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Acts 16

Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;

And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination [Or, of Python] met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the Most High God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace [Or, court] unto the rulers,

And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.

And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.

And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.

And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed (Acts 16: 1-40).

Ezekiel 7

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

“Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; ‘An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.

“‘Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send Mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.

“‘And Mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.’

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.

“‘An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.

“‘The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again [Or, echo] of the mountains.

“‘Now will I shortly pour out My fury upon thee, and accomplish Mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.

“‘And Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth.

“‘Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.

“‘Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude [Or, tumult], nor of any of theirs: neither shall there be wailing for them.

“‘The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.

“‘For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they were yet alive: for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, which shall not return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life [Or, whose life is in his iniquity].

“‘They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for My wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.

“‘The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him.

“‘But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.

“‘All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water.

“‘They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.

“‘They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.

“‘As for the beauty of His ornament, He set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.

“‘And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it.

“‘My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute My secret place: for the robbers [Or, burglars] shall enter into it, and defile it.

“‘Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.

“‘Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.

“‘Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.

“‘Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.

“‘The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.’ ” (Ezekiel 7: 1-27)

Ezekiel 6

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

“Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,

“And say, ‘Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; “Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.

“‘“And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.

“‘“And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars.

“‘“In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.

“‘“And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

“‘“Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.

“‘“And they that escape of you shall remember Me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from Me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.

“‘“And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.” ’

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, “Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.

“‘“He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish My fury upon them.

“‘“Then shall ye know that I am the LORD, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols.

“‘“So will I stretch out My hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” ’ ” (Ezekiel 6: 1-14)

Isaiah 31

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!

Yet He also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back His words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.

Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out His hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.

For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, “Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise [Or, multitude] of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for Mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.”

As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it.

Turn ye unto Him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.

For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.

Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited [Or, tributary].

“And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign,” saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem (Isaiah 31: 1-9).

Genesis 27

And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.

And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:

Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;

And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.

And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.

And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,

Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.

Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.

Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:

And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.

And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:

My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.

And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.

And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.

And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:

And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:

And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?

And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.

And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.

And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.

And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.

And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.

And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.

And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.

And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.

And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:

Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.

And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.

And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.

And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.

And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.

And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.

And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob [That is, a supplanter]? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?

And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained [Or, supported] him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?

And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.

And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;

And by thy sword shalt thy live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.

Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away;

Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?

And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me? (Genesis 27: 1-46)

Genesis 26

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.

And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, “Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

“Because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:

And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.

And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.

And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.

And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.

And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.

Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.

And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:

For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants [Or, husbandry]: and the Philistines envied him.

For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.

And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.

And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.

And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.

And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek [That is, Contention]; because they strove with him.

And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.

And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth [That is, Room]; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

And he went up from thence to Beer-sheba.

And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, “I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for My servant Abraham’s sake.”

And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.

Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.

And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?

And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;

That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.

And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.

And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.

And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba unto this day.

And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah (Genesis 26: 1-35).

1 Peter 3

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren [Or, loving to the brethren], be pitiful, be courteous:

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

For “HE THAT WILL LOVE LIFE, AND SEE GOOD DAYS, LET HIM REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL, AND HIS LIPS THAT THEY SPEAK NO GUILE:

“LET HIM ESCHEW EVIL, AND DO GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE, AND ENSUE IT.

“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE OVER THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ARE OPEN UNTO THEIR PRAYERS: BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THEM THAT DO EVIL.”

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: “AND BE NOT AFRAID OF THEIR TERROR, NEITHER BE TROUBLED”;

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, where the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him (1 Peter 3: 1-22).

Nocturne’s Reaping® : Intermezzo

Chapter 19

Takara sprang towards the mystery door as quickly as she could. She managed to fall through the opening and pull her feet clear before it shut again. Takara breathed unsteadily. Was whoever it was here for her? Had he or she come looking for her? Perhaps she had been seen on a video monitor after all. If so, it wouldn’t be long before they came into this second room after her. One of the problems Takara faced in the second room was that it was pitch black.

