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Thursday, May 31, 2018

A NOVEL ─ THE ADVENTURES OF KEVIN KRAMER IN COMMUNIST EUROPE ─ A Novel about the End Times ─ Chapter 11 ─ "Concern in the Night"

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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 11

"Concern in the Night"

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~ Previously ~

Kevin and Konrad passed the ashes of their campfire and continued walking for 20 more meters* until they arrived at the place where Maritza’s tent had been set up.

Kevin could see her backpacking tent in the moonlight which filtered through the evergreen trees. “Maritza,” he said, “it’s time to wake up.” He tapped on the tent fabric, but there was no movement or sounds from within. Then, he walked around the tent and noticed that the door was opened. He looked in and could see an empty sleeping bag. ‘She’s gone!’ he thought, alarmed, ‘But, where did she go?’

“Konrad,” Kevin said, trembling as he glanced at the other man, “Maritza is missing!”
__ __ __ __ __

Concern in the Night

“Maritza, where are you?” Konrad said, squinting at the dark shapes of tree trunks and needle-covered branches.

“Maritza,” Kevin said loudly, cupping his hands over his mouth.

An owl hooted in the night-cloaked treetops some distance away, creating an eerie, foreboding atmosphere. And, a light breeze stirred the upper branches of the pine trees nearby, causing some dead needles to fall to the ground. The moon appeared through the forest canopy and beamed down on the landscape with its pale light, making it possible to vaguely see where he was standing.

“Maritza, where are you?” Kevin shouted again as he walked away from her empty sleeping bag.

Resting up half a meter from the bag was her borrowed backpack and a rolled-up, light jacket. ‘Obviously, she has not gone out for a hike this night,’ he thought to himself. Suddenly, dense bushes 13 meters from Kevin rustled and someone or something pushed through and stepped out into a more open area beneath the sable shadows of lofty evergreens. But, the figure was shadowed and impossible to see clearly.

“Who is that?” Kevin said, turning to face the shadowed person. ‘Could this be a bounty hunter seeking to capture us?’ he thought quickly. ‘And, could this person have kidnapped Maritza?’

The dark figure walked forward in the shadows, crunching fallen pine needles underfoot, and Kevin felt his skin prickle with fear. ‘Who is this?’ he thought. ‘Should I run?’

Beside him, Konrad was praying quietly, feeling concerned about their safety, and also curious about the shadowy figure.

“Guys, what are you doing in my part of the forest?” a young woman’s voice came through air.

“Maritza,” Kevin said, feeling greatly relieved, “we were worried about you. Are you okay?”

“What do you mean, Kevin?” Maritza said as she stepped into a patch of moonlight.

(Click on this link to read brief descriptions
about some of the characters from this novel.)
She was dressed in her regular clothing: long, baggy women’s trousers; shoes; and a long sleeve shirt. It was not too cold that night, so she didn’t wear the light jacket which Kevin had seen by her backpack.

“We were concerned something bad could have happened to you,” Kevin said. “God had woken Konrad up and he had awoken me. We are supposed to continue our journey tonight.”

“God woke me up too,” Maritza said, “but I didn’t know exactly why until now.”

“Why didn’t you answer us when we called?” Konrad said.

Maritza giggled slightly before saying, “I heard you both approaching me as I was praying, and I thought I’d test you to see if you’d recognize me in the shadows.”

“Well Maritza, you shouldn’t have tested us like that. God told me we need to continue our journey tonight,” Konrad said. “So, I’m very relieved to see that you are okay, Maritza. Let’s get our gear together and prepare to leave. I’ll do my best to remove all evidence of the campfire.”

Konrad and Kevin left Maritza and headed back toward the campfire. Kevin assisted him in removing the burnt remains of some pieces of wood and buried them in the ground. Then, Konrad used a flat rock to scoop up the powdery ashes and scatter them over a large area of the forest. He knew that doing so would not completely remove all evidence of the campfire, but it would make it harder to notice. And, there was no danger of a forest fire since it was still the springtime, and the burnt wood was buried in the dirt.

Once they had taken care of the fire pit, the men rolled up their sleeping bags, strapped them onto their backpacks, and walked over toward Maritza, who was just in the process of tying the straps of her sleeping bag.

“Wow,” she said, looking up, “you guys are fast. I’ll be ready very soon.”

“No worries,” Konrad said before he stepped away a short distance from her and began scanning over the nighttime, forest scenery. Konrad drew a compass and map from his pocket. He unfolded the map and held the compass up beside it.

Kevin guessed that besides getting his bearings, Konrad was looking out for any kidnappers or thugs that might be out in the woods searching for them. ‘But, it seems unlikely that they would be able to trace us to our current location,’ Kevin thought to himself. ‘After all, this forest is very large and is covered with dense undergrowth in many places.’

Once Maritza had donned her backpack, Konrad glanced her way and said, “Are you folks ready for more hiking?”

“Not really,” Maritza said, “but I am willing to do God’s will.”

“That’s the spirit,” Konrad said before setting off on a course around and among a mass of bushes. Maritza and Kevin slightly reluctantly followed him and began pushing through the bushes and ducking under branches.

__  __  __  __

Fifteen Quadrotor Drones

Unknown to Konrad, Kevin, and Maritza, a group of fifteen autonomous quadrotor drones hovered high over the forest, monitoring the humans below. They had been monitoring them all day and during the night. Unlike the remote-controlled drones of the early part of the second decade of the 21st century, the quadrotor drones used by the Red Venom crime organization could operate autonomously and could land in the upper boughs and branches of trees.

When a drone landed on a branch, small legs would extend to the branch and claws would fasten tightly around it. These drones could also attach themselves onto buildings. Their strong batteries provided them with twelve hours of continuous flight before they would need to be recharged.

Working as a team, the squadron of autonomous drones had been recharged by other drones, which carried extra-large batteries and connection cords. They flew from Rat’s van and traveled almost 48 kilometers before they reached the location where the three Christians were camped.


Rat’s Panel Van

Hours before Konrad, Kevin, and Maritza had settled down for the night in their separate tents, Rat and Wolf had a short conversation in the back of Rat’s van.

Rat’s black panel van was parked in a shed behind Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt’s rural home, which was surrounded by pine woods. Rat’s smartphone displayed the time: 7:00 PM. The Schmidt’s rural property was located a mile down the road from the place where Konrad had parked his rental car.

Inside the van, Rat sat on a padded chair before a desktop computer which was resting on a narrow, wooden shelf, which was fastened to a wall of the van. He monitored the data brought to him by the drones and began plotting how to apprehend the three Christians in the woods.

Wolf stood nearby and gazed at Rat’s computer screen with the look of a crazed madman plotting to rule world. Though he appeared crazed and demonic, Wolf was a calculating killer. And, Rat knew not to make fun of his superior. Wolf had a way of making even his fellow crooks nervous.

“Rat, where do you think those Christians are headed tomorrow? Northwest or Northeast?” Wolf said as he paced back and forth behind Rat.

Rat felt very annoyed with the blond-haired man standing behind him, but he didn’t dare say anything, for Wolf would make him very miserable if he expressed any slight annoyance.
_ _ _ _

Shortly after being bribed and threatened by Wolf’s bait and switch tactic, Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt, the owners of the rural house, had vacated their property and had promised not to tell the police. They were an elderly couple who had lived in relative tranquility in their forest home for many years, until the day when Wolf had knocked at their front door.
_ _ _ _

“I don’t know, Wolf,” the bald man with a red goatee said, glancing up at his muscular supervisor. “But, the drones will detect their movement tomorrow, and we will be able to possibly cut them off by way of the Braun River, which runs through the forest a few miles away from the Christians.”
_ _ _ _

Rat, Wolf, Scorpion, and Python had all showed up on the Schmidt’s property, arriving in two panel vans. Wolf, who arrogantly considered himself to be the most handsome of the group, as well as the leader, had knocked politely at the front door of the rural, two-story home. Once the door had opened, he had offered Mr. Schmidt a large sum of money if he would leave the property for five days and not report any suspicious activity to the police.

When the man had hesitated and demanded to know why Wolf was doing this, the tall blond-haired man had flexed his rippling muscles and had trained an uzi automatic pistol at the home-owner’s chest. Then, with cruelty the owner had never heard in someone’s voice, Wolf had said: “If you don’t turn over this property for just five days, I will make sure you will not see another day on this earth.”

