The city was made of blue and green buildings that seemed to glow. The large skyscraper at the center of the city had 1,000 foot falls of water for its sides! Above the Fireflies – the best mode of transportation around the city – dominated the sky – little bug-shaped cars that zipped about.
Amongst the Fireflies were also the people moving slowly: Ezekiel, suspended in the sky, watched as the people floated by gracefully. He remembered when he was a young boy and they first changed the air – filling it with particles so that flying was as simple as spreading one’s arms and then flapping a bit.
“I am so lucky to be alive in this age!”
Ezekiel looked to this left as he rode through the air. Beside him was Stellarite. She had eyes that sparkled like stars if they could be seen in the daylight, faint whites against white. Anyone who had been born blind – very rare nowadays – had them.
“Where do you want to go today?”
“As high as we can – until the particles run out?”
So they did. They began gaining speed, flying up as fast as they could, flapping vigorously. They were eight thousand feet above the earth, and suddenly – in a little soft pop – they cleared out of the particles and into the Old Air. They shot up another five hundred feet, before they suddenly were in free fall! They followed each other in two large arcs, and came flying back down toward the earth – only to have the particles catch them, and they began to float again, softly lowering. They giggled and turned and rolled in the air.
The sun was softly bright as they drifted through the atmosphere. Today, the people had all voted to have a sunny day. Every night before bed, the people voted on what type of weather they would experience for the next day, the majority won.
Ezekiel and Stellarite looked over toward the square at the center of the city, and saw a large gathering of people.
“What is going on down there?” asked Ezekiel.
“I am not sure,” said Stellarite.
“Let’s go and see, yeah?”
They flew down, into a mass of people, probably a few thousand. In the center was a beautiful man, dressed in a white robe.
Ezekiel overheard someone in the crowd say, “He claims he can heal people.”
Ezekiel looked at Stellarite. “Heal?” he said. “Why would he want to do that?”
The two of them moved forward through the crowd, until they could see the man. He had long hair, a beard, and was dressed in that loosely fitting white robe of sorts.
“I am here to save you, bring me your sick.”
There was silence.
“Do you not believe me? Bring me those who are in need. I am come Home.”
The people mumbled amongst themselves and said nothing. Finally, a small man with big ears spoke up meekly, “Sir, I beg your pardon, but what do you mean heal us?”
“Where are your blind? Your mutilated? Your lame? Even your dead? Bring them to me so that you may believe!”
The crowd murmured and looked around at each other once more.
“Sir,” the large eared fellow spoke again to the bearded one, “no person here is blind. No one is without limb, or lame. No one has died in many, many years.”
The man in white stared at the crowd before saying: “You madam,” and pointing to a woman with a bottle, “bring me that bottle.”
The woman handed it to him. “Here is the water of the world, and I shall change it to wine! Behold!”
The woman suddenly interjected: “Oh that’s easy,” she said. “Some people don’t have these outside of here. You see here, on the side of this bottle simply enter in what you would want. You can have wine, water, soda, tea, anything you want. Would you like some tea? Hot or cold? I’ll do it for you.”
The man in white dropped his head. “Will you not believe?”
“Watch above!” He said. And suddenly storm clouds formed.
He looked at the crowd, “Are you not amazed?”
The crowd did not say anything. A little boy did finally speak up and said, “What’s so special about that? You just have a connection to the government – some magic trick. Jeez.”
“Jeez!” said the man. “So you know of me! You know of the way, the truth! Behold! You believe.”
The little boy rolled his eyes. And the crowd began to file away.
“Will you not believe?” said the man in white. “Anyone.”
Ezekiel stared at the man, and began to walk toward him. Stellarite grabbed his arm, “I don’t know if you should approach him – he’s not from here.”
Ezekiel moved her hand off gently , and came up to the man in white.
“Hello, sir,” said Ezekiel, Stellarite stood meekly behind.
The man looked up. “I knew you would come. This time I shall only have two, not twelve, I was told this.”
Stellarite looked at Ezekiel.
“I saw you both,” said the man, “in the sky above the city.”
Ezekiel said, “Everyone is in the sky.”
“No,” said the man, “will you not believe? I saw you in my mind.”
“Do you have an implant?” asked Stellarite, coming closer.
“No, I tell you the truth, I have no implant.”
Stellarite touched the man’s arm, “There is a clinic. They can fix anything that’s wrong in about fifteen minutes.”
“There is nothing wrong, I have returned as I promised. Do you not remember me? The boy nearly said my name.”
“What is your name?”
“I am…” the man in white grew quiet.
“Where are you from?” asked Ezekiel.
“I was born near the House of Bread.”
“Oh!” said Stellarite, “me as well. I was born near the Factory of Food also.”
“You do not understand,” said the man.
“We want to,” said Ezekiel compassionately and a bit excited – he had never seen a sick person before, only read of them in school.
“How will you believe if you cannot suffer?”
“Suffer?” said Ezekiel, “I am not familiar with this word.”
“Take me to your prisons, to your sinners, or your tax collectors.”
“I’m sorry sir,” said Ezekiel, “I do not know those words very well, they are ancient words. They mean nothing to me. I remember them vaguely from school.”
