Read The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession Online

Authors: Tim Lahaye,Jerry B. Jenkins

Tags: #Adventure, #Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adult, #Thriller, #Contemporary, #Spiritual, #Religion

The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession (35 page)

BOOK: The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession
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“That will require more of an apology than you have the time or energy or, I may say, insight to give. Now check the mark, and let’s get out of here.”

Rayford reached for Albie, who seemed to stiffen.

A loud rap on the door made them both jump. Tsion poked his head in. “My apologies, gentlemen, but Carpathia has resurrected! You must come see!”

Rayford retrieved the gun.

“Keep it,” Albie said, as they headed downstairs.

“But that would insult you even more.”

“I told you, I cannot be more deeply insulted.”

Rayford reached back awkwardly, holding the gun out to Albie.

Albie shook his head, grabbed the gun, and slammed it into its holster. As he snapped the strap he said, “The only thing more offensive than not being trusted by an old friend is your simpering style of leadership. Rayford, you and those you are responsible for are entering the most dangerous phase of your existence.

Don’t blow it with indecision and poor judgment.”

Buck held the sleeping baby while Chloe finished packing. He heard Rayford and Albie descending and wondered why they were empty-handed after having been upstairs for so long. Maybe they had already carried stuff to the car.

“Did you see this, Dad?” he said, nodding toward the TV where GC
CNN
played and replayed the most dramatic moments from New Babylon.

“Better not refer to me informally in front of the rest of the Force,” Rayford whispered, as he stared at the TV.

Buck cocked his head. “Whatever you say, Captain Steele.”

He limped to where Chloe had gathered their essentials, traded the baby for a bundle, and slowly made his way out to the Land Rover. The coolness of the predawn refreshed him, though he caught himself sniffing the air and listening.

The last thing he wanted, after the bizarre story of Albie’s ruse, was to hear those GC Jeeps returning. What if the squadron leader was braver than Albie gave him credit for and he risked embarrassment and even reprimand to check out the story? He’d be back with more help, and they could all be imprisoned or killed and the place destroyed.

Buck worried about some of his injuries. He had pain in both legs that felt sharper than soft tissue damage, so he worried about broken bones. He was certain he’d also cracked a rib or two and couldn’t imagine that Chaim hadn’t as well. They shared whiplash trauma, even though their heads had first been driven forward.

Buck caught a glimpse of himself in the cracked outside rearview mirror of the Rover as he stepped away from the vehicle. Was it possible he was only thirty-three? He felt even worse than he looked, and he looked fifty. A fabric burn on his forehead he hadn’t even noticed in the hospital had formed a large, ugly scab that was tender to the touch. That had to have come from the first impact and the forcing of his head into the back of the seat in front of him.

Deep lacerations from dropping into a woody bush at the Jerusalem Airport what seemed eons ago had healed as high-ridged scars with crimson centers that covered his chin, cheeks, and forehead.

Worse, his eyes had that world-weary look, a deep fatigue that combined survival desperation, love and concern for his wife and child, and the sheer exhaustion of living as a fugitive and enduring searing personal losses.

He took a deep breath that brought stinging pain to his ribs. He wondered where he might next sleep, but he didn’t wonder if he would sleep well.

Buck would have returned inside to help, but in his condition he was more help staying put. The others began to straggle out under heavy bundles, except for Tsion who had just two full pillowcases tied together over one shoulder and was supporting Chaim on his other arm.

Albie, the last out, was on the phone. Rayford arranged the seating. He put Chloe, Kenny, Leah, Tsion, and Chaim in the backseat, where they were barely able to close the doors. Buck would ride shotgun in the front with Albie in the middle and Rayford driving. First, however, Rayford and Albie stood between the garage and the house-Albie still on the phone-and Rayford beckoned Buck with a nod.

“The chopper is at Palwaukee,” Albie reported. “And the shuttle pilots are on their way back to Rantoul in the trail plane. You want my advice, Captain?”

“You bet.”

“I say we go directly to the airstrip and put the wounded and as much of the luggage in the chopper as 382 we can. Then you can fly the chopper to the new safe house, and someone else can drive.”

“And you?”

“I should take the fighter to Kankakee. You can pick me up there later in the chopper, and I can fly the Gulfstream into Kankakee.”

“How about torching this place?” Rayford said.

“You have materials?”

“Kerosene and gasoline in the garage. Some flares.”

“That would do it. Have you left anything incriminating inside?”

“Not that I can think of. You, Buck?”

Buck shook his head. “I’d light ‘er up.”

“That’s me too,” Rayford said. “Just in case. Leave ‘em nothing to find.”

Albie looked at his watch. “I think we’re pressing our luck. Let the GC waste time digging through it, and then they can cook it. We need to be gone from here as soon as we can.”

“You’re the expert,” Rayford said. “You want a vote, Buck?”

“I’m with you, D-ah, Captain.”

At Palwaukee Albie stayed in character and informed the in-residence tower man that the procurement of the chopper and the fuel for the fighter and Gulfstream should all be kept under the same GC order number.

Greasy haired and short on sleep, the big man seemed as thrilled as he had been hours before to be doing his duty to the GC and particularly to the deputy commander.

“Did you see the news, sir?” the man said. “The wonderful, wonderful news?”

