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Stories from the Verse
For Better or Verse
Chapter 76: Hastings 118
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"The Lord says--"
There had been ten minutes of silence, a silence marked by prayer and a growing sense of a presence familiar to Lauren and yet somehow different, as if she was seeing someone she knew from a different side. Now, in a brief pause in Ana's words, she was struck by a disparity. As a student of the Bible, she had many times read the prophetic introduction, "Thus says the Lord". She had always imagined it a dynamic and powerful statement, spoken in a bold voice brimming with confidence. When Anastasia started, it sounded more like recounting a conversation, or gossiping around a knitting bee. The pause was not long enough to think all this, but just such that the impression struck her.
"Two blocks up you can catch the Speedline out to Atlantic, where you can catch a Route Forty tube bus through Woodstown to Sharptown. Get off at the Cowtown Shopping and Sporting Complex, and follow the signs for the Farmers Market. At the far end of the market, past the Pennsylvania Dutch stand, there's a back door. Step through that, and you're in the garage. To your left is the arena; but before you get there there's an entrance to the barn, and at the other end of the barn you'll find a door to the pastures. That will get you out."
Lauren pondered the directions. She knew some of those places from her world. This had to be Philadelphia, or maybe Camden, if the Speedline ran from here to someplace called Atlantic--it must be Atlantic City. Route Forty, if she remembered aright, connected Atlantic City to Delaware; and although she'd never been to the rodeo and farmer's market at Cowtown, she had friends who were always bargain hunting there. She now knew where she was, and where she was going.
"Oh," Ana added, "and He says to put it on His Goldcard."
Lauren smiled. God certainly had a sense of humor. She pulled out the golden rectangle from the bag and again looked at the Greek etched on the back. And the god of me something something according to something of him in glory in Christ Jesus. Could it be And my God will provide all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus? Whatever it was, he had given her a credit card. She had no idea how it worked, but what mattered at the moment was whether she could work it. He owned the cattle on a thousand hills; certainly He could afford to give her cab fare.
"Thank you so much, Ana, Dimitri. Could you point me to the Speedline?"
"Gran," Dimitri said, "Why would God have her take that old thing? It's more a tourist attraction than anything else."
Lauren answered. "Dimitri, the last time I was in this world, it was one of the fastest ways to get across the river. It may be slow now, but at least I've been on it before, so I have some idea of how it works. Figuring out what a tube bus is will be more trouble, but I'll manage. Besides, it's probably faster to jump off the Speedline in Cherry Hill and take two ninety-five down to around Pennsgrove and cut across, but that would mean more changes, so this is almost certainly easier."
Apart from that, she thought, God never did anything for only one reason. If He wanted her to take the Speedline, it might be because there's danger the other way; or it might be because there's something she needs to do before she gets to Bethany. "That, anyway, would be the most obvious reason," she said.
She sat another moment, thinking about what might lie ahead. Then she stood.
"I want to thank you so much for your help, Ana; and you, too, Dimitri. If you do nothing else in the battle ahead, you will still be remembered as heroes who did the important thing when it mattered. But I must be going. So, which way is it to the Speedline?"
"We did nothing, really," Ana said. "We just offered hospitality to a stranger, and so found ourselves entertaining an angel. God said that would happen, sometimes. I don't think it's ever happened to us before, but I always knew it would." The blind woman rose, as if remembering courtesy. "Dimitri, help our brother Lorne get to the train."
"Yes, Gran. You'll be all right until I get back?"
"God will take care of us both."
"Can I help you with anything, Lauren?" he asked.
She tucked the laser rifle into the cart and grabbed its handles. "No thanks," she said. "I think I've got it."
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #186: Worlds Change. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: