Marcus stood on the plateau, stunned, watching as Samael and his remaining companions that survived Faith’s burst of light flew away in the direction from where they came. Mr. White was engulfed by Samael and was being carried away. Marcus had so many questions swirling in his mind. Mr. White had admitted to Samael that he had caused the rapture to arrive earlier, which meant that the rapture was supposed to happen anyway, but how did he know about it? The old man then sought immortality from the creature. Marcus was beyond confused.
The events had happened so fast around Marcus, and he tried to rewind it in his head. The girl started emitting light out of her, and she spoke some words in an unknown language. They sounded familiar to Marcus, similar to the ancient language that they had translated from the ruins. Mr. White had shot the girl straight ahead, trying to save Samael. He shot an innocent girl, and the rage arose and filled Marcus at the thought of that, who was he working for all this time?
He quickly snapped out of it and turned his attention to Warren, who was still on the ground holding Faith in his arms and yelling for her to wake up. Glancing at Max, he could see that the man also had the same thought process as him, they shared a glance and then turned back towards Warren and Faith.
But looking at her, Marcus saw no blood. The girl was unconscious, but there was no sign of a gunshot wound.
“Warren!” Marcus tried to snap him out of his cries.
“I knew we shouldn’t have come here,” Warren cried out. “He shot her, that fucker shot her. I am going to kill him with my own hands!” He continued yelling.
“There is no bullet wound!” Marcus said.
“What?” Warren snapped out of it for a second.
“He shot her straight in the chest, but there is no bullet wound, there is no blood, anything,” Marcus replied.
Warren was gripping Faith tightly and let her go enough to have a clear look at her chest and stomach. Marcus was right; there was no bullet wound. Warren unzipped Faith’s jacket, and nothing, her clothes were whole, and there was no blood, not a scratch on her. Before he could react, Faith gasped loudly for air. It snapped all three of them out of their shock.
“Oh thank God,” Warren yelled out. “Are you ok?”
“What happened?” Faith asked, her voice barely audible.
“You don’t remember?” Warren asked.
“No, I felt bad, really bad.” She said softly. “That feeling of dread and unease overcame me, blinding me completely. And the headache, the headache was unbearable. I remember Angels and Samael talking about something, but then nothing, I blacked out.”
“You went into some kind of a trance and powerful light radiated from you,” Marcus explained. “You also said some words in the ancient language, you don’t remember any of it?” He asked.
Faith looked at him skeptically, “No, sorry.” She said.
“It’s ok honey,” Warren said brushing her hair away from her face. “Can you stand up?”
Marcus watched as Warren lifted Faith to her feet, supporting her weight as she struggled to find her balance. She looked pale and unsteady as if she had just woken up from a deep sleep.
“What happened to Mr. White?” Faith asked after looking over the plateau, her voice trembling.
“He’s gone,” Marcus said softly. “Samael took him with him.”
Faith’s eyes widened in shock. “Why would he do that?” she asked, confusion etched on her face.
“Mr. White admitted to Samael that he caused the rapture to arrive earlier,” Marcus explained.
Faith shook her head in disbelief. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Why would Mr. White do something like that? What was he hoping to achieve?”
“We don’t know,” Warren said, “Doesn’t matter now, don’t stress yourself. Let’s get you out of here so you can rest.”
Marcus nodded in agreement. “He’s right. We should focus on getting you back to the camp and making sure you’re okay.”
They helped Faith walk down the mountain, with Warren supporting her weight as they made their way through the rocky terrain. Despite their fatigue and exhaustion, they moved as quickly as they could, eager to put as much distance between themselves and the plateau as possible.
As they walked, Marcus couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease. The events of the past few hours had left him with more questions than answers. What did Mr. White hope to achieve by causing the rapture to arrive earlier? And why did Samael take him in the end? And most importantly, what did Faith’s role in all of this?
“Where do we even go from here?” Warren asked.
“I still have access to Mr. White’s accounts,” Marcus said. “The ones that he provided for me and my team so we can operate easier. We can use that to get away from Peru and somewhere safe until we figure something out.”
Warren looked at Faith asking her with his eyes what she thought about all this. The girl was beyond tired, she could barely keep her eyes open, but her look told him that she trusted his decision, she wanted to continue pursuing this, to find out the truth.
“Ok,” Warren said.
