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Friday, May 25, 2018

A NOVEL ─ THE ADVENTURES OF KEVIN KRAMER IN COMMUNIST EUROPE ─ A Novel about the End Times ─ Chapter 6 ─ "Being Followed in a Park"

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The Adventures of Kevin Krämer in Communist Europe

- The Escape from Communist Europe -

 (A Novel about the End Times)

By: Justin Brown (a pen name)

Recommended reading for ages 14 and older.
This is a novel for teens and adults.

This novel contains some violence (such as gunshots and fights); intense chase scenes;
clean romantic elements (i.e. clean conversations between a guy and his girlfriend);
 and themes appropriate for teenagers and adults.
You will not find any profanity, immorality, or gore in this novel.
It is written to edify the reader, and not to provoke sinful thoughts.

This story is free to be copied, printed, and distributed, but it must remain unaltered.



Europe has been invaded, the superpower across the sea is no more, and the country of "Baltania" is controlling Europe through communistic puppet governments. Under the oppressive cloud of communism, a small group of underground Christians faces a powerful crime organization bent on their capture and destruction. 

Under this heavy, oppressive cloak, Kevin Kramer, a 30-year-old, and Maritza, his attractive, 27-year-old girlfriend, must decide who they will serve as they fall in love with each other, start a romantic relationship, and try to evade the unrelenting and dangerous members of a criminal organization, which seeks to kidnap underground Christians to sell to the secret police.

Together with some friends, Kevin and Maritza must do their best to avoid being captured as they learn to trust God and follow His guiding hand in these last days just before the rise of the Antichrist. This fast-paced story is designed to be fascinating. But, don't just take our word for it... 

[Note: Baltania is a fictional country within the Eurasian land mass. At one time, it had a communistic past. During a third world war, communism revived in this country as it's armies conquered Europe. Since we do not want to point fingers at any particular country, we will not name this country or coalition of countries.]


Chapter 6

"Being Followed in a Park"

(Click here to open a list of links to chapters. 
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Kevin’s Apartment in Kühnburg

Kevin was hunched over a small, wooden desk in his apartment bedroom with a floor lamp casting shadows from his head, hands, and writing pen. Out in the living room, Heinrich, his apartment roommate, was playing a VR game. So, he had nothing to disturb him as he collected his thoughts and began composing a letter to Maritza, an attractive girl he was beginning a friendship with. Her smile, pretty face, and friendly nature were like magnets pulling on Kevin’s heart.

After he had finished the letter, he folded it up and placed a small piece of tape to keep it shut. Then, he gently laid it in the metal container Maritza had given him earlier. He inhaled deeply before slipping the container into his backpack. Leaving his bedroom, with its door shut and locked, Kevin went for the hallway closet where he stored his bicycle. Coming out of the closet with the bike clicking away beside him, Kevin slipped past Heinrich, who was oblivious to his presence.

The video game enthusiast was shut off from the real world and trapped in a virtual reality world, where he was racing cars, fighting villains, or going on adventure quests in fantasy worlds. Kevin felt bad for him, but he knew Heinrich would not listen to him if he tried to get him off the game.

After passing through the corridor outside his apartment and after descending through the stairwell to the ground level, Kevin reentered the fresh, spring air and breathed deeply. It was now Sunday morning and the birds were chirping in nearby trees. The grass and pavement had recently received a soft rain and were full of moisture and shallow puddles. Kevin mounted his bicycle and began pedaling down the sidewalk toward a street, Goldstein Street,* which ran adjacent to his apartment building. [* Note: For the sake of simplicity, this story will only use the English equivalent of Germanic street names.]

Reached the street, he paused before pulling into the morning traffic and making his way toward the intersection of Weber St. and Goldstein St. Upon reaching the intersection, Kevin took a right onto Goldstein St., but he didn’t notice a man on a motorized skateboard riding along the sidewalk some ways behind him.


Kühnburg Municipal Park

After traveling straight through seven more intersections, Kevin turned to the right and pulled into the mostly-empty parking lot of the Kühnburg Municipal Park and rode onto a paved path. Slowing down to about 14.4 kilometers per hour (9 mph), he glided down an asphalt path and carefully avoided the occasional pedestrian. Behind him, unknown to Kevin, the man on the motorized skateboard rode down the path and slowed to a walking pace, allowing Kevin to move far ahead of him.

