Is my time up? Larry wonders. The woman in black withdraws a weapon and presses the barrel against the side of his head, causing his hands to turn to noodles at the steering wheel. He can picture leaving Tina a widow, shortly after making her a Newlywed. His life, and everything he considers special, flashes before his vision—in vivid color.
“Where are we going?”
The woman turns his way; in her turning, Larry sees the abyss of her inhuman heart filter through hauntingly exotic eyes like a scythe. In seconds, she grows as appealing as black lung disease.
“Shut up and drive!”
Ice cold fear seizes the police veteran in circumstantial paralysis, as well as in human awe, knowing the fear involves a woman. Very few men have invoked this terror. In fact, Larry seldom had to think about overpowering an assailant, especially one that appeared physically weaker—out on the beat. After eight years in law enforcement, his instinct always seemed to take over. Now…Larry’s instinct tells him to avoid being shot. At the same time, his body fails to agree with his mind.
“What’s your real name?”
“You can’t handle the truth!” Jerica says in her best Nicholson Accent.
The gun presses into his temple, far enough to leave an imprint and invoke grimacing pain. The cop grits his teeth through a sense of renewed quiet. He has no concept of a living cartoon character named Bible Defender. Even if he had, his thoughts would scream CORNY! In his present predicament, Larry desperately grasps for the intervention of any sort of savior.
He stops the car. “I have to throw up!”
He opens the car door and attempts to heave his guts out onto the pavement. All thoughts of running escape, when a bullet shatters his right knee cap. Larry’s mind swims into and out of a channel of pain, and he feels spasms he considers an outer body experience. The next thing he knows the woman has shoved him over into the passenger seat. Larry finds his body throbbing in pain, right before light-headed anguish washes through his stunned mind.
“You’re one sorry Pig!” The woman says, before she drops the car’s lever back into drive.
Larry Quintana reaches down into his gut to corner anything left of his courage, as the car lurches forward. The injured man finds comfort in repeating…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…
Bible Defender smiles through a blue mask. He fully realizes he has left his evil nemesis, Evil Envy, in ruin. A thin steel braided cable raises the entertainment hero towards the stage rafters. Tawny claps and whistles, standing at Georgia’s side. Two giant closing curtains encompass the elaborate stage.
A large man wearing a Security t-shirt joins them—front and center. Georgia looks at the man with slight concern.
“Bible Defender wishes to speak to you,” the muscle man says, while he analyzes the woman for any sign of resistance.
“You’ve been chosen as a Bible Defender Contest Winner!”
“I must bring my daughter.”
The big goon grins, before he replies. “She can certainly come—also.”
The man ushers them to the side of the stage and through a well-guarded door.
“I wonder what we won?” Georgia asks, quite oblivious to more sacred intentions.
A serious cast of Tawny’s face indicates she already knows about the meeting reflected in the man’s recessed eyes, as he directs them to follow. She knows if it truly is a contest, they could be awarded a booby prize.
The three of them approach the bible star’s door which has painted on it a symbol of the old rugged cross. Above the cross is a name in all caps and bold letters. BIBLE DEFENDER
The security guard knocks and awaits a response.
“Come in”, Peter Caldor says, assuredly.
Georgia pushes through the door, and happily hugs the street clothes side of Bible Defender.
“Hi…How are you?” Georgia reaches out her hand to the short man standing before her.
Bible Defender takes it, and replies, “I’m doing great!” with the enthusiasm of a high commission car salesman. The actor continues, “We must hurry…There’s no time to waste—here!”
“The big guy said something about a contest?”
Tawny shocks both adults when she breaks into their conversation.
“It was just a saying to get all of us together, mommy.”
“What are you talking about, dear?”
The man’s middle-aged grin is warm and comforting. “Tawny’s right. We must stop the transference!”
“How do you know my child’s name?” Georgia asks, quite puzzled.
What is this word transference? Tawny asks herself.
“We can’t make a move until tomorrow,” Georgia adds.
Bible Defender shakes his head forward, as if he knows it; it is only through the divine that he knows why?
“Where’s the bible?”
Georgia scans the short man’s eyes, while she wonders if she can trust him that much.
“I’m here to help!”
“The bible, tennis racket, and a gun are in the trunk of my car.”
“A gun, mother?” Tawny looks at her mother as if she is seeing a complete stranger. Bible Defender spins around in his padded chair. “We must take the items to your location.”
