camp meant…

People!

He hurried to his haunches, scurrying away, but stopped at the sight before him. Only one man was seated in the sand facing the fire, his back to Gafar. He had seen no other human being in days. He noted that his rifle still sat beside him. Desperate not to make a sound, he slowly grabbed it from the grass at his knees.

Could it be? Had he finally reached their camp? Is he one of them?

Struggling to his feet, he sauntered slowly toward the stranger, reminded of the pain in his bones with every step he managed. The man was humming to himself, poking the fire with a stick. He was roasting some fish in the fire, hence the salty tang. Food! But Gafar would not kill a man for food … unless he was a no-good kidnapping insurgent—

But, still… FOOD!

“You’ve been out for hours.”

Gafar stopped. Who said that? He had been certain they were alone. Gafar had not seen another human in over a week. Had this man just spoken? Gafar knew he had been found out. He raised the rifle to the man’s head. He should have said something, but nothing came to mind.

The man turned slightly. “I thought you’d like some food.”

Gafar gulped, his throat dry more from hunger than from fear. “You have five seconds to tell me what you’re doing here.”

The man paused. “Clearly, I’m roasting fish—“

“Are you one of them?” Gafar snapped. “The Haram?”

The man turned and seemed to notice the rifle for the first time, his gaze falling to its barrel. But he didn’t flinch. “Why would I tell you that?”

“Answer me!”

The screeching of crickets in the distance gave an ambience to the scene. “What if I told you I was and you weren’t one of them? Or if I said I wasn’t, but you were one of them? Either way, one of us is dead already.” Gafar froze. The man smiled. “Consider me a friend, mallam.

“I have no friends on this path.”

“Then consider this an invitation. In a land such as this, we could all do with a companion.” The stranger patted the ground beside him. “Come. Eat.” A bowl of already roasted fish sat beside the man. “I also got some bread.” He extended his bag towards Gafar.

Gafar was torn. He should be pulling the trigger, but his hunger was too strong. He snatched the bag out of his hand and reached in for a loaf. Sure enough, he felt the soft loaves of bread in his hands. The aroma was too hard to resist. And he took a bite.

His gastric juices and salivary glands went to work. Goodness, he had not realized how hungry he really was until now. Whoever this stranger was, he had brought some good food. This was like a miracle … if you believed in such.

“You’re welcome,” the stranger muttered, returning to his roasting. “There’s a creek over there. The water’s cleaner than most.”

Gafar sat, taking more of the bread and fish. Out of habit he muttered his thanks. The man looked nothing like anyone else he had seen before in these parts. He knelt at the creek and gulped down a good helping of water. Sure enough it was clean water.

“God must be looking out for you,” the man said. “Few survive days in this forest on their own.”

Gafar did not respond. He preferred not to give much thought to God. He needed not to. For one thing, those perverted terrorists claimed to be fighting in His name. Why would God allow those men to take his daughter away? Either someone or something was wrong in that equation, or there really was no God. It just didn’t make sense. Without answers he chose to remain neutral on the subject.

“There’s a nomadic clan about a day away where we can trade that gun of yours for supplies,” he said. “But they’re always on the move.” Gafar arched a brow at the man, who shrugged. “I’ve lived in the Sambisa for a good while now. I know my way around here.”

Gafar studied the man as he returned to the fire. He wore a woolen jacket over his brown caftan. The white goatee framing his chin gave him a patriarchal look. Had he really lived here for long? He was in no mood for a conversation, but clearly this man was. “I thank you for the sustenance, sir. But one must wonder what would make a man like you to stay in this godforsaken forest.”

The man stared pointedly at him.“I could ask you the same question.”

“My path is no business of yours.”

“I see all kinds of men making their way through this forest every now and then,” he said. “Most with ill-intentions. You don’t strike me as their type.” He cocked his head, ostensibly studying Gafar. “But I can tell you that the enemies you seek will not be taken down with just one rifle.”

Gafar turned to him. So this man had deduced his vendetta. “You’ve … seen them?”

“Everyone knows when they camp, the Haram. Most families left the forest as soon as they started … ‘camping’ here.”

“Yet you remain.”

The man shrugged. “I’ve got greater concerns than my own safety,” he said. “As do you, I presume.”

“I’m grateful for the food, sir, but like I said, my path is of no concern to you.”

“One rifle cannot take down an entire camp of—“

“Sir, I would rather not talk about this.”

“Some would call that denial. “

“Sir, I really don’t like—“

“But you want to talk about it—“

Gafar shot to his feet. “Look! Your attempts to drive me out of my mind can’t go beyond how out of control I already am. I … ha … I … I don’t even know why I’m even trying to talk to you. I should have killed you and made off with your food when I had the chance.”

The man was smiling and it was annoying. “But you won’t, my friend.”

“Don’t be too sure.”

“You may be mad, but you’re not ax-crazy.”

“Yes! Yes! You got me there, old man! I am mad! I’m absolutely crazy! What was I thinking, coming in here with a borrowed gun? And you know something else, old man? I’m dead already. I’m a dead man! This is a dead man talking to you, right here! What have I got to lose?”

“A mad man and a dead man. That’s a very lethal combination…”

Gafar clenched his fists. “Tell that to those perverts.”

“…for you,” the man finished, his eyes glistening in the fire’s hue. “It’s lethal for you. And you know why? I can tell because I know who you are.”

“You don’t know the first thing about me.” The man just stared at him, with what looked like sympathy in his eyes. As far as Gafar was concerned, he was mocking his resolve.

“I know … that you’re a dangerous weapon to anyone that crosses your path now. And that’s because of who you are.” Gafar waited for the punch line. But when it did come it took the wind out of his sails. “You’re a father.”

Gafar froze, at a loss for words.

“They must have taken something most precious to you to bring you in here,” the man continued, his eyes on Gafar. “However insane this is. And I can think of nothing as precious as … as a child. A daughter.” He paused. “Your daughter.”

Gafar just stared at him. Exposed and vulnerable in that moment. Now, when he needed a smart comeback, nothing came. He just stood there and stared. “Well … well, it’s better than just sitting down and doing nothing.” He tried to avoid his gaze. “Like everyone else is doing.”

“How old was she?” the man’s voice was gentle.

Gafar stared into the fire. The thought that had been playing in the depths of his heart boiled to the surface. Simbi’s lost, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

For the first time in days, he let the teardrop trickle down his face. His resistance fell away. The heave in his chest was back. He could feel his pulse thumping in his forehead. He slowly sank to his seat.

The man just stared at him.

“Nineteen,” he whispered. “She was … only … nineteen.”

The crackle of the fire and the distant caw of hawks filled the silence that followed. His heart was breaking again. And, again, he was helpless.

“We hoped this would be the last WAEC that would get her into university. I didn’t think it was necessary. I only wanted her to get married and start a life as soon as possible. Her mother wanted our daughter to have a dream. A future. She made me promise —right there, as her life slipped away— to get our daughter through school. She would become a great woman. A princess that royalty would die for. But you know what? I never really realized how beautiful my daughter was already. A treasure…” he gulped. Now she was gone. Kidnapped. And who knew what else had become of her.

“What I would give for one more moment to hold her … to tell my daughter that I love her. I never told her that. I never … thought I needed to. I thought she always knew. But I would give anything! Even to the last of my cattle and my land, I would give it all. I just want my daughter to be safe…”

He was breaking down in front of a stranger, he realized. He had spent a week away from humans and he had already lost all his pride. “It’s been so long now. I saw that video, you know. They showed the girls, all in black. But I didn’t see my Simbi. They say they’ve been sold as slaves. Others say they’re dead. But I can’t believe that. I couldn’t live with myself if that happened.”

The man had just been listening, now there was nothing but sobbing and the crackle of the fire between them.

“You want to negotiate with them?” the man asked at last. “You mentioned giving your cattle.”

“What choice do I have?”

For a moment they simply stared into the fire. “You really do love your daughter,” the man said. Gafar wiped his eyes. “I know how you feel … friend.”

Don’t say that. You can’t possibly know how I feel.

He placed a hand on Gafar’s shoulder “You will see your daughter again. It’s the hope we fathers have to hold on to.” Gafar turned to him. “The enemy may take our daughters, but we’ll do everything to bring them back. Even to lay down our very lives. Because it’s everything we have to give.

“After all … that’s why I’m here as well,” the man said, turning back to the fire.

Gafar sniffed and turned to him. “They took your daughter too?”

The man stared into the fire for a moment. When he did reply his voice was nothing but a whisper. “Daughters.”

That stopped him. Gafar was shaken. Really?

This gave a whole new perspective to this man. His daughters had been taken as well, and he was here to rescue them. There were things he wanted to ask, but he couldn’t. It was just … surreal. And sad. Very sad. So he does know how I feel. “I’m … I’m sorry.”

How, if there is any justice in the universe, these things could go unpunished troubled Gafar. How could these people continue their evil crusade – and no one else wonders why?! God, are you even there?

“You asked me why I’m here, in this …as you called it, ‘godforsaken’ forest,” the man said, a slight quiver playing at the edge of his lips. “Now you know. I have to be close to my children, somehow. I’ve been here for ages, searching, ready to bring my daughters home.” He smiled, in spite of himself. “I couldn’t live with myself any other way, knowing they’re in the hands of such evil men. I couldn’t afford to.” He shook his head, staring into the distance, lost in thought. “This ‘fatherhood’ thing, it’s … it’s an occupational hazard.”

Gafar sighed deeply, looking up at the stars. “You know, sometimes I think that if I ever brought her back safe, I would take her out of this place. Out of this country. I’d sell everything I have to take us to somewhere safe. I would throw the biggest party ever for her and her friends. I would … I would let the whole world know that she’s the most beautiful girl of all. The most precious jewel to me. I would never yell at her again … ever…”

The man nodded silently. “The Father’s heart.”

For a moment they did not talk. Gafar absentmindedly took some more helpings of the bread with fish. These short silent moments that punctuated their conversation seemed, to Gafar, to bond them somehow. A sort of camaraderie between fathers desperate to bring their loved ones home. Through long and dark nights in the cold, the bites of parasites and the certainty of death, the thought of their daughters home and safe again could be the only thing keeping them going.

The man turned and stared into his eyes again. “You can be sure that I’ll let your daughter know how much you love her so.”

Gafar smiled, as the chilling realization that he would die overtook him. But he nodded. “I’d do the same if I saw yours.”

“Listen to me—“

“—But frankly I just might outlive you, old man—“

“No, wait, you’re not listening to me. I will let your daughter know you love her because I am with her.” Gafar squinted at him. “Right now.”

Gafar tried to make sense of the man’s sudden cryptic shift in gears. “What’re you saying?”

“You know full well what it is I am saying.”

“Who … who are you?”

That enigmatic smile was playing at his lips again. “Don’t you remember me? Adam?”

Gafar was taken aback. He didn’t recall telling this man his name, let alone his first name. “Are you … no … it can’t be…”

He nodded. “I am.”

And he smiled one more time.

 

———-

Incessant chirping played at the back of his mind as he slowly regained consciousness. It could’ve been the sound of angels greeting each other. Perhaps he was dead already. For real, this time. He felt full on the inside. Oh, the blessing of good food. Especially bread and fish … talk about a meal! Slowly, one of his eyes peeled open. There was chirping, alright, but there were no angels. More like birds—

Wait a minute!

As he hurried to his haunches, he was engulfed by the daylight around him. He was still in the forest, birds chirping in the trees. It was another day searching for his daughter. One thing that piqued his attention was that there was no evidence of a camp fire around him. No ashes. He turned and confirmed his last expectation – no creek either. Had it been a dream?

But if it had all been a dream, why did he feel as if he had eaten?

He inhaled deeply, staring up into the bright sky. It was a new day, with new dangers ahead. But never before had he felt so much resolve.

Miracles do happen, he mused.

Picking his rifle again, refreshed and filled on the inside he hurried on into a forest that, perhaps, wasn’t so godforsaken after all. To death. To life.

To his daughter.

For Simbi.

———-

“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing

nothing living or dead,

angelic or demonic,

today or tomorrow,

high or low,

thinkable or unthinkable—

ABSOLUTELY

NOTHING

can get between us and God’s love

because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

Romans 8:38 and 39 (The Message)

 

———-

FATHER OF CHIBOK

Father of Chibok; Father of all.