Takara wrung her hands. Then suddenly, the lights in the room started to come on row by row, line by line. Though her eyes were pained by the fluorescent beams, Takara just couldn’t seem to help but turn her face toward the part of the room that was being illuminated. The room was massive and contained all sorts of typography. It all seemed to be on rails as though it could be easily moved on a whim. And there seemed to be other rooms as well, going out in different directions. Above her were also rooms with varying ways to get to them: stairs, a rock climbing wall, a rope ladder, and blocks you could pile on top of one another. And there were traps as well. A spike pit was placed precariously behind her. Spears jutted out from the walls. Laser beams cut a path along the wall to her left. And then there was a giant robot — a wasp — silently waiting to be awoken. Finding a place to hide suddenly didn’t seem like the real problem anymore. Getting out of this room alive? Now, that was another story.

Takara was unsure of what to do next. But then the decision was made for her not long after. As the robot began to move, Takara dashed to the nearest doorway. She figured that whatever traps were to be found within that smaller room had to be less deadly than the threat that lethal-looking robot posed.

Still, Takara decided to linger in the frame of the door rather than head completely into the next chamber. That way she could minimize the danger she might find in the next room while also being able to see what that robot was about to do next. Her eyes then widened. A large cargo bay door began to open. Takara bit her lip. Should she try to escape through the opening? Part of her wanted to make a run for it. Maybe she could make it. What if the cargo bay door stayed open just long enough for her to pass through it, and she didn’t even bother to try to escape? This could be her last chance to get away from Mr. Tyler. Takara tentatively placed her foot out into the main room.

Suddenly, a violent wind began to stir. Takara braced herself. It took a moment for Takara to figure out that the wind was coming from the wings of the wasp. They were starting to flutter! Then, the wasp began to lift.

“At least this time the robot is not after me.” Takara thought.

There was no way it could be. Certainly if someone knew she was in there, they’d have sent someone in after her. They wouldn’t have started up a robot that large in order to just kill her — not when it was so easy for Takara to slip into one of these alcoves. Then again, what if the purpose of the demonstration was to force Takara to seek cover in a death trap?

Takara turned. Her eyes strained to see into the darkness of the smaller room she was standing in the doorway of, but the only thing she could make out was that there was a portion of one wall that was darker than the rest of the wall. More than likely, it was another doorway. At that point, there was no way Takara was heading into that darkness — not given the types of things that were in the main room. If they wanted her to flee where she was standing, they’d have to come in after her themselves.

As far as the large cargo bay door went, it quickly became clear that it was not an option. It was unlikely she could even crawl against the stream of air the robot was now creating. Takara did wonder why it was just hovering there. If the robot really weren’t after her — and the cargo bay door opening seemed to reinforce that it wasn’t — then surely it had somewhere else to be. What was it waiting for? More importantly, what was Mr. Tyler waiting for?

Waiting there seemingly in a safe position did give Takara a chance to think. She recalled that the last robot episode had most likely been an attempt to murder her. It was an attempt that failed and must have brought a lot of flak upon Mr. Tyler. It couldn’t have been a foregone conclusion that Mr. Tyler would get out of being punished for it. What was so important to Mr. Tyler that he would risk trying to use a robot for his dirty work twice? His motive for trying to kill Takara was because she was a witness. Did someone else know something Mr. Tyler didn’t want the rest of the world to find out?

No, Takara shook her head; it didn’t make sense. Yes, Mr. Tyler had gotten away with attempted murder last time, but the attempt hadn’t worked. And certainly he could find a more effective means of killing someone if that was all there was to it. No, this had to be something bigger. But what could possibly provide Mr. Tyler with a big enough reason to risk this scheme again?

Perhaps it was some sort of blackmail? If someone didn’t surrender money to Mr. Tyler, he’d destroy something with that thing? No, it wouldn’t be hard to find out Mr. Tyler was behind it then. If Mr. Tyler got a sudden infusion of cash, it would be obvious. And where could he go on this planet that they wouldn’t find him? Even if he got on a transport carrier, chances were that they’d figure out what he’d done and track him down before the carrier could even land someplace else. There would be no way that Mr. Tyler could escape prosecution. Certainly, Mr. Tyler had to be smart enough to know that. After all, Mr. Tyler had first been hired on as her father’s employee before eventually becoming his business partner. Surely her father wouldn’t have hired Mr. Tyler if he didn’t have some sort of ability. So how could he hope to get away with it? Frame someone else? Bribe more people? Eventually, he’d have to bribe the whole government in order to avoid someone wanting to convict him — particularly if someone died this time. Unless … of course … there was no government!

