Posts Tagged ‘Apocalypse’
“We’re going to crash,” the woman in the seat next to Manny said again. Her voice sounded like brakes squealing on asphalt. She wore a green flowered dress that reminded him of the American housewives of the 1950’s, her hair steel-wool gray. She held both arms straight out, elbows locked, a vice-grip on the sides of the seat in front of her. She’d been like that for the last five minutes, eyes closed, head down, weeping.
“Stop saying that, madam,” Manny said. He fought the urge to spew at the woman in his native Russian. “You’re getting on my nerves. The captain’s doing everything he can.” The flight from Salt Lake had been uneventful until they approached Denver. At 10,000 feet a cloud of red dust choked the engines into silence. An eerie blue glow surrounded the plane. The smell of burning ozone permeated the cabin.
The woman didn’t look up. Her lower lip quivered. She sobbed, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.” Even the flight attendants, who took their crash seats long ago, looked annoyed at her repeated prayer and irritating crying.
The plane jolted again. The passengers lurched forward. The woman screamed. So did several others. Manny gripped the leather case tighter to his chest. His life’s research. He looked once more through the window to the stricken engine. It sputtered, and then flamed out again.
With each sputter another lurch, then another, first one side, then the other. A coughing backfire of red dust mixed with blue flame. Some of the passengers had their phones out. The man across the aisle shouted into his phone. “I love you. Tell the kids I love them.”
A boy dressed all in black with a nose ring used his phone to shoot video, first out the window, then back to the terrified passengers. “This is so cool,” he said. The girl next to him, also dressed in black, slapped at him each time he said it.
The fields outside the Denver airport turned into runway much too fast. The woman next to Manny repeated her mantra—faster now. The strange blue glow that had surrounded the wings, which shimmered when they first hit the red dust, had now disappeared.
Another lurch. This time a whoosh and a roar. Manny turned to see the left engine catch. The woman’s chants stopped. She opened her eyes for the first time, popped her head up in the direction of the now firing engine. Her mouth opened, her breath caught on a whimper.
The engine on the other side of the plane sputtered then roared back to life. Some passengers cheered. Manny felt the plane level out. The tarmac rushed by not more than a dozen feet below. He saw the big white stripes which indicated the end of the runway. Too fast. There’s no way the captain would try to land now. Surely he’ll go around and try again.
“Brace, brace,” the captain said over the intercom. This is the first they heard from the cockpit since the power went out with the engine failure. The fine red dust still rushed by the windows of the plane. Manny put his head down, grabbed his legs with his hands. His arthritic fingers screamed in pain. “Please, please, let me live to get my research to the conference,” he said in a whispered voice to no one in particular.
The voice of a pastor in the seat behind them increased in volume. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Stupid fool. Too much talk about death.
Manny felt the jet slam down hard on the asphalt. It bounced. Screams erupted. The plane came back down—hard. The emergency lights flickered then failed. The sound of grinding steel drowned out the screams. “Oh shit,” the boy dressed in black said. “Not cool.”
Manny clung to his legs. His knuckles screamed while the plane continued to bounce. It slid for what seemed like an eternity; then came to an abrupt stop. The grinding noise ceased. The dim lights flickered back on. The smell of jet fuel surrounded them. Passengers popped upright, heads turned first one way then the other. He saw shock on some faces, happy surprise on others. Sounds of “thank god” floated in the stuffy air of the cabin.
The flight attendants jumped up, began to open the doors. They shouted to the passengers in the emergency isle to get the wing doors open. The woman next to Manny cried again, this time happy tears. He helped her to the wing exit and through. She clung to his arm the whole way through. The flight attendant told them to jump on the yellow chute and slide to the ground. Manny jumped, moved away from the chute and looked around.
Their jet landed in a ravine, a few yards below a service road. A red and yellow fireball rocked the landscape a short distance away. A private jet had also caught some of the red dust. It was not so lucky and crashed hard. Flames shot into the red-dust-filled sky. Manny’s heart filled with grief for the unfortunate passengers.
An old pickup screeched to a halt along the top of the ravine. A young man in blue jeans and sport coat climbed out. Manny clutched the worn leather briefcase to his chest, raced up the embankment toward him. The red dust that floated everywhere filled his lungs, choked him. He wheezed his way up the steep incline, age showing in his ancient joints.
“Can you take me to the terminal right now?” The young man stopped at the sound of Manny’s voice. He stared at him as though he’d sprouted horns.
