Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

1 Corinthians 9

Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are ye not my work in the Lord?

If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,

Have we not power to eat and to drink?

Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife [Or, woman], as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

Or I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?

Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

Say I these things as a man? or saith not the Law the same also?

For it is written in the Law of Moses, “THOU SHALT NOT MUZZLE THE MOUTH OF THE OX THAT TREADETH OUT THE CORN.” Doth God take care for oxen?

Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live [Or, feed] of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law, as under the Law, that I might gain them that are under the Law;

To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9: 1-27).

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1 Corinthians 8

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

But if any man love God, the same is known of Him.

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him [Or, for Him]; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better [Or, have we the more]; neither, if eat not, are we the worse.

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend (1 Corinthians 8: 1-13).

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Isaiah 39

At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered.

And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Then came Isaiah the prophet unto King Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.

Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.

Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts:

“Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left,” saith the LORD.

“And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, “Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days (Isaiah 39: 1-8).

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Isaiah 38

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, “Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.”

Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD,

And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying,

“Go, and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.

“‘“And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.” ’

“And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He hath spoken;

“Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.” So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.

The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:

I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years.

I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.

Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: He will cut me off with pining sickness [Or, from the thrum]: from day even to night wilt Thou make an end of me.

I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will He break all my bones: from day even to night wilt Thou make an end of me.

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me [Or, ease me].

What shall I say? He hath both spoken unto me, and Himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.

O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt Thou recover me, and make me to live.
Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.

For the grave cannot praise Thee, death can not celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth.

The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known Thy truth.

The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.

For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.

Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD? (Isaiah 38: 1-22)

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Isaiah 37

And it came to pass, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.

And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.

And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.

It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.

So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, “Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.

“Behold, I will sent a blast upon him [Or, put a spirit into him], and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”

So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.

And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,

Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.

Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered?

Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar?

Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?

And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.

And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying,

O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: Thou hast made heaven and earth.

Incline Thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open Thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.

Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries.

And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.

Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD, even Thou only.

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, “Whereas thou hast prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:

“This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; ‘The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

“‘Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.

“‘By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, “By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel.

“‘“I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged [Or, fenced and closed] places.”

“‘Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps.

“‘Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

“‘But I know thy abode [Or, sitting], and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against Me.

“‘Because thy rage against Me, and thy tumult, is come up into Mine ears, therefore will I put My hook in thy nose, and My bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.

“‘And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.

“‘And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:

“‘For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.” ’

Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, “He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it.

“By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city,” saith the LORD.

“For I will defend this city to save it for Mine own sake, and for My servant David’s sake.”

Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

And it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead (Isaiah 37: 1-38).

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Ezekiel 11

Moreover the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD’s house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.

Then said He unto me, “Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:

“Which say, ‘It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh.’

“Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.”

And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, “Speak; ‘Thus saith the LORD; “Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.

“‘“Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain.”

“‘Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; “Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron: but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it.

“‘“Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you,” saith the Lord GOD.

“‘“And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you.

“‘“Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

“‘“This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel:

“‘“And ye shall know that I am the LORD: for ye have not walked [Or, which have not walked] in My statutes, neither executed My judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.” ’ ”

And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt Thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?

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

“Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession.’

“Therefore say, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; “Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.” ’

“Therefore say, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; “I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” ’

“And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

“That they may walk in My statutes, and keep Mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

“But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads,” saith the Lord GOD.

Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.

And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.

Afterwards the Spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.

Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had shewed me (Ezekiel 11: 1-25).

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2 Peter 3

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen (2 Peter 3: 1-18).

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2 Peter 2

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

And through coveteousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean [Or, for a little, or, a while, as some read] escaped from them who live in error.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, “THE DOG IS TURNED TO HIS OWN VOMIT AGAIN”; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2: 1-22).

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2 Peter 1

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to [Or, by] glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

And to knowledge temperance; to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the Excellent Glory, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1: 1-21).

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Chapter 17

The Instructor ends up leaving Kurt and I alone in his office. Perhaps, he has some pressing matter to attend to. In any event, my eyes had followed the Instructor as he departed from the room; now, they turn back to Kurt. I am surprised to find that Kurt is hovering around the Instructor’s chair. I am even more surprised when he sits in his chair. He then assumes the same posture the Instructor had — replete with his fingertips pressed together in front of him. Still, it doesn’t appear to be meant as a mocking gesture but more of an homage.

“So, now do you have any questions for me?” Kurt asks me in such a way that I know that he is serious. And yet, I am tempted to ask him whether he is serious all the same.

“Ask you about what?” I decide to question him instead.

I instantly regret asking that question, for he throws his arms into the air in mock exasperation.

“Come now, Aronade!” he scolds me in a professorial manner. “You’ve got to be quicker than that!”

My eyes flash in anger.

“What could I possibly need to ask you about … our travel plans?”

“Beep. Guess again.”

“The school?”

“Not likely.”

“My past?”

“You’re getting warmer.”

I roll my eyes then proceed to stand.

“You forgot to say ‘Mark’.” he needles me.

