Copyright (c) 2015 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
“…and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” Revelations 8/5
News of the unprecedented Parthenogenesis Conception had spread worldwide. Outside Mercy Hospital, television crews filmed the ever-expanding violent religious-protests and gave live updates.
Doctors from over two hundred different parts of the globe had flown into New York City. They all wanted to examine this medical miracle. Pediatrician Edward Dickens felt that his patient, John Bingham, had enough on his plate. However, in the interests of professional courtesy, Dr. Dickens had agreed to this question and answer session. Two officials from the American Medical Journal were also present. Once the visiting doctors were assembled in the hospital’s largest conference room, Dr. Dickens took a deep breath and prepared to astound his audience.
“My esteemed colleagues,” Dr. Dickens began. “I regret that each of you has not had the opportunity to examine the John Bingham personally but I hope the information provided to you by my assistants will be of help. As you can see from the latest ultra-sound images, the fetus is now sixteen weeks; three days, and twelve hours old. Both the patient and his unborn child are in stable condition.
An Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalike stood and introduced himself as Jonathan M. Wickers M.D. - a Pediatric Surgeon from South Africa, then asked “What we and other members of the World’s Medical Community are most interested in is how long before the fetus is aborted? We are running out of time. Does not New York State law prohibit discretionary termination after twenty-four weeks?”
A physician from France stood and agreed. “The sooner this unwanted child is destroyed the better. As you all know, our world is rapidly descending into chaos. Nous n'avons pas cette abomination à ajouter à nos problèmes (We don’t need this abomination to add to our problems).”
“Ladies and Gentlemen!” Doctor Dickens raised his hands and quieted the assembly. “Our medical team at Mercy Hospital has no plans at this time, or in the foreseeable future, to terminate this pregnancy without just cause.”
A chorus of angry protests greeted this statement. Just as Dr. Dickens restored order, George Gobalis a scientist working in London’s National Institute for Medical Research slapped his folder on the table. “The consensus of what’s left of this smoking world is that this so-called child will most likely carry with it the genetic capability to reproduce without sexual contact! How can we as humans hope to survive our present cataclysms if we allow this aberration to spread and destroy our very species?”
Two hours later the meeting broke up with half the world’s medical experts demanding death the other a wait-and-see approach. “I’ll never give in to those bastards!” Dr. Dickens told Obstetrician David James as they walked toward the cafeteria.
“You might not have any choice,” James told him. “I understand Senator Grossman from Kentucky has introduced legislation cutting off any funding to any federally-funded hospitals that engage in what he and other Republicans are calling Satanic Generation.”
“He’s just looking for enough votes for the Presidential nomination,” Dickens said as he picked up a copy of The New York Times from a table. Dual blazing headlines announced: ANKARA IN TURMOIL AFTER RUSSIAN NUCLEAR STRIKE! … ISRAEL INVADES EGYPT.
“And he may get them,” James replied as he placed a corn-beef sandwich on a plastic tray. “I understand Jason White has pledged support on behalf of all sixteen million members of his New World Church of The Divine Light … that’s a lot of hate and a lot of television ads.”
“If Texas and the other Bible-Belt states make good on their promise to succeed from the union, our divided country might once again need two Presidents.” Dickens threw the two day-old newspaper in a nearby trashcan.
“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” Revelations 9/1
Amna and Dani crept into John’s hospital room and woke him. “Dress quickly,” Amna told him. “Conner is waiting for us in the parking lot.”
“Is it morning?” A sleepy John Bingham glanced at the wall; a plastic digital-clock in the shape of a ghostly running white-horse read 4:19 A.M.
“Not for another two hours,” Amna replied, “…but it is time to go.”
Dani handed John the clothes she had brought for him and then turned her back while he dressed.
“What’s it like,” she asked, “… to have a baby in your stomach?”
John laughed. “It feels like when you’ve eaten too much in a Kosher Deli and the leg of lamb comes back and kicks you the next morning,” he said.
