Asia manages not to cry the whole way home. But after she and her sister walk Chasity to her building, and start their hike back across the long highway overpass, Asia can no longer choke back her tears and
they start rolling down her cheeks again for the fourth time that day. She quietly cries, and says a quiet prayer that her sister is too angry to notice; Chasity is rubbing off on her. But of course, the inevitable has to happen, so when Tanisha spins around to confront her little sister again that day, she sees that Asia is crying. She’s in control until her sister says, “why are you crying, I asked you that before and I knew you were lying, you’d better tell me the truth!”, Tanisha demands. Now, Asia loses it again for the second time that day – this de ja vu feeling keeps coming back – she’s able to keep noticing this even in her confused and upset state. She cries, heaves, and sniffs as she walks beside her sister. Tanisha stops Asia by putting her hand in the middle of her chest. Asia stops and begins speaking in an incomprehensible high pitched voice for the second time that day – the same de ja vu feeling again permeates her bones – “the Mark of the Beast is coming. It’ gonna……” She stops speaking for a second and thinks, trying to get it right and then continues as she gathers her thoughts together and sniffing in between, “we’re gonna have to take the Mark of the Beast and it’s gonna hurt and torture us”. “What?” asks Tanisha with her eye brows cocked up. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Chasity said that her preacher told her that we’re gonna have to
take the Mark of the Beast and we’re gonna have to do what they say or else we’re gonna be tortured and punished!” Asia stammers, with wide and frightened eyes of a child whose life and world has just been turned upside down. Tanisha just stares at her sister and says, “I don’t know what nonsense Chasity has told you, but you had better stop crying right now before we get home and mom sees you!” She has her left hand on her hip as she glares at her sister. Asia wipes her red saturated eyes and nose with the back of her hand, and for the umpteenth time that day wipes it on her pants smearing creamy snot and mucus on her leg. She sniffs again as she and her sister hurry home from school. She’s extremely frustrated that she isn’t able to convey in words, and have her sister understand the importance of the information that was just bestowed upon her.
She knows deep down in her heart that one day this story is going to come to life. She has the feeling that it’s true, and one day everyone will have to believe it whether they want to or not.
These are Asia’s thoughts as she gets up out of bed again and she and her family continue to listen to the breaking news report about the curfew placed upon the citizens of the U. S. All of them are still standing there in their pajamas and listening in shock. More information and explanations are being updated every minute. She says, “Troy, I knew something was about to happen. Didn’t I just tell you about the Mark of the Beast story”. And Junior looks up at her and says, “mom what story?” Troy responds and says, “Let’s not say anything right now in front of the kids, let’s first try to make some sense of what’s happening”. “Okay hon”, she replies with a very worried look still on her face. The boys are looking back and forth between their parents. Beary is looking at his mother then his dad. Junior is staring at the t. v. screen with frightened wide eyes. He knows more than his little brother that this is a very serious event. What he nor his dad don’t know is that the events are going to get even worse. But his mom, Asia, has a feeling they will. She now knows for certain why she has been thinking about the Mark of the Beast story. It is a warning from God
that more events and happenings connected to the end days and times will be occurring. They have to get prepared as a family for all kinds of life changing situations, and as she thinks this, it automatically comes out of her mouth, “we must organize and prepare ourselves for probably more worse things to happen”.
Asia’s two sons and husband now turn their attention away from the t. v. screen and look at her. Troy speaks first, “I know exactly what you mean, Babe. We must first make a plan.” “Yes, I’ve been kind of stocking up on things like canned goods, non-perishable items, flashlights, candles, bottled waters, oh my goodness, I must go into the kitchen now and make an inventory of what important things we have and what we need!” Asia says this with a flushed and excited voice. This makes Beary more frightened and he gushes, “mommy, what’s going on?” Junior just stands there contemplating on how his friends’ families are coping with this event. He’s still in shock. “Asia, let’s not get excited. We need to keep our cool and not panic. We’ll first see what we have and need. Then go out and get things before the curfew begins. Then call our parents, brothers and sisters”. Troy says this with a somewhat level headed attitude. Thank God, her husband is a calm and level headed man she thinks. And she smiles an “Okay”. Beary sees his mom smile and this helps him not be so scared, but he doesn’t relax. Junior says, “yeah dad, let’s start all this now”. And all of them go into the kitchen to begin one of the many life- saving tasks of their plan.
Troy opens up the cabinets as Asia opens up the fridge and both begin going through their food stuff. “Junior, go get a pencil and paper and write down these things me and your dad tell you to”. “Okay mom”, Junior says and he goes into his room, rummages through his book bag and finds a pen and a piece of paper. He rushes back to the kitchen and watches his mom hand items to his brother. Beary is quiet as he helps his mom and dad by putting items handed to him on the table. Asia tells Junior to make two columns on his paper, “one will say things needed and the other things we have”. “Okay” responds
Junior as he sits at the kitchen table with the pen and paper ready. Troy begins with, “we need rice, crackers, tuna fish, olives, oil, soup, canned milk,” he says to Junior. And to Asia, “what other non-perishables should we stock up on?” “Let’s get spaghetti, and lots of canned tomato sauces, canned beans, canned fruits, Iced tea mixes, sugar,” “noodles too”, says Junior. “You just make sure you write all this down, I’ll go over it again with you”. And Asia says every item again more slowly so Junior can get each one written down. They continue this until she, Troy and the kids are satisfied with and think they have everything down. At least it’s a good start. She’s feeling like and is thinking about those people on that television show who prepare for Armageddon. They have prepared themselves for any kind of global catastrophes like natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Lots of people think these people are crazy fanatics and are only wasting their time. Well, thinks Asia, she wonders how many people now wish they are like these end of the world pre-planners. Troy says, “everyone get dressed fast, so we can go now. There’s no time to wash up. We can do that when we get back”. “That’s a good idea, Troy! We need to go now!” And they all rush, get ready, and get into the car and go.
