Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to yet another Story Time With Tim! The series that makes it fun to be a weekly reader! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and I’ve been having a lot of fun bringing you these strange tales from my imagination! Right now, we’re in part four of the novella Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age. A story about the final age of humanity for the thirteenth time over the last several millennia. What happens next? Only the reader will find out!
So, have you read the previous chapters? If not, here they are:
Alright, now that we’re all caught up, let’s get to the latest chapter!
ARK OF A NEW COVENANT
It was a small town that was roughly twenty-two miles outside of where Uday had purchased his lands. Fortunately, the cost of fuel was radically cheaper out in the country than it was living in the city where typical commutes averaged an hour and a half to work and nearly two hours from work. As things stood, his commute had become a little under twenty minutes and that was only necessary to purchase groceries.
Uday found the country extremely peaceful and wondered why he hadn’t thought to move there before. Though he was now unemployed, he wasn’t disappointed in his decision. The only real problem was in finding those that would help him achieve the task given him by Allah in his dream.
Oh, mighty Lord! You should have had me do this sooner! he thought and smiled as he sipped from a cup of coffee he had gotten and pulled his vehicle into a parking lot downtown.
Minos was a small town where what was referred to as ‘downtown’, amounted to only a five-block area with various buildings ranging from one story to never exceeding four stories. There was hardly any traffic, which probably was because its population was somewhere along the lines of sixty-eight-hundred people. There were few enough people for some spicy rumors to fly around, but just enough individuals to keep very many from knowing who those rumors were about.
Having driven through twenty miles of plains, where there were hardly any trees, it felt a bit weird to Uday to enter a virtual forest with a town smack dead in the middle, the boundaries of which ran for a scant seven-mile diameter. Still, he found it nice to see so much greenery.
Uday wasn’t certain what he was looking for as he got out of the four-door SUV, coffee in hand, and decided to walk around town. He figured that Allah would show him the way and give him guidance on what he needed to do. The first thing he did notice about Minos, though, was that it seemed to be largely a Christian community. He didn’t mind that, though he did wonder how people would react to a mid-eastern Muslim, in sandy tan clothing, walking in their midst.
“Good morning,” a man with glasses and light skin greeted him with a nod.
“Good morning,” Uday replied with a smile as they passed each other.
Hmm, it is good to know that they seem very friendly here. Guess that may solve the mid-eastern puzzlement. Uday was impressed by the mannerisms of the people. In the bigger cities, people would sooner spit on someone as to give them the time of day.
Several hours passed as he explored the areas of the downtown. He was ready to call it quits for the day, when he ran across an odd building.
Its primary design was of old Gothic. Yet its corners and sides were adjoined with newer, futuristic structures that were reminiscent of pyramid halves made of sleek titanium. And forming a half circle around the entire structure was a diagonal arc of white painted metal that glittered almost like some sort of halo.
That semi-halo connected its ends to another arch forming the way into the four-story building that reminded Uday of a stylized church. Which, in fact, it was. The past and the future colliding in the present…
“‘Welcome, all ye servants of the Lord, God. Enter the house of intermingling ages and behold that all are as one,’” a sign on one of the arch posts read as Uday walked down its walk and saw the words written in bronze. “‘Be ye Christian, be ye Muslim, be ye Jewish, or be ye nothing more than a man of faith. Here will ye find brothers in servitude to THE Creator.’ Hmm, it certainly is a sign. Whether it is the one Allah meant for me to find remains to be seen,” Uday mumbled to himself and continued onward to the front doors of the intriguing complex.
He entered the church and saw that the inside was just as lavish in design as the exterior. A massive stained-glass window was at one end of the main room of what was more accurately a cathedral. In front of that window, with dozens of religious figures depicted in reliefs, was a massive cross, the largest he’d ever seen. It was an unorthodox relic to find in a place of such diversity of religions, especially where Islam was concerned. It hung over a raised floor that had various musical instruments set up on its surface. A podium took up a small amount of space near the apex of three stairs leading onto the stage like area. Dozens of rows of pews, made of the finest mahogany coated in a rich stain that reflected the ceiling lights, formed a semi-circle arrangement around the stage giving the well-lit center of worship an awe-inspiring sense.
“By Allah, what manner of place is this?” Uday pondered, taking the elaborate scene in.
“It is mostly a Gospel amphitheater,” a voice cut into his thoughts forcing him to turn to face the speaker. “There is a less regal worship chamber beyond the inner hall.”
The dark-skinned man with curly black hair and brown eyes indicated a set of doors leading from the west wing of the interior. He then brought his right hand forward in a friendly gesture of greetings. Uday took the man’s hand and returned his brimming smile.
“Uday Al Hassyn. It is a pleasure to meet you… uhm?” he began and awaited a name from the man.
“Alexander Plynie. I’m a pastor here. I also happen to own the establishment,” he responded as light bounced off his black rimmed glasses causing Uday to wince slightly.
