That's When They Knew

ZAGS

Member
He hurried through the undergrowth, stumbling, the weight of the 180 plus pound man hanging over one shoulder throwing him off balance. The canopy overhead blocked out what little sun there was. Rain fell steadily making the already slick ground even more treacherous. HIs mind racing he continued following the path his fellow teammates were speeding over.


The mission had gone sideways and they were hot footing as fast as they could out of there. Two of his team members had been wounded, one a gunshot to the arm and the other had taken a bullet in the upper thigh. That man was slung over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. He glanced behind him and saw his team leader bringing up the rear. His face was grim as he gave him a curt nod. Turning back he stumbled over a root and went down to one knee, the man on his shoulder letting out a soft grunt. He struggled back to his feet, softly whispering an apology.


They were deep in enemy territory in a country he could never admit to being in much less caught in. His legs and back screaming he forced one foot in front of the other. Leave no man behind was their creed and he had to remind himself over and over as fatigue crept up his legs.


The mission had been simple, track a small band of terrorist to their base and take photos, get a count of how many enemies targets, check out their security and radio in the coordinates. They hadn’t counted on running across sentries so far out. They were a sneaky lot, he’d give them that. The firefight that had ensued had alerted the estimated hundred or so terrorist at their main camp to their presence. Now the hunters had become the hunted.


Without warning the weight was lifted from his shoulder causing him to fall sideways. He crashed to the ground with a muttered curse. He rolled to his knees searching for his teammate. He caught sight of the rest of his team standing stock still staring in shock at something he couldn’t see in front of them. Looking behind, him he saw his team leader staring at him his eyes stunned, rifle dropped low, the barrel grazing the soggy vegetation.


He regained his footing and began searching for is teammate. He searched in a slow circle but didn’t see him. He felt fabric brushing against his chest and reaching pulled a pair of fatigues off of his shoulder. He stared at the pants and did another scan of the immediate area. He blinked hard. He couldn’t have just disappeared right out of his clothes…


He stumbled over something on the ground and looked down to see a boot.


Slowly the team leader leaned over and picked up the boot. He shook his head as if not believing what he was seeing.


His mouth suddenly dry he looked over at another of his teammates as they held out a shirt, a flack vest, another pair of fatigues, a rifle and gun belt with ammo. The men gathered around confused and shocked expressions on their faces.


He looked again at his team leader and saw the blood drain from his face. Their eyes locked.


That’s when they both knew…
 

ZAGS

Member
He slowed as he peered through the rain. A car was pulled to the shoulder and he could see the outline of a man in the faint light from the trunk. He flipped on his lights, the red and blue flashes alternating in the dimness. He pulled to a stop behind the vehicle and recognized the man as he turned, a tire iron in his hand.


He groaned as he recognized the man. The man give him a jaunty wave. He gave a half hearted wave back as he reached for his radio to call in to dispatch. After a brief conversation with the dispatcher he reached for his hat and glanced in his rear view mirror to check for oncoming traffic. Seeing nothing he opened the door of his police cruiser and stepped out into the rain.


He shivered as a few drops hit his face and slid down his collar as he put his hat quickly on his head. He could hear the drops start beating a drum on the plastic liner, and wished he could just slide back into the car. It had been raining steadily for two days and the weather had him aching for his shift to be over so he could go home where it was warm and dry.


He looked at the man standing a few feet from him, noticed the smile of greeting and forced himself to take a step toward the local pastor.


He didn’t dislike the man, he was friendly enough, but he could turn any conversation into a sermon. Well, maybe not a sermon, but he could bring the Bible into it. And he’d had enough of that to last him a lifetime. His mother had been a church person and had forced him to go every Sunday, morning, evening, and Wednesday nights as well until he had reached the age of fourteen. He’d told her he wasn’t going to church with her anymore. She’d cried, but he’d stood firm in his decision. He hadn’t set foot inside a church except for weddings and funerals since.


When he had gone to the local diner last Sunday for his lunch break, the pastor had been in there with some of his church members and he had overheard their conversation. They had been discussing the sermon from that morning. Something about Jesus coming for His bride. They had been boisterous in their conversation and he had rolled his eyes at his table companions. He had continued eating his lunch, catching snippets of the conversation. The rapture, blah blah blah. A trumpet sounding. A loud cry from the heavens. People disappearing in the twinkling of an eye.


He had a difficult time not laughing out loud at the ludicrous conversation. He’d been hearing that kind of talk his whole life. While his mother never got him to go back to church, she’d regaled him with synopsis’ of the sermons when she got home every Sunday and Wednesday.


Finishing his lunch he had paid his bill and left, only after he was safely out of earshot of the pastor and his church members letting out a laugh. Rapture, what a crock he’d thought to himself.


Bracing himself for a short sermon about the Great Flood, he jumped when the tire iron dropped to the ground with a clang.


He saw the pastors clothes hit the pavement with a wet sounding plop.


His feet froze and he stood there in the rain dumbfounded. He shook his head, and blinked rapidly. The cloths were still in a soggy pile partially on top of the tire iron. He rubbed his eyes and looked again, shocked.


The pastor was nowhere to be seen, but his clothes were lying on the ground. He could see the tips of shoes poking out from beneath the pile. He heard, as if from a great distance, the crackling of voices on his radio. He couldn’t make out the words, his ears buzzing in shock.


Out of the corner of his eye he say a car roll past, just barely missing him.


His hearing cleared and his instincts kicked in as the car swerved, hydroplaning on the rain soaked road. He heard a woman scream as the slid car out of control. It ran off the asphalt and hit the muddy ditch and slammed into a tree. Giving a last glance at the pile of clothes he sprinted across the highway as he reached for his radio to call in the accident.


He reached the drivers window and saw the airbag had deployed and the woman sitting dazed. He rapped on the window calling out “Are you okay ma’am?”


She stared blankly at him. He tried again. “Ma’am, are you okay?”


She shook her head as she rolled down her window.


He peered into the car and noticing the infant’s car seat asked her, “Are you the only one in the car?”


She shook her head no.


He stepped back to peer into the back window to see if the baby was injured. There was nothing in the seat. Just a small blanket, a pacifier, and what looked to be as the feet of a onesie.


“My son, is he alright?” The woman asked abruptly. She quickly turned in her seat to see the empty carrier. “Where is he?” she asked frantically. She unbuckled her seat belt and began scrambling into the back seat.


He felt a chill creep down his spine.


“Where is he?” the woman began tossing things from the carseat to the floorboard. Her breathing was ragged with sobs. ”WHERE IS HE?” she screamed.


His hands began to tremble as he stared at the empty car seat. He looked back at the pile of clothes on the other side of the road.


That’s when he knew….
 

ZAGS

Member
She walked, head down, taking no notice of the other students milling about. They stood or walked in groups, coffee’s in hand, chatting, laughing, making plans for the upcoming weekend.


She ascended the steps and opened the heavy doors. The quiet of the library was a welcome refuge from the chaos of the rest of the campus. She made her way past the crowded tables and headed toward the stairs that lead to the stacks. Wending her way around bookshelves, she found a small table located in a hidden niche.


She dropped into the chair and set her books on the table. Consulting her study notes she carefully stacked the books in the order she would need. She placed a yellow highlighter, two blue pens, two black pens and two pencils next to the notebook she placed in front of her. She studied the tabletop and with a small nod of satisfaction, she set the timer on her iPhone for one hour and reached for the sociology text book.


A few minutes later she sat back and shook her head. She couldn’t seem to concentrate. It was extremely irritating, especially considering she was usually very focused.