After half a minute of riding since he had reached the park, Kevin arrived at the spot where he and Maritza had agreed to meet. It was a quiet, shaded area where an abundance of evergreen bushes, shrubs, and coniferous trees grew. He pulled to a stop near a bushy, Emerald Green arborvitae tree and dismounted his bike. A park bench, surrounded by tall arborvitae bushes, presented a perfect spot to rest. So, he kicked out the kickstand, left his bike a short distance from the bench, and sat down on the wooden bench planks to wait.

Three minutes later, he heard soft footsteps, to his left, crunching down a gravel path just on the other side of a screen of arborvitae bushes. Kevin turned and then stood, trying to see through the bushes who was walking by. But, they were too dense. He stepped forward, with some anticipation of seeing Maritza, and he was not let down.

The blond-haired girl appeared in a gap in the hedge and walked toward him, wearing a backpack on her back and a friendly smile on her face. She was dressed modestly in baggy, old-style women’s jeans and a modest, purple short-sleeve shirt, which was somewhat baggy and long. Underneath of it, a blue shirt was tucked into her trousers.

The attractive, long-haired girl gingerly walked around some Inkberry holly plants, trying to avoid stepping on them. Then, she looked up at Kevin and saw him smiling at her. As she was distracted, Maritza didn’t notice a 10-centimeter-tall rock poking out of the ground. Her shoe struck it and she suddenly fell forward, but she just barely regained her footing before she would have hit the grassy ground.

“Are you alright?” Kevin said, walking closer.

“I’m fine, Kevin, thanks,” Maritza said, feeling embarrassed and a little shaken. “My shoes are actually designed for hiking, so I’m good. My right foot just feels a little sore. But, I’ll be alright.”

“That’s too bad. Well, it’s good to see you, Maritza,” Kevin said, grinning. Then, he said, jokingly, “What happened to your coke-bottle glasses?”

“I forgot to bring them,” she said jokingly. “But, I brought my scientific calculator: the one that has a thousand buttons.”

Both laughed lightheartedly.

“How are you doing?” Kevin said after their laughing had subsided.

“I’m doing well, but I felt a little stressed today when a neighbor asked me if I attended a church in Kühnburg. I told her no. And, I wasn’t lying because I don’t attend any churches in Kühnburg. We meet some miles from the city. But, I didn’t tell her that.”

“All the churches are controlled by the government then?” Kevin said as he took a seat on the bench.

“Yes,” Maritza said as she sat down about a meter from him, “they have to do what the government says, and the pastors have to report on the activities of their church members.”
(Some conversions between
metric units and English-system units)
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“And,” Maritza continued, saying, “government spies often attend meetings and partake in discussions after the church services end. They make sure that the members do not engage in witnessing, ministering to the poor, or any secret meetings. Pastors also have to submit all their sermons to the city government to be reviewed before they can be preached on Sundays.”

“That sounds very difficult. But, God wants us to witness to the lost. What do you do for witnessing?” Kevin said.

“I…” Maritza turned to look over her shoulder. No one was in sight. Only green, leafy bushes met her gaze. So, she leaned toward Kevin and whispered, “I can’t tell you about the specifics now. But, we can go on a walk if you’d like, and I could tell you then.”

“That would be fine,” Kevin said. “But, I thought you would show me where to hide the metal container.”

“I will, but I think we should wait for that a little later,” Maritza said.

“Why?” Kevin said, not catching the slight movement of her eyes to the right.

She merely stood to her feet and said, “I also feel like getting a little exercise… maybe we can go on a little walk.”

Still unaware of what Maritza was trying to signal to him, Kevin stood and said, “Well, let’s go on a walk then. But, I will have to bring my bicycle.”

“That’s fine,” she said.

(Click on this link to read brief descriptions
about some of the characters from this novel.)
The pair walked out from under the shady arborvitae bushes and started walking down a path. About 91 meters from them lay a playground where children were busy exploring the equipment and laughing. Mothers and fathers interacted with their kids, but some accessed the internet on their smartphones and tablets.

A few deciduous trees were scattered about among the verdant park grounds, but the leaves were not fully grown as the spring season had not yet ran its full course.

After they had made some small talk, Kevin looked at Maritza and said, “I was wondering something, Maritza.”

“What is that?” she said, turning to the inquisitive, clean-shaven 30-year-old, who walked beside her. She felt attracted to this brown-haired, average-looking, single guy, even though he appeared to be only maybe one centimeter taller than her, and even though he seemed a little awkward around her.

“Why didn’t you want to tell me how you witness or where you hide the metal case?” Kevin said. “Are you not sure you can trust me?”

Maritza stopped walking and looked at Kevin with a little surprise. “I do trust you, Kevin. That is not the problem.”

