Written by Dr. Pelham Mead
The premise of this science fiction novel is that each line in the 23rd Psalm describes what the Christian and Jewish survivors will do to stay alive after a comet destroys most of the earth. I was researching several books on Jewish and Christian messiahs when the idea of this book came to my mind. What if a comet hits the earth and only a handful of survivors on mountaintops survived the disaster? How would these two religious groups learn to work together to survive? What if one person in the two groups began to have visions about the future that came true? What if, after many struggles, the Jewish temple group and the Protestant group chose a messiah, the man who was having the spiritual visions that came true again and again?
This is a story about survival and the determination of two small groups to find higher ground and, eventually, safety on the earth flooded to six thousand feet above sea level. This is a story about the year 3550 when world corporations sought to make religions illegal.
In the year 3550, the earth was almost destroyed after a comet, the size of the moon, collided with earth. The impact was so severe that it caused the earth to move out of its normal orbit around the sun. The earth was a million miles closer to the sun after the impact of the comet. The explosion was so great that when the comet hit the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, off South America, the south polar cap melted down almost immediately. The ocean surge covered South America completely, leaving only the Andes mountains, showing as islands above the waters. In a week, Europe and North America were underwater, and the north polar cap began to melt. The Asian continents suffered the same fate, except the Himalayan mountain range that stuck out as islands in a vast new ocean. All the mountain ranges around the world became islands, jutting out the ocean that rose above seven thousand feet, surviving the initial flooding. The highest mountains in the Sierras, the Appalachian mountain chain, and Mount Rainier in Washington State all became islands above the seven-thousand-feet-above-sea-level point.
All the plants and native animals around the world drowned under leagues of seawater. The only surviving animals are those that lived at high elevations to begin with, such as mountain goats, yaks, deer, and some varieties of birds. The freshwater fish in all the lakes and rivers died when the salt water filled all the lakes and rivers around the world. The sea marine life did survive, however, despite the temperature rise. The entire population of penguins eventually was washed away toward the mountains of the Andes thousands of miles away. Few of the penguins survived.
As for the human race, those that survived were those that ran to the high ground or happened to be living on high ground to begin with. The floods came so quick that all of California and the West Coast were covered in salt water in less than a week. The same fate became of the East Coast of the North American continent, and it flooded across all the states until it reached the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.
The only humans known to survive in the western part of North America were a group of Old World Christians on a religious retreat at Lake Tahoe in Sierra Nevada and a group of Old World Jewish community members who were vacationing in the Sierras. Neither religious communities knew that the other had survived until months after the disaster.
In the year 3550, religions had changed to a new order of spiritual life. The World Corporate Order discouraged religions to be practiced and declared them illegal. The emphasis was on giving everything to the controlling Corporations of the World, and old world religions got in the way. Many religions, centuries old, had begun to die out from the persecution and threat of arrest by the World Corporate Order. The original Christian movement that survived for 56,000 years was now called the Old World Christian movement. Likewise, the various Jewish sects were called the Old World Jewish religion. The World Corporate Order also declared practicing Judaism of any kind illegal.
The World Corporate Order had replaced all the old world religions. Nationalism in each continent—such as North America, Europe, South America, Middle East, Asian, Far Asia, and Africa—had formed over the past few centuries (twenty-second century to thirtieth century AD). Old World Buddhism, Old World Muslims, Old World Hindu, and many other religions suffered the same fate as the Old World Christians and the Old World Jewish sects and were reduced in size and popularity and considered illegal to practice in public. They had all become secret religions that were not approved by the World Corporate Order of the thirty-first century. The World Corporate Order frowned on the free worship of any religion in the year 3550. The old world religions met in secret and kept their membership closed and in secret fear of corporate punishment by the World Corporate Order that controlled all the continents on earth.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
The date of the apocalypse was September 4, AD 3550. It was in the middle of the day that the first emergency broadcast was sent out by virtual beam, old-fashioned radio waves, short-wave ham radio, and virtual television. “Emergency, this is not a drill. Repeat, emergency. Attention, all citizens of the Corporate World Order, this is an emergency. Our scientists have determined that a comet is about to collide with earth in about forty-eight hours. Do not panic. Try, if possible, to head to high ground above five or six thousand feet above sea level. Go to the mountains in your region if possible. Leave now and do not delay. End of broadcast.”
For the next forty-eight hours, every person’s antigravity vehicle (AGV) was headed toward the closest mountains in every country. Antigravity vehicles had replaced cars thousands of years before. The AGVs were similar in size to cars but ran on electromagnetic waves that bounced off a track buried in the venues (roads). Venues were blocked for hundreds of miles as millions upon millions of people of the earth fled to high ground to avoid the impact of severe flooding.
In the quiet Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California, near Lake Tahoe, there was a group of forty Old World Christians of the Church of the Sunrise on a religious retreat. Most of the Christians were couples, married or otherwise. A few were single and unmarried. Pastor Swift, a short chubby man with a balding crown, was just finishing a lesson on the 23rd Psalm about “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” After the service, as the small group of the Church of the Sunrise walked toward their cabins, one of the young boys named Billy came running toward Pastor Swift.
“Pastor Swift, Pastor Swift, there is an emergency warning being transmitted. You need to come quick!” the young boy exclaimed. “All right, all right, everything is fine. It is probably a fire emergency being broadcast. I will be right there,” said Pastor Swift. As he approached his cabin, there were several people standing outside with long looks on their faces. Something big was up, and Pastor Swift could not tell what the emergency was going to be.
As he entered his cabin, a virtual broadcast was loud and clear: a comet was going to hit the earth in less than forty-eight hours. “Oh my god!” Pastor Swift exclaimed. “Billy, run and get Colonel Jim Shepherd and have him meet me here as soon as possible!” A few minutes later, retired colonel James Shepherd, a tall man with a military-style crew cut and a long gray mustache, appeared at Pastor Swift’s cabin with his wife, Elizabeth Shepherd. Elizabeth was a short brunette with some gray hair and has a very skinny body that she kept in shape by jogging every morning. She was a retired biologist from UCLA with a PhD in biology.
“Jim, as you may have heard, we have a major emergency on our hands. I have just been informed that a comet is about to collide with the earth in less than forty-eight hours. There is a strong possibility of flooding around the entire earth, especially if it lands in one of the oceans or hits the North or South Pole. We need to get to high ground fast before others do and stake out or claim to land higher than seven thousand feet above sea level. We know Donner Pass is 8,700 feet above sea level, and that is just down the road from here. I suggest we head for Northstar Mountain that is just above Donner Pass, and we are close enough to get there quickly. I am not a military man, nor do I pretend to know how to handle this emergency, so I am putting you in charge of our church and its survival. I will ring the emergency bell and have everyone assemble immediately,” said Pastor Swift.
“OK, Jim, I will take charge and get us safely to high ground by the end of this day,” said Colonel Shepherd. A million questions went through Colonel Shepherd’s mind at the moment, but he suppressed these thoughts to focus on the emergency.
The bell rang loudly, again and again, and everyone assembled quickly in front of Pastor Swift’s cabin. “Brothers and sisters, we have limited time, and a major life-threatening emergency has developed both here and worldwide. A comet is about to collide with the earth in forty-eight hours. This comet is estimated to be about the size of our moon.” There was a hushed silence for almost a minute, and then women began to cry and men were cursing under their breaths. “Retired colonel Jim Shepherd is going to organize our evacuation to higher ground immediately. I want you to listen to him carefully. He will be in charge of everything. Remember what I said in the Bible study group, ‘The Lord is our shepherd, and we shall not want,’” paraphrased Pastor Swift.
“All right, everyone, keep calm. This is what I want you to do. Return to your cabins and stock up your AGVs with all the food you have. Remember to pack blankets and any survival equipment like light sources, batteries, solar energy collectors, water, medicine, axes, old weapons, knives, and any ham radios or battery- or sun-operated radios,” shouted the colonel to the group.
“Are there any questions? Oh, and bring any portable laser cutting tools to cut trees and wood also,” the colonel commanded. No one asked any questions. There were some women in the crowd, crying softly from fear, but no one spoke out loud. They all walked away rapidly to their cabins and began to gather all they could pack their AGVs with and still have the vehicle move along the ground. “Come back here with your AGVs loaded within two hours, and we will assemble in front of the mess hall,” shouted the colonel to the group as they departed.
Two hours later, all the Old World Christians had assembled with their AGVs fully loaded with everything they could take. Colonel Shepherd addressed the group again. “Brothers and sisters, Pastor Swift will lead us in prayer, but first, I want to tell you where we are going. We are headed to Northstar Mountain, above Donner Pass, down the road from here. I will personally lead the group in my AGV, and everyone will follow in a single line. When we get to the site, we will begin to organize an encampment to survive the comet collision with the earth. Pastor Swift, if you will,” the colonel said.
“Let us pray. Dear Lord, guide over and protect us and all the humans and animals of the world during this apocalypse. Guide us on our way to Northstar Mountain and keep us safe and secure from the possible flooding. We ask this all in Jesus’s name. Amen,” Pastor Swift finished. “Amen,” the group responded.
All the AGVs were started up, and the trek to Northstar Mountain began in a long single line of about forty vehicles. An hour later, they had arrived at the base of Northstar Mountain and departed their vehicles and began to climb the open trails up the mountain. Antigravity vehicles were made to follow a magnetic line embedded in the road and usually ran on solar power or an electric grid. Once the vehicles went off the road, they were useless. They could not travel over the ground or rocks and leaves. Everyone had to put their supplies on their back or pull them on makeshift drags.
The climb up Northstar Mountain, dragging supplies behind, was a tiring ordeal for the Christians. Even children helped out carrying containers of water and food. Several trips up and down the mountain had to be made to get all the supplies up to the high meadow where they would be camping and hoped to survive. No one dared complain about the work and the effort of going up and down the mountain with supplies. Everyone was still in shock that a comet would actually hit the earth. “How could this be?” they all asked themselves. Women, as well as men, carried their share of supplies up and down the mountain. The higher on the mountain, the safer they felt they would be when the flooding occurred. Many stopped and prayed on their knees while going up the mountain. Chaos reigned everywhere, but somehow, the task at hand kept things in order.
Once all the supplies were carried up the mountain, Pastor Swift asked everyone to assemble and pray together as a group. “If ever you prayed for something before, pray now with me for our survival and the survival of others around the world,” Pastor Swift said. “Lord, let us be mindful of thy protection in this time of danger and tragedy. Thank you, Lord, for saving us from drowning as millions of others have. If we are the chosen ones, oh Lord, then let it be. Guide over us and keep us all strong and bind us together in thy name, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”
It took two days to move all their supplies to the high mountain meadow. Several people got injured in the process with ankle sprains and back problems. No one was an outstanding athlete, and exertion at eight thousand feet above sea level was too high with the thin oxygen. Pastor Swift reflected on the situation and wondered how God could allow this disaster to occur, especially to the “people of God.” On the flip side of the argument, he realized they could be back in Los Angles now and drowning from the ocean surge over the entire city in twenty-four hours. Flooding would occur to the depths of six thousand feet above sea level or one thousand fathoms below the sea.
They had little source of information except a ham radio that could only be transmitted by another ham radio operator, and they were rare. It was a scary prospect to hear that the earth would be flooding, especially in North America where they were located. Pastor Swift could only speculate what could happen in twenty-four hours and what damage a comet could do when it slammed into the earth. Pastor Swift sat down and took out his Bible and prayed. He did not know what else to do at the time. Perhaps this was all a dream. How would they ever survive beyond a month with the limited supplies they had and the lack of animals or plants to eat locally?
A ski slope was located nearby, which may have had some cabins or main lodge. It was September and the slope could be closed, but it might be worth a look to see if there were any supplies locked up that they could borrow or steal. If only the watch transmitter he had would work. It was like the old-fashioned cell phones but located in a chip buried under the skin on his arm. Everyone had one, but these were not working. Somehow, the transmitter must have flooded and short-circuited. Who knows what went wrong? Pastor Swift tried to collect and organize his thoughts on what to do next. He would have to rely on retired colonel Shepherd and his military experience to get everyone through this crisis. Was God testing their belief in God? Nothing seemed to make any sense. “What kind of damage could a comet do when it hit the earth?” he asked himself.
The first night, everyone slept out in the pasture because most of the shelters were not yet built. Even the tents weren’t put up yet because the priority was moving the supplies up the mountain and then trying to prepare a meal for forty people. In his dreams, Pastor Swift remembered the passage from the 23rd Psalm that he had preached about a day before, “The Lord is my shepherd, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” This is certainly strange; here they were, lying down in a green pasture, safe from the flooding of the entire earth, he thought to himself in his dream. It was just as if the 23rd Psalm was coming true. No, he must be crazy, he thought.
Suddenly, he awoke, startled to the hooting of an owl nearby in a tree. The sky was as clear as can be, and there were very few sounds in the night, except for the owl nearby. A few clouds passed overhead, blocking the view of the bright stars in the sky. Nothing else seemed to move in the dark night with only a crescent moon shining overhead. Pastor Swift knew that when he awoke the next day, all his parishioners. For all he knew, the next day might be their last day on earth. It was difficult getting back to sleep. He looked at his children and wife sleeping and thought, “I am going to protect them as best I can. I pray that God will give me strength to survive this disaster.” Gradually, he fell asleep, thinking of the comet missing earth and all the scientists being wrong. He slept very poorly that night, tossing and turning in his sleep.
When the sun rose the next morning, Pastor Swift reviewed the forty names of the people who attended the spiritual retreat at Lake Tahoe. First, there was retired colonel James Shepherd, age 65, and his wife, Elizabeth Shepherd, age 58; Judy Swift, age 44, the pastor’s wife, and Elizabeth Swift, age 15, his daughter; Rob Swift, age 10, Pastor Swift’s son; Mary Moon, a mechanical engineer, age 35, and her boyfriend, Bill Snedeker, age 36; Xiaolin Tan, age 49, a female corporate administrator for the World Corporation who came with her boyfriend, Professor Ken Mooney, who taught anthropology at UCLA; Marcus Green, age 27, a black African American, a computer expert; Judy Ann Walsh, Marcus’s girlfriend, age 25, a white office administrator; Billy Mandor, a sixteen-year-old kid who came along as a friend of Elizabeth Swift, the pastor’s daughter; Tim Dong Wo, age 31, a Korean with a PhD in philosophy from Harvard; and lastly, there was Steve Moss, age 38, an unemployed office manager.
It was hard to imagine, but Pastor Swift did not personally know the other twenty-five members of his congregation. He only knew them by their family names: the Condon family, Dillen family, Trumpe family, Treet family, Absolym family, Nealy family, Park family, Sun family, Lee family, Cho family, Rodriques family, and the Spencer family—all of which were married couples. It was a little embarrassing not to know everyone personally, but the comet cut short the spiritual retreat in which Pastor Swift had planned to get to know everyone on a first-name basis.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
At a green mountain meadow pasture, about three-quarters of the way up Northstar Mountain, they decided to make their campground. One of Colonel Shepherd’s major concerns was security, just in case other crazed human tried to steal food or attack their campsite high on the mountain. He posted men around the site during the night, just in case, to prevent any wild animals from causing problems or crazed humans running in fear of the flooding. They did not have any weapons, and there was only one form of communication and that was an army pocket whistle. There were only a few hours of daylight left that day, so they did what they could to cut trees down with laser cutters that were brought along. Centuries-old two-man saws were also put into use in cutting down trees to make lean-tos. Even small hatchets were used to build shelters and cut wood for fires to keep warm.
Day 2 came fast, and only twenty-four hours remained before the comet collided with the earth. Pastor Swift made sure there were plenty of prayer sessions to calm everyone’s fears about the end of the earth. There was no communication with the outside world. No one knew what the rest of the world was doing. Their only focus was to survive the impending comet collision with earth.
Colonel Shepherd had everyone inventory all their food and equipment. They had to centralize all the food so they could cook for everyone and conserve food and energy in so doing. They had no real weapons since the police and the military only used weapons. Just antique weapons such as crossbows, bows and arrows, and spears that were hanging on the cabin walls were brought. No one knew if these would even work. Colonel Shepherd delegated Xiaolin Tan, a Chinese woman and corporate administrator for the North American World Corporate Order; her boyfriend, Ken Mooney, a college professor; Marcus Green, a black man with a lot of technical experience; and Mary Moon, a widow and mechanical engineer, to find some birch trees; Judy Ann Walsh, Marcus’s girlfriend, and others, small trees for making shelters. Others were delegated to cooking and preparing food. The remainders of the forty Christians were assigned to revolving guard duty with binoculars to search for any trouble with wildlife or crazed humans fleeing from any fires or flooding.
At that point in time, they had no real idea whether there would be flooding or fires or volcanic activity after the comet hit the earth. One person that was not satisfied with the camping arrangement was Steven Moss, an electrical engineer and a single man in his early thirties. Steven was always the group complainer. If everyone decided to do something, he would always find fault. Steven was the doubter of the Old World Christian group.
Mrs. Judy Swift, the pastor’s wife, took charge of the women organizing blankets and dry shelters for everyone to sleep in. The air was thin and the temperature was on the cool side, forty degrees. The women were all nervously talking among themselves, worrying whether they would survive the comet collision. The temperature at this high altitude of around eight thousand feet above sea level was always hot in the daytime and cool at night. Everyone in the Church of the Sunrise took on a responsibility in preparation for the “apocalypse.” Steven Moss was the only exception to the rule. He spent all his time building his own shelter and helping no one else in the community. “I am going to build my shelter first and the hell with everyone else,” Steven commented. No one paid attention to his ramblings. “If it rains, at least I will be dry,” Steven went on to say.
At the end of the second day, ten fires were well established with plenty of deadwood found in the forest. The women were preparing the easiest meal for a large group of people with limited resources, and that was stew. The meat was all frozen and rapidly defrosting, so with the vegetables they brought and the cans of chicken broth. Huge pots of stew were being prepared. Some of the children even found wild onions and safe mushrooms to add to the stew. Darkness would soon be upon the mountain, so all the work crews stopped, and the Christians sat down together to consume their meal of beef stew. Blessings were said, and everyone held hands. Beef stew never tasted so good. Many people secretly worried how long their food was going to last, and where they would find more food when their food ran out. Anxiety was high in everyone’s mind. Prayer groups were praying all day long.
The inevitable came the next day, almost to the hour. The comet collided with the earth just before dawn. The impact was so great that everyone was knocked to the ground, and some thrown up against trees. Some of the people in the Church of the Sunrise were knocked unconscious when they were thrown with severe force against rocks and trees. The force was so great that the entire earth shook. The comet hit the Pacific Ocean with such force that steam rose from the heat of the comet to block the atmosphere from getting any sun for months. The collision caused a tidal wave so large that no words could describe it. As the comet sunk to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, it was like a large stone being dropped in the middle of a lake, and the ripple effect covered the entire earth. Volcanoes erupted everywhere, and the earth’s crust cracked. The south polar cap melted in a week, and so did the northern polar cap a few weeks later. All the continents were covered in ocean water up to six thousand feet above sea level, on average, in less than a month. Only mountaintops survived as islands in a water-filled planet. The human race was practically wiped out in one sweeping catastrophe. Only packets of humans survived around the earth—no time for political maneuvering, no time for rockets to blast off to other planets. There was simply no time to prepare for anything except death.
One little group of blessed Old World Christians survived on a mountaintop in the Sierra Nevada. Unbeknown to the Old World Christians, another group of Old World Jews from Temple Beth El had survived at Boreal Ridge Mountain, a few miles away from Northstar Mountain. The oceans quickly washed over San Francisco and Los Angeles, flooding all the lowland areas and rapidly climbing to the San Gabriel Mountains, east of Los Angeles. In Northern California, the ocean surged up Route 81, taking trees, rocks, houses, transport vehicles, and everything in its way. Donner Pass, at 8,700 feet above sea level, became a river between the mountain ranges. All the mountains below six thousand feet sea level were submerged in a matter of a few weeks. Dead human bodies by the millions were everywhere, floating on the top of the ocean waters. Dead animals, dead birds, dead everything were floating and stinking on top of the oceans that blanketed an entire mountain range.
New York City was one thousand leagues underwater, and the ocean swelled over Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester, and Putnam counties until it reached the Catskill Mountains. The ocean eventually covered these low mountains and continued on to the higher Adirondack Mountains and Whiteface Mountain that were eight hours north of New York City. The coast of California, Oregon, Washington State, and Canada were gone. Now they were a memory like the city of Atlantis, thousands of leagues under the sea. Sea creatures of all types were washed upland with all the other dead human bodies. Sharks were seen hundreds of miles inland, and whales, as well as millions of other marine life, were uprooted and literally flushed over the lands. The Christian group would not have found out these facts until much later when Tim Dong Wo finally made a ham radio contact and heard the bad news on his ham radio.
A thick steam mist covered the entire earth, blocking the sun. Darkness was shadowing the entire earth. The few plants that survived on mountaintops were beginning to wither from the lack of sunlight and lack of oxygen. Every day was a dark day—dark in emotion, dark in light, and dark in spirit. Survival of the few remaining packets of humans seemed doubtful at the time. Would the human race disappear just like the dinosaurs did millions of years before? Time would tell the story.
The first week went by quickly, and there was no sign of other humans near Northstar Mountain. Only dead carcasses of animals and humans washed ashore every day. The smell was beyond description, and everyone had to wear a scarf or cloth around their mouths and noses to reduce the smell. Colonel Shepherd assembled the parishioners of the Church of the Sunrise in the darkness of the midday of the first week. They prayed and planned what to do. No one was sure if they would survive. All they could see from Northstar Mountain was ocean in every direction.
“People, our survival is based on what we can scavenge every day from anything worthwhile that washes up on our shores. Do not touch or go near the dead bodies of humans and animals since they will be diseased. If you cannot carry scavenged materials, tell someone to come and find help. Floating cans of food is a treasure and any useful wood and construction materials. If we wish to survive, we need to save everything we find,” said Colonel Shepherd.
“When is this darkness going to stop?” Steven Moss complained. “We do not know yet since none of us are scientists,” Colonel Shepherd answered. There was a general fear throughout the entire community that the end was near and they would never survive.
People do strange things when they think it is the last day on earth. All the couples made love as if it was their last day on earth. It was the strangest thing the way people react when death seems near. Everyone was fearful of dying from a comet collision, yet at the hour of doom, love seemed to be the most important thing. Even Pastor Swift and Judy Swift spent an unusual night cuddling together. Even the Jewish rabbi and his wife, Ida, had made peace with God and prepared for their last day on earth. The sons and daughters of Rabbi Grossman spent the night with their love ones. After the first night of fear when the comet collided with the earth, it was amazing the sun rose the next day, and everyone was still alive. God works in strange ways.