It was all her roommate’s fault. Her, and her friends. With a frown she sat forward again and began reading the textbook.


A few minutes later she sat back again. Blowing out a frustrated breath she leaned her elbows on the table and dropped her forehead into her hands.


Why couldn’t she get the conversation she had overheard her roommate had been having with her friends out of her mind?


Every Tuesday and Thursday night her roommate had three friends come over and they had what they called “Bible Study”. For the last several months she had overheard several of their conversations. They would read passages out loud and the converse for several minutes before she would creep quietly out of the room.


She didn’t understand much of what they talked about, which irritated her to no end. She was very well rounded in her education. She could more than hold her own in any conversation, whether it concerned economics, history, current events, literature, art, etc.


But the Bible and it’s topics she knew nothing about. She was normally the smartest person in the room. Not understanding what her roommate and her friends spoke about was very unnerving to her. She had been a straight A student her whole life. She had a 4.0 average in college. Academia was her life.


She knew what she needed to learn to succeed in life. She planned to be a neurosurgeon like her father. She would one day join him in his practice and be as successful as he. But she wouldn’t reach her goal if she kept getting distracted.


Once again she sat forward and began to read. The timer went off a few minutes later, the iPhone buzzing against the table. She frowned at the offending phone and shut the alarm off. Sighing she placed the sociology book to the side and grabbed the anatomy book.


Starting the timer again, this time for an hour and a half, she bent her head to the book. As she made notes, she found her mind wandering again. With a huff, she tossed the blue pen down, scattering the other pens and pencils across the table. Her highlighter rolled off the edge and hit the floor with a small ticking sound.


She leaned over and picked it up, and set it precisely on the table. She straightened the rest of the pens and pencils with the same precision.


This just wasn’t going to do! She had to get focused! Why did her roommate and her friends talks have her so scatterbrained? She sat there gnawing her lip. Their conversations were a bit fascinating, if more than a little outlandish and unrealistic. Rapture. Being called up to heaven by Jesus. Leaving all earthly possessions behind. Disappearing in the blink of an eye right in front of people. The chaos that would ensue. Cars with no drivers. Planes with no pilots at the controls. Everyday people, police officers, doctors, paramedics, firefighters, all those who were believers in Christ and had put their faith in Him, just gone in an instant.


It was pretty scary stuff if it were to really happen. She didn’t believe it to be so, but those girls spoke with such conviction. She shook her head. It had to be hogwash. She didn’t believe that you had to put all your faith in a fairy tale that some man died for you so you could go to heaven. Heaven didn’t even exist as far as she knew from her extensive education. Science couldn’t prove it…


Her iPhone buzzed on the desk again. She gritted her teeth as she shut off the alarm. Two and a half hours of study time wasted. Putting the anatomy book aside, she reached for the biology book. She roughly flipped to the proper page, grabbing up the highlighter and set about reading.


Some time later she heard a noise and held up her hand, one finger raised, indicating to the librarian she needed one more minute. The woman always let her know when the library was about to close since the time she had been accidentally locked in. She had had to call security to let her out of the building. Since that incident the elderly woman made sure to personally let her know when it was time to wrap things up. She heard the woman turn to leave with a swoosh of her skirt.


Several minutes later she looked up and reached for her phone. It was almost midnight!! The library had been closed for almost an hour. Scrambling she grabbed her belongings and headed in the direction of the stairs. Dreading having to call security again to let her out of the building, she tripped over the pile of clothes left on the floor.


She went sprawling, books, phone, and pens flying.


She slowly rolled over and looked to see what she had tripped over. She saw the cardigan first. She reached out and picked it up. It was cool to the touch. Then she caught up the blouse. Her eyes narrowed as she say the rest of the outfit. A skirt, shoes and under clothes lie there on the floor.


Had the librarian changed clothes up here before heading home, leaving her discarded clothes on the floor? That didn’t make sense. Standing up she gathered her belongings and headed for the stairs. Descending, she saw the empty tables that she had bypassed earlier. There was a sport coat hanging on the back of one of the chairs. She picked it up and as she passed placed it on the librarians desk to be placed in the lost and found.


Phone in hand, ready to call security, she tried the main door and was pleasantly surprised to find it opened the she pushed at it.


It was chaos outside. People shouting and running. Some were crying as they held random articles of clothing. Others were on their knees, hands reaching towards the heavens. Others were just shuffling along looking dazed.


As she passed two men she overheard, “He just disappeared. One second we were talking, and the next his clothes fell to the ground!”


She stopped. Turning she stared at the two men. “What did you just say?”


They both began regaling her with their stories of seeing people disappear right before their eyes. She stood, gazed intent as she listened. A lump formed in her throat. Nodding her thanks, she took off at a run. She dropped her books and as she ran she scrolled through her contacts. Finding her roommates name she hit the call button. The phone rang several times the she heard her roommates voice.


“Hi, this is Sharon. I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m either in class, studying, working, or sleeping. Or better yet, the rapture has happened and I’m home with Jesus. If it’s not the rapture, leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If it is the rapture I’m sorry, but I’m betting there are no phones in heaven.” She said the last with a giggle. She hung up without leaving a message and slowed to a walk.


As she entered her dorm she made her way to her room. She paused, swallowed hard and put her key into the lock. The door swung open and she saw Sharon’s bed with a set of pajamas spread out as though someone had laid them out from the head of the bed to the foot. Or as if someone had disappeared right out of them.


She saw the Bible on the nightstand and slowly crossed the room.


She could hear cries and shouts out in the hallway, but they faded into the background as she picked up the Bible. Underneath it was a folder labeled, For Those Who Have Been Left Behind. She picked up the folder and began to read the pages inside. The sun was coming up when she finished.


That’s when she knew…
 

ZAGS

Member
His wife gripped his hand so hard he thought the bones would break. With a grimace he continued to encourage her to breathe through the contraction. When it was finally over her grip loosened and she gave a shaky sigh.


“That was a big one.”, she said.


He gently pulled his hand away and shook it out, giving her a grin. “Really, I couldn’t tell.”


She laughed softly. “I'm sorry honey, are you ok?”


He nodded and leaned down to give her a gentle kiss. “Don’t worry about me. I can take whatever you can dish out. You just concentrate on having our baby.”


She nodded. “Can you believe it? We’re going to be parents soon.”


“I can’t wait to meet him.” he said.


“Or her.”, she answered with a mock glare.


“Or her.” he agreed his eyes twinkling.


“Whichever it is they will be a miracle. I can’t wait to meet them.” she said.


The nurse came in and checked her progress. “I’ll get the doctor. I think you’ll be going to delivery soon.”


The doctor came in as she was in the middle of another contraction. When it was over he checked her and gave her a nod. “You’re fully dilated. Lets get you into delivery.”


Once in the delivery room, the nurse rearranged the leads to the baby and his wife and gave him a once over to make sure he was gowned and masked. She patted him on the shoulder and with a wink at his wife asked, “Are you ready to meet your little miracle?”


He nodded, his eyes looking around the room nervously.


The nurse gave a small laugh. “It will be fine. Your job is the easy one. Just make sure your wife breathes properly, and let her know you are with her.” With a look at his wife she said solemnly, “Any threats of violence to your husband will not be held against you.”


HIs wife smiled and then grimaced as another contraction began.


The doctor sat at the end of the table and told them he could see the baby’s head. “On the next contraction I want you to push.”


“Will if offend anyone if I say a quick prayer for a safe and easy delivery?” his wife asked.


The nurse gripped her hand and nodded. “You do whatever you want. If a contraction interrupts you I will take over for you.”


“Are you a Christian?”


“Yes I am.” The nurse said.