The man stood up and thrashed around some. “How! This temple should not be a place of peace! How then can I save thee? What is faith for?”
He stopped and was breathing heavily. “I must go to the desert.”
“You mean outside the city?”
Once far from the city, the man said, “leave me here, come back in forty days.”
“Okay,” said Ezekiel.
They watched as the bearded man began to march off into the sands. He felt incredibly hot after just two hours of walking, as if he may pass out.
“Father I suffer for you, and so that they may believe.”
He fell to his knees.
But suddenly, a small rain cloud – just one – was above his head and rained upon him. He tried to run to get away, but the cloud would not leave him. He was cooled down and water ran into his mouth.
“Lord, Father, why dost Thou not let me suffer!”
He found a cave, and the cloud did not come in. He sat and said to himself, “I shall not eat or move from this spot for forty days. I do this to prove my devotion to Thee.”
He sat with his legs folded for three days. He did not move. He was extremely hungry. He felt faint. He smiled. He watched as a little bug flew toward him. He stared it, what a beautiful creation of the Lord, he thought.
The bug landed on his hand, and waddled some before giving him a little prick with its tail and flew out before his eyes. A voice from the bug then said softly, “You’re now saved, emergency food delivery. The morsel just placed in you will sate your hunger and thirst for one month.”
The man whisked the bug away! “No!” he said. “No!” And suddenly he noticed he was not hungry and had much energy. He felt very strong.
He walked back to the city, after only four days in the desert.
He found Ezekiel and Stellarite. “Why are you back so soon?” they asked.
“What is the way to the Lord in this place?”
“Again,” said Ezekiel, “I apologize but we do not understand your words. Lord?”
The man looked up at them. “You know not of the words Lord God?”
Stellarite giggled, “It sure sounds funny when you say it. Loorr Gahhhh. Funny sounding.”
“Let you believe when you see this then!” he said. The bearded man knelt, and mumbled, and suddenly, beside him came two winged beings!
“These! You see,” said the man, “Are angels from Heaven! Kneel before them!”
Ezekiel smiled. “I admit they are some of the best holograms I have seen – very, very good.”
“Yes,” said Stellarite, “excellent. Amazing really!”
The man looked up at them, “Will you not believe!” The two winged beings disappeared.
The man, then with wild eyes, said “Watch this.” He pulled from his belt a little knife. He went to the ground and placed his left hand on the stone path. He then chopped off his pinky finger, and mumbled something and his finger grew back.
“Will you not now believe!”
Ezekiel and Stellarite looked at each other. “I used to do that when I was a kid all the time,” said Stellarite. “It tickles a little bit when it grows back. My mom said that it was all the little starfish that injected to our cells a birth.”
“How will you believe?’ said the man in white robes. “I am the way to everlasting life.”
“Oh terrific!” said Ezekiel, “I understand now, did you invent the immortality serum? Is that what you mean? Are you him?”
The man looked at the ground for a moment. “Yes! Yes, I did. I tell you the truth. I did just that. I am the way to eternal life.”
“It was a great mystery!” said Stellarite, “Why haven’t you told anyone you invented everlasting life? That would make more sense.”
“I have proclaimed it. I lived, died, and rose again.”
“Yes,” said Ezekiel, “that is the story we heard as boys about the man who gave us everlasting life, and health, and peace. But then they said he disappeared. That he flew through the particles, went up and never came back again.”
The man in white looked around, confused.
“No,” he said, “this is not the life I speak of! I speak of the real life, the true life. Do you not want the real life? I come again from the One who sent me to tell you of this.”
“Are you the son of the inventor of everlasting life? I am a bit perplexed by what you mean,” said Ezekiel.
“Yes! Do you believe? Do you not wish to know Him? I am Him and he is me.”
“I am not sure what you mean by believe? I am very pleased to know anyone associated with the gift of everlasting life,” said Ezekiel.
The bearded man shook his head and disappeared. “It is finished.”
The man in white floated up into Heaven, walked past clouds towering up to infinity. He heard the music of the Spheres, saw the angels arrayed in the trillions, and came to the Throne of the Lord God, the Father. The man in white bowed to his knees.
“Father,” said the man in white robes of light, “I did as you told me, but they cannot believe. They… they seem to have whatever we could give them.”
There was silence.
Suddenly, there was a burst of thunderous laughter, The Almighty could not hold it in any longer. All of heaven rumbled, the angels rolled and giggled. Even the archangels guffawed.
“Got you good!” the Lord roared. Beside the Father was his old friend Satan.
The man in robes of white shook his head and smiled.
Satan was laughing. God and Satan shook hands merrily.
“Yes, yes, you have gotten me.”
“Look,” said the Father finally catching his breath, “heaven was getting crowded. I built a second one, same principles different design. I just didn’t tell you, thought it’d be fun.”
“Father, did you deceive me?” said the man in robes of white playfully.
“Don’t act surprised?” said a voice that came from behind the throne.
The man in white turned around and saw his old friend, a fellow named Job, standing and smirking. “You can’t trust these two too much!”