Takara’s eyes widened.

“Could it be a coup?” Takara wondered. “Is Mr. Tyler going to rebuild the government from the ground up?”

There was no proof. Yet, the large robot seemed to say it wasn’t all that far-fetched a theory though. While Takara couldn’t see Mr. Tyler as a political leader, she definitely could see someone else hiring Mr. Tyler to do it — someone like that man Mr. Tyler introduced her to: Mr. Connelly!

Takara wasn’t sure that it was true, but she was suspicious enough to want to find out more. Still, she needed to get proof in case it turned out that it or something like it was true.

As Takara waited, her foot started to feel prickly from standing there for so long. For the first time since she spotted the robot, she remembered that time was slipping away from her. She could see the sky starting to lighten beyond the massive opening. It was only a matter of time before Patty entered Takara’s room and found that she was missing. Would she send word to Mr. Tyler? Certainly, if he weren’t already aware of where Takara was, it would take him awhile to find her. Was that what was going on? Was that why the robot was merely hovering? Were they busy looking for her? Takara wondered whether she shouldn’t try to bypass the robot after all. Fortunately, before she had a chance to step into the main room, she decided that they probably hadn’t discovered she was missing yet. It was still too early for that. It didn’t seem probable that Patty would have come in earlier than usual today. She hadn’t come in earlier than usual before. Takara had considered asking Patty to come in earlier this morning, so that Takara could attend the field trip today — but that was before she had been imprisoned in her room.

Was it Takara’s imagination, or was the wind suddenly picking up? Takara quickly hid behind the wall just in time. There was a loud noise as a current of air rushed by her. Then, the stream of air dissipated. It was pretty obvious that the robot had left. Takara really didn’t need to see that the room was empty to know that. And yet, she needed to see whether the cargo bay door was still open. Takara whipped around the corner. She stopped short. The door was already closing swiftly. There was no way she could run across the massive room in time to slide under the door safely. Takara went back into hiding. What was she going to do now? Once again she was trapped. All she could do now was to wait for Mr. Tyler to come get her. Well, whether Mr. Tyler was coming or was going to send someone in after her, Takara was going to be ready. She was going to have to find a way to defend herself. Maybe there was a way to use the traps scattered around to her advantage. She certainly didn’t think she had the nerve to physically fight off Mr. Tyler directly. Yet, she had no doubt that, given what she had seen on the computer and with that robot, she’d never make it out of the Institute alive if she didn’t come up with some sort of plan. Then again, maybe Mr. Tyler had never intended to let her leave … alive anyway. Takara breathed unsteadily.

Takara felt frozen as stress overtook her. What action should she take? Circumstances had changed since she had started this mission. The illusion that she was the only one in the building had vanished. The cold indifference she had experienced just after she realized what had happened to her father was also gone. She had also lost the one commodity she thought she still had: time. At any moment, Mr. Tyler could be told she was missing … if he hadn’t found out already. At any moment, the review of the surveillance videos could begin; then, it was only a matter of time until she was discovered.

The major question was whether that room with the computer — the seemingly only avenue of escape — would remain occupied until they found her. And how would she even know whether it was still occupied? She couldn’t see into the room, nor could she hear anything through the door. Yet, were there any other options? Just as Takara began to fret, the thought dawned on her that maybe there was another way out … somewhere in that maze.

Takara looked toward the dark space on the wall that she assumed to be a door and breathed out. This option was almost as bad as the alternative. It was impossible to know whether traps had been set up in there. Yet, even if a trap was supposed to have been activated it didn’t mean that it had been. Maybe the other rooms were unfinished just like the main room. But what if the traps in the smaller rooms were armed? Takara realized at that moment that she might need to risk searching for a light in the room she was standing in. Actually, in order for this new plan of hers to work, it was essential she find a source of light. If she didn’t know where the traps were, she could easily end up a victim of one of them.

