Sorry, Sold Out
Free Sample Chapter! Chapter 1 "Blessed be Mary the Mother of God! Children, wake up!" The bell clanged in Mother Elizabeth's hand and Ann, already awake, tossed off her bedsheet. By the time the bell stopped her feet aimed her down the path between the row of beds. Despite her bed's distant location she moved quickly enough to not have to stand in line in the washroom. A few robed bodies had managed to get ahead of her, but most of the girls waited behind her. A few had to be slapped by Mother before they came to, the same as every morning. A long shelf with a dozen holes in it served as a toilet. Across from it stood an equally long metal trench with a dozen faucets and tiny mirrors of varied shapes mounted above it. There were also showers, but the girls were not allowed to use them in the morning. Ann took one of the toilets, then waited behind Mary Johnson in order to use a sink. The water touched her with shocking cold when she washed her face. In the mirror her hair reflected light brown, her eyes blue, her skin a mushroom's paleness. She liked her face, it was long and had a fine nose. She walked back, made her bed, and changed into her school uniform: blue pants held up by a tie-string and a long sleeved white shirt with buttons going down the front. Since she was skinny the clothing hung very loosely on her. She wished she could go straight to eat, or at least get in the front of a line to leave, but the rule was that all the girls had to stand by the beds until they had passed the first of Mother Elizabeth's daily inspections. This involved seeing that the beds were made properly and that the girls were clean and properly dressed. In the cafeteria line she received her bowl of hot cereal. Tomorrow, she reminded herself, was a sugar day, and there would be sugar with breakfast. She thrilled to think of it. She was so lucky; before the Apocalypse and the Resurrection people had not had sugar but perhaps twice a year. The first class of the day was history. This year, for the first time, they read history as a topic separate from Remembrance or Theology. Mother Katherine Ann taught it in overview, from the beginning of time when God created the earth up to the present. Halfway into the school year they studied the Middle Ages. The first half of class consisted of reading the textbook; the second would be listening to Mother Katherine Ann, answering questions, and writing a short essay. Ann quickly skimmed over the section they were supposed to read; she had read it carefully weeks earlier. Then she went on to read ahead in the book. That was against the rules, but she did it anyway. She was excited because she was almost to the second half of the 20th century. Soon she would read up to the year of her birth, 1970, and read about the world she had lived in so long ago. Of course she already remembered quite a bit about her life before Resurrection; that was what Remembrance classes were for. She had been raised from the dead in 2013; she was 14 years resurrected. The ancient struggle between Good and Evil, God and the Devil, Mother Mary and the Anti-Christs had come to a head during Ann's prior lifetime. In the preceding decades the atomic bomb had been invented and the ecocrisis gathered in intensity. Even in God's chosen nation, the United States of America, the contest was severe. Christians divided into many sects, most led by bad men. Anti-Christs were everywhere, including in the Government. Few people were prepared for the Apocalypse and the Second Coming. People watched Anti-Christ preachers on Television rather than obeying Mary the Mother of Christ and her priestesses. Technology was advanced by men guided by Satan and bent on destroying the world. There were many wars: Korea, Vietnam, the wars in the Middle East and Africa. Communist-atheists, agents of the devil, took over the island of Cuba. The government of the United States persecuted, imprisoned and tortured Christians. The Bible could not be taught in schools, and Christians had to pay taxes to support the government's anti-Christian propaganda campaigns. Still, many people were true to the faith, or tried to be true despite their confusion. Before Ann reached the years between her birth and the Apocalypse the time for reading was over. But her teacher pulled her outside of the classroom at the end of the lesson. "Ann, Mother Mary Rebecca wishes to speak to you. Please go straight to her office," said Mother Katherine Ann. "Yes, Mother." Ann was instantly terror-struck. I must have done something wrong, she thought. Had Mother Katherine Ann seen her reading ahead in the history book? Had God told them her secret thoughts, the ones that she tried not to think? It was not a long walk to Mother Mary Rebecca's office, but Ann examined almost every thought she had during the preceding few days. Mother Mary Rebecca was a tall woman; taller than Ann and most of the teenage Children in Ann's class, even taller than the other Mothers. To Ann she seemed very old. Ann was sure that when Christ and Mother Mary came to earth to end the Apocalypse Mother Mary Rebecca had been one of the witnesses. As head Mother of the Holy Redeemer School and Womb of Mary VII Child Care Facility, Mary Rebecca functioned as its ultimate disciplinarian. The Head Mother's body sat enshrouded in the same clothing all the Mothers wore: a loose black robe that reached from the neck to the ground. Except