I know You hear us when we call.

Thank You because You’re always near.

And, as You’re here, You’re also there.

You’re with our sisters and daughters in captivity.

Keep them, protect them … set them free.

I know You can

‘Cause You’re more than a man.

You loved them even before this all began.

Heal their hearts; heal their minds

Keep them from the fear that binds.

Our hearts go out to them too.

If anyone can bring them home, it’s You.

And Father,

This part is so hard that it barely even rhymes.

Help us … somehow … to pray for and love the men

Possessed by the spirit of terror.

For they terrorize and wish our nation ill

But unbeknownst to them, they are the captives, still.

Heal their hearts, heal their minds.

Free them from the bondage that binds.

Let them know that even in the darkest of forest

There’s a Father that loves them, and in seeking them, You don’t rest.

If anyone loves them, it’s definitely You.

Help us to love them like You do.

O Father of All; Father of Chibok

Thank You ‘cause You answer when we knock.

In the end, we know that Evil’s time is done.

In the End, evil is overcome.

Let Your Kingdom come and make this all right.

The world will be so much better with Your Light.

If anyone can do this, it’s going to be You.

What can we do?

Can You use us too?

Help us to lighten up this world

With your light as we do as we are called.

Reflecting your love to every fellow

That they may know that You love them so.

If You can use anyone, dear Jesus…

…thank You because it can be us.

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THE JOHN 11 STORY: FAITH

<<INTRO

<<Episode 1: LOVE

John 11_faith

We did not set out for Bethany until two days later. Lazarus was, no doubt, dead by then. Mary and Martha were in deep mourning by that time.

When my disciples were gathered I told them. “We need to get ready. We’ll be setting off for Judea today.”

To say they were astonished would be like saying the Jordan is wet.

“But, Master … Judea?! They’re out to kill you over there. It’s not safe to go now.”

“We’re just coming from there.”

“Can’t it wait?”

I turned to them. Yes, there were logical grounds for fear in Judea. But fear is never a good option. “Wouldn’t you rather walk in the day, when there’s light?” I told them. “Or would you prefer to walk in the night, when there’s no light? That’s an invitation to stumble.” Besides, I needed to be in Bethany. I wanted to get to my friend.

But they could neither see it, nor understand it. Not yet.

“Our friend, Lazarus, is asleep. I’m going over there to wake him up.” Oh, what a glorious sight it would be. Sickness thought it had its day, but Lazarus would not stay dead.

Andrew perked his ears at that. “Oh, so you’re saying he’s better now?”

“Uh…”

“I mean, if he’s asleep, then he must no longer be sick. He’s alright. That doesn’t require a visit now.” The others nodded in agreement.

“Wisdom is profitable to direct,” Thomas counseled. Interesting. “These times are dangerous in Judea.”

I eventually had to use the ‘D’-word for them to understand what I was saying. I wanted their faith to be strong enough to see these things the way I saw them. But for now, it’s just one step at a time. “Lazarus is dead.” The room fell silent. “And I’m glad that I was not there earlier, for your sakes. You’re about to be given new grounds for your faith.”

The silence lingered for a moment.

“He’s dead?”

I stood. “So it’s settled then. Let’s get ready to tell the others. We’ll leave after lunch.”

I could feel their stares as I walked out of the room.

“He is serious … isn’t he?”

“Does anyone understand the Master these days?”

“You did see him leave the room. He means to leave now!”

“Sometimes I worry about him.”

“He’s been talking about dying and stuff. Now this?!”

“This is trouble, I tell you. Is he suicidal?”

“Don’t say that! You know who he is…”

“OK, alright. But still…”

“We’ve sworn our lives to him.” A loud sigh. “We might as well go and die with him.” That was Thomas’ voice.

I shook my head. Not even my closest friends could trust me on this. They just couldn’t see the Bigger Picture. They however trusted me enough to come along with me.

Looks like it’s just You and me, Father.

—–

For as long as sin has existed, man has been subjected to death and the pain it brings. I’ve seen and felt that pain many times. I should know … my father on earth, Joseph Bar Yacov, died years ago. The pain of separation can be gut-wrenching, from this side of heaven. Death has been holding humanity in its grasp, bringing fear, oppression and despair in its wake.

But there is another side to these things. I am the One that brings life to the dead. There was Jairus’ daughter back in Capernaum; and there was also that young man in Nain. I brought them back to life.

But one day, I will be the death of Death itself … by my own death. It sounds crazy to the human mind now … but the Father knows what He is doing. We know the evil principalities will orchestrate my death, not knowing that they are bringing Life to Death’s very doorstep. It will be painful … torturous … the pain of the punishment for millennia-worth of the sins of men … Sometimes I wonder how I can go through it all. But I trust my Father to give me the strength when I need it.

In many ways, this whole experience reminded of me of my own coming sacrifice. Like Lazarus, I too will die. But I will rise. My friend has been given a front row seat on one of the greatest stories of all.

By the time we approached Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days already. We were still about a mile away from the village when I noticed the woman in black coming down the path towards us. Even from that distance I could tell who it was. Martha. The news of our coming had reached her already. I hurried ahead of the others, extending my hands for the embrace. She just stared at me as I approached, her face quivering. She had cried so much, her eyes were red. She willed herself not to cry anymore. With Lazarus gone, she and her sister would be at the mercy of their relatives. At least, that’s what she probably expected. Oh, Martha…

“It’s OK,” I whispered as I embraced her.

“Four days, Master,” she whispered into my shoulder. “Four days. If … if you had been here … my brother would not have died.” I stared into her face. What could I say? I knew waiting would hurt them, but I could not have done otherwise. If only she knew the great miracle waiting ahead. Would she understand? She inhaled deeply. “But I know that God will still give you whatever you ask.”

She still believed in me? Underneath all that pain and hurt, could she see what was really going on? Or did she think God was unfair in granting my requests but not healing her brother? “Your brother will rise again,” I told her.

She avoided my gaze. “I know. I know that he’ll be raised up too at the Resurrection at the end of time, when all the dead will rise—“

“Martha! Don’t be afraid to get your hopes up. You don’t have to wait for the end! I am —right now— Resurrection and Life. Even if they’re dead, if anyone believes in me they’ll live! And everyone who believes in me while they are still alive will never ultimately die. Do you believe this?”

It must have been hard for her, I know, demanding such faith. But it’s the truth. After all this, she would be able to believe in God for anything. That’s what I want. She nodded. “Yes, Master. All along, I’ve believed that you were … are the Messiah, the Son of God come into the world.” She knew and believed all that, but now it probably just felt like nothing but words. Was she reassuring herself? Did she really believe? She inhaled deeply. “Ah … I must go, get the house ready … please excuse me—“

“We’ll go with you—“

But she was already hurrying back into the village, desperate to keep the tears from falling in our presence. It was definitely not going to be easier. There was so much fear and doubt out here. It hurt that my friends had to go through so much pain. Was it necessary?

Father, thank You because in the end … it is all worth it.

“He really is dead, isn’t he?” Peter said behind me.

I turned and nodded. My disciples, the ones that would be my witnesses when all this is over. “For your sakes, I’m happy I waited.”

“You said so before. But…”

“Trust me,” I said. “This is so that you all –everyone— can see what my Father is capable of. Through me.”

We waited for the others to catch up. We had barely left that very spot when Mary came hurrying toward us. Friends and family, all in mourning, accompanied her. Many halted when they saw my friends and I. But my attention was on Mary alone. She did not hide her tears. She had believed in me for so long, and I had not come when her brother was ill. How should I expect her to feel?

She fell to her knees at my feet, crying. “Master! If only you had been here, my brother would still be alive!” No, she was definitely not happy.

“Mary –“

“It’s too late! Now my brother is dead. He died, Jesus. Lazarus is … gone.”

This was more difficult. She was crying. The pain… It was as though we were swallowed by this barrage of wails, as the mourners raised their voices with her. Dear Father…

Father, they’ll know this was worth it in the end. Let their faith be strengthened.

The fear and gloom and despair out there left a bad taste in my gut. Death had left its footprint, and it was a painful sight. Death, you will be the last enemy I will defeat.

I felt a lump in my throat when I asked, “Where was he laid?”

“Master, come and see,” one of the mourners said.

And they led us to the graveyard outside the village limits. It was a bare wasteland that reeked of loneliness and gloom – the opposite of what I have come to give humanity. These were my enemy’s stomping grounds, and my friend had been brought there as its trophy. Just like all humanity.

Lazarus in a grave.

Before I knew it, I was crying. I let the tears fall. I let the sobs turn to wails. Pent up feelings gushed out to the surface in that instant … and I wept. My disciples were troubled to see me cry, but I couldn’t help it. This was man’s lot because of sin’s curse. Death. So far, so opposite from what We intend for them.

But I will end this.

I will surely end this.

It is worth it, Father.

“Aw, he must really miss his friend,” someone said. “See how he loved him.”

They did not know that it was because I loved him that I had delayed my coming.

“Love, schmove! If he really loved him, why couldn’t this ‘Healer’ make his friend well before he died, eh? But call him to make a blind man see and he’ll show up. But for his friend? Meh!”

Not on a day like this. Not adversity now; not today. It will be worth it, my friend. It will all be worth it. You may deny me now, but this is for you too. Your faith will be energized.

No one saw what I was seeing, or expected what I was expecting. But in the midst of the doubt and adversity, the fear and gloom – I held on to my Father’s words.

Lazarus, I’m bringing you to life today.

When we got to the grave I lifted my eyes. “Thank You, Father! Thank You because You have heard me!”

 

To be concluded… in Hope

 

NOTE: I understand that this interpretation of the story may cause some questions. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I’ll also share mine. Thanks! 😀

The John 11 Story: Love

<<INTROJohn 11_love 2

We were all refreshing ourselves – that’s me and the Twelve, and many of my other followers— by the banks of the Jordan. I love these guys. Many of them have left their families to follow me. Some have brought their whole families along to join us. These people received the words of life into their hearts like bread, and I hoped that they would digest it. Just like we were digesting the meal we were eating at that moment. And it was a very refreshing one, I remember, especially after hours of teaching.

Andrew brought a young man to me. “Master, this is Ethan,” he said. “He brings news from Mary and Martha in Bethany.”

I recognized Ethan from the brief times we spent in Bethany. “Peace be to you, Ethan.”

“And to you, Master.”

“All the way from Bethany? You must be exhausted from the journey—”

He shook his head, barely blinking. “Your people have been very kind to me, sir. But I could not eat now, even if I wanted to.”

I nodded. “And why would you not want to?” I noticed the shadow over his features. Andrew knew it too. He had mentioned only Mary and Martha. “And how is my good friend, Lazarus?”

Ethan looked up at me. “That’s why I’m here, Master. Lazarus, your friend, is terminally ill. He needs you. Master.”

And that was the moment. The moment that altered the rest of the week.

Lazarus…

With a word I could have healed him in that moment. Human logic and emotion required me to. I would have loved to. Lazarus. He has been a faithful man, taking care of his parents’ estate since their deaths. No ordinary suitor could take his sisters, not while he was around. And his generosity is overwhelming. His doors are always open to my disciples and I every time we pass through Bethany. Always willing to understand my teachings, Lazarus is a man I am glad to call my friend.

Healing him would bring joy to his sisters. They’ve been troubled long enough because of this sickness.

But…

But I am never alone in these matters. My Father and I go through them together. He knew what was going on. He knew when the foul spirit of sickness took my friend’s body, and His ears were not silent to his cries and those of his sisters. But He had a much better, much Bigger plan.

That was how I knew that Lazarus, my friend, would die.

But the story would not end there. Like I said, We had a Bigger plan:

We would raise Lazarus to life from the dead! 😀

It would be amazing. This would build faith on a grand scale. Especially for Lazarus. He would have a front row seat on Resurrection before most people would. How great his faith would be at the end of all this, for all to see!

This will turn the eyes of many up to my Father, a big boost to their faith. They will see how awesome He is, and what He can do; that He can do anything! They will believe in me, the one He has sent. And my disciples, people like Andrew and even Ethan too, will be stronger witnesses of me and the Life I have come to give.

In the end, this would be best for Lazarus.

But to Ethan, Lazarus was still sick. He still stood there, staring at me, waiting for a response.