“So am I.”


The nurse looked up at her husband. “Are you?”


“Me and God have an understanding.”, he said.


Another contraction began and the doctor hunched down and told her to begin pushing.


She began to pray as she strained, and when her prayer faltered the nurse took over.


When the contraction eased, she looked at the nurse and smiled. “Thank you.”


“You’re welcome.” the nurse said. “You know, there is only one understanding you can have with God.” She said to her husband. “You are a sinner in need of a Savior. There is nothing you can do to save yourself. That’s why God sent His only Son to die for you. I’m sure you’ve heard it before.” She looked at his wife.


“He has.”, she panted as another contraction began. “Over and over.”


When the doctor told her to stop pushing she continued. “I”m so worried he will never accept Jesus as his Savior. What if Jesus comes back for His church and he is left to face the tribulation?”


The doctor cleared his throat loudly. “Could you ladies keep the preaching for a later time. Some of us are trying to deliver a baby.” He glared at the nurse. “If the patient wants you to pray, I can’t say anything about it, but the preaching had better stop right now.”


“Sorry doctor.”, the nurse said, her eyes misting.


Another contraction swelled and the doctor gave the order to push. As she pushed her husband supported her, gripping her hand. The nurse held her other hand and prayed softly in her ear.


“Push!” the doctor said again. He reached out toward the baby as the head fully emerged when his patients husband slammed into him.


Falling back off the stool, he cursed as he heard a screams.


“Where is she?”


“What happened?”


The doctor pushed himself up off the floor and shoved at his patients husband. “Get off of her!” he shouted.


The husband pushed himself up and looked down at the empty table. He looked to the other side and saw the nurse was gone.


“Everyone shut up!” the doctor shouted.


The screams stopped and the room when still. On the floor next to the table a pile of clothes lay, and on the table the gown lay empty.


The leads to the baby’s heart monitor sounded a long beep as well as his wife’s. He frantically pulled at the gown and looked under the table.


They were gone. His wife and baby were gone, along with the nurse.


That’s when he knew.
 

ZAGS

Member
She watched the children playing as hymns were piped into the room from the speakers. She loved the days she volunteered at the nursery held at the local church. Never having had children of her own, she enjoyed being a “mother” for a few hours twice a week.
She looked at the younger woman who was her fellow volunteer for the day and smiled. “They are so precious.” she said as she watched one toddler blow kisses to another.
“Yes they are.” the younger woman agreed. “Precious gifts from God.”
Inwardly she groaned and stopped short of rolling her eyes at the woman’s statement. She pasted on a smile and nodded. “They sure are.”
The younger woman scooped up a toddler who was about to throw a block at another child and nuzzled his hair. “It’s not nice to throw things at people.” she said as she gently took the block from the chubby hand. The boy looked up at her and with a toothy grin said, “Not nice.”
She set the boy down next to a large stuffed bear. The boy immediately grabbed the bear and hugged it tight.
Both women spent the next hour playing with the children, singing to them, then giving them their snacks in preparation of nap time.
After dimming the lights the younger woman began reading the story of Jonah and the whale. Children yawned as their eyes drooped and one by one they fell asleep.
As quietly as possible the two women moved to a table in the corner of the room and sat.
As soon as they were seated the younger woman began with her ‘church’ talk.
“My Bible class is studying the Tribulation.” she whispered. “It’s fascinating and frighting. I’m so glad I have accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and I won’t have to go through it aren’t you?” Without waiting for an answer she looked over at the children. “Can you imagine how scared and sad the parents of kids who are taken in the Rapture will be?”
For the better part of an hour she listened to the younger woman talk about Jesus coming back for HIs church and what the world would face during the Tribulation.
When the first child began stir she quickly interrupted the younger woman and said, “I’m going to take her to the little girls room.”
With a nod the younger woman smiled and went to another child who was stirring.
When she got into the restroom she thought of how nice it was that the church had child size toilets so she didn’t have to stand and hold the kids as they did their business.
As she waited she sent a silent thanks to the child for getting her out of the younger woman’s ‘sermon’.
She began to think of what she needed to do when she left the church. She needed to go by the grocery store and get something for dinner, and she was definitely going to swing by the liquor store for a bottle of wine. After listening to all the churchy talk she deserved as glass or two of wine. She would run a bubble bath and sip her wine while listening to her kind of music, not they hymns that were piped into the nursery all day. As she mentally selected her playlist, she realized the child was unusually quiet.
She looked over at the toilet and saw the child had taken off their clothes and left the room while she mentally planned her evening. “Oh no.” she muttered. She quickly gathered the clothes and rushed out of the restroom into the dim nursery. She looked for the younger woman and not seeing her began looking for the child. She walked around the mats and looked in the toy area expecting to find the child there.
Not seeing the child she looked at the small library of children books. She wasn’t there either. She looked back at the mats and saw she wasn’t there either. The she noticed another empty mat with the blanket tossed to the side. She tiptoed over to pick up the blanket before another child awoke and possibly tripped over it. She reached down and picked it up the realized it wasn’t a blanket, but a sweater. She held the sweater and wondered why the other volunteer had dropped it to the floor.
Then she saw the pants and shoes.
“What in the world?” she muttered as a sick feeling began to build in her stomach.
She looked around the dim room and not seeing the other woman, quickly went to the light and turned it on fully.
All the mats were empty. She went to the nearest mat and pulled the blanket back. She saw the child's clothing, but the child was missing.
She went to the next mat and discovered the same thing. She went back to the pile of the younger woman clothes and saw not only her pants and shoes, but a ring, watch, what looked like… what was that small piece of metal? She picked it up and looked closely. A filling? Was it a filling from a tooth?
She fell to her knees. NO! It couldn’t be! She heard screaming and realized the sound was coming from her own throat.
She got up and stumbled back until she bumped into the table she and the younger woman had been sitting at. She looked down and saw the Bible.
That’s when she knew.
 

ZAGS

Member
The wedding had been beautiful, and the reception dinner had gone off without a hitch. There had been speeches, laughter, tears and great food. As the sun had set and the moon rose there had been fireworks which everyone had ooh’d and ahh’d over.


Now the dancing had been going on for hours and the bride and groom were holding each other close their smiles wide.


She impatiently waited for her baby sister, the bride, to have a free moment so they could have a private word.


With a wave she motioned to her sister and the bride made her way over.


They stood silent for a moment looking at each other. Finally they hugged and tears swam in both women’s eyes as they held tight.


The bride stepped back and they both laughed as they dabbed at their tears.


“You look beautiful.” she told her sister.


She laughed and waved her hand in a dismissive manner. “Thanks, but I want to see if you’ve thought about what we talked about last night.”


She nodded, “I have.”


“So did you do it?”


“Do what?”


The bride blew her breath out in exasperation. “Pray. Confess to Jesus that you are a sinner and need Him to save you. You know, the sinners prayer.”


She hesitated, and saw her sister’s eyes dim in disappointment. “Not yet, I still need to think about it.”


The bride took a breath and exhaled slowly. “I love you big sis, but you are analyzing this way too much. I’ve told you everything you need to know, including that some day Jesus will come for His church…”


“I know, I know, the rapture. But He’s not going to come before you get back from your honeymoon.”


“That’s the thing sis, no one but God knows the day or the hour. Not even Jesus knows when. He told his disciples that.”


“Really?” she asked.


Their baby brother came up and threw his arms around the bride and gave her a big hug. “Will you dance with me?” he asked his eyes full of innocence and love.


“Of course. Just give me a second.” the bride said smiling at her brother. She looked back to her big sister, “Not a single prophecy needs to be fulfilled before Jesus comes back for His bride, the church.”


