Authors: Mark Goodwin
The Days of Noah
Technical information in the book is included to convey realism. The author shall not have liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or allegedly caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book.
All of the characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, places or events are entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Goodwin America Corp.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote short passages in a review.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc™. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.
This book is dedicated to the King Eternal, Jesus Christ.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
A special thanks to my loving wife for her unyielding support, and to the late Pastor Chuck Smith for faithfully preaching the Word of God, especially the books of Prophecy, which has greatly influenced this book.
I would like to express a special note of gratitude to my fantastic editing team, Catherine Goodwin, Madeleine Swart,
and Stacey Kopp.
Thank you to
author Glen Tate for consultation on accuracy regarding the courtroom scene.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Noah Parker finished his second cup of coffee as he watched the first few minutes of
Fox and Friends
. It was part of his workday routine. If any big news events had occurred overnight, he would be sure to catch them at the beginning of the program. Otherwise, the show rarely reported anything substantive.
Noah set his gym bag near the door, filled up his water bottle, and brushed his teeth. The people on
Fox and Friends
were talking about fall-flavored coffee drinks. Noah didn’t think anything of it. As far as the news went, he ate whatever was put on his plate and didn’t complain. He turned off the television, grabbed his things, and quietly closed the door behind him.
It was still dark, so Noah was careful not to wake his wife and daughter. His wife, Cassandra, or Cassie as her friends called her, homeschooled their seven-year-old daughter, Lacy. Noah worked as a high school teacher for Sevier County public schools and didn’t think they were all that bad. Cassie, however, was adamant about not letting Lacy be poisoned by the new Community Core Standards, which had been designed to replace Common Core. It was touted as a way for parents and teachers to be involved in developing the curriculum, but, in reality, it was just the same old garbage repackaged.
What was worse, states were forced to implement Community Core or be denied all federal funding. Since the second housing bubble had popped, property values, and therefore property taxes, had plummeted to lows not imagined after the first housing bubble. Without funding from the federal government, many public schools would have to close their doors. All states except South Carolina and Alaska had caved in and signed on to the national standards.
Noah had a twenty-minute drive from his house in Kodak, Tennessee, to Sevier County High School, where he taught biology. Like most mornings, he arrived at 6:30 so he could sneak in a forty-minute run at the school track before classes started. Noah was in good physical shape, mostly due to running and Cassie’s ability to cook delicious meals that were also quite healthy.
He breathed in the cool mountain air of late September. It was fifty-three degrees that morning, but Noah still wore his running shorts. He would warm up quickly enough. He had run track in college at the University of Tennessee and, before that, in high school.
He had met Cassie at UT his senior year. She had been a new freshman when they had first seen each other at a Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. Noah had been heavily involved with the group, which offered an alternative to the typical fraternity/sorority, drunken college experience. Noah had been one of the organizers for the Chi Alpha Fall Mixer, held at the beginning of each school year to try to reach incoming freshmen. When he had first seen her getting a sandwich and some chips from the refreshments table, his heart had skipped a beat. Cassie had been stunning. She had had auburn hair, full lips, and an athletic build. The rest of the night had been spent filling Cassie in on the ins and outs of campus life. While she had soaked up the tips and had been very grateful for the advice, Cassie had been more focused on school than getting to know Noah, at least for the first few months. She had finally come around and had fallen in love with him, and they had married two years later.
Noah didn’t bother setting his stopwatch anymore. These days, running was just a good way to clear his head and keep his heart healthy. He stretched his calves, hamstrings, quads, and back before he started his first lap. He didn’t listen to music or talk radio while he ran. It was his time to be quiet, think through issues, pray, or just sort of meditate. On this morning, Noah thought about how blessed he was to have his wife and daughter. He was thankful for his home, his job, and the fresh air.