“This sickness would not end in death,” I said to him. “But it will be an opportunity for everyone to see how awesome God is, and what He can do. And His Son will be glorified as well.”

“So … you’ll come and heal him then?”

I smiled. ‘Healing’ would not cut it. Just not in the way they were expecting. Ethan bowed and left with a finality, sure that Lazarus would be fine, wondering why I did not follow him.

Mary and Martha would not be pleased at first. Death has always brought pain and despair, especially to the families of those it takes. It would no doubt bring more here. We take no pleasure in that. I am here to bring an end to Death’s tyrannical rule over mankind. But until then, the pain would still linger.

I know there is a glorious end to these things, but the journey to that end would be painful for me and for my friends. For Mary and Martha.

But my Father loves them much more than any human could. The pain and disappointment this death could cause were temporary and inconsequential compared to the Greater Glory waiting beyond this. When God is glorified, what they’ll have is much better than if it were another healing. I loved him too much to settle for that. Something much greater awaited him. There’s a Bigger Picture here.

I love my friend, Lazarus.

And that’s why I waited and let him die…

…For a time.

 

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.]

Therefore [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.

JOHN 11:5, 6 (The Amplified Bible)

To be continued…in FAITH

 >> and HOPE

 

THE JOHN 11 STORY

A.D. 33 (give-or-take-a-few-months)

I remember that week in detail. It would not be the most pivotal week of my mission on earth, but it was memorable all the same.

Everything I do these days is to prepare the people –my people— for the Kingdom that I’m bringing. Many of the things I teach them are still unclear to them. But when I am ‘lifted up’ they will understand. The Holy Spirit will make it all clear to them in high definition. But for now, for them to get it then, I must make the hard choices. I must make the sacrifices. It will bring glory to my Father.

In that day, they will truly see.

John 11_banner_right now

Episode One: LOVE

Episode Two: Faith

Episode Three: Hope

Grave Robber

A Christmas Chicken … as told by Dude

A Christmas Chicken_astoldbyDude

 

As told by Dude…

It was the night before Christmas, when I spotted the weirdest sight. I was totally minding my own business, you know; just enjoying the moonlight during my occasional evening stroll. Suddenly the silent night was broken by this weird cackle. As I walked on, the cackles like … grew louder. It was just … weird, you know.

I was curious, so I followed the sound. I came upon an abandoned alley and what I saw there just totally blew my mind. Not literally, of course, ‘cause if it did I would not be writing this… Anyway, before me were these chickens – possibly hundreds. Everywhere! I paused when I realized that I hadn’t been noticed, thankfully. What struck me then was their intelligence, ‘cause they were all like facing this stage (but it was really an upside-down bucket). They kept on cackling as if they were waiting for something. And as I listened, it was almost as if I could hear what they were saying. It totally felt like something out of a Disney/Pixar flick.

I gave them names based on how they looked. So, here goes.

Poulson walked over to the makeshift stage. He was a big brown broiler, tall and stocky, who carried himself with authority. Clanging his foot on the stage he yelled over the noise, “Attention, everyone! Attention!” He couldn’t get them to settle down. “KOW-KA-DOODLE-DOO!

The noise reduced, punctuated by some yells. “Hey, keep it down Mister! You’re gonna wake up the humans.”

“Thank you,” Poulson said. “Thank you, one and all. Now, I would first like to thank you all for coming to this special Poultry Convention. It truly is grand to see all of you. Truly birds of a feather … well, multiple feathers. The point being, we are all chickens, and we regard our kin with honour and dignity.”

From the front, Madam Henson squawked, “Get on with it!”

Poulson nodded. “Of course, we all know that tomorrow is Christmas Day –“

“Christmas Day?” Someone screeched.

“Christmas Day?!” As one the crowd became restless, with screams and cries.  Apparently, they dreaded that holiday.

Poulson was frustrated. “Oh, come on! Don’t tell me you didn’t know this was coming!”

“I thought Christmas was last year?!” someone yelled.

“Well, that’s the funny thing about Christmas: it’s kind of an ‘annual’ sort of thing? Why do you think they fed us so much all year?”

“We thought they loved us so much,” Miss Featherly said, gasping like she would faint.

“What do we do?”

Poulson tried to quiet the crowd. “Fellas, fellas! Hold your gizzards! We need to prepare!”

McCluckster leaped forward. “I know what we gotta do, lads!” He bellowed in his Scottish accent. “I says we attack those humans first, before they can attack us, ya!”

“Yeah!” the cry rang out. “Finish them off!”

“Who gave them the right to eat us chickens, anyway?”

“What, they think they’re better than us?!”

Poulson was losing his crowd. “Fellas! We can’t do that! It’s too risky!

“What are ya? Chicken?” McCluckster retorted.

Poulson arched a brow. “As a matter of fact, I am … chicken. But hear me out, this was why I brought us here, to listen to—“

“What?” yelled Otis, a young cockerel that sounded like a black American, as he leaped to the front. “Our last sermon before we are busted into the fryin’ pan? Look, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I can’t afford to die.”

“And you most likely won’t!” Poulson said. “You lack the meat the humans want. You’re still young.”

“Oh,” Otis said introspectively. “Lucky for me, then. I get to live! Sorry ol’ chaps … uh … ahem … ‘scuse me.” The others just stared at him.

McCluckster shook his head and stamped his feet, his feathers on end. “Well I’ve go’ a family. My young’uns are still just hatchlings, and I can’t afford to lose their mother … or meself either.”

Poulson waved his feathers. “Elder Hancock wanted to share a few words with us.”

“Oldman Hancock?”

From the way the crowd responded, I knew that whoever Hancock was he must’ve been highly respected. It was then that I noticed him. He was this white cock with saggy eyes and a faded red crest. He was not as big as McCluckster, no, but he looked like he could have been a superhero in his younger days. The chickens moved out of the way as he stepped up to the bucket and faced the crowd.

His voice was deep and gave evidence to his age. “One of our own, Marty Clucker Cling, told of his dream. He dreamt that, one day white chickens and black chickens would cross the road together, and no humans would ask why.”

The chickens all nodded in agreement. “True that.”

Hancock continued, “But nothing brings chickens together like the dread of the looming human holiday – Christmas. For years, I’ve watched many of our own fall at the hand of the human blade at Christmas. I also used to dread Christmas, until I met my friend, Hamster. Hamster was a pig—“

“Hamster?” someone called out.

Hancock paused, clearly not expecting the interruption. “Yes, Hamster.”

“Thought you said he was a pig!”

“Yes. Like I said, Hamster was a pig—”

“Make up your mind, old bird! Was he a pig or a hamster?”

By now the others were raising their voices to silence the critic. I was almost sure I saw Oldman Hancock roll his eyes.

“Anyway,” he continued. “Hamster was a pig, and we both lived on a farm up in Abeokuta. One day, he came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. ‘Hey,’ he said, ‘that orphanage down the road needs food for their Christmas party. Why don’t we contribute some eggs and ham?’

“I loved his idea, and I told him that. He added, ‘For you, it’s just a contribution. But for me, it’s going to be sacrifice.’

“I didn’t get it until Christmas Day. We got some of the hens in our barn to donate their eggs, and they gladly gave them to the orphanage. They also got ham, so everyone was glad. I didn’t realize it until I noticed Hamster was missing. You see, he had given himself so that they could have ham.”

Hancock bowed his head to hide a tear. “That’s what Christmas is all about.”

For a moment the place was silent. Then McCluckster broke the silence. “That just proves it, then! Those humans killed your friend!” The crowd was riled up. “They’re evil, all of them!”

Poulson tried to calm the crowd, but it didn’t work. Hancock raised a wing, and everyone fell silent. “You missed the point. You see, Christmas is about the Maker giving Himself.”

Someone in the front asked. “Are you talking about … the Maker maker? As in the Maker?”

Hancock exhaled and nodded. “Yes, the Maker. The One that made us all. He saw that the humans were held captive by evil itself, and they had become its evil minions. It made them become evil, and doomed. He wanted to pay for all their wrongs and give them a new life. The only way for Him to do that was for Him to become human, so that He could pay for their wrongs by dying. Just like Hamster did for those orphans. He sacrificed himself. Though our Maker rose again.”

McCluckster cocked his head. “I still don’t get it.”

This time Hancock did roll his eyes. “Humans celebrate the day He came, as a little baby, on Christmas.”

Poulson raised a wing. “So it’s not all about killing chickens, is it?”

“Well, we all have different paths. Humans, chickens. The Maker gave the humans the license to eat any animal they’re given as food, with thanksgiving. Including us.”

For a moment, the alley was all silent. I guess you could have heard a pin drop in that moment.

“Oh, that’s just fantastic!” McCluckster broke the silence. ”So the Maker wants a bunch of two-legged meat-eaters to gulp us down their throats, and thank Him?”

“You’re missing the point…”

And the crowd was riled up again. McCluckster were definite about his plot to deal with the humans, and he was not shutting up about it. Poulson was trying to calm the crowd down, and Hancock was simply shaking his head. It was a madhouse out there.

Until one of the chickens turned and yelled. “HUMAN!!!”

As one, the entire convention turned to me, a gasp visible on their faces. Dun-dun-DUUUUNNN! Bummer.

Words fail me to describe the jitters I felt. I grinned sheepishly and waved a little. “Hi?”

McCluckster was the first to scream … in fear. “A human!!! Run for ya lives! It’s everrry chicken ferrr ‘imself! AAAAAHHHH!!!”  He jumped on the spot, shrieking as he ran in circles. He was totally freaking out, you know, and the whole crowd was riled up again. You know, with feathers flying everywhere, and stuff.

The last thing I saw before I ran off was Poulson staring at McCluckster, a smirk on his face. “Chicken,” he said.

 

To this day, I haven’t seen another chicken talking. But, when I’m not there, I’m almost certain they are. It’s totally freakish, you know.

 

Oh, and Merry Christmas in advance to you guys. And, remember, it’s not about the stuff you eat. It’s all about the Son of God, and how He came to earth in the form of a human. I think that was totally cool, you know? Like an undercover mission? God as a man?

Anyway, He snuck behind enemy lines so He could rescue us from sin and death. That’s what we’re celebrating at Christmas.

Thank you for reading, y’all. God bless ya!

One more thing: I must not forget this part. A big shout-out to Emmanuel Presents (weird, right? I mean, who has a last name like ‘Presents’?!) for putting this up on his blog. Thanks, mate.

TASER | The Finale: A New Story

WRITER’S NOTE: Hi there! The series has reached its finale. But, if you haven’t read the previous episodes, don’t feel left out. The links are right here.

Episode 1: The Cop

Episode 2: The Trap

Episode 3: The Ultimatum

Episode 4: The Alternative

Episode 5: The Real World

And now … let’s get into the story, shall we.

The Finale

6:13AM

Saturday mornings are usually used for clean up around the house. To rearrange furniture, dispose of the garbage, and to clean the surrounding greenery. For Jerry Jenson, this was also true. But this morning, it would be a different kind of clean-up.

In his backyard, the flames were now dying down, leaving a black indentation in the ground. He had not felt any dependence on the drugs any longer, but he did not want to leave any behind. The bottles of alcohol lay in pieces a few feet away, their contents emptied into the earth. Never again would he keep this stuff.

Perhaps he was being too extreme. There had to have been more decent ways of getting rid of stuff. He just did not want to have any reason to return to them if a moment of desperation came. He may be a different man now, but he was just being cautious. He had gotten on and off the wagon enough times to convince him that he needed to do this. He knew that the real clean-up he needed was inside, where he could decide whether or not to purchase more of this stuff.

But what worried him the most this morning was what had happened to him. Really, what had happened to him? Why did he wake up in his bed and not at the Centre? Had he dreamt all of this? It had all seemed so real.

Gigi!

He wanted to talk with her, but his phone was gone. Besides, the Man had said that Grace was now alive in Jerry. The fact that all of this did not make much sense any longer troubled him deeply. And if he was alive now, having been dead before, what did that mean? What was he supposed to do now that he was out of a job?

What would happen now?

  Shine the Light in the Darkness, the Man had said. If that meant going and beating up Kraven now, one thing Jerry was sure of was that he did not feel ready to do that. But he couldn’t just sit there. It might be just a virtual reality, but it seemed so real. At least, while he was there.

