Chapter 28

Rachel dragged herself to the door and braced to meet the day. There was no way to avoid being late, since it would take an hour to get to Salt City. Excuses would be needed. Excuses that would be better received if she was contrite as opposed to bitchy. She sighed deeply, kicked off her shoes and went into the bedroom. She dropped onto her knees beside the bed and rested her head on her clasped hands in the position of prayer.

“Oh God,” she groaned. Her thoughts tumbled madly. She was so tired. Her mind felt like a strobing fluorescent light, nothing was clear. She let the thoughts careen around for a while until one image solidified. It was Carlton.

“Oh God,” she breathed. Carlton. What an idiot. But since he was there in her head she prayed for him. Her thoughts began to line up in a more orderly row now, and she prayed for her parents, her brother, she remembered to ask forgiveness for her sins, gave thanks for… but then she got lost again and the images came in a rush.

“Oh God,” she cried plaintively. Dunning and Kruger. Her security detail in the unmarked sedan downstairs. Those guys definitely needed prayer. Salt City. Utah. The United States of America. The world.

“Oh God,” she sighed deeply, feeling the blood pulse in her temples. She wondered if her blood pressure was up. By now her body was relaxing and she sank lower, parting her knees, sliding back from the bed, lowering her head and stretching out her arms above her still resting on the edge of the bed.

“Oh God,” she whispered, then she remembered the elevator.

“Oh God!” panic rose up but she quelled it by remembering the situation. Friday was D-Day. She only had to make it to Friday. There was a reason for everything, God was in control. She only needed to have faith in Him.

“Oh God,” she prayed for her pastor and her church in Salt Lake City, then her church back in Washington DC. She prayed for the many friends and people she knew of who had quietly dropped out of society and made their way to camps like the one in southern Utah. Camps for people who rejected the World Monetary Union system and the registration tattoo.

“Oh God,” she thought again about her upcoming appointment on Friday afternoon. It would be Dunning and Kruger’s job to get her to the appointment as soon as possible after the linguistics conference ended on Friday afternoon. She prayed that God would intervene in some way that would mean that she didn’t have to do anything drastic. Killing them was an option, but, let’s face it, she reasoned, how could that be part of God’s will for her life?

“Oh God,” she was going to have to simply trust Him. She turned sideways, parallel with the edge of the bed, and stretched out her hands on the floor. She was still kneeling, and she spread her knees as far apart as she could as she lowered her body. Her hip popped in a satisfying way and she relaxed, prostrate, her forehead touching the cool floor.

“Oh God,” she sighed as she thought with swelling passion of the work she was doing with Biblio, the library computer. There was a reason for everything. If nothing else she was going to make sure that the Word of God lived on the mind of the most spiritual computer ever made. She prayed that she was right about Biblio, that the nature of his system being blood meant that he had a soul. The life is in the blood. She prayed fervently that she had understood right the scriptural teaching about the spirit and soul, that Biblio, even though he had been made by a man, could have a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It was a long shot she knew, but a sense of total peace calmed her mind.

“Oh God,” she whispered again, thanking Him for the Holy Spirit that had guided her to the place and the work that she was doing for the Lord.

“Oh God,” she breathed. She gave thanks for His mercy and grace, praised Him for the bird she could hear singing outside the window, and dozed off.

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Chapter 10

By the time he was done with all the explanations it was late.  Even Rachel began to look tired, and, when the conversation lulled, she stretched and yawned.

“Carlton, this has been great, but I better be getting home.”

He looked at his watch, 1:25 AM.  “Good grief, I had no idea.“ He looked around the empty Café. The bored Barista had all but given up on life.  “You’re right. Thanks, Rachel, this has been the most fun I’ve had for ages.”

“You need to get out more.”  She smiled.  “OK, let’s get out of here.  Walk me to my car?“

“Of course.”

The Barista perked up when he saw them get up, followed them to the door, and, politely, wished them a good night.  Rachel and Carlton both laughed.  They walked in silence for a few minutes.  Carlton had done more talking this evening that in the last two weeks put together and he was tired.  He was also uncertain how to proceed.  It was OK though, because Rachel, in her dependable way, began speaking again.

“Will you be doing the maintenance on the library computer?”

“Yes, and it will be under warranty for three years too, so if anything goes wrong…” he paused and inwardly winced, “you know who to call.”  He felt himself being drawn to the edge of a precipice: emotional entanglement.  Panic began to well up inside, warnings began to sound in his mind.  In a millisecond Carlton lived through a whirlwind romance with Ruth all the way up to the inevitable painful ending.

“Great,”  Rachel noticed the flicker in Carlton’s countenance, and summed it up with accuracy and insight.  However, she was not here to play games, and had an agenda that Carlton knew nothing about.  Her heart went out to Carlton.  He was like so many others she had met, so desperate and so small.  So afraid.

“They probably have your number at the library, but why don’t you let me write it down now?”  She smiled, but did not look into Carlton’s face, rather, she rummaged in her pocket-book.  Then they were at her car.  She thanked Carlton again for a pleasant evening, and chuckled as he clumsily fumbled the car door.  When she was seated she put the key in and rolled down the window.

“Carlton,”

“Yes,”

“One last thing.  Do you go to church anywhere?”

“Church?“

“Yes, I just started going to Anchor Baptist Church, why don’t you come Sunday? Oh, Tomorrow!”

Carlton frowned, talk about curve balls.  “I’ll think about it.“

“OK, bye.”  She checked the mirrors, looked over her shoulder, waved, and drove off into the night.

A chasm opened up below Carlton’s feet, and her stared down into oblivion. So, not only was he going to get his heart broken, again, but he was going to get drawn into a bunch of religious clap-trap while it was happening. He sighed. Shook his head in an attempt to clear it, then walked to his own car contemplating the trials and pitfalls of life. Only yesterday he had been safe and secure in his introverted bubble. Now he was naked and exposed in a situation that, though he had dreamed of it for years, he didn’t want to be in.

It was Rachel though. It wasn’t some random woman that he blundered into. His heart was already leaking blood from the anticipated wounds as he made his way home. Home, that was a convenient distraction, but another situation that he really didn’t feel like dealing with right now.

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