Chapter Twenty Six

The spring produced much more water than Sam had expected and fortunately he had built into the collection device an overflow large enough to accommodate the extra flow. Sam knew that water was the most important commodity needed in the event everything went south. What was unique about this spring was it flowed under several hundred acres of solid rock. Its source was from the snowmelt higher up the mountain twenty miles away. Flowing under that much rock kept the water cool but also filtered it very efficiently and not much could leach through to contaminate it. He also knew how hot the high mountain desert climate got during the summer months and most likely the flow of the spring would be dropping in another month.

By the end of the day they had the spring dug out, the plumbing installed and the spring was working well. It needed to be filled in with clean rock, gravel and native soil. With the flow confined to the PVC, the hillside where the spring once flowed gradually began to dry up. They piped the water down the steep hillside to a head of ten feet where they set up a ram pump that pumped the water back up the hill to a tank that was to be buried in the ground by the caves in the cove area. That water would be saved in the cistern for use during the hot summer and early fall, when water was scarce. They still needed to bring the five hundred gallon tank up the hill and put it in the hole but were waiting to do that in the evening at dark in the event someone might be watching. Sam did not want to advertise all of the work they were doing.

Sam had devised a refrigeration system using the residual water left over from the ram pump operation. The excess water gravity fed through a buried PVC pipe to an insulated underground pit house. The theory was to use the material removed to dig out the underground storage to fill bags to construct the walls for the underground building that would be used as the cellar and refrigeration system. The excess cool water would run through a half inch copper pipe running serpentine down the wall in the deepest part of the dugout to keep perishable food cool and then piped out to water plants in a below grade greenhouse. The refrigerated room would be insulated with foam board and dirt dug into the side of the steep north east facing hillside. The underground greenhouse would face the southwest. By being below grade, the mass of the walls would be heated by the winter sun during the day and would keep it warm through the night. The plan for this trip was to get the spring operational, get the tank in the ground and begin filling it with water. If they could remove or loosen as much of the dirt as possible for the other structures, that would be a bonus. Filling the bags and building the walls would take some time.

It was hot on the open hillside. Sam was finishing up with the overflow plumbing from the tank in the ground. Cory had gone down to the gravel pit at the bottom of the hill and was returning with the last load to fill in above the spring.

Marty started barking erratically at Sam and ran to the edge of the hill looking down to where Cory was coming up the steep road.

“What in the world are you barking at?” Sam got up from under the cliff wall and walked over to where he could see Cory. Marty just kept on whining and acted like he wanted to go back to the truck. “What? You silly dog.” Sam looked across the valley. It was a beautiful afternoon. Large puffy clouds were moving rapidly high above the desert floor. Two redtail hawks circled on the rising air currents searching for their next meal. He could see for miles. There was a slight breeze that did little to cool the skin on the hot sloped hillside. Sam went to the cooler and grabbed a bottle of water. The ice had melted but the remaining water was cold. When he shut the lid to the cooler, the ground shook underneath him. He wondered to himself if he had felt that or was he just getting tired. He opened the bottle to take a drink and the ground let loose under him. It was like fluid and the sound was deafening. He turned to face the rock cliff in time to see a large chunk of the wall break off and fall in slow motion to the hillside in a cloud of billowing dust. The ground was like trying to stand on a water bed and it took everything he had to stand in one spot. A boulder dislodged and fell off the wall landing where Sam had been working, breaking the pvc connection. He turned to look down at Cory coming up the hill. Rocks were rolling all over the hillside down to the valley floor. Sam headed down the slope to get away from the cliff wall. Marty was barking and leading the way towards the truck. The ground was heaving up and down dramatically and he felt drunk running down the hill tripping and falling down. He sat up and watched as a large rock rolled down towards Cory. Cory was still moving up the hill. Why couldn’t he tell what was going on? The large rock was tumbling faster and faster in a collision course straight for the small skidster. Sam yelled at Cory waving his hands as hard as he could. Cory looked up at him and Sam pointed to the rock just as it hit the front of the loader in the front of the bucket spinning it in the road. Instinctively, Cory dropped the bucket preventing it from flipping over and tumbling down the hill.

