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Chapter Five – The Marks
Startled I reared up eyes blinking.
It was barely morning, but there was enough light to see by.
My eyes went to where he had been last night, but his spot beside the fire was empty.
Crying out with alarm I sat up further to look about.
“He is gone.” came the sullen sounding voice of my odd bedfellow in all of this drama.
I stood up and my gaze went to her. She was putting on a brave face, but I could tell that she felt every bit as abandoned as I did.
Drawing closer to her I saw resolve to look uncaring about our current circumstances begin to crack apart.
Tears suddenly washed down her face even as I felt them coming down my own.
Seemingly of their own volition my arms opened up and then closed about her as I hugged her tightly.
After only a momentary pause of startlement at first hers followed suit and together we stood like that for several long moments as we cried against each other’s shoulder.
Lifting my head away I apologized as I saw how completely soaked her shoulder was with my tears.
Something hit me all of a sudden then with a force that could only be termed as monumental and yet found no source for it in the physical.
Continuing to stare at her shoulder I felt myself completely shatter apart and yet I remained standing.
Seeing the shock of what I was beginning to comprehend reflected in my eyes she with concern pulled back to stare hard at my face.
Taking a firm grip on my shoulders she shook me out of the entrapment of my thoughts and in a daze my eyes came to hers.
“Tell me what it is! What do you see?”
My lips felt very dry all of a sudden.
I wet them and blinking with the continued shock I felt I whispered, “The marks. The marks on his shoulder.”
I saw her mind working hard to decipher what I meant by that and then I watched as the dawn of discovery blossomed across her face even as it had mine.
Staring into my eyes she whispered, “The marks!”
Of one mind then we turned and began running in the way that we suspected that he must’ve gone.
We ran for hours it seemed.
It must’ve been midmorning before we actually spotted him climbing up in the higher terrain that lay beyond the border of most of the trees. Gasping for air we willed ourselves to go even faster in pursuit of a man that was moving away from us at a pace that suggested hell was after him.
Jumping from rock to rock I suddenly slipped and with a scream I fell in a tumble.
In my tumble downward I almost rolled completely off the edge of a precipice that we had been skirting around, but just in the nick of time a strong hand much like my own seized a hold of my wrist and kept me from falling over the edge.
Legs wind-milling in air I fought to gain a purchase of some kind, but there was really nothing to grab at.
The rocks about me were extremely weathered and fragile and gave way at my desperate attempts to grab on to them.
In complete desperation my gaze raised up to view the Pakistani girl, who was now gripped onto my arm with both of her hands.
My gaze took in the reality that my weight was slowly pulling her over the edge after me as the rocks beneath her feet slowly slid bit by bit down around me and out into space.
Gasping, I called out with what I saw to be the only workable solution, “You need to let go. You’re falling. We both don’t need to die. It’s okay. Let go.”
Her head shook ‘no’ sharply, as it whipped her long brown hair about, even as she huffed out, “No, I will not let go!”
Her feet were sliding more and more on the loose debris and it was all going to be over for the both of us within seconds.
I watched then as suddenly two big hands swept beneath the girl’s armpits and with a Herculean jerk we both went up the hill.
She didn’t let go of me and he didn’t let go of either of us.
Soon I was to the point where she had been and then instead of the death grip of her two hands about my arm it was his and I felt myself bolted up and over the edge to stable ground.
Crying and gasping for air I crawled forward away from the edge.
Seeing her nearby I crawled on my knees to where she sat all the while gasping in deep breaths of air, as if I would never have enough of the stuff. For the second time today I hugged her fiercely.
She had not let go of me, but had rather risked her life beyond measure to save me.
Letting go of her our faces turned to the man in unison, who in turn was heaving for air just as we were.
He had blood on his brow and some on his arms and I could only summarize that he’d fallen himself in his mad dash back down the mountainside to save us.
Heaving for air as sweat rolled off of him he regarded us with a half smile along with an equal look of angst and said, “You know, you two are becoming to be a lot of trouble.”