“What about you Max?” Marcus asked. “You still in or?”
“I am with you guys all the way,” He said.
As they reached the campsite, the team that was left behind by the decision of Mr. White welcomed them with worried faces. They had seen the sky opening and strange light emitting from somewhere. Marcus told them everything that had happened, leaving no detail behind. The team was shocked by Mr. White’s decisions, unsure of how to react to the news.
Marcus let the henchman that Mr. White had employed go. He also confronted Martin, who was on Mr. White’s private payroll, telling him to leave them as well as he could not trust him anymore. Martin tried to convince him that he had no clue as to what Mr. White did and planned, but Marcus didn’t want to hear it. He had made up his mind. Alex and Olivia decided to stay with the team and continue to pursue the truth, which Marcus was glad about.
Meanwhile, Warren led Faith to bed. She was exhausted and needed rest. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she was out like a light. Warren stayed by her side, watching her sleep, feeling grateful that she was alive.
As the evening wore on, Marcus contacted Ava and recounted everything that had happened since Antarctica. Ava was in shock, but she had some new information that could help them, their part of the team discovered more ancient ruins and texts. She suggested they meet at her family’s ranch in Austria. No one knew about it, not even Mr. White with all his connections could find out about it, and they would be safe there for now.
Marcus agreed and arranged their flights for the next morning, using Mr. White’s private plane to transfer to France and they would take the car rest of the way, so they could not be traced if anyone was looking for them. From now on they would have to be on their guard.
The weight of the previous day’s events burdened Marcus as he lay in bed, tossing and turning, his mind swirling with thoughts. Sleep evaded him like a slippery prey, darting away every time he tried to grasp it. Meanwhile, Warren too struggled with sleep, his thoughts consumed by Faith’s safety.
Restless and troubled, the two men found themselves the in each other’s company. They stayed up late into the night, drinking and sharing stories of everything that happened post-rapture in their lives. As the hours ticked by, they found themselves growing increasingly comfortable with one another, each of them feeling the other was a trustworthy person with good intentions in mind. Marcus told him about the plan to go to Ava’s ranch and the flight in the morning to which Warren, who did not have much choice, agreed.
Once again they found themselves on the plane, switching continents. As the plane soared above the clouds, the early morning light filtering in through the windows, the team sat in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Marcus couldn’t help but think about the dangers that lay ahead, and whether they were making the right decisions, waking Samael did not seem like the right choice right now. Warren, on the other hand, was consumed with worry for Faith, wondering what was happening with her, and if he could help her anyhow.
As they landed in France, they were greeted by Ava, who had come to meet them at the airport. Ava was a striking figure, tall and elegant, with piercing green eyes that seemed to take in everything at once. She greeted them warmly, but there was a sense of urgency in her movements that belied her calm demeanor.
The ride from the airport to Ava’s ranch was a quiet one, with all of them still lost in their own thoughts. The countryside whizzed by in a blur of greenery and quaint villages, but none of them paid it any heed.
When they finally arrived at Ava’a ranch, they were immediately struck by its breathtaking beauty. The sprawling estate was nestled in the heart of a verdant valley, surrounded by a sea of emerald-green hills that seemed to stretch on for miles. Thick forests of oak and pine trees hugged the edges of the property, casting long, dappled shadows across the lush green grass that carpeted the fields.
The main house itself was a grand, three-story mansion made of creamy white stone and covered in creeping ivy on one side. The house was flanked on either side by a row of towering oak trees, their leaves rustling gently in the breeze. As they approached the front door, Marcus could see that the house was well-maintained despite its old age.
Faith slept most of the time from Peru to Ava’s ranch. Once they reached their destination she took her time walking around Ava’s ranch, taking in the sights and sounds of the countryside. The fresh air and peaceful surroundings slowly washed away her anxiety, and she began to feel more at ease. As she strolled through the open fields looking over the green hills, the familiar sights and smells of the ranch reminded her of home, of Warren’s family estate.
A combination of fresh air and familiarity helped Faith to feel better almost right away. The weight on her shoulders slowly lifted, and color returned to her face. She breathed in the scent of the wildflowers and listened to the rustling of the leaves in the gentle breeze. It was as though nature was speaking to her, telling her that everything was going to be alright.