Sam looked up across the valley floor below him. He noticed a great amount of dust fly straight up into the air in spiraling streaks. “What in the world is that?” he said out loud. He tried to place where that was. It was at the old cemetery. That was so weird. Surely no one would be blasting at the old cemetery and there was nothing there to cause all of that dust. The streaks flew up into the sky like bottle rockets without exploding. It seemed like instantly out of nowhere the clouds turned very dark and ominous. It looked like a huge storm was blowing in and the wind was picking up. The thought of the storm in the dream Sam had came to his mind.

The ground finally stopped moving. Sam stood up still dizzy and headed down to where Cory was standing surveying the damage of the boulder lodged against the bucket. “Boy,” he said somewhat unnerved. “That was a close one!” as Sam walked up. “I am not sure how we’re going to get this boulder dislodged. Maybe that excavator can do it but I think that rock may be too big. I may need to go back to town to get a larger piece of machinery.”

They started making their way back up the hill talking about the crazy earthquake. Marty did not want to follow them and stayed back at the Bobcat whining and barked at Sam. All of a sudden a large white piece of ice the size of a softball hit in the dirt next to Cory and then another one and another. “Wow! That is hail!” Sam said and started running up the hill. “We need to get in one of those caves!” Chunks of ice were hitting around them on every side. Sam whistled to Marty and Marty passed them up to the cave. A large hailstone hit Cory in the left shoulder almost knocking him to the ground and another hit his cheek instantly causing it to swell. Sam grabbed a hold of his arm and guided him up to the cave. Lightning flashed in the sky and immediately a colossal boom echoed down the ridge as they dove into the first smallest cave. They were barely able to fit all three of themselves into it but it provided adequate protection from the ice falling from the sky. It didn’t take long and the whole hillside was covered in hail and the temperature outside dropped twenty degrees. The sky was very dark; almost black and the contorted clouds twisted in the sky erratically. Sam told Cory about the strange sight that he saw coming from the cemetery. Cory’s face was black and blue and his eye was swollen shut. “Boy Cory, that eye doesn’t look good. I need to get you to a doctor.” Sam said.

“Yeah, I don’t feel very good either.” Cory responded somewhat loopy. Sam figured that Cory had a concussion. He tried to call Robin on his cell phone but there was no reception. “The hail storm probably knocked out the tower.”

The hail had stopped and was melting rapidly now. He looked down to the valley below which was covered in white. The once dry stream beds were moving in a river of ice. It was going to be a challenge getting out of there.

Sam looked at Cory. “Do you think you can make it out of here or do you want me to go for help?”

“I am going with you, dude!” Cory said with a distorted smile. Sam laughed. “All right hang on!”

They both slipped and slid down the road to their rigs. When they arrived they were both shocked to see the damage that lay before them. Cory’s truck was decimated with dents and the windshield had been completely shattered to the point you could not see through it. Sam’s truck was virtually untouched in comparison. One section of the back window slider had been broken and there were two or three dents in the hood and the sidewalls but that was it. The tree that he had parked under had been stripped of leaves but saved his truck. There was a limb which had broken the window in the back of Sam’s truck. Sam opened the door for Cory and Marty jumped in the back seat glad to be back in his truck. As Sam walked around to the driver’s side of the truck he remembered Robin putting the blood of Jesus over him, Marty and the truck when he left the previous morning.

The clay in the soil made the tires fill up with gumbo mud tossing clumps thirty feet in the air as they drove the once dirt roads back towards the pavement. Sam slipped it into four wheel drive and was thankful for having all of the fuel in the back tank for the added weight.

Remembering the view from up on the hill, Sam knew that they would have to cross one big draw before they hit the pavement. He started praying under his breath, “Lord please help us get through that crossing!”

When they came to the rise overlooking the draw, he could see the mixture of ice and mud flowing swiftly. He remembered his dad warning him when he was a kid about crossing the draws and gulley’s in a flash flood. He said, “I don’t know Cory, this might get a little hairy. You better hang on!”