Without any further protest, the elderly man and his frail wife had vacated the property that evening. And, as far as Rat knew, the police hadn’t been notified.
_ _ _ _

“I had Python and Scorpion bring a speed boat behind my modified silver Delta Powerstorm van,” Wolf said with an arrogant grin. “Let’s hope they take a Northwestern direction because they will have to cross the Braun River, and we will be able to slip in and capture them. If they take the Northeastern direction, we’ll have to leave the boat in the river and go after them through the forest.”

“Wolf, I’m ready to track them down if they make things harder for us,” Rat said, turning around in his chair with a mischievous smile on his face.

“That’s what I want to hear,” Wolf said with an evil glint in his cold, blue eyes. Then, he placed a thick hand on Rat’s shoulder and squeezed it. “You’ll be our man to first approach the group. They’ve never seen you before, and I know they’ll fall for your clever deception.”


Cobra Takes Rat’s Place

At 8:00 PM, Cobra, a man with a short, brown Mohawk, had taken Rat’s place at the computer in Rat’s black van. Hours passed before the clock display on Rat’s desktop computer indicated it was 2:29 AM. It had now been over six hours since Cobra had taken Rat’s place at the computer. Cobra loved the night, and he especially loved role-playing video games. But, the desk job he was supposed to do was the part of his occupation he enjoyed the least.

He was in the middle of playing an online multiplayer game on his laptop computer when a beeping sound issued from the desktop computer’s speakers. It was an alert to pay attention to the data coming in from the fleet of spy drones which had been taking turns monitoring three Christians: Maritza Altmaier, Kevin Kramer, and Konrad Adebayo. The small, autonomous machines had detected that the three Christians, located many miles from the black van, had just packed up camp and were leaving for a new destination in the woods.

But, Cobra ignored the beeping sounds and continued stuffing potato chips (or crisps) into his mouth as he played the state-of-the-art computer game. He was too engrossed in completing some objectives with some virtual team mates to want to stop and check out the desktop monitor.

The beeping continued, so he bent down and reached into his backpack. Technically, he wasn’t supposed to do what he was doing, but Cobra was too addicted to say “no” to his thirst for power and entertainment. From the backpack, he removed a virtual reality (VR) headset and plugged it into an adapter which he connected to his laptop. He also drew out some haptic gloves and slipped them on. They gave him the ability to interact with virtual objects in the VR game world.

Now, with the VR goggles over his eyes, he flipped down two attached headphones to cover his ears. After selecting an option for VR mode, Cobra waited for the game to reload, and then he resumed his game. This time, he was fully immersed in the virtual world. He could turn his head in any direction and see the vivid fantasy world of the online game. The graphics were so spectacular to him that it almost felt like real life. Potato chips were impossible to eat now, but that didn’t matter to him at the moment.

With the noise-cancelling headphones on, Cobra couldn’t hear the beeping from the desktop, and he had no more distractions. He also felt safe from Wolf and the other men because they were all asleep, as far as he knew. And, Cobra felt no concern about intruders entering the commandeered, residential property because robot drones, nesting in tall trees, provided constant surveillance of the grounds and the surrounding forest.


Walking through the Forest at Night

“I wonder how we will be able to navigate through this forest at night,” Maritza said to Kevin as they walked behind Konrad Adebayo.

“I don’t know, but God will help us, somehow,” Kevin said, looking at the dark shapes of pine trees towering above them.

“We’ll get lost unless God does something for us like He did in the Bible,” Maritza said.

Kevin turned to face her. In the pale moonlight which shone through the trees, he could see her concerned and attractive face. Her long, blond hair swept down past her shoulders and almost seemed to sparkled in the lunar light. She was wearing a grey, hooded sweater Konrad had provided in her backpack, and baggy jeans.

“What are you thinking of?” Kevin said.

Kevin felt like reaching out his hand and taking hers, but he stopped himself, remembering what God had told him about refraining from touching women. God had told him that she was his future wife, and he knew that God would help him to do the right thing by her.

“Remember the pillar of fire that led the children of Israel by night?” Maritza said.