I freeze in mid-step and look at him. There is no point in pretending I don’t know whom he is talking about. If he knows Mark’s name, then he knows enough. I hadn’t been sure before that Kurt even realized Mark existed. The fact that the Instructor hadn’t mentioned Mark had led me to believe that Mark’s presence had gone largely unnoticed. But, in retrospect, that conclusion had been naïve on my part. After all, someone had tried to kill Mark. That person had to know that Mark existed … And then I get to thinking, if exposure to my blood could kill the Instructor, why would he risk my foot being cut off? Unless he didn’t … unless that whole thing hadn’t been a proper scenario after all. Perhaps it was a different person …


“Now would you have a seat, Aronade?” he speaks coolly while gesturing with his hand. I don’t like how he says my name. I look at the chair. Then, I sit down on it in a rigidly straight position. I next look back at Kurt, regretting that I am being forced to give him the attention he craves so desperately. Still, I have to cut myself some slack for not piecing it together sooner. So much has been happening recently … so much.

Kurt looks off toward the window, apparently enjoying the moment. I look off to the side in disgust.

“You tried to kill Mark!” I then accuse bitterly, breaking into his reverie.

“Who cares?” he remarks callously and without looking at me. His response seems to mirror the Instructor’s earlier one about the missing girls.

“Obviously, I do.” I retort angrily.

“Better be careful! The Instructor might become disappointed in you.”

“Same to you.” I respond.

He shoots me a look and then stands and begins to pace.

“Yeah, I really messed up by toying with him then leaving him behind for you to find. That’s why I got his sister here, so that he would just go away and the Instructor would never find out. You know, Mark’s not particularly bright. I had to build a fire to get him to the place his sister was for crying out loud! He walked right past it!”

And so had I, which I’m sure Kurt knows.

“So, by the way, do you trust that guy?” Kurt suddenly confronts me.

“Yes. What’s it to you?”

“Even after what you heard the Instructor say about somebody killing those missing girls when they thought they were you?”

“He also said he thought more than one was rescued and set free. They were probably the ones Mark helped.”

He rolls his eyes while I speak.

“Yeah, if you believe in coincidences. I don’t.” he scoffs. “Face it, Aronade, I did you a favor trying to kill that guy. If only I hadn’t overloaded that electrical fuse, you wouldn’t have so much to worry about now.”

The look on Kurt’s face suggests he actually believes he is making inroads with me in soiling my opinion of Mark. He isn’t, but it seems clear to me that he is deluding himself into believing that he is. Who knows why he is trying to make that case. So I will think better of Kurt and his actions? Hardly likely. But why bother otherwise? Mark is long gone — Kurt has seen to that — and, therefore, his argument is basically irrelevant at this point. Maybe Kurt just has no one else he can confide in about Mark and needs someone to brag to about his clever scheming. Who knows? Who cares? Certainly, I don’t. I am sick of hearing about it. And frankly, I dread the thought of the train trip into the city I will have to endure with this guy. I know it is going to be terrible.

“Are you serious?!” I protest. “How do you figure I’d have little to worry about, even if what you are saying were true?”

“Yeah right, Aronade. Face it, you’re fooling yourself. He’s obviously been playing you all along.”

“So, you’re trying to convince me you were trying to help me … a person you had never even met before …?”

“No, I was toying with him.”

I can’t possibly know whether what he just said is true, but at least that part sounded plausible.

“Does the Instructor know?”

“What do you think?” he returns. “Why do you think I’m bothering talking to you? We both have something to hide here. I exceeded my authority, and you don’t want the Instructor to know about Mark and to track him down. You know what he’s like.”

“Like you.”

Kurt laughs.

“The point is you don’t want that. So, I’ll keep your secret if you keep mine.”

I consider then nod.

“Good … Anyway, I bet you’re really pleased that the Instructor doesn’t know about Mark. I had to really work hard, so he wouldn’t find out! Then again, who can really tell what he knows or doesn’t know.” he admits admiringly. “Yeah, as I said, don’t worry. I didn’t tell him about Mark.”

What is he wanting? Me to thank him for that?


“Yes, of course.”

He smiles smugly.

“Only I have a few questions …” I tell him. “Are you prepared to answer them?”

He looks anxiously towards the door.

“All right, but make it quick.”

“My foot. Did you try to cut it off?”

“What? No.” he scoffs. “What are you talking about?”

I look at him in disbelief. Then, I play along. “The fan blade almost cut off my foot — in the vent while I was crawling through it. At first the fan was off; then, it started up again.”

“That’s too bad.” he states uninterestedly.

“Then, it was just a coincidence?” I emphasize the last word.

“I was just as surprised as you were when I figured out you must have stumbled out of that vent and freed Mark. Hey, the nearest I can figure from what you told me is that when I short-circuited the fuse the electricity was cut off; then, later the generator came on.”

My eyes narrow with skepticism.

“Anything else?” he asks.

“Where’s Mark?” I demand.

“How should I know?”

I glare at him.

“If he has any sense, he’s long gone. I hope that he is. As I said, that’s why I retrieved his sister for him to find, so he’d leave and never come back …”

“Katie …” I mutter.