Was he sure all of this had not been a dream? Aaargh! The uncertainty was annoying. But then he sobered. If it really had been a dream all along, he would rather take sleeping pills so that he could return to that dream and be there forever. Never before had a dream felt much better than reality.

And that was good reason to worry.

———-

 

This was the last place he would have ever wanted to be. He had not been here since he was a kid. But this was the only place that made sense to be.

Church.

First Towne Church was an old building that had seen the better part of the last century. The sisters at the Irene Williams home used to bring the children here every Sunday morning.

So, this is it, Jerry. You’re back here. What a twist.

The doors suddenly burst open, and two men in work clothes carried a wooden pulpit out and down the steps. “Steady,” one of them said. “Steady, steadyyyy… DROP!” They dropped it on the landing, visibly tired.

Jerry stepped out of his car and walked over to them. It didn’t feel right to just stand around. “Hey, can I help?”

They stared at him. The older one smiled. “It’s OK. We’re good.”

The other one was winded. “Hey, can I…?”

“Sure go ahead.” He smiled as his partner hurried off. “He’s really hardworking, that one. He’s been holding it in for quite a while now, but he wouldn’t tell. Uh, where are my manners. Have we met before?”

Jerry extended his hand. “I’m sorry, you can say I’m kinda new here. I’m Jenson.”

The man took it. “Brian. Good to meet you, Jenson.”

“I just … I got some questions,” he said. “I was hoping I could see the pastor.”

Brian shook his head. “I’m sorry, Pastor’s not around. He went out camping with the kids.”

“Oh…” Jerry nodded. Now there’s a twist. “It’s OK. Thanks. I, uh… guess I’ll come some other time.”

“Hey, anytime bro. But, if you don’t mind talking with a deacon, I’ve got the time.”

Jerry paused. “A deacon?”

“I help around with some stuff in here. I also get to sit in front, if that qualifies.” Jerry liked the man. “Here, have a seat.” Brian led him to a park seat on the lawn.

Jerry got right to it. “You know, I’ve never really been a religious person.”

Brian nodded. “Yeah. You’ve been on tippy-toes ever since you got here. I know the look, but it’s OK.”

There was no easy way to say this. “I’ve been trying to convince myself that I’m not crazy. But there’s some crazy stuff that’s happened to me in the last twenty-four hours, and I was hoping someone could make some sense out of this for me.”

Brian pursed his lips and shrugged. “It’s OK. Let’s hear it.”

Jerry stared into his eyes. “You sure?”

“Even if I wasn’t, you’ve spooked my curiosity already.”

Jerry stared into the distance. He wanted to launch into his story, but he was never used to exposing himself to people he did not know. He would have to be careful with his words if he did not want to sound like a loon. “Do you believe in God?”

Brian blinked and smirked. “Really? Sure, yeah. I do.”

“Like Someone that’s writing our stories, yours and mine, and that’s also a part of it.”

“Wow … I’ve never heard it put that way before, but it’s true. That’s God. He writes our stories and plots our journeys. But we also have free will.”

“I thought I never really believed in God. And then … He suddenly comes crashing into my world. It’s like …” he paused wondering if he should go this far. “There was this darkness in me, and He’s taken it all and given me something better.”

Brian nodded. “That’s what Jesus did for us on the Cross. He took our sin and our past, and made an end to it. When we believe and receive it, we come to life.”

Jerry rested his hands on his knees. “Why is it so easy to forget these things? I’ve been sitting up all morning wondering if all of this was a dream. I mean, it seemed so real. But as the hours pass, the memories fade away. I feel more and more like this world is the real one. My problems and regrets and stuff are still there, and I don’t feel so different.”

Brian inhaled. “It’s never been about feelings, you know. God gave us our feelings, and they’re important for expressing ourselves. But He always demands faith.”

Ah, faith. Another million-dollar church word he had associated with blind ignorance.

“Faith, huh?” Jerry asked.

“Yeah. Sometimes He lets us see the real things to help us believe. Sometimes he doesn’t. ‘Blessed are they which see not, yet believe’. But you know what faith is? It connects us to the Real World.”

“The Real World?”

Brian pulled out a book from his pocket. A Bible. “Well, we know that this world, this reality, isn’t all there is. He’s told us about what really is, in here. ‘By faith, we know that the worlds were framed by the Word of God’. I’ve learnt that if I keep on studying His words in here, my mindset will be based on that, just the way He wants it. Like when He tells us ‘we’re seated in heavenly places in Christ’, we must trust and believe that, even when it doesn’t look like it. It’s the only way we can live the way He wants us to, in what we say and do, by His power and grace at work in us. It’s all in there.”

Jerry could not mask his excitement. It was as if this man had seen what he had seen. And all of this had been in the Bible all this time? “Where are you, really?” He remembered the Writer’s question. I’m seated with You in heavenly places, and my hand is in Yours.

“What’s that?” His other guy came out from the back. “Take five. I’ll be over in a moment.” He nodded and went back inside.

“So, is prayer like, when you talk to God?” Jerry asked. “Kinda like, breaking the fourth wall?”

Mm-hmm.”

“Even when you’re not asking anything?”

“It’s communication. Like a relationship. The more you interact, the more you become like the other person. And He speaks to us too. It’s not all the time we hear Him audibly. Most times, we don’t. But it’s kinda like a nudge inside. He speaks in our hearts. So we can become more like Him.”

“So we can be like the Light in the Darkness.”

Brian chuckled. “I like your philosophical take on these things. Christ used such imagery too when explaining His points. And you’re right. The Darkness controls the hearts of the very people we are here to rescue and bring to the Light. We must … let it shine.”

Jerry leaned back and relaxed. So then, it had been true. He had really experienced all of this. He really had seen the Light. Christ, the Author Himself, living in our world. Think about reality in this sense made him feel so … tiny. There’s so much more at work here than meets the eye.

But that also meant Gigi was gone. And that his Father was with Him.

And that meant that the Darkness was still real. And Kraven was still out there.

“So, what am I supposed to do now? Do I just up and go after Kraven now?”

Brian was staring back at the road where a policeman was approaching them. “Kraven? Who’s that?”

Jerry turned to see the cop. Uh-oh.

He flashed his badge. “You’re under arrest, mister.”

Jerry squinted. “Clint?”

Clint Barker cocked his head with a coy smile. “That’s what I would say if I was gonna arrest you, but I’m not. Where you been, Mr. AWOL? Morning, sir.” He tipped his hat to Brian, who simply chuckled nervously.

“AWOL?” Jerry asked. “Didn’t you hear? I got the sack.”

“Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. Get in the car. Chief’s waiting.” He tipped his hat at Brian. “Sorry for interrupting, sir. But your friend here’s trying to play hooky.”

“Wait, Chief?” Jerry asked. “As in, he wants to see me?” This could not be good.

Clint looked confused. “What’re you talking about?”

Jerry turned to Brian. “I’m sorry. Gotta go … sort some things out. It’s not what it looks like.”

Brian nodded. “You’re always welcome. Hope you can come by sometime.”

“Yeah, I’d like that.”

As they walked towards the squad car, Clint nudged him. “Were you actually in church? Now that’s new.”

“Good to see you too, Clint.”

”So what’s your deal, man? Haven’t been able to get through to you since last night.”

“Clint, I’d tell you, but, then, you’d think I was crazy.”

———-

A couple of minutes later, they arrived at the precinct.

“You were right,” Clint said. “You’re crazy.”

“Clint?!”

“It’s OK, I’ve always thought you were crazy, Jerry. But I still love you, man. I don’t know about all you’ve told me, but, whatever it was seems to have made you happy. I think I like the new you.”

“It really happened, Clint. I couldn’t have made it up.”

Clint turned to him. ”Jerry, there was no operation last night.”

Jerry blinked. “What do you mean?”

“It was a dream, Jerry. Just ask anybody. There was no threat. No terror on the streets. No Taser. You, of all people, should know that. It was all in your head.”

Jerry squinted. “What about the graffiti? The curfews?”

“Jerry, don’t you think it’d have made the papers if such a thing happened?”

Jerry grabbed the dailies from the dashboard. A cursory scan turned with nothing. No news about the threat or anything. Nothing.

“This is all crazy. Clint, you know I’m telling the truth, right?”

“Well, for one thing, I had a good night’s rest last night. Just ask my wife.” Jerry was not sure if he was just seeing things, or if he noticed the bags under his eyes. It would be no use pointing it out to him. He would not listen. What was going on?

“But you remember Gigi?”

Clint shrugged. “Who’s Gigi? You’ve never mentioned her to me.”

“But … you told me to go with her to dinner last night.”

Clint patted his back. “You must have really had an interesting night, bro. Don’t worry, it’ll pass.” They exited the car and headed for the building.

This was frustrating. He did not know what to expect when they finally met the Chief. Would the man also have forgotten about last night? He could only hope…

God help me. He had never taken prayer seriously. But now, with all he had seen, this took on a new meaning.

HI THERE.

Jerry turned. There was no one around. Clint arched a brow. “What?”

“I thought I heard a voice.”

Clint rolled his eyes. “Hey, Jerry, wake up. This is the real world.”

No it’s not. He was certain he had heard a voice.

HOW’RE YOU DOING, SON?

And that’s when he got it. “Father?” he whispered. “Is that you?”

YES.

“Really?” This was what Brian had been talking about. “How come I don’t hear you all the time? I was beginning to think I was crazy.”

YOU NEVER TALK TO ME.

It dawned on him. “So, you want me to talk with You … as if you were here?”

I AM HERE.

Thinking about communicating with the Author of this script brought a chuckle to him. Clint turned from up ahead. “Are you coming or what?”

“I’m coming,” he quickened his pace.

“You know, I’m beginning to worry about you,” Clint said. “It may have been a realistic dream, Jerry. But don’t let it make you a freak.”

“Don’t worry about me, Clint,” Jerry said. “I’m alright.”

The others at the precinct greeted Jerry, and some wondered why he had not come to work. He just smiled and nodded, wondering what Chief wanted with him. Beyond all this, he wondered when Kraven might come after him, or if he will. He had to confirm what was really going on. Jerry hurried to the dispatcher’s cubicle. “Hey, Hal!”

Hal looked up. “Jenson. Why aren’t you in uniform?”

Jerry smiled. “Long story. Hey, I just wanted to confirm. Didn’t you hear anything about the Taser last night?”

Hal arched a brow. “Yeah, he had a tea party with Bigfoot and Nessie.”

“C’mon, Hal.”

Clint showed up beside him. “Hal, he’s having a moment. Just ignore him.” Hal nodded knowingly, as if he understood.

“Hey, what’d you mean by a ‘moment’, Clint? I’m not crazy.”

But that’s when he noticed a familiar face behind the waiting desk up ahead. He stopped, nudging Clint. “What’s that kid doing here?”

Clint turned. “Who? Him? Caught him earlier this morning, selling dope. Put up quite a chase.”

Jerry squinted. “Isn’t he the one we brought in yesterday? Jamie?” The kid raised his head to stare at him, no recognition in his eyes.

In that moment, everything around Jerry disappeared in a flash and he was in the dark laboratory again. He was staring at Jamie, only this time the kid was lying against the wall, lifeless. He was connected to the system by his head. As realization dawned on Jerry, he blinked and it was all gone. He was back in the precinct, staring at the boy. What just happened?

“Yesterday?” Clint was saying. “Jerry, I’ve never seen this kid before. But he reminds me a lot of you, all criticizing and tough and all, though you can tell he’s a wimp on the inside. Not that I’m saying you’re a wimp or anything, but…”

But Jerry was not listening to him. “Did you see that?”

“See what?” Jerry turned to stare at Clint. Flash! He was back in the lab again, but this time it was Clint by the wall. The feeling of apprehension overtook him again as he watched his friend asleep, connected to the system. Lifeless. No humor on his face any longer. Flash! It was gone. Oh no, not Clint too…

Clint was staring at him, incredulous. He shook his head. “What’s up with you, man?” he asked. “Thought you were on the wagon again.”

Jerry realized that there was more at work here than he thought. These people were connected to the system, and they believed whatever it made them believe. But they were not just anonymous entities or statistics. ‘These people’ were people he knew. Like Clint, his friend. Kraven had erased all their memories of last night. How did he do that? He did not know how to bring this up, because Clint was staring at him, worried. “Clint, we brought this kid in for selling dope yesterday.”