Sitting back on my heels as I kneeled before him I managed to gasp out, “We need to know something. You have to promise to tell us the Eryaman Escort truth and nothing but the truth!”
Now entirely serious he nodded and without any doubt I knew he would speak only the truth. I just knew it.
The girl beside me; however, pressed, “Promise!”
“I promise.” He affirmed audibly.
“The marks on your arm…… last night you told us that you could not risk any action that could lead to the loss of your soul’s relationship with your God, but you have the marks….. you truly should be one of either the ‘Others’ or the ones who commit suicide, because they have nothing urging them to keep living. But you are not either of those!”
He nodded gravely and then taking a knee before us to become more eye-level with us both he said, “I was hiding out with a friend’s family when one of the procurement teams found us. I helped my friend escape with his kids. I stayed behind to fight a rearguard action and then I led the agents away from the way my friend took off with his children. Eventually they caught me though. They thought I knew where he may have gone, as well as the location of others in the area and they were right, I did. They tried to make me tell them, but I refused all their efforts. Then one of them came up with the idea to inject me with the same faulty gene therapy that had wiped out most of humanity. They knew what it would do to me based on my blood type. They hoped to follow after me after I turned. Basically they were going to use me as a bloodhound to hunt down the people I knew to be hiding in the mountains.”
“And?” I pressed pleadingly when he paused in his narrative.
“Well, they injected me all right and…… and nothing happened.”
“Did you have a faulty dose maybe? Maybe the one they gave you was no good.” The girl beside me pressed him as both of us hung on his next words.
The man nodded and said, “That’s what they thought too so they injected me a second time with a dose that they first tested for efficacy.”
Turning slightly he pulled at his other sleeve and as the material ripped away I saw another set of injection marks on his other shoulder that neither of us had noticed before.
In awe we both stared at the second set of marks as he concluded with, “Again, nothing happened. They could not understand how that was possible. They thought I must have an immunity to it or something, but I know different.”
“Can you explain, please?!” I whispered.
His eyes dead serious he said, “Well, my God saved me. As a man I’ve committed myself to His ways and honored His commandments and in return He did what He promised to do in clear evidence of the fact that I am a witness for His truth, even being a disciple of His Son. There is a verse in the Bible in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus is speaking to His disciples and it goes like this, ‘They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover’. I believe and now know that this was a promise to those of us who truly believe that we would have power to recover against things that would normally kill someone. Now there’s also a Biblical precedent that in order to be a part of sound doctrine something needs to be testified to at least twice within the body of Scripture. There is a story later on in the book of Acts where Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ is bitten by a poisonous snake to which he simply shakes the snake off into the fire and has no ill effects occur from a bite that should’ve killed him. I can now personally testify that the word of God is true, because what I was injected with against my will was every bit as toxic or even more so than the toxins in the worst snakebite and yet I only have the marks from it to show that I was affected by it at all. And that is how I am as you see me right now and I do not lie when I say quite simply the only reason I am alive or am still myself is because my God honored His word and saved me from the intentions from others to change me. As long as I remain faithful to my God my soul is sealed by Him and it can not be taken from me no matter what they do.”
The girl beside me tugged at my arm sharply.
My gaze went to her and with tears in her eyes she was nodding and saying at the same time, “It is true what he says! I have read that verse for myself and the story of Paul. My father was an Iman and he kept in his study a Bible which he would at times read from in order to better find ways to convert infidels to Islam. I as a little girl snuck into his study at times and read much of it as I always questioned why it was I should hate others not of my own religion so much. In all my reading I never found a reason for the hate that I was taught to feel and yet my father said it should be so. My father was wrong!”
Her eyes turned from me to the man before her and off her lips I heard her say, “I believe! I believe in your God and His Son and in them only from now till forever! I Sincan Escort reject all the teachings of my fathers before me and I ask forgiveness for not believing sooner and….. and for all else I have done!”
Crying harder then she fell forward to her face even as sobs rocked across her body.
