Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to another Story Time With Tim. I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and this is the second chapter of my novella: Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age. A story about the potential end of humanity and what some heroes will do to see to it that the end does not occur. As my longest novella, I realize there will likely be some thirteen offerings with this one. But, I’m willing to make that sacrifice!
Anyhow, let’s not dawdle on this any longer. If you read the first part, awesome! If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Check it out in the link below!
Alright, now that we’re all caught up, let’s get on to the second chapter!
COALITION OF THE WILLING
“We will not tolerate acts of terrorism. The individual or individuals involved will be brought to justice,” Chief of Police Darryl Williams stated from the podium at city hall. “Our hearts and souls are with those families who’ve lost a child or relative in this tragic time, to this callous act of terror, and we ask that those who can, please donate to the charities reaching out to our community this day, so that the healing may begin. Thank you.”
Flashes from cameras and dozens of voices clashed for the attention of the chief as he left the microphone covered podium behind him. To his right, he found the lead investigative officer on the case and took his right hand in his to shake it firmly.
“Detective Spears, I know you’re going to find the son-of-a-bitch responsible for this. You have my support one hundred percent,” he said, his jaw taut.
Joseph Spears shook his hand back and nodded an affirmation.
“Sir, don’t worry. We will find those responsible. There is nowhere he, she, or they can hide.”
“Good to hear, son. Good to hear.” Williams nodded one final time and left the stairway.
Joseph watched the Chief leave and adjusted his blue blazer so that it covered more thoroughly his forming gut. He stood roughly six-feet tall and had short, black hair. His skin was a deep red-bronze, making him look every bit the native Pawnee that he was. The firm look upon his face drew the attention of his partner, Alexia Dawson.
She was a Navajo with long, jet black hair that fell to her thigh, and which she kept pulled back and braided into a pony tail. Her eyes were brown, and she had a lighter shade of red-bronze skin tones than Joseph. Whereas her partner was pushing fifty, she was a young twenty-nine.
Alexia ended the conversation she was having with a reporter and walked over to the stoic figure of Joseph.
“You’re the classic example of a fierce, native warrior. They should make a statue of you and put it right here. In fact, nobody would probably be able to tell the difference,” she lightly tapped his shoulder with her fist. “You know, they say if someone hits you on the back while you’re making faces like that, it’ll stay that way.”
“Of all the people to pair me with, they give me the only comedic Indian on the force,” Joseph smiled slightly at his own jest.
“Har har. I figured a little levity before getting our hands dirty was in order. Besides, we’ll soon be knee deep in matters that will give us nightmares for years to come. I just hope we find the bastard who did this. It eats me up inside knowing someone like this is out there.” She looked at the crowd of reporters vying for interviews with passing officials.
Joseph nodded and let loose a ‘hmph’ deep in his throat, while keeping his eyes focused out towards the city. Silence passed between the two for several long moments before he turned to her.
“Well, we’d better get to work. Lots of paperwork to process, lots of witnesses to interview.”
“After you,” Alexia gestured and the two left the steps of city hall.
“…This represents the third such attack on U.S. soil in recent times. The perpetrators still have yet to be identified. Though sources close to the investigations being conducted by the F.B.I. suggest that the attacks seem to be linked. Evidence of this apparently is found in a just released letter sent to investigators that seems to be taunting them as well as informing them to the reasoning behind the attacks. It reads, in part, ‘For too long, religious communities have waged a personal war against any who do not follow their doctrines. They all have a common enemy. Let them tremble in fear…’ It goes on to accuse top religious leaders of conspiring against humanity and for receiving aid from the government to assist them in these ‘crimes’. The letter doesn’t give a name and, as of yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Now, what this has to do with Beckwood Elementary has baffled experts. But a few have suggested that it is because Beckwood is a Christian school. Though, not outwardly apparent, it is financed by several Christian businesses and allows school prayers and the teaching of Creationism. This factor has many other religious schools worried about future attacks.”
Uday listened to the newswoman absently. It was terrible that someone would want to kill innocent children for nothing more than their religion. He watched the TV in the breakroom flicker and the image pan over to the anchorman.
