Chapter Thirty Two
Tent City took the news hard. “What’s this? Terrorists? Backpack bombs? What about the children, are they safe? We can’t leave? Why are armed guards around us? Are we under arrest?” The long lines at the Red Cross breakfast tables, the portable potties, and the information tent all rebounded with the questions of the moment.
Adding to the confusion, members of The Little White Church On The Bluff arrived for the service. Finding the road blocked to their own services at their own church didn’t sit well for some.
Andy worked with the security forces, trying to sort through anxious church members. Quickly, he motioned for security to help. He rushed back, arms waving, to stop the next van. “Sorry folks, only church family for now.”
The face leering at him through the window stirred a torrent of indigestion in his stomach and sent a creepy flash over him. The driver made a desperate attempt to turn past Andy, only to find a squad of armed soldiers surrounding the van. Andy heard frantic shouts from the back as the rear door popped open and an angry crew of wild looking men tumbled out. “We gotta get through and stop that service. They’re all crazy, trying to force their views on the world. Gotta stop ’em.”
The speaker was hurled back against the side of the van by two soldiers and promptly frisked. More soldiers rushed up when a small knife and a service revolver tumbled to the ground. The man tried to twist away from the firm grip of the soldiers. “You don’t know. Those people will stir up the country. They’ll do it, you’ll see. Help us stop ’em.”
The other men from the van tried to rush through a gap between two groups of soldiers but found the gap closed too quickly for them to break through. The captain ordered a sharp set of commands and in a minute the attackers were face down in the ditch.
Andy thought of Herb, now getting ready for the service. Is the whole world goin’ nuts? Maybe he’s right. People need to hear ’bout Jesus.
Stephen checked back on the news team. They stood ready for his cue. Carrie looked like the cool professional her situation demanded. He caught her eye as she did a preview of, The Little White Church On The Bluff, with the camera following her direction, panning the crowd streaming in from Tent City, and the injured hobbling out from the church, the multi-purpose building back dropped by the towering warehouse complex. The nation saw for the first time, the long lines of injured, the long lines circling around the setup chairs held away for the members until the crowd stood five deep in rings around the pastor and small assembly.
Herb looked from face to face, looking for a sign of what mind this crowd portrayed. What he gained was respectful silence, a few timid looks at the camera, but then he felt the now familiar wash of the Spirit as he stepped up to the front.
Stephen gave the signal and the nation drew a breath as Herb stood to welcome the visitors, and then for the first time in this church’ history, welcomed those in the television audience.
One face watched from hidden location as the single camera played across the crowd streaming over from Tent City. “What’s this? My teams were supposed to break through and stop this nonsense. The buildings should be nothing but ragged rumble with hundreds following my dark trend. How can this be?” He placed his hands over his face and mumbled his dark words that moved him from this reality into a place of dark torment, then he gasped… “No!” He recoiled back from rage but it reached for him, dragging him screaming into its depths. You failed. The saints are moving in that name. Your minions are captured and you failed.
Brodine’ mind looked at the pool of darkness where the voice originated. He couldn’t penetrate into the mist of evil surrounding the voice but he knew who and what it represented. Stepping up he dared to blow out his chest and try to gain an edge. I sent both impact teams you gave me and enough explosives to level the place but look…, the Christians are too strong, they had the Lord’ host with them, and…, the Spirit.
Howls of agony blew back toward him. How dare you mention those names. You had your orders and you failed. Now none of us may approach the grounds or deflect the people, all because you failed. The old man knows. Now he is taking over.
The answer blasted past Brodine as he shook out of his daze. Those in the small field office felt the dark tremors but didn’t know from where it came or the horrors within it. Brodine’ body didn’t react well with what his mind revealed. No, I should’ve known the old man would be here. He always knows. He’s able to slip by me and my legions with craft older than I know. Brodine rushed from the scene and fell to the ground outside, violently sick from the stress of the darkness. His driver peeked out the open door. Ewww, whatever is tormenting the boss is really raking him over.