He looked to be in his early thirties, and not all that successful, if he judged by the thread-bare sports coat, worn sneakers and much abused jeans. A CU logo adorned the back window of his truck. An educator he surmised. Yet he looked vaguely familiar.
“I’ve got to catch the flight to Washington D.C. right away,” Manny said. “I’ve got important information about this red dust.”
The young man didn’t move, just continued to stare at Manny. Finally he spoke. “Are you crazy? People are hurt down there. They need help.” His voice sounded familiar. Now Manny felt certain he’d seen him somewhere before.
Manny looked behind him then back at the man. “There’s no fire. Nobody’s seriously hurt. I must catch my connecting flight.”
The young man ignored him, turned then ran down the ravine toward the plane.
Manny walked to the man’s truck, opened the door. Damn. No keys. He looked up the road toward the terminal. He’d have to walk. He slid on his way back down the ravine.
He approached the captain who looked overwhelmed. Manny grabbed his arm. “Look,” he said, “my name’s Manny Volynski. Here’s my card. I just got off that plane. Fine bit of landing, if I do say, but I don’t have time to wait for the rescue crew. Gotta go.”
The captain stared at him the same way the young man had. Had everyone lost their minds? Manny turned and hurried up to the road, determined to get to the airport.
Why wouldn’t that young man give him a ride? There wasn’t anything he could do for the passengers of the plane. Emergency services were almost there. It bothered Manny that he couldn’t place where he’d seen the man from CU before. He racked his brain as he walked.
This red dust’s not a good thing. It came sooner than he calculated. He had to get to that science conference back East. Wait a minute. David. That’s right. That’s his name. He’s that university professor from Colorado who got him thrown out of last year’s conference. Arrogant educated fool. Thinks he knows everything.
The truck roared up behind him, screeched to a halt in front of him. David jumped out, grabbed Manny by the arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Manny tried to shake his hand off. “I just got off a plane that damn near crashed because of your stupid comet, which, my dear professor is not a comet at all. But we don’t have time to discuss that right now, do we?”
David dropped Manny’s arm like it burned him, took a step back.
“You told people on TV yesterday we’d have some beautiful sunsets for the next few weeks.” He waved his arm in the direction of the plane. “Is this your idea of a beautiful sunset? You didn’t seriously consider what the tail would do this close to earth, did you David?”
Manny recognized the momentary look of panic in David’s eyes. He nodded his head. “Maybe you believe me now? I tried to tell you about this last year.”
The young man’s mouth dropped open. He seemed to fight for control. “Get in the truck, old man. I promised the captain I would get you back. Although why he should be worried about one crazy old goat is beyond me.”
For a prize winning scientist, this guy seemed to have fallen off the honesty cart. “This red dust is from your comet. You know it is. Why didn’t you tell people the truth yesterday?”
David’s expression morphed from annoyance to shock then concern. He started back for the truck. “Do whatever the hell you want, old man. I need to get to my lab at the observatory.”
Manny jumped in front of the truck, pounded the hood with his fist. “Didn’t you hear me? It’s too late for that. We need to get to that conference–NOW. They’ll listen to you.”
David ignored him, opened the door.
Manny ran to the door, grabbed him by the lapels. “If you don’t come clean with what you know about that comet, a lot of people will die. They have a right to know.”
David’s eyes narrowed. He pushed Manny away. “It’s too late. There’s nothing we can do. Millions of people will die anyway. Now go away.”
Manny didn’t go away. He leaned closer. David backed against the doorframe of the truck. “What was your price, David?” Manny said. “A new observatory? A seat on the NSF board?” He patted the worn leather briefcase clutched under his arm. “I have the evidence right here. I’m taking it to that news reporter you were talking to yesterday. She’ll be interested.”
For a moment neither spoke. David scowled at Manny. “Are you threatening me, old man?” He didn’t get in the truck. He didn’t push Manny away. Their eyes remained locked, neither moved. A fresh dusting of the red powder fell around them.
Manny held out his hand and caught some of the powder, then waved it at David. “Robert Blackstone isn’t paying you enough to lie about what this stuff can do.” David’s eyes grew large at the mention of the name.
“You can help save lives. People will listen to you. But communications will be cut off in a few days. You know this. We’ve got to share this at the conference before it’s too late.”
David eyed Manny’s briefcase. He licked his lips. “We’d better get you to a safe place. Get in. I’ll take you to the terminal. We can talk.” Manny smiled as the truck began to move.