“It is a very nice place. Very… Christian,” this response prompted a quick laugh from Alexander. “I read the sign out front and was curious… this place, it’s for all religions? Any worshiper?”
“Of course. This is a fairly small town, all things considered, and I thought it would be a great gesture of faith if all religions could be represented in the same place. And, to see to it that all had the same amount of respect and understanding as their cultural and religious beliefs deserve. Besides, given the size of the town, there wasn’t a lot of room for a whole lot of churches representing each faith.”
“A very noble gesture.”
“No… conflicts among those… faithful here?”
Alexander shook his head and looked around, “No. Strangely… I’ve never had any issues.”
“And you own all of this?” Uday ran his hand through the air in an arch indicating the building’s design. “This looks rather expensive. How can you afford it?”
“Heh. Straight to the truth of the matter. I like that.”
Uday flinched at himself, having forgotten his place in the scheme of things. He was too used to direct speech within the bigger cities. He brought his hands together in a respectful bow of apology.
“Forgive my brashness. It is not my place to inquire of such things.”
“No. No. That’s fine… it reminds me of a dream I had not so long ago…” Alexander stared thoughtfully at the stained-glass window and the cross hanging before it.
“A dream?” Uday ventured and looked at the man’s profile as he intently looked off into some unseen distance.
“Hmm? Oh…” he snapped his focus back to Uday. “Sorry. Yes, a very interesting dream. Say, are you new to town? I don’t remember having seen you before. Not that I know everyone in town. Just… curious.”
“So, to speak. I just bought some land not far outside of town. I’ve been there with my family for only a few days and this is the first I have ventured into this town.”
“Interesting. Tell me, are you free for lunch?” Alexander’s smiling visage was hard to resist.
“I have no other plans.”
“Then, please, if you will, join me.”
“I would be honored, if only to make up for my rudeness before.”
“Think nothing of that. Come, I know a very pleasant diner not far from here. I think, I need also explain that this is only one fifth of the entire complex…”
“One fifth, you say?” Uday looked at him in deep curiosity.
“Oh yes,” Alexander smiled and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “There are four other centers of worship. This is the Christian quarter. Designed for those of the various Christian denominations. I’ll say more of this as we indulge in some meditations. Beyond, on the other sides, are those temples for the Judaic, Islamic, Paganistic, and far eastern disciplines. All of which merge in the center forming a symbolic and balanced relationship with one another…”
“This sounds quite fascinating. I must learn more.”
“Ah! But of course, my new friend!”
“You are a very insightful man, Uday,” Alexander started as they took their seats within the diner. “Give us a few minutes to decide, thank you.”
Alexander politely waved away the waiter who allowed them to look over the menus for a few minutes while he attended to some of his other guests. Uday smiled as he looked through the offerings and cast a glance at his host.
“You see, I’m a millionaire. No two ways about it, I’m a very rich man. Yet, despite this fortuitous happenstance, I always wanted to find a way to help people. I just could never figure out how. Oh, I’ve tried investing in halfway houses and shelters and other endeavors that seem to always just lead to temporary solutions to the total problem. But what I was looking for, was a concrete solution to being a truly beneficial member to society.
“All this fortune I have, I inherited from my father, who was involved in stocks and exchanges and, through a variety of means, managed to amass his wealth at a young age. A very intelligent dealer in knowledge.” Alexander paused to glance at the menu. “I’m just not like him. I just didn’t feel making more money on the stock market was my way to help.”
“I’ve never been real big on the idea of stocks, myself. Too much like gambling,” Uday put in on the topic and nodded to Alexander who nodded back.
“Exactly. I was completely bored with the idea of such frivolous pursuits. It wasn’t gratifying, for what I did invest, to say the least. Then one night, I had this dream. In it, God came down and told me to ‘seek out not fortunes or wealth, but serenity.’ I was a bit puzzled by this and then he said to me ‘you will know when you find what you seek and then it will be that the one with the answer shall come along and be a stranger. He will see your design and question your faith.’ Now, the very idea haunted me for several months until, one day, chance brought my personal jet over a small town in the middle of the woods. Stranger still was that this particular little forest was right in the middle of vast plains. This town.” He widened his arms and looked around the diner.
Uday sat quietly contemplating what he was saying. How odd it was that this man would have had a perturbing dream in which God came to him and set him on a quest. The chances were quite slim.
“So, I went to my wife and convinced her to move with me out to this little town. I was inspired to build that church. That building speaking to all faiths and none at all. The idea of… balance. A balance I was sorely lacking. I can’t explain it. The idea just… occurred to me.”
To Alexander’s puzzlement, Uday laughed out loud. He sat there looking at the man with perked eyebrows and a slight grin.
“How insane,” Uday began as Alexander awaited a further explanation. “You had a dream? And God directed you here? What are the chances? One thing, though, God told you a man would ‘question your faith’?”