“I didn’t know you were Jewish,” Dani said. “How’s that going?” She remembered the furious Rabi on television denouncing homosexuality.
“Pretty good since I decided to became a Quaker,” John said as he tied his shoes. “It’s about the only religion left in the world that doesn’t punish you for loving all men as yourself.”
Amna opened the door and looked into the hallway. “By the grace of God, the nurses and the guards are all sleeping,” he said, “… but come … we should still use the stairs. We have a long way to go.”
Jason White sat at a table with Idaho Governor “Bob” Osman and Utah’s Larry Jennings and a box of Crispy Crème Donuts. “I’m sure as commanders of your own state militias you can understand my predicament,” he said. “We know Satan and his helpers have delivered the demon child safely into Oregon, probably onto Mount Hood itself.” White spooned extra sugar into his illegal Starbucks’ coffee. “Under our present treaty with California we are unable to advance west of the Cascade Mountains … but you people have no treaty with these troublesome liberal factions.”
“Support for this so-called son-of-man demon of yours has been pouring in from all over the world through the damn West Coast,” Osman said. Under universal treaty, none of us can use our nuclear arsenals. It will take at least ten divisions to assault your mountain. What’s in it for us?”
“A large piece of the pie,” White promised. He took a white folded cloth from his coat pocket and laid it on the table. ‘I have just signed an alliance with Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Georgia. Once the child is destroyed we can once again re-unite this country and assist our floundering over-seas brothers.”
“With you as President?” Jennings said.
“Of course,” White told them. “We might have to change the rules of nuclear engagement, but there will be riches beyond belief for the taking in my new order and I will need regional commanders; especially in Europe.”
“I hear most of Britain has been reduced to rubble.” Jennings unfolded the flag and looked at the blue lamb-design on a white background.
“All except for a few villages in the South,” White said. “Those people in Wales must lead charmed lives.”
“So this is the flag of Amna and those who follow him?”
“Yes,” White said. “I’ve had a thousand of these made. They are in a truck outside. What I want you to do while you are waiting for reinforcements, is capture a few innocent children and burn them alive in cages. Always make sure to film it for the media. Behead large numbers of Christians, especially those who hate homosexuals and minorities. Make sure this flag is flying prominently at all the places of highest carnage and senseless killing.”
Osman laughed. “Where did you learn such ruthless tactics,” he said.
“One of my Generals was a CIA chief in the Middle-East for years,” White said. “We know how to make our friends, and those who are unsure of our intentions, hate enemies of our choosing.”
“Give us time to consult with Arizona and Nevada,” Osman told him. “If they come on board, a few well-placed non-nuclear missile-strikes into the less affluent areas of Los Angeles should soften the liberals support for their radical northern neighbors. What’s a few dead Spics, Jews and Niggers? Then we can climb that mountain with minimal loss of resources … and chase away your so-called Devils.”
“Don’t tell me you actually believe all this religious garbage?” Jennings winked at the church leader.
“Religion has always been a treatment for fear,” White said. “People want to believe they are protected by a higher power.”
“And are they?” Osman reached for a donut.”
“As long as they are of use to me,” White snatched it from his hand, “… and as long as they will call me their God.”
“And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” Revelations 9/3
Amna watched as Conner and several others raised the blue emblem of the lamb on a newly erected flag pole in the early morning light just inside the natural compound high on the side of Mount Hood in Oregon State. Recent eruptions from the centuries-old dormant volcano kept aircraft from flying overhead. The old flag and pole had been completely riddled by automatic gunfire. “Your devotion to symbols is commendable,” Amna said. “But they are often used against us.”
“Thousands have died fighting for us at the base of the mountain,” Conner told him. “They need to see this as a sign … to know that the unborn Lamb of God is still safe.”
“For many centuries the weak have been slaughtered by those who carry crosses,” Amna said. “Great evil has been wrought on the world by those who rally to the banners of nations and not to the beating hearts of those who suffer.”
“Would you have us take this down?” Conner was asking without malice and was obedient.
