A Night of Omens
As the sun began to set, they emerged from the forest into a meadow that sat on the brow of a cliff overlooking a valley with a small river winding through it. Puffy white clouds drifted by and the towering volcanic massif of Aconcagua loomed over the area with its peak shrouded in mists and clouds. The sun setting to the left of the mountain cast shadows over the valley and meadow, making an idyllic scene. A soft breeze blew from the mountain as they followed the road toward the cliff. The moment Hannibal and Selina entered the meadow, an uneasy feeling fell over them.
“Man…this is absolutely beautiful!” Harry exclaimed as they reached the cliff. Everyone looked and saw the beauty of the scene, agreeing with Harry’s assessment.
“We’ll camp here tonight,” Hannibal ordered. “Harry...you, Sam, and Jonathan get some wood for a fire while we set up camp.”
“Come on,” Harry said as he sat his pack and weapons on the ground, relieved to be free of the load. Everyone did likewise as Harry, Sam, and Jonathan disappeared into the forest looking for firewood. As everyone went about setting up the camp, Hannibal and Selina stood on the brow of the cliff, staring off into the distance toward Aconcagua.
“We’ve been here before,” Hannibal said softly to Selina as he put his arm around her.
“Yes, we have,” she agreed. “It’s unnerving. This meadow is exactly like the dream. Let’s hope the dream doesn’t come true.”
Hannibal nodded in agreement. “We’d better get our tent set up and pray for a good night’s sleep,” he murmured. “Tomorrow, we cross the valley and head for Skull Pass.” They turned, set up their tent, and then proceeded to help with the setup of the camp. Harry, Sam, and Jonathan returned with the firewood and within ten minutes, a crackling fire burned in the center of their encampment. Darkness fell and the stars began to shine as they settled down to eat. They ate a modest meal from their supplies and talked amongst themselves as they ate. Hannibal kept looking up at the sky, almost as if he expected to see something.
“Why’re you doing that?” Harry asked as he noticed Hannibal’s strange behavior. “It’s making me nervous.”
At first, Hannibal did not answer. “Selina and I dreamed of this meadow about two weeks ago,” he finally answered in a subdued tone. “We had the same dream at the same time. It shook us up when it happened.”
“You mean that you two can share dreams?” Arabella asked with amazement.
“Apparently, we can, though it doesn’t always happen,” Hannibal said. “But it happened that particular night. Let me tell you the dream. Selina and I were having a picnic right over there.” He pointed off to their left and back toward the woods, stating, “We were having a good time when first a Lynxian ghost named Leila Karac appeared to us coming out of the woods, warning us of impending disaster. For some strange reason, I keep seeing this cat in my dreams. It’s disconcerting.
“Then you, Harry, bolted from the woods and warned us to hide because the Dark One was coming. Then Nathanael showed up, saying the same thing and pointing to the mountain. The light suddenly dimmed like someone had used a dimmer switch to dim the light from the sun and we saw the mountain turn into the head of a giant cat with locust coming out of it as it loomed over us, moving toward us with a very wicked smile on its face. Just as that happened, a cold wind arose from nowhere, and then Brother Paul…a preacher I listen to on the radio, appeared from the woods hollering for us to look up, which we did. That is when we saw a fiery red planet more than ten times the apparent diameter of the sun eclipse it, casting a blood red light over everything. At that point, we saw the planet had eight moons and a tremendous field of debris around it, which started falling all around us. A deadly rain of fireballs fell like hail all around us, setting the cat’s head on fire along with the forest all around us. Giant meteors fell everywhere. Brother Paul reached the group and huddled us together, telling us to keep our heads down as a chunk of rock I estimated was almost nine hundred feet across roared overhead and struck the cat’s head square in the nose. The energy release and firestorm was greater than a thousand hydrogen bombs set off simultaneously. The firestorm swept over and past us without consuming us. After that happened, I saw the strange planet emit what I thought was some kind of lightning or plasma discharge which struck the mountain with more power than all the nuclear weapons on Earth combined. It struck, destroying the head that was coming after us completely, and setting up an energy wave that consumed everything in its path. I watched it cross the valley in seconds and as it was about to engulf us, the dream ended. We literally jumped out of bed, not knowing whether the dream was still going on or not. That dream still troubles me.”
They all listened intently, fascinated by the vivid descriptions of the dream. “No wonder you jumped out of bed,” Morrison said. “That would have scared me out of my mind too.”
“Why are you dreaming of this other cat?” Jonathan asked. “I thought Nathanael and Selina are the only ones.”
“As far as I know they are,” Hannibal replied. “Who this other cat is baffles me. As far as I know, I’ve never met a Lynxian other than Selina and Nathanael. What’s really strange is how big she is. This ghost, apparition…whatever she is stands nine feet tall. I’m like a child standing to an adult when around her.”
“That’s really strange,” Thomas murmured.
“What do you think it means?” Ned asked.
“I don’t know,” Hannibal replied. “But one thing is for sure, this meadow was in the dream, right down to every rock and blade of grass.”
“What about that strange planet you saw? What do you suppose it means?” Jonathan asked.