“Yes. And when you spoke of the building’s cost, it just kind of sprang to my mind. It was almost like it didn’t make sense to spend so much on a place dedicated to God. Especially coming from a rich man. For, it is said, it is easier to draw a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven. Oh, but listen to me. Call it instincts, I don’t know. But you certainly are a stranger to this town. Of course, I could just be imagining things…”
“I don’t know about that. This must be Allah’s will. That both of us should come to this small town…”
“You think so? It’s strange… I had this suspicion in me about your purpose. I felt it when I first saw you. Please, tell me your tale,” he folded his arms and braced them on the table.
“It all was a dream several months ago,” Uday spoke in a conspiratorial tone and leaned forward. “Allah brought me to the peaks of Mount Sinai and spoke to me. He said that soon war would devastate mankind and it was up to me to build a new Ark.”
“A new Ark?” Alexander was filled with a sudden enlightenment and his eyes sparkled.
“Yes. But none any man has before seen. For starters, this one is to take us, our families, and two of every species into space to wait for one year, while the Lord purges the Earth.”
“A new Ark… visions of the end of the world. Revelations, it would seem, has come. This cannot be mere coincidence. Not even two days ago, I had another dream about how this church was the last salvation to mankind… wait, a spacecraft?” Alexander sat back in his chair in puzzlement. “That’s interesting. I would never have thought God could be so… industrious.”
“How ever it is his will can be done, that is all that matters. Already this country is at war with nuclear nations. It is this very devastation that I have been forewarned about! Allah is wise beyond our understanding, though we must find a way to accomplish his will. He told me that those that could help would be found here, in this place… well, not in specifically this town, but his direction led me here. I only lack the finances.”
“Yes.” Alexander nodded in understanding and gazed at the table top. “My purpose is clear now. You say you have land not far from town?”
“Roughly twenty-two miles away…” Uday replied to the man who watched him in deep contemplation.
“How are we to build this ship?”
“As luck would have it, I’m an engineer. The blueprints for it, are right in my head,” Uday pointed his index finger at his skull and smiled.
“Extraordinary. This is perfect. Then you tell me what it is you need and let us make the Lord’s will reality. I just have one question, though.”
Uday listened as Alexander leaned forward and cast a wary glance around to ensure no one else was listening to them.
“Just how are we to collect two of every species?”
“Wha…? Why, their DNA, of course,” Uday smiled.
“Of course, how thoughtless of me.”
Alexander returned the smile as the waiter finally made his way back to their table. Everything was coming together just as Allah had foretold.
“Eccentric millionaire, Alexander Plynie has gone off and done it again,” A newswoman stared into the camera her associate struggled to keep still upon his shoulder. “This time, he and fellow worshiper, Uday Al Hassyn, have started construction on a massive complex with intentions to build another structure of religious significance. However, this reporter feels it would just be better for you to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth…”
The image flickered over to a previously recorded press conference given by Alexander himself earlier that day.
“‘As many of you have noticed, a large complex is being built outside of the small town of Minos, Montana. Within its confines, we will design a replica of the Ark that Noah used to save humanity from the flood. It will be amazing and we just can’t wait to show it to you.’
“And there you go. Millionaires just need something to spend their riches on. Leah Purvis, Channel Three news. Back to you Richard…”
Uday shook his head in concern. He wasn’t certain this was the right course of action. It led to too many complications. Much more than he was used to dealing with. He turned the television off that was inside his SUV and turned to hear what Alexander was saying to him.
“Well, that should keep them off our backs for a little while.”
The two stood atop a hill overlooking the lands Uday had purchased. The complex in the middle was nearing completion and several camera crews were loitering just outside of the construction zone. The complex was massive enough to hold the space Ark.
Both men had been working tirelessly to get the right people together to begin construction on the ship. Four weeks had felt too long to Uday, but he was glad to see things finally coming together.
“Are you sure this won’t draw a larger audience?” he wondered not for the first time since the initial conference as he covered his eyes for the glare of the sun directly overhead in the clear blue skies.
“No. But, at least they don’t know it’s supposed to fly. This way is better, though. Now we don’t have to worry about reporters sneaking inside to see what we’re up to.”
“No, now we just have to worry about having the proper permits to show the local and state governments,” Uday countered as he pursed his lips in anxiety.
“I don’t think that’ll be an issue. I’ve already handled those matters.”
“You know, you’re a very efficient man, Alexander. Hopefully, the curiosity of the public will remain just that. Curiosity.” He still wasn’t entirely convinced, though Alexander’s optimism helped iron out some of the worry.
“I don’t foresee any problems.”
The two men continued to stare towards the construct springing up in the midst of the wide land. The worry still clung to them as they contemplated the near future and the potential nightmare holocaust lurking over the horizon.
Another chapter, another week, another offering down. Alright, now we can get ready for the fifth chapter that will be up on Friday of the next! Thanks for reading and I hope you’re enjoying the tale you’ve been reading! See you again soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
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