“Jesus saved me! He will take me to heaven when He comes back!” He smiled his eyes shining, “Jesus loves me!” their brother said loudly.


“Yes He does..” the bride said as she gently brushed his hair out of his eyes.


“Jesus saves! Jesus saves!” he sang as he grabbed the bride by the hand and pulled her toward the dance floor.


Her heart contracted hard as she looked at her brother, remembering the day of the accident almost twenty years before. They had almost lost him when a drunk driver had hit him while he was riding his bicycle. The head trauma had been massive and it had been a long and difficult recovery, but he had physically recovered, if not mentally. The doctors had said he would remain childlike for his remaining years, and he was. Childlike and innocent, so loving and precious, he was a bright light to all who knew him.


“She preaching at you?” her older brother said as he stopped next to her. Her other sister was with him and added, “She cornered me yesterday.”


“She means well.” she defended.


“I know.” he brother said. “She’s got me thinking.”


“She does?”, her other sister asked.


Their brother nodded. “She got mom a couple of days ago. Now she’s reading her Bible and talking about going to church. Asked me if I was saved yet, and if I would go with her on Sunday.”


Both sisters looked at each other wide eyed. “Mom wants you to go to church with her. Where?”


“Baby sis told mom her and her new hubby’s church was great. The preacher was Bible based and doesn’t water things down.” he said.


“Are you going?” she asked.


“Maybe.” he shrugged.


An hour later the two sisters were helping the bride out of her wedding gown into her traveling clothes.


“So, I heard you got Mom to think about going to church.” she said.


The bride smiled. “Did Mom tell you?”


She shook her head.


“Our big brother?” the bride said with a laugh. “She had me pray with her a couple of days ago. It was wonderful.”


Her other sister rolled her eyes. “So have you hit up dad and the step monster?”


“Don’t call her that.”, the bride admonished.


Both of her sisters looked at her their eyebrows raised.


The bride gave a loud sigh. “Yes, I have talked to dad and our step mom.”


“And?” both sisters asked.


“I think dad is thinking about it.”


“But step monst... er I mean step mom isn’t”


The bride chewed her lip, “No. She got up and left.”


“Well, you can’t say you didn’t try.”


“I’ll keep praying for her and all of you.”


Half an hour later the groom was waving to his bride that they needed to leave.


She quickly hugged her brothers and her dad, his wife, her other sister then her mother.


Then she stopped and grasped her sisters hands. “Promise me you’ll call if you have any more questions.”


“I will.”


“With the way things are going in the world, you need to make a decision…”


“Would you stop worrying.” she said interrupting the bride. “Jesus isn’t going to come back this second. I just need to think on it some more.”


“I’m sorry I keep hound


She stood there her hands hanging in midair.


She blinked hard as she saw her sisters clothes drop to the floor in front of her. Then she heard the screams. She turned and looked around. There were people screaming, some with their hands over their mouths, some crying.


Her fists clenched hard and she felt something dig into her palm. She looked and saw her sisters engagement and wedding ring.


She heard her stepmother shrieking and turned to see her father with his hand clenched over his heart. He collapsed and she rushed over.


“No!! No!! Daddy! No!!!”


Her brother started CPR and she dropped to her knees next to him. “Don’t let him die!!”


“Daddy!” She saw her other sister drop to the ground on the other side of their father. “Don’t die!! Someone call an ambulance!!”


Two hours later they sat in the emergency room, their step mother sobbing uncontrollably. Their father had died, their baby sister had vanished along with her husband and most of his family. Their brother and mother were also among the missing. Their eyes met. Tears gathered, and fell.


She looked at her baby sisters wedding rings, the light glinting off the diamond.


They all knew.
 

ZAGS

Member
The guards watched as the prisoners crowded together.


One guard raised an eyebrow at another and the two shook their heads and waited while a third walked away.


After a few moments the guard returned with the hose and with relish the three watched as the icy water doused those in the crowd.


The prisoners continued to crowd together as they were soaked, not one of them moving to avoid the spray.


With a shrug the guard tossed the hose to the floor.


The other two waited as he shut off the stream and then unlocked the cell and walked in as three more guards took position outside the cell.


One guard grabbed a shivering man by the arm and swung him around.


“What will it take to get you people to stop praying and singing to your God?”


The man stood silent as the guard gave him a shove. The other prisoners continued to pray quietly, some of them dropping to their knees, praying for deliverance.


Prisoners in other cells noticing the activity began to shout, banging on their cell bars, and climbing up them to get a better view.


The guards outside the cell made halfhearted attempts to quiet the other prisoners, then gave up and turned to watch their fellow guards as they shoved the prisoner back and forth between them.


The emaciated prisoner remained silent through the abuse and when the guards finally grew tired of their game he fell to the floor and crawled back toward the circle of prisoners. He then began to pray again with his brothers in Christ.


With sneers on their faces the guards left the cell, banging the door shut behind them.


“Do not give them food for three days.”, the head guard instructed as he walked away.


The guards moved away from the cell, but one remained behind, staring at the huddled group of prisoners.


One of the prisoners met his eyes, his voice carrying over to him. “…forgive them. We know they are blinded by the evil of this world. We pray that you will remove the scales from their eyes as you did the apostle Paul’s and they will come to repentance. Please let us continue to love our tormentors with Christ’s love. We pray that Your grace and peace will see us through this time of trial and we will be soon be set free, either through Your Son coming for His church, or even through death, for we know to absent from the body is to be present with You.”


The guard continued to listen to the prayers and in spite of himself began to wonder if what they believed could be true. He wanted to ask the men why they were so certain that their God would call them to heaven in what they called the rapture, but knew if he was overheard he would be imprisoned with them. He also wanted to know how they could know they would go to be with their God when they died. He envied them their certainty, and their lack of fear of death. He turned his back to the cell and walked away hoping none of the other guards had noticed that he had stayed behind.


As the hours passed and the guard made his rounds, he could hear some of the men praying and singing, while others slept, and others sat silently, watching him each time he passed by their cell.


He ended his shift and went to the dormitory to get some rest. As he slept he dreamed of the men in that cell, singing and praying.


He jerked awake as a siren began to shriek in alarm. He quickly got up and dressed. As he ran from his room he saw other guards running down the hall toward the prison. He reported to his superior and was instructed to go and regain order, and begin questioning prisoners in the cells near where the Christian prisoners were held.


He arrived to chaos in the cells. Some prisoners were looking confused while others were banging on their bars, some had their hands over their ears as the tried to block out the sound of the alarm. Some were looking panicked, and others were openly weeping.


He quickly grabbed the hose as another guard joined him and together they began to hose down the prisoners. He turned toward the cell holding the Christians and saw the cell was empty. He felt his heart jerk and fear began to course through his mind.


The hose he held continued to spray icy water as he dropped it while he stared spellbound at the empty cell.


“How did they escape?” the other guard shouted as he reached for the locked door. He quickly unlocked it and walked into the cell, his flashlight scanning the walls. He turned to his fellow guard who stood shocked. “We need to begin interrogating the other prisoners.”, as he left the cell and pushed passed the seemingly catatonic guard.


“How did they escape?” he shouted as he unlocked another cell and grabbed a prisoner.


The prisoner was weeping as he shook his head, “They disappeared.”


The guard backhanded the prisoner. “They didn’t just disappear.”, he snarled as the man lay on the floor his hand cradling his injured face. He grabbed another prisoner and slapped him while asking him the same question. “How did they escape?”


The other guard finally stirred. He turned and looked at the prisoner on the floor.


