By Michael Chrobak
Read Chapter 6 here.
I had cheated death! The event had been terrifying—one I knew I would never forget—but I had survived!
As the lift began to move, my every muscle shook from the adrenaline still coursing through my veins, leaving me feeling strangely powerful, like I could do anything. I glanced at Thirty-six, my eyes a display of pure bliss. He returned my glance with the same placid expression, as if he had watched me do no more than tie my shoes.
“Don’t I even get a round of applause?” I asked, incredulously.
“For what?” he said, not even looking my way.
I stood, extending my hands out to show him the luggage I had just risked my life to retrieve. My hands were empty.
“What…? Where did they go?”
“What, the bags? They’re right where you dropped them when we first entered the lift.”
Confused, I looked where he indicated. Just as he said, there were the two bags, sitting casually tucked in one corner.
Thirty-six cracked a smile, holding up his hand and wiggling the finger with the small band, the same one he had said was responsible for the visions I had had back in his dwelling. The band that apparently made me see things that weren’t real.
“You’re not saying what I think you are, are you?”
“You mean it wasn’t real? The entire event? It was all in my imagination?”
“Oh, I assure you, the danger was real. The bags you raced to get, well…” he shrugged.
I could feel my anger rise. He tricked me. Not only tricked me, but put my life in danger! And for what? What possible reason would he have had? Flooded with questions, my mind could manage only one word.
“Have you ever faced death?” he asked.
“Sure I have. Dozens of times.”
“No. Not as a character in some story. I mean really faced death. Your own life, not some imagined life.”
I thought for a moment, though I already knew the response.
“No. I guess not.”
He turned to me, suddenly growing serious. A dark look overshadowed his eyes.
“Know this, Four-three-eight. Where we are going you will face perils that will make that little exercise seem like a walk on the beach. You will face not only death, but things much, much worse. Things even the most creative of minds have yet to begin dreaming of. There is no way I would make this trip without knowing how you would respond when we face situations where you will again look death in the eye. And trust me, it’s not a matter of if we will face them, but when.”
I took a moment to consider his words.
“So? That exercise, did it prepare me to face these seriously dangerous perils?”
Thirty-six shook his head.
“Sadly, no. It didn’t. Nothing can. But at least now you have an idea. Had I not prepared you as I just did, you would have panicked far worse than you did just now.”
The doors to the lift slid open. We had reached the launching bay. Our ship sat waiting, surrounded by dozens of crates of supplies. Apparently we would have to load our own cargo.
Muse Four-eight-three-three-two sat on top of one of the black crates, her legs dangly casually over the side. Hovering in the air near her was the Arbitrator, Steve. Upon hearing the doors of the lift open, Three-three-two quickly jumped to her feet, waving in our direction as she walked towards us. Steve floated close behind. Muse Ten-thirty-six waved back, bent down and grabbed his luggage, then exited the lift. As soon as he was clear of the doors, he turned back to face me, whispering quietly so the other two would not hear what he said.
“By the way,” he said, smiling, “when we get on board, you might want to change your pants.”
Meet the Author:
So, who am I? Well, that’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a long, long time. And I’m not talking about labels, like; husband, father, brother, son, neighbor, friend, etc. Yeah, even ‘author’ is a label. None of those define me, they only define my relationship to this world.
Maybe that’s why I write. The more stories I tell, the more ‘me’ I find. There’s a little piece of me inside every character and adventure I create. The struggles I’ve had, the wonders I’ve seen, the beauty I’ve encountered, and the sorrow I’ve felt.
I’ve been writing since I was young; I just never had the courage before to let the world read any of it. But what good is creating something if no one sees it but you? Besides, I think the only way we can truly know someone is to find the memories they leave behind. I wonder what my memories will be…
Connect with Michael Chrobak:
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Don’t forget to check out The Paladin of Panama, Book 2 in the Brother Thomas and the Guardians of Zion series
Brother Thomas and the Guardians of Zion is a Christian YA Fantasy series that asks the question, “What if the Fruits of the Holy Spirit manifested as superpowers?” Faith, Patience, Chastity, Charity, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Modesty and Self-Control as superpowers? Why not? Jesus said our faith can move mountains, right?
Book One, Foundations of Faith (the fruit of Faith) begins the saga, as young Thomas, a typical teen with serious doubts about his faith, faces several significant trials as he begins to discover the true depth of his faith. He is visited in a dream by one of the Saints who gives him a quest – to find the Guardians of Zion, young people, much like himself, who have been gifted with special powers. The first of these is Theresa, who calls herself The Endlessly Dying Girl.
Book Two, The Paladin of Panama (the fruit of Chastity) finds Thomas deep in the jungle during a mission project to help build a school when he is once more challenged by The Darkness, aka: the Devil. This time, not only is his life in jeopardy, but so, too, are the lives of his friends, one of which is destined to become The Paladin and will wear the Armor of God.
Book Three, The Guardians Crest (the fruit of Patience) is currently in progress and is scheduled to be released before the end of the year. Who will the next teenage superhero be? And what spiritual superpower will they control? All will be revealed….soon.
You can find out more about the author, his books, and information regarding discounts for schools, churches, youth programs and book clubs on his website at https://michaelchrobakauthor.com or on Amazon by clicking here.