Chasity knows that she must speed up her plan to leave the city, now more than ever before, so she instructs her family to begin packing up their belongings. Rummaging through the hallway closet, looking for
the suitcases she says, “only pack the clothes and personal items that you can fit”. Standing there, staring at his wife with an incredulous look on his face, Harry blurts out, “Chas, what are you doing? You mean we’re moving right now?” “Yes and no”, she responds out of breath, and continues, “I want us to be ready because I need to speed things up”. “What are you thinking? You haven’t even asked Asia if we could move with she and her family. Don’t you think you should first talk to her about our wishes?” “Yes Harry, I do, but these are desperate times and desperate times lead to desperate measures”. Chasity goes back and forth with her husband as she finds three suitcases, and hands one to her daughter. “Here, Caitlin, take this suitcase and you and your brother try to fit as many items as you can into it”. “Okay mom”, Caitlin says and takes the bag from her mother, brings it into she and her brother’s room, and neatly packs already folded clothes in it. Jacob asks, “mom, when are we leaving?” “I don’t know exactly when, but I’m hoping by the end of this week!” And with that, she pulls the other two suitcases into her bedroom and begins packing she and Harry’s clothes. Harry shakes his head back and forth and says, “Chas, you’d better talk to your friend and at least give her a heads up”. “I’m one step ahead of you, I’m going to her parent’s house tomorrow to talk to her face to
face. I know we said we should wait until after the funeral, but like I said before, I’m desperate, so I can’t wait”. She closes one suitcase that’s been filled, and begins on the second one, saying, “Harry, you should get your clothes so they can be packed in this suitcase”. He deeply sighs, making his chest rise high and fall, which pronounces his disturbed inner feelings, and begins pulling clothes out of the closet and drawers. Chasity knows this is a lot for them, and it’s going to be hard, but she also knows that this is the right thing to do considering all the extenuating circumstances. She knows it is imperative that they move out of the city, now! She doesn’t understand why her husband is so hesitant. He sees what’s going on, and knows this is their best option. Things are bad now, and they are bound to get worse! They must keep the faith, and anyway, the Lord is telling her to do this now, so she is.
After they have packed a majority of their clothes, Chasity makes them tuna fish sandwiches to eat. And as is the norm, they all remain quiet until everyone is finished eating. This time, Caitlin breaks the silence by asking, “mom, does Ms. Asia even know that we’re coming to live with her?” Harry answers before Chasity can and says, “no, she doesn’t, your mother hasn’t said anything to her”. Chasity tries not to roll her eyes at her husband, but fails in her attempt, and sucks her teeth as well saying, “I’m going to see and speak to her tomorrow. I have a good feeling that everything’s going to turn out just fine.” “Why don’t you call her again to let her know you’re coming?” “I can’t because my phone’s battery died out”. “Doesn’t Gladys have one of those solar battery charges?” “Oh yeah, Harry, I forgot about that. My mind has been so focused on us getting out of the city that I didn’t think of that. Let me go over there now to see if I can charge up my phone”. “Yeah, because all of our phones are dead”, he says with a disgusted tone. Chasity just quietly looks at her husband, gets up from the table, and goes to Gladys’ apartment.
Chasity knocks on Gladys’ door and waits for her friend to answer. She can hear Gladys come to the door and look through the peephole.
“Yes, who is it?”, she says. “Gladys, it’s me Chasity”. Gladys doesn’t open the door right away making Chasity wait several minutes and this makes her wonder why it’s taking her friend so long to let her in. Gladys finally opens the door, but does not invite Chasity inside. “Hi”, she says standing at the door, “What’s up?” “Gladys, is it possible that I can use your solar charger to charge up my phone? My batteries are dead”. “Oh, um, sure”, Gladys hesitatingly replies, and continues with, “um, hold on”. She closes the door, leaving Chasity standing in the hallway bewildered. She comes back, opens the door and says, “come in”. Gladys’ apartment has the same layout as Chasity’s, the front door opens into a small hallway, then there is a tiny living room, the kitchen, and two bedrooms. Only everything is opposite Chasity’s apartment. Chasity can sense that her friend is hiding something because she’s acting strange. Gladys has never acted like this before, and this is what she’s thinking as she looks around the apartment, and then at her friend.
