Iris Berry pulled up her other boot as she gazed at the breadth of the firmament above her in awe and terror. So far it was clean of Moskeren scouts, but she’d be a fool to believe she could elude them forever, even in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
She had hiked in from Dardanelle, now a ghost town, three days ago and was directly north of what used to be Yosemite National Park. Iris used to go there at least twice a year to hike and climb with Darren. She smiled at the memory and then frowned, pushing the thoughts of his extermination out of her mind. When the first wave of invaders hit, they vaporized most of the Bay Area along with every other major population center on Earth. Her husband of eighteen months was just one among billions.
The young woman extinguished her small camp fire, a risk she took hoping the Moskeren didn’t use infrared, and pulled on her backpack. Iris had been on a wilderness retreat with three other women from her church during the planetary incursion. They heard the news over the small radio they’d brought with them.
Helen died a day later as they were hiking out. Maybe it was suicide, but more likely she was so distraught, she wasn’t paying attention to the loose shale she was walking on and slipped over the cliff. There was no way to get to her body.
When they got close to the trailhead, they saw several Park Rangers waiting. Bea thought they were saved and ran out of cover, only to be vaporized by some sort of energy weapon. It made sense that some humans would cooperate with their conquerors, or maybe the aliens were able to assume human form.
The remaining pair slipped back up the trail, but when they heard the Rangers coming up, checking to see if Bea had been alone, Sara panicked, pushed Iris aside, and started to run. Iris slid down the soft dirt of a small gorge, and gritted her teeth as she heard the energy weapon discharge twice more. She was the only one left.
That had been three months ago. Her Daddy had taught her how to live off of the land since she was old enough to walk and go with him on his trips to just about every remote wilderness area in the country. Mama hated that sort of thing and always stayed at home, but it became the little girl’s life blood along with her faith.
Mama died in a car accident when Iris was sixteen, and cancer took Daddy last year. Iris said a prayer of thanks as she continued her climb, grateful her parents had been spared the Moskeren.
She had first subsisted off of whatever edible plants she could find, occasionally trapping small animals. Then, she discovered that the Rangers or whoever they were, had retreated, leaving the mountain towns and villages deserted. By now, the aliens had swept even the smaller communities of their inhabitants. That gave Iris a fresh source of supplies, but she didn’t dare risk staying in any one place long. The patrol ships were still searching for survivors like her. She couldn’t let herself be captured.
It was near sunset when she found a likely shelter for the night. It was a rocky depression with just room enough for one person. Pulling off her backpack, she sat down and looked across the verdant panorama as the sun continued its stately descent in the west.
Then the ground began to tremble. “Moskeren ships.” It was the first time she’d spoken in days, except in prayer, and her voice sounded strange to her. “They’ve found me.”
There was something enormous coming from above, all around her, strange vessels, but not Moskeren. “Chariots?” There were thousands of them coming with the clouds, and a vast host of what looked like men but couldn’t have been because they were flying, wearing armor, and carrying swords. There was a leader at their head, a King, and Iris remembered.
The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands. The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness.
The heavens were bursting with God’s armies, and Iris got up and shouted praises and prayers.
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
“Amen, Lord God. Amen.”
She’d see them all again, Darren, Daddy and Mama, everyone she had ever loved when they were all raptured to Jerusalem.
I wrote this for Saturday Mix – Same Same But Different, 16 June 2018 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Today, the idea is to take the five words listed and use their synonyms to craft a poem, short story, or some other creative work.
Here’s the list with some of the synonyms:
- shoe: boot, sneaker, loafer
- sweep: span, compass, breadth, extension
- wash: clean, launder, bathe, shower
- sky: firmament, heavens, atmosphere
- duck: dive, dodge, elude, escape
I bolded the synonyms I used in the body of my story so they could be easily picked out by the reader.
As I started writing, I imagined a mountain forest with a young woman just breaking camp. She was alone and gazing up at the startling blue sky. Then I had to invent a reason for her terror, and after that, a salvation. I decided to go with the ultimate one.
I probably got the sequence of events wrong relative to how the Bible depicts the return of Christ, and I really don’t think it’ll involve aliens, but what the heck. It was fun to write.
Oh, the first Bible quote is from Psalm 68:17 and the second is Matthew 24:30, both from the NASB translation.
One final word. In my theology, I tend to believe that when the faithful are raptured, it won’t be to live in Heaven but to greet our great King in Jerusalem, the City of David.