Sure, things hadn’t really turned out the way he and Cassie had planned, but it was a good life. Straight out of college, Noah had taken a great job teaching his favorite subject, math, in his home town of Knoxville. Cassie was from a near-by town, Cookeville. After they had gotten married, they had rented a nice apartment in downtown Knoxville, near the UT campus. Cassie had graduated two years later, and she had taken an internship at the local NBC affiliate, Channel 10. They had planned to start saving up for a down payment on a house after Cassie had finally been offered a paid position at Channel 10, but Noah had been laid off that same year. The bursting of the first housing bubble had sent shock waves throughout the economy, and Knox County Public Schools were no exception.
James Mitchel, his friend and coworker from the Knoxville school where Noah had been laid off, had left two years earlier to take a position as the principal at Sevier County High School. James had offered Noah a position at SCHS, which he accepted, but it was a forty-five minute commute each way, with no traffic. In the fall, Sevierville became a tourist hot spot for folks wanting to see the majesty of God’s handiwork expressed in the brilliant golds and reds of the changing leaves. It was a terrific source of income for the small community, but traffic from tourism had stretched Noah’s evening commute to over an hour.
Noah and Cassie had found a foreclosure home in Kodak, Tennessee, about halfway between Sevierville and Knoxville. Not only had they been able to buy a home they never could have afforded in Knoxville, but it also allowed Cassie to keep her job at Channel 10 and had reduced Noah’s daily drive time by half. It had taken a few years to renovate the run-down 1900-era farmhouse into their style. When it was finished, they had a beautiful two bedroom, two bath with a finished attic they used for an office and guest room. The home sat on two acres that included a small orchard.
The next event in their lives was pregnancy, during which Cassie was sick most of the time and had been forced to quit her job. After Lacy was born, Cassie had taken a part-time position writing from home and working a few evenings at the local Sevierville newspaper, but she never returned to Channel 10.
Lacy was a healthy, happy little girl—the joy of her father’s life. Noah devoted his evenings to being with his daughter. On nights that Cassie worked, Noah and Lacy assembled puzzles, ate dinner for two at Lacy’s plastic play table, or had fun dressing up the cat and the dog. Buster, the mixed-breed farm dog, was much more cooperative than Sox, the cat, when playing dress-up.
Noah slowed his pace for his cool-down lap, and then headed for the shower. He felt relaxed after the run and blessed to be alive. After the shower, he took his gym bag back to the car. James Mitchel was just arriving in the parking lot.
“Good run this morning?” Mitchell asked.
Noah nodded. “Yeah, it was.”
“How’s biology going?”
“The material is easy enough to get through.” Noah tried to be positive.
“How long does it take you to get through the day’s assignment?”
“About twenty minutes,” Noah replied.
Mitchel shook his head. “What a waste. I guess Communist Core had to be calibrated to the lowest common denominator. I’m sorry we had to cancel the Family Consumer Sciences class you were teaching last year. I know how much you enjoyed it.”
Noah sighed. “I feel bad for you. I know how hard you fought to put together a curriculum that actually taught kids things they need to know to get through life. Community Core did away with your agriculture and forestry classes, your vocational classes, and most of your computer literacy courses.”
James shrugged. “Yeah, well, I guess we’re all just doing time now.”
“That’s exactly how the kids look at their education,” Noah added. “I try to engage them in substantive conversation after we finish the material for the day, but they don’t seem to care. It’s like the new standards are sucking the life out of them. You should start a private school. You have the management skills to run it.”
James Mitchell studied the ground and sighed. “It wouldn’t matter. Community Core is mandated across all educational establishments, including private schools.”
“I know. Cassie has to use their garbage to home school, but she fills out the standardized tests herself and teaches Lacy what she wants,” Noah replied.
James smirked. “You might get away with that if you’re home schooling, but not in a private school. The Department of Education sends in what they call mystery shoppers to make sure standards are being adhered to.”
“Sounds more like the East German Stasi than mystery shoppers,” Noah said.
James chuckled. “Why would Lacy already be taking standardized tests? She’s only seven. She should be in first grade.”
