In the world’s future, there is one governing body. All individuals are given a mark on their right hand at birth so the government can monitor them. They are told to only trust technology and what it tells them.
People are not taught they have a soul. They are unaware of the intense spiritual warfare occurring around them. The effort to collect human souls is a well-guarded state secret. People are encouraged to only worship a single religion. The worship of any other religion requires official permission.
Christians and Jews fight against this terrifying evil. They have been called upon to save humanity or be responsible for its destruction.
Targeted Age Group:: Adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I saw the first chapter. I wrote it down and then saw the second chapter. I tried to ignore it, but the story would stay in my mind until I wrote it down.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I saw the characters, as I saw the story. I could see them interact in my mind. There were elements of people I've known in the past in many of the characters. Most of them are just based on my ideas.
The street lights above a sidewalk provide dull illumination down a grimey alley. The narrow space between the backs of buildings have cardboard boxes piled high. There are huge metal containers overflowing with trash. A rat moves to the middle of the alley. Its shadow moves with it. The creature tries to avoid stepping in puddles left from a recent cold rain. The rodent stands up on its back legs. The rat's head moves up and down as it sniffs. There is a wave of terror in the air. It hears the sound of fast approaching footsteps. They are moving down the alley splashing through puddles. The sound gets louder and closer. A meal of rancid spaghetti awaits the rodent in a nearby trash can. It quickly runs back toward the garbage. The anger it senses is too much.
A young man in his late twenties is running down the alley. His dark hair is a dirty and jumbled mess. He has on a plain blue t-shirt and worn blue jeans. Tattered tennis shoes cover his feet. The young man stops and bends over as he tries to catch his breath. Beads of sweat slide down his face. It's cold enough to see the breath coming from his mouth. Slowly, the young man stands up. His eyes open wide as he stares in the direction from where he has just come. The fast approaching sounds scare him. They are human footsteps combined with metal legs hitting cement. The young man starts running again looking for a place to hide.
The rat returns for a moment from between boxes to assess the situation. A large person wearing a uniform comes running out of the dark and suddenly stops under the light coming from the street. His one eye is electronic and makes a sound as it moves. The rodent decides to go back into the darkness. The scent of negative emotions is everywhere. The uniformed man puts his index finger beneath his ear and presses.
“Base this is Tango seven. I'm in pursuit of a mark remover. I've got the laquero with me. I'll be back in touch with you as soon as the mark remover has been apprehended.”
“Tango seven you have authorization to apply the proper mark once you have the mark remover under control.”
“Roger base will do. Out.”
The uniformed man looks down at the metal box and begins speaking to it. Only the sound of cars and people walking on a sidewalk in the distance can be heard.
“Can you imagine there was a time before implants when policemen had to actually carry radio equipment? I can't imagine how difficult that must have been.”
The metal box with legs remains still. The man puts up his arm and presses a button located under the skin on his forearm. The metal box with legs plays a voice.
“You are right, officer Malini. It is a pleasure to be with you.”
“Now that's more like it. I owe Schultz down in programming for that one.”
The man looks around the alley. He notices movement on the left side near a pile of the cardboard boxes. Officer Malini yells in that direction. His voice echoes off the sides of the buildings.
“I know you're hiding. It's best if you come out right now. If you try and run, I'll release the laquero. I'm sure you don't want that to happen.”
After taking a few more steps, he looks around again. Officer Malini doesn't notice the rock fly over his head. When it lands behind him, Officer Malini turns around to see the rock hit the cement and begin rolling down the alley. He hears a pile of boxes in the opposite direct fall. Then footsteps running down the alley. He turns around to see the young man running toward the street. Officer Malini quickly takes up his forearm and presses a button under his skin. A beam of light comes from his electronic eye and lands on the running young man. He blinks at the laquero. It instantly goes after the young man with lightning speed.
The laquero's metal legs move quickly. The distance between it and the young man shrinks in seconds. A front portion of the laquero opens. A small green ball is shot at the young man's legs and explodes right before he makes it to the street. A web of synthetic string covers the young man's legs binding them tightly. He falls as Officer Malini runs up and stands over him. He looks down at the young man trying to crawl away.
“You need to quit it. I'm going to have to cuff you if you don't stop.”
The young man ignores officer Malini and continues to crawl. He's breathing heavily. Sweat is pouring down his face as he struggles desperately.
“I warned you.”
Malini takes a metal device in the shape of a half circle from a pocket. He puts it on the young man's neck. All movement stops. The young man can now only move his head. He's been immobilized.
With an index finger pressing beneath his ear, Officer Malini begins talking.
“Base, I have the mark remover. He's been immobilized. Could you please switch me over to Mark Applications so I can get this done.”
“Switching right now. This will take a few seconds.”
Malini turns toward the laquero and opens a compartment. He takes out a device that resembles a hammer. He closes the compartment and holds it over the young man's face. The device is searching for the young man's identity using facial recognition.
