And lo, Palestinian government's hold
Extended to checkpoints about.
In charge, Vera Baboun, a woman extolled-
The first female mayor with clout ...
Her place over Bethlehem filled her with cause-
A city where poverty shone.
Yet so many obstacles' unwanted pause
Rebuked her desire to atone.
The hopeful arrived, Rachel Checkpoint, the place,
In thousands and thousands each day.
They called it "300," a foul, rotten space,
Insertion, for jobs they would pray.
And still there were many, so many, indeed
The barbed railings caused quite a stir.
Those desperate hands clenching on, forced to bleed
In this way would daily occur.
So many desiring employment within,
But the walls and powers around
Refused those who waited, downbeat in chagrin ...
But the masses stood fast to their ground.
There Joseph held out for "the ticket to life"-
Permission to work in the land.
The line smelled of feces and urinal strife;
He reached out to hold Mary's hand.
The bicycle held her remote, tattered shape;
Her belly spoke, "I am with child."
Above all the shouting, she could not escape;
The people were all going wild.
Her faith filled her spirit, though they were denied,
And Joseph looked back with regret.
A scene full of sorrow, she quietly cried.
Her water broke, leaving her wet.
A brief stint of anger, the child was not his,
Yet Joseph had promised his love.
The two would soon marry, and sadly, like this-
Around them, the crowd gave a shove.
The terrified look on her face broke his trance.
Beneath her, the soil told a tale.
The walls kept them outside of Bethlehem's glance;
He prayed they would still yet prevail.
As Mary looked on, Joseph parted the crowd,
Insisting they gave them some room.
She slid from the bike, as they were not allowed
Inside there, her heart full of gloom.
A mixture of fear and emotional joy
Came on her as they found a spot.
A voice whispered, "Soon will arrive here your boy-
A savior for those who have not."
While Joseph pushed on to an alley ahead,
She listened beyond the crowd's wrath.
"The child you are birthing will raise up the dead;
A crown for all nations, his path.
His name shall be wonderful counselor, king!
The light of the world; Son of Man.
And food to the needy and hungry, he'll bring
By gift of the prophecy's plan.
Above, God exalted had chosen your womb;
His Spirit selected your worth.
Oh, glory to you and your soon to be groom!
The messengers herald his birth!"
Now Mary broke down in a heaving sob's snare,
Her mind finding such a new peace.
Nobody believed her; her innocence bare,
Her child had been given release.
For months she insisted no man stole her youth.
The world cast aside her soft pleas.
Believe it or not, the voice offered her proof.
She shared this with Joseph in ease.
He loved her, accepting her ludicrous speech.
And then the voice spoke in his mind.
"Now, Joseph, take heed for your Mary, in reach,
Is truthful; the world has been blind."
A trash dump turned over with old cloth and wood
Became her hotel in the street.
The shelter provided the two understood-
They had nothing with them to eat.
A Muslim man came forth and offered his aid;
A couple of shepherds did, too.
Together the magical scene they displayed
Gave charity far gone renew.
The Jews and the Muslims had long been at war,
And still they were human design.
The grace of that moment would be sung in lore;
The birth of the child was divine.
A couple of rats, then a dog and a cat
All gathered; the crowd came to see
The boy who compelled them to quiet their spat,
Imparting on them joyous glee.
The stars in the sky shined a brilliant bright light;
By now the dark followed the sun.
A beggar announced this was their holy night,
And people felt kinship as one.
The news reached the mayor who came to endorse
A standard for setting the stage.
She pulled out her cell phone- a picture, of course-
This image would make the front page ...
And So It Was
Gabriella polished scalloped
angel wings of silver
and shivered in anticipation
wanting to let the innocent
teenager Marina know
what was in store for her.
Marina was a virgin and
had never been told
where babies came from
so she couldn’t understand
how she could give birth
to a savior – although it
wouldn’t be all bad –
but how would it get out?