Asia says, “Troy let’s first get some gas” as they turn out of their community, and then run into their first, but not last shock, of the beginning of this most horrific turn of events. There’s a line already going around the block for gas. “Oh no!” Troy says. “Oh yes”, replies Asia for she has that kind of knowing feeling again. And she begins to feel that long ago de ja vu feeling she first felt all those years ago when Chasity first told her about the Mark of the Beast. Troy turns and looks at her and she sees real worry in his eyes for the first time since they heard about the curfew. “Listen, hon, take me and the boys to Walmart, drop us off, and you come back here and get on line for gas. Buy two canisters and fill them up too. Then go to the bank and withdraw as much money as you can!” Asia says this with a flustered voice. As Troy drives to Walmart, Asia says a prayer out loud, “Lord thank you for putting us in the Poconos for I know it is far worse in the city and
other places around the country”. “Amen” says Troy, Junior and Beary in unison. And she tries to brace herself for whatever more is to come. And brace herself she needs to because Walmart is a mad house.
It’s worse than when storms are predicted and even when Nine Eleven occurred. Thank the Lord it is still relatively early. It’s eight minutes after ten in the morning and Walmart is packed with people. Asia takes Beary by the hand and says, “Junior take your little brother’s other hand and don’t let go!” They walk into the store as other people hurriedly push past them. She says another prayer out loud, “Lord please bless us today, show us favor and keep us safe!” And no sooner than she is finished with the prayer, a woman who is finished shopping pushes her cart to discard it and Junior quickly grabs it as another man tries to get it. Asia helps Junior get the cart and she, he and Beary rush into Walmart to begin the arduous task of getting as many items on their needed list. She places Beary right in front of her as she pushes the cart and Junior holds onto the outside of it. There are people all over the place; one lady bumps into Junior and he says, “hey, watch it!” She doesn’t even stop, let alone say sorry. Asia says, “Junior don’t even say anything, let’s just try to get our stuff and get out of here as soon as possible”. And that’s exactly what they do. God’s favor surrounds them and they go down aisle after aisle through the throng of people with their needed list and gather all the items. They get on a long line at the checkout, wait over twenty minutes to get to the cash register, but are glad they’re able to get everything they need and then some. For Asia picked up some items that weren’t even on their list. They take all their grocery bags out of the shopping cart to give it to someone else who needs it because every cart is taken. Asia and the boys take all their bags, stand over at the farthest side of the parking lot away from most of the throng of people, but where Troy can be able to see them. She places the bags in the middle of all three of them to protect their stuff and waits for her husband to get them.
Troy must have God’s favor too because he isn’t long in retrieving his family. As soon as he pulls up next to Asia and the boys, he parks,
jumps out of the car and begins loading their bags into it. “Are you guys alright?” He asks as he picks up four and five bags at a time. “Yes, honey, we’re alright now. It was rough going because you see how many people are out here”. “I know, that’s why I’m asking”. “Yeah I know. How did it go for you?” “Okay. I filled up the car plus filled up the two gas canisters you said to. I also made it to the bank. There was a line, but I was able to get over eight hundred dollars cash”. “Thank the Lord!” Replies Asia. And she is truly grateful. They put the rest of their groceries in the car and Troy carefully pulls off because there are a multitude of people in Walmart’s parking lot as well as on the road. They travel home again in shock, but are extremely grateful that they are able to put the first of their plan into action. They will just have to play it by ear and put it in God’s hands. Asia knows her husband is definitely feeling this way. And she says another silent thank you to the Lord.
No sooner than she ends her silent prayer, Troy has to slam his foot on the brakes of the car. The car ahead of him and cars ahead of that one slammed on their brakes too. An accident between two cars in front of those cars had occurred making the car directly behind them suddenly brake hard. This set off a chain reaction. Two other cars crashed into each other causing another accident. Asia instinctively puts her right hand up against the dash board on her side to brace herself as she says, “Oh shit!” and then quickly says, “please excuse my French”, to Troy and the boys. Troy responds with, “it’s alright Babe, what the heck is going on?” “An accident must have occurred. I imagine that people are going crazy! Let’s just try to get home as quickly and safely as possible!” “Yes dad”. The boys shout together from the back seat. “Are you boys alright?” Troy asks as he glances in the rear- view mirror. “Yes, dad we are”, replies Junior for both he and his brother. “Okay guys, I know what I can do”. And Troy is able to turn off onto a bac side road and continue driving home. He says a prayer aloud as they pull up to their driveway and he backs up to the front of their home.
All of the Kings family, Troy, his wife, and their two boys all work together as a unit taking the grocery bags from the car to the house.
He opens the front door and each member brings in a bag. He takes four and five bags out of the car at once. While Asia and Junior each take two, and Beary one. The shopping process and first part of their plan takes most of the day to accomplish. They left out of the house around ten thirty that morning and it is now almost five fifteen in the afternoon. This leaves roughly around only four hours left until curfew. Time always went fast before, but now it is going to go even faster. These are some of Asia’s thoughts as she closes her front door and locks it behind her. She actually finds herself sighing and laying her back up against the closed door. She closes her eyes for only a second because that is the only time allowed to her. Their home phone is ringing which brings her right back to reality and her eyes pop open. Troy picks up the phone as she and the boys begin unpacking the grocery bags. “Hello”, he says. “Hey John”, he responds to his brother’s voice. And he takes the phone to their bedroom to talk to his brother in privacy leaving Asia and the boys out front to finish the unpacking.