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The Prophet aka: The Old Man - first chapter
ivor | Published 945 days ago

The Old Man   aka; The Prophet   

                             By: Ivor

       It seemed to the city dwellers, that the old man had come from nowhere, a derelict wearing tattered clothing and looking like he hadn’t taken a bath in many days. He stood in the prominent street corner, in the heart of the big city. People rushing by on their lunch hour would hardly take notice of him; just another bum.  His sign was hand scrawled on a oversize piece of cardboard that he ripped off of a large packing box. The message was written in black ink.   It’s wording was simple and concise. In big letters, it proclaimed:

                        REPENT SINNERS, THE END IS NEAR. 

     The shopkeepers were the first to complain; it was not good for their business to have a transient parked out in front of their shop. The police checked their ordinances, found he did not have a permit, and had him moved from the corner of the business district, to the park. The old man was undaunted, he clung to his sign, through all the elements.  Standing from dawn to dusk, yelling out his message of salvation to anyone in earshot.

     “Just another lunatic off his medication,” That’s what anyone who passed by said. Everyone averted their eyes from his sharp gaze.His skin was weathered like old leather, his beard long and gray. An old cigar box by his feet held a few coins, mostly what had been 

discarded or found on the street. No one saw the old man eating, in fact no one paid him any mind.

     If on occasion anyone did show him any kindness or charity, he would grasp at them, and in a voice that could best be described as a combination of admonition and pleading, he would tell them to leave town as soon as possible. "The end is near."

     The city council was called to order. The old man was deemed to be a public nuisance and would be ordered to leave the city. The old man defied them, and held his place by the park bench. At first they sent a social worker who offered the old man a bus ticket to a neighboring city. The old man took the ticket, but remained in place. Next came the thugs and hoodlums; they mocked the old man until they got tired of doing so. Then they threatened him with 

physical violence.

     It was no surprise when the police found the old man lying on the pavement, his nose broken, several teeth missing, and his sign was torn in half. He was alive, but breathing hard as he lay on the wet pavement. He could not identify his attackers, it was too dark. The doctors agreed that the old man had been roughed up, but there was no life threatening damage. The last doctor who looked at him suggested in a low voice that it would be best for him if he left 

town. The Doctor´s words fell on deaf ears.

      The next day the old man was back on the street corner; his sign mended. No one less than the Mayor of Seadome signed the official order. It stated that the old man could not be allowed to remain in the city. He was to leave the city limits or face jail time. 

     The old man realized that he could not effectively get his dire message out to the public from the confines of a prisons walls, so he reluctantly agreed to leave town.

     The major road leading into the city brought travelers who had transversed the vast desert. The tall spires of the city were a welcome reminder to travelers of how humans could tame a hostile environment and build a large city in the middle of nowhere. That the city itself had the tag, "Sin City"  did not diminish the allure that the tall buildings promised. The old man, ever defiant, propped himself up with an even larger sign, just at the city limits to be seen by all who were entering the city.  The sign provided shade for the old man from the desert heat. All approaching motorists could easily read it: 

                         REPENT SINNERS, THE END IS NEAR!

     On the hundred and twentieth day, the old man was awakened in the pre dawn hours, with the realization that his job was just about finished here. He shook his head sadly as a shadow from out of the night was approaching, with the sound of heavy repeated footfalls. 

     The old man stood his ground and watched as a massive figure approached from over the horizon. The city was still sleeping as its end unbeknownst to them, was indeed drawing near.

The old man could not help but marvel at the sight; a barefoot boy was walking toward the city, his eyes were dark and determined. He was clothed only in clouds of glory and he had a job to do.   He was twelve years old, with  chestnut hair and fair skin, and he was about a thousand feet tall.

      The old man stood in the middle of the empty road and bade him welcome. The boy surveyed the city before him, but a gem like light by his feet caught his attention. He bent down and gently scooped up the old man, who was now crying. The old man heard his words, but not from the boys mouth.

     "Why are you crying, Elisha?" The boy asked.The old man replied,

     "I have failed, Gabriel." His tone was heartbreaking, he knew the city of Seadome was doomed.

     "No Elisha," Replied the boy, "You have done all you could, your job is over and mine is about to begin." 

     The giant boy gently cradled the old man in his hand.

     "That one kind man by the name of  Lot, has he and his family left the city?"  The old man asked sadly.

     "Yes, I believe he and his family have left town, and now its time for you to leave. You will make your report to the Grand Council. They will look favorably upon you."

     With great regret, the old man replied, 

     "But no one was saved."

     "That was not up to you, you tried your best" Came the response. The boy looked at the kindled light in his hand, he lifted it up higher until the glowing figure of the old man was transformed into an angelic figure. The glowing angel leapt off the giants hand and took flight into the shimmering early morning light, soaring up into the heavens above.

     The boy then turned his gaze to the city that he dwarfed, his business of violent destruction awaited him. He smiled.


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