Actually, skimming the walls might not be the worst idea. More than likely, the walls were the safest areas. Unless, of course, touching them triggered some sort of trap. Takara shrugged that thought off. She couldn’t afford to think like that; it would keep her frozen. Danger was coming — she had to prepare for it, or she would die. Her father wouldn’t have wanted that if he were here. Neither would Kenji. Though that wasn’t the entire list of people who would have cared if they were aware of the predicament she was in, it was enough to start Takara searching the walls for a light switch.

Slowly, she reached out a shaky hand toward the wall. Her fingers slid across the surface of the wall. She knew that at any moment she could hit upon something that could trigger her death. Yet, it couldn’t be avoided; there was no other way.

Then, the tips of her fingers came upon something. She had found the round softness of a button. It resembled a switch. Here it was: the moment of choice. Takara breathed. It had to be now. And since she didn’t feel she had a real choice, she pressed the button.

Copyright © Jennifer Alice Chandler 2019

Nocturne’s Reaping® : Intermezzo

Chapter 18

Takara was having trouble figuring out where this newfound drive was coming from. After all, part of her had been thinking she should head back to her room and try again tomorrow. But the part that won out told her that if she went back at this point she would never leave that room again. It was a convincing argument, even though it appeared on the surface to have no foundation. Still, there was a strong chance her exploits would be discovered, and that Patty would end up being more diligent in checking the lock to Takara’s door in the future.

Either way, as Takara feverishly went from lock to lock, she felt that her direction was set. The momentum was carrying her forward, and she needed to see this thing through. What was so important about this key that it would make Mr. Tyler so concerned when he found it was missing? He already knew he could get another key made. No, it had to be something … something.

And just like that the lock sprang open, and the door cracked a few inches — revealing a dark, quiet space. Takara blinked. She hadn’t really thought this door could be the one associated with the key when she had come upon it. It was merely thoroughness that caused her to try the lock. It was a pretty unassuming door compared to the others; in fact, it resembled the door to a closet. Could it be a closet?

It was at that moment that Takara noticed there were no other doors along the wall to her left for as far as she could see. This was a deceptive room, and on some level that scared her. Still, loitering outside a forbidden room seemed foolish.

Takara stepped inside and felt the wall for a light switch. As her fingers happened upon a metal plate, the lights instantly came on. What was revealed by the light was a seemingly small room with a computer along the adjoining wall and a single other door. Takara turned back toward the door she had entered and noticed for the first time that the lock was no ordinary lock. By the look of it, there was some sort of circuitry embedded in it. Takara brought out the key then and really looked at it. At the bottom edges where the key had made contact with the lock, she noticed there was circuitry there as well. Of course, her father made an electronic lock for this room — whatever this room was used for — as a precautionary measure. Takara was just glad that she hadn’t damaged the key by having it in her shoe all this time.

Certainly, she could see that trying to force the lock would not have been a good idea. Who knew what contingency plan there was in place if that happened.

Takara slowly shut the door. After the door was closed completely, she could hear the lock slide securely back into place on its own.

“What now?” Takara wondered to herself.

Should she bother to check whether she could unlock the door from the inside? Takara concluded that she shouldn’t bother trying. After all, she might escape the room, but she still couldn’t escape the building at night. When she and her father had first moved to the Institute, Takara had been scared of all the nooks and crannies in the complex. Her father had taken her by the hand and showed her that not only did the door to her wing lock, but that the exit to the Institute was nearly impenetrable at night.

The only way the main entrance lock could be deactivated at night was if there were a fire — and Takara was fresh out of matches. No, she figured, if she did decide to try to sneak out, she would have to wait until the next day’s employees began to arrive. That was assuming she could find what she was looking for in the meantime, and, of course, she didn’t get caught. After she prayed for a moment, Takara continued on with her mission.

Still, Takara sort of wished she could just leave right then. After all, she hardly saw this situation coming. She was in a forbidden room with one door and a computer. She had planned on just sneaking into Mr. Tyler’s office then going back to her room. And even that had been a risky prospect. It was the enormity of her father’s death that had spurred her into taking this risk to begin with. But this … What was this? This room couldn’t possibly have evidence about her father’s demise in it. After all, it didn’t seem as though Mr. Tyler even had access to a key to this room until recently. Without that drive to uncover information about her father’s death, her courage, she feared, would soon fade. Then what?