for her height she was recognizable only by her face, a long oval set with a small nose, eyes and lips. Her eyes flashed pale blue; piercing as only those whose authority is unquestioned can be. "Ann, angel, come in." "Yes, Mother Mary Rebecca." Mother Mary Rebecca gazed at her a while, saying nothing. "You have done very well in your classes, Ann. God has blessed you." "Yes, Mother Mary Rebecca." "Before the Apocalypse you were a nurse." Mother waited. "Yes, Mother Mary Rebecca." "Do you know what a nurse is?" "Yes, Mother Mary Rebecca. A nurse is a woman who takes care of the sick, following a doctor's orders." "That is correct, Ann. But there are many things about nursing and medicine that you have not recalled yet. To be a good nurse or doctor requires the study of the human body. You have already made those studies in your past life, so it should be easy for you to recall them. However, you are not to become a nurse, at least not now. God has ordered that the pace of Resurrection be increased. Resurrection is one of Mother Mary's miracles, but we act as her servants in this process. For more resurrections, there must be more servants. You have been chosen for this special service. Tomorrow morning you will be sent to a special school in Resurrection City for this great purpose. Now it would be best if you go to the chapel and pray for guidance until lights out." Again Mother Mary Rebecca paused. "Yes, Mother Mary Rebecca." "Why did God resurrect you, Ann?" "To know her and to love her." "That is correct. One way you will learn to know her and love her is through doing her work. You may go." The Chapel was large enough for all 400 students at Holy Redeemer to sit in at once. Ann knelt there alone. She had never been there alone before. She thanked God for resurrecting her. Then she went through some standard, memorized prayers: Thanks to Jesus, Mother Mary's Prayer, Cast Out Wickedness, and others they had learned at the school. But then she started wondering about her history book: why had things been so bad before the Apocalypse? And why had she been killed, martyred, only to be resurrected 15 years later? What would it be like in the special school? Maybe her questions would be answered. She already had new questions. Why was not she resurrected as an adult, since she had died as an adult? Why did only teachers ask questions, why not the students? Why did God resurrect people a few at a time, rather than all at once, and why more now than before? She had no basis to answer these questions, no knowledge of anything outside of Holy Redeemer and before that the Womb of Mary VII infant care facility, nothing beyond the companionship of her sister Children, the books they read, and the authority of the Mothers. She felt, was sure, something major was missing from this life, but believed that God, through the Mothers, would supply it at some point, just as they had supplied her with all of her needs. After all, they had rescued her from death itself. The next morning her day started as usual, but was quickly interrupted. Mother Elizabeth asked her to wait in the bunk room when the other girls went off to breakfast. A short time passed and Mother Elizabeth returned with a woman dressed as a Saint. She wore a yellowed, long-sleeved shirt and a long yellow skirt that hung loosely about her legs. She was not one of the Saints who worked for the Mothers at Holy Redeemer. "This is Ann Swanson. Ann, this is Saint Mary Jones, who will take you to the Temple of Resurrection. We are all proud to see you go, and expect you will be a glory to Mary the Mother of God." "Yes Mother Elizabeth." "Pick up your things." And while Ann went for her tiny bag of belongings Mother Elizabeth left. "This way, dearie," said Saint Mary Jones. Ann wanted to ask why Mary dressed as she did, but she had never asked anyone a question aloud in her life, so she just followed the woman. They went through a door that led to the kitchen, but bypassed the kitchen and went though another door down a long hall. Mary started rising into the air. It took a moment for Ann to realize that Mary was walking on ... something ... Ann raised her foot, focused her eyes on the step, set her foot down, moved her body up a step, saw Mary receding, and took a second step up, unsteady. Mary looked back, smiling. "Have you been up these steps before, dear?" Mary said. "No. Is this a staircase?" Ann asked the question without thinking, and to her surprise Mary did not seem to notice. "That is right, dear. You will be seeing stranger things. Move along now, I will be in trouble if we are late." Ann negotiated the steps up to Mary only to have Mary start off again in the opposite direction, around a turn. There were several flights of steps and Ann's legs hurt long before they reached the top. They emerged through another door into a room almost as big as the chapel. A large metal machine dominated the room; after a moment, following Saint Mary Jones, Ann realized there were two separate machines. Mary opened one up. "You have to get inside, in the seat," she said. Ann looked into the machine, saw a seat, and managed to get into it. Mary closed the door and Ann saw small windows she could see out of. Before she could get her bearings Mary opened the machine from the other side and got in. "It is old," Mary said, "but it runs. Do not worry, it is not a long trip."
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