Epilogue – The Present

Rain was falling at a steady pace, but as the sky darkened with storm clouds, it slowly began to increase. It was the rain falling upon his face that caused him to regain consciousness. He blinked open his eyes and slowly raised his arm up as if in a dream. He shaded his eyes from the rain and looked up. He realized he was lying on his back with his feet extended slightly above him. He was startled to discover he was upside down on a hill, and tried to make sense of what had happened.


For a moment, he lay still as he tried to gather his wits about him. He had no idea how he had come to be in this position. He had no idea why he was lying on the wet ground beneath a stormy sky. Something was wrong. Something was threatening to swallow him whole where he knew he would be lost forever.

That something was Despair.

Something horrible had just happened. He knew it without one shadow of a doubt. As certain as he knew that his name was Albert Barrington, he was just as certain that something tragic had occurred only moments ago. Something so horrible, it meant to him as if hope had just left the world. He couldn’t understand why he was sure of it, but only that he was.

The despair was so powerful, it was threatening to overwhelm him. He knew if he didn’t fight it, he would be lost forever. So Albert Barrington took a deep breath and let his arm fall back beside him on the ground at his side. He allowed the rain to fall on his face, and concentrated on the sounds around him. There was a loud whine somewhere in the distance, like the whine of a buzz saw. At the moment, it was the only consistent sound.

He held his breath.

There were other sounds, he realized.

Someone was screaming. A car horn was blaring non-stop. To his left, he heard a ticking sound. He slowly turned his head and saw a car several feet away from him, the passenger door hanging open. The front end was mashed into a tree. There was someone sitting behind the steering wheel, unmoving.

Barrington realized he must have been thrown from the car, but that would have meant he hadn’t buckled himself up. That couldn’t be right. He had always worn a seatbelt. For him, there was no reason not to wear a seatbelt. His entire life was by the book. To the letter of the law. Always follow the rules and never stray beyond the boundaries. That had been his motto, unlike his partner, Michael Lenox.

Barrington finally forced himself to sit up with a groan. He felt groggy, lethargic. He was suffering from a splitting migraine and hoped he didn’t have a concussion. When he put his hand up to his head, his fingers came away wet with blood. So somewhere along the way, his head had struck something; but everything else seemed to work.

He forced himself to his feet and intended to help his friend who was still in the car. The whine sounded closer, but he was still unable to determine what it was. He couldn’t concern himself with it anyway. Not until he could help his friend.

He made his way to the car as a flash of lightning lit the sky for a split second off in the distance. He moved around to the back end of the car and when he got to the drivers side, he pulled open the front door. Lenox was sitting there, staring ahead of him.

“Michael…?” Barrington said, concern in his voice. The dread he had felt earlier was trying to resurface. He concentrated on helping his friend to keep it at bay. “Michael…Knox, man…are you with me?”

Lenox swallowed. “Al…?”

“Yeah?”

There was a pause. “Why…is there a tree crawling out through the hood of the car?”

“Uhm…It…it’s not crawling out of the hood. You hit it.”

“Huh.” Lenox snorted in disbelief.

“Are you alright?” Barrington noticed his friend was holding onto his left shoulder, seeming to favor it. “What’s wrong with your arm?”

Lenox took a deep breath. “Argh…I think it’s dislocated. I really hate that.” He looked into the rearview mirror. “What the…?” Scowling, he slowly turned to look into the backseat of the car. “Where’s our prisoner?”

Barrington had a good idea where the prisoner was, but he didn’t think Lenox would want to hear it. At least, not yet. Lenox did not appear to notice the pile of clothing in the backseat of the car. “He’s gone,” Barrington responded softly.

Lenox checked the shoulder holster at his right, relieved to find his weapon was still there. He gritted his teeth and pulled himself out of the car with his good hand as he glared at Barrington. “Do you still have your piece?”

Barrington checked his holster, startled by his discovery. “It…it’s gone.”

“That’s just great!” Lenox cursed. Then, he began to head up the hill, holding his wounded shoulder.

“Knox…I don’t think he took it.”

Lenox didn’t seem to hear him. He came to the top of the hill and stopped. Then, he just didn’t move.

Barrington felt the despair all over again. “Michael…?” he inquired.

But Lenox did not respond.