“Yes, I guess so,” Kevin said. He had recently become a Christian and didn’t remember hearing much about that.

Konrad turned back toward them and grinned. “You’re speaking about the pillar of fire?”

“Yes,” Maritza said. “I was just sharing with Kevin how God provided that fire to give the children of Israel light at night.”

“That must have been a spectacular sight,” Kevin said. “Seeing a burning column of fire…” He trailed off.

“It certainly was,” Konrad said. “In fact, I think now would be a good time to ask God to provide light to us.”

“God will do that?” Kevin said.

“I believe He will,” Konrad said. “He’s done miracles in my life like healing and miraculously removing cancer from my body. I lived enough years to see God’s power manifested in amazing ways.”

“How old are you?” Kevin said.

“41,” Konrad replied. “But, God removed the cancer and healed me of it. I didn’t have the doctors do any surgery or any treatment. God did it all for me Himself.”

“Wow,” Kevin said. “I believe that God can do that. After all, He created everything.”

“And, He desires to heal us from sicknesses and diseases, including healing our souls,” Konrad said.

“Healing our souls?” Kevin said.

“Yes,” Konrad said. “We all have been hurt by different people in our lives. Things people say or do to us have caused us to receive emotional wounds. But, God is the healer, and He is the restorer. If we look to Him, and cast our cares on Him, and forgive those who did wrong to us, we will be forgiven and healed.”

“I think I’ve forgiven everyone who has wronged me, but I need more of God’s personal touch in my life,” Kevin said.

“Friendship with God,” Maritza said. “That’s what I’m starting to learn more about.”

Konrad said, “God says this in Jeremiah 30:17: ‘[17] For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.’ We Christians are also part of Zion, for we are engrafted into the believing Israel, which includes Jews and Gentiles that believe on Jesus. So, this applies to us just as much as it does to Zion.”

“So, God will heal us emotionally?” Kevin said.

“Yes,” Konrad said, “because Psalm 42:11 says: ‘[11] Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.’"

“So,” Kevin said, “God really will bring health to our countenance? What is the countenance in this verse?”

“It is the face and all that the face expresses, which includes emotions and the deeper parts of the soul,” Konrad said. “I believe that is what God showed me when I asked Him about that question once.”

“So, God will bring healing to my soul,” Kevin said, half to himself. Then, he looked up at the stars sparkling through gaps in the forest canopy and said a silent prayer. “Dear Father God,” Kevin prayed, “I ask that you will heal my heart. I’ve been hurt by different things people have said and done. Will you heal me and bring me close to you? I want to look only to you to meet all my needs.”

“My son, Kevin,” God’s loving voice said to his spirit, “I am with you, and I am the Lord, your God, and Abba Father. You are dear to Me. I love you very much and I will certainly heal your heart. I know all about you and every person on this earth. And, I shall heal your heart. Just look to Me, rest in Me, and obey Me, and all will go well for you. And, I the Lord your God and Abba Father have spoken.”

“Father God,” Kevin said silently, “will you help me to treat Maritza in a godly way and do what would honor you in our relationship and after we are married?” Kevin prayed silently. “Because, you told me that she is my future wife.”

“I will and I will guide you. Rest, My son,” God’s loving voice said.

“Thank you, Father God. I choose to trust you,” Kevin said below a whisper. A smile spread across his face as peace began to fill his heart again.


Wolf Confronts Cobra

A knock came at the door of the Rat’s black van. But, Cobra was engrossed in his VR game and didn’t hear it. Then, the back door slid open and Wolf, with a grim-expression on his face, stared into the van and his eyes opened wide with surprise. Here was Cobra playing a VR video game when he was supposed to be monitoring the drone footage, drone data, and footage from the recently-installed security cameras. A half-eaten bag of potato chips was lying on the floor along with a few chips smashed into the carpet.

The cameras were located in trees around the commandeered residential property and provided the gangsters security footage of their surroundings. Wolf didn’t want a rival gang competing with his men for a lucrative bounty hunt for underground Christians. If his men weren’t careful, a rival gang could sabotage their operation and take over.

Wolf stepped into the van with controlled fury on his face. He ripped the VR headset off of Cobra and threw it to the ground. The laptop it was connected to fell from the computer shelf and slammed into the carpeted floor of the van.

