I hope you are enjoying my new Selah book. I’ve decided to make it easier to read by placing the new version of Chapter 1 here.
A Prison in the Desert
Selah was walking in the desert late at night. Clouds must have hidden stars and moon, for very little light shone around her. Her eyes got used to the dimness, and she carefully stepped over rocks and avoided tall, sharp cactus plants. In the distance she could see the mountains that surrounded the desert on 3 sides. The 4thside, westward, opened toward the Golden City and the Sea.
Selah looked at her glowing, hand-held Tech. It showed the time at 3:33. She held her breath. Nothing moved: no wind, no living creature, no distant wave of sound. Even Selah’s thoughts silenced. Then, in the next second and the next breath, the westward sky exploded in a brilliant light.
It seemed beautiful at first: a roundish ball of glistening white became a mushroom, reaching high and low. In moments it leaped upward and out toward Selah and the distant desert, edged by shooting flames of red and blue, consuming everything in its path. Later the sound followed, a shock millions of times louder than the close-up shooting of a metal gun. It would destroy any ear that might hear it, but since it was slower, the light would already have erased everything in a cataclysmic firestorm, until even the molecules—once dazzling in the air—burned to nothing.
“Maker, are you here?” Selah asked, speaking in the total dark. How could she still be alive to think or talk? How could the darkness feel both cold and peaceful?
The scene changed to a simple bedroom. Late-night blackness poured through closed, barred windows as a little light appeared inside, illuminating color. Selah parted crimson drapes. Pale yellow stars swirled into the darkness like a firefly dance. Selah reached out to catch one in her hand. It glowed between her fingers. She took a step, wishing for a tree. A hemlock fir appeared, draping its branches around her shoulders like green, antique lace. It was the perfect place to hide. She opened her fist and placed the firefly star upon the closest branch.
“Oh, cover me,” she cried to the arcing branches. “Keep me from the empty dark and memories. Hide me from Apocalypse.”
She ached with desolation, pain from head to toe.
The distant sound of bells broke through the shifting images of dreams. Selah reached out to her bedside table, pressed a button, and silenced the Tech device that woke her.
The sun was not up yet. Faint wisps of pink and orange clouds like feathers drifted above the east. Selah looked up at them between the open wooden window blinds.
“It was just a dream, again,” she whispered to console herself.
Her mobile Tech device blinked red, drawing her eyes to it. She sat up and reached for it, staring at its luminescent screen that glowed with particles of blue light. Red light pulsed through it, telling her that it would not stop until she checked the message that waited for her.