Soon numbness crept up my arms from holding Shira. Even though she was light for a three year old, I wasn’t used to lugging around a small child.
Daniel offered to carry her.
“Sure,” but as soon as he reached for her, Shira clung to me.
I shook my head. “I can carry her a little longer.”
We walked for another ten minutes, but my heroic efforts were exhausting. “How much longer?”
Daniel adjusted the backpacks on his shoulders. “Not far.”
At least the missiles had stopped, but visibility was bleak. Flames shot up in the distance, and sirens blared across the stone city. I remembered Daniel’s comment about undetonated bombs. “God, please protect us.”
Daniel pulled out his iPhone. “Let me see if I can reach my brother.”
At least we had packed lightly. We would not have been able to walk as far on foot with Shira and the heavy backpacks. I started to call my mother, but my cell hadn’t worked since I left America. How long would the EMP attack destroy civilian communication in the West?
I leaned against a stone pillar beside the road littered with falling debris. I switched Shira to my other side. She clung to me like glue. If only her parents hadn’t died.
I jumped from one worrisome thought to another. Even though I knew time was an illusion, how long had we been gone?
Daniel interrupted my musings. “I can’t call or text.”
“Did the camera work?”
Daniel checked. “Yes, I have the photo of Shira’s parents. Hopefully that will help us locate relatives.”
I sat on a nearby bench. Tiredness crept into my thoughts. When had I last slept?
Daniel’s eyes studied Shira. I ran my fingers through her curly, matted brown hair. Soot covered her angel-like face. The only sign of the conflagration she endured was the singed edge of her light-colored jumper dress.
“How old do you think she is?” Daniel asked.
The little girl held up three fingers.
Daniel cocked his head. “I spoke in English. She understands English.”
“Don’t Israelis understand English?”
Daniel eyed her curiously. “Not that young. Kids learn English in elementary school, unless her parents are American or British or professors.”
“Professors?” What a strange suggestion. “She understands Hebrew also.”
Daniel bit his lip. “God must have sent us—or you to rescue her. What else did the dog tell you?”
Shira had closed her eyes, but I knew she wasn’t asleep. “Shhh. I’ll tell you later. Let’s get to Jacob’s first.”
As Daniel led us through Jerusalem, I remembered what Jesus said when he lamented over Zion. “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!”
My excitement at making wedding plans faded as I contemplated what lay ahead.
The almost full moon rose higher into the sky. We must have walked several miles. Soon I saw the walls of the Old City as flames shot into the night sky. The light offered a brief reprieve from the darkness. The ancient bulwark was a stark reminder Jerusalem would survive because God willed it.
I wanted to run toward our destination, but I was too worn out. Shira must have fallen asleep in my arms because now she was like dead weight. My body needed a break.
“Can you carry Shira the rest of the way? She’s asleep.”
I handed Shira to Daniel. She woke up, but didn’t resist this time. I carried both backpacks, bringing up the rear. I was worried about what the dog had said. How could I broach the subject with Daniel?
I moved closer to him so I could whisper. “I didn’t want to say this when Shira was awake, but the dog told me she has no other family. Maybe they all died. The dog said God wanted us to rescue her.”
Daniel slowed down and glanced at me. “She must have somebody. We could have a DNA test done.”
I hadn’t thought of that. “Yes, we could. I’m just telling you what the dog said.”
“What did he say again?”
“God had chosen us to take care of her. For how long, I don’t know.”
Daniel glanced down at Shira. “She’s so young.”
I could sense his concern—how could we provide for the needs of a three year old? We had just turned eighteen and weren’t yet married. What did we know about parenting a child barely out of diapers?
More smoke blew in my face, and another round of sirens pierced the silence. I longed for a nice, warm bath, but mostly, I wanted to sleep and wake up to a different reality.
I didn’t see anyone walking along the streets near the Old City. “What time is it”?
“A little after three.”
We had been walking too long. “Do you remember how to get to the underground bunker?”
“Yes. I remember, but how we’ll get inside at this time of night is another thing.”
We passed through the Old City Jaffa Gate and the Muslim and Armenian quarters where all was quiet. The stores were closed in contrast to the booming activity when we had been here before. I followed Daniel down several flights of stairs with only emergency lighting to guide us.
Fortunately the Old City had been spared during this attack, although much cleanup remained. Endless stairs and dark corridors brought us to the door to the bunker. No one would imagine that behind the steel door was a secret command center and stargate to the seventh dimension.
Two watchmen stood at attention. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad, but at least somebody was here. Shira woke up and Daniel passed her to me.
The guards, dressed in typical Israeli fatigues, held menacing guns and blocked us from entering. Daniel spoke in Hebrew. “I’m looking for my brother, Jacob Sperling.”
I hope you are are enjoying these excerpts to the upcoming book "The Prescience," which will be available by the end of the summer.