“Did I ever,” Albie said. “Thanks for your kindness. Now we must be off.”

“My pleasure, Deputy Commander, sir! A pleasure indeed. If you ever need anything else, don’t hes—”

Buck was left to nod to the man. Albie was off to the freshly refueled jet, and Rayford to the chopper.

David searched and searched for Annie, unable to raise her on the phone and not willing to holler for her over the midafternoon crowds. Finally he rushed back to his office, flipped on the TV so he could catch Carpathia’s final remarks, and got on his computer to be sure the new safe house was accessible.

He called Rayford, who filled him in on everything since they had last spoken.

“I can trust Albie, can’t I, David?”

“Albie? He was your find, wasn’t he? We’ve been working fairly closely lately. I think he’s the best, and you and Mac always said he was. Anyway, he’s one of us now, right?”

“Right.”

“If you doubt him, check his mark.”

“Apparently you don’t insult Middle Eastern men that way.”

“Hey! Captain! You’re talking to one.”

“Would someone checking your mark insult you?”

“Well, I suppose if you did, after knowing me so long. I mean, I don’t think you ever have.”

“If I can’t trust you, David, who can I trust?”

“I’d say the same about Albie, but you’re the one who needs to feel right about it. We’re getting in pretty deep with him, looks like.”

“I’ve decided to take the risk.”

“That’s good enough for me. Let me know when you get to the Strong Building. You going to try to put down inside the tower?”

“Not with this load. I’ll keep the chopper as inconspicuous as I can so it won’t be seen from the air.”

“The most you’d have to worry about would be satellite shots, because no planes are flying low enough to shoot anything meaningful. But if you get unloaded and can determine before daybreak that the chopper can be housed way up inside there, you’d better do it.”

“Roger.”

“I’m unlocking everything in the place for you. I’d get in, get settled, and stay quiet and out of sight.”

“We need some black spray paint.”

“Can do. Where should I ship it?”

“Kankakee, I guess.”

“You got it. Rayford? How is Tsion?”

“Chaim and Buck are the banged-up ones.”

“But they’re going to be all right, right?”

“Looks like it.”

“Tsion is the one I worry about. We need him on-line and doing what he does best.”

Rayford guessed he was halfway to the safe house.

“I hear that, David. I just hope we can transmit out of the new place like we could out of the old.”

“Should be able to. When the day comes for Mac and Smitty and Annie and me to get out of here, we’ll come and set up the greatest communications center you can imagine. Hey, you’ve got your laptop, right?”

“I had left it in Mount Prospect. I’ll get back on-line in Chicago.”

“Good, because I sent you a list I found, made by a woman named Viv Ivins, Carpathia’s oldest confidante. It shows the ten kingdoms with their new names, but it also has a number assigned to each one. There has to be some significance, but I can’t decipher it, at least not yet.”

“You haven’t put one of your fancy computer programs on it by now?”

“Soon, but I don’t care what it takes or who figures it out. I just want to know what it means and whether there’s any advantage to our knowing it.”

“We’ll take a shot at it. For now it’s going to be great to be back together, all in one place, getting caught up with each other, getting acquainted better with the newcomers, and reestablishing some order.”

“I’ll know when you get in. I’ve got my cameras on.”

With his computer set, David wanted to return his attention to finding Annie.

There were a thousand reasons she might be hard to locate, but he’d rather not consider any of them. He stood and stretched, noticing that the TV picture had changed. The network had switched from a wide shot of the receiving trilogy of Leon, Viv, and Nick and now moved in on Nicolae.

He had stepped down a few rows and looked directly into the camera. In spite of himself, David could see why the man was so riveting. Besides the rugged, European handsomeness, he really sold the care and compassion.

David knew he was insidious, but his smarminess didn’t show.

The announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen of the Global Community, your Supreme Potentate, His Excellency Nicolae Carpathia.”

Nicolae took one step closer to the camera, forcing it to refocus. He looked directly into the lens.

“My dear subjects,” he began. “We have, together, endured quite a week, have we not? I was deeply touched by the millions who made the effort to come to New Babylon for what turned out to be, gratefully, not my funeral. The outpouring of emotion was no less encouraging to me.

“As you know and as I have said, there remain small pockets of resistance to our cause of peace and harmony. There are even those who have made a career of saying the most hurtful, blasphemous, and false statements about me, using terms for me that no person would ever want to be called.

“I believe you will agree that I proved today who I am and who I am not. You will do well to follow your heads and your hearts and continue to follow me. You know what you saw, and your eyes do not lie. I am also eager to welcome into the one-world fold any former devotees of the radical fringe who have become convinced that I am not the enemy. On the contrary, I may be the very object of the devotion of their own religion, and I pray they will not close their minds to that possibility.

“In closing let me speak directly to the opposition. I have always, without rancor or acrimony, allowed divergent views. There are those among you, however, who have referred overtly to me personally as the Antichrist and this period of history as the Tribulation. You may take the following as my personal pledge: ‘If you insist on continuing with your subversive attacks on my character and on the world harmony I have worked so hard to engender, the word tribulation will not begin to describe what is in store for you. If the last three and a half years are your idea of tribulation, wait until you endure the Great Tribulation.’”

EPILOGUE

“Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

Revelation 12:12

BOOK: The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession
4.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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