The team took their time to unpack and settle in the ranch. Warren didn’t want to bother Faith with constant questions of worry so he let her be. By the time they returned to the main house for dinner, Faith felt like a different person. She was relaxed, calm, and more present at the moment. The delicious home-cooked meal and friendly conversation around the table further added to her sense of comfort and belonging. Before they retired for the night, Faith felt called for Marcus, Warren, and Ava to talk in private with them.
“Honey is everything ok?” Warren asked with a worried look, gently hugging her, Ava, and Marcus giving them space.
Warren’s embrace provided a sense of comfort for Faith, even if it couldn’t erase the worries and fears that plagued her mind. She let out a sigh before speaking.
Faith breathed a sigh and leaned into the hug, comforted by Warren’s presence. “Yeah, I’m fine,” she replied, her voice carrying an undertone of uncertainty. “Well, fine-ish, I suppose.”
Warren looked at her intently, but also gave her enough support and tried not to overwhelm her with his own worry in the process. “What’s going on then, Faith? What did you want to talk to us about?”
“Well, I started slowly to remember what was happening on the plateau,” Faith began, her voice still weak but determined. “I also dreamt a lot on the way here, dreams and the things that happened on the plateau are shaping and merging into one, but I remember some of the moments clearly now.”
Ava and Marcus leaned in, their expressions filled with concern and curiosity. “What do you remember?” Marcus asked. “Take your time don’t push yourself,” his calm voice inviting her to share more and Warren appreciated his approach, nodding back at him
Faith closed her eyes, trying to summon the images from her mind. “I remember the chaos, the anxiety, and the feeling of dread as Samael approached, then it grew into a crescendo as he and the angels started fighting, I felt overwhelmed. But then, suddenly, I was overcome by a moment of peace. It was like I was instantly outside of space and time.” As she spoke, Faith could feel the weight of the memories pressing down on her, but she pushed through.”At that moment, I saw a tall figure – humanoid but with no discernible features. The figure glowed brightly and it opened its arms inviting me in, and when we touched, I saw flashes of visions.
“Flashes of what?” Marcus cut her off, then immediately apologized, he was eager for a new clues, for anything.
“It’s ok,” Faith said. “I don’t know a lot of things, some enormous buildings that looked like temples, but unlike anything, I saw on Earth and that tall figure in the middle of it. It was in the middle of the most vision that I saw. But everything was so quick, visions changing almost each second. Temples, fields, mountains, blue sky, green sky, a battle, then a planet similar to earth or earth in some ancient times with cities busting with people and alien-looking creatures roaming the fields, and that figure in the middle of it all.
Faith paused for a moment to catch her breath before continuing. “Then I saw the angels and Samael on each side of the figure. Something terrible happened, but I couldn’t understand what it was, the visions changed and took a dark tone. But the figure reassured me that everything would be okay and somehow filled me with peace. Then it spoke to me, in some ancient language, I don’t remember the words now, but I think I tried to repeat them. Maybe that’s what you heard me say out loud.”
“Yeah,” Warren said. “You said something in a language I didn’t understand.”
“It sounded a lot like the language the symbols on our foreheads are made of,” Marcus said. “Or at least how we understand it right now.”
“We have made some more discoveries and found some more texts and symbols on the sites we visited while you were away,” Ava joined the conversation. “Maybe you can take a look?” Ava asked Faith.
“Sure,” she said softly. “But I am too tired now. I think I am going to lie down.”
“Of course, honey,” Warren said. “Don’t push yourself.” Ava and Marcus nodded with understanding.
Before they finished the conversation Olivia yelled from the living room. “Come check this out!” She said with a sense of urgency in her usually calm voice.
Four of them rushed to the living room where the team stood around the big TV and on its screen a familiar face. Face that now filled them with anger, Arthur White appeared on the television screen, his image projected to millions of viewers across the globe. His figure fills the screen with an air of authority and power. His graying hair was slicked back, giving him a look of calculated sophistication. His piercing eyes seemed to glint with an intensity that was both mesmerizing and unsettling, and the look was completed with a hint of a smile, an evil smile for those who knew where to look for it.
The team stood in stunned silence as the title flashed across the bottom of the television screen. “Breaking News: Entrepreneur Arthur White to present reassuring evidence that Angels are evil, we have been lied to!” The words seemed to echo through the room, leaving an eerie sense of foreboding in their wake.