Cory grabbed the handle above the door and nodded back at him with a warped smile reminding Sam of a bull rider cinching himself to a rank one.

Sam dropped the clutch sending the truck in motion down the hill towards the fast moving slush with mudslinging in the air and the tail of the truck swinging side to side wildly. When they hit the bottom, there was a small dip in the road causing the truck to bottom out before becoming airborne. Sam saw Marty in the air in the back seat through the rearview mirror. They were committed now. The truck sailed to the middle of the ice filled stream sending ice and mud in all directions. Sam had the pedal all the way to the floor and the initial force of the drop caused the lugs on the tires to grab traction on the bottom of the rocky creek bed, lurching the big truck across the stream. Just as the front tires cleared the other side, the motor bogged down and the swift ice swept current pressed hard against the side of the truck pushing it downstream. Sam shifted down to second gear and punched it causing the front tires to spin in the mud but they were losing ground quickly. “C’mon you can do it!”, Sam cried out, and the left front tire caught traction on a large rock obscured by ice. It was just enough traction to pull the truck out of the water relieving the force against the side panels and slowly climbing out of the stream.

“Yeah Baby!” Cory hollered. “One down!”

Sam laughed. The gravel road got progressively better as they approached the old cemetery. A truck came flying down the road towards them slowing cautiously. The old rancher had a terrified look on his face. Sam rolled down his window and said, “You’re going to have a tough time crossing the creek. We almost didn’t make it.”

He answered in a shaky voice, “I am not going back that direction. There are things flying out of the graves at the cemetery!” and he took off up the road showering gravel behind him.

“I think that ol boy might have been hitting the sauce pretty hard this afternoon.” Cory said laughing.

“Yeah, I don’t’ know. I have seen that ol rancher out here since I was a kid and he is tougher than most. I heard he eats nails for breakfast and he just looked really scared!” Sam said. “I wonder what in the world is going on?”

As he pulled up on the old cemetery they noticed that all of the graves were open like they had been blown open with dynamite. “Oh crap! That doesn’t look very good!”Sam said.

Cory said “Look over there!” And pointed towards something crossing the road in front of them.

Sam grabbed the binoculars and glassed in that direction. “Oh Lord. What in the world is going on!” his voice was shaking.

“What?” Cory said concerned.

“I don’t know what that thing is but it looks like some sort of demon.” It turned and looked at them sitting in the truck like it had heard them speak and leapt over the fence and into the field. “Oh, God! What is going on?”

He slipped the truck into gear grabbing his cell phone speed dialing Robin. The phone was busy. He tried Erica and Ben. All busy.

He drove faster down the road. Cory called Monica.

“Hey Monica!”

“Cory! Where are you? It has happened!”

“What has happened?” Cory said annoyed.

The Rapture Cory. People are missing.”

“Where are you?” Cory asked.

“I am here”.

“Where is here, Monica?” his voice was shaking.

“Home, Tyler is gone Cory. His clothes are here but he isn’t. Please come home Cory!”

“Okay, we are on our way.”

“Have you heard from Robin?” Sam yelled.

Cory looked at Sam and shook his head. A car flew past them down the road almost hitting them and Sam swerved to avoid them sending road dust into the air. The closer they got to town the more chaotic it became. Cars were in the ditch, stalled in the middle of the road without drivers. Smoke billowed up from sporadic fires, some caused by transformers, others by automobile accidents. Sam and Cory drove down the county road in silent shock trying to process the scene in front of them.

“Why are we still here Cory?” Sam asked, hoping that the answer would be different than what he already knew.

“I know why I am here Sam. There is no denying it. I have blatantly under-estimated the sin in my life. You need to figure out for yourself why you are still here Sam. We both had a shot at grace and we both, obviously, compromised and blew it. Now the age of grace is over and we have only one chance left. This one we cannot screw up! ” Cory said without firmly.

“What do you mean? What happens next?”