The first week went by fast as the church group improved its shelters and overall organization. Everyone did their share, and keeping busy made it easier not to worry. The ocean waters hadn’t yet flooded to the height of the Lake Tahoe mountains. Everything seemed unusually calm. No planes were flying overhead or helicopters with their noisy rotor blades. Even the birds had stopped chirping. Animals always seem to have a second sense when there is danger like fire to start running away. There were no animals on Northstar Mountain at the time. No cars or trucks could be heard in the distance, riding down Route 81 to Sacramento. The silence seemed unnatural as if someone had turned off all normal noises.
Pastor Swift held services every day in the morning and in the early evening. Everyone was looking for an emotional lift out of this crisis. Everyone wanted a quick answer why this could happen to earth. There were no answers. All they could do was pray to God and hope for the best. This was truly a test of their spiritual courage. Everyone had an answer they thought was the reason why, but few shared it with others. Fear was impressed on everyone’s forehead, and there was no denying it.
“He leads me beside still waters.”
After a month, the ocean waters calmed down a little and became “still waters.” There was garbage everywhere on the shores of Northstar Mountain. Colonel Shepherd had all the Christians collect everything they could from the waters, except dead bodies. By some good fortune, hundreds of empty fifty-gallon oil drums washed up on shore and were collected and stacked up higher up the mountain. These empty oil drums could be used for fireplaces and, eventually, to make a raft to navigate the oceans should the time come for that adventure. Every day, more and more junk washed ashore of the small mountaintop island of Northstar, and the Christians spent all their waking hours scavenging.
“I can’t believe they are making us work like slaves collecting all this junk,” Steven Moss complained. “We have no choice,” said Mary Moon, a mechanical engineer in the community. “My back is killing me, but I would rather be working toward surviving than sitting and worrying about it,” commented Marcus Green, a technical expert with computers and advanced technology. Tim Dong Wo was lifting fifty-gallon oil drums and stacking them uphill from the ocean’s edge. “These drums are a blessing. We can make rafts, fireplaces, and shelters with them if we have something to cut them with,” he commented.
The daily temperature was beginning to rise around the earth the first month after the apocalypse. Pastor Swift, as well as Colonel Shepherd, noticed the change since everyone was unusually warm all the time. The days were dark and overcast from the steam moisture rising up to the highest levels of the earth’s atmosphere and blocking the rays of the sun. The humidity, as well as the increased temperature, was difficult to work in, but everyone did their best.
Xiaolin Tan and her boyfriend, Ken Mooney, came to Pastor Swift and told him that she and others had noticed that the water was still rising about ten to twenty feet each week. “Pastor, I have noticed with great alarm that the ocean keeps rising every day. Yesterday, the ocean was at the edge of the trees, and today, those same trees are underwater,” Xiaolin explained. “Thank you, Xiaolin, others have told me the same thing. I want you to monitor the amount the ocean rises each day by putting stick markers where the water’s edge is each day. Measure the distance between the sticks each day, and we can figure what the average flooding is each week,” Pastor Swift directed.
Pastor Swift realized that in several months, they were going to have a problem, unless the ocean water started to recede. Pastor Swift met with everyone in the Church of the Sunrise and discussed their concerns and fears. Colonel Shepherd told everyone that Xiaolin and several others would mark and monitor the ocean’s rise each day and keep everyone informed. In the meantime, it was decided to take the empty oil drums and build large sailing rafts in case they had to evacuate the island in search of a higher mountain if the ocean did not begin to recede. Steven Moss wanted to know what they were going to do if the ocean waves reached the height of the pasture. “We will worry about that when the time comes,” Colonel Shepherd responded.
The next day, the entire group assembled all the wires and ropes they could find to tie the fifty-gallon oil drums together and lash wooden poles to the top of the fifty-gallon oil drums. Several large pine trees were cut down to serve as the main masts. Other smaller pine trees were cut down to serve as planks to secure the oil drums. Colonel Shepherd planned for each raft to handle twenty people. Four rows of four fifty-gallon drums were secured under each raft with a shelter on the back of the raft. Space was set up for a long rudder to be placed in the middle of the raft behind the shelter area. Push poles and oars could be used on the sides of the rafts. The women sewed together any cloth they could spare and any fabric that washed ashore to create a square sail for the raft. Many of the women did not know how to sew and Pastor Swift’s wife, Judy Swift, had to show them.
The raft had to be big enough to carry at least twenty people. Since the group totaled forty people, it was necessary to build at least three rafts. The first raft came together after only a few weeks of work. After the first raft was built, ropes and wires were hard to find. Natural products such as tree bark and vines had to be used. Any antigravity vehicles that survived the flood were stripped for all their useful parts such as wires. Solar collectors were useful in charging batteries for lights and other equipment. The shelter at the back of the rafts was added later. The raft had to be seaworthy, and special care was taken to make sure the fifty-gallon oil drums were secured tightly. A pulley at the top of a pole mast lifted the sail. Steering was with a long pole and a rudder attached. Push poles could be used along the sides of the raft.
Months had gone by and still no sight of human survivors other than dead human bodies by the thousands floating by every day. Everyone was instructed to stay away from the dead bodies so as not to catch any diseases. Sticks were used to push the bodies away from the shores of the island. It was an impossible task since the ocean tides washed bodies in and out on a regular basis. The smell from the dead and rotting flesh in the water was unbearable.
After the third month, November, the food supply was beginning to run low, and many people in the group were coming down with mysterious illnesses. They had no doctors or nurses, and few of the group knew nothing about first aid or medicine. The rafts were ready now, and the ocean had risen eighty feet above its original level when the Christians had started checking the water level. Fear was spreading around the group that the ocean would eventually flood over the entire island in a year. “I say we leave the island now,” complained Steven Moss. “We need to listen to the colonel. He knows what he is doing, and he is our leader in addition to Pastor Swift,” Marcus Green responded to Steven Moss. Bill Mandor remarked, “We are making progress in collecting wild plants and fresh water containers.”
“We will see,” Steven Moss commented.
“Dad, do you really believe we are going to survive?” Rob asked his father.
“I believe God has chosen us for a purpose, son,” James Swift replied. “Being a pastor of a church means I have to look out for everyone’s interests more than my own, Rob.”
“I understand, Dad, you have to keep everyone believing in God and that what he does is for the good,” Rob replied.
“You’re pretty smart, Rob,” said his dad.
Mary Moon and her boyfriend, Bill Snedeker, found themselves praying a lot more than they used to before the comet collision. “I guess we take a lot for granted, Bill,” Mary said. “I’ve been thinking the same as you. We have to have faith that all will work out in the end,” Bill commented. “You are right, Bill, but I am worried,” Mary said. Another couple down by the shore of the island was collecting driftwood when a wave washed up the half-eaten body of what looked like a woman. Marcus saw the disgusting sight and threw up. “I’m sorry, Judy. I can’t take looking at all this death that surrounds us. I’ll carry the driftwood back to the camp,” Marcus said. “That is fine with me, Mr. Strong Guy.” Judy Walsh laughed.
The supply of fresh water from the melted snow was disappearing and evaporating from the constant heat. The skies were still dark after a month had gone by, and the earth was slipping into a dark age of limited sunlight with increased humidity and heat. Fish and other marine life that were swept inland in the major flooding began to appear in the ocean around the island. Several of the Christians tried to spear fish from the shore with limited success until someone tried using an oil lamp at night to attract the fish. That worked, and many fish were speared. The group began working on a fishnet by weaving vines together and shoelaces and whatever line they could find that had not been used on the oil drum rafts.
The parishioners of the Church of the Sunrise met with Colonel Shepherd and discussed some of the problems that were developing. They were facing some major crisis, namely, a growing shortage of food, increase sickness of many people in the community, a shortage of fresh water, and the ocean seemed to continue to slowly rise ten to twenty feet each week. From the original stick markers, it seemed they had lost eighty feet of shoreline since the disaster.
“People, I want everyone to pray with me and brainstorm as to what we should do now and in the future,” Colonel Shepherd said. “Colonel, what is to become of us?” asked Marcus Green. “I don’t know that answer, it is in God’s hands,” the colonel responded. Different ideas were discussed, such as putting out cans or pots to collect any rain, was suggested, and adopted. There was no doctor or nurse in the community, so the people with illnesses had to remain on their blankets and pray they would recover.
The most significant observation by Ms. Xiaolin Tan was that with the ocean continuing to rise and never stopping, they might be forced to flee the island at some point in time. Everyone agreed that this scenario might happen. Xiaolin suggested that a small group of volunteers take two of the oil drum rafts and sail to some of the other islands within a few miles from their island and look for other survivors. “Perhaps they have a medical person that could help with the people that were sick in exchange for food or services?” Xiaolin commented. The group all liked that idea, so Colonel Shepherd suggested they supply a group of volunteers with food and water and have them leave the next day at sunrise. They packed some canned goods and blankets to trade, if necessary, and explore the surrounding islands for other survivors. Hopefully, another group of human survivors might have more resources that they could combine together to make survival more likely if the ocean waters kept rising.
The next day, Colonel Shepherd asked for some volunteers to help take a test voyage on the raft to determine its sea worthiness and to explore other islands for human survivors. One of the three rafts was stocked with canned food and lashed down to remain in place. Water was taken in small bottles, and blankets and small items to trade were packed. The sail was raised, and ten volunteers, including Colonel Shepherd, pushed off from the island and headed due west from the island. Boreal Ridge Mountain and other nearby mountains were a few miles away. The mountains above six thousand feet above sea level would be high enough above the floodwaters to have survivors on them. The wind was strong that day, at about ten knots, and so was the tidal current. In less than an hour, an island was spotted on the horizon. They navigated the raft toward the island. “Ahoy, Captain, I mean, Colonel, there is an island about a mile away,” called out young Bill Mandor, a sixteen-year-old teenager. “OK, steady as she goes,” said Colonel Shepherd. “Keep the rudder straight, Marcus, and let out some line on the sail so we can pick up speed,” called out Colonel Shepherd. The wind increased to twelve to fifteen knots that day, and the raft was rolling to and fro and moving smoothly over the ocean waters despite the high waves.
Ken Mooney, Xiaolin’s boyfriend, was standing at the front of the raft as they approached the treelined island thirty minutes later. He threw a rope around a tree near the edge of the island and pulled the raft in toward the shore. The colonel suggested that Marcus Green stay with the raft just in case, and the rest of the crew would divide up into groups of two each and search the island. “Remember, our mission is to find other survivors and give a friendly greeting. Make sure you tell them we are a peaceful group of survivors from another island,” Colonel Shepherd instructed. So the groups of two men each started searching the heavily wooded island. They brought some blankets with them and some canned food to trade if the occasion presented itself. All around the island was garbage and dead human bodies just like their island. There was no sound of birds that day and no sounds of humans either. The island rose up steeply to a few rock ridges and then broke off into several different ridges of rock that rose higher still on the island. The Christian group climbed over the rock ledges and looked in all directions for evidence of survivors. After two hours walking and miles from the raft, the groups decided to turn around and head back to the raft since night would soon be upon them. They did not want to have to return to their island on the raft in the dark of night.
When everyone arrived back at the raft, they reported what they had seen, and there was no evidence of anyone living on the island. They did find an old fire pit but could not tell whether it was recent or from months or years past. Everyone got aboard the raft and raised the sail and pushed off the island to return to Northstar Island, their temporary home island.
Meanwhile, high over one of the ridges were some liberal Jewish community survivors from Temple Beth El, hiding behind some pine trees, observing the Christian group with binoculars. They watched carefully to see if the people searching the island were hostile. They watched as the group of ten men pushed off the island and sailed back in the direction they came from. The liberal Old World Jewish community did not have any oil drums to make a raft and did not fare as well as the Christian community in salvaging supplies and resources. They did have a nurse and a retired doctor and a limited supply of food they managed to save. They sent word back to their community living on the other side of the island from where the raft landed. Everyone in the Jewish community was surprised and bewildered that someone else had survived. There was both hope and fear in the Old World Jewish community as to the future.
As the raft sailed back to their island, Bill Snedeker noticed a puff of smoke coming from a fire on the other side of the island. This must have meant that there are some survivors on the island, but it was too late to turn around and search. Perhaps on another day and another trip, they could try to sail around the other side of the island to where they saw the puff of smoke rising into the air.
Upon returning to the Northstar Island, Colonel Shepherd had the team tie up the raft and head back to the rest of the Old World Christian encampment. They told Pastor Swift and the rest of the community that they had no luck finding anyone, but they did see a puff of smoke rising into the air on the other side of the island as they were returning to Northstar Island. Perhaps they could plan another trip the next day or so and see where the mysterious puff of smoke was coming from? For the time being, it was a job well done.
Next day, the same group set out again to return to the island they had found due west of their island. Upon seeing the island, they decided to sail around the place where they saw the smoke rising into the air. They put into shore, tied up the raft, and started to head over the ridge to see if they could find survivors. As they climbed the steep uphill ridge, someone started throwing rocks at them from behind some trees on the higher ground. They had to retreat to avoid being hit by rocks. Colonel Shepherd decided not to confront the strangers and retreat instead. They left some blankets and canned food as a sign of peace and pushed off the island.
They searched all day elsewhere, but all the little islands they found were very small, and no survivors were found on them. It was just an hour before nightfall when they returned to Northstar Island. Colonel Shepherd reported to Pastor Swift about the rock-throwing attack and their retreat from the island. Hopefully, leaving the blankets and canned food would be interpreted as a peace overture.
After the Northstar raft left the island, several Jewish people found the blankets and canned food left by the Christian group. They brought the supplies back to their rabbi Sam Grossman. He examined the blankets and canned food and wondered why the visitors left them. Rabbi Grossman called a meeting for the Temple Beth El community to discuss the visitors that came on the raft and why they left blankets and canned food. Mrs. Ida Grossman, the rabbi’s wife, prepared some tea for the group as they assembled around a nice fire. George Mandel, a retired general of the Northern Corporate Sphere Army, spoke first and said, “I think it is a peace offering. Why else would they leave good blankets and unopened cans of food?” Ben Grossman and Elijah Ben Judah agreed with George. “What should we do, Rabbi?” asked Ben Judah. “I am not sure at this point. We may have to wait and see what God’s plan is for us and the visitors,” said Rabbi Grossman. The discussion went on for an hour, and then the rabbi ended in a prayer for guidance. The group dismissed and headed back to their shelters.
Elizabeth Swift, age 15, was Pastor James Swift’s oldest child. Elizabeth, or Liz as she was called, was always a rebel. She was a five-feet-seven-inches-tall brunette with blond highlights and a short pug nose. She refused to do what her father or mother asked her to do. She was in the prime of the teenage rebellion stage. Liz met Billy Mandor at her high school and convinced him to attend the religious retreat. Billy did not believe in God or belong to the Church of the Sunrise, but he did like Liz, and that was enough to convince him to come on the retreat.
Billy was sixteen when his parents were killed in an AGV accident over a year before. Billy never got over their absence and was an only child. Often he would sink into depression or bury himself in some technical problem. He was very independent as was Liz. They made quite a pair, always talking about how adults mistreat them. Liz’s father had no idea how serious Billy and Liz were with each other. Pastor Swift saw their relation as an infatuation and that was all. Liz felt she loves Billy but did not want Billy to take advantage of her. Billy saw Liz as a sexy little cheerleader and popular girl at school. Liz was the social one, and Billy was the loner. Spending time together in this crisis brought them closer together.
Although the ocean waters had gotten calmer over time, they were still slowly rising at the rate of ten to twenty feet a week. The Jewish community was not aware of this observation at first. It wasn’t until about five weeks after the disaster that they began to realize their shoreline was shrinking and the ocean was still rising. There was some concern in their community about the waters eventually rising high enough to cover the entire island and drowning everyone in it.
It was two months after the disaster that the Christian group began to panic because the ocean was rising steadily without any leveling off. They decided to make another attempt at sailing back to the only known island with survivors and try to negotiate in peace. They set sail again for the island, and within two hours, they had arrived on the far side of the island. This time, they set a fire and waited for the survivors of the island to come to them. The Jewish scouts warned Rabbi Grossman that the visitors had returned and smoke from a fire could be seen in the sky. Rabbi Grossman decided that he would take a delegation of ten members of men and women to approach the strangers to see what they wanted. Colonel Shepherd waited by the fire for the survivors to approach.
About an hour later, a young boy holding a stick with a white cloth on it appeared in a clearing about one hundred yards from the raft. Colonel instructed one of the men to break off a stick and put a white shirt on it and wave it back to the survivor. Seeing the white flag, Rabbi Grossman felt safer and approached Colonel Shepherd at the fire. “Hello. Hello, my name is Rabbi Sam Grossman, and these are my friends and community members. We come in peace!” Rabbi Grossman shouted. “Come ahead!” Colonel Shepherd shouted back.
In a few minutes, they were all gathered around the fire. Colonel Shepherd introduced everyone in his group, and Rabbi Grossman introduced everyone in his group. After the introductions, they all sat down around the fire. “Thank you for the blankets and canned food,” Rabbi Grossman said. “We left it as a sign of peace after your people started throwing stones at us. Forty of us have survived on another island east of here,” said Colonel Shepherd. Rabbi Grossman commented, “We have only thirty-four people that have survived the comet collision. We were visiting Lake Tahoe when we learned of the impending comet colliding with the earth. At first we did not believe it, but when we realized it was real, we grabbed all we could pack up and headed up Boreal Ridge Mountain to find safety on high ground.”
“Our story is similar,” responded Colonel Shepherd. “We were staying nearby at Lake Tahoe too and headed for Northstar Mountain for safety. We have around forty survivors in our community,” said Marcus Green. “How did you make these great rafts?” asked Rabbi Grossman. “Well, we had hundreds of empty fifty-gallon oil drums drift ashore on our island, and we salvaged them. We cut down trees and gathered all the wire and rope we could find to lash the oil drums together,” answered Colonel Shepherd. “I see,” said Rabbi Grossman, “very creative.”
Colonel Shepherd said, “We were hoping to trade with you for food or services. We have a lot of sick people and no nurse or doctor in our community. Do you have a doctor or nurse and that can help our sick people?”
“Yes, we have a nurse and a retired doctor in our community,” answered Rabbi Grossman. “Can we trade some food and/or blankets to have them come to our island to help our sick people recover?” asked Colonel Shepherd. “I cannot speak for our doctor, but I can ask him if he wants to help your group in exchange for some food and blankets. Wait here, and I will send for the doctor. Ben Judah, run back to the village and ask Dr. Greenspan to come back with his medical bag right away,” Rabbi Grossman asked. Immediately, Elijah Ben Judah got up and jogged back to the village to find Dr. Greenspan. The group talked about the terror of the comet hitting the earth and whether others had survived elsewhere in the world.
In about an hour, Dr. Greenspan arrived at the campfire with a puzzled look on his face. “What is going on, Rabbi?” he asked. “Dr. Greenspan, the visitors have a lot of people sick and have no medical attention for them. If we have you go back to their island, they will provide us with blankets and canned food for. Will you help them out?” asked the Rabbi. “Sure, we need to all be brothers after this disaster and help one another survive,” said Dr. Greenspan.
“Is it all right if you return to our island today? We will leave the blankets we brought with us and the canned food, as sign of goodwill,” said Colonel Shepherd. They all shook hands, and Dr. Greenspan said good-bye to his Jewish friends and boarded the oil drum raft. They sailed back to Northstar Island in less than two hours. The tide was behind them, and the winds were again strong.
“He restores my soul.”
When the raft returned to Northstar Island with Dr. Greenspan, everyone on the island was happy knowing that medical help had finally arrived. Pastor Swift welcomed Dr. Greenspan after Colonel Shepherd introduced him. They walked back to the village, exchanging thoughts about how both groups had survived. When they entered the village, Pastor Swift took Dr. Greenspan around to each of the shelters that had sick people in them. Fortunately, Dr. Greenspan had some penicillin and was able to use it to cure a lot of people with staph infections. Others had variations of stress-related illnesses, and he gave them vitamin B10 injections. Everyone was so grateful that they had a special dinner in Dr. Greenspan’s honor. A shelter was made available for Dr. Greenspan to spend the night.
The next morning, after having powered coffee that was a real treat, Colonel Shepherd and the crew took Dr. Greenspan back to his island. They spoke of exchanging more goods and services in the future. They also spoke of the rising water problem that had not abated yet. Colonel Shepherd told Dr. Greenspan that they had some extra oil drums available, and if volunteers from Dr. Greenspan’s community offered to help, Colonel Shepherd would assist them in building a raft or two for their community. Dr. Greenspan said he would discuss this offer with Rabbi Grossman. The waves were high that day, but the raft sailed well, and in a few hours, they had returned to the Jewish community island. As Dr. Greenspan got off the raft, he promised Colonel Shepherd that they would do all they could to cooperate and help one another survive by trading and exchanging services.
The trip back to the Northstar Island was relatively uneventful until a shark fin was sighted. The thought of sharks in the surrounding ocean sent a chill through everyone on the raft. “Steer clear of the sharks!” Colonel Shepherd yelled. All of a sudden, a swarm of shark fins surrounded the raft. Colonel Shepherd tried beating the water with a paddle to scare them away, but they kept circling closer and closer to the raft. Suddenly, one fin struck the raft and raised it up in the air. All those onboard began to beat the water with paddles and sticks to scare off the sharks. Finally, they swam off into the distance, giving everyone onboard a sigh of relief.
In the following month, the Christians treated by Dr. Greenspan all recovered. Everyone celebrated their return to good health. Pastor Swift held a daily prayer meeting, stressing the importance of being positive and leaving their fate to the Lord. He spoke often of restoring their souls and renewing their lives in thanks for surviving the comet disaster. The spiritual strength of the Christian community kept them alive from day to day.
After three months, the ocean had continually risen twenty feet each week. They had lost sixty feet of shoreline, and in six more months, they would lose 180 feet that would come dangerously close to their pasture and village. If the pasture flooded, the village would also flood. It was a fear in the back of everyone’s mind. The skies were still dark, and the humidity and heat continued.
Tim Dong Wo, a young Christian man of Korean extraction but born in Northern America by immigrants, was in his late twenties. Tim had a PhD in philosophy from Harvard University. Tim Dong Wo was also a ham radio operator as a hobby. He brought his ham radio with him when they evacuated their home on Lake Tahoe. Fortunately, his ham radio had a crank that generated electricity to charge the battery of the radio. Every day since the Christians had arrived at Northstar Mountain, Tim checked his ham radio to see if there were other survivors, or any information that would be helpful, around the world. Nothing could be heard on the ham radio but static, until late in November, a short message asking if anyone had survived was heard. Tim Dong Wo sent back a Morse code signal and got a response minutes later that there was a survivor with a ham radio at Heavenly Valley Mountain near South Lake Tahoe.