The shocked younger man spun in his chair, and found himself staring into the blue, enraged eyes of his blond, muscular boss.

Wolf uttered a loud string of profanities at Cobra and then pointed his index finger at the younger man’s face. “If I ever see you playing a video game or not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, I will…” Wolf then uttered some graphic details of violence he would do against Cobra.

“I really am sorry, boss,” Cobra said with some stress in his face. “That will never happen again. I will follow your orders and do my job while I’m on duty.”

“Now, you…” Wolf said a dirty insult with spittle flying out of his mouth, “get back to work and give me an update on the drone activity.”

“Yes, sir,” Cobra said as courageously and as respectfully as he could. He knew that Wolf despised weakness in his men.

When Wolf was gone, and the van door was shut tight behind him, Cobra thought to himself, ‘If only I could make that man pay for how he treated me. …’ He uttered some swear words at Wolf, in a whisper, lest his boss hear him. Then, he calmed down and thought, ‘But, I guess … I deserved being treated like that. I shouldn’t have been playing a video game when I was supposed to be working. Still, he is senseless and cruel.’

Cobra returned his attention to the desktop computer after having placed his VR headset into his backpack. The computer monitor displayed a notification that the three underground Christians they were tracking were on the move. And, the computer clock indicated it was 3:20 AM. ‘This is too early for them to head out,’ Cobra thought.

He slid rear door of the van open, left the metal shed where the van was parked, and ran toward the commandeered house Wolf had taken up residence in. A single guard, dressed in black, tactical clothes, stood on a porch near the front door. He lowered his bullpup machine gun toward Cobra and said, “I can’t permit you to enter unless you give the password.”

“Atlantis,” Cobra said.

“What is the access code?” the guard said.

“Strongman,” Cobra replied.

“Access granted,” the guard said before stepping aside, and lowering his gun to the ground.

Cobra was used to the treatment. He passed through the front door and entered a living room area, which adjoined a kitchen and dining room. In the living room, framed black and white photos of Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt’s ancestors hung on the walls above a stone fireplace. A couple couches with red, plaid patterns rested beside the fireplace or directly in front of it.

Cobra noticed a staircase leading to the second story and a hallway to the right of the stairs. The hallway ran down the center of the house, starting at the living room. He quickly began striding toward the staircase. Just as he set his foot on the first step, Wolf stepped out of a room down the hall and quickly strode toward Cobra.

“What is it, Cobra?” Wolf said as he approached. “Have you quit playing your video games?”

“Yes, I have, Wolf. The drones have indicated that the group of Christians has moved,” Cobra said.

“You…” Wolf said a filthy insult. “If you hadn’t been playing your VR game, you would have noticed it sooner. I want those Christians captured right away. You will come with me.”

Wolf then walked down the hallway and Cobra followed him. He knocked loudly on a door and then on a second door further down, as he passed by them. The doors opened and two, groggy men, wearing black tactical trousers and black undershirts, stepped out. Python and Scorpion both rubbed their eyes and yawned.
_ _ _ _

After having been sternly warned by Claw that if they ever wrecked a “company” vehicle again, they would be demoted and given reduced pay, the two had been very careful to stay on the alert and be on their best behavior. Claw had forced them to pay for a new van with their own money to recoup the losses of the totaled van they had wrecked while chasing Konrad, Kevin, and Maritza.
_ _ _ _

“Men,” Wolf said as he looked from one to the other, “our drones have discovered that the Christians are on the move.”

“Sir, at this time of night?” Python said, stifling a yawn.
_ _ _ _

Having just been awoken from sleep, the two crooks had to quickly reorient themselves to the night time and let Wolf, their immediate commander, know that they were competent and ready for action.
_ _ _ _

“Yes,” Wolf said. “I want you both fully ready in twenty minutes. We will get the speed boat and bring it down to the Braun River. Taking the river, we will be able to cruise through the forest must faster than we could on foot or by dirt bike. The boat will also provide us a way of kidnapping the three Christians. With the drone’s input data, we will be able to precisely locate our prey and capture them. Any questions?” 

The three other men shook their heads.

“Then, let’s go,” Wolf said.