Clint stared at him for a moment, was about to say something, then stopped, shaking his head. “You sure you don’t wanna see a therapist?” Clint finally asked.

  It’s the Darkness. It’s controlling their minds. They really don’t remember anything from yesterday.

“This is crazy,” Jerry said, running a hand through his head.

“Tell me about it,” Clint muttered under his breath.

YOU SAW THAT, DIDN’T YOU, SON?

Jerry did not need to stare around anymore. He knew Who was speaking to his heart. “I did. It … wasn’t very nice.”

THAT’S THE REAL WORLD.

“So the Darkness has got them, like it got me?”

Jerry thought of Jamie. If Kraven could alter their memories, Jerry wondered how many times Jamie had really been arrested. And the kid would not even know it. Or how many times Grace had really come to town. It was sad, realizing there was so much evil out there, controlling Towne. Controlling the people.

They were now approaching Chief’s office. “What’s gonna happen? What do I say to him?”

IT’LL COME.

“Just say you slept in, or something,” Clint replied. “It’ll go on your record, but with luck he’d let it slide.” He knocked. “On the other hand, let me do the talking.”

Jerry simply nodded. Communicating between two worlds was quite interesting, but a little strange too.

Baynes stared up at them from some paperwork on his table. “Jenson. Barker. Take a seat.”

Jerry stared hard at him as he sat. The man did not bat an eye. It did not surprise him that the man had forgotten all about last night as well.

Clint tried to keep Jenson from replying. “Sir, he had a very long night out and—“

Baynes held up a hand. “Jenson, we’ve been expecting you.”

Jerry kept staring in his face. “I must apologise, sir. I had quite a … uh…”

“A night of self-discovery,” Clint hurriedly said. Baynes gave him a look. “He’s had a very terrible week so far. He needed the rest.”

Jerry thought he should be frank. “I thought you’d fired me last night.” Clint did a face-palm. There, he had put it on the table.

Baynes looked genuinely surprised. “Fire you? Now, why would I do that?”

“Because I was going after Kraven Moore.” Baynes squinted at him.

Clint tried to save the moment. “See, he had this weird dream last night…”

Baynes shook his head. “You’re not one of those conspiracy nutcases now, Jenson, are you? Everyone pins some sort of evil plot on this Mr. Moore. But until proven guilty, that guy’s good in our books.”

But Jerry knew more. Baynes worked for Kraven and was protecting his tail. Not only that, but he had also honestly lost any memory of their encounter last night. The only file with all their investigation was gone. Kraven had emptied the recycle bins, so to speak. The thought was enough to make Jerry’s skin crawl.

And Clint did not even remember any of this, or of their prior investigation.

Jerry scratched the back of his head. “I, uh… I’m sorry, sir.” Baynes was also being controlled by the system. Jerry did not see the laboratory this time, but he knew. Yeah, I truly am sorry.

Baynes simply nodded. “Besides, I can’t really fire you. You work for the government, not for me.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Take the day off, officer. You need it.”

Clint shook his head as they left the office. “You know, he’s right. You should get some air today. And get a new phone, too.”

Jerry smiled.  “Yeah, well … thanks, Clint.”

“So where’re you headed?”

Jerry stared back into the hall, where the other precinct staff were working. He was a cop at heart, and had always wanted to be one. If he got his job back, he wanted to do it with the best he’d got. Would he still go after Kraven? Should he?

“I gotta go somewhere first,” he said. “Something I need to do.”

———-

The cool breeze blowing across the landscape over the many tombstones gave a serene mood to the Towne Cemetery. Jerry never saw the need to take visits to the place where dead people lay. He was not even sure what he was doing there that morning; people did it in the movies, and it always was a deep emotional scene. But in real life … well, it was different. For him.

Perhaps it was because death had taken on a new meaning to him, now that he had crossed worlds.

The tombstones were side-by-side. Hayley Tamara Jenson. Marty Irene Jenson.

  He held two bunches of flowers he had picked along the way. But he just held them now in his hands. Those stones were not his family, he knew. Even if he dug into the earth, their bodies would have degraded by now.

Jerry inhaled. He still missed his wife and daughter. He still had regrets. He still wished he could do something more. But, there was a difference now. He knew he was different now. He was different. His past was over and done. Somehow, it just felt right to return to a place of significance between himself and his family, the ones he missed the most. Perhaps he was really here to say goodbye to all that represented his past. All he regretted. All that had held him down.

Thinking about it now, it felt unfair to make his wife and daughter represent all those things.

I miss you, Hayley. You too, Marty … I really wish I could change the past.

It might not be easy, but he knew he would find the strength to face the future. His Father had promised to be with him. The Father of all worlds.

He would hold on to that.

His family had lived under the control of the Darkness for long before it finally took them away. His friends were still stuck in that evil system. The Darkness would remain until that day when the Writer Himself came and blotted it out with His Light.  He could not break His own rules. But for now, He would fight the Darkness through people like Jerry, shining the Light.

He realized that this was his new mission. His friends. The people around him. Baynes Clint. Jamie. Everyone. He was to let the Light shine. It may not be by pushing a hand on their faces, though that would also be fun. It would be through his lifestyle and words. To brighten their lives, and let them see the Light at work in Him. That way, they would believe and then it can take them in, like it had taken him. And bring them to life. Igniting the Writer’s characters.

In one small way, he guessed that made him a ‘Taser’ too.

Like He had said, Grace had been written into every person’s story. As long as the Darkness remained, Grace would be there ever stronger, ready to save another soul and bring them to life.

——-

6:00PM

It was raining when Clint Barker parked his car at the Towne Post Office. The man at the door hurried over to his car, the package in hand. Getting the Post Office to leave someone with the package on an evening like this had taken a lot of phone calls. He was already late, as it was.

“Thanks, man,” Clint said. “You’re a lifesaver. If I didn’t bring those packages in today, my wife would kill me!”

“Nah, it’s not a problem.”

“Hop in.”

As soon as the young man was in the car, they sped off.

“So what’re my charges? I know they don’t pay you to wait overtime for lousy people like me. Sorry, I had to stay in at work. Some clumsy cases to deal with.”

The kid shrugged. “It’s OK. No charge. Another day, another smile on a customer’s face.”

Clint peered at him. “You’re alright, kid. So what’s your name?”

“Hanan.”

“You Indian?”

“Nah, I’m Jewish.”

“Nice to meet you, Jewish,” Clint said. That elicited a chuckle. “So what does Hanan mean? I know you Jewish folks always have meaningful names and stuff.”

He chuckled. “Well, I guess everyone does. It means Grace.”

Clint arched a brow. “Grace, eh? That’s quite … amazing.”

And Hanan smiled.

T Tonight

THE END

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5, NIV)

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20-21 (NKJV)

Thank you all for following the story thus far, folks.

This story was God’s idea. And it’s been totally AWESOME!!!

More than anything, I hope you keep these words to heart, because they tell of the reality that is.

God bless you all. Keep the Light shining.

Let it shine, shine, shine

And it will chase away the darkness

Let it shine, shine, shine,

And it will chase away the night!

(from ‘Father of Lights’ by Petra)

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The Elevator

TASER | Episode 5: The Real World

WRITER’S NOTE: Hi there! The series is approaching its finale. But, if you haven’t read the previous episodes, don’t feel left out. The links are right here.

Episode 1: The Cop

Episode 2: The Trap

Episode 3: The Ultimatum

Episode 4: The Alternative

And now … let’s get into the story, shall we.

The Real World

As the man awoke, his senses were suddenly pelted by numerous sensations. Memories and data waiting to fill his mind poured in.

He would not ask who he was. The people in his dream –or nightmare— had called him Jerry. Jerry Jenson, if he recalled correctly. He did not really think about this, he just knew. He was Jerry Jenson.

He had been sleeping, but it must have been for a very long sleep. His limbs felt numb. It would take a while before the blood returned to the parts of his body that were still asleep. How long had he been in the same position?

It was a laboratory, he could tell. Computer screens dotted the walls, connected by wires and tubing. Overhead fluorescent lights flickered ominously. The back of his head hurt terribly. Someone had probably been running some tests on him. Maybe that was when he had blacked out and dreamt of that hideous place called Towne. Why had that dream felt so real? Why did it still feel so important?

But what overrode all his sensations was the Light ahead. He was lying down in a dark room, with flickering fluorescent bulbs overhead, but there was a strong Light somewhere ahead and above. There were many others beside him, but they were still asleep. But he was enthralled by the Light beckoning from a deck above. The darkness in this room felt so hideous compared to that Light, that he wanted to get to it. Everyone knows that Light means safety, security, and probably food by a candlelit dinner table. But how he felt was akin to a man struggling up a pit for his life. He needed to get to the Light.

Something from his dreams popped up in his mind. A voice. Someone had said it.

“Run to the Light.”

That did it. With all the strength he could muster, he sprang to his feet. At least, that’s what he tried to do. His sleepy limbs did not budge. Come on! The more he stared at the Light, the more he felt a tingly excitement inside. He tried to exert more power in his limbs, but he still could not move. He gave in. There would be no moving until his limbs responded.

Suddenly, just when he relaxed, the Light shot out towards him. Literally! With a whoosh, a stream of Light burst down toward him and swallowed him whole. He gasped as he was yanked to his feet, and into the air. It sucked him into itself.

Now, like any other regular human, Jerry had never seen this kind of thing before. It was too fantastic to be true, but it was so real. He bit his lip to confirm, and sure enough, he felt the pain. It felt stupid to even doubt if this was real. He was actually flying in a vortex of Light!

Now he was rushing forward in this endless tunnel as if it was the most normal thing ever. It felt weird, but it was the good kind of weird. He could touch the Light all around him, feel it. It sent jolts through his body, but they were not painful. They were actually tickling him. He felt more thrilled than he had ever felt in his life. Ever! It was like a rollercoaster ride. The further he went, the brighter it was, and the more his excitement increased. He was hurtling towards the source of this Light, the point from which it was emanating. This could only get better.

He could hear voices, like there were others with him.  He turned, but there was no one else flying here. The voices persisted as whispers. When he turned, he saw the first of them.

A floating screen appeared in front of him. It was not really a screen, more like a display without the screen. It just floated a few feet ahead of him. Before the details even registered, he knew that this was not supposed to be here. There was a boy on the screen, but his face was wrinkled in a horrific manner. That expression was called a ‘frown’ back in his dreams … that were not really dreams at that. But then the boy looked so familiar. He looked just like someone from those dreams. Perhaps someone he saw very frequently … in a mirror…

And then it dawned on him … that he was the boy. All big and stocky, even at his young age. He saw himself in high school, enduring the bullying and name-calling of the kids around him. He remembered that moment well. But the scene had moved on. The young Jerry turned and ran his fist into the face of another boy, sending the latter to the ground with a bleeding nose. Ooo… that did not feel so good, watching it now.

But then another display popped up a few feet ahead. Hey, what’s going on? This time he was huddled in a corner, crying, where no one else could see him. Remembering that moment brought a lump to his throat. He had had many of those growing up. What was this place, bringing up scenes from his life?

And then another screen popped up, and another, and another. They just kept popping up, showing him scenes he remembered, some he had long forgotten. Some were wonderful memories, some were funny, and some were just painful. The day he got enlisted in the police academy, the day he got his first house, the day he finally got married to Hayley after years of asking and asking, the day his daughter was born, the day she accidentally threw up on Santa’s lap! He sniffed as his eyes watered, remembering that day. Marty had decided, anytime she remembered that event, that she was really ‘Claus’-trophobic! Ah, the memories.

But he noticed that, from behind him, the Darkness from the previous room was creeping up through this vortex, blotting out the Light. The scenes in front of him started to change. While Marty had been born, he watched as Hayley’s life ebbed away. As the darkness crept over, he felt the pain afresh in his heart. Other painful memories crept up, from things he experienced to things he had actually done. The numbness crept over his body, even as he tried to get away from it, thrashing with all his might.

And then he saw Marty’s body in that gutter, her hands bleeding from cutting, her eyes glazed. So terrible was the pain that he howled, but it got stuck in his throat. Marty… He had pushed her out into that world.

Those ‘dreams’ were not dreams, after all. While the experiences were true, it felt unreal compared to the world around him now. But this real world was not much better, apparently. The pain and regret he felt inside were further amplified by the darkness creeping around him here. He had not lived the best of lives.

