The sky shifted into a soft purple as the sun sank lower into the horizan.
Flat, gleaming clouds were marching their way across the western sky, threatening snow. The whole scene was like a shifting
watercolor, beautiful and awesome in its scale and complexity. My eyes wandered over this scene again and again, my
brain trying its hardest to burn the image in my mind. It wasn't a difficult task, my cranium was good at remembering
photagraphic scenes; it was just that I had to fill the time until sunset. Sabbath was over then, and I could move on.
The clouds finally covered where the sun was setting, and I figured the setting
of the sun was already here and it was time to move along. I pulled my wool-lined hood up over my head, covering
the short and thinning hair that was finally growing back since They shaved it off. I slid my face mask up and looked
again across the desert sands. It wouldn't have been like this before the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted, I
thought to myself. I moved my big frame into the electric dune-buggy and buckled up. I grabbed my motorcycle goggles
from around the rear-view mirror and put them on, making the strap go around the outside of the hood so as to hold it
on while I was driving.
I took one last look at the west before starting the vehicle up and turning east.
I thought of Bond and Janet as I made my way along the Arizona terrain. The first bits of snow were falling across my
headlights as I recalled how I, Neera, James, and Heidi found the black couple hidden away in their mountain cabin.
It was james who first spotted a strange stream of smoke coming from a hold in
the side of a hill. I was in the lead of our small party, trying to decide where to camp for the night before the storm
that was sending small flakes broke out into full force. I motioned the others to halt, and I slowly brought my horse
forward to investigate. Ten feet away from it, I dismounted and walked, letting my horse stand there while I ventured
on. The snow started to fall heavily then, and I lost sight of my wife and friend as I turned to find them with my eyes.
I knelt down to where the smoke was coming from and saw the familiar shape of a
stovepipe cover. "How on earth--?" I began to ask, but the click of a gun hammer stopped my outward question short.
I turned my head slowly left to see the end of a twelve-gauge shot gun pointed
directly at my face. From where I was kneeling, it looked as if an abominable snowman was holding the firearm.
Two white hands were holding the rifle steady, and dwo dark eyes glared down at me. It took me a minute to realize it
was someone in a white arctic suit, but once it occured to me, I had a notion to say something.
"Who are you?" the man in white asked, speaking in an even voice.
"I am called Obadyah in the Hebrew tounge."
"You're Obadyah? I find that hard to believe!"
"Well," I said in Hebrew, "You seem to know who Obadyah is. It's been a while since
you heard from him?"
"Yes," the man said, responding in the semetic tounge, "but how can I know that
you are not a spy?"
"Because, without the set-apart Spirit, I could not say this: Yahushua is
The gun lowered. I stood to my feet, looking at the man. The gun fell
into the snow and the hands came up and pulled back the facemask and dark goggles. Revealed was the face of a black
bearded man, grinning widely. "Halleluyah, brother," he said in english.
"Halleluyah, indeed" I replied.
"Come in! Come in!" the man said. I turned to where I had left my party.
I could barely see Neera and James, although the snow had lessened a bit.
"My wife is out there, so is my friend and his daughter," I said, still looking
at the dark shapes.
"No problem," the man said. He turned and walked to a flat space behind him
on the hill and pushed an indescript rock. The stone fell into the stone wall and a large door opened inward.
It was about 12 feet tall and 20 feet across, and it splite evenly down the middle. "Bring your horses in, too, if there's
more than just the one you brought with you."
I nodded. "I'll be right back." The other man nodded and walked into
the dark beyond the door.
I grabbed the reigns of my horse and walked back to where my companions were.
"What happened?" Neera asked.
"I found us a place to stay," I replied. "I also found a place we can keep
"Can we trust whoever it is?" James asked.
"He's a brother," I replied.
With that, I led them to the open door. They dismounted and followed me in.
The door shut behind us and the lights came on as soon as the seal was set.
"Wow," Heidi, James' daughter, said between her father's arms.