Yet, the thought that this room had at one time been solely her father’s not only warmed her heart, but it also intrigued her. Perhaps, it was indeed like her father — bare bone simplicity on the surface and a wealth of complexity underneath.

The more she thought about it, the more convinced she became that there had to be something truly spectacular hidden within this room. Maybe she wouldn’t uncover Mr. Tyler’s secrets that night but her dear father’s instead. Perhaps, she could finally learn exactly what he had been working on those many months ago.

Takara carefully pulled the rolling chair away from the computer. She frowned when she realized the chair had been positioned not for a man her father’s height but for someone much taller. So, Mr. Tyler probably had been in the room since her father’s passing after all. Perhaps Takara had even been wrong to assume Mr. Tyler hadn’t had a key for a while now.

Well, Takara didn’t have time to think on that; she had to make the most of this room while she had access to it. Takara started up what was more than likely a deceptively simple-looking computer. Nothing seemed unusual as the password screen popped up. Password? Password … This could be tricky. What if Mr. Tyler had changed the password? What if entering the wrong password set off some kind of alarm? It could even be a silent alarm, which could alert the guards of her presence without her even knowing it.

“Father didn’t even like passwords.” Takara mumbled to herself. “He always said that there was so much on his mind he didn’t want to waste the space.”

So perhaps this was Mr. Tyler’s password after all. If so, chances were good that Takara would never be capable of cracking it. Still … Takara just stared at the screen, trying to figure out what she should do. She tapped her fingers over the sensor pad. Then, as her eyes traced along the edge of the screen, she noticed something out of place. A single extra pixel had found its way on to the lower right hand of the screen. At first, Takara just blinked. Was she right or was she just seeing things? Her heart leapt when she realized she was right. There was an extra pixel. Her father had been subtle in his life. Could it be? Had he created a backdoor in plain sight?

Takara carefully moved the cursor towards the spot — her mind questioning whether it had really been there the entire time. Then, when the tip of the pointer arrow rested upon the dot, she selected it.

The screen went blank. Takara gasped slightly. She tried catching the released sound with her hands, even though it had already escaped. She was terrified of drawing attention to herself even in this empty room. She couldn’t stand the thought of even the slightest utterance escaping her lips — not after all these months of poor treatment. Still, it was the fact that this one last link to her father had disappeared that caused her heart to sink.

Then, on sprang the computer screen. It was rebooting! On the monitor appeared neatly rendered icons and graphic thumbnails. Strangely, it was so reminiscent of her father that it was almost like seeing his handwriting displayed before her! And eventually, in the center of the screen, something that appeared to be a small display window shot up. The dates surprised her. It seemed as though her father had installed a silent program in the background of the computer, and it was monitoring and recording any usage. Apparently, her father didn’t trust Mr. Tyler after all. Could he have known what Mr. Tyler was up to before he died?

Part of Takara wanted to search back through any logs recorded before her father’s death and see whether she could discern the difference between her father’s distinctive style and that of an intruder. But something inside her told her not to; there wasn’t time for that. She suddenly felt that it was more important to see what Mr. Tyler was up to now. Something told her there was useful information on the computer for her to discover. Maybe she couldn’t expose Mr. Tyler for what he did to her and her father, but she could still hold him accountable for some misdeed he was performing now. Besides, chances were that even if her father suspected Mr. Tyler was capable of accessing his work without permission, she doubted he suspected Mr. Tyler was contemplating murder. The thought certainly never would have crossed Takara’s mind back then; in fact, it hadn’t crossed her mind at all until recently. It had taken a dream to shake those memories loose. And now his murderous deed was the one thought that she seemed unable to shake.

But she had to fight the urge to dwell on her anger. She had to focus. What was it that she wanted to know? How to take Mr. Tyler down was the first thought that entered into her mind. But it was simpler than that — she needed to know what he’d been up to. And she was sure it was something; his behavior was too suspicious for it not to be something. Before she had made the mistake of believing his behavior was merely a product of his not liking her. It turned out it was more than that — he was afraid she knew what he had done. The funny thing was now she did. And thanks to that key her father had hidden in his boot, she might end up with the power to expose him.

“What?!”