And she didn’t like the thought
that the Holy Spirit had something
to do with her pregnancy.
She had a lot more questions.
Her childhood buddy, Giuseppe,
exclaimed, “Yo, it’s not mine!”
Neither one of them believed
Gabriella and decided not to cancel
their skin diving trip to Bimini, Bahamas
where they wanted to explore
the oceans on a charter boat.
The waves were raging in white capped
fury – the weather report must have been
wrong - as a fearsome storm came up
tossing them to and fro on the deck.
The captain knew, as he looked at black skies
they would never make it to the islands.
When the boat capsized, and broke up,
Marina swam, trying to hold her head
above water until she felt weighted down
like a stone, sinking fast in the blue abyss.
Lo and behold, a smiling dolphin
arose and scooped her up in his fins
while his friend plucked up Giuseppe
and swam, cradling their limp bodies
to the shelter of a deserted island.
where they smoothed a bed of seaweed
to cushion the lovely Marina
because she looked
kind of bloated – maybe
it was all the salt water.
They never guessed she was with child!
What could dolphins know?
They’re smart, but not omniscient!
Three red snapper fish, chewing gum,
spread the word as they popped bubbles
that something miraculous
was going to happen because they could
feel it in their gills in the slow dance
of moonlit shadows in the magical night.
It was a starry eve with one star beaming
like a spotlight, luring stranded wise sailors
to the seaweed where Marina lay,
swaddling her babe in her wet suit.
The wise seamen didn’t have much
but gave Marina gifts of fish,
lobster and fresh island water
so she could nourish her newborn child.
Giuseppe was running around in circles –
you would have thought he had been the one
who had given birth to the infant!
What a belly-acher he was!
Jupiter and Pluto came up from the sea to visit
harnessing two dolphins to driftwood,
to take Marina and Giuseppe
to the wondrous island of Bimini
so King Neptune couldn’t
find the exalted baby, Immanuel,
and kill him at his gate
because it was rumored that
when he grew up,
he would become the blessed
savior of the world.
And so it was.
Make Christ Come Again
"I swear on every choker I own, if I have this baby in America, I'm burning the whole thing to the ground!" raged Maria from the backseat. Julia stifled her chuckle, keeping her eyes on the road. When Maria had insisted on visiting her sister in Texas earlier that day, she'd had reservations, and now that they were still an hour out from the border with Maria's water long broken, she was starting to suspect they were never going to get there in time.
But, hey, you try telling that to a 9 months pregnant ball of fury.
"Mi amor, I know you don't want to hear this," she began.
"To the GROUND, Julia. I mean it -" But her rampage was cut short by a particularly intense contraction.
"That's it, Maria, we're pulling over -"
"No! Don't pull over! I'm fine -"
"You're not fine, you're just stubborn!"
"We'll make it, we'll make it, I promise we'll make it!"
They didn't make it.
And that is how a very irritated, very pregnant Virgin Maria and her best-friend-turned-doula Julia came to stand on a stranger's porch in Texas during a torrential downpour.
Well, actually, the torrential downpour wouldn't have been a problem if Maria hadn't, during a wave of contractions, invoked the Lord's fury by looking up to the heavens and screaming, "Why the fuck didn't you warn me about this, you cunt?!" And, of course, it promptly began pouring on them.
"You made Him angry," chided Julia.
"Her," corrected Maria.
"God's a woman?"
"Of course God's a woman. You think a man would be creative enough to invent the platypus?"
Julia didn't respond, though she supposed Maria made a fair point. Instead she turned her attention to the house before them.
"Should we...?" she asked. Maria shrugged, supporting herself against the porch railing.
"If I can't have this baby at home, I'd at least like to give birth somewhere dry," she said, cringing at another contraction.
Julia knocked urgently at the door, and moments later, a portly white man in his 50s answered. He might have been any other portly white man in his 50s except for one thing that made both girls blanche: the "Make America Great Again" hat on his head.