The ham operator was a woman named Sue Backus, age 30. She was a ranger for the Lake Tahoe area for the World Corporate Council. She relayed information that all of California was wiped out except a few survivors on various mountaintops. Through a series of relayed messages from ham radio operators around the world, she learned that someone reported that an eruption on the floor of the Pacific Ocean had occurred after the comet hit the Pacific Ocean. The bottom of the ocean had heaved upward, thrusting high above the ocean. The volcanoes in Hawaii had also exploded, sending lava for miles in every direction. A ham radio operator in Hawaii had survived on one of the volcanoes and was broadcasting in all directions what he had seen. He said an intercontinental bridge now spanned from the lost coast of California to the Hawaiian Islands and onto the mountains of Northern China. Sue related that many believed that the oceans would not recede for years until the atmosphere clears up and allows for more evaporation.
When Tim Dong Wo learned of this information, he immediately went to Pastor Swift and Colonel Shepherd and told them the whole story. “Pastor Swift, I have some important information. I finally contacted someone with a ham radio. A woman named Sue Backus survived on Heavenly Mountain above South Lake Tahoe City with her ham radio. She has been in contact with other ham radio operators around the world that also survived,” Tim said. “What did you learn, Tim?” Pastor Swift asked. “All of California and the entire North American coast are many leagues underwater. Also, there have been reports of a few isolated survivors on mountaintops around the world. The most survivors are in the Himalayas mountain range and the other highest mountains on earth. There are also survivors in the Northern and Southern Chinese mountains too,” Tim commented.
Pastor Swift looked worried and pondered for a moment the status of the earth after the comet collision. He was afraid of this all along when they did not see any survivors in boats or on other islands other than the Jewish community on Boreal Ridge Mountain Island. “Let me call a meeting of the community to discuss this information,” said Pastor Swift. “One more thing, Pastor. The comet hit the Pacific Ocean, and the ocean floor erupted upward to form an intercontinental bridge between North America and China. It has been reported, it may be possible to cross this new land divide, which is mostly volcanic rock and mud from the ocean floor,” said Tim. “Thank you, Tim. I will take everything under advisement,” said Pastor Swift.
An hour later, a meeting was called for all the members of the Old World Christian group to discuss the new facts that Tim learned on his ham radio. Pastor Swift told the entire group what Tim had learned about the worldwide flooding and how the West Coast and East Coast of North America were leagues under the sea. He also mentioned an intercontinental land bridge that erupted from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and spanned North America to China via the Hawaiian Island volcanoes.
They could not believe that California and the entire coast of North America were submerged. Even stranger and harder to believe was the formation of an intercontinental bridge of lava and mud. The bottom of the Pacific Ocean had pushed upward and formed a landmass higher than the ocean waters all the way to China from the North American continent. This information was hard to believe. Many people were saddened and shocked as to the magnitude of the comet collision. The warmer weather was discussed, and many people had theories, but no one knew what had really caused the increase in the temperatures.
“Pastor Swift, I noticed that we have not had any winter weather, especially when we are eight thousand feet above sea level,” asked Mary Moon. Mary was a divorcée in her late thirties with no children. She had reddish hair in a short cut and had strong Irish features with freckles and pale white skin. “Mary, you bring up a good point. Colonel Swift and I have discussed the climate change, and we feel this is all from the comet collision causing an immense vaporization that now blocks our atmosphere,” Pastor Swift responded. Bill Manor, a sixteen-year-old boy who was emancipated from his parents after they died in an AGV crash, raised his hand to ask another question. “Pastor, what is our long-range plan, and what are we going to do if the ocean rises to the height of our village?” Bill asked. Colonel Swift answered, “Well, Bill, that is a major concern of ours right now. If the ocean continues to rise, we may have to move to another higher mountain. As for a long-range plan, we do not have one yet.”
“Thank you, Colonel,” said Billy. Pastor Swift’s daughter, Elizabeth Swift, invited Billy to the spiritual retreat.
There was a lot of discussion in the group after Bill’s question, and many people were uneasy as to the future. A group vote was taken to get a group consensus on what to do if the ocean waters rose to the height of the village. “How many in favor of finding another island if the waters rise too high?” asked Pastor Swift. Everyone’s hands went up. “Well then, it is unanimous, and the motion is carried,” Pastor Swift replied.
Colonel Shepherd spoke up next. “I think it wise to include the Jewish group on the other island. Let’s include them in our plans or at least make them an offer to combine our resources and work together as one group of survivors,” he said. Many in the group agreed. Mary Moon asked to be allowed to speak. “Friends, I agree with the colonel. We are going to need everyone and every resource we can find to survive. The Jewish group has a doctor and a nurse and several professional people that can be a real asset to our group, if we combine resources and talents. We should approach them with the idea and set up a meeting with their leaders and our leaders,” Mary said. Mary was a mechanical engineer, divorced, no children, and age 35. She was a five-feet-eight-inches-tall blonde with long hair to her shoulders.
“I agree,” said Pastor Swift. “I will ask the colonel to take another raft trip over to their island and make a proposal for a meeting of our leaders and theirs about our ultimate survival and pooling of resources and talents.”
The average weather was in the high nineties all the time with some cooling off at night to the seventies. The unusual weather for California in the winter months was making daily chores difficult. Everyone had to be careful not to dehydrate in the heat. The final decisions were made in the meeting, but everyone decided to meet the next day. They wanted to make some recommendations as to what they should do to survive with the rising ocean still a threat, and food supply, fresh water supply, and the overall safety of the group a problem too.
Food was in shorter supply and fresh water too by the end of November. December would soon be upon them, and Christmas was coming. It was hard to think about Christian holidays and celebrations when survival was the major consideration. The next day, after the meeting of the Christian group, Colonel Shepherd set sail with his usual crew of nine men to the island where the Jewish group was living to set up a meeting between both groups’ leaders to discuss combining resources and talents in order to survive. When they arrived at the island, they were greeted cheerfully instead of stones being thrown. Rabbi Grossman came to talk with Colonel Shepherd, and they discussed having a meeting with the leaders of both groups about long-range survival. “Colonel Shepherd, as I understand it, you have determined via a ham radio operator that only a few have survived the comet disaster on mountaintops above six thousand feet above sea level.”
“That is correct, Rabbi. In addition, we have been informed that an eruption of the Pacific Ocean floor from the comet impact has caused volcanoes to erupt and the floor of the ocean to explode into a series of mountains of lava. A transcontinental land bridge now connects North America and the Asian continent. Ham operators around the world that survived have relayed this information from various high points around the world. We have reason to believe that this information is true. That means, there are few survivors in our region, and we may well be alone except for the ham operator trapped on Heavenly Valley Mountain, south of here by about ten miles,” said Colonel Shepherd.
Rabbi Grossman looked very concerned. He turned to General Mandel and Betty Samson who were sitting next to him. “What do you think, my friends?” the rabbi asked. Betty Samson was a widow and a pharmacist. She was a short but athletic woman in her early forties. Betty responded by saying, “It seems obvious that in terms of long-term survival, our groups would do better if we cooperated and combined our resources. If the ocean keeps rising, both of our groups will have to leave their islands for higher ground. Perhaps, if it were possible to cross the intercontinental bridge landmass, then they could all seek refuge in the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world.”
“As crazy as that idea is about traveling to higher ground, the Himalayas, it might be a sound long-range plan if we had enough food and provisions to make the long journey,” commented Elijah Ben Judah who was a cantor from the Jewish community. They talked for a few hours, and Rabbi Grossman agreed to meet with the leaders of the Christian Community on Northstar Mountain in two days. Colonel Shepherd would bring back two rafts to sail the Jewish leaders back to the Christian village on Northstar Mountain.
Two days later, Colonel Shepherd set sail with two rafts, and only two men on each raft to make room for the leaders of the Jewish group. After two hours of sailing, they arrived at the Jewish settlement. Retired general Mandel, Betty Samson, Benjamin Gross, Elijah Ben Judah, and Rabbi Grossman chose to go to Northstar Mountain for the meeting of the two group leaders. “Welcome, Rabbi and General Mandel. Sailing will be relatively smooth today since the winds are mild and the tide is going in our direction,” commented Colonel Shepherd.
Several people went on each of the two rafts so as not to overcrowd one raft. In a matter of twenty minutes, they were pushing off and sailing back to Northstar Mountain. Like clockwork, they arrived in less than two hours at the Christian community island on Northstar Mountain. It was a short walk uphill to the pasture where the Christian community of lean-tos was located. Pastor Swift greeted them upon entering the village. “Would you like some tea, Rabbi, and would your friends also like some tea? We have birch bark tea from the local trees that is almost as good as real black tea.”
“Thank you, Pastor, we would enjoy having tea as we sit down to talk,” said Rabbi Grossman. The Jewish leaders were impressed of how well organized the Christian group was with lean-to shelters built in a circle near the green pasture.
The cups of tea were being passed around by Pastor Swift’s wife, Judy, as everyone sat down to discuss survival. The first topic of discussion was the steady increase in the height of the ocean. “Rabbi, I want you to know that our community has decided that if our village becomes flooded or is near flooding, we intend to set sail with our rafts to high ground. We want you to know since your village is lower in altitude that we will support your group combining with our group in search of higher ground since your village will probably flood before our village does. We are at eight thousand feet above sea level, and we estimate that your mountaintop is much lower than our mountain by at least five hundred to one thousand feet. We cannot be sure since we do not have any technical equipment to measure the altitude.”
“Thank you, Pastor Swift, your offer is most generous. You have helped us in the past in building oil drum rafts, and with the completion of a few more, we should be able to sail our community of thirty-five survivors to higher ground. Our leaders have met also, and we believe the same thing. That if the Lord allows the oceans to rise above our village, then we must sail to higher ground or drown,” Rabbi Grossman said.
“Rabbi, we have a plan that might work. We thought it wise to sail south to rescue the ham operator on Heavenly Mountain, and then west to find other higher mountains with vegetation. We might even consider sailing to the intercontinental bridge landmass and try to make it to the Asian continent and a higher and safer mountain range like the Himalayas. Certainly, the Taihang Mountains in Northern China might be a good refuge before we travel down the mountain range to the Himalayas,” Pastor Swift commented. “I see,” said Rabbi Grossman, “that would be a long journey, to say the least. Hopefully, God will show us a mountain where we can survive in North America.”
Colonel Shepherd commented, “Rabbi, we have seen the ocean waters rise twenty feet or more each week. We have put stakes at the ocean’s edge, and after a week, they were underwater. It is our prediction that in six months, we would lose 480 feet of land with the steady rise of the ocean. We prayed God would stop the ocean from rising, but still, the waters rise. Four hundred eighty feet of land would put the ocean at the point where it would flood our pasture and eventually our village. We must prepare in advance, and in addition, we are running out of food. We have tried unsuccessfully to catch fish, but we are continuing to keep trying. We are not sure if our fresh water supply will last six months unless we get more rain. It has rained only a few times, and the rainwater was black. We had to filter it or boil it to drink it.”
“I agree, Colonel,” said Rabbi Grossman. “Our situation is bad for both of our communities. I will return to our community, and we will discuss your proposals in-depth. And if the ocean keeps rising, it might be God’s message to sail on to higher ground. You have done a great job of building shelters on your island.”
Once their meeting was finished, Colonel Swift escorted the rabbi and his leaders back down the mountain to the rafts, and they sailed back to the mountain island where the Jewish community was living.
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
It was time to take a new path for survival, thought Pastor Swift. Maybe they could combine forces and join with their Jewish neighbors to a combined effort to survive long-range? A week after the meeting with the Jewish and the Christian leaders, Rabbi Grossman sent a small group of five men back to Northstar Mountain to tell Pastor Swift that they had accepted his offer to combine resources and help one another if they were forced to sail to higher ground.
One of the mothers in the Christian group took some of the seeds from a few rotten tomatoes and planted them in the ground in the pasture near the village to see if they would grow. She watered the seeds every day, and with the increased heat and limited sunlight, they grew into healthy tomato plants in less than two months. There was some hope for growing vegetables in the future. The question was, how long would they be there? And would there be enough time to plant vegetables?
December had come and gone very quickly. Christmas was nothing more than a religious ceremony and no one had presents to give to one another. Instead, they prayed and thanked God that they had survived the great flood. For the Jewish group, they celebrated Hanukkah with prayers and services, but no presents were exchanged, as had been the tradition.
January was upon them, and the weather never changed. It remained hot and humid every day. It was the end of February when the Christian group noticed the ocean was rising faster than predicted. The threat of their village being flooded was becoming a reality that they must deal with. Some vegetables like tomatoes had grown in the past few months, but there was not enough time to plant long-term crops. Scavenging every day at the island shore for food floating by became a necessity. Many valuable supplies floating in the ocean tides were a major resource.
Elijah Ben Judah was a thirty-year-old cantor for the Jewish community. He sang at all the Jewish services. He was a man of slight build, five feet eight inches tall, thick long dark, chestnut-colored hair, and a full beard. His large nose was the most distinguishing feature on his face, causing his eyes to look close together. Elijah was engaged to a beautiful Jewish woman called Sarah Shirah. Sarah had beautiful long brunette hair, green eyes, and was twenty-nine years old. Sarah was a social worker for the World Corporate Forum, a charitable organization. Ben Judah had a vision one night. He went to Rabbi Grossman the next day to share this dream. “Rabbi, I am not a man of visions, however, last night, I had a most unusual dream or vision. I dreamed that the islands that both Christians were on and our island were underwater. We were sailing west, looking for other mountains to settle on. I saw a man of Chinese features with a strange-looking hat on his head. He held his arms outstretched. Then the dream faded,” Ben Judah said.
Rabbi Grossman thought about what Ben Judah said, and then he whispered softly, “Do not tell anyone else about your dream. It will only make them worry. Let us see if the Lord is trying to speak through you in the future. If you have any more visions or dreams, Ben Judah, come directly to me and no one else. Do you understand, Ben Judah?”
“Yes, Rabbi, I understand it sounds like I am going crazy. I will keep our conversation a secret. Shalom, Rabbi,” said Ben Judah. What troubled Rabbi Grossman was, were they doing God’s will and being led in the path of righteousness?
Pastor Swift worried about the same thing the Rabbi was worrying about. Were they, as Christians, doing God’s will and following in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake? It occurred to Pastor Swift that the verse in the 23rd Psalm seemed most appropriate at this time in their lives: Staying on the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. In a sermon that Sunday, Pastor Swift asked the congregation to think about whether God had a plan and whether he was leading them “in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake.” He quoted the verse from the 23rd Psalm.
On the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) that same weekend, Rabbi Grossman also mentioned the 23rd Psalm of David. He pondered the same question of following “in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Perhaps God was trying to show both survivor groups that he had not forsaken them. Just as God had spared Jonah from the whale in the Old Testament and Noah from the great flood, perhaps he was doing the same with these two religious communities. They were approaching six months of survival after the comet collision. The skies were finally beginning to clear, but the heat remained and the humidity too. The oceans had kept rising as predicted, and it was inevitable that both communities would have to sail for high ground soon. Adel Mandel, wife of General Mandel, and Margaret Grossman, daughter of Rabbi Grossman in the Jewish community, made a fishing net that they used between two rafts to catch fish.
On their first attempt, they caught hundreds of fish by dragging the net between the two rafts and sailing back and forth a few hundred yards off their island shore. The Christian community tried fishhooks and spears with limited success. The Jewish community sent some extra fish to the Christian community and explained that a fishing net between two rafts worked very well. So the Christians began to weave a fishing net they could use to catch fish. It took almost a week to complete the fishing net made from twine, cloth, and wire they salvaged from junk that washed ashore. Likewise, when they dragged the fishing net between two rafts back and forth, they caught hundreds of large and small fish. It was truly a bounty from God and food that they needed badly to survive.
Finally, there was enough extra fish to smoke to prevent it from rotting. The rest of the fish were dried in the sun. There was very little salt to preserve the fish, so they used local herbs that they found in the pasture near their village. Pastor Swift said to his wife, Judy, “Judy, take charge of drying the fish so that we can have food that will not spoil.”
“Sure, I will attend to it,” said Judy. Elizabeth Swift, her fifteen-year-old daughter, and Rob Swift, her ten-year-old son, offered to help dry fish too. The majority of the Christian community was busy drying fish to preserve it for the winter. Each fish was filleted and then laid on rocks or strung from a line in the direct sunlight. Before night, all the fish had to be collected and stored to prevent any wild animals from eating the fish. Xiaolin and Marcus Green were busy monitoring the ham radio. “Xiaolin, have you heard anything on the ham radio today?” Marcus asked. “No, there is no chatter today at all,” said Xiaolin. “OK, I am going to check with Judy, the ham operator at Heavenly Valley Mountain, and see what she has heard from other ham radio operators around the world,” Marcus said. Billy Mandor, the sixteen-year-old boy, was busy trying to make a crossbow out of some saplings he had cut down. He had found some wire and string that he was using to help make the crossbow for hunting for food.
The month of March was almost over, and seven months had gone by already. April was a week away. The leaders of the Jewish and the Christian communities met again and made plans to evacuate their villages before the ocean waves flooded them. The plan was to leave in a few weeks when everything was packed up and when there were enough rafts to hold all the people and supplies. Cloth covers had to be made to provide shade so everyone on the rafts do not dehydrate when they are sailing. The ham radio operator Susan was still sending signals from Heavenly Valley Mountain. The plan was to sail south and rescue her and then head west to find higher ground.
One warm evening, Liz Swift met Billy Mandor down by the island shore. Her father did not know she was gone. She had secretly slipped away while her father was talking with parishioners from the church. Liz felt she was in love with Billy. Billy was very attracted to Liz, but he knew her father, Pastor Swift, would never approve. At age 16, Billy’s world revolved around having sex with Liz and having plenty to eat. He could not see into the future nor could he plan where his life would take him. As they lay on the sandy banks of the island, they both looked up at the stars. “How romantic this is,” Liz commented. Billy agreed as he slipped his hand under Liz’s shirt. Liz began to feel warm all over as Billy rubbed her tiny breasts. “Oops, I think that is enough, Billy,” Liz said. “I am not ready to climb into bed with you yet.” Billy laughed and took his roaming hand back. After about an hour of kissing and hugging, they got up and returned to the camp.
Several weeks later, in the middle of April, came the first hurricane storm they had seen since the comet collision with earth. Winds of up to one hundred miles per hour hit the islands, and the waves rose over fifty feet over the shorelines of the remaining islands. Both communities were surprised by the sudden and deadly storm. They quickly pulled the rafts up on higher ground and secured them with ropes to surrounding trees. Everyone hid in their shelters that day as rain poured down heavily and winds buffeted the islands, causing trees to drop branches and the ocean to wash up high on each of the islands. The storm lasted two days, and afterward, there was a lot of damage to the shelters, and many items not tied down had been blown away by the winds.
It was during this storm that Rabbi Sam Grossman and his wife, Ida, asked their children and wives or girlfriends to have a family meeting. Samuel Grossman Jr., son of the rabbi, age 18, was there and Rebecca Silverstein, his girlfriend, age 18. Margaret Grossman, age 22, was there with her boyfriend, Richard Ross, age 25. Ben Grossman, age 28, the oldest son of the rabbi, was there with his wife, Jody, age 28. “I have asked that we all meet to discuss our future and family plans. Truly, our future is in God’s hands, and I personally do not know whether we will survive or not,” said the rabbi. “I want to state, for the record, that I expect everyone to support one another in these troubled times. Pray for our deliverance.”
Colonel Shepherd worried about being on the ocean and getting hit by a storm on their meager rafts. The rafts were almost at water level, and any high waves would wash over the entire raft, making sailing very dangerous. After the storm, the ocean had risen so high that it threatened to flood both the Jewish settlement and the Northstar Mountain settlement. The preparations had been ongoing for months in getting ready to set sail for higher ground and safety. On April 1, 5531, the Christians set sail to join with the Jewish rafts. The Christians had completed six rafts in all, with six to seven people onboard and all their supplies. The Jewish group was a little smaller with only thirty-five people, and they built four fifty-gallon oil drum rafts to sail their people to high ground.
The plan was to sail due south and save the stranded ham radio operator Sue Backus at Heavenly Valley Mountain. The winds were strong that day at about fifteen knots. The rafts moved swiftly across the ocean toward Heavenly Valley. Marcus Green kept charge of the self-charging ham radio that the Christian group had brought with them. He kept up communication with Susan Backus, the ham operator at Heavenly Valley. Marcus told her they were coming to get her in a few hours and to pack her stuff and ham radio, and be ready at the water’s edge as they arrived from the north.
The voyage only took a little over two hours with the rafts sailing downwind with the wind at their backs. The ocean was rising for high tide, and that helped speed up the rafts. They approached a mountain sticking out in the middle of the ocean that they recognized as Heavenly Valley Mountain. On the shore was a woman waving a red scarf. As they approach the island, Colonel Shepherd signaled the other rafts to remain offshore as he guided his raft into the shore. “Slack the sail,” Colonel Shepherd called out to his crew. “Steady as she goes, now drop the sail completely and prepare the push-off sticks.” The raft slowed as they approached the island. “Billy, signal the other rafts to remain offshore until we pick up Susan, and then we will continue to sail westward,” Colonel Shepherd called out.
As soon as they brought the raft onto the shore, Susan, the ham radio operator, was standing there, waving a red scarf. She shouted, “Oh, thank God!”
“Hop aboard!” Colonel Shepherd called out. “Hi there, I am Susan! Here is my knapsack and ham radio. Be careful not to drop it. I put some plastic around it to keep it dry!” Susan yelled back. “OK, she’s aboard, push off and back to sailing!” yelled Colonel Shepherd. Marcus Green introduced himself to Susan. “Hi, I am the guy you have been talking to, and my name is Mark or Marcus Green. Welcome aboard, Susan,” Marcus said. “Boy, am I glad that someone else is alive. I hated living alone in an old ski hut without anyone to talk to,” Susan commented. “You’re OK now,” said Marcus. “Where are we going?” asked Susan. “Well, we are sailing due west in search of high ground and safety. Eventually, if we cannot find any suitable mountain islands that are high enough, we may continue to where the West Coast of California used to be. We will be looking for the intercontinental landmass that you heard of from other ham radio operators,” Marcus stated.
The waves were getting high that day as the rafts turned slightly into the wind and headed due west, looking for other islands. With the naked eye, nothing could be seen that day after they picked up Susan. All the rafts were sailing in a cluster with the Jewish rafts off to the right and the Christian rafts on the left. The rafts seemed to be taking the waves fairly well, and so far, navigation was working fairly well. It was difficult to sail in a straight line, however, because of the crosswinds over the bow of the rafts. Five hours went by and still no sight of land. Garbage was floating everywhere, and they had to avoid a lot of dead and decaying bodies in the water.
About eight hours out on the ocean, a small island was sighted off to the left. Colonel Shepherd signaled to the other rafts to steer toward the small island on the horizon. “Head toward that island,” Colonel Shepherd called out to Tim Dong Wo, who was at the tiller steering the raft. “OK, Colonel, I am turning the raft toward the island,” Tim responded. There was an air of excitement on the raft, for this was the only island they had spotted since they left Heavenly Valley Mountain.