There are boxes all over Gladys’ apartment. Some are lined up against the hallway wall, while others are stacked one upon another in the living room taking up most of the little space there is. Ignoring her friend’s curious looks, Gladys says, “give me your phone so I can plug it into the solar charger”. Chasity hands her friend the phone and asks, “Gladys, what’s with all the boxes?” “Oh this is just stuff I packed up for an emergency”. “We’re in a state of emergency, so why aren’t you using it now?” “Because it’s for later on too”. Gladys says this with a why are you being so nosy attitude!? Chasity picks up on her friend’s disgusted feelings, which makes her shut down. She does this as a defense mechanism that helps her stay calm and keep her Christian faith in the forefront. She doesn’t want to say or do anything that she might later regret, so she instead asks about her children. Chasity notices that they haven’t come out of their room to greet her as they did in the past, and this makes her wonder if everything’s alright. “The kids are okay, they’re in their room”. And with that, Gladys calls them out. They nervously say hello to Chasity and go back to the room.
Chasity definitely now knows something is up with Gladys and that she’s hiding information, but she doesn’t know what it is, and why.
It seems like these two woman who have been neighbors and friends most of their lives, have now become strangers. Chasity quietly sits in Gladys’ living room waiting for her phone to charge up. Gladys does not sit down with her as she used to, but instead busies herself in the kitchen. She doesn’t ask Chasity to join her and this gives Chasity more time to look around which helps her begin to piece things together. Gladys has more food and supplies than she does. It also looks like her friend is packed up and ready to leave. As Chasity reads the labeled boxes, she realizes that her friend is more prepared than she is. And no longer able to contain her curiosity, Chasity walks to the kitchen and asks, “Gladys, are you guys moving?” “Well, yes we are. You know my brother who lives in New Jersey? Um, he’s coming to get us, and we’re moving in with him and his family”.
Chasity wants to say, why weren’t you going to tell me, but instead says, “oh that’s great! I’m so glad for you and your kids”. And Gladys says, “yeah”, like she’s not wrong for not confiding in her good friend. Then Chasity goes back into the living room, sits down on the couch and remains quiet for the rest of the time until her phone is charged. Gladys doesn’t say another word to Chasity until her phone is done.
“I think your phone is charged”, she finally says and hands Chasity her phone. Chasity is so sad and confused about why her friend is treating her so coldly. She can only come to the conclusion that she is scared and frightened like so many other people and she doesn’t quite know how to respond to these most confusing and horrific events, so she’s acting in a strange and standoffish way. Chasity says, “thank you so much Gladys. I hope and pray that things work out for you and your children. May God bless you and keep you safe in his hands”. And with that, she hugs her friend, walks to the door and says her goodbyes. She truly hopes that her friend will be okay in the future and that she has given herself to the Lord because that’s the only thing that’s going to save her. She stands there looking at the closed door for a few minutes
before going back to her own apartment because she thinks this is the last time she will see her friend.
When she returns, Harry asks her how Gladys and her kids are doing. Chasity replies, “you’re not going to believe this”, and proceeds to tell her husband everything that went down. And at first, Harry is shocked, but then as the story progresses, he says, “Chas, I’m not surprised. Gladys has taken advantage of our generosity for years now. It’s been inevitable that this was bound to happen. I’m not surprised it hasn’t happened sooner”. Chasity just looks at her husband because she doesn’t know what to say, this has really taken her aback. She’s considered Gladys to be her very good friend for years and she didn’t expect anything like this from her. Harry goes on, “were you gonna tell her your plans and intentions?” “Well, of course, I was going to eventually tell her”, she indignantly responds. “I guess that makes you a better friend than she is”. Once again, Chasity just looks at her husband and doesn’t say another word.