Copyright 2012 Tim Malone
“I don’t like travelling,” said Jason as he rolled up his blankets. “You have to pack so much food and water and all those changes of clothes, especially for a long journey.” He wanted to complain some more but the look on his mother’s face stopped him short. Instead he asked, “How long will we be gone this time?”
“Jason, come here. Sit on the couch next to me.” After he had done so, his mother continued. “Do you remember when father told us about this journey a few months ago?” Jason nodded his head and his mother continued. “The famine has become worse since that time. We may never be coming back to our home.”
“What?” exclaimed Jason, “Not coming back? How can this be?” This was the only home he had ever known. He felt safe here and loved living in the palace with his cousins. Yes, he had gone on some travels with father, but only to the next kingdom to trade spices for sheepskins. “Where will our journey take us?”
Mother paused a long time before responding. She stood up and had her back to him and it looked like she had tears in her eyes. “None of us are really certain, Jason. We will follow the trade routes as far as we have ever gone before and then…” she trailed off. “We will follow the directions in the sacred scrolls.”
Although Jason was only nine years old, he had heard his parents read from the sacred scrolls many times. He had even snuck them out and tried to read them a few times himself. But they were hard to understand. They seemed mysterious, and were written in a cryptic kind of language that spoke of marvelous treasures.
“So we’re going to find the long-lost treasures of the scrolls!” Jason was very excited now and finished his packing as quickly as possible. Mother was relieved and helped him tie everything into the bundles that would go on the backs of the horses. They were lucky to have them. Some of the people were walking on foot.
Being a prince was no easy job. He had to act so dignified around the palace. But now that they were on a journey, he could ride and talk with his cousins and their friends without having to worry. They had fun as they chased the animals and took little side trips to see things they had seen previously on these trails.
Sometimes they would walk to let the horses rest. There were several families all travelling together. They needed to stay close for safety once they got past all the friendly kingdoms they had been through before. At last they came to the end of the known realms and were entering into lands that were full of many surprises.
One day, they woke up and found outside their tents a very curious round ball unlike anything they had ever seen before. It was made out of metal and had a couple of pointers that showed the direction they should take on their journey. Father said it was a gift from those who had gone before. He read it in the scrolls.
They could only carry so much food and had to rely on the men to hunt and find food to eat. Sometimes writing would appear on the round ball that told them where to go to find food. The writing seemed to show up just when they were getting most hungry and tired from their travels. Somebody was guiding them.
The writing told them to go towards the mountains they had seen for many days in the distance. It started to get cold as they began to climb the mountains. Jason was glad that they had packed the sheepskin blankets to keep them warm at night. He looked up at the stars and wondered why they looked different than before.
One morning there was a strong earthquake. Nobody was hurt but it scared the animals and the little children. Jason was not afraid. He heard the men talking around the campfire the night before that they were getting closer. “Closer to what?” he wondered. Mother looked worried and talked quietly to his father.
They had been going south for so long that the sun did not come out during the day any more. After the earthquake, it seemed to Jason that he could see strange things in the sky. It was getting darker and darker each day, but when the clouds parted he saw stars going by quickly. Stars aren’t supposed to move like that.
There were more earthquakes, but still they kept on climbing the mountains. Some of the men wanted to turn back, but Jason’s father would read to them out of the scrolls and they would agree to go on. Finally they came to a spot that was not so cold and had some shelter from the wind that was close to the highest peak.
“Here we wait,” announced Jason’s father. “Wait for what?” Jason wondered. Even though his father was a king, Jason could see that some of the people were not happy with where the king had brought them. Although a few mountain goats and a nearby stream provided food and water, this seemed like no place to live.
“We won’t be here long,” Jason’s father told mother. “Tomorrow you will see why.” And he was right. The noise started before dawn. It was a vibrating noise, long and low, as if it were coming from deep down inside the planet. They could not only hear the noise, but could feel it too. It got louder and longer and deeper.
Then they saw it! There in the sky above them was what looked like the moon, only it wasn’t a moon, it was another planet. Now it made sense to Jason why it looked like the stars had been rushing by. They had been moving faster and faster until they caught up with the planet and overtook it. It was now right below them.
Of course, to Jason, it looked like it was above them. Astonished, he watched as his father went out a little ways from the camp and raised his long staff in the air that he always carried with him. Lightning jumped from the staff towards the top of the nearby mountain that then caused something wonderful to happen.
It seemed like the whole top of the mountain opened up. Something started to flow between the mountain and the planet up above. The same thing happened from the other planet and the two energy flows met and merged. The noise was deafening but Jason’s attention was riveted on what was happening to his father.