The island must have been five miles or more away, and it took them almost an hour to reach the island. As they reached the island, dead bodies were rotting everywhere, and they were stuck in the trees and weeds around the shore of the island. They had to push the bodies out of the way with sticks. The approach to the island was full of rocks and treetops, so they had to cautiously approach the island’s shoreline. Once all the rafts landed on the island shoreline, they tied off their rafts and assembled on land to form a plan. General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd took charge and set up search parties to search the island for any survivors and a flat safe place for them to stay for the night. “Let us ask Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift to bless us with a prayer for our safe delivery to this island,” Colonel Shepherd asked. “Lord, bless our community and watch over us and keep us safe,” Rabbi Grossman prayed. “Amen,” everyone responded.
Meanwhile, others were delegated by General Mandel to unload the tents and food. The island was sparsely covered with pine trees and was very rocky. It must have been the top of a very high mountain, jutting out of the water. This portion of the mountain was the part just above the tree line that explained why there were so many boulders and rocks. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel assigned work groups and patrols to find level ground farther up the mountain.
After an hour, most of the patrols returned. There was a lake in the middle of the island, from melted snows probably, and it was just over the ridge. Fresh water was something they needed, so the decision was to hike over the ridge, camp near the lake, and refresh their water supply. All seventy people began the steep climb up the mountain island toward the ridge that hid the view of the lake in the middle of the island. “Wow, a lake in the middle of the island!” exclaimed Billy Mandor. Mary Moon and Marcus Green were surprised there was a lake also. “The snow probably melted from the top of the mountain causing the natural lake,” Mary speculated.
As everyone climbed up over the ridge of the mountain, a lake came into view, looking like a mirror; it was so beautiful. There was no evidence of any human survivors on the island, according to the patrols that searched the island. After a half hour climb, everyone descended into the canyon that surrounded the lake. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel led the group and assigned tasks to everyone in the group when they arrived at the lake.
“We need to collect fresh water to use and bring with us on the rafts,” Colonel Shepherd commanded. General Mandel instructed some of his community to get busy preparing a meal for everyone for the evening. They would use the dried fish and some greens to create a soup for everyone. Judy Swift and her two children, Elizabeth and Rob, collected seaweeds lying on the shore.
The water seemed to be fresh and pure, so they loaded up their containers with all the water they could carry. There weren’t enough trees to create shelters, so the community slept under the stars the first night. Marcus and Judy were monitoring the ham radio, and they received several messages from a few survivors on other mountaintops on Whiteface Mountain in New York State, the Andes mountains in South America, and the Himalayas in Tibet. Again, they had a confirmed report about the intercontinental landmass connecting the North American continent with Northern China. Marcus reported these messages to Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel.
Feeding seventy people with soup is no easy task, but the community was in good spirits and still positive about their future survival. Many of the Jewish community got to know the members of the Christian community as they sat around the fires and talked about the old days before the comet collision.
That night, Ben Judah had another vision that he shared with Rabbi Grossman the following morning. “Rabbi, I had another dream,” said Ben Judah. “What was it about this time, Ben Judah?” Rabbi Grossman asked. “I dreamed that we walked across the entire Pacific Ocean on a landmass that connected North America with the Asian continent,” he replied. “So you too believe there is a continental bridge to Asia,” Rabbi Grossman commented. “Yes, I truly believe that this reported landmass actually exists,” Ben Judah responded. “I am going to share your visions with Pastor Swift this time rather than keep it a secret,” said Rabbi Grossman.
An hour later, Rabbi Grossman approached Pastor Swift who was busy taking inventory of the remaining food. “Good morning, Pastor Swift,” Rabbi Grossman greeted Pastor Swift. “Good morning to you, Rabbi,” responded Pastor Swift. “We need to talk, Pastor,” Rabbi Grossman responded. “Sure, sit down and let’s talk,” said Pastor Swift.
“Pastor Swift, what I am going to share with you is a sensitive secret. You probably met Elijah Ben Judah, my cantor. He has been having visions, and at first, I doubted his newfound spiritual visions, but now, he has had some visions again. So far, they have become true, and that is very strange,” said Rabbi Grossman. “What do you make of the visions?” asked Pastor Swift. “I don’t know, Jim, but I am concerned and confused at the same time. I mentioned this to you because he may be a visionary, and he may be just confused. I do not want to cause problems spiritually between our two communities, so I am keeping this a secret for know, unless Ben Judah has more visions, and they appear to come true,” said Rabbi Grossman.
“I understand. I appreciate your sensitivity to this issue. We will keep this secret for now, but keep me informed if Ben Judah has any more visions,” Pastor Swift commented. “Yes, I will keep you informed. Excuse me now, I have to return to my people,” Rabbi Grossman responded.
The two communities had a meeting on the second night they were on the island to decide what to do about the future. The island they found was too small to support their community, and other than the lake, it had very few natural resources. Much community members suggested they return to sailing west to find better higher ground. Colonel Shepherd, General Mandel, Rabbi Grossman, and Pastor Swift took the recommendations into consideration. It seemed inevitable that they would eventually have to return to sailing west to find higher ground or the intercontinental land bridge to the Asian continent.
After much discussion, the communities voted to return to the sea and sail west to try to find higher ground or the intercontinental land bridge the ham radio operators say existed. Travel to higher ground in Asia or the Himalayas seemed to be the safest long-term resolution. The group set sail on the fourth day from the little island and sailed west.
Life on a crowded raft gives new meaning to survival. Ocean waves continually washed over every part of the rafts. Nothing was dry including those on the raft. In addition, everyone had to hold on to something solid so as not to be thrown in the ocean when the raft leaned to one side or another. Most of the people on the rafts had never sailed in a boat their entire lives, let alone sail on a raft. You could see the fear in everyone’s eyes as the raft rolled around the ocean waves. Pastor Swift tried to focus by praying for their safety. Everyone was sick with motion sickness, and it was impossible to not get stressed out on a vast ocean with any land in sight.
Rob Swift thought it was a grand adventure because he was only ten years old. “Hey, Dads, look at the wave, wow! Maybe we will see some whales!” Rob shouted with joy. “I hope not,” his father replied. “I don’t see anything yet,” Billy Mandor commented. He was using a 7× pair of binoculars that had a good magnification level. The ocean look vast, empty, and it seemed to stretch forever. Judy Swift, Pastor Swift’s wife, slept most of the time because she had motion sickness and was sick to her stomach from the rolling of the raft. When they had to sail at night, the wind usually let up, and someone had to stay up most of the night to steer the rudder. Sailing in a straight line even by the Northstar was a most difficult task. As amateur sailors, they did their best, and for all they knew, they could have been sailing in circles for days. It was in God’s hands now to deliver them from the seas.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”
After two weeks on the ocean, their future salvation was beginning to look bleak. Many of the community members got seasick from being tossed around on the rafts. The rafts were unprotected against the elements of heat, wind, and ocean waves, and many of the community were getting dehydrated and sick. “Colonel Shepherd, how long are we going to keep sailing?” complained Steven Moss. Steven was the Christian community standard complainer. “Patience, Steven, we have to keep sailing until we find land,” Colonel Shepherd responded.
During the second week of the sea voyage, Ben Judah had another vision that he shared with both Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift. Both of the religious leaders were on the same raft with Ben Judah. His vision was that they had sighted land, and the land was muddy and a black volcanic rock. Pastor Swift and Rabbi Grossman did not believe Ben Judah, but they decided to reserve judgment and wait and see if his vision was correct.
At the end of the first two weeks of the sea voyage, all hope seemed to vanish in many community members’ minds. The food supplies were very low, as well as fresh water. A landmass was finally spotted rising out of the ocean in the distance. It was, in fact, the intercontinental bridge that had erupted from the ocean bottom. The ham radio operators had been correct after all, and so, the vision of Ben Judah became another reality.
Upon reaching the intercontinental bridge, the Judeo-Christian group was surprised that this new landmass rose up in the air like a series of small mountains of volcanic rock and dried mud. It would not be easy to transverse this land, and the ocean seas were too strong to safely sail the oil drum rafts all the way to China. A decision had to be made by the combined communities, whether this was the wisest decision to seek higher ground in the Himalayas or stay in North America. They could just sail around and see if any of the mountaintops in North America had survived above the rising ocean waves. The problem was, they had no real navigation instruments except a small compass.
It was high tide when they put into shore, and the waves were splashing on the shore with a lot of force. It was difficult landing the rafts safely. “Everyone, hold on. This could be a dangerous landing!” shouted Colonel Shepherd to his raft and the other rafts alongside. Colonel Shepherd’s raft came in on the first big wave and dropped on the shore with a sudden bang. The other rafts came immediately behind his raft on the next large set of waves. Fortunately, only a few members were scratched from being thrown around on the landing.
When the rafts were secured on the shore of this volcanic rock-and-mud landmass, several patrols were sent out to investigate how safe the intercontinental landmass actually was.
The drying mud from the bottom of the ocean was a problem to walk on since it cracked, and anyone walking on it fell through and had to be pulled out of the mud. The volcanic rock was sharp and brittle to walk on and made walking a slow process. The alternative was to sail all the way to the volcanoes of Hawaii using the rafts. It was decided by the Judeo-Christian group that the high seas would be too dangerous for them to try. No one in the entire group was a seasoned sailor or seaman, and there was a significant fear of sailing on the high seas for a lengthy period of time with limited food and water supplies for seventy people.
Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift both prayed for guidance as to whether it was safe to try and cross this intercontinental landmass. As far as they could see, the intercontinental bridge stretched into the distance and over the horizon. There were no trees on the landmass but plenty of seaweeds that had dried in the sun. Many members of the communities helped to collect the nutritious seaweed that was a great food source of zinc.
Elijah Ben Judah had another vision that night when he was sleeping. He saw a huge animal lying dead on the shoreline, and everyone was benefiting from its meat. Food was bountiful once again. The following morning, Ben Judah shared his vision with Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift, who were beginning to believe Ben Judah.
General Mandel suggested that both groups take two rafts and drag their fishing nets to capture some more fish for their food supply while the community considered their future. As if a gift from God, a large sperm whale was beached on the volcanic rocks of the intercontinental landmass that week. When Betty Samson, a Jewish widow of forty years of age, discovered the whale while out walking, she immediately ran back to the community settlement to tell everyone about the beached whale. “Rabbi, Rabbi, I found a beached whale, come and see!” Betty exclaimed. Rabbi Grossman and Betty walked down to the ocean shore to the place where Betty found the beached whale in a small cove. “It seems the whale hasn’t been dead long,” said Rabbi Grossman. “This is truly a gift from God, and amazingly, Ben Judah saw it in a vision! Now I am really impressed with Ben Judah’s visions,” said Rabbi Grossman.
General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd called a community meeting to discuss how to use the whale for food and oil to burn for lighting and cooking. So everyone was provided with a knife or sharp instrument, and they all followed Betty Samson to the place where she found the beached whale. Colonel Shepherd tried to keep the process of cutting up the whale blubber and fat organized, but it was an immense job, cutting through the whale’s skin and lopping off chunks of whale meat to bring back to the camp.
“Boy, this is disgusting!” exclaimed Billy Mandor. Marcus Green was next to Bill, cutting away the whale skin with great difficulty. “My knife is as dull as a butter knife,” Marcus said. “Colonel Shepherd, do you have a sharper knife than this butter knife?” Marcus called out. “Let me look around and see if I can find you a sharper knife,” Colonel Shepherd said.
Xiaolin and Ida Grossman were working together, cutting blubber and putting it on a wood platform that they would use to carry the blubber back to the raft area. “Ida, have you ever eaten whale meat?” Xiaolin asked Ida Grossman. “No, sounds disgusting to me,” Ida responded. “It is a delicacy in Japanese culture as a gift when a couple is getting married. I am Chinese, by heritage, but my Chinese parents were citizens of the North American Corporate Order, and I was born in North America,” Xiaolin explained to Ida.
Betty Samson and General Mandel were working together as a team with Mrs. Grossman’s children, Samuel and Saul. “I imagine when you cook this fat down, you get a lot of good burning oil,” General Mandel commented to Betty. Betty had a scarf over her mouth and nose to prevent her from breathing in the foul-smelling whale meat.
Tim Dong Wo was working with Ida Grossman and Sam Grossman’s children Samuel Grossman and his girlfriend, Rebecca Silverstein, Saul Grossman, Margaret Grossman, and her fiancé, Richard Ross, and Ben Grossman, eldest son of the rabbi and his wife, Jody Grossman, in cutting the whale blubber. It was a team effort for everyone in the group of seventy adults and children who were working diligently on cutting up the whale blubber. Steven Moss was the only member of the community not participating. He claimed it was too disgusting for him to cut whale blubber. Colonel Shepherd simply ignored Steven’s complaints. Colonel Shepherd pointed out in amazement that no one had eaten whale meat in centuries, and no one had boiled down whale blubber for oil since the 1800s in New England.
Back at the camp, the blubber was being boiled down to oil in a slow, slow process because they did not have big enough pots to handle all the whale blubber. This was not New England in the 1800s. The community was totally unprepared to deal with the ultimate size of a full-grown whale. There was some success, however, as some of the blubber melted down into whale oil that could be used to burn as a light source like they did in the 1800s long, long ago. Wood was hard to find since there were no trees on the continental bridge. Only driftwood was available, and many of the community had to drag driftwood logs back to the camp all day long to keep the fires going to melt the whale blubber down to oil.
The whole process took two weeks to accomplish. The bones and body parts were very helpful in making tools and weapons. The bones could be sharpened into spear tips, and the small bones could be used to make fishhooks. The blubber was boiled down to oil that was stored in every container they could find. This valuable oil could be used as a light source by using a wick like they did centuries before in the 1800s. Nothing was wasted on the whale, and when they were done, little was left behind after weeks of cutting and sawing the huge whale into pieces.
“Make sure we use those rib bones wisely in making spearheads and for construction of shelters!” General Mandel shouted out to many of the community members who were sawing the bones off the carcass of the whale’s ribs. Tim Dong Wu responded by saying, “We have stripped the rib bones and are letting them dry in the sun on the volcanic rock, sir.” “Good, keep up the work,” General Mandel commented.
The whale blubber cutting and sawing of bones consumed the entire group of seventy for several weeks. The issue of the future was put on hold because everyone was exhausted at night and not in the mood to talk about the future and making decisions about their survival. Finally, when the whale project was finished, several fishing trips with nets were scheduled to gather in more fish to eat and dry out for the future. Four rafts left the shore of the landmass with fishing nets. They worked in teams of two rafts each, dropping the nets and dragging them through the water to catch all the fish they could. After a full day of fishing, the rafts returned to shore loaded with fish of all kinds. Some dolphins were caught but released. That night, they would all celebrate as they smoked and broiled the fresh fish they caught. The women had prepared the seaweed by cleaning it and boiling it as a vegetable like the Japanese do in their culture.
While the community sat around the fires that night, General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd talked together about their survival and the best move for the future. If they had to stay in the North American mountain area, the problem was navigation. No one knew where the high mountains were in Washington State or even the Sierra Nevada. If they had to travel overland on the intercontinental bridge, the going would be slow because of the mudflats and hard volcanic rock. They did not want to abandon their rafts, nor did they want to risk venturing on the high seas the long distance from the North American continent to the Asian continent. General Mandel had an idea for a compromise, and that was keeping the rafts but sailing them or pulling them along the coast of the intercontinental landmass with a small crew of two on each raft. That way, they could continue to fish when they needed to do so and also keep the rafts, in case some islands and not a continuous mountainous landmass connected the intercontinental landmass. Getting to the Himalayas would take years, and there were no guarantees that some would die on the way or become terminally sick. The alternative was to stay in the North American continent and continue to search for isolated mountaintops that could sustain a group of seventy people with fresh water and food.
“Well, Colonel, what do you think about our situation? “General Mandel asked. “It certainly is complicated, General, and we have not had any recent transmissions with surviving ham radio operators recently,” Colonel Shepherd explained. “As I see it, Colonel, we have to look for a long-range solution that will protect our community and allow it to survive generations after we pass on,” General Mandel reflected. “It is obvious we cannot live here because there is no vegetation other than seaweed. We have not had red meat in weeks. Fish is good but a limited balanced diet for all the people in our community. We need to find a place that offers vegetables or grains to grow and eat. We need to find shelter from the elements, especially as the earth’s climate has become so hot and humid now,” Colonel Shepherd responded. General Mandel went on to say, “I have asked our rabbi to pray on a solution, and also Pastor Swift. Perhaps God has a plan for us? We must continue to believe that God is with us always and that we will not fear the unknown, evil, and death.”
“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
What the group needed now were weapons for protection against other humans and beasts. Colonel Shepherd and retired general Mandel asked for volunteers to help make fishhooks, spears, bows, and arrows to help kill some fish to help with the dwindling food supply. They could not survive on the remaining food they had, and they needed a method for gathering food other than dragging the fishnets between two rafts. Most of the fish seemed to be large, like sharks and tuna, but no one dared to enter the ocean waters since the shoreline dropped off quickly to a very deep bottom at the edge of the intercontinental landmass.
The only success they had so far was in using fishnets dragged between two rafts. The larger fish were too big to pull in by net as evidenced by an incident where a shark was caught in the net, and the men on the raft were unable to pull the net in with the shark in it. One person by the name of Stan Goldblatt was helping pull the shark caught in the net when he slipped off the raft. Everyone on the raft tried to save him, but the shark bit his leg off with one bite, and in minutes, the water was completely red. The men on the raft had to drop part of the net and raise the sail to get away from the shark. If they had only brought some spears onboard the raft, these might have helped. In the middle of the panic on the raft, the shark ate through the net in the end and escaped, and Stan Goldblatt was never seen again. This was the first time someone had been killed at sea.
A Jewish funeral was held that evening as friends of Stan Goldblatt wailed over his death. Rabbi Grossman held the short service to remember Stan. It was a sad moment for the Jewish community. Pastor Swift, Colonel Shepherd, and other members of the Christian community sent their respects to Rabbi Grossman in the death of Stan Goldblatt.
Another month had gone by, and with an occasional rain and plenty of fish and seaweed, the community food supply had stabilized for the time being. Some of the Jewish and Christian community set about making large and small fishhooks out of fish bones. Others worked on weaving fishnets from old cloth and string that could be found. Spears were made from some branches that they had lashed to the rafts. The tips were hardened in a fire like the primitives did thousands of years before. Bows were made of flexible branches and tied with string strengthened with wax or fish oil.
When all the fishing gear was completed, a group of men went to the water’s edge and threw in old garbage to attract the fish. At first, they were unsuccessful, and no fish appeared. The second attempt, they managed to collect some meat scraps of fat and sinew, threw that in the water to attract fish. That got some small sharks circling the beach. A few spears missed the shark, but eventually, a spear to the exposed fin worked, and a line with a grabbing hook on it allowed them to graft the shark and pull it into shore. They cut up the shark into small pieces and saved the inner organs to feed other fish on their next attempt.
“Billy, stay out of the water. Throw your spear when a fish surfaces!” Tim Dong Wo shouted. Marcus Green, Betty Samson, and General Mandel were waiting on a rock outcropping that jutted out into the ocean for some fish to come to the surface to eat the food remains. Sure enough, some fins broke the surface, and a barrage of spears hit the water. Some connected and some spears missed. Using a string to retrieve the spears, the community members were able to pull in their catch or retrieve their spear without having to enter the dangerous and deep waters.
The next day, they tried to throw a net out into the water like the Hawaiians used to do thousands of years ago. It was trial and error, and the net kept washing back into shore. The water was too deep to walk out into the surf, so they put foam floats and plastic balls on the top of the net to allow it to float. Then they threw the net as far out in the surf as they could and waited for it to drift out with the outgoing tide. That worked, and when they attempted to pull the net in, they had to get more volunteers to help since they had netted hundreds of fish. It was a day of joyful bounty, for the Lord had provided with his rod and staff in helping to capture fish to survive. The two rafts pulling the fishing net between them was still the most successful method of catching fish.
Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel called a community meeting for all seventy community members to discuss plans for survival and their future. “Before we begin, let us pray to the Lord with Pastor Swift and Rabbi, saying a few prayers of thanks and deliverance for all of us,” Colonel Shepherd asked the group. Everyone bowed their heads,
and Rabbi Grossman delivered a few prayers and then Pastor Swift. Everyone responded with amen at the end of each prayer.
The meeting began with General Mandel discussing their present situation as to food supplies, water, shelter, and safety. One of the major concerns is, there was not enough wood to build shelters, and everyone was exposed to the elements, day and night. Fortunately, the climate was still warm, and there was no immediate threat of cold weather or dangerous temperatures.
“We must decide today what we must do to survive now and in the future, and if there is to be any future for our generations to come,” Colonel Shepherd pointed out to the community. “General Mandel and I have talked at length about what choices we have, and we are presenting these choices to you tonight to decide what we will do as a community to survive.
“As we see it, we have a few options. The first option is to remain here in North America and continue to search for mountain islands that we can survive on. The problem about this choice is we do not know when the ocean will stop rising. It is possible that the oceans could rise above nine thousand and ten thousand feet above sea level and flood the majority of the surviving mountaintops.
“The second option is to try and cross the intercontinental bridge or landmass that we are on now, in an attempt to get to the Hawaiian volcanoes and onto the Asian continent in search of higher mountains in China or the Himalayas, south of China. There is no mountain chain in the world as high as the Himalayas, as you know, and that would mean long-range survival. The journey could take years, and it is always possible we may encounter hostile humans at any point in time. We have armed ourselves with weapons for fishing and hunting, as well as defense. Unfortunately, we have no modern laser guns or weapons, so we must depend on centuries-old weapons to defend ourselves in case we should be attacked.
“The third option is actually no option at all, and that is do nothing and remain here until the ocean recedes or until there is some sign from God as to what we should do. Eventually, we would have to build shelters here, and except for the whale skin, we have little to make shelters with except whale bones and driftwood,” Colonel Shepherd finished saying.
There was a lot of discussion in the community when they heard these options. Ida Grossman, the wife of Rabbi Grossman, spoke up first. “I, for one, would like to see my children have a future and perhaps grandchildren in generations to come. I think we have to assume the oceans will continue rising. It might take years or decades or longer for them to recede—that doesn’t help us. I have prayed about it, and I think we need a vision. We need a vision to continue on no matter what. When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, they wandered for forty years in the wilderness. They never gave up. We have come this far, and we know that few people have survived around the planet, so we need a vision to prepare our future. I vote to take all the time necessary to migrate toward the Asian continent to find higher ground and more food resources.”
Everyone in the community clapped after Ida got done talking. “Well said, Ida. Who else would like to speak?” said Colonel Shepherd. “Colonel, I would like to say something. I am Betty Samson, and my husband died a few years ago. Had he been here, he would have said keep going. From what I have heard on the ham radio, this comet collision has completely changed earth to a water world. Since we don’t have gills like fish, we cannot live below the water like they do. We must seek higher ground for generations to come until the oceans receded. That is, if they are ever going to recede. Thank you.”