“They were there, singing and praying.”, the prisoner said, his eyes wide with terror. “Then they were gone.”


The guard stood staring at the prisoner, seeing the truth in the man’s eyes. He slowly turned and looked at the empty cell, then back to the prisoner.


That’s when he knew.
 

ZAGS

Member
The sun was high in the sky as they made their way down the beach. The teenagers dropped their towels and raced for the waves breaking on the sandy shoreline.

One girl sighed with happiness as she floated on her back, grateful they had the day to do whatever they wanted.

She looked over to her best friend and smiled as she turned over and swam toward her.

“Glad you came now?” her friend asked.

“Yes.”, she said with a grudging smile.

“I knew you would.”, her friend said with a playful smirk.

“Coming here will look great on collage applications.”, she said just to goad her friend.

A spray of water hit her in the face, and she laughed. “Okay! Okay!”, she laughed as spun around in the water to avoid another spray of water. “Helping build the school for the kids has been…”, she paused as she searched for the words to express how she felt.

Her friend looked at her as she waited for her to finish her thought.

“Fulfilling?.”, she shook her head. “I don’t know…” she trailed off. “I just see the kids smiling and crying with happiness over a school and it makes me realize how lucky we are, you know.”

Her friend nodded. “We are truly blessed to live in a country where we take something so mundane as a school building for granted.”

The two girls made their way toward shore and laid out their towels to bask in the sun with the other three girls who were helping with the building project.

They talked about the children and the progress made on the school as they watched the three boys in their group tossing a frisbee.

The boys waved the girls over, encouraging them to join in. The other three girls jumped up and ran to join the boys, while the two friends remained behind content to laze about in the sun.

Sitting up, she gazed out at the rolling waves as she picked absently at a string on her towel. “Doesn’t it scare you?”

Her friend turned her head and looked at her.”What?”

“All the end of the world stuff.” she said, still staring at the water.

Her friend slowly sat up. She was silent for several moments as she gathered her thoughts.

“I used to be. When our pastor first started preaching about it I was terrified. All the judgements, how they would get worse, how people would suffer, the anti-christ, satan coming down to earth, the mark, the beheading of Christians. Yeah, I was terrified. In a way I still am.”

“You are?”, her friend turned to her in surprise.

“Not for myself, but for my family and friends who will have to go through it if they don’t accept Jesus as their Savior before the rapture happens. I don’t want anyone I love to go through any of that.” She paused as she glanced at her friend. “The thought of anyone I love living during the tribulation without Jesus terrifies me. If they were to die in one of the judgements…” , she stopped speaking and tears filled her eyes.

“Don’t cry.”, her friend said, reaching out and wrapping her arm around her shoulder and giving her a quick hug. “I’m thinking about it, I promise. It’s a big decision. I have to be sure.”

The two friends sat quietly as they stared at the rolling waves.

“Lets go for a swim.”

“Okay.”, she said wiping at her tears.

As she swam she thought about everything she had heard over the last few weeks.

Could it be real? Could He be real? Could a man who had lived over two thousand years ago loved her so much that he had died such a cruel death for her.

She turned and floated on her back, the waves rolling under her then lifting and rocking her gently. It soothed her as her thoughts circled back to her friend.

She seemed so sure. Her belief was absolute. In the three years they had been friends, not once had she even wavered in her faith.

Suddenly her mind caught on that one word, faith. It meant belief, trust, confidence.

Her friend had all that in Jesus. She had joy, calm, conviction. Even when people taunted her she had that.

Sure she got hurt when people made fun of her, even angry sometimes. But then she would pray for those same people. She had heard it herself.

“The darkness hates the Light.” She remembered her friend telling her after a group of girls at school had taunted her for her drawing of a crown of thorns during their art class. She had wanted to rage at the bullies and hit them, but her friend had told her simply, “The darkness hates the Light.” Then she had heard her friend praying softly for those girls.

She jolted. It hadn’t just been the last few weeks, it had been three years her friend had been telling her about Jesus’s love for her, not just telling her, but showing her. The love her friend had for her was not only her love, but Jesus’s love.

And she wanted it. She wanted it all. She wanted that conviction, that faith.

“Please Jesus, please help me, save me.” she whispered as tears fell from the corners of her eyes. “I need You.” Something deep inside her broke open.

She quickly turned to find her friend and saw her several yards away. She needed her to tell her how to pray for Jesus to save her.

As she dove under the water to swim toward her friend she heard it. A loud trumpet and then her name.

Thats when she knew.
 

ZAGS

Member
He glanced at the clock. 8:49pm. Good he thought to himself as he put down the six pack of cola and the bag of chips he had brought to his room. Sitting down in front of his gaming console he checked around his room to make sure he had everything he needed.
He heard his parents downstairs talking softly, probably about him, he thought grimly.
“I have a real job.”, he muttered. “Gaming is a job. I win money all the time.” And if he won this tournament he would win $500 he thought to himself. That will pay two months rent.
With a sneer and a growl he grabbed a cola and opened the tab.
“I can’t believe they want me to pay rent. So what if I told them I’m not going back to college next semester, they’re my parents. They should understand that college isn’t for me. They should support my decision to be a professional gamer.”
He looked at the clock again as he took a sip of the cola. 8:52pm. He quickly logged into the game. He waited and soon all of his online friends joined him.
Well, not all. There was one who wouldn’t be playing in this tournament. He was off building a school somewhere with his churchy friends.
He laughed shortly thinking about his friend trying to talk him into going on that trip. The last thing he wanted to do was spend his time surrounded by people preaching to him about how he needed Jesus to save him.
He slipped his headphones and mic on hearing his friends talking strategy.
At 9:00pm he and his friends started playing.
Hours later he sat back and slipped his headphones off. He got up and headed for the bathroom and then to the kitchen. He saw it was a little past 1:00am and hurriedly grabbed a burrito and tossed it in the microwave. As he waited for it to heat he saw his mothers open Bible sitting on the kitchen island, her prayer list next to it. He saw his name and his little sisters, some neighbors and other people he didn’t know. She had noted next to each name what she was praying for each person. Next to his and his sisters was the word Salvation.
He snorted when he saw at the bottom of the list was Jesus to return for His church.
He looked at the Bible and the header to one of the chapters caught his eye so he stopped and read it.

The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age

3
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for [a]all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The microwave beeped and he stood for a moment thinking about what he had read. “Weird.”, he said. I almost read like a news anchor on tv he thought. Shaking his head he opened the microwave and grabbing his food headed back upstairs.
Back in his room he quickly ate then popped open another soda, put his headphones and mic back on. “I’m back.”, he said reaching for his controller, then hearing his friends check in they started their next round.
At a little past three am he heard his sister stumbling down the hall. Since he was waiting for his next round he got up and opened his bedroom door.
“Mom and Dad are going to kill you.”
His sister jumped and then glared at him. “Shhhh! If you wake them up I will kill you.”
He shrugged and grinned. “So did you and lover boy have a nice time at the party?”
His sister nodded, then shook her head. “I think I drank too much.”
“You always do. I think you have a problem.” he joked.
“Shut up.”, his sister slurred as she staggered to her bedroom door. After fumbling with the knob, she finally got the door open and lurched into her room.
He shook his head and started to close his bedroom door then remembered he was out of soda.
He hurried to the kitchen and saw his brand of soda was gone. With a shrug he grabbed a few cans of his sisters brand and set it on the island next to his moms Bible. He grabbed some leftover pizza and put it in the microwave. As he waited he glanced at the Bible and again his attention was caught.