“You mean Bailey’s?” Georgia answers.
Both tawny and Bible Defender shake their heads to the affirmative.
“How do you know about Jeremiah?”
“He’s in the bible, isn’t he?” Bible Defender answers, as if it is a ridiculous question the prophetess imposes.
Georgia still doesn’t completely buy the whole thing.
“Doesn’t it have to be on the same day, and at the same time?”
Instantly, the plain clothed hero takes on a more serious aura. “Come, now. Do you really want a man God took away?”
Georgia is a bit taken back by the man’s direct question. A smirk forms at the corners of her mouth, as if she has caught their hero in a blunder.
“Why has he resurrected Cledus Beaumont?”
“He hasn’t. The devil works in mysterious ways.”
Georgia drives them to Bailey’s Resort. She is completely numb with the whole process of waiting for so many years, only to give over what control she has—to one of the Lord’s flashy messengers.
Georgia takes a quick glance into the passenger seat. “You’re not telling me everything, Bible Defender.”
“He will speak to us when he is ready.”
Tawny adds, “He will show us the right path, mommy!” And she gives her mother a heart-melting smile.
The car glistens in the hot sun like spiritual inertia under the magnifying glass of God, as the Holy Spirit descends upon Bailey’s Resort. Bible Defender lays his head back into the seat and feels the energy. He closes his eyes in personal meditation.
Out of nowhere, Georgia proclaims, “The tennis courts!”
Tawny cackles, before saying, “Advantage Alexandre!”
Laughter flows through the air-conditioned confines of the compact car as it follows the highway swerving sharply onto the resort connect road.
Georgia returns to her pondering. “Could Jeremiah come back the same man?”
“We’re talking thirteen years within the void. Even if he does, there will be little chance he staid sane!”
Georgia is glad she finally gets a straight answer from the disciple. It is a welcome note, outside of Lucky’s incessant rambling.
Lucky Waverly squats in another tree and seeds them approach. Or at least his spirit waits for its own retiring, knowing what is at stake. He feels no-account in assisting either side. In fact, he feels like the still air in a Tornado’s wake. Deep down, the man loves Georgia and Tawny. He sets by to pile on the agony, but he is not plum to bring up the words.
The car pulls into Bailey’s parking Lot and stops. Each passenger carries an item gathered from the trunk. Tawny holds Jeremiah’s tennis racket, Georgia pockets Jeremiah’s gun, and Bible Defender has the honors of toting the relic bible.
All three followers approach the foot bridge Jeremiah previously crossed. This time there are no ducks moving on the water down below them. The tennis courts are empty, save on old faded tennis ball and an empty can that once housed several Penn’s. Each of the participants hold a piece of the Beaumont Gate. The sun breaks through the clouds and casts an eerie glow across a rain streaked atmosphere.
Bright light hits the can and nearly blinds them, as a sudden wind comes under the wind-break fence and pushes the round metal container from the concrete groove where it resides. The empty tennis ball holder rolls around, noisily, at their feet.
Tawny reaches down and picks up the can. All Georgia can think of is a pipe bomb, as Tawny pops off the plastic lid. Inside the can is printed a program from Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area. It mentions a prehistoric site thought to date back as far as 10,000 b.c. Bible Defender’s grin tells them the message is received and acknowledged.
“This is where we make our final stand!” He says with a confidence backed by his God.
“We? What about Jeremiah?”
“What have we talked about, Georgia? Jeremiah? We can save the fate of the entire world!”
Georgia looks defeated.
“Who told you these things? Lucky?”
“No. A more reliable source. One heavenly father!”
Georgia looks up at an open Nevada Sky. She finds any effort to hold back tears fruitless. My soul mate was sacrificed for—in what all likelihood—is an outlaw. An outlaw easily swayed by lust and power. The sagebrush takes on a purple hue, as if the heavens create a giant black light oasis. Georgia remembers kissing Jeremiah within the hot tub, as well as how their bodies fused together for all eternity.
This circuit is broken, when Tawny grabs a hold of her mother’s hand and offers up a loving smile. Comfort transfers from her daughter. In essence… Georgia knows everything will be ok, because she finds God’s will and turns away from the will of man. After so many long years of human struggle, she feels secure knowing Bible Defender confidently leads the way.