The Dark Man
Annalee Thorn finished the last errand of the day just in time. It was starting to rain. It began as a tiny pattering of drops, just enough to make little dark spots on the sidewalk. Hurrying, she put the last of her bags in the back seat, wheeled the cart back and got her keys from her purse just as the raindrops grew heavier. Just before she got into the car, she spotted a man directly across the street dressed in dark clothing, watching her. Fumbling with the keys, she dropped them on the floor just under her feet. Scooping them back up, she turned to roll up the window, gasping when that same man from across the street stood peering in at her.
“There’s something coming, be warned,” he said in a deep, foreboding voice, “In Luke 21:11 it says: “And great earthquakes shall be in diver’s places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”
Annalee sighed, just another doomsayer, one of many in town. “Listen buddy, if I wanted a bible lesson, I’d go to church, now get away from my car!” she warned him.
“Men will faint from fear over the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke 21:26. It’s coming, Annalee.”
As if to validate the man’s words, the sky suddenly turned dark with billowy, black storm clouds. How did he know her name? Panicked, she peeled out of the parking lot, the heavy sheets of rain making it almost impossible to see. Forked lightening ripped the sky apart and crackling thunder immediately followed, vibrating inside of the car. Annalee pulled into her driveway, breathing a sigh of relief when she finally pulled into the garage. The rain beating on the tin roof was deafening. Grabbing her groceries in the back seat, she ran inside, the unnatural afternoon darkness making it hard to see. Flicking on the kitchen light, she began the tedious task of putting groceries away, still shaking from the incident in the parking lot. The storm continued to rage outside as the rain pummeled the small, ranch style home. Thunder rumbled and lightening lit up the room continuously as the storm turned the rain into drumbeats on the roof.
Groceries put away, she was thinking about how good a nice, hot cup of coffee would taste when an unusually loud crack of thunder and bright flash of lightening plunged the house into darkness. Frozen in place at this intrusion of night, she made her way to the window to see if the lighthouse on the hill was out, too. Opening the curtain, she peered through the deluge of rain and in a brief flash of lightening, saw the man dressed in dark clothing directly across the street looking right at the house. Gasping in fear, she shut the curtain quickly and wondered if she should call the police.
Searching for her cell phone, she turned it on and saw there were no bars. Puzzled, she knew the only way her cell phone would be out is if she either forgot to pay her bill, which she didn’t, or the satellite systems were down. Heart pounding furiously against her chest, went to the window again and peeked out. In a flash of lightening, she saw nothing. He wasn’t there! Panic set in as she ran to the back door and locked it, checking the front door as well. Running upstairs to her room, she rummaged through her closet to find her old softball bat. Anything she could use as a weapon. Just as her hand closed around the bat, the unmistakable sound of shattering glass made her freeze. He was in the house! Whimpering in fear, she pushed herself into the closet, getting as far back as she possibly could and covering herself with an old blanket.
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife!”
It was him! The man from the parking lot! Annalee covered her mouth to squelch the scream, pushing as far back as she could go. He was quoting from the bible again. She knew this because her father was a Baptist minister and growing up, practically shoved brimstone and fire down her throat.
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience!”
Annalee could hear the creaking of the stairs over the storm as the man made his way up, quoting from Ephesians. Her trembling hands gripped the bat tighter, her breath coming in short, fast gasps.
“Do not be afraid, my child!” he yelled, “For God didn’t give us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and discipline! Come out, Annalee, quickly! Plans are already in place and we must find shelter! I’m not going to hurt you, I promise!”
She heard him walk into her bedroom and held her breath.
“Oh, please. Oh, please,” she prayed, “God, if you’re there,save me.”
Suddenly, the closet door flung open and he was on her. Screaming and kicking wildly, she felt him place a piece of cloth over her mouth, an acrid smell and her world faded into black.
Annalee woke with a pounding headache, her hands bound. Eyes closed, feigning sleep, she peeked to see a bunk bed, refrigerator, table and another doorway. The man was watching her with keen interest, probably wondering if she was going to scream or beg, but she refused to give him the satisfaction of either.
“You’ve been chosen, dear one,” he told her, “God told me that you are the one.”
Annalee glared at him angrily. The man was insane. “You’re freaking crazy! Let me go!”
