a mob surrounding a flame they're coming for you

They’re Coming For You – A Novelette (Part 14)

Without notice, my body suddenly felt like it was falling, tumbling down for infinity. This transference didn’t last long. Only moments, in fact. I landed on wet grass and immediately tried to get my bearings, but then I felt the blade still lodged in my stomach and looked down. In shock, I wanted it out of my body as fast as possible. So, my trembling hands clasped the hilt and pulled. I screamed aloud as I yanked it out and dropped it on the lawn.  Blood poured out like a geyser and I did what I could to apply pressure with my right hand. Since I was in a new location, my first thoughts were that I was delivered, that Jesus had answered my prayer. That wasn’t it, unfortunately. I wasn’t alone.

Surrounded by the cloaked crowd, the crimson figure took center stage. I panicked, crawling on my back while pushing with my legs to get away from them. I knew it was futile, but tried all the same. The more I tried to escape, the more they closed in, like the slow moving jaws of a lion.

I suddenly knew where I was: Tom’s house.

Its fire burned ever brighter under the night sky, roaring and crackling with a furious wrath. I heard the faint sound of a voice, yelling at me, begging me to get up and run. At first the voice was indistinguishable, but as it developed, I heard it clearly. It was Tom’s voice from beyond the flames. Strength came into my being then. A new power I didn’t have before. I stood and hobbled quickly toward the flames, hoping perhaps I could find some way of escape. But, once I reached the fiery wall, I had nowhere else to go. The jaws of the crowd closed in.

Grimacing, I decided I’d rather burn alive with Tom than be taken by the shadowy mob. In that moment, I didn’t fear the biting heat, or the taunting crowds, I just loved them. I loved Tom. I loved this town. If what they wanted was for me to burn, I’d love them all them same. And, I knew, that love wasn’t from me. It couldn’t possibly be from me. Within this frail frame was emptiness and fear, but beyond it was something much more.

I looked at all of them with a heavy heart, those angry faces believing their indignation will lead to true salvation. They believed they fought for a righteous cause but the figure in red blinded them, twisted their souls to his will.

I frowned. I turned. I leapt into the inferno. The first thing that happened was my flesh burnt to a crisp and slid right off my body. It was instantaneous, almost painless. For some strange reason I could still stand inside, despite the fire roaring like lions around me. Off in the distance, I saw a figure of white light glowing brightly. The foundations of the house shook. They were violent and destabilizing. I clutched the burning railing of the stairs and but hissed at the pain that I otherwise wasn’t feeling. As long as I didn’t touch anything, the fire, the heat, it didn’t hurt me. The quakes under my feet paralyzed me from moving anywhere. The ceiling cracked and trembled, ripping a huge tear right above me, stretching from one end to the other. Large slabs of sheet rock, wood, and insulation fell to the floor like debris from a volcano. The light emanating from the figure in the distance pulsed and was so bright, I couldn’t look any longer. Then, everything rumbled and roared so wildly and so loudly that I covered my eyes and ears with my skinless arms.

A loud bang and a swirling rush of wind and dust encapsulated my body. I no longer felt heat but a refreshing chill. The hair on the nape of my neck stood on end. Quick to touch my face, I felt the spongy and soft texture of flesh again. The excitement and thrill alone bumped my heart rate up. I took in a deep breath of fresh air and it was like eating a warm meal on a cold day. When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe it. I shut them tight. I opened them again. A nervous, unfaithful laughter escaped my lips, quaking my chest.

Tom’s house burned to the ground. The fire was out. I stood just outside the foundation that was now only a deep pit of soil. Nothing remained, not the rubble, the wood, or the bricks that laid the foundation. It all disappeared. The sky above me was a bright blue and in the distance, I could hear the song birds singing. I said my farewells to Tom and knew, somewhere, he heard them.

Barefoot and naked from head to toe, I walked down the middle of the road. The knife wound in my stomach had fully healed. All that remained was a slight scar. I headed for my house. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I planned to put on some clothes, call my wife, and pack up the few things I needed before leaving Norcross for good. A part of me wanted to stick around, the foolhardy part I suppose. After all, it was my town. I’d been shepherding it for so many years. But, a command from Jesus came to mind I hadn’t thought of in a while. If a town rejects my message, kick the dust from your feet and move on.

It was time to move on.

Though I walked through the town naked, the land was quiet. No one was out. No one ran out of their house to clothe me or see how I was doing or tend to me. I should have felt shame, but I felt nothing. Overnight, the town felt like graveyard, as if everyone had abandoned it all in one night.  

After I got my things, I walked over to the church and found my car right where I had left it the night before. I fired up the engine and turned the corner in front of the church. I stopped. A part of me wondered what had become of Tom’s family. Everything over the course of the last day had felt almost like a waking dream. But I knew it wasn’t a dream, not in the slightest. It had been more real than anything I’d ever experienced before in my life.

After looking at the church for a few seconds, I turned my attention toward the road and sped off to join my family.

 

The End

goodreads

Like this story? Tell me what you thought at ingolfslandauthor[at]gmail[dot]com

Series Navigation<< They’re Coming For You – A Novelette (Part 13)