“Let it stand for a time,” Amna said. “Those who are about to die must know that we honor their sacrifice.”
Amna and Conner watched as Dani’s female cat Tripper, now full grown, pounced on the ragged flag fluttering on the ground and tore playfully at it the blue lamb with her claws. One of the former Quaker men guarding the compound rushed over and pushed a giggling Dani aside and tore the flag away from the cat. “Hundreds have died for this flag,” he scolded as he waved it in the air.
“And millions will die for this child,” Amna said. He picked up the now-sobbing Dani and brushed dirt from her face.
“Get the men into ranks and bring up the artillery,” Major General Lemont Hicks ordered. “The Devils’ defenses are about to fall.” Twenty, M-270 mobile missile launchers were rolled into position around the mountain as the troops assembled. “These mutated scabs of the Earth are holed up in every crack and crevice in the rock,” Hicks told his officers. “Blast high on all sides of the mountain and bury those who protect the demon child in landslides. There can’t be more than a division of the #&%$&$# left.”
Lemont looked through the smoky haze with a pair of night-vision field glasses. “Once the defenders are buried, send in the infantry. Take no prisoners except for women and children. These will be trucked to our media outlets in Salt Lake City. I’m sure many of these young girls following the Devil’s lamb wanted to be in the movies back when we had schools.” Lemont laughed. “Too bad their first appearance has to be in a horror film.”
“We found this woman and others trying to sneak through the lines … probably to join Amna,” A Sargent and four MP’s dragged a battered woman and several younger women to where Hicks consulted with his officers. “She looks like the one you have been seeking.”
“Carla Garafalo!” Hicks smiled. “We were wondering when you’d show up.”
“I want to see Dani, to tell her that I have changed.” Carla struggled against the men holding her.
“People like you never change,” Hicks said glancing at her and staring at the other women. He licked his lips. More than a few were still in their teens, wearing working-girl prostitute attire. All were dirty and in need of baths. Some of the officers had already begun to strip them and wipe-away the grime.
“Leave them alone,” Carla Garafalo swore. “We have all heard the voice in the night. And I have seen many things through my daughter’s eyes. We know that a new light comes into this world.”
“But how will you pass the many nights until that light comes?” Hicks signaled one of his officers and a large crate of wine was opened at his feet. A five pound plastic storage bag filled with cocaine lay on top. From somewhere on a truck radio, CD digital music began to play Earned It by The Weekend. The sound was like cool water-vapor drifting on a breeze after a scorching fire … and the terror stopped.
Hicks held a bottle of Reunite Lambrusco high in the air along with the cocaine and smiled when he saw the young girls stop struggling. Carla was silent. “I’ll bet it’s been a long time since you’ve had a drink.” he said.
“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” Revelations 10/1
Dani held Amna’s hand as they climbed to the top of Mount Hood. Amna gave her a small white stone to hold as they made their way along a treacherous path. ‘What’s this?” she asked.
“I think it must be a magic stone,” he told her. “It is very important.”
“Will it keep me from falling?”
“No,” he said. “But I will.” He grasped her hand and pulled her to safe spot. They stared down into a deep ravine that plummeted almost a thousand feet below them. “I found that rock on the ground when I woke up this morning. It wasn’t there yesterday, so I think God left it for me.”
“Is everything that God makes magic?”
“Yes! Every drop of water, and every grain of sand, contains our creators’ finger prints.”
It was cold near the top of the mountain and Dani’s teeth chattered. “I know some bad people want to kill John because he’s a man and he’s going to have a baby.” She bit her lip. “Will this magic stone help him?”
“I don’t know,” Amna said. “How does a six-year old like you learn so many things?”
“I do a lot of texting with my friends,” Dani said and then she smiled. “And I’ve even watched Fox News on TV.”
The roar of the incessant barrage against the mountain rumbled in the distance as General Lemont Hicks looked over the geological images that an aide handed him. All of the unstable areas on Mount Hood had been clearly marked. “Make sure the artillery commanders continue to target their missiles at the weakest points. What we are looking for is to bury the defenders, not blast them apart.”