Dear God, have mercy on me! Please …

But the vortex had been pulling him to its centre all this time, even as the Darkness kept creeping in. And as the Light grew brighter ahead, he saw where it was coming from.

There was a man suspended on a crossbeam, up ahead. If Jerry’s eyes were telling him the truth, the Light was coming from that man. He was bleeding all over. His face was contorted in a cruel mess as he screamed to the sky, or whatever was above. Jerry realized that a cry had been playing in the background along with the voices all this time. Now, that cry was at a fever pitch as this man on the crossbeams mouth was torn in pain.

He was the Light.

The screens that had been assaulting Jerry swept ahead with a whoosh, and surrounded this man. Suddenly, they streamed into his body. One by one, they disintegrated into tiny luminous particles and flowed into the body of this man. Jerry realized what was happening there. Every single one of them, the good and ugly moments of his life, poured into that man, and the man kept screaming into the sky. He was sharing in Jerry’s pain in this way. His face mirrored Jerry’s pain.

The darkness still surrounded Jerry, and the only Light in the room came from this man. This Man that was also the Light.

Suddenly, his eyes fell on Jerry. Whatever strength he possessed fell away as he stared into those disarming eyes. In that small moment, Jerry felt a small connection with the man. They shared the same moments and memories, the same joys and pain, the same guilt and regret. He had seen it all and experienced it all. Perhaps even more, for he looked totally horrible … and hurt. And he just stared at Jerry with his weak pained eyes.

No words were spoken. Jerry was only struck by the pain this man felt. He blinked back the tears. Why would this man, who was the Light, deliberately pull him and all his experiences to himself? All the Light had been rushing from this man, and had carried Jerry with it.

He was still surrounded by the Darkness, and the Light just stared at him. Jerry knew he wanted to get away from the Darkness… but he could not. His limbs were numb. He stared up at the Light. Was there a way—?

And with that, the man that was the Light closed his eyes and inhaled. The hideous displays poured into him with renewed force. The Darkness was swept along with it in large chunks, like cinder blocks from a volcano … and so was Jerry. Like a pin to a magnet, he was picked from his place and slammed into the body of the man that was the Light, and clutched his arms around him for dear life. The Light’s hands wrapped around Jerry as the Darkness poured into the man.

Jerry shut his eyes, sobbing as all his pain and guilt poured into this man. He cried as the Darkness tore in, even as he was wrapped in the arms of the Light.

It is finished.

  And everything came tumbling down around them. Finally. Until there was nothing but silence.

The laboratory was no more. Everything was gone.

In all this time, Jerry’s eyes were shut.

——-

  The first thing to evade his senses was a laugh. It started deep, and just kept increasing until it was a full-blown hysterical guffaw. Jerry tore an eye open. And it stayed open.

They were in a beautiful meadow, with the greenest grass and the bluest skies. Birds flew across the sky in marvelous formation, and flowers dotted the fields below. Hills rose to the horizon in the distance. But in the midst of all this, what overcame Jerry the most was the unexplainable feeling he felt inside.

Describing it in words we can understand may be quite difficult, I must apologise. But do you know that feeling that comes when the last bell has been rung, and school is over with only the summer vacation ahead? Do you remember the excitement and anticipation that overtook your heart in that very moment? Now imagine that feeling multiplied a thousand times … and if it was not ruined on the way home from school. He felt better than that. It was as if, for the very first time, he could breathe.

Am I in heaven?

He turned and saw the Man again. The Light. He was different now, in magnificent clothes. He did not look old, but his eyes bore the wisened look of one that had seen many ages. The laughter on his face was enough to make the saddest child laugh as well. Jerry found a chuckle developing from within.

The Man wrapped his hands around Jerry again, and carried him into the air, laughing. “You’re ALIVE!” he bellowed. “Finally! You’re ALIVE!”

As he set Jerry down, the former cop stepped away, dizzy, his heart dancing within him. “What happened? Sir?” He did not know what to call the Man, but it felt inappropriate not to recognize His authority.

The Man laughed again. “You’ve come to LIFE, that’s what happened,” He said. “Finally! Ha!”

Jerry shook his head in wonder. “I was … dead?”

The Man cocked his head. “Anyone in the system is dead.”

He remembered the people lying asleep along the walls in the laboratory. “As I was…”

“As you were. But not anymore, Jeremiah! Because I beat the system, you did as well. You LIVE! Finally!” He was jumping in excitement. In our world, watching a grown man jumping like that would have made Jerry feel embarrassed, but here it looked like the most normal thing. In fact, Jerry wished he could jump like that. The Man stopped and grabbed Jerry’s shoulders. “Now we can get into the Great Story!”

Jerry blinked. “The Great Story?” And then he realized it. He sank to his knees as the full weight of the moment dawned on him. It felt like a memory he had known for so long, but forgotten. “Lord,” he gasped. “It is You… It really is You!” The Man laughed, placing His hands on Jerry’s shoulders. “You’re the One that writes our stories. You wrote me and all the worlds to being.”

He chuckled. “Indeed.”

“All these years, I doubted if You were real, and … now I know.” The arguments he had placed in his minds against His existence all felt foolish now, staring into His eyes.

The Man that was the Light, that was the Great Storyteller, smiled. “You are My joy, Jerry. Because you believed in Me, you are now free from the captivity of the Darkness.”

Jerry could not believe he was in the presence of the One that had written him into being. The Great Writer of everyone’s story was staring at him. Jerry’s smile faded. “But, Lord, how did the Darkness come into Your story? I thought you were always good.”

“Indeed, I am. And, more than anything, I want my characters to live to the full forever. But I gave them the freedom of choice. It is a price I have had to pay, watching them choose the Darkness every time.”

“So all the bad things that happen…”

“Are the result of a world that chose the Darkness.” He pursed His lips.

“Even Hayley and Marty?” The Man nodded, with sadness on His face. As Jerry said their names here in the Real World, he did not feel the pain he had always associated with their memories. It was as if he were stating a fact, not with joy or sadness. Just stating a fact. “But … I saw the Darkness sinking into You. You destroyed it.”

“I took away the Darkness in you, dear one. That’s my way of defeating the Darkness, one character at a time, until that great day when it shall be smitten by My mighty hand.”

“Just like that.”

“Just like that.”

“But why can’t You just … write it all away? You’ve got the power.”

The Man smiled as he sat. “I cannot break My own rules, My son. It will remain as long as men choose it. But its days are numbered.”

Jerry felt like a child here, now seating with the One that penned his life to be. “It’s amazing, no one really believes you’re real down in your story.” Saying it here felt absurd, staring at the Man Himself. That was why He was the Light. He lit up the lives of His characters.

The Man arched a brow. “My story? We’ll get right down to that. But, even in your world, I slip in signs of my presence into the story. I light up the lives of my characters. And, for those like you who have come to life, my Light just keeps bursting forth. Though, of course, the Darkness makes me sound like a bad thing. Even in Towne.”

Jerry stared at him. “How?”

“You tell Me. You were a cop.” Jerry remembered it, but it was a distant memory. “Do you remember the one they called ‘The Taser’?”

Jerry’s eyes widened. How could he have forgotten about Gigi so soon? “I remember!”

He nodded, staring carefully into his eyes. “I wrote Grace into your stories – every single person’s story – to bring you to the Cross, the moment where I opened the portal from your World to Mine.”

Jerry shook his head, blinking. “What do you mean?”

“Whenever Grace was speaking, that was me talking to you. When I came into your world bodily, many years ago in your timeframe, I tore open the portal to Life, to My World. I did that, on that Cross, so that everyone can come here, into Life. Grace and Truth came through me. Now, in all times, Grace and Truth are always around to bring you characters to that portal; to that very same moment, so that you all may come to life.”

The images were forming in his mind as the Man spoke. Grace Verita. That had been her name. Verita, Latin for Truth.

“So she was not real?”

The Man cocked his head. “Are you real?”

“I think I am.”

“Well, she’s more real than you are. Unlike you all, she’s Me. Not all characters see her, you know. But she’s in every character’s story, waiting, ready to bring them to me. Not everyone chooses her way. The evil one always tries to make her look bad, like a terror, clouding their desire for me. He makes them think they’re already free.” He shook his head, staring into the distance. And a smile played on his lips. “But the Light still shines in the Darkness, and the Darkness has still not comprehended or defeated it. Nor can it. Ever.”

Jerry ran a hand through his hair, staring up at the sky. It felt good to be dead. To be free. To know that he was on the good side. To be alive with the Writer of his life. The Word, who was the Light.

He stood and beckoned for Jerry to join him. He led Jerry to the top of a hill, from which he could have a full view of the land below. There was a great city in the distance, and a river flowed from it, parting the land before them. Trees dotted the landscape, and various creatures grazed beneath. There were people too, flowing in and out of the City ahead, picking fruit and leading the animals. Everyone seemed so happy. It was unlike anything he had ever seen. It was what people in his world called ‘Heaven’.

“These are the many that have come before you, Jerry. They have defeated the Darkness through my power, and have come home to rest. This is your home too, Jerry,” the Man said. “So that where I am, there you may also be.”

Some people below waved at them. Jerry raised a hand. A chuckle formed in his throat. “Did you write this land too? You are the Light in this Real World as well.”

He nodded. “But it gets better,” the Man said. “Remember what I called the Great Story? To this moment, you have lived your own story, where Darkness reigned. Where you had no choice but to blindly follow the Darkness. But now, You are dead to the Darkness and truly alive; alive in Me. Now, you can live in My story. The Great Story.”

“Your Story?”

“You see, my Grace ignited you. Now, Grace and Truth are alive in you. The Light.”

Jerry stared at his chest. “The Light. Grace and Truth … meaning You?”

“Meaning Me. Now I am free to write your story the way I’ve always want to; the best way. Like I lived in your story through Grace, I will live in your story through you now. You will find strength where there was none before. The peace and love you need, and that the world needs, while shine in you and from you. Just like the Light. You will defeat the Darkness and ignite many, as the Light in the Darkness. Until the day I return and destroy the system.”

Jerry sank to his knees again. “I will forever be faithful to you, my Lord. But, must I return to that world again? Haven’t I already come home?”

The Man smiled and sat in the grass again. He patted the ground beside Him. “Come on, sit with me.” Jerry sat. “Do you trust Me?”

Jerry had never had a real father figure before. He felt like a child, staring in the eyes of the Man that was the Light. He nodded. “Yes I do, Lord.”

“Call me Father.”

Jerry nodded, overtaken by emotion in that moment. “You are my Father.”

“Don’t ever forget this moment,” He said, extending a hand to him. Jerry took it. “How does it feel?”

His hand was in the hand of the One that had penned him to life. “I feel … safe.”

“And you trust Me?”

“Yes, how can I not?”

“You know that I love you, right son?”

Jerry nodded, remembering Gigi using those words. “You know I love you, right bro?” Jerry smiled. “I love you too, Father.”

He nodded. “Close your eyes.”

And Jerry did.

——–

  Oh no! This was not supposed to happen.

He was back in the laboratory. The place shrouded in darkness. “Father?!”

WHERE ARE YOU, SON?”

Jerry turned around on the spot, looking for his Father. “Hello? Father, are you there?”

WHERE ARE YOU, MY SON?”

“I’m in the lab!”

The place was silent again. Jerry was scared, staring out in the darkness in the room. But now, he could see the place more clearly. Even the spot he had been picked from. Along the wall, on either side of that empty spot, more people lay still, asleep. Dead. Their heads were connected to the walls via cables. By each person, a screen showed different numbers, in varying percentages. The numbers were reducing.

This was what his sister had meant. I was hooked to the system. Like a mainframe computer system, these people were connected to the evil system of Darkness. It controlled them, and whatever it was downloading into their heads was killing them slowly.

He ran a hand over the back of his head. The pain was gone.

WHERE ARE YOU, MY SON?”

Jerry turned again. No sign of the Light. “I … I’m sorry for whatever I did wrong. Please forgive me, Lord. I don’t wanna be in this place.”

“DO YOU FORGET SO EASILY?” his Father said. “HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN WHERE YOU REALLY ARE? WHY ARE YOU AFRAID, MY SON?”