"I don't think I can give birth to the savior of the world anywhere near a white person who owns that hat," muttered Maria muttered in Spanish. "It might be hard on him to find out his savior is Mexican."
"You two lost or something'?" the man asked, looking suspiciously between them.
Julia recovered with a smile. "Sir, uh. We're in some trouble..."
It was only then that Julia realized she had no plan. They couldn't very well ask to deliver this baby here, at a stranger's house. But where else could they go?
"The trouble is I'm pregnant," offered Maria sardonically.
"Okay..." the man said.
"I know this request is - odd, but do you have a shed or anything where we could take shelter? I'm worried this baby's about to come any minute."
The man frowned, looking between the two women. "Where's her husband?"
Maria laughed. "Ah, papi, there's no husband. Just me and my lesbian lovahhh."
Julia rolled her eyes and shot a glare at Maria. That girl had no concept of when to keep her mouth shut. Forcing another smile, she turned back to the man.
"Look, sir, we just really need anywhere to stay."
"I don't think..."
Maria let out an aggravated shriek. "Look, man, I know you won't believe me, but I'm carrying the savior of the world in my womb and either she's coming out on your porch or she's coming out somewhere else. Which is it gonna be?!"
The man gazed at her a moment, and Julia was sure he'd turn them away for good when he nodded and said, "You can use the garage. I'll move my truck."
Julia was shocked. "Wait, that worked?"
The man laughed. "No. But I got a daughter 'bout your age. I'd hope somebody'd do the same for her." And he disappeared around the corner.
As soon as he was gone, Maria said, "This is my worst nightmare. This baby's about to be born in a Trump supporter's garage! God must think She's real funny." But a new wave of contractions stopped her from making anymore smart remarks.
By 6am the next morning, Julia was certain this baby was never coming out. They'd been at it for nearly eleven hours and the thing was still lodged firmly in there.
Maria, for her part, was delirious.
"You'd think agreeing to have this kid would make God my friend but noooooo," she complained. Then, more lucid, she looked seriously at Julia for a moment. "Why me? Why couldn't it have been you? You're so strong and calm and smart. And I'm just Maria. Maria the Mess."
Julia smiled. "Maria the Hot Mess." Smoothing back a hair from her friend's forehead, she added, "It had to be you, silly. No one else would believe those voices in their head were real, just you. Plus, that whole virginity thing."
"Ah, yes. Virginity. I knew not having sex when everyone else was doing it was gonna come back and bîte me in the ass."
The two girls shared a laugh, and then -
"Oh. Oh, Julia. I think - I think she's ready."
"Okay. All right. I got you. Just breathe. And push!"
We Sing a Song of Refugees
The northern star will cast a glow
You follow it and pray although,
We do not like what we don't know,
We have no room for you.
We have no extra cloth nor bed
There is no place to rest your head
And do not ask to break our bread,
We have no room for you.
Your home is now a crumbled heap
Your men are dead, your women weep
But that is not for us to reap,
We have no room for you.
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Are none of what we fear the most
We have no duty as your host,
We have no room for you.
Avert your eyes and just ignore
The brown skin babies washed ashore
We'll smear the blood on our own doors,
We have no room for you.
The Story of Jesus, a Syrian Child
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out of Aleppo ISIS vigilantes, that all the world should know terror.
2 (and this terror was first made known when George W. was President of the United States.)
3 And all went to escape through the borders, every one with their own families.
4 And Joseph also went up from Bustan, out of the city of Aleppo, into Alexandria, unto the city of Escape, which is called the shortest route to the Mediterranean; (because he was of a mind to get away from terror quickly:)
5 To escape with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a raft; because there was no room for them in the boat.
8 And there were in the same world reporters abiding in the field, keeping watch over their twitter accounts by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day on the shores of Alexandria a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in his mothers arms.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the reporters said one to another, Let us eventually go even unto the Mediterranean, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with delay, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying on the northern shores.
