The Final Chapters
- Chapter 23 -
What's To Come
Martin was further up ahead, checking around the corner of the public library. He signaled to Jesus to come over. They we're just in front of the abandonned sawmill. There didn't seem to be anyone in the streets, as if the city had been evacuated somehow.
Jesus followed Martin's orders and began running towards the sawmill. He jumped over the chain linked fence and fell hard on his back. He turned on his side and saw Martin running in his direction. He was just about to jump the fence when a member of the Sicarii came around the corner and fired at Martin.
The world stopped as did Jesus' heart. Everything was silent. Martin grabbed at his chest as blood spilled from his wound. Defeat shadowed his face just as he collapsed face down on the hot pavement.
"Nooo!" Jesus struggled to get air back into his lungs. Sicarii members were swarming towards the sawmill, hundreds of them. Jesus managed to get on his knees when he felt it coming. The edges of his vision began to blur into a swirl of mauves and purples. Everything turned black and he was kneeling in front of the woman who claimed to be Madonna Riviera.
"You have to stop running, Jesus. They are at your front door." She said, not an ounce of sympathy found in her voice.
"I know who you are, Anna Simeon." Jesus said, spitting out her name with disgust.
The woman laughed and walked around Jesus. "You know nothing! That is what will destroy your world, Jesus Murphy. The Sicarii, as you call them, are going to win. This place is already doomed. Rest assured, I am who you call Madonna Riviera. My word is to be trusted and before this war is over, I will bring you home."
The darkness began to fade away and Jesus found himself inside a white bare room, looking up at Madonna.
"Where's Martin? Jesus, where is he?" She asked, and Jesus detected sadness in her voice as if she anticipated the answer he was about to give her.
"They...they shot him." he answered. He felt disconnected from his body, as if he wasn't the one saying those words. It couldn't be true. Nausea overcame him and he leaned sideways to throw up.
"This can't be" Madonna said, pacing around the room, unable to stay still in one place. She looked back at Jesus. "We don't have time to grieve, Jesus, the Sicarii are here. We're trying as hard as we can to hold them back but once Anna arrives, there won't be much time left to act"
"Didn't you hear me? Martin is dead. They shot the only person that was ever there for me. I don't care what happens. This place is doomed, Madonna. You told me so yourself."
An Agent was just about to enter the room but Madonna asked for more time alone with Jesus. She wasn't going to give up on this place without a fight.
"Listen, Jesus, that vision of me isn't me. I don't think the way she does, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We can stop them. Don't you understand the consequences of them getting at you? The balance will shift and evil will have the upper hand, Jesus. Damn it, get your head out of your ass for a minute and think of the repercussions. If the balance shifts, every single person here dies, Jesus. Get it through that thick skull of yours."
Jesus lowered his head in shame. He was always thinking about himself. Why didn't he understand? Why didn't anyone tell him anything? Why him? He was so busy thinking about himself and his own troubles that he forgot to stop and ask if the world was still turning. He didn't have the luxury to sit at home, make friends, and enjoy life.
"I'm scared, Madonna. I'm confused about everything that is happening. Life doesn't make sense here, there's no time to ponder or appreciate. My whole life was a speeding bullet."
"And it's time for that to stop, Jesus You can stop this."
Madonna placed a gentle hand on Jesus shoulder' just in time to feel the cold splash of his tears. He looked up into her eyes and smiled. He wouldn't let Martin down.
"Tell me what I have to do"
"It's simple" Madonna answered, "You have to heal them of their anger. Heal them and good will triumph."