“That planet is an omen. I’m sure of it,” Hannibal said. He then explained to them the details of the tenth planet...Planet X/Nibiru. He, Nathanael, and Selina took turns adding pieces to the story about the strange planet. He informed them without any equivocation that Nibiru, or Planet X, was real; that the world’s power elite knew of it and were planning their dastardly deeds around its passing. Nathanael related to them the story of how Nibiru destroyed the world empire of Amacia thousands of years before and in subsequent and repeated encounters with the Earth, repeatedly wiped out the main civilization each time it passed by, killing the majority of humanity in the process, leaving only a small remnant to start over. Selina ended the discussion with the information that the bizarre deadly planet was going to return to the inner solar system within a year and a half at the earliest.
Everyone sat around the fire in a daze as the discussion of Planet X ended. “My God…not only are there angels and demons, but God really does inflict is wrath on the wicked with this thing,” Arabella breathed. “I’m feeling like a deer in the headlights. What do we do in the face of such a thing?” All of the newcomers to the expedition voiced an agreement to her comment.
“There is only one thing we can do in the face of such a calamity,” Hannibal said. “Trust in the Lord our God. Only in Him will we be able to stand such a thing. This is like the fiery furnace in Daniel. We must have our hope and trust in Him.”
“Could you refresh our memories on that story?” Thomas asked. “I don’t know about the rest of them, but I haven’t had much use for God here recently. I haven’t opened a Bible in years.” Sam, Jonathan, and Ned responded in a similar manner.
Hannibal nodded, seeing that he had his work cut out for him. “All right; Selina…could you please get the Bible out of my pack?” he asked. She nodded and went to their tent to get Hannibal’s Bible. “Tell me and don’t be afraid to tell me the truth. Are you Christians?” Hannibal asked bluntly.
“Not really,” Ned said. “But I’m not much of anything else either. I never really believed in God, not like you and your friends do. Why should I believe in Him if He hasn’t done anything for me?”
Sam agreed with Ned’s view and Thomas said, “I used to believe. I even went to church and paid my tithes. That was until I was pressed into the army with Jonathan and our family held hostage by the General. After a year of holding out hope that God would deliver us from the General, we gave up hope that we would ever be free of him and basically at that point, we had no more use for Him.” Jonathan backed up Thomas’ view with a similar account.
Hannibal looked around at Harry and Nathanael as Selina returned with the Bible, and then he looked Thomas, Sam, Ned, and Jonathan in the face. He had compassion on them and turned to the story of the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel. “Don’t think the Lord has forgotten you or not done anything for you because He has,” Hannibal stated. “Just look at where you are now. Yes, he may have stripped you of all your worldly possessions and seemingly forgotten you. But consider your position now. You’re free of the General in a turn of events that I should say is miraculous. You’ve been chosen from before the foundations of the world by the Lord our God to be part of this expedition…all of you, including me. Shoot, he even had me rescue Selina and Nathanael from the other side of the galaxy so they could be part of this. Yes, He has put us through all kinds of hell to mold us and get us where He could use us. Now, He has brought us together to accomplish this task set before us. With that in mind, let me read you the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel.” Hannibal read the story and then explained it to them, trying to show them how the Lord had His hand on them all, even when they believed that He did not care or even existed. They listened respectfully, even though some of them still had issues to deal with.
Hannibal finished explaining the story at 11:00 pm that evening. “I don’t expect or even think that what I’ve told you will sway your opinion on the Lord,” he admitted. “But just remember this. I have told you the honest to God truth. I wouldn’t lie to you. Moreover, you should realize that you just don’t become a Christian by an act of your will alone. If you are to be a Christian, you’ll be drawn of the Father to hear the truth and when you hear it, you’ll not turn away. The fact that you were drawn to me and you haven’t turned away from hearing what I’ve said is a good sign. Be careful and don’t throw away the opportunity being given you.”
“You’re a good man, Hannibal,” Thomas said with great respect. “There aren’t too many people like you around anymore. I’ll ponder your words carefully.”
“Yes, you are,” Arabella agreed. “People like you aren’t in great demand though because of the evil that is out there. No one really wants to hear.”
“You’re right, Arabella,” Hannibal admitted. “Most people really don’t want to hear. What the Lord says usually interferes in their plans. They don’t want Him to come because they have things they want to do. I’ll tell you one thing. Personally speaking, being out here on the edge of cannibal country with an insane general wanting my head on a plate is not my idea of a nice time. My flesh and iniquity would rather me be living the high life with treasure we found at the Temple. But fortunately, even though it does rear its ugly head on occasion, I keep that iniquity locked down and submit to what the Lord wants for me. I actually get a bit of pleasure in doing what He wants.”
“You’re a really strange man,” Sam said. “I don’t understand why you talk like this but it does intrigue me. I hope at some point I’ll be able to understand this faith you have in this invisible God of yours.”