“Let's see now. It says here that your name is Derrick Bonum. You are 28 years old, and it seems you do not appreciate having a mark. Is it true you've removed your mark twice already?”
The young man's face tightens.
“Yeah, that's right. I'll remove this one as soon as I can.”
“It also says you're one of those old religion Christian types. The ones who are always causing problems. Can't just do what you're told. Why don't you people just go to the One World Church and be happy like everybody else? You Christians and Jews are the worst. Why do you people think you're so special?”
“My faith is not based on what is said by a government religion controlled by some dupe politician speaking lies, propaganda and nonsense. I believe in Christianity. No matter what you or your kind have tried to eliminate the Bible; it hasn't worked. We still have the original copies. Why are you so afraid of it? Why does our faith scare you?”
Officer Malini rolls his eyes and sighs. He reaches down and grabs the green synthetic string covering the young man's legs. With a quick twist, it's removed and forms back into a ball. The synthetic string is then placed inside the laquero.
“I'm telling you nice not to remove the mark I'll be putting on you. It's a loser mark so you can't do much. Go around people we have on record as Christians or Jews, and they'll feel pain. If it were up to me, I'd terminate all of you. Lucky for you the Grand Leader wants to make peace with you Christians and Jews. Those good feelings end next time you remove your mark. The law still says if you remove it a fourth time; you're automatically implanted. Why would anyone remove their mark? You can't have a job, buy things at a store or even travel without your mark. You can't even do anything with a bank, legally have money or get a place to live without it. Everybody has one. Why is it such a big deal with you people? I don't know how any you survive without your mark.”
“I don't want the government to know my every move. I don't want them to know what I eat, when I sleep or where I go or what I do. I want the freedom to live my life without it being on display for some World Government bureaucrat who has no respect for anyone's privacy but their own. I want to practice my faith and be free from the World Government's involvement in it.”
“Crazy talk like that will get you a ticket to the Educational Institute. You go there, and you'll not just be remarked, you'll be implanted. They'll put those special implants in your body. If you try and remove one of them, you'll die. It's just that simple. Is that what you want Derrick Bonum?”
Officer Malini looks away and puts his index finger beneath his ear again.
“Yeah, got everything set up. Had to put on the cuff, but it's okay. Start the information transfer.”
Malini is holding the hammer device as it lights up. In a few minutes, the light goes out. He holds up Derrick's right hand and examines it. Derrick grumbles and moves his head back and forth as the hammer device is put closer to his hand.
“You remove another one of these, and you're not going to have any flesh left on your right hand.”
After looking all over Derrick's right hand, Officer Malini chooses a spot. He then puts the device on Bonum's hand. The hammer device lights up and glows. It burns Derrick's skin. People on the street pass by and ignore what is happening in the alley. The smell of burnt flesh is strong. After a few minutes, the device is removed. Officer Malini puts the hammer device back into the laquero. There is a series of bars and letters now burned into Derrick's right hand. Malini's index finger is again pressed beneath his ear.
“Mark Applications, it has been successfully applied. I have given the warning as is required by law. Yes, there has been no other criminal activity detected. I will remove the cuff when the healing is complete. Tell Joni I said hello. Out”
Officer Malini presses a button on the collar. It spreads open and is removed from Derrick's neck. The young man's body begins to shake. This goes on for approximately a minute as the muscles and nerves in his body begin to work again. When it stops; Derrick struggles to stand. The intense pain he feels in his right hand is slowly going away. The mark on his right hand has a little light. It is now transmitting information about him to the World Government. Derrick looks up at Officer Malini and takes a deep breath.
“Do you know our Bible told us about these times occurring in the world? It has been written about for thousands of years. If our holy book knows about this, you should agree, it probably knows the truth about many other things.”
Officer Malini chuckles. He holds up his forearm and presses a button. He then presses his index finger again beneath his ear.
“I would love to stay and chat Bonum but crazy people like you keep me busy all day every day. I got another mark remover not far from here. I need to take care of it as soon as possible. You stay out of trouble and leave that mark on your hand.”
The laquero turns the same time as Officer Malini. They both begin moving quickly down the street.
Derrick yells in Officer Malini's direction, “Why did you let them implant you? You're no longer a free human being. You're nothing more than a robot with human flesh. You're just a puppet for the World Government. They run you like a machine. Don't you understand what you've done to yourself?”
Officer Malini stops and turns back toward Derrick.
“I'd rather be a puppet for the World Government than a crazy loser who lives in a delusional religious world. Now get out of here and go on your way. Don't make me call the serious police.”
Derrick watches Officer Malini turn and run down another alley. He sees Officer Malini's again put his index finger to his ear and talk.
It's never easy to have your mark reapplied. Derrick volunteered because it was necessary. He believes in the mission he's been given from the colony. Experiencing a little discomfort, pain, and humiliation is something he knew would happen. Derrick feels confident Officer Malini believed him.
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