“If this is the rapture Sam, it is going to get very difficult. It won’t take long now. Someone will make an announcement probably declaring that aliens were responsible for the disappearance of the people, who have really been raptured by God. This person will probably rise to the top overnight probably through war. I am sure if we could hear the news, Israel has already been attacked by Russian and Iranian forces. Nuclear weapons were probably used but they won’t be able to destroy Israel. God will intervene. This war will probably cause the leader of the New World Order to come forward. He will most likely be the antichrist. The bible says that there will be a strong delusion that will be so real that even the elect will be deceived. I don’t know what that will be, but most likely aliens will make an appearance soon, most likely next to the Most Holy Bishop from Mother of Apostles Christian Church. This will be so real and convincing that they will deceive many if not all people. They will probably say something like they were the ones that created us and because we are destroying ourselves they had no choice but to step in. They will sat that they had to remove Christians because they would not conform to the truth. That will set up all Christians to be singled out and killed. The  antichrist will come up with something that everyone will have to do to worship him. Everyone will need to do this in order to buy or sell. It might be a mark, or a chip, maybe an implant who knows, but it will ultimately give us a choice that will ultimately compromise our relationship with Jesus. If you choose to take the mark or  follow the delusion the antichrist sets up along with everyone else, you will lose your eternal life. Through it somehow, they will attempt top make us worship the person that rises to the top and if we don’t do it, they will cut off our heads. You might as well get it in your head that you’re going to lose your head if you want to have eternal life. The only way we will get to heaven now Sam is to die for our belief in Jesus. This is going to be very difficult. There are going to be earthquakes and famines like never before. An asteroid will hit the sea wiping out a third of the sea life and poison a third of the oceans and springs. That might be what people call Planet X or Niburu. Then the bible says that Locusts will come out of the pit like smoke. Those are Satanic demons sent to inflict pain with a sting like a scorpion. If you get stung, it will be unberarable for five months for anyone who does not have the mark of God on them.” Cory paused and said “Then Sam, it’s going to get bad.”

None of the stoplights worked and other drivers didn’t use them anyway. As they passed by a store, a man came running out with an armload of food dropping some cans on the ground. Cars were crashed on the side of the roads and intersections. Occasionally an ambulance drove by. It was like trying to put a band aid on a trauma patient. People were in the streets screaming deliriously for their children and loved ones that had disappeared and the calamity the disappearances had created.

Sam dropped Cory off at his house and told him that he would be back but he needed to find Robin.

The cows greeted Sam running along the fence as he drove down the driveway and Erica’s car was still in the driveway which made his hope leap in his heart. Marty ran ahead of him as he hurriedly walked into the house. He could smell her. “Robin!” he called for her anxiously. His voice echoed in the house, it seemed hollow to Sam, returned unheard. Empty. “Erica, hey Linda! Is anyone here?” Nothing.

Marty had made the rounds through the house and returned back to him staring at him differently. “Where is Mom, Marty?” Marty looked at him with his head cocked to one side and ran down the hall to the bedroom. Sam followed him to the master bedroom. Marty stood sniffing a pile of Robin’s clothes on the floor. That wasn’t like Robin to leave her clothes in the middle of the floor, Sam thought. He did not want to admit what he knew in his heart. He knelt down to grab the empty clothes and could feel her bra still hooked, inside her shirt, her panties were inside her Levis; all of them were piled up on top of her flip-flops.

Sam collapsed on the floor. “Robin!” He knew. Of course, she was unwavering in her faith. She was the only person he knew that was uncompromising in her love for Jesus. He had always known deep in his heart that he never had that same relationship that she had with Jesus. So many times she had tried to explain it to him. All he had ever wanted was her. He buried his face in her clothes smelling her sweet lingering perfume. “Oh Robin,” he sobbed. “Lord, please show me what I need to do to be back with her again. You gave her to me and now you have taken her. I know that she is not coming back here but please Lord, show me how to get to where You took her.” That was the most sincere prayer Sam had ever prayed in his life. He was lying on the floor tears in his eyes and noticed across the floor one of Robin’s contacts. He picked it up in his fingers and said “Please Lord, remove the scales from my eyes and give me the eyes to see!