Chapter 1: Insanity
The Bible can be difficult at best to understand, and when you finally do, it can scare the literal hell out of you. Billed as "the inspired Word of God," one must then ask why, in 325 the Council of Nicaea made up of people appointed by Emperor Constantine who would in a word edit the scriptures. Yes, a staff of editors decided what part of God's Word was fit to read, chose the new holy days, and proclaimed that the Son of God was God in the flesh.
Turned off by so much hypocrisy in the pulpit during his adolescent years, Allen Cade avoided any form of organized religion. There was simply too much blood running through the service, and the collection plate, sometimes more than once in the same service, followed it. By no means an atheist, Allen found his own relationship with The Creator in the outdoors.
Later in life, he found a non-denominational church in rural East Texas that suited him, and merged with the congregation. That was not to say that he totally accepted religion. It caused him to look deeper at the written Word, and through research on the internet, the puzzle came together for him. He realized that the end times are upon us, and we are facing tribulation.
He also saw the United States as Babylon the Great of Revelation, a center of world trade that sat upon many waters. This opposed the view of those who believed it was Rome. When the signs began to appear, he felt the need to leave the country. The problem was where to go, and what to do when he got there.
After extensive research, he chose Chile, and made plans to emigrate there. Chile was now a democratic republic, unashamedly Christian, and unlike the US, had a thriving economy. The southern part of the country, called Patagonia, was home to many glacier-fed rivers. These in turn held spawning populations of trout and salmon. Fishing for these species became Allen's desired recreation after his experiences in Alaska.
His older brother John had bought a failed fishing lodge in Alaska, and made his home there. It was there that for a week away from a stressful situation, Allen immersed himself into the fabulous fishing. He always considered Alaskans to be independent, and hoped they would break away from the increasingly socialist USA.
Then, the week after his visit in late August 2005, John and his family perished in the crash of his amphibious Cessna 180. While Allen had that to deal with, his wife Glenda left him for a plastic surgeon in Tyler. Being the surviving next of kin, per John's will Allen inherited his home in Alaska. However, Glenda's lover coveted the prospect of owning a remote property on a salmon river in Alaska.
"It's part of Glenda's settlement," Nick argued, "and she's entitled to it."
God intervened, and over the winter, some squatters managed to burn it down. Instead of the lodge, they each got half the insurance settlement. An obscure federal statute denied Allen's permit application to rebuild on the site. The park service condemned the property, and absorbed it into a nearby national monument. Alaska proved to be under the oppressive government's thumb, and less independence oriented than Allen hoped.
"What is the purpose of your visit to Chile?" the Customs agent at DFW Airport asked.
"It looks like a nice place to visit," replied Allen. "It reminds me a lot of Alaska."
"Long visit," noted the agent. "You aren't returning until April?"
"I've got nothing better to do. I'm not working, so what's the rush to come home?"
In reality, Allen never intended to come back. He had moved his savings to two offshore accounts in preparation to leaving the US. First, the economy bankrupted his employer, causing him to lose his job as a computer technician, and network specialist. One time a partner in the company, he sold to the heirs of his late friend after he collapsed with a massive heart attack.
The sons, coupled with a rotten economy caused the business to go from thriving to failing in just two years. He thanked God that he went through the old metal detectors at the airport in Tyler. He thus avoided the naked body scanners that revealed every private detail about anyone going through. It forced the citizens into obedient submission rather than provide any true measure of security.
In another hour, he would be aboard the flight that would carry him out of Babylon. It would also get him away from those trying to get him declared mentally unfit for his views on the imminent end times. That was what caused the rift in his family.
Finding a seat, he looked around at the others. A Boeing 767 arrived at the gate not long before. The ground crews refueled, and loaded it for the non-stop flight to Santiago, Chile. To his right he saw a small, dark-haired, brown-eyed woman in her late 30's, with a blue-flowered silk headscarf walk into the waiting area. She sat in the chair opposite him, smiled, and then took out a Spanish language magazine.
Allen noticed she wore no wedding ring, and returned to reading his book, a novel about the end time prophecies that had already come true. He tried to conceal it so the cover was not so obvious. People treated those who study Biblical prophecies with disdain, and as kooks.
"Dad," his son Brian taunted him, "It was on one of the educational channels last week. There is no god; only aliens who seeded this planet to come back one day to harvest us."
His daughter treated him with the same disrespect, no doubt influenced by his strained marriage. When he tried to correct them, Glenda always intervened. Now, they despised him.
That was when they still spoke to him. The kids became distant since he had her arrested after she tried to kill him when he would not divorce her. The shot charge from the 20-gauge had missed his head by two inches, but ruptured his left eardrum. Their daughter, Amy lied for her, and told the cops it was accidental. The DA dismissed it as such.
"All you had to do was give her the divorce," reasoned Amy. "She's been having an affair the last six months; it's over. I don't think I'd stick around if I were you."