“Then, what is the problem?” Kevin said wondering if she was annoyed at him.

“I felt like someone was eavesdropping on our conversation,” she said. “I can’t share sensitive information if I know I’m being listened to.”

“Who would be eavesdropping on us?” Kevin said, before he looked back the way they had come. He only saw a couple people he had never seen before walking on the path 30 meters from them.

“I don’t know,” Maritza said, “but I know we have a lot of enemies who would love to find a good reason to have us arrested so they could get a reward from the government.”

“What kind of reward would the government give them?” Kevin asked. Being a new Christian, he was unaware of such things.

“If one turns in an underground Christian, he or she will be given a year-long supply of extra food credits, a month’s wages in cash, or some other benefit,” she said. “People with those incentives have turned in their own friends.”

Kevin looked down. “I now understand why you were evasive.”

“But, don’t worry, Kevin,” Maritza said. “I’ll answer your questions now, if you want.”

“So, where was the hiding place for the container?” Kevin said.

Just then, Maritza grimaced and locked eyes with Kevin. Then, her eyes shifted to the right, in a non-verbal signal to him. He didn’t turn his head, understanding that she was letting him know that someone was following them.

Twenty meters down, the path turned a sharp corner to the right, around a hill, which allowed Kevin to inconspicuously turn his head to see who was trailing them. A long-bearded man about his age was walking along the path and texting on a smartphone. Dark sunglasses covered his eyes and a black baseball cap sat on his head. From under the edge of the hat poked longish, black hair. As Kevin watched him, the man looked up at him briefly before quickly returning his gaze to his phone. The stranger wasn’t more than 10 meters down the path behind him.

Kevin felt chills travel down his body. He didn’t recognize the man, but the stranger’s behavior made him wonder if the man was possibly snapping photos of Kevin when he wasn’t looking. Kevin hoped that the man had not overheard any words he and Maritza had said that would cause his suspicion to be aroused.

“Maritza,” Kevin said quietly, “I have an idea. Let’s stop here and let him pass by. We can talk about the scenery.”

She nodded and they both stepped off the path and walked a little ways up a grassy hill to their right. They stood on a rise along the slope and chatted about the weather and about the beautiful scenery, trying to ignore the stranger.

He continued walking, but then he stopped on the path below them and continued “texting” on his phone. Kevin felt his heart rate increase a little. This man didn’t just stop at that point to text for no reason. A minute passed, but Kevin and Maritza continued talking. Then, the stranger looked up from his phone and began climbing the hill toward them. The urge to leave quickly came upon Kevin, but he restrained himself and forced himself to act natural. Running would be obvious and would be a dead giveaway.

Once he had reached the pair, the long-bearded man cleared his throat and coughed. Then, he said, with a hoarse, gravelly voice, “I was wondering if both of you are locals to this city?”

“We are,” Kevin said.

“Since this is Sunday,” the man said again with his hoarse, raspy voice, “I was wondering if you knew of a church near this park that would be an easy walking distance from here.”

Kevin couldn’t see the man’s eyes since they were concealed by the dark lenses, but he almost thought he recognized the shape of the man’s nose.

“I don’t know of any church that would be very close. I don’t attend any churches in this town,” Kevin said.

“Okay. Then, do you know where I could purchase a Bible? I’m looking for one since I lost mine a week ago,” the man said in his gravelly voice.

“Why are you asking me?” Kevin said.

“You both look like nice people and I was wondering if you were Christians, for I happen to be a Christian myself,” the man said.  As he spoke, his voice changed slightly and Kevin’s heightened sensitivity picked up on the way the man said the last part of his statement. The gravelly voice had slipped in the second half of the sentence, revealing to Kevin that it was purposely used to disguise the man’s normal voice.

Kevin suddenly made a bold move and snatched the man’s sunglasses, and blue eyes appeared. Then, in the next split-second, he grabbed both the longish beard and the hat, and pulled. They both came off the man’s head, revealing his identity. A black, long-haired wig fell to the ground like a feather, revealing a different hairdo underneath. Free of the disguise, the man’s dark-brown, combed-back hair with short sides appeared. As the fake beard and wig came off, Kevin’s friend, Dietmar Kraft uttered profanities and said, “Hey! What did you do that for?”

He looked just like his normal self except for the absence of his short, dark beard.

“Why are you pretending to be someone you’re not, spying on me, and asking me and my friend all these questions?” Kevin said, frowning.

Dietmar held up both hands, and said, “Listen, Kevin, I’m sorry. I was just really curious about what’s going on with you, man. On Wednesday, you seemed really bothered by something when I wanted you to try out the magic wand on my VR game. You told me you had something against magic wands.”