Pastor Swift spoke next, saying, “I cannot help but feel that we are the chosen ones that God has selected to survive. It seems strange that only two religious groups of Christians and Jews survived in the western section of North America. Call it chance, or I call it a miracle, that we survived. I agree with Ida that perhaps this is our voyage out of Egypt like the Hebrews did thousands of years ago. Perhaps this is our deliverance to a new world and a new society when all else has been wiped out. I do not know all the answers, but from what I can see here where we are staying, we cannot stay long. We will need more shelter and protection from the elements. None of us is used to being outdoors in primitive conditions in which we are now living. I suggest that we continue on toward the Asian continent no matter how many years it takes. It will give us a mission or a vision and allow us to find higher ground to survive.”
Others said their piece, and the discussion continued for hours. “And now, my friends, we must take a vote as to what we are going to do. Those in favor in staying in what was North America and looking for mountain islands on our rafts, raise your hands. I count one, two, three in favor. Regarding option 2, continuing on our journey to the Asian continent, how many are in favor of that choice? Sixty-six votes. No need to discuss the third option, we will continue across the intercontinental bridge to China and the Asian continent. Perhaps we will find other survivors along the way. Tomorrow, we will make specific plans as to how we are going to transport our whale oil, food, and resources. Some of it will be put on the rafts that will sail close to shore as the rest of us walk over the volcanic rock and mud toward Hawaii. I always wanted to see Hawaii. I just never thought I would be walking to get there, ha,” Colonel Shepherd commented.
The next day was the beginning of the great journey over an unknown landmass that supposedly stretched to the Hawaiian volcanoes and onto the Asian continent. After a few hours, everything was packed on the rafts, and two volunteers on each raft were to sail the rafts along the southern shore of the intercontinental landmass and stay in sight of the remaining group walking on land. There were no wheels to use or vehicles to carry goods, so everything had to be carried on someone’s back or pulled on a sled. Walking over the lava rock was dangerous and a slow process, so everyone had to be careful. General Mandel led the group, and Colonel Shepherd brought up the rear group.
The heat, sun, and wind were very strong that day as a small group of adults and children climbed over lava rock and mudflats in search of higher land. The first day, they got only ten miles before camping for the night. The rafts were taken into shore and tied up for the night. The Jewish group met for evening prayers, as did the Christian group. After prayers, everyone pitched in to prepare the dinner for the evening. It was the usual seaweed and dried fish and water. “If only they had flour, they could make bread,” Margaret Grossman, daughter of Rabbi Grossman, commented to her brother Ben. Task groups were sent out to gather driftwood for the fires. Others helped to prepare blankets to sleep on for the evening.
As the sun rose the next day in the continually overcast humid sky, the group quickly had some water and fish, and the rafts set sail and the journey was on again. They walked for four hours and then rested from the heat and broiling sun. Many needed fresh water because of their dehydration and had their rationed cup of water when they rested. General Mandel suggested they break up into two groups: a faster and lighter packed group would take the lead while the slower group in the back would follow. This way, the faster group could set up camp faster by the time the slower group arrived. The second day, they traveled twenty miles and were exhausted from the slow walking over lava rocks, big and small. The mudflats had to be avoided because they were like quicksand and dangerous to walk on. This only made the journey more dangerous and slower in travel time.
Each day was the same, and after a month, they had traveled approximately six hundred miles by averaging twenty miles a day. Many of the community were injured, got sick, had blisters on their feet, or dehydrated to the point of dizziness. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel decided to let the group take a week’s rest before continuing. Everyone was tired and exhausted, and rest was the thing everyone needed most. Dr. Greenspan was kept busy with all the medical problems that developed from walking over lava rock in the broiling sun, intense heat, strong winds, and fatigue.
As the community was settling in for the night, a disgruntled group of Christians asked to talk with Pastor Swift. It was no surprise to Pastor Swift when he realized the leader of the disgruntled group was Steven Moss, the community rebel. “Pastor Swift, I speak for the people in this meeting when I say, enough is enough. This pilgrimage is too much for people and children of all ages. We want to go back to North America,” Steven said.
Sally Thiebes, another member of the Christian community, interjected, “Pastor, we are exhausted and injured, and we cannot go any farther. You must let us leave and return to North America.” Others in the group also complained that they could not go on either. Pastor Swift tried to convince them that it was too late to turn around and go back. “I will discuss it with Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel, but I cannot make any promises. Give me some time to discuss it with them, and I will get back to you tomorrow.” Everyone agreed that seemed like a solution, and they all got up to leave Pastor Swift’s shelter.
That night under a crescent moon, Steven Moss and the same group of ten complainers stole some food supplies and took a raft without permission and sailed back in the direction of North America. They were never seen or heard from ever again.
The following morning, Marcus Green was the first to discover one of the rafts was missing. “Colonel Shepherd, Colonel Shepherd, come quick, one of the rafts has been stolen, and I think Steven Moss and his friends are gone!” Marcus yelled while running back to the camp. Colonel Shepherd came out of his tent, cursing, “Goddamit! I never should have trusted that bastard!” Colonel Shepherd exclaimed. He walked down to the ocean where the rafts were tied up, and sure enough, one raft was gone. “Damn, those fools are going to kill themselves trying to sail on the high seas alone.”
General Mandel, Colonel Shepherd, Pastor Swift, Rabbi Grossman, and several other community leaders had an emergency meeting that morning to discuss Steven Moss and his defector group that stole a raft and attempted to sail back to North America. It was decided to leave a guard to protect the rafts at night from that day forward. Everyone was instructed to be aware of any rebellions in the future and inform Colonel Shepherd or General Mandel immediately so they could deal with the situation before it got out of control.
As they recovered that week, Colonel Shepherd sent out one raft to go ahead and scout the terrain and see how far away the volcanoes of Hawaii really were. The community did not know that Hawaii was approximately 2,500 miles from what was Los Angeles. Based on the walking speed of the community, it would take four to five months to reach Hawaii. Every day was similar to the day before, and the routine of hard hiking began to wear everyone down. Occasionally, there was a small mountain they had to walk over, which slowed the group down a great deal. Two deaths occurred from extreme dehydration and age. They were two seventy- and seventy-two-year-old men who were not in good health to begin with. Their names were Borus Gillette and Ronald Trees, and they were members of the Christian community. They could not bury them in the ground, so they were put in a plastic bag and buried at sea by letting the ocean waves take them out to sea. The Christian group had dropped to twenty-eight surviving members since two men had died, and Steven Moss and nine others stole a raft and left.
So the months drifted by and the community dragged themselves over the lava rock and mudflats for over 2,500 miles. “Betty, are you all right?” Marcus inquired. “Yes, I am just exhausted climbing over lava rock hills,” she said. “Anyone with any ailments should see me during the next break!” Dr. Greenspan shouted out to the survivors as they walked by where he was standing. Elijah Ben Judah and Ben Grossman had become closer friends as they too dragged their supplies behind them as well as on their backs. Elijah was not used to so much physical exertion, after all, he was a cantor who used his voice to sing during Jewish services, not an athlete or marathon walker.
Tim Dong Wo, Xiaolin Tan, Marcus Green, and Billy Mandor stayed together in a little group, supporting one another with positive comments. “It isn’t far now,” said Tim. “Yeah, just a few thousand miles,” Marcus commented with a sense of humor to his wit. Since Billy Mandor was only sixteen, he was a lot healthier than most of the older folk in the community. He was able to keep up the pace and encourage others to follow. Liz Swift was usually walking next to Billy or not far behind. They had become a close couple over the months.
Pastor Swift was feeling his age, as was his wife, since they were in their sixties and not in good health. Judy Swift tried to keep a positive attitude despite the fact that she had blisters all over her feet and walking was most painful for her. She was determined not to quit no matter what. Mary Moon and Colonel Shepherd chatted along the trek to keep their minds off the physical wear and tear on their bodies. Elizabeth Swift and Rob Swift, the pastor’s children, were finding the heat and wind difficult, and they secretly complained to each other how they could not go on, but they never told their mother or dad since they were the spiritual leaders of the Christian group.
Numerous other members of the Jewish community and the Christian community suffered equally in the heat, wind, and sun that bore down on them every day. Occasionally, to cool everyone off, they headed to the ocean shore where they poured ocean water on themselves to cool off. It was the only relief of the day. The heat and humidity was taking its toll, and there were a lot of stragglers bringing up the rear of the group. Dr. Greenspan stayed in the rear group to help with medical problems, and there were many problems. Every night, a prayer group assembled in each Jewish and Christian community to pray for strength the next day and to build up their spiritual motivation to make this difficult journey to higher ground.
One night while the group was resting, another rebellion started in the Jewish community and the Christian community. A small group of the sick and injured could not go any farther and could not be carried. They called for a meeting with Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. “General, the sick and injured cannot go any farther, and we must come up with an alternative plan,” said Judith Gomes who was a Jewish widow at age 40. “I understand. What solutions do you have, Judy?” General Mandel asked. “I think we are going to have to put the injured and sick that cannot walk on the rafts and have them sail to the next campsite twenty miles in front of the walking group. If they can sail faster than we can walk, they will have more time to rest and recover when we get to the next campsite.”
“That is an excellent idea, Judy. Colonel Shepherd, do you agree?” General Mandel asked. “Yes, I certainly do, General,” Colonel Shepherd responded.
So the decision was made that night to put the eighteen injured and sick community members on rafts each day to sail to the next campsite. This would make it possible for them to rest and keep up with the main group of community members. Everyone seemed happy with the solution.
After five months had gone by, many of the injured community members finally recovered and rejoined the walking group. The going was difficult and slow. Days turned into months, and months turned into pain. Finally, after five months, a rafting crew returned to shore with good news. They had spotted a volcano or mountain in the distance from the ocean. It was off in the distance on the horizon about ten miles.
The raft crew signaled General Mandel that they had sighted a mountain or volcano. The next day, the community members could see Mauna Loa volcano rising up into the sky. Mauna Loa was about 13,680 feet above sea level in the days before the comet collision. Now, only about half of Mauna Loa rose above the ocean waves. Mauna Kea was nearby in the distance, topping out at 13,800 feet above sea level by the old method of measurement before the comet collision. Mauna Loa was the first landmass with green vegetation growing on it that they had seen since crossing on the intercontinental bridge. As they approached the huge volcano, they had to climb up to a level they considered to be safe enough above the rising ocean waves. The view from the volcano was beautiful.
“Colonel Shepherd, do you see the beautiful volcano?” Billy exclaimed. “Yes, we can all see it, Billy, and it looks so green and lush compared to what we have been traveling over for so many months,” Colonel Shepherd exclaimed. When everyone saw the volcano in the distance, they all fell down to the ground and prayed to God for delivering them safely; 50 percent of the community was injured or sick, and they were all going to need a long rest to recover. Later that day, everyone in the community had caught up to the front group and arrangements were being made to camp in a green pasture area high above the ocean waves.
They could see the landmass in both directions from their campsite on the volcano. The only problem was, the volcano was still active as evidenced by an occasional flash of hot rocks spewed up in the air. This made a lot of the people in the community very anxious. If it wasn’t for the volcano being active, it might have been a perfect place to live.
So the first part of the great journey had come to an end, and the community was halfway to the Asian continent. Now it was a time for healing. The winds from the ocean made the air a little cooler than it was when they first started their journey. A few ham radio messages confirmed that some groups in South America in the Andes had survived and in European Alps and other high mountain ranges. The problem was, every survivor group was trapped on their mountain island, unable to communicate with other survivors except groups that had a ham radio. Other survivors were not as fortunate as the Judeo-Christian community in having use of empty oil drums to make rafts to sail the oceans. God had provided for this little Judeo-Christian community.
After having set up camp and searched for driftwood down by the ocean and deadwood on the volcano’s surrounding area, the community settled in to recover physically and mentally from their ordeal. General Mandel, Colonel Shepherd, Rabbi Grossman, and Pastor Swift had a meeting to discuss their immediate plans. With so many of the community injured from traveling 2,500 miles over volcanic rock and mud, they knew they had to take a long recovery period on this volcano. Dr. Greenspan came to the meeting also to report on the extent of the injuries and what cases were critical and needed special treatment and rest. The leaders were shocked when they realized how really sick half the population was after their forced march journey. They all agreed to provide special shelters for the sick and injured first to allow them to recover.
Close to the ocean on the lower portion of the volcano were many varieties of palm trees and other types of vegetation that would prove useful for building shelters. Colonel Shepherd would be in charge of the cutting down of trees for shelters, and General Mandel would supervise the fishing along the ocean and the use of rafts with dragging fishing nets to secure food. Edible plants were also a high priority, and Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift volunteered to get people to help them search for any fruits or vegetables that they could eat that survived at this altitude on the volcano plain. The discussion lasted for hours in discussing immediate needs and long-range plans. It was decided that they would remain for several months until everyone had healed and regained their strength. Everyone agreed on resting as long as possible. Since there seemed to be no seasonal change of weather, there was no fear of winter winds or cold weather, so where they had arrived seemed suitable for now.
Search parties were sent out to see if any humans had survived on this volcano, but after a week of searching, no one was found or any bodies either. Secretly, a lot of people hoped that they would find other human survivors, but that did not seem to be the case. Another accident occurred one day when one of the search party members slipped off a lava rock hill and fell one hundred feet and hit his head. Tom Swells was his name, and he was dead on contact. Tom was a member of the Christian community, and Pastor Swift buried him at sea that night in a special funeral ceremony. Tom was a well-liked person but not a leader. He followed whatever instructions he was given. Tom was a widower, about fifty-five years of age, and his children had passed away years before. He was a wonderful contributor who never complained, and many of his friends felt bad that he fell off a slippery lava rock to his death. Now the Christian community has dropped one more member—to twenty-seven members from an original forty members.
The day after they arrived at Mauna Loa volcano, Mrs. Judy Swift, wife of Pastor Swift, collapsed, and Dr. Greenspan was called to treat her. Her condition was unknown but seemed serious. Her temperature was high, and she was running a fever. Dr. Greenspan tried to cool down her body temperature with wet rags on her forehead. Pastor Swift and their two children, Elizabeth and Rob, were waiting outside the shelter while Dr. Greenspan treated Judy Swift. As Dr. Greenspan came out of the shelter, he said, “Well, I am trying to get her fever down, which is very high. She may have some kind of bacterial infection. I am not sure, at this time, what is causing the fever. Give her fluids until tomorrow, and I will check in on her again.”
The next morning, Dr. Greenspan and Betty Samson, who had once been a nurse, came back to the Swift family shelter to check in on Judy Swift. “She has been up all night, moaning,” said Pastor Swift to Dr. Greenspan. “Let me take her temperature and blood pressure and see where we are today,” Dr. Greenspan said. “Betty, you can help me roll her over to look for any skin infections or redness,” Dr. Greenspan said. After taking Judy Swift’s temperature, Dr. Greenspan gave her some water and fresh wet compresses to cool her off. “She doesn’t look good, Betty. I don’t have any antibiotics or penicillin left to treat the infection,” Dr. Greenspan commented. “We are just going to have to wait and see if the fever breaks.” As Dr. Greenspan came out of the shelter, Pastor Swift and Elizabeth and Rob rushed over to Dr. Greenspan to hear what he had to say about their mother. “I am afraid I don’t have good news. Her fever is high, and I don’t have any more antibiotic medicine or penicillin left to give her. We are going to have to wait this out. Keep putting wet clothes on her head and keep her covered with a blanket. I will check in on her tonight.”
That night, Dr. Greenspan came back, and Judy Swift was not conscious. She seemed to have slipped into a coma with a very high fever of 106. All he had to give her were some aspirins, so he crushed up two aspirins and put them in a small amount of water in a cup and poured it slowly down her throat. Rabbi Grossman, hearing of Mrs. Swift’s illness, stopped by the shelter to say some prayers for Mrs. Swift and to tell Pastor Swift that he hoped she would soon recover. “She seems to be in the hands of God, Pastor Swift, and I hope she recovers,” Rabbi Grossman said in a soft tone.
When Rabbi Grossman returned to his shelter, Elijah Ben Judah was there waiting for him. “Rabbi, I heard that Pastor’s Swift’s wife is very sick. It this true?” he asked. “Yes, she is near death,” Rabbi Grossman stated sadly. “Rabbi, I had a vision of a woman who was sick and needed my help. I saw her in my vision and I held her hand and she recovered,” Ben Judah said. “Do you really believe you have the power of healing, Ben Judah?” asked the rabbi. “I don’t know, Rabbi, it was just a vision, perhaps a dream or perhaps something real as in my past visions that came true,” said Ben Judah. “Perhaps we should visit Mrs. Swift tomorrow morning and see if we can ask for God’s mercy,” Rabbi Grossman said. “Fine, Rabbi, I will pray for her tonight, and I will meet you early tomorrow morning, and we will go together to her shelter,” said Ben Judah.
The next day, Judy Swift looked like she was going to die. Dr. Greenspan felt there was nothing more he could do. The fever was still high, and she was in a coma or unconscious and unable to open her eyes. Her skin was very pale, and she did not look like she was going to survive that day. Rabbi Grossman came back again with Elijah Ben Judah, and they said prayers for Judy, as did Pastor Swift. Ben Judah sang some wonderful old Jewish songs as Rabbi Grossman beseeched God to cure Judy Swift. Elizabeth and Rob Swift joined in the small prayer group next to Judy’s body lying on a blanket on the ground. “Pastor Swift, may I reach out to your wife and hold her hand for a moment?” Ben Judah asked. “Sure, if you think it will help,” Pastor Swift replied. “Judy, Judy, it is I, Elijah Ben Judah. Can you hear me? God has told me in a dream to reach out to you and hold you by the hand. Blessed be the Lord God. God, I ask that you cure this woman and release the fever from her body. Amen.”
“Thank you for that kindness, Elijah,” said Pastor Swift. A while later, Rabbi Grossman and Elijah Ben Judah left and returned to their shelters.
It wasn’t but an hour later that Rob Swift came running over to Rabbi Grossman’s shelter, shouting, “My mother is well! It is a miracle! Come and see!” They stopped by Elijah Ben Judah’s shelter on the way back to the Swift family shelter. They were all very excited. As they came to the Swift family shelter, they went inside to see Judy Swift sitting up on her blanket, looking perfectly healthy. “God bless,” said the rabbi. “Thank you, gentlemen. Something Elijah did must have made a difference. She awoke ten minutes ago, opened her eyes, and sat up and said she felt fine and was hungry,” Pastor Swift said.
Immediately afterward, Dr. Greenspan returned, having heard that Judy was well. “Well, I heard from Elizabeth that her mother was well, and I am shocked and happy,” Dr. Greenspan exclaimed. “Let me check your temperature and pulse, Judy,” he said. “Amazing, almost a miracle. Her temperature is normal and so is her heartbeat. I never would have guessed,” said Dr. Greenspan. “I will get her some food and water,” Pastor Swift said. They all walked outside the shelter, marveling at her recovery. Pastor Swift told Ben Judah, “I think you have a gift, Elijah, a gift from God. You cured my wife when she was on the verge of dying. Thank you, bless you, Elijah. We will thank God in our prayers for your healing power.” Rabbi Grossman was also amazed, but he had known before that Elijah had visions that came true, but he never suspected that Elijah would become a healer also.
So for the time being, the beginning of a new era began on Mauna Loa volcano for the Judeo-Christian community. After a month of rest, Betty Samson and Susan, the other ham radio operator, got a message in Chinese that they did not understand. They sent someone to get Xiaolin and bring her back to the shelter where the ham radio was located. Xiaolin was of Chinese descent but born in North America. She could speak Mandarin and a few other Chinese languages she had learned from her parents. As the ham radio message came through again, Xiaolin wrote down the words in English from Mandarin: Bāngzhù, shengcun, and liao, which if loosely translated meant “to help,” “survive,” and “end.” Xiaolin told Betty and Susan that the message was in a Mandarin dialect from somewhere in China, saying, “Help us survive, soon.” Betty took this message to Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. “It seemed like some survivor group of Chinese were sending a message for help,” Betty told both men. They did not know where in China or the Asian continent the message was coming from, but they were relieved to know someone had survived in China, and that might be good news. “We will continue to monitor the ham radio and use Xiaolin to help translate,” said Betty. “Good, let us know if you get any more ham radio broadcasts,” said General Mandel.
The following week, Elijah Ben Judah had another vision in his sleep. He saw arrows flying through the air and people being killed by Chinese people hiding behind rocks. It was a fearful vision, full of dread. The following day, he told Rabbi Grossman about his vision. This time, Rabbi Grossman decided to share Ben Judah’s visions with Pastor Swift. They walked over to Pastor Swift’s shelter together and asked Judy Swift if they could speak with Pastor Swift. “Come on in, Rabbi,” a voice came from inside the palm-covered shelter; Pastor Swift called out. “Good day, Pastor, Ben Judah and I have something to discuss with you that we have kept a secret until now,” said Rabbi Grossman. “You are always welcome in our shelter, Elijah as well as Rabbi Grossman. What can I do for you?” Pastor Swift asked. Ben Judah then told Pastor Swift of his past visions and how remarkably they had come true. He even told Pastor Swift that he had seen his wife Judy when she was sick, holding his hand and recovering from her illness. Pastor Swift was amazed hearing this story from Elijah. In his most recent vision, he saw arrows flying through the air and some of our people falling down with arrows in their chests. This most recent vision foretold of hostilities with Chinese people, and perhaps it was a warning from God. Elijah had heard about the recent ham radio message that Xiaolin had translated as a Chinese survivor group asking for help in survival. Now his vision seemed to be more reliable.
Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift discussed visions and God’s messages and how they were to be interpreted. They decided to share Elijah’s vision with Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. They sent Billy to get the colonel and the general and have them come to Pastor Swift’s shelter immediately. When they both arrived, Pastor Swift told them what Rabbi Grossman had said and what Ben Judah had seen in his most recent vision. He made it a point to explain that according to Rabbi Grossman, all visions had come true. At first, Rabbi Grossman admitted that he kept Elijah’s visions a secret because he did not, at first, believe he was having true visions. Rabbi Grossman explained that Elijah predicted finding the intercontinental landmass and seeing us sailing on the high seas.
Both Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel were very surprised to learn that Ben Judah had been having visions that actually came true. The vision about the hostile Chinese might well come true, so they had to be prepared for an attack now or in the future. As the word passed around the community, everyone wondered how Ben Judah came to become a visionary. Prayers were said in the Jewish services, as well as the Christian services, for Ben Judah’s good health. Perhaps God was really on their side? they all asked themselves.
It was a beautiful night outside the camp perimeter that Xiaolin and Ken made love under the moonlight. Their relationship had grown stronger over the past few months. Their struggles together had brought them closer than they had ever been before. Xiaolin looked beautiful in the moonlight as she took off her shirt to reveal small but firm breasts. Ken kissed her on the neck and breasts, making Xiaolin hot all over. They made love for about an hour in the warm night air, and then they returned to their shelter.
