Asia’s commute home is similar to what her morning commute was like with dangerously, hectic, panic ridden, nerve wrecking, and disgusting incidents. Things seem even scarier than before. And it
seems like people are bugging out even more. The streets are still overly crowded, and she once again fights her way through the streets, but this time towards the train station. This is madness, Asia thinks as she goes through terrifyingly similar things to get on the train and travel back to her commuter bus home to Pennsylvania. Usually she would catch the Wall Street bus downtown, but they have been canceled, so she has to go to the Port Authority. Even though she knows the ride home from the Holland Tunnel they use from downtown is longer than from the Lincoln Tunnel they use from the bus terminal, she’s still dreading going there. If it is still like it was this morning, then she has to prepare for, and muster up the strength, to safely maneuver and survive the ordeal in order to make it home. With God’s grace and mercy, she is able to do this by staying focused and conquering her worries and fears. The ride home on the bus is taking even longer than the ride to work did. The week day afternoon and evening trips home are always longer than some of the morning ones, but today’s are horrendous. Traffic is bumper to bumper with people leaving the city; Asia thinks, and believes fleeing it like her, and are now headed home. This makes her think of the movie, “Escape From New York”. There are numerous accidents because of the frustration, fear, panic, and just the overall
confusion and bewilderment that’s stemming from this new ordinated curfew law. She says a silent prayer, praying for just not she and her family’s safety, but for everyone’s safety. Hearing and feeling her cell phone ring breaks her out of her thoughts. She fishes it out from the bottom of her purse, flips it open and says, “hello”. It’s her husband, Troy. “Hey hon, my bus just left the Lincoln Tunnel and we’re inching along slowly. Troy it is so crazy out here and I am so scared”, she says with fear in her voice. He responds with, “Hey Babe, I’m so worried about you. I left work and picked up the boys early from school”. “You did?”, she Asks. “You were able to leave work early”? “I’ll explain it to you later”, he says. She continues with, “what time is it?” And he answers, “it’s six o’clock”.
Astonished, Asia says, “it’s six o’clock already? I didn’t know it was so late. The time just flew by. You won’t believe what I have been through, but I have to tell you when I get home because I’m exhausted and I need to rest and sleep”. “Okay, Babe. I’m praying for your safe journey home, love you!”, he says. And she says, “love you too”. Then hangs up the phone and tries to go to sleep.
At first, Asia falls into a light and fitful sleep, then a deep and quiet sleep, and back again to a light and fitful one. Most people on the bus also sleep, some are restless and scared and nervously speak about the curfew, some are on their phones talking to family or friends or fidgeting with them, while others are just quietly sitting, looking out the window, and probably contemplating about what is going on. Something has her remember that she still hasn’t spoken to her mother. She didn’t dream about it, but had a sort of fuzzy vision which made her think of her parents and brothers. So she once again gets her phone, but this time she retrieves it from her purse’s outside pocket. She flips it open, scrolls down to her mother’s name and number, presses the send button and waits to hear her mother’s voice on the other end. “Hello”, her mother answers. “Mom, it’s me Asia. How are you and dad? I’ve been so worried about you two!” “We’re fine as to be expected. How are you, Troy and the boys?” “Well we’re trying our hardest to deal
with things the best way we can”, Asia responds with a sigh. “And we are too. Ms. Sally, our live in home attendant went out earlier and got everything we need. So don’t worry about us because we’re alright. Okay speak to you later, good-bye”. And with that, her mom hangs up the phone. Asia just sits there holding the phone to her ear for a few more seconds, spacing out, before finally flipping it closed.
By now she is fully awake and she first curiously looks around at her fellow commuters, to see what they are doing. One of her friends, Dana, who is sitting in the seat straight across from hers asks, “is everything alright?” “Yeah, girl I guess it is considering the circumstances, things could be worse. I just spoke to my mom and she and my dad are good. And I spoke to my husband some time ago and he said he and our sons are okay”. “How about you and your family”? Asia asks back. Dana looks at Asia with fearful eyes and says, “My husband has to stay in the city and I’m on my way back home to be with our son and daughter. I’m really scared, Asia. I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to go through this!” And Asia knows exactly how her friend feels. Because the same thought has been in the back of her mind kind of bugging her too. She’s also been thinking how long will she be able to do this now crazy commute? The commute from Pennsylvania to New York City was already crazy, but now it is outrageous! It went from two- three hours to almost five hours. For it is now ten minutes to seven
p. m. and they may still have another hour of travel ahead of them. She ponders over how are the officials going to handle situations like these? People out past curfew time due to circumstances beyond their control. Are they going to be arrested? Or what? And if it continues like this then she doesn’t know if she is even going to be able to continue her commute back and forth. And she doesn’t really have anyone who she can stay with, in the city. Her parents live in a tiny apartment and there’s no room there for her. She would consider asking one of her brother’s but definitely not the other. Anyway, she doesn’t want to put no one out of his way. And she says another prayer, this time praying to make it home before the nine p. m. curfew.