17 And when they had seen it, they discovered they were too late. They made known abroad what happened concerning this child, for he had drowned.
18 And all they that heard it wondering at those things which were told them by the media.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the reporters returned, glorifying and praising the Breaking News Stories that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 And when eight days were accomplished after the death of the child, his name was called JESUS or AYLAN in terms of he who drowned, and the photo went viral, the world moved on.
Birthday in Space
The stars shimmered against the Prussian blue sky that cold clear winter night. The suspended orbs of fire looked as if a bucket of freshwater pearls had been dumped and then consciously scattered throughout the heavens. They radiated a soft but luminous light with the subtle blinks of their lustrous eyes, steadfastly casting a white glow upon the trees that cascaded down the mountains. In a leisure town outside of where the mills, breweries, factories and foundries remained in existence, Mary, the young daughter of a dive bar owner, was in labor with her fathers bartenders baby. They had met at her fathers bar for her 21st birthday. His name was Joseph. They had an immediate magnetism. He drew her in with his dark deep-set eyes. Every drink he poured her he carefully observed the spreading of her lips when the glass would approach her mouth. He relished her sips, her swallows. She was immensely intrigued and drawn to his rugged look yet humble demeanor. She had heard a lot about him from dinnertime conversations. Her father would boast of his ability of being able to "pick the winners" and that this particular guy had just the right amount of gentleman and just the right amount of cowboy. After the last call was dried out Joseph offered Mary a ride home, which she happily and hastily accepted. Nine months later she would be riding in the back of a pedicab that her betrothed dug out of his garage when the tires on his car fell flat, rubbing her abdomen in severe pain.
"I am not going to make it to the hospital!"
"What do you mean? It is right over the hill!"
"You have to pull over-now!"
He pulled the tricycle over to the side of the winding road. The sun was setting and twilight was creeping in. He saw a light shining from out of the corner of his eye. It was coming from a lamppost that stood in front of a shed and farmhouse standing 50 feet away from where they were.
"Can you walk to that shed?" he asked her, heart racing.
"Yessss! Let's go!"
Inside the old and dilapidated wooden shed stood a couple of broken shelves that were propped up against the corners with piles of outdated magazines on them, some tires, a few oil lanterns with matches by their sides, and four large blocks of two-string straw bales.
"I have to lay down now. Did you bring the blanket?"
"Yes-here let me put it on the ground for you."
"No, it is December. We need it to wrap the child in. "
An hour later the most adorable and healthy baby boy was born. There was a large flat flower basket that Joseph retrieved from the inside of one of the tires. He yanked a handful of straw from out of its tightly packed bundle and sprinkled it onto the basket for extra padding before the swaddled child was laid upon it. A moment after they had done so, three men appeared in the doorway.
"Is that your bike out there by the road?" the man with the yellow shirt asked Mary and Joseph.
"Yes, it is," Joseph replied back.
"You need help or something?" the man with the green shirt offered.
"A ride would be nice. My girlfriend here just gave birth. I am sorry, she could not make it to the hospital."
The three men gasped.
"The prophecy has come true!" they said in unison.
"What are you talking about?" Mary said with a worried tone in her voice.
"Our mother is a an oracle. She told us she had a vision that by divine intervention a young couple would meet and have a child together near our farmhouse on this very day. A child that will change the new world."
"For the greater good, let me add," said the man in the purple.
"This is crazy. Why should we believe you or your mother?" Joseph argued. How could our child be—Mary interrupted—“A savior,” she said in a drifty voice with a look of detachment in her eyes. Joseph turned to her, astonished. He could feel what she was going to say next.
"I never told you, but I had a vision as well. Three months into my pregnancy I saw an angel at the foot of my bed. The angel told me my child would go on to bring morality and values back into the decaying world. He would teach us kindness, honesty, loyalty, empathy and love for our fellow man. I am sorry I never told you, I just thought it was my hormones and stress getting to me."
