ESCAPE TO PETRA
What would Tess, Monica, Andrew, and Gloria do, if they found themselves during the end-times scenario prophesied in the Bible, prior to Jesus' coming? What kinds of assignments would they receive? How would they handle their assignments? This alternate-universe series is my attempt to answer that question, to surmise how the angels would handle the events of the Rapture and the Tribulation.
The first story in this ongoing series was written by Robin Day and myself. The rest, I am writing on my own.
In story #9 of my end-times series, it is the middle of the Tribulation. A Satanically-indwelt Antonio Puccini is determined to force the Jews to end their sacrifices and to worship him. They must flee Jerusalem for the ancient rock city of Petra. Can the angels persuade two estranged men to forego their quarrel and help the Jerusalem residents to escape the Antichrist? In story #9 of my end-times series, it is the middle of the Tribulation. A Satanically-indwelt Antonio Puccini is determined to force the Jews to end their sacrifices and to worship him. They must flee Jerusalem for the ancient rock city of Petra. Can the angels persuade two estranged men to forego their quarrel and help the Jerusalem residents to escape the Antichrist?
David Weizmann paced back and forth in his living room, shaking his head. His shoes made soft thuds on the carpet. The lamps glowed softly throughout the room; since it was night, David had closed the blinds and drawn the curtains. His heater softly hummed in the background, emitting its warmth throughout the living room. Rain softly drummed on the windowsill near his lamp.
Benjamin, his cousin, perched on the couch, watching him. "What's wrong?" Ben asked, for the sixth time. "Ever since the angels left, you've been preoccupied."
David turned to Ben. "I have," he said. "God has called me to have a role in getting the residents of Jerusalem away before it's too late, and I don't even know what I'm supposed to do. Very soon, Puccini is going to desecrate the temple, and then we've all got to flee to Petra. If it were up to me, our people would be doomed—I can't do a thing to save them." He sighed. "We will be anyway, if God doesn't remove the cold weather and this rain. And especially the rain. If the rain keeps up, the rivers will flood and the roads to Petra will be impassable. Our people can't flee in flooded conditions and frigid temperatures."
Ben rose to his feet. "Surely the weather will turn warm and dry soon. But even if it stays cold, the people can evacuate in it if they have to. But you're right; flooded conditions will hinder our pursuit." He cleared his throat. "Maybe you can't save our people. But what about our cousin?"
David turned on him, fists clenched. "Don't you ever mention his name again!" he roared. "I don't even want to think about Jacob! I hate that man—I never want to see his face again!"
Ben approached him. Taking a deep breath, he put his hand on his cousin's shoulder. "I know you don't," he said softly. "But Jacob is the prime minister now, and has been since before the Rapture. And he's going to have to help the people evacuate. Don't you think it's time—?"
David pushed Ben's hand off his shoulder. Suppressing the urge to shout at Ben again, he took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Ben," he said. "I shouldn't have yelled at you. But it infuriates me to even think about Jacob. Also…having no nicotine makes me irritable." He bit his lower lip, and Ben chuckled, an understanding smile crossing his face. David had made the decision, quite recently, to quit smoking; Andrew, the Angel of Death, had given him some nicotine patches. "I don't even want to consider the idea, Ben, so don't ask me again. You go to him if you want—I'm not."
Ben shook his head. "Have you forgotten I'm a wanted man?" he reminded David. "If I show up at the Knesset, I'll be arrested. Even if I wore my disguise, I'd still be at risk of discovery—too many people have seen me in it now."
"Well, let one of the angels approach him, then, because I'm not!" David retorted. Without another word, he left the room.
Unknown to him, four angels watched David as he switched on the overhead light in the kitchen, then poured a glass of milk. "Benjamin is right," Tess commented. "Unless Prime Minister Jacob Barak gets involved, the evacuation will not go smoothly and many lives will be lost. And David is the only one, now, who can go to his office or his home to persuade him." Glowering at David, she put her hands on her hips and shook her head in disapproval.
With a sigh, Monica watched David for a long moment. He put the carton of milk back into the fridge, then plopped onto a straight-backed pine chair next to the kitchen table, holding his glass. A combination of deep sadness for David and a sense of urgency for Jerusalem welled up in the angel's heart. David, she knew, had only a short time to get together with Jacob. The fate of the Jerusalem residents, if not all of Israel, hung in the balance. She couldn't bear to see him allow it to slip by.
"He's got to hurry," she said. "The lives of Jews depend on his decision. But his feud with Jacob could ruin everything." She brushed her hair out of her eyes. Her pearl earrings swung as she shook her head.
"Baby, God allows no one to ruin His plans. But He does give people the chance to choose whether they will cooperate with His plan for His people, or interfere," Tess said.
Gloria nodded agreement. "God works through people," she said. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. "And God can also change the weather."
"We will be praying for that," Tess assured her.
David Weizmann and Jacob Barak had been bitter enemies for several years, since before the Rapture, prior to Jacob's election as prime minister. A quarrel had severed their friendship. Since then, there had been no contact between the two cousins.
"We don't have much time," Tess said. "We have to work fast, to reconcile the two so they can cooperate with the Father's plan, instead of interfering with it and bringing on the deaths of thousands. God is going to send us reinforcements for this assignment."
"Who?" Gloria gazed quizzically at the supervisor angel, head tilted.
"You'll discover for yourself, soon," Andrew assured her.
Draining his near-empty glass, David set it in the sink; it made a loud clink. He gazed out the window at the velvety-black sky for a moment, and at the raindrops pounding the window. So cloudy and cold. And so wet! he thought, before he trudged back to the living room to rejoin his other cousin. "I need to put on a nicotine patch," he said out loud. "The lack of a cigarette is wearing me down, making me edgy. And my grief for my sister isn't helping me any." He sighed. "At least my house survived the earthquake intact. If only Deborah had been here, she would have survived, too!" He groaned, then trudged out of the kitchen.
END OF PROLOGUE