The men hustled off to their rooms and Cobra hurried back out to Rat’s van. He climbed in and began putting his laptop back into its case and some equipment into the side pockets. Then, he fastened a belt with a pistol holster around his waist and continued to gear up.

Cobra longed to capture some Christians, and possibly have one for his wife. He had seen photos, taken by Wolf, of Maritza walking in a city park. ‘I need that blond girl to be my girlfriend, if I can get her to reject her “religion.” Then, she and I could get married,’ Cobra thought. ‘It’s such a waste to sell her to the secret police so that they can place her in a concentration camp. She seems like the right person for me.’

Though Wolf was his boss, Cobra had a small rivalry with him over what would befall Maritza. Wolf had simply wanted to sell her to the secret police. But, unknown to Wolf, a few days earlier, Cobra had begun planning how he might kidnap her and leave Wolf in the dust.

Just as he finished packing his backpack, Cobra accidentally stepped on a wooden dowel and slipped. He couldn’t stop his fall before he slammed into the desktop computer ‒ Crash! ‒ and caused the computer shelf to rip out of its mounting. Like a house of cards collapsing, the computer and its monitor tumbled to the floor. Thump!

Feeling his body aching from the fall, Cobra stood to his feet and winced. He had banged his elbow and the side of his head. But, the computer mattered more to him. He bent down and turned the flat-screen monitor over and was shocked to see that it had crashed into a gun lying on the floor. The screen was bashed in and was incapable of operating. And, the computer was slightly dented. It may still work, but he would need to get another monitor and repair the computer shelf.

Upset with himself, Cobra uttered some profanities before he said, “Rat and Wolf will be very frustrated with my clumsiness. But, they don’t have to know that I ever did this.”

Just then, the rear door of the black van suddenly slid open, and Cobra turned around to see, to his agony and surprise, Wolf looking at him.


Rolf’s Dilemma

Rolf had just gotten done explaining the situation with his wife to Abdul. They were standing inside their shared, concrete, prison cell under the harsh glare of the LED ceiling lights.

“So, if you don’t renounce, by 5:30 A.M., your choice to follow Jesus, your wife Svenja will be killed?” the twenty-year-old, middle-eastern Christian man said.

“That’s right, Abdul,” Rolf said in his resonant voice, towering over him.

The giant leaned his large back against a concrete wall and sighed. Rolf knew that if he didn’t renounce his faith in God, Svenja would be killed and he would likely be sent to a concentration camp where he would have to work long hours, doing hard labor. ‘The officials at the camp will be sure to make me work until I die, and they’ll pester me with their malicious jokes about my stature,’ Rolf thought to himself, darkly.

“Let’s pray about this,” Abdul said.

Rolf closed his eyes and nodded. “You’re right, Abdul.”

Abdul bowed his head.

“Dear Father God,” Rolf said, bowing his head, “we come before you weak and in great need. My dear wife, Svenja, is about to be killed by a guillotine and we need your help. And, we are about to be sent to a concentration camp. I admit Father God that I did not listen to your leading and I ask you to forgive me. Help us to follow you, and we choose to obey your leading. If we follow you, you will guide us into life and into the right way. So, hear this prayer and deliver us from this evil, like you did for Daniel in the lions’ den. Let your will be done in our lives in the same way that your will is being done in Heaven. In Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”

“Rolf, My son, I am with you,” God’s gracious voice spoke to Rolf’s spirit. “I will certainly get you out of this situation and deliver you from evil. I will rescue your wife and she will be safe. Do not fear. You, and Abdul, and Svenja shall escape this difficult situation. And, I the Lord your God and Abba Father have spoken.”

“Thank you, Father God. Thank you,” Rolf whispered, feeling joy begin to penetrate into his innermost being.

“What did you hear?” Abdul said.

Rolf looked toward the younger man, with a faint smile slowly spreading across his face. “I heard our heavenly Father speak to me. He has promised to rescue us from this situation and to deliver us.”

“Now, we just need to believe Him,” Abdul said.

“Yes,” Rolf said as a smile spread across his tired lips.

“What time is it now?” Abdul said.

