Book II: Chapter 8
It was over a week before I finally found out what happened to Alan. During that time, I tried to drink myself into oblivion.
It didn’t work.
You still don’t understand, do you?
Let me tell you — those who linger over their drink – watching it sparkle and rejoicing when it goes down smoothly. But, in the end, it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. For my eyes ever see strange sights and my mind imagines confusing things. “They hit me!” I cry. And in the next breath, “But I’m not hurt? They beat me! But, I don’t feel it?” And when I wake, all I can think about is…”so when can I find another drink?”Proverbs 23: 29-35
Yes, I have an addiction, but I happen to like it.
I was so damn drunk this past week, even if I did get a vision, it didn’t register – and that was alright by me.
But then I ran out of liqueur, and being too lazy go to the store, I found myself languishing in bed with a terrible headache.
Just as I began to get sober – naturally that’s when He snuck another vision on me…
I found myself looking in on a small flat – Alan was comatose in a bed and Miriam sitting beside him, “God is our refuge, Alan. Fear not – though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, we will trust in the Lord.”
Meanwhile, my attention was drawn to a small TV in the corner of the room – a German anchorman was struggling to deliver the news…
“None will ever forget June 26 – The Day of Doom. Current death tolls are simply beyond imagination. Japan is gone – engulfed by a massive typhoon; 130 million dead. The same monster waves also ravaged China’s coast, killing perhaps half a billion more.”
After a heavy sigh, the reporter continued, “Elsewhere, scientists have advised that a fissure caused Antarctica to break apart — sending nearly a quarter of that icy mass out into the southern seas, swelling the oceans. Flood waters have since ravaged South Africa, Australia, and South America. Little communication is possible at this time and uncounted tens of millions are suspected dead.” Another pause. “Today is the traditional Independence Day for The United States, yet that country has its own laments from the 26th. U.S. scientists are advising that the earth’s crusts shifted beneath the westernmost part of their continent, causing a giant sinkhole to open in the sea floor which appears to have swallowed the province of California. 40 million presumed dead. President Trump has declared Martial Law is in effect until further notice.”
Now do you see why I was drinking so much? These are not the kind of chipper tidbits I like to hear – especially because, ever since that day, all sporting events had been cancelled!
And worst of all, on June 26, MY Phillies were playing a series against the Giants – the SAN FRANCISCO Giants!
Or should I say the San Andreas Fault Giants?
Ugh, now they’re gone too. Damn you, Ma’bus!
Just then the newsman put down his papers and looking directly into the camera; with wild eyes he said, “This can only mean one thing: the end of the world is nigh! Prepare your souls f–—“
But the screen went black and was quickly replaced by a message in German which read, We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please bear with us.
(Ha, that old fool doesn’t know how right he is).
At this point, I guess Miriam had seen enough for she used the remote to turn off the TV. (Goodie for her – so she knows how to use a remote. Gee, she might as well be a monkey collecting coins on the streets of old New York). Once more she looked down at Alan, lying motionless in his bed, “My soul finds rest in God alone,” She whispered. “He is our rock — we will never be shaken.”
Of a sudden, I got a momentary pain in my head (whether this was due to my hangover or the prophecy I couldn’t say) and as the haze cleared, I found myself presented with an array of new sights: I was still watching Miriam, but apparently my vision had shifted back in time — for once more she was hiding in Ma’bus’ courtyard within the statue of The Beast…
In my vision, it was now early morning and it looked as if Miriam was on the verge of abandoning her hiding spot, when of a sudden the curtains of the dictator’s parlors opened – to reveal Alan at breakfast with Ma’bus.
(Hmm, this must have been that meeting we saw – back on… June 25th? Gee, sometimes it’s pretty cool to see how these visions all fit together, huh?)
Surely Miriam must have been able to see Alan at the table, because the open windows afforded her a great view. Yet for the time being she didn’t move from her hiding spot.
We watched them dine.
Then we saw Alan’s distress over something that Ma’bus showed him on his laptop.
Then we witnessed Alan’s rejection of the tyrant’s offer of friendship.
All of this a bit of took time but even still it must have all seemed good from Miriam’s vantage point – after all, at least Alan was still alive.
However, I watched her concern grow when a beautiful young woman entered the room. There was no doubt in my mind that Miriam would view Mystery as an evil temptress and I think she fully expected Alan to be put off by her.
However when it became clear that Alan actually recognized Mystery, and worse yet that Alan later went away with her, suddenly I saw Miriam’s confidence drain – for I knew that she wondered how any sane man could be willingly led away by such an obviously wayward woman.
(Even I had to admit from this vantage point that Alan looked like a lamb to going to the slaughter).
Miriam flinched – clearly she wanted to get inside the palace and rescue Alan, however in the bright light of day, with guards all around, and with Ma’bus still situated within view in his parlor, it was obvious she was unable move.
And so we waited.
It wasn’t until later that evening before Miriam could actually make her way inside the palace – and even then she wasn’t able to enter Ma’bus’ private section, but instead had to sneak her way inside one of the side areas that were a less guarded. Once inside, I watched her begin a systematic search of the palace, trying to find a way to relocate Alan.
It was a slow process – after all, even with her mental gifts, Miriam didn’t know where to look, and she still had to hide from countless guards – all while trying to fly under the radar of Ma’bus’ intricate security systems. Furthermore, even though I knew that Miriam had communicated in the past with Alan using her telepathic gifts, right now she had no idea where to project her mind to and thus couldn’t locate him with this technique either.
As the hours passed, Miriam grew desperate – I wouldn’t be surprised if she was thinking about what that woman might be doing to corrupt Alan…
In her panic, Miriam began to use her Psychic Probe with more regularity – frantically questing for knowledge about Alan. Soon enough she resorted to outright violence as well.
Apparently these techniques worked because it seemed Miriam finally got some useful intelligence — after a brush up with more of the household personnel, she suddenly made straight for Alan’s cell room.
Unfortunately when she got there, the cell was empty.
An hour later Miriam found another helpful mind — gaining whispers of Ma’bus’ dungeon-like laboratories – yet when she searched there she discovered that none of them held Alan.
Interestingly enough, I noted when Miriam realized that some of the cages inside the Life Labs were occupied, she did NOT take the time to help those prisoners – instead leaving those forsaken souls to God’s will, while she continued her search for Alan?
Well, nobody’s perfect.
Further probes garnered her more insights, yet all led to additional dead ends. Apparently no one seemed to know where Alan was now. And none could give any insights into the woman of mystery that had Miriam so concerned.
The 26th soon passed and as the afternoon of the 27th approached, Miriam’s haste increased and she began to use her Probe with such brutality that whoever she encountered was left in pretty bad shape (I heard later that the palace physicians were forced to deal with a number of inexplicable stroke cases that day).
And still she carried on.
Finally, while traversing one of the sub-levels again, Miriam came across a nondescript servant shuffling along with his head down. Given that the man was so lethargic, I thought Miriam might let him pass so she wouldn’t have to waste any time, but as he loped past her hiding spot, apparently she caught a <whisper> from the man’s mind.
Immediately then, Miriam surged inside his brain – ransacking through his mental fibers to find out if he knew where Alan was. As it turned out, he did!
Miriam discovered that the servant’s name was Iffat and he was one of Ma’bus’ personal attendants. But more importantly, Miriam learned that Iffat had earlier in the day escorted Alan and Ma’bus to a hidden corner of the underground complex, to a hallway that ended in seven doorways…
To a place which held The Chairs of Woe.