“Just hear me out,” he said, “I’ll untie your hands when I finish. As I started to say, you’ve been chosen, along with myself, to repopulate the Earth as in the days of Adam and Eve. God told me to build this bunker exactly three feet thick, and one hundred feet into the ground. There are enough supplies to last us approximately twelve days, which should be sufficient enough time for the fallout to pass. In exactly fifteen minutes, the world as you know it will be no more. I’m not going to hurt you and I’m not crazy.”
With that, he walked over to her and gently untied her hands.
“You’re not crazy?” she countered, “Are you kidding me? You just kidnapped a woman in broad daylight! That’s not crazy? And how do you know my name?”
“Annalee, God doesn’t spare any detail worth telling,” he explained, “your name was no exception.”
“You let me out of here, right now! I have family, people be looking for me!”
“Please, trust me on this,” he told her, “there’s not going to be anyone left to look for you. As we speak, a terrorist ring has infiltrated the US Arms Control computer systems and in ten minutes, ten of most powerful countries from around the world are being targeted for nuclear missile strikes. Thinking that the United States launched an attack, these same countries will retaliate, causing world war three to erupt globally.”
“You’re part of this terrorist ring?” she asked, horrified, “You did this?”
“No! Of course not!” he said hotly, “this has nothing to do with me. I am just God’s messenger, is all.”
“I’m going to strap in now, he informed her, “there’s only two more minutes before the strikes. You’re safe down here, so don’t panic.”
With that said, he sat in a chair and strapped himself in. Annalee couldn’t believe what was happening to her. Trapped in a bunker with a madman, she wondered if she would make it through the night.
Suddenly, the small bunker was racked with violent tremors and the sound of muffled explosions, despite being one hundred feet under the ground. The concussions flung them both to the floor as the earth violently shook and rocked the small bunker. Annalee felt the pressure in the bunker change as the blast from above shot out, then was sucked back. Screaming with absolute terror, she pulled herself over into a corner and curled into a fetal position, protecting her head and organs.
“What’s happening? My God, what’s happening?” she screamed.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand!” the man yelled, quoting Ephesians, “Have faith, Annalee! Be strong for you were chosen by God!”
Unstrapping himself, he walked over to Annalee, undoing her trembling hands. Helping her up, he sat her on the bed, offering her a bottle of water.
“The blast is over, we’re safe,” he told her, “now we just need to wait out the radioactive fallout. You’re in shock right now so take deep breaths, nice and easy.”
Annalee took the water, her hands shaking violently. Any minute she was going to wake up in her own bed.
“How did you know?” she asked softly, “My God, how did you know?”
“I told you, Annalee, I wasn’t lying,” he claimed in a perfectly sane voice, “just like Noah and the Ark, he told me how to build this bunker. He said to find a woman and take her with me. There’s no great mystery here. I do as God says, no questions asked, understand? I brought a Ham Radio, turn it on and see for yourself. No one will answer because no one is there, get it?”
“I want to see,” she told him, “I NEED to see!”
No one opens that door, Annalee, we’ll die. After the twelve days are up, you can be the first one to open the doors, I promise. Just accept that.”
Opening The Door
The twelve days passed excruciatingly slow. She found out the man’s name; Joshua. He was two years older than her, a Harvard graduate who lost his whole family in a house fire. He told her he found God after becoming extremely depressed with suicidal tendencies. He wasn’t handsome in the classic sense, but with his longish, chestnut colored hair and hazel eyes, she definitely found him attractive. She also found out he wasn’t crazy, or a killer or a kidnapper. He truly believed God spoke to him and after hearing and feeling what happened above, she believed him. In a way, they were both orphans. He’s lost his entire family; mother, father and two sisters, to a house fire and Annalee’s parents died in a plane crash just off the coast of Hawaii.
“So what happens now, Joshua?” she asked, “it’s time.”
“Are you prepared? Mentally?” he asked. At her nod, he took a deep a breath and gave her the number to the combination that opened the door. “Let’s do this together.”
She nodded, taking his hand after she punched in the code. Ascending, they stepped out into a nuclear winter. An eerie darkness that exposed what was left after the bomb stripped the city of its flesh. Nothing could have prepared them for the devastation. The air, pungent with the odor of death and fire, was hard to breathe through the ashes that fell with the grace of snow, covering what was once their home. Annalee turned to Josh and he enveloped her into his arms. Together, they walked back down into the bunker to after seeing all they needed to see. It was time to search for other survivors, but for now, they’d stay until the rains came. Life would never be the same, but it would be different. Maybe even good.
© 2016, RissRyker518. All rights reserved.
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