"We have no time to waste!" the three brothers interjected.
"There are three things your child needs to protect him from the enemy," said the man in green.
"The enemy?" Joseph asked feeling quite confused.
"Yes. The government already knows about his birth. He needs to be launched as soon as possible or the child will be killed," the man in the yellow sternly warned them.
"Launched? Killed! I can't believe this," the frustrated father began pacing about in the dimly lit shed.
"Yes, mother said he has to live in space until he is fully grown," said the man in green.
The new parents could hardly believe their ears. Panic had consumed their faces.
“Why?” Mary asked, holding her son against her breast.
"In three months the earth will go through a devastating catastrophic polar shift. It will turn the world upside down. There will massive amounts of casualties. Famine. Disease. Murders. People will burn and people will freeze to death. We will start to lose our minds in the process of rebuilding our earth again. Unless, we have someone like your child show us the light."
"How long does he have to be in space for?" the parents asked.
"Until he is twenty-seven-years-old. That is when his purpose will be called upon," said the man in yellow.
"And what will become of us, his parents?" Joseph asked.
"He will protect you. But you have to stay hidden," said the brother in purple. “We have an underground bunker right below our farmhouse that you can live in. That is your only chance of survival.”
After much contemplation, the parents finally came to a decision. They agreed to go forth with the plan. By the light of three lanterns, the family was guided to a clearing in the woods behind the farmhouse where a small metal capsule awaited them.
"Listen closely mom and dad,” the brother in yellow said, holding the lantern up to his weathered face. “He will need three items to survive: Faith, hope, and love."
"Sure, absolutely,” the parents said in agreement.
“But, who will nurture him?” Mary asked.
"The martians will."
“I thought they wouldn't like us," Mary said cuddling her son.
"These martians do," the brothers said.
Before the child was loaded into the capsule his parents whispered into his ear "We will see you in twenty-seven years, son. We love you," and kissed him on the cheek goodbye.
The capsule shook, rattled, and vanished in the flash of a bright white light. A light that shimmered against the Prussian blue sky that cold clear winter night.
Rebellion | Rebirth: A Nativity Story
It was no use. They were completely surrounded and there was no getting out without a fight.
Therese looked down at the cracked face of her watch. 8:25. So the time had come and gone then. She tried hard to swallow the panic that was rising in her belly. They were supposed to be at the drop point fifteen minutes ago. Even if they did get out of the the Dominion warehouse before then, there was no guarantee that they would wait. After everything they had done, everything that had happened - it all might amount to nothing now, no matter what they did.
Therese pressed her shoulder into the cool metal of the wall. Her knees began to cramp up. They had been crouching here for what seemed like an eternity.
They had been in the warehouse for forty-five minutes now. The original plan had only allotted Therese and her partner fifteen minutes to get in and get out. There had been more guards than they anticipated, however, and by the time they had made their way to the fifth floor of the massive storage facility, the men that guarded the halls at night had been ready for them.
Thankfully, Therese was a good shot, and Jordan was just as sharp. They had made their way all the way back down to the ground floor, but they were trapped in a small office now, with heavy gunfire penning them down from the outside. Therese let her dark eyes shift over to Jordan from where she crouched beside her. A cramp seized her belly and she trembled.
"We have to come up with a plan. Eventually, they're going to drag us out."
Jordan gave her a strange, worried looked and her almond shaped eyes flicked quickly downwards before turning back towards the heavy locked door of the office.
"We need to find a way out of this building and back to the drop point." Jordan's eyes broke away from the door and she scanned the dark room. Wising up to the tactics of the two rebellious women, the guards had cut the electricity, casting them all into darkness. The guards were better equipped though, and Therese had quickly judged from a few well-placed shots that they had already assumed their darkness sight goggles. The worried look stretched further over Jordan's face.
"Maybe we can get into the vents. We're close to the outside. On the ground floor. There might be an ventilation shoot we can get out through."
