Borrowed Truths

Room 217

Borrowed Truths

Room 217

Jamie woke up to something that sounded like a chainsaw trying to cut thru a thousand empty plastic bottles, and then he was immediately soaking wet. His reflexes kicked in automatically and he had Teresa up and moving down the basement stairs before she even knew she was awake, he was barely able to hear her screams above the noise, and he turned around just long enough to see the dresser and bed go straight up as if they were drawn by a magnet, and then bounded down the steps after his wife.

Their house was, or used to be, almost in the center of the small town of around one thousand people, surrounded by large trees and neighbors, but as they surveyed the scene in the eerily pink morning, they could see as far into the distance as if they were out on one of the gravel roads that encompassed the farming community they lived in. They had of course planned for this, when you live where tornadoes are fairly common, you prepared for these possible moments, but they had never expected this type of almost total devastation. It took nearly an hour to make their way to the edge of town, stopping to help for a few minutes, picking their steps carefully thru the rubble that was once houses and business’.

“I am not going to give you a thousand dollars a night Van, and you know it.” It was as if the tornado had decided it had done enough damage and just stopped at the front door of the small motel, and Jamie praised God as he laid eyes on it in the distance, leading his shell-shocked wife as best he could. “Times are tough Jamie, look out there, you got to get it when the getting is good.” Jamie almost let the old man inside of him out at that moment, but he said a quick prayer under his breath, stepped around the counter, and took the set of keys closest to him from the wall behind Van. “I will pay you when I can.” The young, prematurely balding man took two steps backward, nodded at Jamie, and then looked down at something interesting on the floor. “Come on honey, number 217.” His wife went straight to the bed, curled up in a fetal position under the blankets and was fast asleep within a matter of minutes.

“Jamie, over here! That’s your initials, isn’t it?” He was still six blocks from where their house had once stood when Chuck had caught his attention, the man had a nasty looking gash above his right eye and two different shoes on, but at least he was upright, not like some Jamie had seen on his walk back to what was left of their house. “Yep, that’s my safe Chuck, are you doing all right?” “Better than some, I saw some kids throwing bricks at it trying to get it open, imagine, all this and they’re concerned with that.” Jamie stooped down, opened the safe, took out the most important papers and the eight thousand in cash. He salvaged what  he thought was absolutely necessary from what was left of their house of over twenty years, helped those he could and checked on Teresa several times a day over the next three days, she had refused to step out of the hotel room, spending her time reading the Gideon Bible from the desk drawer and watching the television when it worked.

“I heard over two hundred.” “Well, one station said almost five hundred, but who can you trust.” The armed men guarding the grocery store knew who to let in and who to keep out, it was amazing to some of them just how fast some neighbors could become angry monsters. Steve had let Jamie in and told him to take whatever he needed. “God’s been trying to warn us that these times were approaching for quite a while, Steve.” “Well, I’m almost starting to believe all that talk of yours Jamie, tell Nancy at the counter what you grab, she’ll write it down, you can pay me later.”

He had handed the young man behind the counter a thousand in cash the day Chuck had found his safe, and had gotten about the same response from him when he had pointed to the images on the television screen. Van sheepishly took the money and told Jamie to stay as long as they needed to. “Lots of Gideon Bibles around here Van, you might want to pick one up and start reading it.” Teresa has started to come around the afternoon of the third day, she was a fine woman, her faith was not strong, but it was genuine. “What are we going to do?” “We’re going to pray, listen and help those we can, sweetheart.” There had been over six-hundred tornadoes in fourteen states over the last three days, four huge typhoons had hit southern Asia, and two more were on the way. Jamie sat with his wife for an hour or so, watching the staticky pictures on the small television, dozens of earthquakes around the globe, some form of virus that was spreading rapidly, markets beginning to collapse, martial law and mob rule. “It’s not surprising that no one from outside has shown up to help, we’re just a small dot on the map, sweetheart.”

Teresa was all in on the fourth day, while Jamie could start to feel his energy waning, his wife was just the opposite. She spoke to all that would listen, prayed with those that would, and her smiling, bright demeanor encouraged nearly all she met that day. They had broken bread with some fellow believers around noon that day, well actually it was a big pot of beans over a small fire and some rice cakes, but the fellowship was uplifting, and they even sang a few songs together. “I’m sorry about the last couple of days honey, I just….” “Not to worry sweetheart, your trust and faith in Him has shown to be true many times over and I’m sure that..”

It sounded like a large trumpet, it was so loud that it almost hurt their ears, then it got very, very bright. Van saw that the door to room 217 was open as he walked by, that didn’t seem right. He peeked inside and was about to shut the door when he saw a book laying on the bed, he walked in and sat on the edge of the bed with the Bible on his lap, a Bible opened to Revelation chapter four, and he started reading.

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