It was a garage of sorts. Four dune buggies were lined up close to the door,
as if ready to depart. Two had two seats, and two had four. Along the back wall, on either side of a regular door
opposite to us, were various metal and electrical tools. I took note of the rarity of the sort of machining tools that
were in here.
The door opened and the black man came in, wearing regular clothing this time.
He had a smile on his face, the whiteness of his teeth contrasting the deep brown of his face. He came to us and extended
a hand. "The names Bond, and no it's not James Bond."
I smiled and chuckled. I removed my gloves and shook his hand. "My
english name is John. This is my wife, Neera, and a brother in Yahushua, James. The little one is his daughter,
Bond shook their hands. The smiled at Heidi. "You hungry, little one?"
Heidi nodded, smiling at the thought of food. "Well," Bond continued, "My other half is making some veggitable soup,
and we'll eat here in a minute."
Heidi looked confused. "Other half?"
Bond smiled. "My wife, dear, my wife." He looked at the rest of us.
"Don't worry about your horses, tie their reigns up to one of the buggies and we can come back later and take care of them.
Take off your coats and boots, and come on in, Janet will be glad to have some company, especially family in the Messiah!"
We all took off our winter coverings. I went to tie my horse to one of the
dune buggies and as I was tying the knot, I got a small shock from the frame. I didn't comment right away, but I kept
it in mind to look at the engines of these things as we passed by.
As I did, I noticed that they did not look conventional. I grinned.
We entered the door and passed through a narrow but large kitchen. There
were three stoves and an island counter in the middle of the room. There was a door immediatly across from the one we
entered, and Bond led us through it. The next room we entered had a low ceiling, but it was massive. It's floorspace
was a wide and long as a small gymnasium. Bunks lined the walls and filled the spaces in between in an orderly manner.
There was a large door to the left and directly across of the one we entered there. We followed the black man through
the lines of bunks to the end of the room, where a small fireplace was burning. There were three couches there, one
on either side, and one facing the fireplace. Seated on the left hand one was a small black woman starting to show the
signs of pregnancy.
Bond went to her and she stood up and hugged him. She gave a questioning
look in our direction. "Who're they?" she asked her husband softly.
"They're brothers and sisters. The tall one there is Obadyah."
Her eyes widened at that. She came and greeted each of us with a hug.
"Welcome, in Yahweh's name! Have a seat! My name's Janet."
The six of us sat, Neera and I on the couch that faced the fireplace. I introduced
my companion. "Thank you for letting us stay here," I said.
Bond waved a hand. "That's ok, that's what this place was built for.
We knew the Plan, so we prepared to house about ten, maybe fifteen families."
"So," I said, "You two are Yahshayahu and Teshua?"
The couple looked at each other. "How did you know?" Janet asked
I sat back and held Neera's hand. "Simple deduction. It takes money
to build a place like this, to build those electric dune buggies out there. The only ones on the Otra Net that fellowshiped
with us that had the money to do this were a couple who called themselves Yahshayahu and Teshua. They had won the lottery
a few years ago. They're the only ones there that had any sort of money to do this sort of thing."
Bond nodded. "Yeah, that's us." He had a concerned face.
I smiled. "Don't worry, I'm a licenced private detective. My job depended
on me finding out what I needed to know. If I wasn't a good detective, I wouldn't have started the Otra Net, because
I could never know how to find information on someone. I did research on everyone who wanted to be a member. All
one million, two thousand, three hundred and forty two members and families."
"Well, it's just kind of scary to see someone we've just met identify us so readily."
"Don't worry," Neera said, "John's just that way. He trained himself to read
Bond chuckled. "Well, that's ok, just something unexpected is all."
Heidi seemed to be uncomfortable and James asked her what was wrong. "I gotta
pee," she said. Janet pointed to the large door at the end of the room.
"The bathroom's that way, sweety."
Heidi left her daddy's side and walked to the end of the room.