No One Knows the Day or Hour

36
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of [f]heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what [g]hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what [h]hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

He rolled his eyes and grabbed his pizza and soda then headed back upstairs. As he topped the stairs he heard sirens in the distance.
Two hours later he threw his controller with a curse.
He had lost! He couldn’t believe it. He was out of the tournament.
“Sorry man.”, he heard his opponent say. He reached up and yanked his headphones and mic off.
“Sorry man.”, he sneered. “If you were in front of me, I’d make you sorry!” he said angrily.
He stood up and stomped his way to his bed and threw himself on it. He fumed as he thought of how his parents would act when he told him he didn’t have the money for his ‘rent’.
As he played the scenario in his head his eyes grew heavy and he fell asleep.
He woke up and with a groan sat up. He rubbed his eyes and saw that is was almost 2:00 in the afternoon. He flopped back on his bed and began to get angry about the tournament all over again. He was going to have to find a way to get some money. He thought for a moment and then smiled.
His sister would be in deep trouble for staying out way past her curfew and coming home drunk. He could get some money from her to keep his silence.
Nodding he sat up and headed for the shower.
After he showered, he went to his sisters bedroom and opened the door. He saw her curled up on the bed and walked over and threw open the curtains. He let out a shrill whistle and laughed as his sister bolted up in bed.
“Here’s the deal, you pay me a hundred bucks and I’ll tell mom and dad I heard you come in around midnight. If you don’t pay me I’ll tell them what time you did stagger in the house, drunk!”
His sister glared at him. “That’s blackmail!”, then she reached up and grabbed her head. “Ohhh. My head.”
“That’s the deal, take it or leave it.”, he said loudly. “Mom and Dad will ground you for at least a month, especially when I tell them about that looser you’ve been secretly dating.”
His sister jerked her hands from her head and paled, “You can’t tell them about him. They’ll ground me for life.”
The doorbell rang and he shrugged. “You have until I get back to make up your mind.”
He turned and left to answer the door as the doorbell peeled again.
As he passed his bedroom door he heard his phone chime that a text had come in. He quickly grabbed his phone and headed down the stairs.
He glanced at the phone and saw an emergency alert on the screen, along with a message, ‘Are you still here?’
“What?” he said aloud as he opened the door to see a very ragged looking police officer. “Is there anyone missing in this household?”
“What?”
“Are all occupants of this house accounted for?” the officer asked again.
“Uh, me and my sister are the only ones at home right now. Our parents are at work. They won’t be home until 5:30 or 6:00.” he said confused.
“Son, there has been a mandatory stay at home order since it happened. If your parents tried to go to work today, they would have been sent straight back home unless they are police, hospital personnel, fire, paramedic, or military. If they are any of those, you should know they won’t be home any time soon with the state of things.”
He blinked at the officer. “What?”
“With all the disappearances all those personal were called in to try to help stem the chaos. Heaven only knows when any of us will get to go home.”
“Disappearances?”
“The disappearances!”, the officer shouted. “Millions of people just up and vanished into thin air. Haven’t you been watching the news. It’s on every media platform on the planet!”
“What?!”, He said confused, a ball of panic building in his stomach. He looked back down at his phone to the emergency alert. He quickly swiped it and read.
The officer shook his head. “At approximately 3:00 am millions of people vanished all over the world. Planes crashed, cars wrecked, trains derailed, even a cruise ship ran ashore. Its”
He turned and sprinted up the stairs and down the hall to his parents bedroom. He threw open the door and rushed in.
The bed was unmade. His mom always made the bed. He could see the indent of their heads on the pillows. He walked over and pulled the covers back. He saw his mothers nightgown first. Then he saw his fathers pajama bottoms, then his eyes went back to his mothers side of the bed. He saw her necklace lying slightly under the pillow and her wedding ring on top of the nightgown where her palm would have lain cross her stomach.
He stumbled back a step.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. “Son, is this a normal state for your parents to leave things?”
“No, mom always makes the bed. Always.”
“So I can assume your parents are among those who vanished?”

40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.

It popped into his head.
“You said millions of people all over the world just vanished?”, he asked the officer weakly.
“Yes. Now are you sure they aren’t somewhere in the house.”
“If they couldn’t go to work they would be in the living room in front of the tv watching the news.” He turned and going down the stairs stopped to looked at the empty room, then beyond to the kitchen. “They’re gone.”, he said softly.
“Are you certain?” the officer asked.
He looked at the open Bible on the kitchen island and said “Yes.”
The officer took his parents names and place of employment just in case with instructions to notify the police in a few days if they showed up then left.
He didn’t know how long he had been standing at the bottom of the stairs when his sister screamed and came tearing down the stairs.
“They’re gone!!” she shouted at him. She shoved her phone with the news banner running across the screen.

Millions Vanish Without A Trace!!

“Mom and dad are gone! I checked their room. The bed…” she let out a sob.
“I know.”, he said.
“Where are they?” his sister half shouted, half sobbed, but he could tell from the look in her eyes that she knew, just like him, but didn't want to believe it.
He walked over to his mother’s Bible and picked it up.
They had heard about the rapture of the church their whole lives.
He held the Bible and looked at his sister.
She shook her head in denial.
He nodded.
Her legs gave out and she dropped to the floor. He walked over and dropped in front of her the Bible still in his hand. He touched her shoulder and she dove into his arms. They held each other tightly and cried because they knew.
 

ZAGS

Member
She kissed her fingertips and pressed them to the cool stone.

“I miss you my love.”, she whispered. “I’ll see you soon.”

Turning she headed toward her car, walking through the cemetery, thinking about her late husband.

Had it really been three years? It seemed as if only a few months had passed and in some ways it seemed so much longer. She missed talking to him, laughing with him, and she even missed arguing with him.

She got into the car and started it. The light on the dashboard lit up, reminding her she needed to get the oil changed. “I’ll have to remember to call and get an appointment when I get home.” she murmured to herself.

She drove home slowly, cars honking and passing her, some drivers giving her a vulgar gesture because of her slow speed. She said a silent prayer for those particularly rude motorists.

She made it home and parked in the garage. Getting out of the car she dropped her purse and items spilled out. With a groan she bent and picked them up. At seventy six years old, it seemed a monumental task.

Walking into the house, she put her purse away and checked her answering machine. No messages.

She sighed and looked around the silent house.

She went to the kitchen and fixed herself a light dinner and sat down to eat. Once finished she washed her dishes and went to the living room and sat. She picked up her phone and dialed her daughter. After two rings it went to voice mail.

“Hello dear, this is Mom. I was just calling to tell you that I love you and miss you. Please call me when you get a moment.” She hesitated then added, “Please call me. I haven’t seen or heard from you since your Dad’s funeral. Three years is too long to be angry at me.” Her voice broke. “Please know that I love you and would love to hear from you.”

She ended the call and sat staring at the phone in her hand. With a sigh she put the phone down and quickly tidied up the house, made sure the doors were locked, and picked up her phone and went to her bedroom. She set the phone on the nightstand and went to bathe.

Once in her nightgown and robe she sat in the chair in the corner picked up her Bible off of the small table next to her and placed her hands on the cover. She bowed her head and began to pray.

“Father, thank you for another day. Please be with my daughter, soften her heart toward You. Help her come to You for salvation and comfort. It hurts me to see her so filled with hate and anger toward You. She needs you so Lord. I fear that she will become so hard hearted that she will be lost to You forever. Please put someone in her path that will lead her to You. If it be me, then use me as You will. If it be someone else, let them be used by You for Your glory.” Tears rolled down her face as she prayed. “Let Your will be done Father. I place her in Your hands". She continued to pray for several more minutes then finished, "Thank You for all that You do for me, thank You for Jesus, HIs love and sacrifice. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”

She got up pulled off her robe and laid it on the end of the bed and climbed into bed and closed her eyes to sleep.