“Because of the Darkness,” he was going to say, but then the truth dawned on him. All he had just seen could not be a lie. He had actually seen the Light defeat the Darkness. He had been in the midst of all that. And hadn’t his Father just said that He was now alive in him?

“YOU MUST BELIEVE, MY SON.”

Jerry smiled, despite his environment. “I wanna believe.”

“SO TELL ME, WHERE ARE YOU, MY SON?”

Jerry closed his eyes, trying to feel what he was about to say. “I … I’m seated with You,” he said. “I’m seated with You in that field, in Your heavenly place, far above, and … and my hand is in Yours.”

There was a pause. “NOW YOU ARE READY. NEVER FORGET THAT I HAVE DEFEATED THE DARKNESS.”

Jerry felt on top of the world. My very own Father.

I LOVE THEM AS MUCH AS I LOVE YOU,” his Father continued. “I WANT THEM TO COME TO LIFE TOO.THAT’S WHY I’M SENDING YOU BACK. IT IS A GREATER HONOUR THAN IF I BROUGHT YOU HOME IMMEDIATELY. YOU WILL BE ON THE FRONT LINES, SHINING MY LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS. A VIRUS IN A SYSTEM THAT MUST BE DESTROYED FROM WITHIN.”

His gaze fell on the meters beside the people. The numbers kept dropping. “What happens to them when the meters reach zero?” he asked.

When his Father responded, he sounded pained. It was good to know that his Creator had emotions, and was not the aloof being he had always imagined. “THE DARKNESS WILL HAVE THEM FOREVER. THEY WOULD BE DEAD BOTH IN THIS WORLD AND IN THE NEXT, FOREVER TORMENTED IN FIRE AND SEPARATED FROM ME.” He paused. “WE CAN IGNITE THEM, JERRY. WE CAN BRING THEM TO LIFE. THIS IS MY STORY.”

Jerry smiled. “It will be an honour and a privilege, Father.”

“I LOVE YOU, AND WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU, SON.”

“I love you too, Father.”

Jerry was awake on his bed. He was back in Towne.

TO BE CONCLUDED… in A NEW STORY

Tune in to the Series Finale!

If you’re new to this site, you might as well check on some of the other amazing stories here, filled with humor and unforgettable lessons. They include Bill’s Car, Unchurch, The Elevator, and many more articles. You might also want to check up on the first feature presentation on this site, The Love Revolution Trilogy. You’re gonna love ‘em.

Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

God bless ya!

Thanks for reading.

TASER | Episode 1: The Cop

Title Block

It’s a dark room. So dark. And silent. Ceiling lights flicker overhead. And that’s when he sees them.

Bodies. Lying side by side along a wall. Lifeless.

Dead.

Not a single one moves. Propped against the wall, their heads sagging, their eyes shut.

Dead.

And then he sees a familiar face. Dried skin. Unmoving. The resemblance was striking … is striking … It was … it is …

It is him.

Dead.

Jerry sat bolt upright in his bed, panting. The clock glowed red in the darkness of his room. 02:39AM. Somewhere in the distance a dog howled. It was just a dream.

He shut his eyes and sank back into his bed. Not that silly dream again, not now. Please, not now.

It was roughly another thirty minutes before he finally settled in to anything close to a nice sleep.

The Cop

6:03PM

 Russell Road in Towne

Evenings on the Russell thoroughfare were usually calm despite the bustle of shop owners closing for the day. It was not unusual for one or two persons to be running across the road at that time, since most children still played around. But a police chase was out of the ordinary. A young man in jeans and a hoodie ran across the road with a burly policeman hot on his tail, drawing beeps from vehicles that stopped abruptly on both lanes.

The policeman keyed his radio. “Jenson, you got my back?”

The radio squawked. “What’s your ten-twenty?”

“We’re uh…” he paused to take a breath. “He’s heading up the Ramp.” His sides ached. He knew he should’ve taken those morning jogs more seriously.

“That’ll put you guys on Carlyle. He’s headed for the old ghetto. I’ll cut him off.”

“I still think we need more back-up!”

“No! We’ve got this, Clint! Don’t lose him.”

You’re one to talk, he mused. Ahead, the teenager slipped into an alley behind a building, setting a couple of other kids running off. If Clint knew that place well enough, it was surely a dead-end. He halted for a moment, but the kid did not come out. He either thought he’d found a good hiding spot, or was planning to spring him. I’m getting too old for this. Clint placed a hand over his gun.

“Alright! Show’s over, kid!” Clint called out as he approached. Suddenly overcome by a foul odour, he covered his nose and mouth. The alley was strewn with newsprint, mostly littered around the dumpster along the wall on the right. Cigarette smoke still hung in the air. His shadow extended before him into the alley, urged on by the rays of the setting sun. It was all quiet. Too quiet.

Clint sauntered in, wary of the shadows. “Okay,” he muttered in a nasal voice, his hand still covering his nose and mouth. “We can do this the hard way or the easy way.” The fire escapes ran up high to the roofs of the adjoining buildings. He could have climbed up there. But he’d have to have been extremely fast to…

Something scurried behind him. In a flash, Clint turned with his gun raised before a fist hit him flush in the face. He landed with a grunt on the ground, his gun sliding away. A cold blade pressed gently on his neck. “Don’t move!” the kid rasped.

Now crouched and on his knees, Clint’s pulse thumped in his ears. “It’s OK! Don’t do anything hasty!” It was all rushing from his mouth. Where are ya, Jenson? He tried to reach for his radio, but the move would have been too obvious. His best play was to be calm.

“Don’t make me kill ya!” the kid said with a slight whimper in his voice.

Clint’s experience in the force was enough to tell him that the kid was visibly scared. He had not killed anyone before, and he clearly wasn’t about to start now. Still, riling him up would be dangerous, tense as he already was. “That was a mean swing. But it’s OK, we don’t have to—“

“No! It’s NOT OK!” That blade was pressing a little bit too hard now. “I’m not a criminal. I-it was an accident!”

C’mon, Jenson… “Hey,” Clint tried to be calm, but kneeling and crouching on the hard ground was becoming more uncomfortable. And that horrible smell from the dumpster … ugh. “It’s up to the courts to decide now, kid. But what we saw you doing was illegal.”

“I was just selling the stuff. It’s…you’ve got nothing on me, man—“

“Newsflash, son: Dope is illegal! Selling it is a crime. And so is evading arrest.”

“I don’t even do the drugs, man. This is the only way I get any dough.”

This kid wouldn’t stab a stop sign!  He was concentrating more on talking than on threatening Clint. This was to Clint’s advantage.  “And this is what, your way of pulling your weight, proving you’re a man now? What do you think your parents feel about you hanging with that crowd? Or paying your bail?”

A pause. “They’re dead. I got no one.”

Clint was stuck there. Well, you’re not the first one. “I’m sorry, kid. Really. But … how’d you end up with these guys? You’re not like all the others. You seem like a smart kid.”

“This was supposed to be my last run. I wasn’t gonna do this no more. Now that he’s let me go.” He suddenly gasped. “I know why you guys are after me. He sent you, didn’t he? The Big Guy?”

Clint was going to say something but he was suddenly interrupted by a buzz followed by a gut-wrenching scream. The blade dropped to the ground and the kid fell to the pavement, yelping. Clint scampered toward his gun and turned. There behind the screaming kid stood Jerry Jenson, all six-feet and over 250 pounds of him.

“Now he shows up!” Clint said.

It burns!” the kid wailed, grabbing for his back. “It HURTS, maaan!”

Jenson replaced the stun gun in its holster as he stooped. “Kid, by order of the Towne Police Department, you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent—“ the kid was still screaming “—and anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.”

“Seriously?!” Clint squinted at him.

“You also have the right to legal counsel during questioning, but in the event that you are unable to afford one, an attorney will be provided for you by the—“

“So that’s it?” Clint asked, getting to his feet. “You show up late, and now you’re just gonna ignore me now?” The kid was still writhing in pain. Some citizens peered through the windows overhead. “And what did you do to this kid?!”

Jenson was busy placing the kid’s hands in cuffs. “What’s it look like I did?”

“You tazed him?” The kid still lay on the ground, and Jenson was still avoiding his eyes. “Why’s he screaming like that?”

Jenson inhaled. “Junkies have high pain thresholds. Had to up the voltage a bit. My bad.” He reached into the kid’s pocket and pulled out a big white ball of dope wrapped in a bag. “Are you kidding me? You didn’t even think of ditching this along the way?”

I’m not going to jail!” the kid cried. “I’m not a criminal!

Jenson pulled him to his feet. “Yeah, and I’m the queen of England. Hey, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

Clint arched a brow. “That’s a little cliché, don’t you think?”

“Let’s go.” And Jenson single-handedly bundled the struggling kid to the squad car. The rage that fueled that man…

“So no apology?” Clint asked as Jenson thrust the kid into the backseat and slammed the door. “You’re welcome, by the way.”

The crowd that gathered watched as they pulled away from the scene.

“I hate cops!” the kid mumbled in the backseat.

Clint turned in his seat. “Oh really?” But the kid just stared at him with cold eyes. Clint ignored him and turned when the kid continued.

“You’re phonies! Hypos! Cons…”

“Hippos?” Jenson arched a brow.

“Hypocrites…” Clint explained.

“…they call you the law but you’re all as rotten as the rest of us!”

Jenson had had it. “Will you SHUT IT back there?!”

“Easy, Jerry,” Clint gave him a look.

“This kid will drive me nuts!”

“You can’t take me back to the Big Guy,” the kid screamed. “I’m not going back…”

“Yeah, the Big Guy,” Clint turned to Jenson. “He keeps saying that.”

“You think I’m a felon,” the kid’s rant continued. “At least I’m trying to change! While you, cops, break the very laws you—“

“I’m gonna hit that kid!” Jenson said, fuming by the wheel.

“Easy, Jerry! Hey, kid, who’s the Big Guy?”

“The Big Guy?” Jenson turned. “He say that?”

“Weren’t you listening?”

“All I heard was blah-blah-blah-hippos-blah-blah-annoying junk-blah blah…

“Yeah, I get it. Blah. Duh.”

“That’s what their Inner Circle calls Moore. The Big Guy.”

Kraven Moore?”

“I wasn’t really gonna skip town,” the kid cried. “I wasn’t gonna. I’m solid.”

Clint cocked his head. “But I thought you told me that this was your last run…”

“He thinks we work for Moore,” Jenson surmised. “He’s covering his tracks.”

“It’s OK, kid. We’re the good guys.”

“Yeah, and I’m the Easter Bunny,” the kid muttered.

Clint gave him a look. “What’s your name, kid?”

The kid paused. “Jamie.”

“Well, Jamie,” Jenson said. “Whether you like it or not, you’re going to jail. And you’re gonna regret it, too. Momma’s gonna have to pay for bail. Oh no, wait I forgot … she’s dead. Boo-hoo, get used to it.”

The car was silent for a moment. Clint squinted at him. “You didn’t have to do that, Jenson. That was just mean.”

Under his breath, Jenson muttered, “Story of my life.”

Jamie Gustav refused to say anymore about ‘the Big Guy’ even at the precinct. Fair enough, their stream of ‘info gathering’ had ended three arrests ago. The more recent ones kept spilling out the same things. Jamie was booked and placed in a cell until trial. Tired and already working after-hours, they spent the rest of the evening watching the news in the pub across the street, over doughnuts and coffee.

“Chief will not be pleased,” Clint Barker said, referring to the chief of police. “Soon as he gets back, he’s gonna whip our behinds.”

Jerry Jenson shrugged. “Won’t be the first time he’s been peeved. I really think we’re on to something here, Clint.”

“No, you’re on to something. I’m just the mascot. Going after them drug pushers was a wild goose chase from the very beginning, and you know it.”

Jenson’s cell beeped. He stared at the screen and shut it. He lowered his voice. “Look, Clint, I need you to trust me on this one. Kraven Moore’s guilty. Once we get all the evidence we need to bury him—“

“What more do we need? And what makes you think we’ll make it out alive? Wake up and smell the Starbucks, man. Haven’t you been listening to the witnesses we’ve been gathering?”

“Clint –“

“I don’t know about this. Moore’s syndicate may have more influence than we can even imagine. We may be getting in too deep.”

“We expected this right from the ‘git-go’, Clint. This was what we signed up for.”