"Is that a threat?" asked Allen.
"No, I'm just saying, I don't really want her to kill you; she tried once."
"She got away with it, thanks to you."
"I can't help it if you went off the deep end with all your antichrist, end times theories," Amy countered. "You scare me sometimes with all that prophecy stuff. We could report you to Homeland Security as a domestic terrorist, or have you committed. We won't, as long as you leave, and don't come back."
"Amy, you should be scared. There's a way out, and salvation if only you'd accept it."
"Dad, stop," countered Amy. "Just go, please? I'm sorry it turned out this way, but you've got nothing left here. Mom and Nick are happy now, and Jesus isn't coming imminently, so sign the papers on the house, and go somewhere you won't be miserable."
"Amy, I don't want to see you and Brian end up like her, rejecting The LORD. I've tried to make you see the truth, but you dismiss me like I'm crazy."
"Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Brian has threatened to report you for being a threat to the government. I don't want that, so please, go?"
Thus, eight years after the divorce, Allen Cade began the journey that brought him to his present situation. The Aereo Chile gate attendant announced they were about to board. Allen put his reading a way, and gathered his carry-on luggage to go.
A rude passenger rushed past, knocking the woman across from him over her carry-on, and to the floor. The sandy-haired, goateed man paused long enough to drag his rolling suitcase over her leg, and rushed to the gate. He shot Allen a look of superiority, and then was gone.
"Let me help you," Allen offered. "Are you okay? Um, Esta herido?"
She nodded, and then offered her hand so he could help her up. "I speak English, and I think I am fine, gracias."
Allen helped her up, and let her ahead of him in line. She was small; perhaps five three, and if she weighed 110 pounds wet, he would be surprised. She had an accent, which confirmed that she was returning to Chile, rather than going. The woman's light, fresh scent intrigued him, as did her cute figure from behind. He turned to see the man who knocked her down vanish down the jet way.
Unlike domestic flights where you showed ID at every stop, the attendant merely checked his seat, and flight number. He followed the lady down the jet way, and aboard the plane. Then, she stopped beside his row. The Chilean woman struggled to lift her bag into the overhead, and almost lost it. Allen caught it, and stowed it for her.
"Gracias, again," she offered, and checked her seat. "I am in 22B, right here."
"I'm by the window," Allen noted, and stashed his carry-on beside hers. He then took his seat, buckled up, and placed his book into the pocket below the tray. The ground crew hurried about their business outside. Clouds had moved in since he had arrived at DFW almost two hours earlier, on the next to last commuter flight. It was now dark outside.
In the morning, he would be on the ground in Chile, and planned to spend two days in Santiago to buy a car. From there it depended on his search for the hacienda he sought to buy. He had gotten an international drivers license when he applied for his passport, and visa. Buying a car is a complicated process in Chile, compared to in the US, but not an insurmountable task.
It was going to be harder adjusting to the new culture. This was going to be a completely new life for him, in a new country. He would need new clothes, a job if he was going to stay in Chile, and replace almost everything he left behind. He also considered buying a small plane with the money in the offshore accounts, but it could wait until he settled down somewhere.
"Thank you for helping me," the woman beside him offered. "People are so ugly these days."
"They do tend to be, don't they?" Allen took notice of her soft brown eyes, and pleasing round face. "You're from Chile?"
"Si, I was at a conference in Dallas for people who wish to move to Chile. I am a realtor from a place called Coyhaique."
"That's one of the places I was going after I get a car in Santiago," Allen replied. "I wish I'd known about the conference. It probably would've helped me a lot."
"It is geared more towards expatriates, than those going to visit." The woman then asked, "Have you ever been to Chile?"
"I never have, but I think anymore they are more free than the US is. That is what I'm doing, leaving the good old USSA behind."
"What part of Chile interests you the most, and what kind of work do you do?"
"I like Patagonia, mostly because I love to fish for trout, but I work on computers, so I need to take that into consideration."
"Santiago is a very big city, but Coyhaique, not so big."
"It would depend on who else in town builds and repairs computers."
"I do not like computers, and they do not like me, but we have to use them, and they break all the time. So, I guess people like you and Fritz Braun are a necessary evil."
"I take it this Fritz is a computer repair person?"
"The only one in Coyhaique and he acts like the only one in Sur America. I will buy a new one before I let him fix mine again."
"Well, I wish I could make a living at something else, but for a lot of years, it provided a good income. It's stressful sometimes."
"I only hate flying more, but I must do both or I will have no business."
"How did the conference work out for you?"
"I just wondered. I take it you got no prospects?"
"I will not do it again. It cost me the airplane ticket, the hotel, and much money for my exhibit, all for nothing."
"My name is Allen Cade, and I am looking for a small hacienda in Patagonia with river or stream frontage."