She was soundly asleep when she heard a loud trumpet and shout. Then she was flying upward to heaven her eyes on her savior Jesus.

Thats when she knew.
 

ZAGS

Member
She looked down at her cell phone and hit ignore.


“Who was that?”, her fiancé asked.


“My mother.”, she said with a grimace.


He shook his head. “I still don’t understand why you’re so angry with her. So your dad’s funeral was in a church with church songs and a sermon. Big deal.”


“It’s not what he wanted. He wanted a graveside service with no…”, she waved her hands around, “religious stuff.”


“But your mom told you he got saved before he went in for his bi-pass.”


“My dad was a man of science. He didn’t believe in that religious mumbo jumbo. He had the heart attack and my mother panicked so he told her what she wanted to hear just to shut her up so he could have some peace before his surgery.”


“Maybe, or maybe he really did get saved.”, he said. “You don’t know, you weren’t there.”


She glared at him. “When mom called me she said he had a ‘mild’ heart attack. I made plans to go visit that weekend. I couldn’t just drop everything that second.” She clenched her fists. “And I’m not psychic, how was I supposed to know he would have a second attack and have to have emergency surgery and die on the table.


“Okay, okay.”, her fiancé said holding up his hands in surrender. “I’m sorry. Let’s just drop it and enjoy the reception. Your friend really pulled out all the stops for her wedding.”


“Okay.”, she agreed. She grabbed a glass of champagne from a passing waiter. “Let’s dance.”


A few minutes later she ran into the bride. “Hey!”, the bride greeted, a huge smile on her face.


“Hi!.”, she said as she gave the bride a hug. “The ceremony was lovely and this reception is fantastic!”


She introduced her fiancé, and the two shook hands. The three chatted for a few moments about the wedding and reception when the bride asked her, “How is you mom doing?”


She shrugged, “She’s okay I guess. She calls me at least three times a week.”


The bride tilted her head. “She’s okay. You guess?”


She was saved from having to explain when the groom came up and told the bride it was time to cut the cake.


“Whew.”, she said as the two went toward the huge cake. “That would have been awkward.”


“Why?”, her fiancé asked.


“Because my mom is the reason she”, she indicated the bride, “is so religious.”


“Really?”, he asked.


“Yes. We were roommates my freshman year in college and she went home for a visit with me. She and my mom got to talking and next thing you knew, mom had her on the Jesus wagon. I still can’t believe she didn’t react to my mom the way all my other friends did.”


“How do you mean.”


She looked at him. “Like she’s a religious nut bag.”


He just stared at her quizzically.


“When I was younger my mom was the cool mom. My friends would come over and we had so much fun. We would stay up late listening to music, dancing, running around, had our boyfriends come over, you know that kind of stuff. She was the cool mom who let us have fun. Then my junior year in high school she found religion and suddenly no more cool mom. She was the crazy lady who cornered all my friends and tried to get them saved. It got to the point the none of my friends wanted to go to my house. Well, except my boyfriend my senior year. She got her hooks in him so much so that he decided instead of going to the same college as me he joined the military.”, she looked thoughtful. “Last I heard, he’s still in the military and is in special ops, or secret ops, or something like that. He goes places our government won’t admit to.”, she waved her hands dismissively. “Anyway he got as crazy about church as my mom so I broke it off with him when he left for boot camp.”


“I don’t think it’s bad if someone goes to church.”, her fiancé said. “If it makes them happy let them do what they want.”


“It’s not just about going to church.”, she said. “It’s about her harping on about Jesus coming back for all the Christians. The Rapture of the Church she calls it. ‘No one knows when it will happen, so you need to be ready’. She goes on and on about it. That’s why you haven’t met her yet. I want to spare you that for as long as possible. Just you wait. When you meet her she’ll tell you all about it.”


He smiled. “So that’s why I haven’t met her yet. You don’t want her to convert me.”


Suddenly screams filled the air. They looked around and saw complete pandemonium. People in shock, and panic running everywhere. People shouting names, others crying holding clothes.


Someone was screaming for an ambulance, and she saw the brides sister rushing toward her father.


An hour later they left the reception hall and saw the carnage on the highway. Cars smashed, people milling around dazed as they tried to comprehend what had happened.


As her fiancé drove slowly in the madness that had ensued, she listened to the radio.


Millions vanished in an instant all over the world. The results of the disappearances were catastrophic throughout the globe. Thousands upon thousands of deaths due to the chaos brought on by the disappearances.


Her hands shaking she tried calling her mother. “Pick up mom. Please pick up.” She waited to hear her mom’s voice. The call went to voicemail. With a muffled cry, she redialed her mom.


Her fiancé pulled the car over and laid his head on the steering wheel and began to sob.


“Pick up Mom!!”, she shouted. “Pick up!!” When the call again went to voice mail she angrily stabbed at the phone with her finger to redial.


Her fiancé took the phone from her, tossed it on the dash and grabbed her hands squeezing them hard. “You know she isn’t going to answer.”, he said as he cried.


“It’s late. She’s in bed asleep and can’t hear the phone.”, she insisted trying to jerk her hands free.


He shook his head, “No, you know she isn’t going to answer.”


“Stop it. Let me go!!”, she shouted.


He fiancé jerked her hands to get her attention. “Tell me what every person who disappeared at the reception had in common. The bride and groom. Her mother, his family, other people we saw were gone. What were some people crying and screaming?! What does your mother have in common with them.”


She shook her head wildly in denial.


But she knew…
 

ZAGS

Member
He wanted to put his hands over his ears and block out the sounds of all the crying, laughing and screaming. He wanted to shout at them all to just shut up.


Some days he really hated his job. He hated it the most when he had to do this job.


All day he had been listening to the laughing, crying and screaming of the little brats. He really, really hated running the rides for the little kids.


It was a mini roller coaster for crying out loud, he thought. It didn’t even got above six feet, and wasn’t fast yet the little brats screamed and cried, snot running, tears rolling. He rolled his eyes in disgust.


He hated them.


He brought the ride to a halt and watched as parents gathered their spawn to them. Yeah, spawn was exactly what they were he thought as he forced a smile.


Looking at the line of waiting kids he inwardly groaned. Surreptitiously he checked his watch. His break wasn’t for another hour. He swore under his breath.


“Please don’t use that language in front of my daughter.” a female voice said softly.


He looked up to see a woman gazing at him, an eyebrow raised, but her eyes soft.


He started to apologize, it wouldn’t do to have her file a complaint with his supervisor, when he saw the necklace she wore. It was a small gold pendent in the shape of a book. it said Holy Bible with a cross underneath.


He felt the rage rise up, almost choking him. If there was one other kind of person he hated more than kids, it was her kind, Christians. Oh how he hated them.


His mother was one, and she had shoved church, Bible study, and prayer down his throat his whole childhood, until he had turned fourteen and told her he wasn’t going to do it anymore. He didn’t believe any of it, had no need for it and it was all a bunch of bologna.


After that his mother had hounded him to go with her to church with her, she had cried, begged, and even yelled at him.


“Sir?”, the woman said questioningly. “Are you okay?”


“Uh, yeah.”, he said, jolting back to the present. “Ticket.”, he said brusquely.


She handed the ticket over and her daughter stepped through the gate and he pointed her to a bright pink car. “Get on in and I’ll get you settled after the other kids are in their cars.”


“Thank you.”, the little girl, probably somewhere around five of six he figured said.