Rolf reached into a pocket and pulled out a small watch he had been handed by a guard earlier. “It is 11:10 P.M.,” Rolf said. “That gives us a little less than six hours before they plan to kill Svenja. They gave me a small, two-way, cave radio by which we can reach officer Overbeck.”

“You’re not going to call them on that, are you?” Abdul said.

“No,” Rolf said, shaking his head. “I will never forsake the Lord Jesus. And, if I ever do, I will repent. I don’t want to deny Him.” His smile faded and gloominess returned to his face.

“But, you look a little stressed,” Abdul said.

“Yes,” Rolf said, weakly. “I feel burdened by this troubling situation. My wife is about to die, and if I merely say some words, she may live. But, I must not deny my Lord Jesus or lie to these people. I must be truthful and faithful to Jesus.”

“When I feel overwhelmed,” Abdul said calmly, “I tell Jesus about it. I memorized what He said in Matthew 11:28-30.”

“What’s that?” Rolf looked at him again.

Abdul replied, “In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said: ‘[28] Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’"

“That’s very comforting,” Rolf said, wiping a tear from his eye. “I need Jesus. I need Jesus. He will help me.”


On the Braun River

Wolf, Cobra, Scorpion, and Python plied down the Braun River. On either side of the waterway, tall pine trees rose up like monoliths covered with carpets of green needles. The moon was still up, partially hidden behind a puffy cloud. So, visibility was not the best. But, the gangsters were equipped with special night-vision goggles that allowed them to see in the dark with a field of vision beyond what night vision was capable of two decades ago.

Their narrow, metal boat, which was packed with gear, was 6.7 meters long and 1.22 meters wide. It was equipped with an electric motor which could bring it to a top speed of 108.8 kilometers per hour.*

[* The boat was 21.98 feet long and 4 feet wide. Its top speed was 68 miles per hour.]

Wolf, steering the outboard motor, kept his night vision goggles trained on the river ahead. He didn’t want to run into any large rocks. So far, he had missed hitting any, but one impact with a small boulder, at their current speed, would send him and his men flying into the river, along with their gear.

The high quality batteries the outboard motor came with could be recharged quickly or replaced with fresh batteries. Since the charge on each battery lasted for a maximum time of five hours, the boat could travel a long distance before it would need a recharge or fresh batteries. 
_ _ _ _

After seeing Cobra’s apparent clumsiness in Rat’s van, Wolf had viciously uttered some more profanities at him before he had forced himself to cool down. Then, he had ordered Cobra to accompany him to another van to which a small trailer was attached. A powerful outboard motor was strapped into the trailer. On the van’s slate-grey roof, the 6.7-meter-long boat had been fastened.

Wolf then had ordered Scorpion, Python, and Cobra get into the van just before he had told Rat to find a computer monitor in the commandeered house and to fix the computer stand in Rat’s van. Once he had given his orders, Wolf had climbed into the driver’s seat of the van, and they had roared off down a gravel road that soon brought them onto the asphalt, forest road. 

After driving several kilometers, the crooks had reached a dirt road which brought them to a launching point along the rocky shore of the Braun River. After attaching the outboard motor to the boat, the men had boarded the watercraft, and Wolf had "throttled up" the motor, sending them zipping down the river.
_ _ _ _

Now, at the “helm” of the boat, in its stern, Wolf swiveled his head left and right, trying to spot any sentient life forms on the river banks. He couldn’t see breathing creatures, except for some owls roosting in trees and some red squirrels in their squirrel nest. But, Wolf and his men were still some distance from the three Christians they were seeking.

He knew the general location of the Christians from a tracking map, which appeared on a digital tablet he had strapped tightly to his left arm. ‘Rat’s fleet of drones will come in very handy in apprehending these Christians,’ Wolf thought with a glint of cruel pleasure in his icy, blue eyes. ‘Then, once I have captured these pesky Christians, and have turned them over to the secret police, I will reduce Cobra, Python, and Scorpion’s wages for one month. They will learn to not make mistakes or waste precious time.’


AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 12 ("Night Attack"):

'... In that moment, Wolf whipped out his silenced pistol and fired .... Pow! Pow! Pow! ...'

(Note: I do not make any money from this story. It is free to be read, printed, and distributed, but the text must remain unaltered.)

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