Dietmar breathed deeply and continued, saying, “That is not normal behavior, Kevin. I’m worried about you. So, I wanted to ask you some questions, but in a way where you didn’t know who I was.”

“But, snooping on people isn’t the way to go about it, Dietmar,” Kevin said.

“Maybe you’re right,” Dietmar said a little sheepishly. “But, I want to know some things. Are you a Christian, Kevin?”

Right as his friend said that, Kevin turned his heart toward God and silently asked God a question, “Dear Lord Jesus, what do I tell him?”

Kevin suddenly felt peace sweep over his soul and an idea suddenly came to his mind. He felt it was from God. So, he faced his friend and said, “Dietmar, I will answer your question if you answer my question.”

“Fair enough,” Dietmar said.

“Send me a message now on our favorite social media site telling me exactly who sold you half of your favorite VR video games, and where you purchased them from, and I will answer your question,” Kevin said.

Kevin knew that Dietmar had illegally purchased many of his VR games from the black market, on the street, at much lower prices than those found on normal websites. The games were stolen by clever criminals and sold at half price or lower. For Dietmar to mention his illegal purchases on a social media website would be foolish. Doing so would immediately tip off A.I. software and land Dietmar in prison for five years.

“I can’t,” Dietmar said, feeling nervous. “Listen, Kevin, I got to be going now. I’ll see you later.”

Then, Dietmar turned and walked down the hill. Kevin and Maritza waited for him reach the path before they climbed up the hill and continued walking on the grass. He wasn’t following them anymore, as far as Kevin could tell. Once they were far enough away from the closest people.

“That’s a relief to see him go like that,” Maritza said. “I was praying for you that Father God to give you the right words to say and would stop what the devil was trying to do with that guy.”

“I did too, and God answered our prayers,” Kevin said. “If I had said the wrong thing, we could be in trouble with the police.”

Maritza turned to face Kevin, and a worried look appeared on her face. “Kevin, I am concerned about you. It seems your friend was spying on you, hoping to get enough evidence to have the police arrest you and give him a reward. May I ask what you said or did that tipped him off to want to spy on you?”

Kevin sighed. Then, he informed her about his experience playing the VR games at Dietmar’s apartment. He told her about how he had felt convicted that he should not be playing violent and occult video games. And, he explained that after Dietmar had wanted him to use a magic wand in the game, Kevin had felt convinced that he had to quit playing violent or fantasy games altogether.

“I feel that God wants me to quit playing medieval fantasy video games,” Kevin said, “and quit playing games that involve any form of violence. I enjoyed them before, but my interests seem to be changing now.”

Maritza drew out a pocket Bible and began flipping through it until she arrived at a place in the New Testament.

She said, “God the Son, Jesus Christ, did say in His Word this truth in Matthew 6:22-23. May I quote it for you?” 

“Certainly,” Kevin said, turning his face toward her.

Maritza said, “In Matthew 6:22-24, Jesus said:‘[22] The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. [23] But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 

[24] No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’”

“I never heard that before,” Kevin said. “I want to read that for myself.” So, he set his backpack down, unzipped a pocket, and fished out his compact Bible. Then, he flipped to Matthew chapter 6.

After reading the verses for himself, Kevin said, “Maritza, Do you know what the word ‘mammon’ is talking about?”

“Konrad Adebayo, the Nigerian man we met, told us it means anything that is a material possession or a popular thing of this world, such as food, entertainment, worldly ‘success,’ riches, hobbies, etc. If we love these things more than we love Jesus Christ, we are serving these things, and are actually despising Jesus. It is easy to let idols take our hearts away from Jesus.”

“So if you spent a whole day just doing your favorite hobby, you would be despising Jesus?” Kevin said, curious.

“That is correct because your love for God would be weak compared to your love for the hobby,” Maritza said.

“So, then, by only doing your own hobby in that day, you’d be hating Jesus?” Kevin said.

“Not necessarily,” Maritza said, chuckling. “You’d only be hating Jesus if you continued to live a life of pursuing your own will, instead of His, or if you claimed to be a Christian but loved things or people more than God, and never changed.”

“That is sobering,” Kevin said. “I want to study Matthew chapter 6.”

“That would be a good idea,” she said, smiling. Then, she set her backpack down and unzipped it. Reaching in, Maritza pulled out a bag filled with small, folded pieces of paper which contained artwork. She handed a bunch to Kevin.

“What is this?” he said, looking at the items.