Noah tilted his head, hoping not to look like he was bragging. “Cassie has her doing fourth grade now. She’s trying to get her all the way through before home schooling is banned completely.”
“You don’t think the government will go that far, do you?” James asked.
“Cassie thinks they will,” Noah said.
James patted Noah on the back as they reached the front door. “You have a good day.”
“I will.” Noah smiled and marched off to class. He did the best he could to maintain a good attitude and teach the kids something, despite the constraints of what James Mitchel had so accurately tagged as “Communist Core.”
In sixth period, Noah finished the lesson prescribed by the national standards with thirty minutes still on the clock. He wanted to sneak in a little bit of the material from the class he had taught the year before, so he directed the conversation by asking the kids to go around the class and state what career path they were thinking of taking.
Arron Matheson gave the most curious answer. “I want to work in demolition.”
“Like what? Buildings, bridges? What do you want to demolish?” Noah asked.
“Buildings,” Arron stated.
Noah nodded. “Well, I guess that is a career. Any particular reason?”
Arron shrugged. “Seems like an easy job. Throw some explosives into a building and watch it blow up.”
Noah laughed. “You need an advanced engineering degree to plan the demolition of buildings.”
“Why?” Arron Matheson looked sincerely puzzled.
“When demolition teams blow up a building, they have to know exactly where to place the charges so the building doesn’t fall over on the building next to it. All the explosions have to be timed with precision. The least amount of error could cause catastrophic damage to neighboring buildings.”
Arron shook his head. “That’s baloney, Mr. Parker. We just watched the 9/11 footage on Remembrance Day, and the Twin Towers fell straight down, with no planning at all.”
Noah was stumped and unsure how to respond. As any good teacher would, he attempted to explain it away. “I’m sure that was some structural anomaly that occurred due to the architectural design of the building.” Noah thought,
what does that even mean? Oh well, I just have to snowball some tenth graders. A few big words will usually shut them up.
Allen Kramer entered the conversation. “What about Building Seven? It fell straight down, too. It was built eleven years after the Twin Towers were finished. Was that an architectural anomaly or whatever you called it?”
Kramer was a smart kid. Not the one you wanted challenging you. Noah had heard a little bit about World Trade Center Building Seven from Cassie. She had a passion for investigative journalism, even if she worked only part-time at the local newspaper. Additionally, Noah suspected that she had a few conspiracy theorists in her Thursday night Bible study group that fed into her eccentric notions. Noah had always steered the conversation to another subject whenever she brought up these undesirable topics. This afternoon, however, he wasn’t going to be so fortunate.
Katie Snyder perked up. “Building Seven? What the heck is that? They didn’t talk about that in the 9/11 movie.”
Allen Kramer was quick to fill in the details. “Building Seven was a forty-seven-story building that also pancaked into its own footprint on September 11, 2001. It was diagonally across the street from the World Trade Center. The official story is that it fell because of an office fire. It was never hit by a plane. It was built to rigid building codes to withstand fire; yet, like the Towers, it dropped straight down, at freefall speed. As Mr. Parker would say, that requires an advanced engineering degree, precise placement of the charges, and highly accurate timing.”
“Or a structural anomaly,” Arron said.
The class laughed, and Noah knew he shouldn’t have tried to speak to something he knew nothing about.
“Is that true, Mr. Parker? Did another building collapse that day?” Katie Snyder asked.
Noah didn’t know where to go with this. “There was a third building that fell that day. It was supposedly caused by a fire that weakened the supporting beams.”
Allen Kramer jumped up from his seat. Noah had never seen him so engaged in a conversation. “There are lots of facts around the events of 9/11 that don’t fit with the official reports. For starters, the WTC maintenance worker, William Rodriguez, worked at WTC for nineteen years prior to the attacks. He claims to have heard an explosion from the sublevels of the North Tower seconds prior to the first plane hitting.