He was rising up in the air, going faster and faster until he was out of sight. Jason turned to mother but she didn’t seem frightened at all. “It was all in the scrolls,” she explained. Your father is going to the other world to tell them we are here. They have been expecting us. We will be able to follow him a little later.”
At last Jason understood what the scrolls meant. The long-lost treasure was the world above them. They had been broken off from this world so long ago that nobody believed the scrolls anymore. They talked about the many things they would find in the world above. Jason could hardly wait until he could go there.
They had come home. No wonder his father said they weren’t going to stay there in the tops of the mountains. They were all going to go to the new world. He looked up in amazement as the beauty of the world above. It looked like most of it was water, which he had only seen in books. Mother said it was called earth.
I’ve seen dust storms in Denver before, but there’s something different about this one. I can’t put my finger on it. It seems so…I don’t know…red. And why is there so much dust in the air anyway? It’s not all that windy right now. It looks like the dust is falling from somewhere high up in the sky. It’s not being picked up off the ground and blown around by the wind. But that’s impossible. Dust doesn’t just fall from the sky like that, especially not in the winter. What could it be…? Mesmerized, Mitch Johnson continued to watch the red dust fall as he drove towards the Denver International airport.
“And planes don’t fall from the sky like that either,” he said aloud.
Mitch’s attention was diverted from his thoughts about the weird weather when he heard what he thought was a car backfiring. He looked up and saw a plane dropping much too fast for a safe landing. He was driving to the airport to catch a flight to Washington D.C. to attend a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. He had recently been awarded a prize for his work on the effects of planetary gravity on comets and was an invited guest to present a paper on the subject. It was quite an honor for such a young astrophysicist from the University of Colorado. Well, 34 seemed young to him.
It looked like the jet engines were surging and then flaming out. He heard the popping sound of the surges a few seconds after he saw the flames. But what really caught Mitch’s eye was the strange blue glow around the nose and engines of the aircraft. “What the hell is that?” he asked aloud. It was now apparent that the plane was in serious trouble. The likelihood that the crew would be able to land the jet dead stick on final approach was looking very slim.
Mitch quickly pulled over, grabbed his iPhone out of his shirt pocket and began shooting video of the aircraft. Just as he started recording, the engines popped once again and then miraculously restarted. And not a moment too soon, as the plane was less than 1,000 feet above the ground. He continued to record the landing, hoping to catch another sighting of the strange electrical glow on the leading edges of the plane, but it was not repeated. In an amazing demonstration of deliberate control, the pilot kept the nose up as the engines came back up to speed just in time to prevent a certain crash landing.
The jet finally slammed down roughly, a ways past the normal touchdown area, bounced noticeably and careened down the runway. Denver runways are very long, but it was obvious that this plane wasn’t going to be able to stop in time. It burst into the field past the end of the runway and ended up in a small ravine a few yards short of a roadway. Incredibly, there was no fire. Mitch had been on a flight from Las Vegas to Burbank that had overshot the runway back in 2000. He could just imagine the horror the passengers and crew must be going through right now.
He put his iPhone back in his pocket and raced to the end of the runway which was less than a mile away from where he had stopped. Even though there were many vehicles headed in that direction, Mitch was able to drive to within a dozen yards of the jet. He was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Most of the passengers had already escaped down the emergency slides and were milling around. He was surprised when one of them ran up to his truck as he stopped, clutching tightly at a leather briefcase.
“Can you get me to the terminal right away?” asked an old man with wild and frantic eyes. “I’ve got to catch a flight to Washington D.C. and I don’t have time to wait around for the emergency crews.”
Mitch stared at the old man slack jawed, but only for a second. “What are you, crazy? We’ve got to see if anybody’s hurt and help them!”
The old man looked around and said, “Look, nobody’s hurt. The pilot did an amazing job and got us down safely. We all got off the plane okay and now I need to catch my flight. Will you take me or not? I don’t have time to wait for a shuttle bus.”
Now Mitch was certain that the old man was crazy. He got out of his truck and began making his way toward the plane to find a member of the flight crew. The old man was right in step behind him but Mitch didn’t stop. He ran quickly down the little ravine and approached a uniformed crew member. “Is everyone alright?” he asked when he came to a man who appeared to be the captain. Surprised, the officer whirled around and looked closely at Mitch, tying to ascertain if he was a passenger.
