The Burning Revelation
Hope was a simple woman. She enjoyed her days with a glass of lemonade and a rocking chair while watching the children she cared for play on the large front lawn. She didn’t have a neighbor in sight, or even within walking distance. Her car was far older then thirty years old, but she only used it for the occasional trip to town. Her driveway was dirt, her tree had a tire swing, and her porch wrapped around the house.
She had lived there for years, in fact she had been in the house longer then most people had been in the county. She was careful with her reputation though. She always had lemonade for guests, and was always friendly to them, but she didn’t encourage them. This was her slice of heaven and it had taken her a long time to be all but forgotten in the area. Her neighbor down the hollow knew who she was, and his father had as well, but that was about it in the county. In fact, the neighbor did most of her errands these days, either him or one of the older kids that stayed with her from time to time.
She loved caring for children, and she had for most of her life. She had only a few of her own, and they were now long gone and far from her, but she was never without someone to care for. Mostly, she found them, but from time to time they would show up at her doorstep. The last one was brought to her, a small, odd girl who was wiser then her age but sweet and innocent all the same.
Not too long ago two young men came to the gate at the start of her driveway, both holding a hand of the young girl. There they waited until Hope came to see who was there. They were polite enough, and very handsome in their suits. They introduced Lucy, who had been only a little shy, and after securing Hope’s promise to care for her they left.
That had been a few months ago. Lucy had played, and laughed, and acted like any normal girl. In the snow that had fallen during Christmas she made snowmen and snow angels with the other two children currently staying in the home. She had opened gifts and emptied her stocking with just as much excitement, even though she admitted to Hope later that she had known there wasn’t a Santa Claus and that she had known what she was going to receive. When there was an ice storm she stayed inside and had hot cocoa by the fire. When the weather cleared up she ice skated on the small frozen pond behind the house.
Hope wished that Lucy would grow up with her, free from the cares of the world, and free from the storm she sensed was on the horizon. It wasn’t to be though. Not long after the new year had started, Lucy became increasingly depressed and quiet. Hope knew of the girl’s visions, and had tried to teach her to control them, but they were powerful and Lucy too inquisitive. She wouldn’t talk about them though, and Hope could see it was starting to weigh heavily on her.
Then one day, Lucy came to her while she was sitting on her front porch and put her hand on Hopes arm.
“They are coming. The young men are on their way,” she said with a look in her eye that told Hope that she might have to say good bye to Lucy.
“When they are at the gate I will know about it and I will let them in,” she assured Lucy.
“Thank you,” Lucy said with a smile and she sat down next to Hope. There they sat for only a short time, watching the snow and ice covered world. It was evening and the light played in the ice on the trees, casting colors around in a manner that made the hills look like they were on fire. Hope loved the sight of it and lost herself in it for a moment. Then the feeling that slow crept up the back of her neck and warmed her core came and she knew the young men were at the front gate. She didn’t move, she only took a deep breath and concentrated for a moment. It wasn’t too long before a small tan car drove up to her home.
Out stepped the two young men in suits. One shorter then the other, and more serious as well, but both wore dark colors and had neatly trimmed hair. They might have looked like business men or church preachers, but she could sense they were both very deadly.
“Miss Hope,” the taller one said with a friendly smile, “I am pleased to finally see your lovely home. I am told it is a privilege.”
“It is indeed,” Lucy said with hospitality.
“Lucy,” the shorter, and more serious one, started, “We have to ask you some questions.”
“Not your own I presume,” Hope stated. She motioned for everyone to come inside before calling the other two children in from the yard. Everyone followed her without question, much like they would a mother, and when she motioned for them to take seats in the living room they sat down with a quiet thanks. She sent the two other children to play in another room and had Lucy sit by her side on a large couch.
“Lucy, we need to know what to expect next. Things have changed from what Ben expected and we are not sure how to proceed. Has the future changed the better?”
Lucy looked down shyly and tried to start talking but after some time she hugged Hope and held her tight. Hope patted her back and reassured her. It took some coaxing, but eventually Lucy was able to answer them.
“We are all going to die very soon,” she said with tears in her eyes. “We are all going to die horrible, painful deaths.”