Therese's look said everything her words did not.
There was no time to get into the vents and there was no way she was going to make it. Another violent flash of pain stabbed through her belly and punched up into the space around her lungs. She shuddered as a wash of red filled the corners of her vision.
Jordan read it all.
"Okay, Okay. There was a hall. About fifteen feet away. Maybe, if I can get out of the door fast enough, I can get into the hall and lead them away? When the coast is clear, you can get out of one of the side doors and get yourself to the clearing."
Therese's face fell. It was a suicide mission and they both knew it. A wave of panic washed over her again and Jordan read it there. She reached out a hand and touched the pain-wracked woman gently on the cheek. There was a hardness to Jordan, a way in which she was cut and in which she carried herself, that gave her an almost severe presence. But in that moment, everything melted away, and her features became soft and wide. A tendril of Therese's long dark hall fell free and licked against Jordan's soft skin.
"What's happening now...what's happening here - it's bigger than all of us, T," Jordan said gently. "Do you remember the sign? Do you remember what the seer said?"
Though another wash of pain had come over her, Therese nodded.
"The star in the East. As it rises so must the other set. Such is the rebirth of man."
"The rebirth of man..." Jordan echoed her, sliding her hand from her friend's trembling face and placing it over the taut swell of her belly.
"What you carry here is the most important gift ever set upon man," she went on. "This baby that swells with life in your belly is the future of man. Without him, we are finished and our species as we know it is doomed. Without him, we cannot hope to overthrow The Dominion. He is everything, Therese. Everything. For him, I would die a thousand times."
It was true. All of it. And Therese knew that. She had known that from the moment she had seen the burst of light that night by the foot of her bunk.
A sudden rain of gunshots exploded against the door, piercing the momentous moment between the two women. A new seizure of pain ripped through Therese's belly.
"He's coming," she whispered, falling back onto the floor. Her legs were trembling so badly now that she could not hold herself up any longer. The soft look on Jordan's face melted away and that look of hard determination returned. She gave Therese's hand one last reassuring squeeze before rising from the floor. Never taking her eyes off the door, she retrieved the last of the ammo from her belt and reloaded it into the small, worn out pistol that her grandfather had given her.
With the gun reloaded, she turned to give her terrified friend one last look.
Jordan really was a beautiful woman. Thin, strong arms, a slender waist and generous hips - combined with her long dark locks and piercing almond eyes - gave her an absolutely stunning Amazonian look and the severeness that comprised her gave her the hard aloofness of a goddess. In that moment, she looked every inch a goddess to Therese.
"When you hear the shots retreat, come behind. Check and make sure the coast is clear and then make for the security door. If we are where I think we are, then you should find one about 20 yards away from the corridor I'm going to lead them down. You'll have to act fast. They'll have the front exit covered, but if you can get out of that security door and back out into cover and eventually to the drop point...well, you might just have a chance."
Therese ground her teeth together and swallowed the pain. She willed the tears not to fall.
"I understand," she said nodding her and speaking in a voice lower than a whisper.
Gunfire exploded against the door again. They were running out of time. Jordan rolled her shoulders and stood up tall, looking towards her destiny with a face made of stone.
"Keep him safe, Therese. Whatever else may happen, keep him safe."
With that, she strode towards the door and threw it wide. As soon as the space was wide enough to clear, she threw herself through the opening and opened fire in the direction of the guards. Keeping her back to the wall and her gun high and straight, she made her way quickly across the open space, all the time keeping her course straight and true towards the small corridor.
Therese could hear the gunfire as it followed Jordan's wild screams. When the ricochet of the guns sounded like no more than the clatter of static, she made her way towards the open door.
The coast was clear. In some additional miracle of the heavens, the guards had done as Jordan promised and had all followed in tow. Therese took a moment to thank the forces above as she made her way across the wide open space of the ground floor and towards the little security door that Jordan had described to her. All around her was the sign of The Dominion's carnage.
The other hostages they had brought here had all been terminated. Blood coated the large boxes and metal containers that dotted the space. Chains wrapped around blood soaked limbs lay in piles stacked as high as the doors. One box bore the sign of beast, a sigil of The Dominion, drawn crudely in what looked like the clotted splats of blood. Therese saw the face of the old woman that had lived in the slave quarters above her once. Of the rest of her body, there was no sign.
The child in her belly flailed suddenly and a crippling pain filled her body. Therese could feel all the strength leaving her body as she threw herself through the unlocked security door and out into the cool darkness of the night.
Therese gathered what strength was left to her and darted across the shadows of the dark yard, not even looking for guards or men concealed in the night. About 150 yards away, she could just make out the shape of a gate, stretched across the thick and heavy walls of stone. Beyond that, she knew, was the dark cover of the forest and the little clearing where all her hope now lie. She grit her teeth and bore down hard. Crouching a bit beneath the pain she pushed herself towards the gate.
When she reached the rusted metal gate, she fumbled with the lock clumsily.
"Dammit," she cursed, her fingers trembling.
Her hands were as white as sheets. Behind her, she could hear noise erupting from within the darkened warehouse. A sudden mad hope that Jordan still lived gripped her, but she had no time to think. Her heart pounded in her chest and the blood roared in her ears.
The pain was coming more frequently now, and Therese knew she would not be able to support herself much longer. Finally managing to flip the lock over, she pressed her weight against the gate and threw it open with a loud groan.
Once she was in the woods, Therese filled her lungs with the thick, earthy air. Something about the rich scent of pine and mountain air spurred her on and renewed her. She moved deeper and deeper into the woods, picking up her pace all the time. For a time, the child gave her peace, but she could feel the pain creeping there just beyond the edges, waiting for her to stand still.
It seemed like another eternity had passed until Therese began to make out the faint thinning of the trees. She was close to the clearing at last.
Therese kept pushing forward. Her lungs were burning and screaming for her to stop, but she knew that even now she could not. Jordan's words and the wriggling of the child in her belly spurred her on.
When she reached the clearing, it was empty. Therese's heart fell.
She was too late. Far too late. They had come and gone without her and there was nothing she could do. She was lost. The Dominion had taken them all, had killed all the people that she loved best. Jordan. Her mother. All of them gone now. She was all alone. How could she ever have hoped to escape them?
Something the old crone said came suddenly to her mind, unbidden, like a faint whisper.
In the darkest of the night, remember they seek light.
In a near delirium, Therese thrust her hand deep into the pocket that jutted from the side of her worn canvas bottoms. She wrapped her hand around the small cylinder and pulled it out into the darkness of the night. The light of the moon shone faintly through the thin canopy that stretched partially above the small clearing, creating a shard of light along its smooth side. Therese thrust it into the air and pressed the small release button on the button. She closed her eyes as the bright white spark of the flash flew up into the darkness of the night above.
As she crumpled to her knees and felt the blackness overcoming her, she could just make out the 3 familiar shapes that seemed to appear, as if from no where, from the surrounding trees. They moved like liquid, each dressed in a different color. They made their way towards Therese as the ripping pain in her belly made her shudder.
The first one to reach her was draped from head to toe in a long robe of gold. His long, pointed face and silver, white hair glistened before her.
"Mother," he said in a gentle voice. "We have been waiting for you."
"Yes...yes...the baby...the baby..."
"Shh...shhhh..." said a new voice. A woman's voice. A woman's face was swimming before her now. She was the most beautiful woman Therese had ever seen. Even prettier than Jordan, with shimmering blond hair and wide blue eyes. The beautiful woman wore long robes of an eerie violet, and the faint smell of frankincense wafted from her.
