A thunderous boom exploded overhead. I dropped my hands from around Daniel’s neck as marriage plans evaporated. We were going to die right now. After going to hell and back, we must have arrived in Jerusalem in time for Armageddon. Noxious fumes blew into my face. I shielded my eyes.
“Run!” Daniel shouted.
Blinding light from simultaneous eruptions lit the night sky amid falling debris. If only these were celebratory fireworks, but they weren’t.
I stared in disbelief. I couldn’t lift my feet. They were entombed in concrete. This couldn’t be happening. Not now, Jesus, not when you just told Daniel and me to marry.
Daniel yanked my hand. “Shale, come on, we’ve got to find shelter.”
Seconds ticked by as I imagined my body being blown to bits from approaching missiles. Sirens faded in and out. Swishing knives cut through the air as if they were tearing a veil, followed by loud booms that shook the ground. One after another, they reverberated, each one getting closer.
Temporary silence ensued, followed by more explosions and more thunder. Multiple alarms sounded as transformers blew across the city. I felt something burning my arms. I screamed, slapping at whatever it was.
“Ashes,” Daniel said.
I wiped off the soot. How could this be? One minute we were celebrating our first kiss, and the next we were running for our lives. I brushed my long brown hair back with my fingers. I’d have to shower. Another missile swished by followed by a powerful boom.
Daniel pulled me along through total darkness as the grass burned around us. How could he tell where to run?
Minutes later, Daniel found an enclosure that reminded me of a bus stop. Was it secure or was it designed only to give a sense of security?
I struggled to catch my breath. “We’re going to die.”
Daniel’s brown eyes betrayed no fear—only gentle reassurance. ”We’re in a bomb shelter.”
“A bomb shelter?” For the uninitiated like me, I never dreamed I would need one. We didn’t have such things in America.
Daniel put his hand on my shoulder. “You’re shaking. Here, come close.” He wrapped his arms around my waist. I buried my face in his chest to hold back tears. A thousand thoughts pierced by short-circuited brain as sirens echoed in the distance.
I didn’t want to think I’d taken my last breath in a bomb shelter, especially with the only man I ever loved. That was too trite, too much like something one would read in a book.
Other thoughts supplanted that one. Was my mother still alive? She had never met Daniel. When I returned from the first century, I never told her about my journey to the seventh dimension. She would have taken me to that psychologist, giving him reason to validate all the things he wrote in that stupid report. The wretched principal would have expelled me immediately.
Why couldn’t this attack have waited a few more days? Jesus, you told us to marry, but we just got back to Jerusalem. We couldn’t marry that quickly.
Daniel whispered in my ear, “I love you, Shale.”
I broke into sobs. “If only...”
Out of the temporary silence, a dog barked. I tried to catch the words.
I clasped Daniel’s shoulders. “The dog, did you hear it?”
Daniel’s eyes met mine. “What did he say?”
Now the sirens drowned out the dog. I stepped toward the shelter entrance, but Daniel blocked me.
“I’m not going to let you rescue a dog. That’s crazy.”
I met Daniel’s determination with my own. “The dog needs help for an injured child.”
Daniel stared. “No, can’t be.”
“We must go. We can’t stay here and do nothing.”
Daniel stepped toward the entrance. You stay here and let me check.”
“No. You don’t understand dog talk. It’s my gift. I must go.”
Daniel grimaced. “Let’s hope he keeps barking, or we’ll never find him.”
“The child is a girl.”
Daniel held my hand. “Watch your step.”
If only we had a light. The darkness seemed blacker now that the transformers had blown. There wasn’t even emergency lighting. At least the bombs had stopped. The only significant light came from fires burning in the distance. Shadowy embers floated from the sky.
Careful where you step,” Daniel warned. “There could be bombs lying on the ground that didn’t explode.”
Why did he have to tell me that?
The dog barked again. “Come quickly.”
We crept closer.
“What’s he saying?”
I translated, “Come quickly.”
Straight ahead, a shadowy four-legged figure that reminded me of Much-Afraid stood. “There he is.”
When the dog saw us, he wagged his tail. “Hurry.”
I held up my hands so he could catch my scent. “We’re coming to help”
He whimpered—enthusiasm tempered with concern.
“Are you hurt?” I asked.
“No, but hurry. God sent a human who understands dog talk—oh me, oh my. This is my lucky day.”
Daniel and I quickened our pace.
Another bomb screeched by. Seconds later, it exploded. The loud boom nearly broke my eardrums. Daniel reached out to make sure I was okay.
The dog barked again. “Don’t run away. You’re too near.”
The dog took a few steps to the left and lowered his head, indicating something on the ground.
Daniel clutched my hand. Then I saw two bodies. A young child was stroking the bloodied body underneath her, a young woman with long brown hair dressed in slacks and a T-shirt. I stumbled over bloodied shoes as we approached. Small cries escaped from the girl.
I knelt down beside her. “Thank God, she’s alive.”
“Her mother and father aren’t,” the dog wept. “She has no one. God sent me to find a rescuer. Very few humans speak animal talk. God sent you.”
I stared at the child’s parents. My vocal chords went dry as numbness filled my throat.
The dog barked again. “I must go rescue others. Take care of Shira. You’re all she has.”
“Wait.” I reached over and stroked the dog’s head, focusing on his crusty eyes. “What do you mean?”
“You are the ones who came. God called you.”
“I understand animal speak, but I don’t know this poor child.”
My eyes turned to the little girl. I tried to pick up the orphan, but she clung tenaciously to her dead mother.
“Mommy,” she wailed again, ignoring my attempts to help her.
“Many are called, but few are chosen,” the dog said. “I must go. Others need my help. Take Shira with you.” Then he disappeared into the darkness.
Was that her name? When Shira wouldn’t come with me, Daniel tried to pick her up, but she protested.
He stopped. “We need to find the child’s relatives.”
He walked around to the other side and searched the pockets of the orphan’s father. I looked around the mother for a cell phone.
“His pockets are empty,” Daniel said.
I stroked the child’s back and spoke in Hebrew. “Sweetie, come with me. Your mother and father are sleeping.”
The child lifted her head and focused her mournful eyes on me. After a brief hesitation, she reached out her arms, and I picked her up. She was small and light—and couldn’t be more than three.
“Let’s get out of here,” Daniel said.
“Where should we go?
“Jacob’s. He can help us find her relatives.”
I forgot Daniel didn’t understand dog speak. When should I tell him she had no one but us?
I am going to upload the first several chapters as "The Prescience" goes through the final edits. Hopefully it will be available by the end of the summer.