“This just goes to demonstrate the upsurge in violence in recent times around our country. With apparent terrorist attacks on the rise, violence on the streets in the form of riots, gang wars, and basic unruliness, have spiked in accounts around the nation. This has politicians worried about the safety of Americans just trying to live their lives,” The anchorman continued his report, but Uday tuned him out as he shuffled through a magazine and caught an advertising article that ran for several pages.
‘Two thousand acres of land for practically nothing!’ read the headline. He skimmed through the article, noting where it was available. In Montana, there was a new land drive to get people to move in and make their homes. He was astounded.
“Two thousand acres for ten thousand dollars!? There’s got to be a catch… hmmm… but, it does sound really good… if I were looking to buy land that is…” he said to himself as he continued to read. “Of course, the way things are going these days, it probably would be better to move out to the country, away from this foolishness. My children shouldn’t have to be targeted because they’re Muslim.”
He thought about the dream from the night before. About how the Lord told him, ‘Your assets you will liquidate and, with those funds, you will purchase the lands…’ In that dream, war would soon destroy man.
Uday, you crazy man… he thought, seriously contemplating the ad and purchasing the lands. However, he had a good paying career where he was and just running off and buying land to build a spacefaring ‘Ark’ would be irresponsible, let alone an act of lunacy. Uday rolled his eyes and put down the magazine. Picking up the remote to the TV, he started to input the numbers to another channel when a message stating ‘Special Report’ flashed across the screen. Uday paused and waited to see what was so special about the report.
“We interrupt your normal programming to bring you late breaking developments with the Venezuelan Nuclear crisis that has been unfolding since two weeks ago when the government of that nation suddenly joined up with the North Korean, Chinese Confederation. There was a fear that the two nuclear powers were trying to coerce Venezuela into allowing nuclear armaments within its borders. We haven’t heard much since the crisis began to unfold, but the President is preparing to deliver word on recent developments… here she comes now…” The newsman spoke as the image switched over to the lawn of the White House where an African American woman approached a podium.
Uday leaned forward in his chair, waiting for President Elizabeth Delaney to speak. He was getting a little worried as the gathered crowd grew quiet and Mrs. Delaney assumed a grave demeanor. Light from the television flickered off the glasses Uday wore as his mouth hung agape.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press,” she began. “Prestigious delegates of the World Union, my fellow Americans… It grieves me to have to come before you this day, under these circumstances. What we have longed feared is, in all truth, an actuality. The free nation of Venezuela has joined the Confederate Union of North Korea and China. And now has poised to attack, nuclear warheads received from their new allies.”
Murmurs ran through the crowd as Uday listened intently.
“It is feared to be a union not made freely, but by force. Nonetheless, it represents a grave threat that we take seriously and must confront. A vast coalition of the willing is ready, the resolve of our allies fierce.
“There is much suffering in our nation right now, caused by terrorism to our way of life, by people who would do anything to see us on our knees. We cannot allow them to intimidate this great nation and threaten our allies. Which is why, at ten this morning, I signed a decree at the authorization of Congress, declaring this nation in a state of war with the new axis powers. I do not do this lightly, but I know we will overcome all adversity and be shown the victors at day’s end…”
“Damn Republicans…” Uday spat at the TV and froze, staring at the magazine he’d been reading.
Picking it back up, Uday got to his feet and left the room, visions of mushroom clouds dancing in his head.
Jason awoke in a panic, his heart racing uncontrollably. He recalled a gentle face but then he remembered the explosion. The screams and the gut-wrenching fear were still vivid in his mind. So was the flailing form of his best friend.
“Elisa!” He cried out, tears flowing down his cheeks.
A nurse rushed into the room where he sat in bed crying. It wasn’t the same nurse he had been in the ambulance with, though. This one was an average nurse with blue eyes and blonde hair. She wasn’t the gentle soul that had calmed his fears. In fact, she seemed a little agitated.
“What!? Are you all right?” She asked coming next to his bed and pushing back on him, forcing him to lay back down. “You should be resting.”
“Where’s Elisa!?” he queried, still sobbing. “Where’s the nurse with green eyes!?”
“Is Elisa the nurse you remember?” She tried to calmly ask, but still seemed anxious to get back to what she had been doing.