“Haven’t you noticed that we’re the only ones following this case? Hey, you may be reckless all you want, good luck. I got a family to pro…” His voice trailed off. His face registered his shock at his mistake. “…tect…”

Jerry took a sip from his coffee. Yes, he had no family. Not anymore, at least. The only family he had had died two years earlier. But he was not going to think about it now. He would not hold it against Clint for bringing this up again, however unintentional his bringing it up had been, in context.

“Bro, I’m sorry. That came out wrong.”

Jerry held up a hand. “It’s all good. You don’t have to keep apologizing every time you talk about it…”

“No, I mean it. I was … that was insensitive and uncalled for—“

“Hey! Let it go.” Clint still winced. “Really.”

They ate in silence, watching the news. This was the part Jenson dreaded, the awkward-silence bit. No one wanted to say the wrong thing at that moment. Perhaps it was best to keep quiet then. Besides, some said it was alright for friends to have occasional quiet moments. But they could not remain silent. Jenson never liked awkward pauses. Time for a save, Jerry.

He sighed. “You know … sometimes I wonder why our founding fathers just called this town … ‘Towne’?” Jenson said, trying to lighten the mood. “I mean, couldn’t they come up with a better name? A real name?”

Clint chuckled, still wary. “Towne, huh?” The TNN news correspondent on TV was now introducing the weather segment.

“Yeah? I mean, they might as well have called the country ‘The Country’? Or they could just call us … what, ‘Metropolis’?” Now Clint laughed. “Like they just wanted to get on with the story they wanted to tell.”

Jerry’s cell beeped again. This time he simply clicked it off.

Just then the door chimed as the big Edgar ‘Eddie’ Maxwell bounced in. “Hey, Jerry! Clint, my man!”

“Here comes the bulldozer,” Jerry muttered in a sing-song voice. He never liked Eddie’s knack for long pointless conversations. They pumped knuckles with Eddie, just before he grabbed Jerry’s last doughnut. “And now he’s got my dinner.”

Eddie grinned and held the remaining crescent up in thanks. “I hear you guys pulled another one in today.”

Jerry sighed. Yeah, like I need an announcement anytime you hear something new. He avoided Clint’s side-glance. “You never miss a thing, Eddie.” He took a sip from his cup of coffee.

“I’m not trying to be nosey or anything, but the rest of the guys have been talking,” Eddie said, leaning closer. “You two should be careful out there.”

Clint jumped on that one. “Wait, what’re the guys saying?” But Eddie was already walking towards the counter.

“Just be careful,” he called back.

Jenson knew Eddie had a point. He really had reason to be careful. Kraven Moore’s monopoly on the market for narcotics gave him a lot of influence, especially in the criminal underworld. And out in the open, he was the wealthy philanthropist donating to charities, dedicating monuments, and kissing babies. But in the intelligence community where it mattered, everyone knew he was the drug baron of Towne. Many said that he held his customers by a form of mind control. Jenson just assumed it was the drug dependence of his customers that kept them beholden to him. With Kraven, no one knew where the facts ended and where rumors began. But the only thing Jenson was sure of was that Kraven was a criminal, the type of person that must be brought to justice.

  He knew he was being reckless here. But he had to do this. He stared up and caught Clint staring at him. He sighed. “Go ahead. You can’t keep tip-toeing around me.”

Clint kept his voice low. “Is this about Marty?” Yup, he was going to bring that up sooner or later. “You can’t keep beating yourself up because of that.”

“I’ve gotta redeem myself, Clint.” That was the most he had said about his situation to anyone. Clint paused as he held his gaze.

“You’ve done enough already.” Jerry’s phone beeped again. “And don’t cut that call. Could be a good girl, you never know.”

Jerry didn’t bat an eye as he punched the ‘Silence’ button. “It is. And I know. And I’m not looking for a girl now.” He ran a hand through his hair. “It’s my sister.”

Clint’s eyes widened. “Gigi? The amazing sister you never stop talking about?”

He held up his cup, but the coffee was finished. “Yeah, well she’s in Towne for the weekend. Wants us to meet up tonight. For dinner.”

“You need a dinner to talk with your sister?”

“That’s her idea, apparently. And I don’t ‘need’ to talk with her.”

Clint gave him that look again. “You haven’t talked with her in a long time, have you?” Jenson only shrugged. “C’mon, this is your sister we’re talking about, Jerry. I’ve never met her before, but if all the stories you keep telling me from when you were young are something, then this is what you need.”

“No.”

“Look, we’ve both had a long week. I have no idea what you’re going through like you do. But a return to normalcy is what you need right now.” He held up a hand to shut Jerry up. Like that would work.

“There is no normalcy to return to.”

“Hey, just trust me on this one,” Clint said with a smile. “Go, meet your sister tonight. Call her. You need this more than you know.”

“Clint, I … I’m not the guy she thinks I am. Not anymore.”

“Jerry, you’re a cop. You’re a decent man. Haven’t seen you with a bottle in months now. You always wanna do what’s right. You’re a father … trying to honor the memory of his daughter. Don’t you want Gigi to see the man you’ve become?”

That’s what I’m afraid of.

 

Jerry knew Clint was right.

But the truth was he also knew the man that he had become, and he was not proud of it.

After his wife had died during labour, Marty had been the only ray of comfort in his life. Growing up without a mother had not been easy for her, Jerry knew, but he had not been the best of fathers either. He had focused on his job in the force, and spent much time away from Marty and her teenage angst. Way too much time, he realized in hindsight. But then, he felt he had pushed her out into the big bad world outside. Clueless, he had misinterpreted her preference for dark clothes, tattoos and cutting and stuff, as simple adolescent rebellion. Later perusal of her diary opened up her world of gloom and pain to Jerry. How had all of this happened without him seeing? She had been hanging out with druggies, and had done some experimentation herself. He would never forget the day her fifteen year old body was found in a gutter, the result of an overdose.

Drowning in depression, Jerry had sunk into his old habits of drinking and smoking. As much as he denied it to his colleagues, he had also gotten into the drug scene. He had felt like a mess. He did things he tried really hard to forget. It had taken months for him to return to the man he was today. But some of the pain still haunted him.

He had never really gotten over the drugs, but he still never got relieved of depression. In his frequent low times, he got high and drowned himself in a bottle. But that usually left him feeling high and dry, the ecstasy gone. Alone, feeling like a ‘hypo’, as Jamie called it. He fought and fought to come out of this, but he always returned to the lows.

Maybe that was why he wanted to deal with Kraven Moore. If he was really the drug baron everyone talked about, then he was Jerry’s enemy. Everything he was fighting against was embodied by that man. Kraven.

  What would Gigi think of the man you’ve become? He thought as he drove through the streets, headed home.

And in all that time, Gigi had never stopped trying to reach him. While he avoided her deliberately, her messages of encouragement never ceased on voicemail, texts, even on Facebook. Gigi…how do you do that?

He was now at an intersection. He could either continue home on the right lane or turn left down to Quigley’s, where Gigi said she would be waiting.

They were not related by blood, actually. They had both grown up at the Irene Williams Home for Orphans. But with no other family, Gigi had become the closest thing to a sister he could ever have. She was so nice to all that everyone liked her. She was always there to defend Jerry— who was older— whenever he was bullied. And, oh, he was bullied more often than not as a kid. Not every young boy with a pot belly survived the jokes from the bullies back then. Maybe that was why he had always wanted to be a cop in the first place, to deal with the bullies of the world.

But now, he was simply an organ in the system, living in reaction to whatever happened around him. He was neither deep nor superficial, keeping others at arm’s length. Sometimes, some would consider him mean. But none of them really cared what was going on with him.

  What would Gigi think of the man I’ve become?

He was just a man fighting for his peace. Fighting to live.

He parked outside the Quigley’s Diner. Better get this over with. He stepped out of his car, locked it, and made his way to the door. Ok, how do I say it? I’m sorry for not picking your call? Yeah, that’ll do. If she won’t accept it, I’ll just shrug…I’ll just…

An old man in rags held up a can by the door. A sign by his feet read ‘FEED THE HUNGRY KIDS’.  Jerry rolled his eyes as he approached him.  “Oi there, guv. Drop a li’l coin for the young-uns tonight, eh mate?”

“Out of the way, gramps,” Jerry pushed past him, leaving the man stunned.

Now, you don’t have to be like that. While Jerry was not used to giving to causes, he most definitely didn’t like people shoving cans in his face; especially those with bogus British accents. He knew the man meant well, and did not deserve to be treated badly. Why do I do these things?

But he was not prepared for the sight that met him as soon as he entered the diner.

All around there were tables with people seated. But Gigi’s was not hard to miss. Her table had a very prominent cake in the centre, and was decorated with red ribbons. And there she sat, her eyes twinkling as she flashed that impossible smile at him.

“Happy birthday, bro!” she exulted. Everyone turned to see who it was, and as one the diner applauded the man whose birthday Gigi was celebrating. Me?

Jerry’s mouth was suddenly dry. It’s my birthday…my…  He had stopped celebrating anything ever since Marty died. There just never seemed to be a point to celebrate. But here he was, having forgotten that this was his birthday. Gigi would not let the day pass. Gigi, how do you do all this?

  The fact that someone still cared about him to celebrate his birthday, to remember this … when he had even forgotten it, made his eyes water. He blinked the tears away. He was a cop, after all. In his mind, at least.

Gigi stood and hurried over to him, her silky black hair flowing down to her neck. Beautiful as ever. He embraced his sister, but he could not speak. What could he say?

“Thanks for coming, bro,” she whispered in his ear. That did it. The sobs came.

Thank me? Thank YOU!!! But nothing came out of his mouth.

How could he thank Gigi for this? He did not deserve this, after shutting her out for so long.

Somehow, he knew Clint had been right. This had been what he needed.

In one small way, he felt like he was home.

Later that night, a couple of police officers stumbled out of a pub. It had been another Friday night rave. Who cared that they would be driving drunk? They were the law; deal with it! As they entered their cars, one of them stopped.

“Hey, guys, come check this out!” He pointed his flashlight up the side wall of the pub. It was not unusual for them to see graffiti on walls in Towne, but this was different.

For a moment the policemen were silent. It couldn’t be…

“This fits his M.O.,” another cop commented.

“Anyone see this when they were coming in?”

“Nuh-uh. This one’s fresh.”

“We’d better call it in.”

“You sure? Could just be some kids messing around.

“Too risky. Killers of his type don’t tolerate copycats.”

Up on the wall was a big T with one word written underneath.

TONIGHT!

    “Better spread the word. This is gonna be a long night.”

He keyed his radio. “Dispatch, we have a scribbled threat on Twenty-Fourth and Downey, Uptown Pub, west wall. Fits the M.O. of the vigilante.“

He was interrupted by another transmission. “We got the same thing over here on Yak Avenue. Big T with the word ‘TONIGHT’ scribbled under.” The cops exchanged glances.

The dispatcher’s voice came over the radio. “Dispatch to Unit on Yak. Are you certain?”

“Affirmative.”

“Downey?”

“Ten-four.”

A third report came over the radio. The dispatcher asked for clarification. An awkward pause followed.

One of the cops blinked. “What’s going on?”

The dispatcher came back on. “All units be at alert. Code Red. We are at full-scale security tonight. A possible attack is imminent. I repeat, the Taser might strike tonight.”

And somewhere in Towne, the one they called the Taser was smiling. The message was out.

TO BE CONTINUED…in THE TRAP

Tune in for the continuing drama of TASER.

If you’re new to this site, you might as well check on some of the other amazing stories here, filled with humor and unforgettable lessons. They include Bill’s Car, Unchurch, The Elevator, and many more articles. You might also want to check up on the first feature presentation on this site, The Love Revolution Trilogy. You’re gonna love ’em.

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God bless ya!

TASER

Title Block

SYNOPSIS
As the elusive vigilante known as ‘the Taser’ comes to a small town, the police are suddenly riled up. In the midst of ever-changing stakes and an investigation that goes awry, one man is brought face-to-face with questions he never thought he would ever consider.

Written in the tone of a TV  serial, this 6-episode story of grace and redemption in the midst of gloom and darkness is sure to rock your world.

Episode 1: The Cop

Episode 2: The Trap

Episode 3: The Ultimatum

Episode 4: The Alternative

Episode 5: The Real World

The Finale: A New Story

In this world, nothing is what it seems.