Read F Paul Wilson - Novel 03 Online

Authors: Virgin (as Mary Elizabeth Murphy) (v2.1)

F Paul Wilson - Novel 03 (45 page)

BOOK: F Paul Wilson - Novel 03
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"If you do not, if you continue along the
same path you have trod these thousands of years, you will create a hell for
yourselves and your children.

           
 
"Look not for a Third Coming. And act not
in fear of eternal reward or punishment. Your reward or punishment is here.
This is your world, these are your lives. He has given them to you. Use them
well, make the most of them, make them
mean
something, make them
count.
For
this
is your Heaven or Hell. You have
the power to make it either. The choice is yours.

           
 
"Do not wait for the Rapture of the
faithful, or for the Tribulation of the unbeliever. They will not come from on
high. Your rapture arises from each other, as do all your tribulations. Heaven
or hell will be of your own making. You have but to choose.

           
 
"This then is the whole of the law:

           
 
"Find Harmony, children, and you will
find Love."

 

         
26

 

Paraiso

 

           
 
Dan had listened raptly. She'd been speaking
to the world, he knew, to all of humankind, but he'd felt as if she were
speaking only to him. For what she'd said reflected exactly his innermost
thoughts and feelings. Because of his vows, his membership in the priesthood,
he'd been afraid to vocalize them, even to himself. But now that
she
had said them, he could acknowledge
what he'd sensed,
known
all along.

           
 
He wondered if that was why he was here, in
this house, in her presence—in
His
presence—why
he'd been with her all along.

           
 
As the Virgin finished speaking she touched
Carrie's bowed head and said, "Come, my devoted one."

           
 
Carrie rose to her feet. The Virgin held out
her hand and Carrie took it.

           
 
The Virgin said, "Our time here is
done."

           
 
Our time
is done.
What did she mean by that?

           
 
Dan swallowed and addressed her again.

           
 
"Wait . . . please. Can't you . . . bring
her back? Make her live again? You can do that, can't you?"

           
 
The Virgin shook her head. "Her time here
is through. She is coming with me."

           
 
"With you? You're taking her away? Where?"
Dan felt a sob building in his chest. He still hadn't come to terms with
Carrie's death. "Oh, please. I've only just begun to know her. You can't
take her away from me now."

           
 
"I haven't taken her away. One of your
brothers did that."

           
 
And then Carrie and the Virgin began to rise.

           
 
When they were floating half a dozen feet
above the floor, they began to drift toward the ruined windows, toward the sea,
toward the towering column of water that waited for them.

           
 
"Wait!"
cried another voice. It was the man who called himself Kesev, whom the
Mother called Iscariot. "Mother, please wait!"

           
 
Their seaward drift slowed.

           
 
"Yes, Judas?"

           
 
"What of me?"

           
 
"What of you, Judas?"

           
 
"Am I to be left here alone? Haven't I
suffered enough? Two thousand years, Mother! Haven't I earned
forgiveness?"

           
 
"Forgiveness does not come from me,
Judas. You know that."

           
 
"Then intercede for me, Mother. He
listens to you. Don't leave me here alone. Everyone I've ever known has left
me. Please . . . I do not deserve this anymore."

           
 
The Virgin paused, as if listening, then
extended her free hand toward Judas.

           
 
"Come."

           
 
Judas rushed forward, leaped to catch her
hand, and when their fingers touched, he floated up to join her, clutching her
hand in both of his.

           
 
Dan saw tears in Judas's eyes, and felt them
well up in his own. Carrie . . . Carrie was leaving.

           
 
He fought the urge to call her back, knowing
she wouldn't, couldn't respond. He'd lost her—not now, not today, but
yesterday, when Emilio had put a 9mm hole in her heart.

           
 
The three of them drifted through the ruined
window frames, out into the storm, toward the gargantuan swirling, roaring
column of water that loomed outside.

           
 
Dan ran to the frames, clung to one, leaning
over the precipice that fell away to the pounding surf below. He sobbed
unashamedly and let the tears flow down his cheeks.

           
 
He watched longingly as their progress
accelerated and their retreating forms shrank.

           
 
Soon they were lost in the mist.

           
 
Moments later, the cyclopean waterspout began
to retreat, shrinking as it moved off into the Pacific. Gradually it thinned
from a thousand yards across to a slender tornado-like funnel, and then it was
gone.

           
 
The storm, too, was gone. Magically, the
encircling winds died, the fog melted away, the clouds dispersed.
Midday
sunlight burst free and flooded the sky,
warming Dan's face and spirit.

           
He clung there a few moments longer,
wiping his eyes, gathering his wits, girding himself to face a world without
Carrie. Finally, when he turned away, he saw Senator Crenshaw leaning over the
hospital bed, whispering to his unconscious son.

           
 
"Did you hear that, Charlie? You're going
to be well again. All I've got to do is give away everything I own. But that's
no problem, Charlie. I'll set up trusts for everything, even for Paraiso. That
way all my assets will be out of my control, but we can still live here. And
I'll
put my nomination bid on hold.
I won't do anything until you're better, Charlie. After that, you'll see the
goddamndest
campaign you ever saw in
your life. You just wait and see, Charlie."

           
 
As Dan walked past he couldn't resist saying,
"You just don't get it, do you."

           
 
"What?" Crenshaw said,
straightening. "What do you mean?"

           
 
"Weren't you listening?"

           
 
"Of course, I—"

           
 
"Then think about what you heard, fool."

           
 
Dan could spare not any more time here. There
was a new world outside. He could feel it.

           
He hurried up the stairs and burst
out into the new fresh air. He had no idea what he'd find when he got back to
civilization, but he knew the events of the past few moments had changed it
forever.

           
 
For better or for worse? And for how long? He
would see.

           
 
He dearly wished Carrie were here to explore
it with him. And maybe she was. She'd touched his life so deeply, he knew he'd
always carry a part of her with him.

           
 
He thrust his hands into his pockets and
realized that Carrie was still with him in a more tangible way. He pulled out
her Ziploc of powder and clippings and stared at them. Whatever he found out
there in the new world, he was sure now that the new age of miracles was not
over yet.

           
 
Perhaps it had just begun.

BOOK: F Paul Wilson - Novel 03
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