The man’s stunned gaze went from her to me.
Tears streaming down my face I found myself nodding even as my own mouth confessed, “I too believe in your God, even though I know so little about Him and His Son, but yet now I believe. I too am sorry and… and want forgiveness. I….everything I believe up till now….wrong….so wrong!”
Staring at me with awe he whispered, “But why do you now believe? What have I said that has convinced you so?”
Feeling in as much need to sob my heart out as the girl beside me I forced myself to emotionally choke out, “When the gene therapies were first made mandatory in my country, if you wanted to keep receiving food allotments from the government, it was not the first time when they were first given out. My mother long before it became mandatory was forced to undergo the procedure because she worked at the hospital as a nurse and they said that all the staff must have it. She did not want to take it, but they put her in a room and held her down and shot it into her arm!”
Crying harder I spoke out through the tears as I remem-bered the horror of those days, “She did not want it! She was ready to quit her job, but to them she was too important to allow to walk away.”
My mind’s eye full of the past I wailed in memory as I blubbered out, “She began to change. Even though it was against her choice like what they did to you, she still lost her connection to soul. She….she was one of the first to become…… to become… an ‘Other’. She attacked me! My father…… my father somehow pull her off of me. He loved my mother more than his own life and yet to save us he chained her down. He went out and got every holy man to come to our house. Every cleansing ceremony or custom of my land he had performed, but none of our holy men, our gods or traditions could save her like your God saved you! Not one!!!”
Crying uncontrollably I fell over onto my face sobbing as I choked out, “If only my mother knew your God like I now know!”
The grief I felt at the reality of now fully knowing that all my beliefs up till now were entirely wrong, especially in terms of how it related to my dead family was beyond what I could seemingly bear. I had been so lost and yet they were now lost forever.
Wailing from the pit of my soul I beat the ground with my fist, but it did no good in helping me to face a reality that I would forever have to live with. My family was forever lost!
I felt hands pulling at me and then my senses told me that I was up against him, even as he was now sitting on the ground with us.
As we cried his big hands rubbed over us in the most consoling of manners and for the first time I began to feel peace. As time went by I only felt more and more of the strange peace that really made no sense to be having in the moment.
I didn’t know where it was coming from or why it was even happening. It just seemed to be emanating all around us in the purest form of it that I had ever felt.
I stopped crying and yet my body still continued to jerk from the onslaught of all I had been through emotionally.
The sun was shining and yet everything felt so quiet even though birds were chirping and hawks were screeching out in the air.
The wind blew as if it was a gentle caress against my hotly inflamed cheeks and I felt washed by it in some deep way that made me feel new. In the stillness then I noticed a steady drip of moisture falling from above.
I wasn’t the only one that noticed.
Both she and I pulled back slightly and turned our gazes to him only to see that the man, who had consoled us so generously out of his own spirit, was now crying.
Looking a bit embarrassed he quickly moved his arms and wiped at his own tears before saying, “Never did I expect for my God to take some of the very worst moments of my life like He has and turn them around for the good that He has done in making them to be a witness for both of your lives. I’m actually glad that I went through what I have now. Praise be to God in the highest.”
Awkwardly then he shifted both of us apart from him so that he could stand up.
The problem for him that made it more difficult was that neither of us wanted to let him go.
The reality of the next hard decision was upon us.
Who would he choose?
In my heart I knew who it should be though.
“All right girls we need to be moving on. We shouldn’t be caught out here this high up at night.”
His words made sense but neither of us moved.
Glancing down at us he asked uncertainly, “What’s the matter? What am I missing here?”
Finding my voice I said, “It should be her. I …… I would be dead if it was not for Etlik Escort her.”
“What on earth are you talking about?” He queried looking very puzzled.
Clarifying my statement, even as my heart broke up in little pieces within me, I said, “To be your wife.”
He looked at me and then over to her as his features registered complete consternation.
Taking his hands he reached out then and lifted up both of our chins that had fallen down.