After resting and recovering on Mauna Loa volcano for a few months, many in the Judeo-Christian community began to ask why they couldn’t remain on Mauna Loa forever since the volcano was high enough above the ocean to be safe, and the food supply of fish was more than adequate. Their attitude changed when Mauna Loa began to erupt one day without any warning. The entire community had less than a day to load up the rafts with some rafts overloaded because they were short one raft that was stolen. They could not walk or run fast enough to avoid the volcano if it erupted and sent volcanic ash and hot lava in all directions down its slopes, killing everything in its path. The ocean was the only safe escape route, on the rafts. Much of the campsite had to be left behind because there was a lack of space.
As volcanic ash were beginning to fill the air, the rafts were pushed off, and they headed out to sea. They had to get away far enough from the hot, volcanic lava to be safe. They headed straight out away from Mauna Loa and tried to put as many nautical miles between them and the volcano as they could before they turned east toward the Asian continent. They had to spend the night on the raft before they were able to safely land on the intercontinental landmass a good thirty miles down range from where they had camped before.
As they looked back behind them, they watched in awe as Mauna Loa erupted thousands of feet high into the air with hot red lava shooting out in all directions and sliding down the volcano in all directions. The lava blanketed the area where their encampment was and everything around it. It was the end of a beautiful but temporary place to live. Now it was a move onto the Asian continent no matter what. The Judeo-Christian community had come too far to turn back now.
After a quick encampment that night, the Judeo-Christian community hastily broke camp the following morning to put as much distance between them and Mauna Loa as possible. Colonel Shepherd figured they could suffer a little bit more one day to gain more distance from the volcano. So it was the next day they were able to sail another thirty to forty miles along the coast of the intercontinental landmass until they found a small harbor to pull in and camp for the night. Many community members missed the peace and quiet of living on Mauna Loa, but now, they could see how dangerous it could be.
Shelter on lava rock was difficult at best. Since the intercontinental bridge was relatively a new phenomena, there were no trees growing, and it was all the more difficult to construct lean-tos for shelter. Some small plants were beginning to take root from bird droppings, and the winds spreading seeds in all directions, but nothing was edible or useful.
The dynamics of the Judeo-Christian group was beginning to change. They often held prayer sessions for all community members rather than distinguish between Jewish and Christian religions. Many Jewish community members had become close friends with those in the Christian community. Pastor Swift and Rabbi Grossman saw this as a positive improvement in community relations. Many couples had become closer due to the stressful times. Love bonds were stronger than ever. Secretly, all the couples feared the worse and poured all their fear into lovemaking.
A month after leaving Mauna Loa, a sudden storm developed that caught the entire community off guard. “Pastor Swift, did you notice the blackened sky in the distance?” asked Mary Moon, the mechanical engineer. “No, I hadn’t, but now that you have brought it to my attention, it looks like a storm is blowing in soon,” said Pastor Swift. “Mary, go and tell Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel to alert everyone there may be a storm rolling in,” Pastor Swift asked. Mary left immediately to warn the colonel and general.
“Listen, everyone, we may have a storm coming in soon, so you need to prepare for heavy rain and high winds. The Pacific Ocean is known for seasonal typhoons, and this may be one of them. Marcus, take a few men and go and pull the rafts farther up on land and double tie them off. Put some lava rocks on them to weigh them down and remove the sail cloth immediately,” Colonel Shepherd commanded.
Immediately, everyone scrambled to tie their supplies or weigh them down with rocks. All the shelters were very frail since they were made of driftwood. General Mandel suggested using the raft sailcloth as a giant cover for everyone to seek protection from the rain. They quickly went about, overlapping the raft sailcloth and tying the ends together to make one large canopy. Less than an hour later, a light rain began, and then the thunder and lightning on the horizon. The day turned very dark as the storm approached. This storm looked to have a fury they had never witnessed before. All the food supplies were placed under the sailcloth canopy, and everyone in the community huddled together for the onslaught of the storm.
The heavens opened up with a deluge of rain and high-speed winds. Everything that was not tied or weighed down blew away. The rafts were flipped over from the rain and laid on their sides during the storm. Mud rivers formed and ran rapidly down the lava rock to the sea. There wasn’t a dry place anywhere in the campsite. Starting a fire under the canopy was too dangerous, so everyone had to eat cold dried fish and seaweed. Some of the woman wailed and cried from the sounds of the storm that seemed to have the intensity of a typhoon. Strange sounds were heard as the winds whipped their way through lava rock canyons. It was as if large beasts were howling in the sky. Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Swift tried to keep the community focused on prayer as the winds ripped away at the sailcloth, causing it to beat up and down with the percussion of a large drum. The noise of the cloth flapping in the wind was deafening to everyone’s ears.
For hours on end, the wind whipped at the sailcloth canopy. Those hiding under the canopy were exhausted from fear and discomfort. The height of the canopy was only four to five feet off the ground, held up by some wooden poles and weighed down on the edges with large lava boulders. “Colonel, when do you think the storm will stop?” Ida Grossman asked. “I really don’t know, Ida,” Colonel Shepherd responded. It was difficult to talk because of the roaring of the winds and the flapping of the sailcloth canopy. Rabbi Grossman assured his wife, Ida, that the storm would eventually stop, and they had to be patient. Dr. Greenspan was busy attending to the sick and injured community members. He had to crawl around under the canopy to get to the sick and injured members. Betty Samson assisted him in making the sick comfortable. Almost everyone was wet, even if they were under blankets. The rain was blowing horizontally under the canopy, and there wasn’t a dry spot anywhere. Pastor Swift called out to everyone, “Pray for deliverance, pray for the storm to pass, my brothers and sisters.” Samuel, Saul, Margaret, and Ben, Rabbi Grossman’s children, tended to the older members of the community and brought them water and food. Marcus Green was listening to the static on the ham radio, hoping to hear something positive. The storm interfered with the radio reception, and nothing could be heard. Liz and Billy kept busy singing softly in each other’s ears. For them, their hearts were aflutter and little else mattered. For the other couples, they hugged each other under warm blankets and patiently waited out the storm.
Later in the middle of the night, Elijah Ben Judah had another dream or vision. He saw the community smiling and looking at the sun and holding their arms upward to thank God. It seemed the storm would pass, and they would survive. He kept his vision to himself since Rabbi Grossman didn’t always believe in Ben Judah’s visions. The morning sun rose and the winds abated. The rain diminished to a mist. When everyone stuck their heads out of the canopy, they could see the damage the erosion had done, with mud rivers everywhere, pouring over the lava rocks into the sea. The rafts were on their sides and would have to be held upright and repaired. Everyone ran to find a place to relieve themselves since there was no private place under the canopy to do so.
Pastor Swift stood up and stretched his arms upward. “Thank God for our deliverance,” he prayed. General Mandel spoke to Colonel Shepherd and said, “We had better survey the damage and see what needs to be repaired and what blew away in the storm.”
“I will assemble a group of volunteers to survey the damage. I will ask Marcus and Tim Dong Wo to put the sails back on the rafts after we flip them back over,” Colonel Shepherd responded.
The damage was extensive, and many of the rafts had to be repaired. Several boxes of supplies were blown away in the storm. There was an increase in driftwood that was collected for fires to prepare some hot meals. Very few people in the community got any real sleep during the storm, and everyone was exhausted. They dragged themselves around, trying to help with assembling their supplies and cleaning up the mess from the storm. By afternoon, everyone was napping on blankets from exhaustion. The sun was beating down on their heads, and the temperature rose back up into the nineties with high humidity. Only the winds died down that day. Rabbi Grossman observed that if God wanted to blow them away in the winds into the sea, he would have done so. Perhaps they were the chosen people, he thought.
The following week, they decided it was time to move on to another campsite, so everything was packed up, and the journey to high ground began again. Only a few sick had to go on the rafts, with the rest of the community walking and carrying their supplies. Two days into their new journey, a major problem developed. The intercontinental bridge stopped, and a few islands were seen on the horizon. For whatever reason, the Pacific Ocean had poured though this gap in the intercontinental bridge, and the only connection to the Asian mainland seemed to be a series of mountaintop islands. The Judeo-Christian community would be forced to use the rafts to travel to the islands. This meant the rafts would be overcrowded and sank low in the water as they attempted to transport everyone in the community to the islands across the ocean.
“Colonel Shepherd, have all the food supplies lashed down to the rafts so they do not wash into the ocean. Our first priority will be to transport our community members to the first island and come back for any supplies we did not have room for on the first voyage,” General Mandel commanded. Colonel Shepherd, Marcus, Mary, and Tim Dong Wo set about tying down the food supplies before they loaded everyone they could on the rafts. “I think the trip should take only a few hours, General,” Colonel Shepherd responded.
By midday, the Judeo-Christian community pushed off on yet another adventure of island-hopping across the Pacific Ocean. The wind was low that day, and the tide was going out. The rafts had the wind from the west at their backs, and the trip to the first island went relatively quickly. By early evening, the entire community had arrived at the new mountaintop island, and a second trip brought in supplies that could not be transported on the first voyage. The community began to settle in on this new island that consisted almost entirely of volcanic rock and no vegetation. Everyone felt renewed that they had survived so many dangers on their journey to high ground.
Colonel Shepherd was sitting on a lava bolder when Marcus Green approached him with news. “Colonel, I just heard a message on the ham radio. The message said there were riots in the mountains of Europe over food shortages and ethnic clashes. Hundreds of surviving Europeans had been killed in the riots. There are no police or army to subdue the rioters, the message stated. Riots were also reported in the Andes mountains of South American where food was running out.” Colonel Shepherd took the ham radio message to General Mandel immediately. “What do you think, General?” after Colonel Shepherd repeated the ham radio message. Colonel Shepherd commented, “I can see that if survivors do not cooperate and work together to solve food shortages due to the flooding, human nature turns to evil,” Rabbi Grossman exclaimed.
A community meeting was called for that night, and as they all sat around large driftwood fire, they discussed the importance of not being greedy and sharing food and resources. Pastor Swift pointed out how well their communities had come together, and they had no ethnic strife as they were having elsewhere in the world.
Elijah Ben Judah felt that God was with them despite all the dangers they encountered. Rabbi Grossman asked everyone to join him in prayer, and they all did so. “Lord God, provide and protect our little community and bring us to the promised high ground soon. Amen,” Rabbi Grossman prayed.
Two days later, another tragedy hit the Judeo-Christian community. Rabbi Grossman had a heart attack and collapsed. Several community members dragged him to shelter and sent someone to get Dr. Greenspan immediately. Elijah Ben Judah came with Dr. Greenspan immediately behind him. “Is he all right?” Ben Judah asked Ida, Rabbi Grossman’s wife. “I do not know, he just collapsed, grabbing his chest,” she said. Dr. Greenspan checked Rabbi Grossman’s pulse and asked him, “Sam, do you know who I am?” Rabbi Grossman did not respond. His breathing was shallow, and he seemed to be going into shock. “I think he had a heart attack,” Dr. Greenspan exclaimed. “Elevate his legs while I give him CPR,” Dr. Greenspan commanded Ben Judah. Ben Judah put a rolled up blanket under the rabbi’s feet.
An hour later, he was dead. Ida Grossman and her children were beside themselves. She continued to wail and weep loudly. Margaret, her twenty-two-year-old daughter, tried to comfort her. The Jewish community had no leader now except Cantor Ben Judah. A funeral was arranged the next day as per Jewish custom. Cantor Ben Judah presided over the funeral service, and Rabbi Grossman was buried at sea in a plastic bag because it was impossible to dig any graves in the lava rock on the island.
General Mandel, Colonel Shepherd, Elijah Ben Judah, and Pastor Swift met after the funeral to discuss leadership of the Jewish community. Elijah Ben Judah said he would assume the role as the Jewish community religious leader since he was a cantor and familiar with the Jewish traditions and services. They all agreed that Elijah Ben Judah would be a good choice to lead the Jewish community in the absence of Rabbi Grossman. After the meeting of the leaders of the community, Elijah Ben Judah was introduced as the new Jewish leader of the Jewish community, and everyone was satisfied that they would continue to have leadership.
General Mandel advised Colonel Shepherd it was time to move on and that the community should begin the next leg of its island-hopping saga. The community met, and it was announced they would be sailing for the next island on the horizon, heading due west of their current island in the general direction of the Asian continent. A few hours later, the rafts were all loaded and sailing toward the next island. Upon arrival of the next island several hours later, scouts were sent out to investigate whether any human survivors were on the island. This island was considerably larger than the previous mountain island, and it had trees and vegetation around the ocean edge. It looked like a most promising island until the patrols returned. “General Mandel, we searched the island, and there are no humans on the island, but there are some animals, however,” Marcus Green reported. “What kind of animals, Marcus?” General Mandel asked. “Wolves, sir, hundreds of wolves living in wolf packs along the tree line farther up the island.”
“Colonel Shepherd, what do think we should do?” General Mandel asked. “We cannot fight hungry wolves, General. I recommend we ship out and head for the next island for our own safety,” Colonel Shepherd suggested. “OK then, tell the rafts to push off and head for the next island. We will leave the wolves to themselves,” said General Mandel.
Back on the seas, they sailed that day until darkness was soon beginning. It was an extremely long day, and no one had time to prepare a meal, so dried fish and seaweed were the meal of choice until they made land. The next mountain island was a longer distance than the previous islands. The ocean waves were high that day, and the wind kept changing directions, preventing the rafts from sailing in a straight line to the next island. The sun finally set, and a full moon rose into the sky, shining off the ocean waves in the darkness. Some time, a few hours after sunset, they arrived at the next island. There was no time to prepare shelters, so the group set about collecting driftwood and building fires for cooking food and protection against any predators. Scouts were sent out with fire torches to investigate the island. They returned several hours later to report no wolves or humans had been spotted. The Judeo-Christian community settled in for the night with just blankets to protect them from the elements.
The next day, Mrs. Judy Swift visited Mrs. Ida Grossman, consoling her over the loss of her husband, Rabbi Grossman. Ida was glad to have Mrs. Swift visit, and they became good friends. “Ida, if you ever need anything, I will help you any time,” promised Judy Swift. “Thank you, dear friend,” Ida exclaimed. “I have my children to support me in my loss, but your friendship is most welcome.”
Elizabeth Swift and Rob Swift got to know Billy Mandor one day when they were on the same driftwood-collecting detail. “Hey, Bill, where are your parents?” asked Elizabeth. “They were killed in an AGV accident last year,” Billy said. “Oh, I am sorry, Billy,” Elizabeth said. “There you go again, prying into people’s lives again,” brother Rob Swift commented. “When do you think we will get to the Asian content, Billy?” asked Elizabeth. “Who knows. I doubt if we will ever see the Asian continent soon,” Billy said in a depressed tone. “Well, cheer up, at least we are still alive after the storm and the volcano erupting,” Elizabeth said, trying to cheer up Billy. Rob commented, “Elizabeth, you need to leave Billy alone.”
“Thanks, she isn’t bothering me,” said Billy. Just then, Elizabeth tripped on a piece of driftwood and fell on her elbows. “Are you all right?” Billy asked. “I am fine,” laughed Elizabeth, being embarrassed from falling on her arms. “Maybe you should stick to cooking,” Rob commented. “Pick on someone else, Rob,” Elizabeth said.
Betty Samson and Xiaolin Tan were soaking some dried fish for a soup for dinner that day. “Xiaolin, do you think we will ever see the Asian continent?” asked Betty. “I hope so, or all this suffering will have been for nothing. I cannot believe God would lead us this far and then abandon us,” said Xiaolin. “I sure am getting tired of fish,” Betty remarked. “What I wouldn’t give for a real hamburger,” Betty commented. “I would rather have some rice for a change. In time, I am sure we will find vegetables, rice, and meat to fill our needs,” said Xiaolin.
“Colonel, we are low on fish again. Can you have four rafts take the fishing nets and see if we can catch some fish to cook and dry out for the community?” General Mandel requested. “I am already on it, General,” said Colonel Shepherd. Four rafts pushed off about an hour later with fishing nets. This time, they had spears in case a shark or any large, dangerous fish were caught in the nets. The rafts were about two hundred yards from shore when they dropped their nets and dragged them through the ocean waves.
Suddenly, the first raft group had a problem. Their raft was leaning and taking on water. Their net must have caught on something or netted a large fish. The other two rafts pulled in their nets quickly to assist the first two rafts. Whatever they caught was thrashing around in the net, pulling the raft to one side, and it attempted to dive deeper, pulling the net with it. For over an hour, they tried to pull the net in with all four rafts on top of the net. Finally, a fin surfaced, and sure enough, it was a huge shark that must have weighed hundreds of pounds. Marcus was the first to throw a spear and impale the shark. Tim Dong Wo stabbed a hooked spear into the shark while it was on the surface, and red blood was everywhere in the water. The rafts were in danger of tipping, but the crews were equally determined to kill this shark and not let it get away.
Finally, the thrashing stopped, and the shark rolled over on its belly in the ocean. All eight men pulled the net onto one raft that sank down under the weight of the shark. He was huge with teeth as sharp as razors. More sharks were being attracted to the area from the blood scent, so they set sail immediately for land with the shark on one raft and the fish they caught on the other rafts. This was the biggest fish they had ever caught and will make a great meal for the entire community that night.
As soon as the rafts were beached on the lava rock shores, Marcus Green ran back to the camp to get Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel and other volunteers to come and see the shark they killed and to help cut it up for dinner that night. There was excitement everywhere in the camp that day when everyone rushed down to the shore to see the shark that weighed in excess of five hundred pounds. Everyone set about cutting up the shark meat. Inside the shark were two other large fish that the shark had just eaten. Colonel Shepherd instructed everyone to save all the organs and teeth to use for fishing and making weapons. It took hours to slice the shark up into pieces and transport it back to the camp. They put the shark meat over fires and cooked it to perfection. Everyone celebrated their bounty that evening with prayer and a huge dinner. Some of the women had found wild onions and wild carrots, and these were boiled in the fish soup in addition to the broiled shark meat. God had provided again for the Judeo-Christian community.
After the death of their father, Rabbi Grossman, Saul Grossman, Samuel Grossman, Margaret Grossman, and Ben Grossman began to take a more active role in their Jewish community. Margaret volunteered to be cantor for some of the services, and Saul, Samuel, and Ben became readers of the Bible and the Torah. Ida Grossman and her new friend, Judy Swift, spent many hours together, talking and helping to repair ripped clothing of members of the community.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
The survivors of the Judeo-Christian community had been traveling for over two years on their journey to find higher ground. It was the eighth month in the second year since they left Mauna Loa volcano in the Hawaiian volcano chain. Now they were approaching what looked like the northern mountains in Northern China. Mount Xiaowutal, at 9,455 feet by the old method of measurement, was in this mountain chain as well as Taihang Mountains. It was hard to identify one mountain from another because only the upper portion of the mountain stuck out above the ocean. If only they had an instrument to determine their global position exactly.
Elijah had another vision that he later shared with Rabbi Grossman. He saw the Judeo-Christian community being attacked by some Chinese with arrows. There were several battles in which peace was finally declared. He saw many sad Chinese faces of a group that had been captured and forced to become slaves. The slaves would be freed and become part of their community. It was a weird vision that Elijah could not explain. Rabbi Grossman was at a loss to understand the vision either. “Time will tell if your visions are true,” Rabbi Grossman told Elijah. “Yes, Rabbi, time will tell I guess,” remarked Elijah.
The intercontinental land bridge had begun to change from lava rock to packed earth and small vegetation. A small patrol was up in front of the community when suddenly, out of nowhere, arrows were flying through the air. Two men and a woman scout were killed instantly. The remaining five scouts ran back to the forward group and warned General Mandel. Immediately, everyone dropped their baggage and took out what weapons they had made. Few of the members could shoot a bow accurately, and spear throwing was limited to short distances. “Get behind a bolder, everyone!” General Mandel yelled. He used his army whistle to warn everyone with a loud burst from his whistle. Colonel Shepherd was half a mile back from the front of the group and did not know of the attack for twenty minutes.
When Colonel Shepherd and the rear group of community members reached the place where everyone was hiding behind boulders, he realized that there must have been some hostilities. Creeping from boulder to boulder, he found his way to where General Mandel was hiding. “What happened, General?” he asked. “We have been attacked by Chinese soldiers or bandits armed with bows and arrows. We lost three people in the scouting unit up front. The five survivors ran back to me to report the unprovoked attack,” the general said.
Everyone was instructed to hide behind boulders and wait for a signal from General Mandel. This was the first time they had encountered other hostile survivors since they left North America. General Mandel set up all the archers in the front area and kept the women who could not shoot an arrow in the rear area. Using his binoculars, he could see a small band of a dozen Chinese hiding behind rocks about two hundred yards in front of them. “Colonel, take a look in these binoculars. There is a group of hostiles about two hundred yards out. Can you see them?” he said. “Yes, yes, there they are, hiding behind boulders. What do you want to do, General?” Colonel Shepherd asked. “Well, we could retreat or attack and try to scare them off. It looks like they only have about a dozen archers. We could send twelve men and boys to outnumber them. While a main group stages a frontal attack, you take a group of twelve more and try to flank them around the right,” General Mandel ordered. “Right, sir, I will assemble the men and boys immediately. I will send the twelve to make the frontal attack up to report to you while the other twelve and I scramble around to the right to try and outflank them. Give me fifteen minutes before you attack,” Colonel Shepherd responded.
Colonel Shepherd dropped back to where the majority of the community were hiding and organized two assault groups. He sent twelve men and boys forward to stay with General Mandel, and he and the other twelve men and boys diverted off to the right to try and outflank the hostile Chinese.
After going around many boulders, Colonel Shepherd and his group were in position to the right of the Chinese, ready to attack with bows and arrows and spears. “Remember, take a shot, advance forward, and find shelter right away. Make plenty of noise, yelling to unnerve the Chinese,” Colonel Shepherd whispered. “OK, fifteen minutes, ready, attack, men!” shouted General Mandel, blowing his army whistle as they ran forward, shooting their arrows at the Chinese. When Colonel Shepherd heard the whistle, his group attacked from the right flank, completely surprising the Chinese. Three Chinese fell dead with arrows in their chests. An arrow whizzed by Colonel Shepherd’s head, but he ducked, and it missed him, bouncing off a rock. The Chinese turned and ran back from where they came from, realizing they had two groups attacking them. General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd were very relieved, and they had lost no one. Only an arm injury from an arrow was reported.
They all headed back to the community camp area where General Mandel assigned patrols to watch the perimeter that night and every night in the future. Children and women were instructed not to go out of the camp area. This was their first real threat to survival by another group of survivors. The hostile response really surprised the Judeo-Christian group because of the call for help on the ham radio months before. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel agreed that they would have to send someone good to scout where the hostile Chinese were camped. They could try to go around them, which would be difficult with seventy people, or they could try to size up their opponent’s strength and size. Billy Mandor, who was only age 16, volunteered to go at night and scout the Chinese bandits and try to find out where they were camped.