“I saw the landing from where I was stopped along Airport Boulevard. In fact, I got the whole thing on video. Are you okay?” Mitch repeated.
It finally registered with the captain that Mitch was neither a passenger nor rescue crew. His eyes left Mitch’s face and resumed looking around at the passengers. He was trying to determine for himself the answer to Mitch’s question. “I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’ll be shocked if nobody is seriously hurt but so far everyone seems to be off the plane and uninjured.”
“What happened?” Mitch shouted after the captain, who had turned to find the rest of his crew. He had to run after him and repeat the question.
“It’s this damned red dust,” yelled the captain. “Look around. You can see how thick it is. It got sucked into our engines and caused them to flame out. We lost them on the way in at 30,000 feet and barely got them going just in time to land. It’s a miracle. If you got that landing on video I’d like to see it. I didn’t think we were going to make it.”
The old man suddenly jumped between them and grabbed the captain’s arm. “Look,” he said, “my name is Manny Volynski. Here’s my card. I was on that plane but now I’m leaving. I don’t have time to wait for the rescue crew.” And with that, he turned and hurried up to the road on a trot toward the terminal.
The captain stared at the card for a second, looked up and stared at Manny, who was already out of earshot and then spun back to Mitch. With desperation in his voice, he asked “Will you go after him? He can’t leave until the authorities get here.” Wanting to protest but seeing that it would be helpful to the overwhelmed captain, Mitch went back to his truck without a word to get the crazy old guy and bring him back.
He sped up the road and pulled in front of the old man cutting him off. Jerking open the door, he jumped out and confronted him. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Look, Mitch. I just got off a plane that almost crashed because it sucked up dust from your comet that is now falling all over the Western United States. We were lucky just to get out of California let alone make it all the way here to Denver. I’m going to Washington D.C. to try one more time to convince your buddies that this thing is much more dangerous than you’ve been telling people. Now are you coming with me?”
Mitch let go of Manny’s arm and stepped back with a look of shock in his expression. “How the hell do you know me and what do you mean by ‘my comet’?”
“Come on! It’s named after you since you discovered it. You’ve been all over the news telling people how wonderful it is that we will have such a close encounter with your great comet. Don’t you realize by now that this dust is from your comet? I tried to tell you about this a long time ago but you never listen to guys like me.”
It finally dawned on Mitch that he knew this old man. He was the guy that kept showing up at astronomical conferences claiming that the earth was going to be visited by a planet in the near future. Even worse, he argued that a rendezvous with this planet would bring catastrophic changes to the world and disaster for people everywhere.
Seeing that Mitch recognized him, Manny continued. “I told you that this would happen. I even tried to tell you what’s going to happen next, but you had me thrown out of the last conference. Do you believe me now?”
“Believe what, old man?” Mitch snapped back. I only believe that you’re crazy. I promised the captain that I would get you back to the plane. Now get in!”
The desperation was evident in Manny’s eyes as he almost shouted, “You of all people should believe me. You know comets and have published papers on the effects of planetary gravity on comets. This comet is so large that when it passed by Saturn, it was pulled slightly closer to the sun. It went behind the sun at a steeper angle and is now coming a lot closer to earth than you have told the media. In fact, it’s coming tail first. We’re starting to pass through the tail and you know it. This dust is from your comet!”
Mitch did some quick mental calculations and began to put things together. He had been too distracted by his preparations for the trip back East and hadn’t gone to the observatory last night. Manny could be right. He hadn’t seen the trajectory of the comet as it came from behind the sun. Perhaps this dust really was from the comet. He forgot all about the captain and the plane. Now he only wanted to get back to his observatory.
“Get in,” he said to Manny. “I need to get back to the university.”
“Haven’t you been listening to me?” replied Manny. “It’s too late for that. You don’t need to make any more observations. The evidence is all around us now. We need to get to your conference and convince all the other astrophysicists what is really going on. They’ll listen to you and the governments of the world will listen to them.”
Although he wasn’t convinced at all, Mitch realized that they still had time to catch the flight, and he didn’t want to argue with him anymore. Manny got in and they drove towards the parking garage, arriving just in time to catch a shuttle to Concourse B where the United Airlines flight to Washington DC should have been boarding. The gate was strangely vacant and passengers were crowded around the counters. They had been in such a hurry that they hadn’t noticed that no planes were boarding or taking off.
“What’s going on?” Mitch asked a traveler at the back of the crowd.
“All flights have been delayed by the dust storm. A plane from California barely made it in. Some others weren’t so lucky. Take a look at the news on the monitors.”
This was not good. How could this be happening? Mitch thought to himself. Just yesterday it had been his face up on those monitors telling the world that this comet was no cause for alarm and that we should be in for some spectacularly beautiful sunsets. Astronomers a century ago caused great panic when they announced that comets contain poisonous cyanogen gas and that earth would pass through the tail of Haley’s comet. People panicked, nothing happened and astronomers learned not to share some things.
Not at all certain that he wouldn’t be recognized, and not wanting to explain himself, Mitch ducked into a lounge area to think. Yes, he knew that this comet was different. For one thing it was bigger than any comet he had ever seen. It was almost the size of a small planet. In fact, nobody had been able to get good measurements because of the way it was approaching the sun. They were hoping to make those observations today, but he had to catch the flight to the conference. No, this was just not good at all.
“I tried to tell you, but you just wouldn’t listen.” It was Manny again. Mitch had forgotten about him with all the excitement of the cancelled flights and the news of the dust storm displayed on the airport monitors. Manny sat down next to him at the bar. “That’s not a comet. It’s a planet and it’s going to cause a whole lot more destruction before it gets to where it’s going. You can warn the people and help them prepare.”
“Prepare for what?” Mitch exclaimed. “Manny, you’re not a scientist. You are not an astronomer. You know nothing about the world we live in. We spend our lives making observations and making sense of the things that fly around out there in space. You spend your days digging old myths out of books and manuscripts that contain nothing but folk tales. There’s no precedent for all your conjecture and theory. Your ideas of an ancient polar configuration of planets could not possibly be correct.”
It didn’t look like the falling dust was going to let up soon and Manny had wanted to talk to Mitch for a long time. This had turned out to be quite fortuitous that Mitch just happened to show up when the plane went off the end of the runway. Although Manny’s wife had died years earlier, he had tried to stay close to his daughter in California. He was very proud of her. She was a research scientist and worked at the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory. But she didn’t go in much for his theories either.
Manny was much calmer now. He sensed an opportunity to finally make his case to someone who had the background to understand what he had researched, discovered and written about over the years. He threw out an easy question. “If I can tell you what’s going to happen next and then what’s going to happen after that, will you at least consider that there may be something to these myths and theories that can help us?”
Mitch sighed. “Go ahead old man. It doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere right away. I think I already heard enough of your ideas at the last conference but I’ll listen just this one time. Hopefully they’ll let us board the plane soon. What have you got to say? If this dust doesn’t let up in five minutes, I’m going back to Boulder.”
Manny pulled a picture of his daughter out of the old worn leather briefcase that he always carried with him. It contained his charts and diagrams that he used to explain his ideas to anyone who would listen. The flight attendant told him to leave it behind when they jumped down the emergency slide but he took it anyway. “Do you see this picture of my daughter, Cynthia? She’s just like you – a scientist. She’s a seismologist – graduated from Cal Tech. She doesn’t believe me either, but she’s about to get a lot more data to study over the next few weeks than she has had in her 27 short years of life.”
As a scientist, Mitch didn’t believe in love at first sight, but there was something in those intelligent blue eyes that stared back at him from the photo. He was surprised at how deeply he felt emotions stirring within him at the sight of the beautiful girl. He had suppressed any kind of romantic feelings over the years as he dedicated himself to his work. Wait a minute…this was just a silly picture. What was he thinking?
Manny continued, “As the planet gets closer to earth, this dust we’re experiencing will be mixed with ash. Besides bringing jets down out of the sky, the dust will mix with the water supplies of the earth and cause them to be polluted. It will kill fish and will be a real problem to major metropolitan areas that will soon be without water. The ash will cause much sickness and death to anyone who is exposed to it. They must stay indoors.
“After a little while this dust is going to turn to hail sized pebbles. That will make some racket when it comes down. It will knock out power and communications systems all over the world. It will also take out most of our satellites. Think about how that will affect our way of life. Then we’ll pass though some sheets of petroleum-based material that will mix with the pebble-sized hail and catch fire as it falls through the atmosphere. Spontaneous fires will erupt all over the world, burning forests and cities alike. This is not unprecedented by the way. It was the cause of the Peshtigo fires of 1871.
“The falling debris will get larger and larger until it comes down like artillery shells. It will last for days and will wipe out the crops of the earth, burning them all up. About this time the earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity will begin in earnest. Nobody has ever felt earthquakes like the ones that are going to be caused when the planet comes close enough that the gravitational pull rips the tectonic plates apart with a force that is indescribable. Our planet will be covered in clouds and smoke and ash that get thicker and hotter by the hour making it more and more difficult to breathe.”
“Stop!” shouted Mitch angrily. “I’ve heard enough of your doomsday prophecies. This is just a comet coming by. It’s not going to cause the end of the world and you can’t go around telling people this kind of stuff. It will cause pandemonium and mass panic. Where did you come up with all this crap? Oh wait, don’t tell me. You read it in some ancient manuscript that you believe tells the story of what really happened sometime in our past. Well, I don’t believe it and you have no evidence for all this nonsense.”
“I didn’t say it would cause the end of the world,” Manny replied. It will just cause a whole lot of destruction. The planet is not going to hit us. It is going to come up alongside us and overtake us in the same orbit around the sun. Eventually it will come so close that the magnetic poles of the two planets will align. Because the oncoming planet is larger than the earth, they will rotate at a much slower speed. When that happens, you had better hope that you are not living anywhere north of a large body of water.”
“I know I’m going to regret this, but dare I ask why?” Mitch questioned.
Manny was almost gleeful as he finished his description of the events of the coming weeks and months. “You know that right now, the centrifugal force of the earth causes a large bulge of water at the equator. When the earth slows down, where is that water going to go? Back to the poles, of course! Boy I would love to see that view from space when it happens. Think of all the water in the Gulf of Mexico. Anybody who lives in the states around the Mississippi river is going to be wiped out by onrushing water. And the same goes for the Northern California coast and the Northeastern seaboard.”
“Are you through? Mitch asked incredulously as he stood up to leave.
“No, but that’s enough for now. I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you,” said Manny. Just concentrate on what I said first about this dust turning to pebbles and the possibility of fire from the sky. You can read about all the rest of the stuff in my books. It’s all there. It’s just too bad that you haven’t read them. You could help save people.”
Mitch was sorry that he had agreed to listen to Manny. He felt like he should say something to make it clear that he never wanted see this old man again but just then a news report on the airport monitor caught his eye. Everyone was crowding around to see the live video feed of an incredible scene coming from Seattle. It looked like heavy hail was falling; only it wasn’t hail. It was sand and pebbles falling in sheets like rain. But the most shocking thing was that some of it was coming down with fire. Yes, it was fire from the sky, something he and his colleagues had said many times could never happen.
Within a few moments it was gone, but not before several fires had broken out in the city. Looking away from the TV and out the windows of the airport, Mitch could see that the red dust had finally stopped falling. Flights would soon be boarding and leaving.
“That’s just a sample of what we’re in for,” said Manny, at his side again. “The dust and hail will be back and will be more widespread with each passing hour. We’ve got a small window before travel becomes impossible. I’m going to that conference to try to make a difference. It would sure help if you could introduce me and let me present evidence from the historical record. It’s all right here,” he said as he patted his briefcase.
Mitch took a long look at Manny although he was still skeptical. He said nothing as they got in line to board the plane. He was thinking. It would be career suicide to associate himself with Manny Volynski. He could play it safe, walk away right now, and go back to his telescope at the university. In light of the events of the day, his colleagues would understand if he wasn’t at the conference. But if what Manny said was true, then what would it matter? A career is nothing compared to saving humanity.
“Come on, Mr. Volynski. I want to look at those documents in your briefcase. Let’s go save the world and that beautiful daughter of yours.”
“I didn’t think you noticed,” smiled Manny, as they boarded the plane.
Copyright (c) Tim Malone 2009 – Painting of meteoroids (c) iStockphoto
In a highly unusual move for me, I’m going to endorse a movie based on a trailer. It has already been panned by the critics as over the top, but I like what I’m seeing in the trailer and look forward to seeing it. I don’t go in for the 2012 timeframe, but there are a lot of interesting scenes in the movie that correspond to what I believe about events that will come to pass in the very last days. Enjoy!
Update: The trailer has been removed.
For as long as I can remember, I have been taught that the battle of Armageddon is a great war that is going to take place somewhere in Israel in the very last days. In fact, it is one of the very last events that is to take place before the Lord returns. If the battle of Armageddon has commenced, then you know that time is about up.
Well, not really. Time will continue, but for any wicked who are living on the earth at that time, their time is up and they are about to be destroyed. In fact, we know that time exists even where God is although it is after a different order than our time, but that’s a discussion for another day and another essay.