What Takara now saw on the screen was confusing. Mr. Tyler had decided to write everything in some kind of code — though it wasn’t a very sophisticated code. He basically just used code words for various projects he had going on. Actually, it was quite humorous since he used types of fruit as substitute words. The references were also fruit-related. He picked something here; he cored something there. It was ridiculous! If Takara weren’t so annoyed, she would have laughed. Still, one thing did catch her eye. It was a reference to an orange rolling off course and missing its target. Apparently, this orange caused quite a bit of damage, and the cover-up required a tremendous amount of bribe money, which was given to city officials. The date seemed familiar somehow. What was it about that date?

Then, the connection was made. That huge robot! That’s when it made its way through the city! So, it was from the Institute!! Takara’s brow furrowed. And the bribe money — that’s why the investigation went nowhere.

“Why would Mr. Tyler have unleashed a robot on the city?”

Takara retraced the words on the memo with her eyes. It said there was a target, and it was missed.

“The bus.”

Her heart sank. Could it have been an attempt on her life? And he thought a robot would be easier to cover up than some other means? Then again, her death would have been considered an accident more than likely. Mr. Tyler would have been sued surely but possibly not imprisoned. His reputation would have been maintained, especially if he blamed an employee. There also wouldn’t have been an investigation into her father’s death then. If Mr. Tyler had killed just Takara, people might have wondered why anyone would want to kill her. And where would that have led? An investigation into her father’s death?

Takara desperately wished she had been able to bring a disk drive or something else, so she could copy the information on to it. Yet, she realized the information alone wouldn’t be of much use with those laughable code words in it. Not to mention, Takara also figured a lot of powerful people must be in Mr. Tyler’s pocket. But still, the right person might be capable of making something of it all the same. Takara inspected the desk. She lifted a pencil holder and examined it. There was nothing on the desk like the key — nothing that contained any hidden circuitry.

Takara was loath to leave the room to go looking for a drive. By the time she would be able to find anything, she was sure it would be too late to return to this room. And even that was assuming she wasn’t caught in the process. No, the only thing Takara could think to do at that moment was to open that mystery door and see where it led. Perhaps, they stored something within it that Takara could use to copy the data. Even a camera would be useful.

Takara went to the mystery door and looked it over. It was metal, and it seemed to slide into place from the left to the right. There was no discernible lock or knob. That meant the computer was most likely the key to opening the mystery door.

Takara sat back down at the computer. She looked over the files and saw nothing that stood out as being connected with the mystery door. There also didn’t seem to be any more out-of-place pixels that she could click on. Takara decided to exit out of the window that housed the log of Mr. Tyler’s efforts. She would have just moved the window or decreased its size if that had been given as an option. Of course, part of her worried that exiting from the window would be a mistake. What if she couldn’t get the window back? But she decided that there was no reason to believe that was true; no reason to think she couldn’t go back to it later. Besides, she couldn’t just sit there as precious time ticked away. The information would probably be useless anyway if she couldn’t find a way to record it. And once she did find the means to archive the information from the computer, maybe she could even find a reference to her father’s death in Mr. Tyler’s notes. That thought reinvigorated Takara, and she clicked the window into oblivion with purpose. The screen went blank. Seconds later, the computer rebooted, and she was back at the login screen. Takara gasped when she found that the link to the mystery door had in fact been hidden beneath that window.

She clicked the icon, and the mystery door slowly opened. Takara stood in amazement. Then, she looked back at the monitor. At that same moment, Takara could hear the mystery door creak as it opened as far as it could; next, and to Takara’s dismay, it began to slide shut again. Takara wasn’t sure that she was ready to leap through the mystery door just then. Perhaps, if she found something to prop the door open she’d feel more secure about going through it. After all, the last thing she wanted was to be trapped on the other side of that door in yet another unknown space. She couldn’t decide what would be worse: being trapped on the other side of that door indefinitely or being found there by Mr. Tyler. As it turned out, it was a moot point, for something then happened that made the choice easy. Suddenly, at that moment, someone was in the process of unlocking the main door that exited into the hallway!

Copyright © Jennifer Alice Chandler 2019

Genesis 25

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.

And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.

But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi.

Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham:

And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,

And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,

Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:

These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.

And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.

And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.

And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:

And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.

And the LORD said unto her, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

And the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

And Jacob sod pottage; and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom [That is, red].

And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright (Genesis 25: 1-34).