The feeling of dread tightened its grip as Barrington made his way slowly up the hill. He wasn’t certain if his mind was playing tricks on him, but he thought the sky darkened ominously with every step he took. The rain began to fall harder and stung as the wind whipped around him.

When he reached the top, he stood beside Lenox and understood why he had not responded to him. Spread across the north and south bound lanes of Interstate 90, and across the divider that separated them was the wreckage of a plane. Debris and bodies littered the highway around the crash site. Other vehicles were either off the highway, turned over, or crashed into each other. And this was as far as he could see beyond the crash site from either side. A car on the shoulder was burning in spite of the rain, part of the wing of the plane resting atop it.

That was where the whine was coming from, Barrington realized.

There was a man on his knees, facing the wreckage, wailing. He was shaking his fists toward the darkened skies, oblivious to the hard rain falling on his face. It was as if the man were cursing God for the tragic scene around him.

Barrington swallowed and dropped to his knees because somehow, he knew. He knew what had happened; not just here, but all around the world. And the only reason he knew was because he had been warned that this would happen.

He just hadn’t listened.

“I was told this day would come,” he whispered hoarsely, “and I believed it…I just wasn’t ready.”

Lenox turned his head and found himself looking down at his friend. “What…?”

“It happened, Michael…Just like they said it was going to happen. He came for His bride.” He swallowed, suddenly thinking of his family. “I’ve got to get home.”

“You’re not thinking straight. Take it easy.”

“She…she probably won’t even be there. She and April…” He put his face in his hands. “Oh, dear God…why didn’t I listen? I-I’m so sorry.” He sobbed. “Please forgive my unbelief and help me see the truth. Save me, dear Lord. Make me one of Your own!”

Lenox stared in disbelief. “Have you lost your mind?!” He reached down, grabbed his friend with his good hand, and yanked him to his feet. “We’ve got a crisis here! Snap out of it!”

Barrington looked at him, nodding his head. “Okay. I’m okay, Michael, but…you’ve got to do it, too.”

“Do what?” He frowned. “What’s gotten into you?”

“You need to accept Him. I didn’t before. I thought I had, but I was wrong. We need to accept Him.”

Lenox stepped back from Barrington. “You can accept whatever you want! We’ve got to help.”

Barrington nodded. “Alright…Let me just call the Director.” He took out his cell phone and tried to call Fuller, but there was nothing but silence. He thought about it, and wondered why his phone was dead. Then, he looked down the highway and as far as he could see were vehicles and people. The people were moving, but the vehicles were not.

He turned to Lenox. “It’s happened.”

“What now?” Lenox demanded, concerned his friend would go off the deep end again.

Barrington paused. “The attack.”

Lenox looked at him closely and realized he was dead serious. “We’ve been attacked?”

He nodded. “If what I fear is true, yes.” He sighed. “We can’t stay here. We have to get to Bunker Island…now. As soon as we can.”

“What about these people?”

“Help will come to them…or they’ll have to help themselves, but, Knox…I have to see my family.”

Lenox looked around. “Alright. Let’s get moving.”

As Lenox moved away, someone reached out and touched Barrington’s arm. He spun around and discovered a tall man standing beside him. The man had not been there before.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
— Hebrews 13:2

“Excuse me,” the man said, handing him his weapon. “You dropped this when you fell.”

Barrington took it, startled. “Oh, uhm…thank you. I…” He slowly put his gun in its holster. “How did you know I dropped it?”

“Al,” Lenox shouted, “let’s go!”

Barrington looked toward him. “I’m coming.” He turned to the man beside him, and stared. There was no one there. Whoever the man was, he was gone now. “Did you see someone here a second ago?” he asked Lenox as he rejoined him.

Lenox shook his head. “No.” Great! Now he’s seeing people who aren’t there.

“I must be losing it.”

“Yeah. You and me both.”

They turned together and faced the wreck of the plane and knew they had to keep going. But if they were under attack, what would they find facing them as they made their way to the Bunker? Barrington was more concerned what he would find at home…if he found anything at all.

******* *******

To Be Continued in Episode #2!
Episode #2-The Beginning Of Sorrows

The agents of the ATD must face
the aftermath of the Rapture and terrorist attack.
Will they come to know Him, or will their hearts be hardened?

To Be Continued…
_______ _______ _______

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