I think you will agree with me though that the battle of Armageddon is surely one of the great signs that we need to be aware of as being a harbinger of the coming of the Lord to the earth in power and great glory. We call this the Second Coming or the Second Advent. To many people it is a day of rapture, rising to meet the Lord.
More than an earthly battle
I’ve thought long and hard about this great battle that is to take place and have just about decided that some of the tings I assumed or was taught growing up regarding this great battle were simply wrong. I think my teachers missed some fundamental points about what is prophesied to take place during this great and terrible battle.
Some of my gospel tutors had more of an understanding of what was to take place and made it clear that in addition to the earthly armies to be gathered that there would be many cataclysmic events transpiring in the heavens about the same time. They whetted my appetite to understand the heavenly wonders, but had no details.
The Battle of Armageddon is said by many, even by scholars within the church to be comprised of an army of 200 million. This is one of the interpretations of the scriptures that I find to be less than clear. I now wonder if Revelation 9:16 was referring to something other than the warriors comprising any earthly army.
The armies of the Lord
I have no doubt that there will indeed be millions upon millions of men and their terrible weapons of war amassed upon the Plain of Esdraelon. Those gathered will be from all nations and will come up to besiege Israel, but I just can’t see the need for 200 million warriors all gathered in that one place. It just doesn’t make sense.
I have written previously about my views of Revelation chapter 9, in conjunction with Joel chapter 2 in which I discussed one interpretation of the armies of the Lord. I am now more convinced than ever that John was not describing an earthly army in Rev 9:16. So I dismiss the idea that there will be 200 million gathered.
I know that I am going against what many LDS scholars and curriculum writers have surmised about this verse, but I just don’t feel that it is correct to interpret that number as referring to earthly armies. I invite you to provide me with a quote from a general authority that identifies the size of the army in the battle of Armageddon.
The battle in the heavens
Because we tend to be so focused on the political battle that so many have said will be happening in the plains below, we often overlook the great battle that the Lord has told us will be going on in the heavens above at that same time. Scholars have made passing reference to it but in terms that make it seem almost inconsequential.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The cataclysmic and catastrophic events in the heavens just before the return of the Lord will be among the most destructive and powerful forces to ever come upon this planet. In the words of the scriptures, the earth shall reel to and fro, the heavens shall shake and all will be in commotion.
It will be a day of great destruction with earthquakes the magnitude of which we have not experienced in our lifetime. These earthquakes are not caused by normal tectonic activity but by the approach of one of the creations of God as an agent of destruction. In other words, it will be a great planet that at first looks like a comet.
Sign of the Son of Man
I can hear you now. “Yeah, right, whoever heard of such a thing? If a planet or comet was going to come near to the earth in the last days, God would have told us about it.” Well, he has. The prophet Joseph Smith made it clear that there will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do?
They will say it is a planet, a comet or some other celestial object. Maybe they will identify it as such because that is indeed what it will be. Can you imagine what will happen when a huge planet approaches this earth, not on a collision course, but in a manner that it will come alongside us or actually above us?
Stars shall fall from heaven
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what is going to happen. When the Lord says that he will come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, I can’t think of anything more powerful and glorious than to see a huge planet come upon us and take up residence over the Northern magnetic pole of planet earth.
As the planet approaches, it will bring with it much celestial debris that will reign down destruction upon us in the form of meteorites and burning hail from the sky. No, you and I have never seen this before in our lifetimes, but prophets of the past have seen it and have foretold it in vivid and descriptive language as a warning.
I have written about this previously in an essay quoting what some of the early leaders of our church commonly taught in their day. For some reason, we are not as familiar with these quotes as we should be. Perhaps it is because we do not believe them or we think that such statements were just conjecture on their part.
Summary and conclusion
Yes, Armageddon will be a great and terrible day, but not necessarily for the reason that most of us have come to believe. There is no doubt that there will be armies encompassing Jerusalem in the last days just before the return of the Lord. But as terrible that that battle will be, it will be eclipsed by events in the heavens.
I do not believe that the army that is gathered against Israel at that day will be numbered in the hundreds of millions as some scholars have led us to believe. I am convinced that they have misinterpreted Rev 9:16. It does not refer to armies of men but to falling debris from the sky, accompanying the approaching planet.
You can read more about that in Joel chapter 2 where he described swarms of meteorites flying in bands and taking various shapes, like horses racing in the sky or hosts of warriors leaping. Study it for yourself. I think we’ve been mislead. Armageddon is much more than a battle of men. It is also a battle in the skies.