Billy understood that this was a dangerous mission, and he took his bow and spear. Colonel Shepherd had Billy smear mud on his face so it would not shine in the moonlight. He also put on a dark baseball hat. It was about 9:00 p.m., and there was only a half moon that night as Billy slipped out into the boulders and lava rock surrounding them. He walked and crawled for several miles until he saw the light from campfires in the distance. He was a few hundred yards away from the Chinese campfires, so he got on his stomach and crawled the entire way, keeping his head down and making no noise. Early in the morning, he finally made it to the edge of the campsite where he could count the tents and shelters around the campfires. There were twenty huts and tents and about fifteen fires. There were a lot of men as sentries around the perimeter of the camp. He estimated there must have been around twenty to forty men in the camp and no women or children, or at least none that he heard.
He turned around and crawled on his stomach until he was a good hundred yards away, and then he stood up and jogged off into the distance, away from the Chinese camp. He was breathing heavily from running and the fear of coming so close to an apparent enemy. This was a first for Billy, who had never had any military training. Just before sunrise, Billy got back to the Judeo-Christian community to report to General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd. Approaching General Mandel’s tent, Bill called out, “General Mandel, sir, are you up yet?”
“Yes, I hear you, I will be right out, be patient,” General Mandel called back.
Meanwhile, Colonel Shepherd was already up and making an instant hot drink from old coffee and tea bags. Seeing Billy back in camp, he called over to him. “Billy! Bill, what did you learn?” he shouted. Just then, General Mandel came out of his tent, rubbing his eyes. “Let’s sit down and review what Billy has learned, Colonel!” General Mandel shouted. “What did you learn, Billy?” Colonel Shepherd asked. “Well, sir, they are a little over two miles away on a mountain area. I counted the huts and tents as twenty and about fifteen fires. No children or women were around, and there were sentries posted around the camp. I estimate two to a tent or hut, that means they may have upwards of forty men total,” Billy concluded. “Good work, Billy, you were very efficient and accurate in your report. That information will be most useful to us. It sounds like their group is a little too big for us to attack. Our best bet is to establish a better defense just in case they try to attack again. I wonder why they are attacking us to begin with?” General Mandel commented.
The general and the colonel decided on a defensive plan rather than attack a larger hostile force. They cut down some trees and set up sharp spikes in the ground as a defense. In addition, they dug pits with spikes at the bottom and covered them over with sticks and grass. General Mandel erected a signal tower with some cut-down trees so they could see the Chinese if they were attacking. All the preparations took about a week, and no attack from the Chinese occurred.
The leader of the Chinese bandits was Su Yuan Jing. He was a leader of the Hung Hutze bandits of Northern China. Su Yuan Jing was an older man who succeeded his father as leader of the Hung Hutze bandits. They were a group of bandits that had lived in a stone fortress hundreds of years old on the side of a mountain. Su Yuan Jing had twelve children and a loyal wife of many years. He was a short man with a bald head and a small ponytail at the back of his head. A huge scar was evident across his face from a knife fight with another ambitious Chinese man who wanted to take over the leadership reigns many years ago.
After the flooding of all of China except the mountaintops, the Hung Hutze were one of the few groups of Chinese to survive out of millions of Chinese that drowned in the flooding of the earth from the comet’s impact. Su Yuan Jing had an ugly temper, but he was a good fighter and leader of the Hung Hutze bandits. They had survived the flooding because they lived in the mountains at seven thousand and eight thousand feet above sea level.
The bandits the Judeo-Christian group encountered was just a war party looking to raid their neighbors or kill some animals if they found any. The women and children lived in a stone fortress on a mountainside about two miles behind the Chinese bandit encampment. To the bandits, they were protecting their small village, and this group of foreigners seemed to provide a threat. They did not know who these foreigners were, so they attacked first to gain the advantage. Their scouts estimated the foreigners as a hundred strong, including women and children. They observed that the foreigners had guns and horses that they did not have. Their only defense were bows and arrows and spears.
Two weeks after the first attack, the Chinese bandits decided to attack early in the morning. As they came over the mountain ridge approaching the foreigner’s encampment, they were surprised to see a defense perimeter of spikes implanted in the soil. Behind the spikes was cut brush piled up, which could be put on fire to ward off attackers. The bandits decided to attack anyway. As they charged down the hill, the Judeo-Christian group was waiting for them behind some boulders and trees. Colonel Shepherd shouted to the men and women, “Here they come! Hold your shots and arrows until I say shoot!”
When the Chinese were within fifty yards of the spike perimeter, the colonel shouted, “Shoot, get them bastards!” A dozen or so arrows flew into the air, piercing many of the Chinese bandits. Billy lit the brush fires, forming a fire barrier to prevent the Chinese bandits from crossing into the encampment. It worked because the Chinese were scared to jump over the spikes and the fire perimeter. They held back as the Judeo-Christian group shot into the attacking Chinese with guns, crossbows, and arrows. Twenty Chinese were killed in the first assault. The second assault was General Mandel and some of the men on ponies, attacking the Chinese with swords and spears from their ponies. The assault was very successful, and another ten Chinese bandits were killed or wounded. The Chinese bandits went running for their lives, with General Mandel and others on ponies chasing after them. It was a most successful day for the Judeo-Christians.
The Chinese bandits had underestimated the strength and intelligence of the foreigners and fled in terror back to their stone-walled village up on a mountainside. General Mandel followed them until he could see the walled village on the side of a very high mountain. There was no way they could attack a stoned fortress on a mountainside, so General Mandel and the others decided to return to their camp.
Upon returning to their camp, General Mandel discovered that Xiaolin had found a wounded Chinese bandit survivor who had an arrow through his leg. General Mandel asked some of the women to tend to the bandit’s wound since he could be helpful in the future. Perhaps they could use the bandit to take a message in Mandarin to his leader to arrange for a peace talk.
After the two small battles, it was decided to meet with the Chinese using the wounded bandit to return to his village with a message in Mandarin using Xiaolin to interpret. They wanted to explain to the Chinese that their intentions were not to settle in the northern Chinese mountains. Their mission was to continue on to the Tibetan mountains where survival was more likely. The note would ask for a peace talk, and as a show of good faith, they were returning the wounded bandit to his village. Xiaolin wrote out the message in Chinese Mandarin on a piece of paper. After they bandaged up the captured bandit, they put him on a pony and sent him back to his village. Xiaolin also suggested that the two groups might make a trade to allow the Judeo-Christian group to continue on its journey to Tibet. The bandit was most grateful that the Judeo-Christians tended to his wound rather than killing him on the spot. Xiaolin explained to the bandit that they were allowing him to take a pony to make it easier for him to travel back to his village. The bandit was lifted up on the pony, given the message, and sent on his way.
Several days later, a small group of Chinese bandits appeared on a hill nearby the Judeo-Christian encampment with a white flag on a pole, waving in the breeze. Several members of the Judeo-Christian group, including the sentries on duty, called for the colonel and the general to come and see that the Chinese bandits had come under a white flag of peace. They rode out to meet the Chinese bandits with Xiaolin as interpreter. When they approached the bandits, Xiaolin spoke in Mandarin to their leader, Su Yuan Jing. Finally, Xiaolin signaled to General Mandel to come and sit down by the bandits to talk. Xiaolin explained that they were travelers headed to Tibet, and they had no intentions of settling here where the bandits lived. Su Yuan Jing, the leader of the bandits, explained to Xiaolin that their village was in need of food supplies, and they were willing to trade for food and ponies. They had no ponies, and they would be most valuable. In addition, Su Yuan Jing explained that they had captured a small temple of Christian Chinese whom they used as slaves. They did not have enough food to feed the Christian Chinese now. Since the foreigners were Christians too, they wanted to trade away the Chinese Christians so they would not have to feed them anymore. Xiaolin explained this all to General Mandel. The General thought about the offer and decided that they owed a debt to save the Christians even though they were Chinese.
“This is my offer,” the general told Xiaolin. “Tell this Su Yuan Jing that we do not want the Christians, however, we will take them in trade if the bandits let us pass through their territory without harm on our journey to Tibet. We will give them five valuable ponies and some four pounds of dried fish for all the Christian Chinese people and a promise to allow us to travel unrestricted through their land to Tibet in the south.”
Xiaolin told this to the bandit leader. Xiaolin also asked in Mandarin, “How many Christian Chinese people are there?” Su Yuan Jing responded in Mandarin that there were about fifty Christian Chinese men, women, and children. General Mandel told Xiaolin to tell the bandit leader that if he brings the Chinese Christians to this same place tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. or so, he will instruct his people to bring the five ponies and four pounds of dried fish to trade. Su Yuan Jin responded in Mandarin that their trade was fair, and he would bring the Chinese Christians on the morrow and allow the Judeo-Christians free to travel through their territory in China. They all shook hands and bowed, and the two groups parted their ways.
General Mandel returned to the camp and explained to the community what had transpired. He ordered everyone to pack up their animals and to be ready to leave the area as soon as they traded for the Chinese Christians. The plan was to give the bandits their five ponies and dried fish and move on as quickly as they could to get out of the territory of the Chinese bandits, just in case they changed their minds.
The next day, the two groups arrived to meet and trade. The poor Chinese Christians were wearing rags and looked like they were one step away from death. General Mandel hoped that this act of kindness for fellow Christians didn’t backfire on them. After the trade, Xiaolin met with the Chinese Christians and explained that they were free to go where they wanted to or join the Judeo-Christian community for protection and food as they traveled to higher ground in Tibet. The Chinese Christians seemed afraid of the foreigners but decided they needed their protection and food, so they chose to join with the Judeo-Christian group in their mission to travel to Tibet. As soon as the trade was over, the Judeo-Christian group marched off toward the horizon. They hoped to put as much distance between them and the bandits as possible. They were not sure if they could trust the bandits.
All this came to pass as Elijah’s vision had portrayed it, and the only people who knew the vision came true was Elijah and Rabbi Grossman. Truly, God must have spoken to Elijah and revealed himself to Elijah, Rabbi Grossman thought to himself as they were traveling away from the Chinese bandits. Elijah himself began to feel that perhaps he was a vessel of God and blessed by God to receive visions. “How strange was that?” Elijah thought to himself.
“Thou anointest my head with oil.”
Elijah Ben Judah had many visions that came true in the past and would come true in the future. Somehow, by some miracle, he had a special connection to God. It often scared him to think that he had the power of visions that indeed came true. It was a difficult concept for Elijah, a simple Jewish cantor, to accept.
The Chinese bandits, the Hung Hutze, were behind them now, and fifty people, who happened to be Christian Chinese, newly strengthened their numbers in the Judeo-Christian community. The Christian Chinese were grateful for being freed from the bonds of the Chinese bandits, thanks to Elijah Ben Judah’s vision and Xiaolin’s help in interpretation of Mandarin with the bandits. The Christian Chinese helped serve as guides through the Chinese mountain chain of islands in the ocean. Many in their community firmly believed that the Himalayas would be the promised land for generations to come.
Having Mongolian ponies to ride made the trip easier across the islands that were connected by the entire mountain range in China. Goats and llamas were dragging along behind the caravan of people. The Chinese learned from the Mongolians how to milk the Mongolian mare ponies that has a foal to make. The Mongolian people called the fermented mare milk airag. Only a mare that had a foal could be milked, so both the mare and the foal had to be lassoed and tied up together so the foal could drink from the mare.
Many of the Christian community began to believe what Ben Judah was seeing was a gift from God. In such stressful times, both groups needed a spiritual leader. Rabbi Grossman had passed on and only Elijah Ben Judah was there to replace Rabbi Grossman. Ben Judah did something Rabbi Grossman never did before. Elijah reached out to the Christians as equally as he did to the Jews in the community. Many times during Christian services, Elijah offered to sing as cantor since they did not have a choir or organ. His strong and beautiful tenor voice inspired many Christians to sing with passion. When someone was depressed or feeling down, Elijah was there to comfort them. Pastor Swift did not feel threatened because he began to see something in Elijah that no one has seen before. It seemed more and more every day and every week, Elijah had become the community spiritual leader who led by example and helped to keep the group’s spirits up.
One day when the group was crossing over another mountain range, Elijah was standing on a lava boulder outcropping overlooking the ocean, shielding his eyes from the sun, looking in the direction of the next island. Suddenly, a dark cloud floated over Elijah, and a sudden thunderstorm began with lightning hitting the ground but a few feet from Elijah. The crashing sound scared the hell out of Elijah who was focused on looking at the island in the distance. He jumped to the side as the bolt of lightning burned a patch in the ground not too far from him. Colonel Shepherd yelled for him to get down from the lava rock and seek protection.
Everyone was standing on the beach, getting ready to embark on another sailing trip when the thunderstorm suddenly opened up the skies overhead. Rain came pouring down, and everyone scrambled for cover. The only covers available were a few pine trees near the water’s edge. The shelters had already been taken down. Many of the community got very wet since they could find no shelter. Elijah was frozen with fear as the lightning bolt struck the ground right near him. Finally, he came to his senses and dropped to the ground, covering his head. The hair on his head stood straight up in the air as if he had touched a live electrical wire. He rolled away from the lava boulder as far as he could before getting up and running for the beach under a downpour of rain. By the time he reached the beach, he looked like a cat that had seen a ghost with his hair standing straight up in the air and his beard all frizzed out from his face. “What the hell happened up there!” General Mandel shouted to Elijah. Elijah was almost in shock when he said, “I don’t know. One minute it was sunny, and the next minute, a lightning bolt missed me by a few feet. Wow, that was scary.”
Everyone in the Judeo-Christian community saw this event occur, and they were all amazed. Some thought Elijah commanded the lightning to strike. Others thought it was a message from God to Elijah. Whatever it meant, everyone believed it had something to do with divine intervention involving Elijah. The only exception was Elijah, who only thought he almost got killed by a random lightning bolt and not divine intervention.
From that day forward everyone talked about Elijah and how he had changed and how, in many ways, he seemed to be selected by God to see visions about their lives. Even Rabbi Grossman’s wife and children began to see Elijah as a new spiritual leader. One day, Betty Samson mentioned the old concept of a messiah, to deliver the Jews out of harm’s way. Pastor Swift discussed this with Betty one day and pointed out that the Christians believed that Jesus would come again one day to save the world. For Christians, the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus Christ, and one day, he would come again as he promised his disciples. Betty, being Jewish, found that an interesting concept, but she still secretly believed that Elijah was to be a chosen leader or spiritual person endowed with certain powers by God.
The Chinese mountain chain seemed to go on forever. As soon as they walked over one mountain range, another mountain range appeared. The ocean had filled all the valleys, and the rafts could be kept sailing a few miles away from the mountain ridges. Later in the day, the patrols returned one by one. The last group to return came with great news. They had seen a few mountain goats on some lava ledges on the side of a small mountain. This meant they might be able to have meat for the first time in over a year if they could kill a mountain goat. General Mandel formed a small group of the best archers, and they set out immediately with the patrol to find the mountain goats.
About five miles away, the Chinese mountain range rose to snow-covered peaks, and there along the side of the rocky peak were mountain goats grazing on the grass growing out of the rock crevasses. They were over two hundred yards above them on difficult terrain. This was not going to be an easy hunt. Mountain goats were very sure-footed and fast.
General Mandel decided to have one group of archers scale up the mountain from the south, and the other groups go around and scale the volcanic mountain from the other side. Some of the Christian Chinese men offered to help hunt the goats, and their offer was well received. It was the general’s plan to trap the mountain goats from any retreat as the group from the south scaled up the lava rock ledges. “Remember, men, do not waste any arrows. Wait until you are at least fifty yards away. No one is going to hit a goat at one hundred yards with the wind and elevation to consider,” General Mandel commanded.
Each group set out for their mission. The climbing was difficult with sharp lava rock and the intense heat and humidity. The south-side climbing group got within one hundred yards of the grazing mountain goats when the goats got their scent and bolted. Now they had to chase the mountain goats farther up the slope. The north side of the mountain climbing group, including the Chinese Christians, eventually climbed to a lava ledge that overlooked a grassy pasture higher up on the mountain. The mountain goats were coming toward them with the south climbing group forcing the goats to retreat. “Wait until they get closer and then bank your shots a little higher than the goat since the arrow is going to drop,” General Mandel advised in a whisper. They waited patiently until the mountain goats were within range of their arrows. Then four arrows sped through the air, and only one arrow hit its target, striking the large horned male goat in the neck. He bounded off with the arrow still in his neck. The female mountain goats went in another direction out of fear. Now the general and his group had to follow the male mountain goat until he bled to death. Two hours later and many miles of rough lava rock, they found the male mountain goat dead with the arrow still in his neck. They threw the goat over one of the men’s shoulders and took turns carrying the carcass back to the camp. They were most excited, for this would be the first animal meat they had in over a year.
Betty Samson saw the hunters returning to the camp first. “They killed a goat!” she yelled to everyone in the community. Sure enough, the men returned to the camp with the biggest trophy they had to eat in a long time. The goat was skinned, and the meat was put on a stick over the fire to grill to pure perfection. The internal organs were saved too because they could be used in a soup or stew later on. “Congratulations, General. I am sure those mountain goats were a difficult shot to make,” Colonel Shepherd went on to elaborate. “You have no idea how difficult. Even after we were lucky enough to hit one of the mountain goats, we had to track it for miles until it bled to death,” the general replied.
That night, they had a goat feast and relished the taste of real animal meat after a long year without red meat. Prayers of thanksgiving were given for the goat meat, and everyone was thankful. Marcus Green mentioned that night after dinner to Colonel Shepherd. “You know, Colonel, that goats, even mountain goats, give milk and that would be a real find for us. If only we could figure how to capture the female goats alive,” Marcus commented. “You have a good point, Marcus. I am going to have to think about how we could trap and not kill some female mountain goats. We could make milk and cheese from the female goats,” Colonel Shepherd remarked.
“General Mandel, do you think it is possible to trap the female mountain goats and keep them for milk and cheese?” Colonel Shepherd asked. “It wouldn’t be easy, but I am sure with some rope, we might be able to do it cowboy-style and try to rope them. I will get a group of men to start practicing with ropes to see if they can learn to lasso,” commented General Mandel. “Great idea,” commented Colonel Shepherd. Xiaolin reported to General Mandel that some of the Chinese Christian men knew how to make a weapon called a bola. A bola was a rope with two sacks containing rocks on each end attached in a Y to one single throwing rope. The weapon would wrap around the legs of an animal and cause it to fall to the ground. General Mandel liked that idea and asked Xiaolin to ask the Christian Chinese men to make some of these bolas.
The following day, General Mandel searched around to see if they had any rope strong enough to make a bola or a lasso out of it. He found some rope that they used to lash food to the rafts. Only three lassos and three bolas could be made, so some of the men in the community tried to learn the technique of throwing a lasso and using a bola around an object. The Chinese men helped show how to throw a bola. They practiced on a post in the ground, and after many weeks of practice, they seemed proficient enough to go after the female mountain goats and try to capture them.
Both groups decided to select a spiritual leader such as Ben Judah who seemed to be a spiritual man with special powers to perceive the future or bring good fortune to the communities. They anointed Elijah Ben Judah, the Spiritual Leader and the Messiah, who will bring them out of China to the new land of Tibet. Ben Judah reached out to both Christians and Jews alike in his spiritual beliefs. Many Christians believed he might be the Second Coming of the Christ after they saw the miracles he performed that helped save the community. Elijah Ben Judah was anointed the spiritual leader of the Judeo-Christian community. The Christians saw him as the Second Coming of Jesus, and the Jews see him as the Messiah who will lead them to the promised land in the Himalayas.
“My cup overflows.”
Abundance came to the Judeo-Christian community; food was in abundance in the mountaintop ridge. The Chinese mountaintop range led all the way to southern China and eventually the Himalayas. A cow was found wandering and grazing. Fresh milk was available. Stray goats were found grazing also and captured. Elijah was getting old, and his wife, Sarah, have had two children named Benjamin Rob Ben Judah and Elisabeth-Ann Ben Judah, ages 2 and 1 respectively. Their lives were beginning to settle down, and Elijah was having fewer visions than he had before. Everyone in the Judeo-Christian community had become good friends, including the Christian Chinese who have learned enough English to communicate.
A ham radio message said very few survivors in Europe survived after the food riots and racial strife. Only a few humans survived in South America in the Andes and the Himalayas, according to the ham radio message.
After a six-year pilgrimage, the Judeo-Christian community finally arrived at the beginning of the Himalayan mountain range in Tibet. After another month of traveling, they arrived at the outskirts of Lhasa City in Tibet. Many couples have had babies in the last year, and some were pregnant. The Chinese Christians had learned some English and had become friends with both the Jewish members and Christian members of the community. They had finally come to the promised land. Their dream had become fulfilled. Sadly, Pastor Swift and Rabbi Grossman did not live to see this historic event.
When they first approached Lhasa, some of the locals came out to meet them and welcomed them with gifts of food. Later, the monks from the Drak Yerpa Tibetan monastery came to visit. They sat and listened to the tale of how the Judeo-Christian community had come all the way from North America after the comet collided with the earth and the oceans rose to a height of six thousand feet above sea level. The monks were amazed that this small group of people came thousands of miles over oceans and mountains to survive the ocean flooding. They were invited to meet the head priest of the Tibetan monastery once they settled in with their community. The monks offered to help the Judeo-Christian community in whatever they needed. They offered to have local Tibetan help build mud-and-stone homes and trade with the Judeo-Christian community for animals and goods.
The Himalayas were lush with trees and foliage and domestic animals. Many Tibetans and Tibetan monks had survived since they lived at high altitudes all their lives, and the ocean flooding posed no threat.
“Sarah, tomorrow I am going to meet with the monks at the monastery that we saw on a nearby mountaintop. I am going to try and establish good relations with them and make them aware that we come in peace,” Elijah said. “Do you want me to come with you, Elijah?” Sarah asked. “No, that is OK, Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel are going with me to talk with them. I also have someone in our Chinese community that can talk Tibetan as an interpreter that we are bringing to speak with the monks,” Elijah commented.
Later that day, they took some ponies and rode to the Drak Yerpa monastery at the base of Gambo Ute Mountain. Hundreds of steps rose up the mountain to the Tibetan monk monastery. They had to leave the ponies at the bottom of the steps because the only way to get to the monastery was by climbing the hundreds of steps. Huffing and puffing, they finally reached the top of the stairs where many orange-dressed monks met them at the top of the stairs. They were there to meet the leader of the monastery, Sakya Trizin. The monks took them to see the master Sakya Trizin who was sitting in a large, oversized seat, waiting for them. “How may I be a service to you, strangers?” Sakya Trizin asked.
Colonel Shepherd chose to respond. “We have come in peace, Your Holiness. As you know, the earth was hit by a comet and sank in the Pacific Ocean. The world has flooded every place on earth under six or seven thousand feet above sea level. Los Angeles and New York are miles underwater. We have traveled for over five years from North America to find high ground where we could live without being washed into the flooding oceans.”