“We have over six-hundred non-nuclear war-heads stockpiled,” the captain of artillery forces told him. “How long do you want to keep this assault going?”
“Until every one of these enemies of humanity protecting Amna and the unborn demon child are buried,” Hicks told him.
A messenger from an artillery group on the far eastern side of the mountain rushed forward and then saluted the commanding general. “All of the hostiles in our area are starting to surrender,” he said. “We have more than three hundred blood stained men and women coming down the mountain waving white flags. What do you want us to do?”
“Make sure they are unarmed and then bring them to me,” Hicks ordered.
After the messenger left, Hicks turned to his aide. “Gets some rolls of barbed wire and have some of the men build an enclosure about a hundred yards in diameter. Fill the entire inside with kindling-wood, logs, branches and anything that will burn. Tear down a few houses and barns if you have to. Have some of the men bring about twenty barrels of gasoline and diesel fuel.” Hicks was almost dancing … his men had never seen him so happy. “These defenders of the Devil will be filthy when they get here …” His red glowing eyes looked lit from within. “They are going to all need spiritual baths … and it’s time we had an old fashioned bar-b-q.”
An hour later, a sergeant rushed up and saluted Hicks. “Sir, the defenders who surrendered are almost here … and at least half of them are children.”
“Good,” Hicks laughed. “No one screams like a child.”
They were at the top of the mountain. A ferocious wind was blowing and a pinnacle of rock jutted upward from the ancient volcanic crater, like the axel of a buried wheel, rising two hundred feet to become level with the rim. “That is where we must place the stone!’ Amna pointed to the top of the spire. “It’s too steep,” Dani said. “We didn’t bring any ropes and there aren’t any places to put our feet.” The wind was whipping her blonde hair about her face like a flag. “God never asked you to do anything unless he provides a way,” Amna told her. He wrapped his coat around the child and pulled her close. “We must find a place safe from the light,” he said.
Dani and Amna found a tiny cave made by a half a million year old air pocket formed in molten lava and squeezed inside just as lightning began to strike.
The first bolts broke away half the spire in a jagged diagonal and those that followed cut steps into the stone like 53,540 degree Fahrenheit chisels … hotter than the surface of the sun.
“I’d sure hate to make God angry,” Dani gasped. “He can be scary!”
“It takes a lot to make him mad … and God always cries before he lets go … just like I do,” Amna said.
The steps were finished. “You have to take the stone to the top and place it there,” Amna told her. “This will protect the child as well as those who wait for the light.
“I’m scared, I want you to come with me,” Dani cried.
“I am old and even if my legs were broken I would go with you,” Amna told her. “But the holy words say that she must bring forth the man child. You are the great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and upon your head is placed a crown of twelve stars!” Amna placed both of his hands on the child’s head and great lights appeared like the colors from the north to be seen by all men of the world.
And Dani was like the light of twelve stars, as she climbed the still-smoking steps to the top of the mountain.
Gracie Lewis went looking for Reverend White; she was out of cocaine almost out of champagne and was starting to get antsy. She could hear White’s voice asking questions from behind the door of his private office, but she couldn’t hear the voice of the other person … only a strange scratching sound each time they spoke.
“The stone is what protects my men from reaching the unborn child?”
“… but it is the stone that creates these lights from Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn?”
“All that I do … or forever will do … is for the glory of Wormwood.”
“I will … I will cleanse the Earth of this foul abomination!”
Gracie opened the door just a crack. White was hunched over his desk talking into a smoking Folgers’ coffee-can filled with buzzing flies. A stench like decaying corpses filled the air. She closed the door and decided to look for her day’s happiness in another place.
John Bingham pushed down the sheet the nurse had pulled over his swollen abdomen as soon as she left the medical tent high on the side of the mountain. Conner Wilson brushed past her on the way inside. He looked at his old friend and smiled. “How are you?” he asked.