"Please, do not play games with me, I m not in the mood for it. How do you intend to pay for this if you find one?"
"I have money saved up."
"I would hope a lot, because you will not be able to borrow any."
"I don't intend to borrow. Look, I am sorry I touched on a sore spot." Allen took out his book, and opened it to the place he last marked. "I won't bother you."
"If you were that wealthy, you would be in first class," she shot back.
Allen got a chuckle out of that. He looked at his watch, and then asked, "May I get to my laptop case, please?"
"If you must," she replied, and stood so he could get by. "I think we are about to go."
"I see that. I just wanted to get some papers to look at. The book was okay once, but the second time it's just depressing." He found a folder with the printouts of the properties he wished to see. "Here we go. Those are the four I found that I would like to go see."
She gasped, and her hand went over her mouth. "Lo siento, Señor; I am so sorry. I did not realize you are one of our clients. I feel like una grande idiota."
"I am Lena Martin, and this is mi padre's real estate business. I am sorry; you dress so ordinary for someone of means." She motioned with her hands when she spoke. "Papa had me check your finances when you hired us to find your hacienda."
"I'm not that wealthy, but I have saved up enough to buy a home and some nice things," Allen replied. "Our business was doing well when my partner died, and his two boys used the insurance money to buy me out. My wife was trying to divorce me back then. I had it transferred to an account in the Honduras that I had stashed a few dollars in over the years."
"She found someone new?"
"That's always the case, isn't it? Then she tried to kill me because I told her that I married her till death do we part." Allen shook his head, and added, "God says adultery is the only justification for divorce, but He also said we are to forgive. That was hard enough, but the survival instinct that I call my guardian angel told me it was time to go."
"Oh, and what did this angel say?"
"She said to 'Come out of Babylon, ' so I wouldn't suffer for her sins."
"Oh, you are silly, but I am pleased that you are a man of faith."
"No thanks to those who make religion a business. I found Him on my own."
"Not many do, even with the help of the church. I would like to hear how you came to know God on your own."
"Oh, that goes back a long time, and it's been hard sometimes, because of my kids."
"But we have a long flight ahead of us, and someone's commitment to his God interests me very much."
"Will the flight attendants please prepare the cabin for takeoff?" said the pilot over the intercom, and then repeated it in Spanish.
The crew went down the aisles, closing the open overhead compartments while others did the seatbelt and oxygen mask demonstrations. Allen fastened his belt, watched Lena do hers, and looked outside. The push back mule moved the big jet away from the gate.
"How does the plane back up like this?" Lena asked.
"They have a truck called a mule that fastens to the nose wheel with a big fork on a long pole," Allen explained. "They push us back and then the engines make us go forward."
"See how little I know? I thought they must have a reverse gear like an auto."
"Most people think that, because they never see it. Look there in front of the LAN plane; see the flat yellow looking cart?"
"Oh, yes, now I see. Thank you for not thinking me stupid."
"That's okay. I thought they had a reverse until a couple years ago," Allen confessed. "If they have electricity on board, then why not have an electric motor to back up with?"
Lena smiled, and whispered, "That is what I thought, too. Airplanes are so complicated, and I spend as little time aboard them as I can."
"Some are, but the ones I like to fly aren't that bad. That's one of the things on my list to do when I get settled, buy a small plane." He felt Lena grip his hand, and saw her eyes close. "Are you okay?"
"We are moving, and I am so scared of flying. I did not take my pill to make me sleep."
"You'll be fine, because I'm with you, and God didn't have me leave just to die in a plane crash." He rubbed her hand, and felt her relax somewhat. "We'll be fine, and it's all in God's hands anyway. If you belong to Him, you have nothing to worry about."
The pilot taxied the plane to the taxiway, and then crossed over one runway in order to take off from the other. When he was in position, he began the takeoff roll. Allen watched out the window past the wing, as the ground fell away below them. The landing gear came up with an audible clunk, and the whir of the flaps retracting began.
Looking down at the DFW metroplex, Allen said, "So long, Babylon."
The lights of nearby structures reflected off the lake to the north of the airport as the jet began its turn to the south. Below, people went about their lives, oblivious to the fate that waited them. If the Bible interpretation was correct, then all sorts of disasters were coming, but not one involving his flight. At least it was not in Bible prophecy involving Allen and an airplane, unless somehow that was how God raptured His people.
He took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. He was on his way to freedom now, from the increasingly oppressive government. They would not get the money that he had put away over several years. It was free from taxes, and the threat of government confiscation. He paid taxes on the income, and he was not about to pay them on the piddling amount of interest it generated.
Allen looked back at Lena, and noticed that she had fainted. He could not call the flight attendant while the plane was climbing, and was unsure how to deal with it on the plane. First aid treatment of elevating the feet could not happen for another several minutes.
He put his arm around her, and whispered, "Everything is all right, Miss. We're going to be just fine."