Chasity takes her phone into her bedroom, closes the door and calls Asia’s number. She’s not as concerned about her friendship with Gladys anymore, as she is with Asia’s. Asia’s voice mail comes on and Chasity leaves her an urgent message saying, “Asia, please call me back as soon as you can!” Chasity is praying that when she speaks to Asia, Asia will take them in immediately. She resumes her packing and her mind wanders into a meditative state. She doesn’t know why she feels so jealous about Gladys’s move because she’s been planning the same thing. Maybe it’s because Gladys is already packed and ready to go, and she’s not. It looks like Gladys is moving tomorrow, but she doesn’t know when she will be. This makes her even more anxious and she begins pacing back and forth in the little space between her bed and closet. She instantly regrets her anxiety because she bumps her bad leg on the edge of the bed, and it begins hurting, which forces her to stop packing and plop down on the bed.
When Harry walks into his bedroom and sees his wife rubbing her leg, he asks, “Chas, are you alright”? “Yeah, I’m okay. I bumped
my bad leg on the bed”. “Listen, Chas, everything’s gonna be alright. You know that better than me because you have more faith than any of us”. “I know you’re right, so I must hold steadfast and continue to put it in God’s hands. It’ just that it’s easier said than done”. “Yup, you are absolutely right!”, he says as he walks over to the closet to get more stuff to pack. “What happened when you spoke to Asia?” “I called but her voicemail came on so I left a message”, she replied with a sigh. Harry just says, “Oh”, and goes back to what he’s doing. He hopes his wife is not let down regarding her plans to move out of the city. He’s not sure what he’ll do if things don’t go as she expects them to. He knows that no matter what, he’s going to have to get his family out, one way or another. And he hopes it’s Chasity’s way because it seems to be their best option so far. Chasity exhaustingly closes her eyes and falls asleep. She begins to lightly snore at first, and then it progresses into heavy z’s which signifies she has fallen into a deep sleep.
As soon as her realm sleep begins, Chasity starts to dream. It’s the Mark of the Beast nightmare and once again she’s running. She is booking, running very fast, even though she’s an obese woman. And her obese family is right beside her running just as fast as everyone else fleeing from the beast. The air is filled with rancid soot and smoke which is making all of them cough and choke. Even though she and Harry are huffing and puffing, they don’t stop running, and continue to pull their kids along with them. Caitlin trips on something and begins to fall, but Chasity doesn’t allow her to, with one hand, she drags her daughter so hard behind her that Caitlin flies in the air like a kite trailing her mother. With the other hand, she’s clawing her way through the thick smoke, and frantically searching for her friend. She hasn’t seen Asia nor her family at all. It’s like they have disappeared and this makes Chasity panic. And she starts to question the Lord, “why can’t I find Asia, Lord? Where is she and her family”? Chasity is tossing and turning in her sleep which makes Harry shake her awake. “Chas, Chas”, he says as he shakes his wife. “Wake up! You must be having
that dream again”. Chasity jumps awake. “Oh Harry I was having that nightmare. And it is getting even scarier than ever!”, she cries.
As Harry is making the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, the electricity comes back on. Jacob comes running out of the bedroom yelling, “hurray! Do you guys see this? The electricity’s on”. Caitlin also squeals with delight and both she and he jump around laughing and hugging each other. Chasity limps out of bed, joins her family in the kitchen and says, “thank you Lord, we praise your name for all the goodness!” With abounding smiles they all say, “Amen!” Caitlin then asks, “do we still have to eat the sandwiches dad?” “Unfortunately, yeah, because we don’t have anything else except for tuna fish”. “Oh”, she responds with a sad look. Harry and Chasity know their children are tired of eating sandwiches, heck, they are too. So to brighten up the mood, she says, “guys, we’ll go shopping tomorrow and try to get some meat and vegetables to begin cooking hot meals again”. Hugging her mother, Caitlin says, “thank you mommy, I’m so glad it seems like things may get back to normal”. Jacob joins his sister also giving his mother a hug. Harry then encircles all three of them into his huge embrace and they all joyfully hug, kiss, and laugh. Breaking free from the hold, Jacob says, “I have to charge up my phone!” Following him, Caitlin squeals, “me too”. And they both rush off to find separate outlets to plug in their phones.