Asia’s prayers are again answered for her bus reaches the Poconos bus station, her husband picks her up, and they make it to their home by eight thirty-three p.m.; already pushing things close. She remarks on, “how good God is!” And Troy replies, “all the time!” And they both look at each other and smile and sigh at the same time. Junior and Beary have already been bathed and fed and are anxiously awaiting their mother and father’s return. The boys run into Asia’s arms as soon as Troy opens the front door and she walks in the house. She hugs and kisses them saying, “oh Junior, oh Beary, I was so worried about you two. How are you? How was school?” They answer her simultaneously, ”mom we missed you! And we were worried about you too!” The greetings, hugging, and kissing went on for a few minutes until Troy says, “okay boys, your mom is tired. Let her get relaxed and we’ll all talk about our day”. “Okay dad”, they both reply, and allow Asia to first go to the bathroom, then her bedroom to take off her clothes. After doing that, she plops down onto her bed exhausted. Troy and the boys then come into the room and join her on the king size bed. She tries to listen attentively to how everyone’s day was, but she is extremely tired. She doesn’t know why she is still so tired for she slept for some time on the bus and she says this much to Troy. He says, “you’ve been through a lot, not just physically, but mentally as well”. And she responds with, “I guess you’re right”. “Are you hungry? Can I get you something to eat?” Asks Troy. And Asia replies, “no hon, I’m not really hungry, I think that all I need is some sleep to refresh myself”. “Okay, Babe”. He continues, “boys get ready for bed and say good night to your mother”. She exchanges good nights with her sons and they leave her to go to bed themselves, too.
Troy puts the boys to bed, and when he returns to their bedroom his wife seems to be knocked out and snoring. He kisses her on the mouth and she stirs a little out of her sleep. Troy gets on his knees and begins praying. Asia hears him, folds her hands in a steeple position in front of her face and prays with him. When they are finished, she falls back into a deep sleep and immediately begins dreaming again. It’s the same night mare she had dreamt the night before, but it seems to be a
continuation. It’s the same horrible scene where thousands of people are running. Even though everyone is running fast, they seem to not be going anywhere because things are happening in slow motion. She, Troy and the boys are running along with them. Her long ago childhood friend Chasity, who she hasn’t seen in over twenty years, and her family are now running beside her. Asia glances over at Chasity and sees that she is talking, but Asia cannot hear her. Chasity is actually shouting at Asia and pointing behind them. Asia turns around following where Chasity’s finger is pointing and sees the same horribly looking Big Foot creature. She could now hear what Chasity is screaming and she’s saying, “watch out! It’s the Mark of the Beast. Don’t let the Mark of the Beast get you and don’t take its mark!” The beast opens up its mouth and Asia can once again see all the razor sharp objects in it which also seem to be its teeth. It begins shooting these knives, axes, swords, saws, and all other types of sharp metal and glass out of its mouth toward Asia and the running people. Everyone begins ducking, dodging, swaying back and forth, sliding to the floor, and using any other means possible, trying to avoid the dangerous bombardment and assault.
Once again, Troy has his family by his side while all of this is occurring. He is holding Asia with his left hand and both Junior and Beary with his right. He pulls Junior to the side just in time as a large, thick shard of glass whizzes past him narrowly missing cutting him in half. But not everyone running is so favored. Another little boy receives a slash across his leg and blood begins gushing from his wound. Many others are victims of the beast too. They are cut, slashed, stabbed, punctured, and attacked in all kinds of ways by these objects. Asia screams in her dream, but begins profusely sweating in real life. She is tossing and turning as well as moaning in her sleep. The Mark of the Beast is getting closer to everyone no matter how fast they run. They seem to not be able to out run it. Another sharp object flies towards Asia’s head and she tries to duck but finds herself not able to move. Just as its about to hit her right between the eyes, she jerks up out of her sleep this time screaming in real life. Troy wakes up out of his sleep and clicks on his bedside lamp.
“Asia?” He sleepily says, “are you alright? What’s the matter?” Asia is now sitting up in bed with her hand over her heart panting heavily. Troy also sits up in bed and looks at her bewildered. “Troy”, she begins taking deep shallow breaths, “I had a nightmare again!” “I can see”, he responds as he continues to look at his wife, now with a concerned face. She’s damp all over from sweat, and he could see her heart pounding in her chest. “What did you dream about?” “It’s the same dream I had last night, but a continuation of it.” Troy first thinks and then says aloud, “you never told me about what you dreamt last night, remember?” “I remember now that I didn’t because so much has been going on. I think these reoccurring nightmares are connected to my friend Chasity’s Mark of the Beast story because this is what they are about. I also believe they’re because of this new curfew law as well as the end days and times that we’re in.” And Asia begins telling her husband her dreams. She starts with the first one she dreamt the night before and ended with the one she just had. She did not leave anything out, giving Troy a detailed account of every moment by moment, and every sordid description of how the beast looked.
Troy is astonished when Asia finishes. He’s just not astonished, but also flabbergasted. He at first just sits there in their bed absorbing what he has just heard. He can’t believe the description that Asia gave of the beast from her dream. It matches the description of the creature he saw yesterday on the road to his job. To clarify what he just heard, he asks, “what did you say the Mark of the Beast reminded you of?” And Asia says, “Big Foot. But an ugly grotesque looking Big Foot. Worse than Big Foot!” Troy then rubs his hand across his face just like his co-worker, Phillip had done the day before, and says, “I left work early yesterday because of some sort of grotesque looking creature that reminded us of Big Foot”. “What?!” Asks Asia as she jumps up from the bed and stares her husband down. “What are you talking about?” And at two-thirty a.m. Troy proceeds to rehash to his wife what had happened to him yesterday.