“I see,” Sakya Trizin responded. “You are welcome in our land so long as you do not break any of our customs.” Small cups of tea were brought to the group, and they sat around a small floor-height table. “I will pray for your community to live in harmony with our community,” Sakya Trizin responded. Just then, Kunchen, Sakya Trizin’s assistant, made the call to prayer. It was time for Sakya Trizin to leave. He bid his guests good fortune and left for prayers. The Judeo-Christian group of representatives finished their tea and left for their descent down the stairs and eventually down the mountain.
“I think our brief talk went well,” Colonel Shepherd said to General Mandel and Elijah Ben Judah as they descended the long set of stairs. “Yes, I too thought it went well,” said Elijah. “Time will tell if he was just giving us lip service,” said General Mandel. They mounted their ponies and headed back to their camp.
Back at the Buddhist temple, Kunchen said to Sakya Trizin, “Master, do you trust these English?”
“I am not sure yet,” Sakya responded. Kunchen secretly did not like the foreigners, and if he were in charge, he would have sent them away. He had to keep his opinion to himself for Sakya might not agree with his rash personal decision. Kunchen was to become a major problem for the Judeo-Christian community in the future. He did not like foreigners.
The first priority for the Judeo-Christian group was to establish more permanent housing like the locals used in Tibet. At this altitude, they would get a winter season and snow, so they had to have good protection from the bad weather. The climate was still warmer than it had ever been before, but at this altitude, the nights were colder and the seasons could turn to winter soon. There was no wood at this altitude near Lhasa. There were some houses built of stone by the local Tibetan that they could copy. There were also Tibetan nomads who used yak hair tents to live in. Elijah and Colonel Shepherd spent some time with the locals and asked many questions about the weather and how bad the winters were in Lhasa. Some local men offered to help the Judeo-Christian community build rock-and-mud houses in exchange for goats, ponies, and llamas. Mongolian ponies were rare in this area.
Llamas brought a high trade value with the local Tibetan and could be used for trading. Xiaolin came along to help negotiate a trade of animals for the local Lhasa men helping to build mud-and-rock housing. She understood Mandarin and some Chinese dialects, but Tibetan was a little more difficult to understand. Sign language worked better than trying to speak Tibetan. The lack of wood made it difficult to find fuel to burn for fires. The Judeo-Christian community learned to copy what the local Lhasa people did to survive. They used yaks for everything. They burned the dried dung of the yak for fires, milked them for food, used their thick hair for clothing and tents, and used their meat for food. General Mandel offered to trade some of the Mongolian ponies for yaks since the yaks were better suited to this climate and stronger for carrying loads and providing milk too. The Mongolian ponies were used to eating grass, and there was not a lot of grass in the Lhasa area.
General Mandel and Colonel Shepherd asked some of the women to meet with the local Tibetan woman and find out how they make noodles and dumplings. They made a spicy stew that a friendly Tibetan man had shared with them in exchange for a mirror in trade, and everyone found it very tasty. Mustard seed was grown locally and was used as seasoning in many of the Tibetan foods the Judeo-Christian women learned. Making butter and cheese out of yak milk was a tedious task that had to be learned too. The Christian and Jewish women made daily trips to Lhasa each day to talk in broken English and sign language with the local Tibetan women. They brought something to trade every trip and that helped make friends more easily.
The Tibetan women were very friendly and fascinated with the trade items the Judeo-Christian women had brought to trade. Elizabeth Shepherd, Mary Moon, and Xiaolin had Colonel Shepherd’s permission to trade Mongolian ponies for yaks if the locals would trade one for one. The three women managed to trade several Mongolian ponies for several yaks in an even trade. They threw in some jewelry to sweeten the deal with the Tibetan woman. After spending many hours with the Tibetan women, they were able to buy some yak cheese, yogurt, and milk from the Tibetan women to bring back to their camp. Adaption to the local customs and lifestyle was the key to survival the Judeo-Christian community learned.
It took but a few months to build a dozen or so stone-and-mud homes by the local Tibetan men, in exchange for animals. While the Tibetan men built mud-and-stone homes, the men from the Judeo-Christian community tried to build fences of stone to keep their animals from running away. It was fall, and winter would soon be coming to the Himalayas. The Judeo-Christian community had to act quickly to get settled for the frigid winter weather. The cool Himalayan mountain weather at night required better clothing than the Judeo-Christian community had, so the women were sent back to Lhasa to learn how to make coats from yak hair. They traded some of their bright-colored cotton for yak skins to make yak coats and the long dress called chuba that the Tibetan wore. Slowly over a period of four weeks, the Judeo-Christian women were able to make chubas and yak coats for everyone in their community. Barley was a staple in Lhasa, and the Tibetan people used it for everything, including barley flour that they made noodles and dumplings from. Potatoes were another important local vegetable that were used in stews. The Christian and Jewish women learned quickly that mustard seed was used as salt would normally be used in every food the Tibetan prepared.
After a month, Kunchen came to see how the foreigners were doing on orders from the head Buddhist priest. Kunchen had his own agenda regarding the foreigners. He was afraid foreigners seeking to survive around the world would come and crowd the Tibetan towns. He did not reveal this opinion to the foreigners. “I must speak with your general,” Kunchen said. “General, you are squatters on our land, and we will expect payment for the land you have placed your houses on.” General Mandel was surprised by this comment because he thought that there was no problem. “We do not have much to pay you with for your generosity and for allowing us to live on your property,” General Mandel remarked. He was very concerned with this one monk’s personal attitude, but he knew he could not go around him and ask the high priest. “We have some wonderful mountain goats we have tamed. Can we pay you these goats for now?” he asked. “The temple gratefully accepts all payments for your land,” Kunchen remarked. “Allow me to show you around our little community,” General Mandel asked. “This would be to my liking,” Kunchen remarked.
After the tour of the Judeo-Christian community, Kunchen took the two mountain goats and returned to the temple. General Mandel went to Colonel Shepherd to talk with him about Kunchen. “Colonel, this monk called Kunchen is going to be a problem. Already he is looking for payments,” General Mandel remarked. “I see that he does not seem to like us,” Colonel Shepherd said. “Yes, we have to watch him because he cannot be trusted,” General Mandel replied.
Life in the Judeo-Christian community was beginning to come together, and many couples were expecting babies. Those that were single were considering a more serious relationship. The Jewish community had merged with the Chinese Christians, despite their language barrier, and with the North American Christians. Elijah led the community with great wisdom now that he was a married man with a child. Sarah, Elijah’s wife, was an important part of his ministry. She spent a lot of time with all the women of the community, sewing garments and chatting.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Elijah had been the spiritual leader of the Judeo-Christian community for over a year, and both religions had combined into one religion with respect for traditional holidays and the Christians. Many Christians, including the Chinese Christians, felt Elijah was Jesus in his Second Coming. The Liberal Jews felt that they had found their true Messiah in Elijah who led them out of North America to safety and higher ground. Both groups felt Elijah was indeed the true Messiah by his visions and his unique role in the Judeo-Christian community.
“Today, my friends, we have much to celebrate,” Elijah announced to the congregation. “We have survived six long years of struggles, death, and sacrifice to find the promised land, higher ground. We have survived the comet colliding with the earth. We have survived the death of our two spiritual leaders, Rabbi Grossman and Pastor Jim Swift. We have much to be thankful for this day.”
Then he sang the 23rd Psalm that seemed so appropriate with regard to the struggles their community encountered. Several community members stood up and said their personal prayers aloud, and everyone remarked with an “Amen.” Winter was coming in the Himalayas, and the thin air made the nights very cold.
Soon snow would be on the ground and the Judeo-Christian group would have to survive the bitter cold of winter. Everyone had made yak clothing over the past few months, and shelters were built for the animals and stone-and-mud homes for everyone. God had been gracious and had provided much for this group of people that suffered so much and traveled so very far in their migration from North America to the Asian continent.
What the community did not know was that there was a cord of discontent with some of the Buddhist monks led by Kunchen without the head priest’s knowledge. Kunchen and other Buddhist monks believed the foreigners were squatters that should pay for the land they occupied. Kunchen had taken some bribes in the past in the form of ponies and goats, but that did not seem enough to solve his greed. Secretly, he plotted to have the foreigners removed.
Later that month, Kunchen came running into the Judeo-Christian community, shouting for a doctor. “Doctor! Do you have a doctor? The master Sakya Trizin has taken ill!” Kunchen was shouting. Dr. Greenspan and Elijah Ben Judah came running out of their homes to see what all the commotion was all about. “Doctor, our master Sakya Trizin has taken ill, and our medicines do not seem to be working. We are afraid he will die. Can you help with some western medicine?” Kunchen asked. “Yes, yes, we are more than willing to help,” Dr. Greenspan said. He went inside his home and got his medical bag. Elijah offered to accompany him to the temple.
The three of them rushed up to the temple and the many steps to the top and entered the great hall where the master Sakya Trizin was lying on a bed of cushions at the far end of the great hall. “Master, master, I have brought the doctor from the foreigners to help you with western medicine.” Dr. Greenspan could see that the master was very ill. “How do you feel, Master Trizin?” he asked. Slowly, and in a soft voice, Master Sakya answered, “I am dying. Soon my spirit will rise up into the clouds.” Dr. Greenspan checked the master’s pulse and determined it was rapid around, ninety-eight beats per minute, and his blood pressure was very high—165/98. It seemed that some kind of infection had attacked the master Sakya.
“I am going to give you an injection of the best medicine I have, called penicillin, and hope it will kill the bacterial infection you have,” Dr. Greenspan explained to the master. The master just nodded his head. Elijah prayed for the master by repeating the 23rd Psalm and several other Jewish and Christian prayers. The monks surrounding the master were very impressed with the knowledge Dr. Greenspan had and the fact that a foreigner from another world and religion was praying for their religious leader. Even Kunchen was impressed as he watched the doctor draw serum from a vial of penicillin. Dr. Greenspan explained to all the monks surrounding them that he would be back that night to give the master another shot of medicine, and they all nodded and folded their hands in a prayer position. “Thank you, great and wise doctor,” they all responded in unison as Dr. Greenspan got up to leave.
As Elijah and Dr. Greenspan descended the steps from the temple, Elijah asked, “Do you think he will make it, Doctor?” “It is hard to say, but if the medicine can kill the bacterial infection, then he may have a chance,” Dr. Greenspan responded. Together they walked in silence back to the community on the outskirts of the city.
That night after dinner, Dr. Greenspan and Elijah went back up to the temple to give the master another injection of penicillin. When they entered the great hall in the temple, the master was sitting up with many monks sitting around him. The master’s face seemed to have a healthier color to it, and he was talking more easily. “How do you feel, Master?” Dr. Greenspan asked. “I am well, thanks to your great medicine, Doctor,” the master answered. “I have one more injection to give you, Master, and hopefully, you will be well by tomorrow. Already I can see you are feeling better,” Dr. Greenspan commented. “I will hold you in my prayers, Master,” Elijah said. “Thank you, Holy One,” the master said. Kunchen was sitting by his side, smiling. It was a miracle he thought that the westerners had such powerful medicine.
The following morning, Elijah and Dr. Greenspan returned to the Buddhist temple to see how the master Sakya Trizin was doing. When they entered the great hall of the temple, the master Sakya Trizin was standing and praying in front of the huge statute of Buddha. “How are you feeling, Master Trizin?” Dr. Greenspan asked. “I am well, my friends, thank you for saving my life, and thank Buddha for allowing you to save my life. I am deeply indebted to you both,” the master answered. “Thank you, Holy One, who is called Elijah,” the master went on to say. “We are delighted you have recovered, Master Trizin. The God of the Christians and Jews blessed you and your life,” Elijah responded. “Truly we are all blessed. Sit, let us have tea together and thank Buddha and your God for their blessings,” the master asked.
So they sat and drank tea together, and all the monks were amazed, except Kunchen. Kunchen was more jealous of Elijah and the doctor for their magical medicine. One day, he, Kunchen, would become the master, he hoped. All the other monks blessed the foreigners and praised Buddha for saving their master. An hour later, both Elijah and Dr. Greenspan left to return to their village.
Winter was upon them, and the first snowstorm left two feet of fresh snow. Now the long Tibetan winter would be the newest challenge for survival of the Judeo-Christian community. Everyone in the community had collected plenty of yak dung to burn in their fires, and kept the yak dung under covers or in a corner of their homes indoors. There was no wood to burn at this high altitude. Meats had to be dried or left in protected huts to freeze. In gratitude for saving Master Trizin, the monks sent food to the Judeo-Christian community.
A new bond between the Judeo-Christian community and the Tibetan monks seemed to grow after curing Master Trizin. Master Trizin was especially impressed with the spiritual presence of Elijah Ben Judah. The master believed God and Buddha blessed Ben Judah. This caused Kunchen great jealousy and concern for the growing power of Ben Judah with the master Trizin.
The ham radio chatter had gone from an occasional message to absolutely no messages at all. It seemed that all the ham radio operators had died over the past few years. No word of the outside world was heard from once the ham radio messages stopped. The Judeo-Christian community was beginning to feel isolated in a world of Tibetan and Buddhist monks. Even the Chinese Christians were beginning to feel the isolation even though they were bonding well with their fellow Christians and Jews. The future in this paradise was beginning to look bleak, and winter set in and the snowdrifts got deeper and deeper. It was a time for reflection by Elijah.
Meanwhile, Kunchen’s jealousy was becoming obsessive in his mind. He had plans on becoming the leader of the Buddhist monastery, and when Dr. Greenspan and Elijah saved the master’s life, Kunchen’s plans were crushed. As the month went on and winter had taken hold of the high mountain country, Kunchen secretly plotted with some of the monks to have Elijah removed. Elijah was never aware of this scheme. So on a dark night in January, Kunchen sent some henchman to Elijah’s home to kill him and his family in the night. With a full moon that night, it was easy to see as the Kunchen’s henchman crept up on the Judeo-Christian community on the outskirts of the city. The henchman entered the front of his home, and they stabbed to death the bodies of Elijah, his wife, and two children. There was a cry from Elijah’s wife as they stabbed her to death. They slit Elijah’s neck, so he was unable to scream.
A dog barked in the village, alerted by the intruders. The alarm whistle was blown, and everyone awoke and assembled in the middle of the village. General Mandel noticed that Elijah and his family did not appear. He sent Billy to wake Elijah, not knowing that Elijah and his family had been killed in the night. Billy discovered the dead bodies under their blankets. He rushed back to General Mandel, shouting, “He is dead! Elijah and his family were killed in the night!” Billy told him of the grisly discovery of their dead bodies. The general formed search parties to find the henchman who came in the night and stabbed Elijah’s family to death. To search at night brought no clues, and the killers were long gone.
Morning came and the Judeo-Christian community was like a beehive of activity with scouting parties trying to track down the henchman that came in the night. They tracked the murderers back to the monastery on the hill. Several men questioned some of the monks as to whether they had seen anyone running back to the monastery in the night. Master Trizin was informed by some of the monks, and Kunchen stayed out of sight. Master Trizin promised to have an investigation performed. He could not believe that one of his followers could commit murder, but he asked his most trusted monks to seek the truth. For some reason, he did not trust Kunchen and did not ask him to help.
The Judeo-Christian community was grieving over the unexplained murder of Elijah’s family. They buried Elijah and Elijah’s wife and children the next day in a grave outside of the village as per Jewish custom. It was a sad state of affairs with no one to lead the Judeo-Christian community in religious services. The snows had piled up to eight- and ten-foot drifts outside for many days, forcing the community to stay inside their homes.
Who would step up to answer the call for this little religious community? Many of the Judeo-Christian community asked themselves these questions: “Who would lead? Who would be the next Messiah?” Master Trizin sent his condolences with flowers from the monastery. Many villages came by to say how sorry they were that this had to happen near their village. Everyone in the Judeo-Christian community grieved in their own way. The general held a memorial service for Elijah and his wife and two children, and everyone cried for the loss of their beloved spiritual leader.
One day several weeks later, a monk came to the master Trizin to inform him that he suspected that Kunchen was behind the murder of Elijah’s family. He believed that Kunchen, out of jealousy with Elijah and his powerful influence with the master, conspired to plot against Elijah and have him killed by some hired henchmen. Master Trizin called Kunchen to the temple where he confronted Kunchen by asking him whether he knew anything about hiring some henchmen to kill Elijah and his family. Kunchen denied the accusations, but Master Trizin insisted that Kunchen tell him the truth or he would be thrown out of the monastery. Master Trizin had a witness appear and confront Kunchen with one of the henchman they caught hanging around the monastery. The henchman, for fear of his life, told everything about Kunchen paying him some gold to kill the one known as the Messiah, Elijah. Kunchen denied everything, but the master did not believe him. The henchman was taken out of the monastery and killed on the steps by having his head cut off. The head rolled and bounced down the hundreds of steps, abruptly landing at the bottom of the steps and left to rot there. This was an example to the other monks and villagers that murder would not be tolerated. As for Kunchen, he was banished from the monastery and the village, never to return to Tibet forever. The rules of the monastery were that no monk could kill another monk, so Kunchen was exiled for life.
One day, a messenger from the master Trizin at the monastery came for Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel. Master Trizin wanted to see them and their wives immediately. Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel were reluctant to go to the monastery because they did not trust the Buddhist monks. General Mandel’s wife, Adel, and some others convinced them to go, and they offered to accompany them to see the master Trizin. “We will show Master Trizin that we are strong,” said Adel Mandel. “Yes, Adel is right, we will show that we are united in our belief and thank Master Trizin for punishing the killers of Elijah and the mastermind, Kunchen.”
So they left before noon that day and traveled up to the monastery sitting at the foot of the mountain. The hundreds of steps were always very tiring to climb, and the men helped the women as they struggled up the steps. The air was cool that day, but the sun was hot, and they were all sweating when they got to the top of the stairs at the monastery.
“Welcome, friends, you honor me with your presence this day,” the master said. “We are happy to be here, Master Trizin,” Colonel Shepherd responded. “This is my wife, Elizabeth, and you know General Mandel, and this is his wife, Adel. We also brought Dr. Greenspan and his wife, Monica.” Master Trizin welcomed Colonel Shepherd and his wife, Elizabeth; General Mandel, and his wife, Adel; and Dr. Greenspan and his wife, Monica. They all shared tea together. Master Trizin said a few prayers and turned the prayer wheel each time he repeated a prayer.
It was Master Trizin’s idea to give Colonel Shepherd and General Mandel payment for their loss of Elijah and his family at the hands of Kunchen, the exiled monk. Master Trizin explained that since Kunchen was a Buddhist monk under his control, he personally felt responsible. He promised that when the winter snows melted, he would have one hundred monks help to build a new temple big enough to be a house of worship for all the Christians and Jews of the Judeo-Christian community. The monks would bring wood timbers from the far away forests and granite rocks from the mountain and build the finest Jewish-Christian temple in Tibet. General Mandel and his wife and friends were elated and overcome with joy and admiration that the master Trizin would do this for foreigners.
“The debt needed to be paid,” the master said. Everyone was happy and excited for the Judeo-Christian community that something good had finally happened after losing Elijah Ben Judah and his family. After a few hours, Master Trizin arose. “I bid you all good fortune and health in the coming year, and may we all come together in our grief and build a new future together,” the master prayed. “Thank you, Master Trizin, on behalf of our group and the entire community. We are most grateful for your help in catching the killers and dealing with Kunchen. God bless,” said General Mandel.
With that, they departed down the one hundred stairs, with monks in orange robes lined up on both sides of the stairs. As they stepped down each step, the monks all bowed. Colonel Shepherd, Dr. Greenspan, General Mandel, and their wives all felt like they were in a parade. They bowed back to the monks as a gesture of politeness. They all had a feeling that their future would be prosperous and that the monks had become their close friends.
So that spring when the snows melted, one hundred Buddhist monks descended from their mountain monastery to come down to the Judeo-Christian village to build the biggest and grandest temple in all of Tibet. It would be on the grand style of other Buddhist temples in Tibet, only it would be for Jewish and Christian worshippers. This would be a memorial monument to Elijah and family. It would take at least eight months or more to complete the temple. The wooden beams that held up the roof were dragged from the far away forests by mules and horses. Buddhist craftsman set the granite rocks precisely on top of one another. Donkeys and mules pulled carts of granite stone from a nearby quarry. The size of the temple was 300-feet long by 150-feet wide. The ceiling arched up into the sky for four stories. Many nearby villagers came by to watch the building of this huge temple and admired the beauty of the structure. Truly, it was a building that would last for hundreds of years.
They named the temple the Temple of the Second Coming to remind them that they had been delivered out of North America to this mountain home. They also remembered what the book called Revelations in the New Testament Bible said that the new temple of the Second Coming would one day be erected. Christians and Jews worshipped in it every day, and all religious holidays were celebrated in the temple. In a plaque on the front of the temple was an inscription dedicated to Elijah Ben Judah and his family. It read,
To our Messiah, Elijah Ben Judah, who led Jews and Christians out of the flooded waters of North America to the promised land in Tibet, and to his family who made the ultimate sacrifice—3056.
For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, “I will build you a house.” Therefore, your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. (2 Samuel 7:27)
Master Trizin was pleased when the temple was finished, and he felt his obligation to the murdering of Elijah’s family had been met. There was a great celebration with hundreds of Buddhist monks, the Tibetan villagers, and the people of the Judeo-Christian community giving thanks when the temple was finished. A banquet was held and animals were roasted for everyone and the monks prepared vegetarian dishes since they did not eat meat. It was a great time for giving thanks and for bringing a Buddhist community closer to a Judeo-Christian community. The Temple of the Second Coming would last hundreds of years in Tibet as a memorial to a messiah who helped to deliver the children of God out of North America to the land of Tibet. Stained glass was made out of the broken pieces of old bottles collected from the town dump. Dozens of Buddhist monks cut and melted the bottles and fragments into window frames of abstract art of natural images, such as flowers, the sun, and the snow on the mountains.
The climate began to return to normal with the high temperatures going down as the years went by. The skies had cleared, and vegetation was growing better. The oceans around the world had receded hundreds of feet from the high points it had reached. The great cities of the world would never again be seen because they were one thousand leagues or more under the ocean. The comet had ended civilization, as it was known in the year 3050. The survivors of mankind would rebuild their lives in small packets on mountaintops around the world. The clock of technology had been turned back, and survival on earth had reverted to the early days of hunters and farmers. The only worldwide communication system were the ham radios that were an antique but effective technology.
On a little mountain valley in Tibet, a small group of Jews and Christians from North America and China lived their lives praying in a temple dedicated to the vision of the Second Coming. Elijah was remembered with the same reverence as was Jesus Christ, and he ranked among the greatest Jewish and Christian prophets of the past thirty-one centuries. His name was forever remembered for centuries to come—how he led his people out of North America, like Moses did out of Egypt, and Northern China to sanctuary in the Himalayas of Tibet. He was the last great Messiah.