"You are safe now, sweet Mother," the woman cooed at Therese. Somewhere in the corner of her mind, Therese realized the woman's hands were beneath her and were rising her from the damp earth below. Once on her feet again, the third and final face appeared before her.
This man's face was dark, as dark as Therese had ever seen, but a beautiful golden glow. From head to to he was covered in robes of soft brown silk that sometimes shifted to a deep gold or a deep lilac. Therese watched him, entranced, as his face spread white into a brilliant white smile and bright hazel eyes warmed her. He spread his arms and Therese fell into them. She pressed her face against the warm tautness of his chest.
"My child, my sweet child," he whispered, as if only for her. Therese let her eyes close and began to let the darkness take her as she started to dissipate into the warmth of his voice.
"You have made it at last and we have come to exalt you," the man said again, holding her, lifting her off the ground and carrying her off into the darkness and the safety of the woods beyond. The pain was constant now and Therese let it carry her off too. She let her head fall back and grab one last glance of the sky above.
The bright white burst of her flare still burned brightly above the mystical band of three and their little broken doll.
Therese let herself drift off.
She had survived.
Well, tomorrow she would be the mother of a savior...
From Ash to bone, and back again.
Only one understood the power.
A small child.
In spirit, but not in mind.
His home was in his head, where he had found another plane and another kind of being.
He saw old, crumbling statues of no origin.
And pristine, clean towers whose hallways echoed loudly whenever he set foot in them.
He saw many strange things he did not fully understand.
So many shapes.
So many hidden treasures.
His favorite was a large snow-capped mountain that took up the whole sky.
Inside, he saw such fanciful things to make him positively giddy.
Lakes of Silver, Gold and Ruby. But there was a lake of whispers that he avoided; they said awful things everytime he drew close; though these words were hard to hear, the tenor of them were dark. One day he could not ignore it any longer. The whispers got stronger.
"Time must begin again."
He entered it, and thus he was born.
Born from a pond of blood and tar.
Neither above him or surrounding him just a few hours before, he now felt the stickiness of the grotesque mixture.
He clawed at the Earth to pull himself out.
The Earth, where he stood, had great gashes and deforming scars.
He heard splashes.
There were people behind him.
Women, children, men, covered in tar and blood.
"We are ready to try again. Please lead us in rebuilding our homes. Only you have the power."
I was summoned to see the head of the Department. I went directly there. I'd only met him once, socially, with the other graduate students on our first day. I couldn't imagine what he wanted with me.
He offered me a comfortable chair and picked up his tablet.
“Your requested research project is denied. Choose another venue.”
“I thought Professor Adelman was handling that. I mean, you're--”
“Too important to bother? Not when your topic comes up.”
“What's wrong with it?”
He read from my proposal. “'Locate the son of Mary and Joseph at his birth and contrast with the reports of the birth of Jesus in the New Testament.' It's denied.”
“But why? Jesus of Nazareth is one of the great figures of history. Or is it something wrong with me?”
“You're as fit as anybody who's gone after Jesus of Nazareth.”
“As to that, where's their reports?”
He leaned back. “There are no reports on Jesus of Nazareth.”
“But you said--”
“I said they went back in time to find him. Nobody has ever returned.”
I stared at him.
“Nobody returns. 100% failure rate.”
“But, but time travel is supposed to be safe!”
“Drones make the journey all the time. We send a human being, they don't come back.”
“But—that's surely the discovery of the century!”
He looked at me, and frowned. “You're a young man. Have you considered, seriously considered, the importance of temporal research into the Christian Messiah?”
“It's obviously of tremendous importance to explode --”
“Aha! You haven't thought it through.” He seemed very old and tired. “What if—what if it was true?”
I made a Promise with You.
Hey I know it's hard to believe.
Listen, I know that you've gotten yourself in trouble.
Just hear me out. I promised you, remember?
Just relax and wait until it comes.
Oh you will expect it but it will come surely also as a surprise.
After it is done it will take more time & a little more patience.
It will take a little more faith.