“All three of the doctors say I could give birth at any time,” John said. “I think they are getting ready to do the “C” section since there is no way to do this thing naturally.”
“People in the camp keep asking me if I’m the father,” Conner said. “They must think gay men have supernatural powers.”
“You do,” John said, “but the powers you have, have nothing to do with procreation.”
“You’re talking about artistic endeavors … singing and dancing those kinds of things?”
“No, I’m talking about the focused power that comes from quiet determination,” John said. “The strength that comes from accepting shame and ridicule from others without seeking vengeance. The silent power that comes from accepting yourself as you are and then finding that you have the ability to accept others.”
“You sound like a paragraph from one of those overly-sentimental, over-sugared, emotion-books … perhaps Chicken Soup for men who find themselves Pregnant?”
“You’re right,” John laughed. “I hope they hang you and all your queer friends before the rest of us fall into treachery.”
Both Conner and John laughed and then Conner grimaced in pain. “I think it’s time,” he told Conner, “better get the doctors.”
“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” Revelations 11/7
Jason White smiled as two men dragged Carla Garafalo into the Salt Lake City conference center that used to belong to the Mormon Church. She was bathed and dressed in a three-thousand dollar Versace evening gown but her eyes appeared unfocused … she looked high. “I trust you have been well taken care of?” His sugary voice dripped with artificial sweetness, like a forest honeycomb … covered in black wasps.
Carla leaned on one of the eight television cameras used to broadcast church messages. “I want to see my daughter,” she slurred her words, “to tell her that I’m sorry for bringing her into a world where I was unable to care for her.”
“I’ve brought you here so that you could send a message to her,” White said. “But first I want you to watch a special program that is being broadcast live from the base of Mount Hood in Oregon. Do you know that many who search the scriptures for answers are already calling the long extinct volcano where the Devil is making his last stand, Armageddon?”
“I don’t care about your armies or your Devils,” Carla told him. “I only want my daughter brought back to me alive.”
Carla Garafalo watched in horror as hundreds of wounded men, women and children were doused with gasoline and then pushed into a large fenced enclosure. A mountain sized pile of wood filled the center. A ring of fire was ignited around the outside of the circle and the throngs of people were forced to climb the wood pile in the center to flee from the burning. Their screams froze the blood in Carla’s veins as she watched people fight one another to escape the growing flames. She passed-out twice, and each time White’s disciples threw cold water in her face and forced her to watch.
“What would you say to your daughter if you knew you could save her from this … rapture?” White motioned and two cameras zoomed in on Carla Garafalo’s horror stricken face.
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” Revelations 12/5
The only working television at the top of Mount Hood was inside the tent where Dani Garafalo stayed. All the other solar and gas powered generators were being used for mostly medical purposes. Dani was alone. Amna had left the tent to be present at the birth.
A news program showing aurora borealis-like lights streaming into space from the top of Mount Hood interrupted the cartoon program that Dani was watching. The news commentator said the unusual lights could be seen from the International Space Station. Several military analysts debated whether the lights were the result of the intense fighting going on around the base of the mountain or the rumbling mountain many thought was going to erupt.
Dani pulled a wooden doll house that Amna had made for her from under her bed and began to set it up. She had several Bratz dolls and a few action figures and she thought about creating a make-believe dance party. Grown-up things did not interest her. Suddenly, Jason White appeared on the TV screen from his New Church of the Divine Light headquarters in Salt Lake City. He began to talk about the fighting, and then what looked like a female war refugee suddenly stood next to him. Dani’s mouth gaped open as she stared at the woman she hadn’t seen for months.
Carla Garafalo approached the microphone. “Dani, if you’re out there listen to me,” she said. Her face was a mixture of fear and anguish. “Remove the stone you placed at the top of the mountain and come down to me.”
“Momma!” Dani stood up and burst into tears. From the other side of the compound, a baby’s feeble cry sounded for the first time … in the approaching darkness of the burning world.
To be continued …