“No, Elisa is my friend at the school! The nurse with the green eyes would be able to find her!” he replied with deep breaths.
“Well, I don’t know who the nurse is, but many of the injured students were brought here. What’s your friend’s last name and maybe I can find her?” The blonde nurse was as sincere as she could be, smiling widely.
“Elisa… Whitaker… I… I just want to know she’s all right…” He said, laying his head on his pillow.
“Let me check on that. You just lay here and I’ll be back shortly,” she said and left the room.
Nearly an hour had passed before the nurse returned with news that indeed there was an Elisa Whitaker just down the hall. Jason had almost leapt out of bed, begging to see her.
Reluctantly, the nurse agreed to arrange for a visitation between friends. It took almost a week for the visit to be arranged and in that time he showed dramatic signs of recovery. Which meant he was more than capable of getting up for a stroll. The staff felt this would be good for his continual recovery.
“Elisa!” Jason called out as he entered her room and saw her smiling face.
He rushed in and gave her a hug, barely noticing the nurse standing at her bedside. They continued hugging onto each other for nearly a full minute before Jason drew back. He saw the nurse and smiled recognizing her as the one in the ambulance.
“Hi! I was wondering where you were! I never got your name or else I would have asked for you too!” He said and gave her a hug as well.
“Oh, well, you can call me Kylie, Jason,” she said gently. “I’ve been watching over the both of you. So, you don’t have to worry. I didn’t go far.”
“I’m so happy to see you’re all right,” he turned and spoke to Elisa. “Have you seen that bonehead, Jacob?”
Elisa looked away and bit her lip, tears flooding her eyes. Jason felt dread enter his soul and he suddenly was very sad. Kylie looked at him and touched his right shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Jason. Jacob didn’t make it…” she said and knelt down to wrap her arms around his torso.
He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and hugged her back feeling the sorrow overcoming him.
“When is my mom coming?” he questioned, trying not to cry. “She’s been here. She had to run to the store, but she’ll be back soon. Don’t worry,” she replied evenly.
Elisa looked over at them and wiped her sleeve over her eyes. She laid her head back against the bedrest and stared at the ceiling. Everything was changing and she was frightened by what that meant.
Seven weeks had passed since the school bombing and the declaration of war by the U.S. government. Emotions ran high around the world. People wondered when the next terrorist strike would come and others counted the days until the bombs dropped. Uday, though, wasn’t waiting for anything. And his wife was reminding him of how impetuous he could be and why she thought that was one of his shortcomings.
“Look, I’m tired of hearing it, Rini! How many times are you going to chastise me over this?” he replied to her constant badgering.
“Until you realize how stupid this is! Uday, you’ve sold everything we own! Am I not supposed to question this?” she asked as a cool breeze blew through her hair where she stood outside of their SUV.
Their three children stood staring with their mouths wide open. They couldn’t believe their fortune. Sure, they thought their father had lost his mind, and their mother was making sure he knew it every step of the way. But they were still secretly very happy.
“This is something we must do,” Uday countered.
“Based on a dream, Uday!?” She motioned with her hands at the expanse of land before them. “And just what are we going to put here? Did Allah tell you what we’re going to do with this much land?”
“Yes, we’re going to build an Ark,” he said and walked down the hill they stood upon.
“An Ark!? Are you crazy!?” Rini questioned at the top of her lungs.
“Yes, I believe I am! That is why I bought the camper as well!” he shouted back, referring to the medium sized unit attached to the back of their vehicle.
“Dad, what do you mean we’re building an Ark?” his eldest son asked as the five of them walked down to a small lake on the property.
“It is just as you hear! But it won’t be just any Ark, it will be a spaceship!!” he shouted with a laugh.
“Allah! Oh, Allah! Why have you paired me with such a madman!?” his wife shouted to the heavens as Uday continued laughing emphatically.
And here we come to the end of another week’s worth of weekly reading! Hope you’ve been enjoying the story so far! Come back next week for part three! Read to you again soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
While you’re here, why not check out my author’s page at my personal site on Amazon? Just click on my name and the link will take you there straightaway–> Timothy S Purvis
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