“These are Gospel tracts,” Maritza said. “They contain artistic illustrations and text which presents the Gospel to people in a way that would make them interested in learning more about Jesus.”

The pair continued walking on the grass and passed under the leafy branches of maple and elm trees. Red squirrels chattered and scampered up in the branches while bright, feathery yellowhammer and sedge warbler birds perched on twigs for momentary breaks before hopping off to another interesting place among the finger-like network of stems.

As they came to an empty bench, Maritza sat down and casually placed her hand into a pocket in her blue, denim jeans. Then, she drew out a Gospel tract and placed it on the bench seat. Kevin sat down on the other end of the bench, keeping enough space between him and her that a third person could sit there. They remained there and chatted for a couple minutes before Maritza slowly stood up and Kevin followed her leave.

Then, they walked together, heading toward a sidewalk next to a street bordering the spacious and extensive city park. She looked at Kevin and smiled. “I am going back to my apartment now, but if you want to stay in contact with me, you can place your letters in that metal container I gave you, and leave the case in the arborvitae bushes to the left of the bench where I met you today.”


“I will reply to your letters and I’ll place the metal container in the same place where you will leave it,” Maritza said. “Then, we can agree where we’ll put the message case next. If we place the case somewhere else next week, no one will likely be able to find it or know what we’re doing.”

Kevin nodded and smiled. “That sounds like a good plan.”

“It’s what Konrad taught us to do,” she said simply.

“I notice you mentioned Konrad several times,” Kevin said. “Do you know if he’s married?”

“Why do you ask?” she said, looking at him, trying to guess what he was thinking.

“Well, I was curious about something,” Kevin said. “But, is he married?”

“No,” Maritza said. “But, he told us that he doesn’t feel he should get married because he feels called by God to be single.”

“How old do you think he is?” Kevin said.

“In his early forties, I would guess. I never asked him his age,” Maritza said.

“Does he write to you?” Kevin said.

“What are you getting at, Kevin? Do you think I am in love with him?” Maritza said.

Kevin was silent, waiting to see what she would say next.

“Kevin,” she sighed with a sheepish grin. “I’m not interested in him in that way. He’s at least 14 years older than me. And, as for other guys … Our church group is actually pretty small. In fact, you’re one of the few true Christian, single guys about my age that I’ve met.”

“So, there are few underground Christians like us that you know of,” Kevin said.

“I haven’t been around much,” Maritza said. “And, I haven’t met all the underground Christians in this part of the Communist Republic of Germany. I’m sure there are many underground groups across this country and through all of Europe.”

“So, you have other places where you could go to meet nice, Christian people and establish more friendships,” Kevin said, wondering if she were actually interested in him.

“Kevin,” she said with sincerity, looking him in the face, “I do look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Kevin felt his heart begin to lift off like a rocket at hearing those words.

“See you later,” she said.

He waved at her. Then, he stood with his bicycle, watching her walk down the sidewalk and toward a crosswalk. A street running between four-story buildings formed a T-intersection with the street she had walked along. Kevin didn’t want to be staring, so he turned away, donned his backpack, and mounted his bicycle. In moments, he was pedaling across the grass toward the sidewalk of the street, which ran along the edge of the park. He glanced at Maritza, to his left, and saw her waiting at the crosswalk. Then, she was gone from his sight as he propelled himself onto the sidewalk and dropped onto the street.

Behind Kevin, Maritza continued to wait at the crosswalk. Once the flow of traffic had opened up, she walked across the pavement and continued down the sidewalk of the intersecting street. Unknown to her, a man slipped out of an alley between two brick buildings and began to trail her.


AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 7 ("Maritza Is in Trouble"):

'... As Maritza walked down the street, she didn’t bother glancing in shop windows or in the rear windows of parked cars, like others might have, to see if anyone were following her, for she was thinking about ...

As the 27-year-old, blond-haired girl continued walking ... the man following her drew out his smartphone and carefully began snapping pictures of her as discretely as he could. ...

Maritza glanced at the rear window of a parked SUV. Two minutes had passed since she had said goodbye to Kevin. In the nearly-vertical window, she saw the reflection of a guy wearing sunglasses; .... He was following her, holding up a smartphone, and pointing it in her direction. He briefly held it as if he were trying to snap a picture, and then, he lowered it to appear as if he were just texting.

Feeling a little nervous, she quickened her pace, but the man seemed to notice, for she saw his reflection in the wide window of a nearby shop. He was also walking faster, and his phone was now in his pocket.

Her heart was beating faster and she began to wonder what reason the stranger had for following her. ...'

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