Dutifully we looked at him in unison and speaking deeply to us both he said, “If either of you think that I am going to forsake one of you over the other you are deeply mistaken. Now get up off your beautiful asses and let’s be going.”
Getting up to our feet guided by the fingers beneath our chins I nonetheless blushed hotly, even as hope became a live thing within me and yet I asked, “Do Christians do such things?”
“Generally speaking – Hell no! – but I am not a typical Christian.”
“How so?” I queried, even as a deep joy began to unlock within me.
“Well for starters I actually read my Bible and then sec-ondly I actually believe everything the Bible says and then thirdly I actually do what it says. Sadly I have found myself to be in a minority within Christianity in doing these three things. If I had a Bible on me I would show you why what I’m doing is not in any way wrong but alas I do not.”
“I hope we find a Bible, because I would very much like to read it to.” I said softly, even as a smile took over my face.
Smiling back at me he said, “So would I, but until then I will tell you all that I know about it.”
“And so will I.” The other girl gushed out with joyishly.
Smiling, black eye and all she looked to me like a different person than before. I certainly knew that I felt like a whole new person.
I couldn’t explain it, but it just simply was. I almost felt like singing, but I didn’t know what to say.
Looking to me, my companion in this new avenue of life that was opening up before us, smiled and holding out her hand she said, “My name is Shakaza.”
Smiling in reply, as I took her hand, I said, “Nysha.”
Our man was already moving on and yet his words came back to us warmly, “All right ladies, time to move out. You can get to know one another later.”
The reality for the two of us though was that we knew already on a deeper level that not only did we have the opportunity that few women were presented with in life in terms of being in a bond of sisterhood with each other, but we also had the same man to please and serve. Somehow we already knew everything about one another that mattered.
With far more of a seductive quality to her tone than I’d heard come from her to date I heard Shakaza ask, “And by what name shall your two wives call you, Master?”
He stopped walking abruptly. Not facing us he said, “The name is Mel Stuart, but I have to admit that I like the sound of Master.”
Before he could take a step forward I called out in my own best effort at seduction as something brazen let loose within me, “Master, of whom of your wives would you like to partake of first tonight?”
Shakaza giggled and this time our man did look back.
His gaze came to my eyes that felt like they were dancing and he said, “You two are just bound and determined to make it hard for me to walk or get anything done, aren’t you?”
Before I could retort a word though he was moving back to us and before I knew it he was bringing me in to him and I had the joy of experiencing my first kiss.
The kiss was long and utterly consuming even as I put my whole heart into it and intrinsically I felt like it was the same for him.
Breathing heavy he pulled back and dizzily I put out a hand to steady myself on his arm.
Shakaza smoothly stepped in where I had just been and whispered, “My turn.”
She then mashed her lips to his every bit as passionately as mine had just been and his response was just as passionate as it had been with me and yet I felt no jealousy whatsoever at the sight, even as I felt extremely fortunate to be able to share this man with her.
Smiling, I stood silently by them, even as in some ways I enjoyed the kiss as if I had been a part of it.
Inwardly amazed, I reflected on the lack of jealousy I felt, even as I quietly thanked the God I now served for such a blessing.
In many ways both she and I had received a priceless gift that neither of us deserved.
Humbled by the enormity of how special the man that we both belonged to now was I watched with contentment as they experienced pleasure with one another. I wouldn’t even be here alive to enjoy this moment if it wasn’t for her.
I only hoped that if the situation warranted it that I could one day return her the favor somehow.
The kiss ended and pulling back with a shake of his head Mel said, “You two are a lot of trouble.”
We both laughed and began to follow after him again as he awkwardly set off walking.
Inside we were both hungry for more and yet obediently knowing that it was in our best interest to listen to him and get down off the high ground before nightfall we did nothing more to hinder his progress.
Shakaza leaned into me and whispered, “Have you ever… um …. you know?”
Knowing intuitively what she was referring to I said with a slight blush, “No, I have not.”
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