“Well, that’s a start,” Hannibal said, smiling. Suddenly, the campsite brightened like someone had shot a flare over the camp and the air hissed. Hannibal’s countenance fell along with Selina’s as they all looked up with great concern. At first, Hannibal thought it was a flare as a prelude to an attack until he saw a fireball bright as the full moon streaked across the sky, heading toward the mountain with a train of smoke and pieces falling from it and burning up. Seeing their concern, Hannibal ordered, “Relax guys. It’s just a fireball and not a flare. We’re not under attack.” Their concern turned to curiosity with his words. As the fireball streaked away toward Aconcagua, the darkness of night returned to the camp. They rose, following the fireball’s progress across the sky as it disappeared into the darkness surrounding the looming volcanic massif of Aconcagua. Just then, a bright flash emanated from the upper portion of the peak followed by the rumble of the impact.
“Can you believe that?” Thomas exclaimed. “I’ve never seen a meteor that big before.”
“It’s not over,” Harry said as he looked up. Everyone gasped in astonishment as the sky suddenly filled with a storm of fireballs and meteors, hundreds of them a minute.
Selina latched on to Hannibal with dread rising in her heart because of the dream they had. Hannibal put his arm around her. “It’s all right,” he said softly. “It’s just a meteor storm.” They all stood and watched for almost a half hour as the storm blazed in the night with all of the meteors seemingly heading for Aconcagua as if drawn to the giant mountain. Hannibal and Nathanael paid close attention to the storm, looking for the radiant point of the storm. They saw the storm was approaching from the south, originating in the constellation of Centaurus. Everyone noted a number of flashes from the upper portion of Aconcagua as the storm progressed. Then as quickly as it started, the storm faded away. They looked at each other with awe at what they had just witnessed.
“What was that?” Morrison asked. “It was awesome.”
“That was a true meteor storm,” Hannibal declared as he returned to his seat at the fire with Selina next to him. “In fact, it’s a meteor storm that’s not been seen before. We’ve never seen a storm of meteors come out of Centaurus. This is something new and to be frank with you, quite puzzling and disconcerting. The last I heard, Nibiru was in the vicinity of Centaurus.”
“Where’s Centaurus?” Arabella asked.
Hannibal rose from his seat and motioned for her to follow. Everyone rose and followed Hannibal into the darkness near the edge of the cliff. He pointed and said, “Centaurus is right there. Centaurus was supposedly named for Chiron, the Centaur who was half-man, half-horse. If you look close at the bright stars, you may be able to see the figure.”
“Yeah…I see it,” Jonathan said.
“Me too,” Thomas said also with a bit of excitement. “I never knew the night sky was so beautiful. I never really got a chance to look at it.”
Hannibal saw that Arabella was having a hard time seeing the constellation so he guided her sight by standing behind her and getting her to follow his arm as he pointed. “Can you see it now?” he asked.
“Oh, there it is!” Arabella exclaimed. “Yes, I can see it!”
“You said that Planet X is around there?” Ned asked.
“Yes, exactly where in that area it is I don’t know. It’s been a while since I got information about it,” Hannibal said as he returned to the fire, followed by everyone else.
“This is a night for omens,” Morrison said. “What’re the chances of you telling us about a dream of this place where there is a catastrophic meteor storm associated with Planet X, and then witnessing a meteor storm that has never been seen before? There’s something going on here.”
“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” Hannibal declared. “It’s a sign. But what it is a sign of, I don’t know.”
They sat around the fire in silence for a few minutes, and then Nathanael said, “I don’t know about you all, but I’m just about dead from that walk. I’m going to bed.”
A rumble of approval arose from the group. “All right,” Hannibal replied. “Who wants to keep watch?”
Silence reigned for nearly a minute, and then Ned said, “I’ll do it.”
A few moments later, Jonathan chimed in, “Me too.”
“I’ll watch,” Morrison volunteered.
“All right; Ned…you take the watch for the next two hours or so. Jonathan, you take his place and keep watch for two hours after that, and then hand it off to John. Is that satisfactory?” Hannibal asked. Ned, Jonathan, and Morrison agreed and Hannibal said, “Okay then. We’re in your hands. Stay alert. And if anything happens and I do mean anything, wake us.” They nodded and Ned grabbed his machine gun, settling in for his watch as everyone else retired to their tents. Hannibal and Selina shared a tent. Harry and Nathanael shared a tent as well. Thomas and Jonathan shared a tent while Arabella and Morrison shared a third tent. Sam and Ned were slated to share a tent, but for the moment, Sam had the tent to himself.
Hannibal and Selina laid down together in their tent after removing their shoes. She snuggled close to him and he noticed that she was trembling a little. He sensed her fear at what they had just seen in the sky and put a caring arm around her. “Don’t be afraid, princess,” Hannibal murmured. “I’m here. It was only a dream. Don’t let it shake you.”
Selina looked him in the eye and kissed him gently. “You’ve always been my strength,” she admitted.
Hannibal smiled and ran his hand through her hair. “You’re stronger than you know, princess,” he reassured her. “Besides, I’m not here in my strength but in the Lord’s strength. My strength is His strength. Be comforted in that. He’ll not abandon us.”
“You always know what to say,” Selina purred as they drifted off to sleep. A light breeze buffeted the tent while the frogs and crickets croaked and chirped in the darkness.