He nodded and then began taking tickets from the other parents. Once he had all the children assigned to cars he began the task of making sure each child was properly secured in the seats.


As he worked his mind drifted back to his own childhood.


He remembered that Sunday morning as if it were yesterday. His mother pulling on his hand trying to drag him out the door to go with her to church. Him yanking his arm free and her staggering back. The look of shock on her face as he yelled at her, cursing her church, her faith and God using every foul word he knew. Her face pale as tears filled her eyes. He remembered the feel of triumph as she has slowly turned and walked out the door, going to her church without him.


He went back to the controls, and glanced at the woman with the necklace that proclaimed her faith.


He started the ride, the kiddy music coming on, and with a perverse glee, pulled out his phone to called one of his friends. He used the foulest language he could as he conversed.


He looked directly at the woman with the Bible necklace, his eyes glittering with malice as she met his gaze. By her frown, he knew she could hear him as he loudly spoke a particularly foul assessment of one teenage girl that was passing by.
Then she was gone. Her clothes falling to the ground. He stopped speaking and blinked, staring at the clothes.


He felt a tug on his arms and then fingernails digging.


“Stop the ride!!” Stop the ride!!”, a woman screamed hysterically.


He shook his head as he saw another pile of clothes next to the fence, and then another further out.


They hysterical woman began tearing at his arm and he jerked his arm away as he became aware of the screams.


He looked over to the mini roller coaster and instead of seeing cars full of screaming, crying children, he saw nothing.


His hands shaking he stopped the ride. Parents pushed past him and ran to the cars. He saw them pick up articles of clothing. Turn and look around the empty cars. Some even looked under the cars and the tracks.


He heard a buzzing in his ears, he felt faint. He shook his head, rubbed his eyes, slapped himself, but still parents held their children clothes and screamed.


It can’t be, he thought as he walked to a pile of clothes. He dropped to his knees, and slowly put his hand out. He moved the clothes around until he found what he sought.


He held up the pendant, the sun glinting off of the little gold Bible with the cross.


He stayed on his knees as chaos erupted around him, staring at the pendant.


A tear fell, then another.


He thought of his mother, the anguish on her face as he cursed at her that long ago Sunday.


“Mommy…”, he whispered.


Several hours later he sat in a chair still holding the necklace as tears rolled down his face. It was true he thought, as news flashed across the television. Millions had disappeared in the blink of an eye all over the world. Men, women, children all vanished. He knew the amusement park had lost all the little children.


What his mother had believed, had preached at him about, prayed for, longed for had happened.


Jesus had come for His church.


He knew…
 

ZAGS

Member
She opened her eyes and noticed the sun shining in the window. She lay on the mattress for a few moments and then stretched, yawning wide.


She threw back the covers and sat up looking around the room. She saw most of the other girls were still abed, only one of the taken bunks empty.


She looked at the clock on the wall, then hurried to wake the other girls.


‘That’s weird.’, she thought to herself. Since arriving at the camp almost a month ago the counselors had woken them up at the heinous hour of 6:00am.


“Wake up.”, she said shaking one of the girls then turned to wake the rest.


“What?”, one of the girls moaned a she pulled the cover over her head.


“Get up, it’s almost ten o’clock.”


With a start the girl bolted out of bed and helped rouse the other girls.


“Where’s Kat?” one of the girls asked.


The other girls looked at the bunk Kat had taken and saw that it was rumpled but empty.


“She’s probably kissing up to the counselors.”


Quickly the other girls made their bunks and headed to the showers. After getting dressed they left the cabin and hurried to the main cabin. Rushing through the common area they made their way to the kitchen.


“Where is everybody?”, one of the girls asked.


“It’s probably some kind of test to see what we’ll do.”, the 17 year old said.


Shrugging the other girls agreed.


They set about fixing breakfast and had it ready in short order. They quickly ate and cleaned up.


“What now?”, one girl asked.


“I don’t know.”, the 16 year old said looking around.


The girls looked at each other, uncertain what to do.


The Bible based camp for teens was located in the mountains, had three counselors, one administrator and eight girls visiting, the girls age ranging from 13 to 17.


They headed to the common room and sat down on the couches and waited for one of the counselors to arrive. They talked for several minutes as they waited, but as time passed and no counselor arrived they got quiet.


“Lets go look for them.”, the oldest girl at 17 said.


“You two go look in the counselors cabin. You two look in the church, and you two look in the outdoor activities area. I’ll look in the administrator’s office.”


Forty-five minutes later, the girls were all back in the main cabin in the common room. All the girls reported that they had found no one, not a counselor, the administrator or their fellow teen Kat.


“Maybe it’s a free day.”, one girl speculated.


“I think they’re testing us to see what we do.”, another said.


“I don’t know what’s going on, but I say we stick to the schedule just in case it is a test.”, the 17 year old said.


They all agreed.


That night they want to bed, expecting a counselor to wake them at 6:00am.





Two days later the seven girls were in the administrators office trying to get into the computer.


“Try Jesus is Lord.”, one girl said.


“I already did. I’ve tried Holy Bible, Jesus is Lord, Jesus, Salvation, Church, I love Jesus,” she waved her hands around in an agitated manner, “nothing is working.”


“What about the phones?”


They had found the counselors and administrators cell phones and tried breaking into them, but so far none of them had succeeded.


“Who’s idea was it to password protect cell phones?”, one girl , who was 16 groused.


No one answered her and she turned to the 17 year old who was trying to get into the safe to get to her personal cell phone. “Any luck?”


The 17 year old slammed her palms against the safe. “No. This is so stupid. If this is some kind of test they are talking it way too far.”


That night as they sat eating dinner, they were quiet and unsettled. They went to bed each of them tossing and turning before falling into a fitful sleep.





When she was sure the others were asleep the 17 year old got up and left the cabin. She hurried to the administrators office. She went to the binder she had seen earlier in the day and picked it up.


She heard a noise behind her and spun around, the binder raised in front of her to use as a weapon. Heaving a sigh of relief she glared at the 16 year old. “Don’t sneak up on me like that. I almost had a heart attack!!”


“Sorry.”, the 16 year old held her hands up in a placating gesture.


Lowering the binder the 17 year old nodded. “It’s ok. I’m just jumpy I guess.”


The 16 year old indicated the binder. “I saw that earlier. I wanted to check it out.”


The 17 year old nodded, looking at the spine. For Those Who Have Been Left Behind.


She sat it on the desk and opened it. The two girls spent the next few hours reading.


When they were done they sat quietly for several minutes.


“The clothes were under the covers.”, the 16 year old said.


The 17 year old nodded. “All their jewelry, clothing, cell phones are still here. Nothing is missing that I can see.”


They lapsed into silence.


Finally the 16 year old said. “This can’t be real.”


“There’s only one way to find out.”, the 17 year old said, opening a drawer on the desk and grabbing a set of keys.





The next morning the seven girls got into the camp SUV and headed down the mountain. The 17 year old drove slowly, the 16 year old on the passenger seat next to her holding the binder. When they reached the main highway she turned onto it and accelerated. The nearest town was 35 miles away. As they drove they saw one vehicle off in the ditch. Then they saw another and another. The closer they got to town, more and more vehicles were off to the side of the road, most having been wrecked.


The first house they came to just outside of town they turned into the driveway. The girls go out of the car and went to the door. The man who answered looked haggard and scared.


The 17 year old spoke to him, explaining they had come from the camp for troubled teens. She told him about the counselors , administrator and Kats disappearing.


He ushered them into the house and pointed to the television. “It happened all over the world.”


As the girls watched the news the 16 and 17 year old looked at each other, their faces pale.


They knew…
 
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