“Yeah, whatever.” he mouths.

Then, Mark really is gone, I think.

“So, anything else?” Kurt pushes, impatience seeping into his voice.

“For now.” I say, my eyes still lowered.

“No!” he declares.

Then, he comes towards me menacingly. He grabs the arms of my chair, trapping me within it. I manage to look up at him dispassionately.

“No! No! No!” he screams. “This is it! This can never come up again, understand?!”

“Yes.” I state coldly.

He finally backs off and smiles.

“All right.” he says, pleased with himself again.

I stand up then, knowing that he doesn’t have the authority to stop me despite his egotistical display.

“It’s good that we’ve reached an understanding, Aronade, since we’ll be working together.”

“Working together?” I repeat.

“Yes, the Instructor wants me to take you back into the city with me and help you blend in there.” Kurt reminds me.

I make no comment on that. I find I am eager to get out of the room. Still, I look back as I exit, for I think I feel his cold eyes boring into me. Sure enough, I am right; he is standing there staring at me. I shudder inside at the thought of the train ride with him that awaits me in the future. I hope it won’t turn out to be just the two of us.

As I shut the door behind me, I mark how relieved I am to be out of there. It is an amazing feeling to be free again. But then, I guess I’m really not free — not in the way I had been when I was with Mark. No, I am just unattended, that is all. But I tell myself that given I had been escorted by Kurt when I arrived back at the complex, being unescorted is a definite improvement.

I take to readjusting to my old reality pretty well under the circumstances. It is almost as though I had never met Mark at all. Nan is waiting for me in my room when I get there. She is to help me pack up for my new life in the city. I feel fortunate that we are to leave the Instructor’s silly costumes behind; there is clearly no place for them where I am going.

I do wonder about Nan. How much does she know, and when had she known it? Is she like the Instructor … an elite? Would the disease I’m carrying kill her?

Speaking of my doing other people harm, are there any remaining kidnapped girls that are going to be released? And are the kidnappings going to be stopped? I will have to ask the Instructor about that. Even though it would mean asking him another question on the same topic, I feel I have to do it.

“Well, it seems as though we’ve got everything.” Nan announces.

I look at Nan for a moment, trying to figure her out. She has been on my mind since I learned about … my condition. Is she one of them, too? Perhaps even a relative of the Instructor? Is that why she turned on me all of a sudden?

“Who are you to him … the Instructor?” I hear myself asking.

She glares at me.

“What difference does that make to you?” she returns with a sigh.

“You seemed to not like me all of sudden.” I mention.

I regret saying it, almost instantly, after it escapes my lips. What do I expect her to say? Of course she is going to blame me. She does not disappoint. I sigh and let my mind wander as she rants. I figure this may be the last time I will see her. Well, I think, at least this episode makes me care less whether I ever do see her again. I also come to the conclusion that she knows pretty much everything about me that the Instructor does. Where all this resentment comes from, I determine, I’ll probably never know for sure.

I expect to see Nan on the train as I board. She had come to the station with me but then disappeared. But as the obscured figure in the seat next to my assigned seat turns, a different face is revealed. My face falls.

“I decided to take Nan’s place on this particular trip. I trust you’re not too disappointed, Puppet.” the Instructor informs me.

So it turns out Nan isn’t to accompany us on our journey — which sadly I am partially grateful for. For it is sad to think that I find her absence to be preferable under the circumstances. After all, I am to be stuck with Kurt and the Instructor the entire way. How badly my relationship with Nan has deteriorated that I would prefer her not to be here as a buffer!

I feel fortunate to have gotten a window seat in the passenger compartment of the train. It allows me to avoid interaction with other people and to think. It feels extremely odd interacting with loads of people; I have been so isolated for so long. The Instructor, however, seems to be in his element. He is sitting next to me and seems eager to take in observations of everyone in the room. Kurt sits across from me, and it becomes awkward and uncomfortable for me to avoid his stare. But I try anyway.

“Yes, it’s a whole new world out here.” the Instructor gushes. “Some people can’t stand it, Puppet, but I find it fascinating. It’s like chess when you’re planning a checkmate. Sometimes you chase their king around the board just to see their reaction. Will they panic when they realize it is over? What look will cross their faces at the moment when that realization takes hold?”

“Yes, this is going to be a long trip.” I think. I know it for certain at this moment. Nothing seems to put a damper on the Instructor’s limitless observations about the world. It is as though he has been saving up all sorts of mostly tedious trivia to tell me. All of it is abstract. There is nothing about specific people or places. I try to pay attention as the train starts up and rolls forward from the station. I know there is a possibility that what he is saying could prove useful to me one day, but I find that my brain can only take so much. I can only hope that if I can indeed use his insights about this world, which I am unaccustomed to, that I will remember what he has said when I need it.

“Be careful what you say to people.” the Instructor warns. “If they don’t like it, they’ll punish you. Then again, you don’t have to say anything to be accused of saying something. Still, it’s better that they don’t have any proof.”

I am only fascinated by one thing about the Instructor’s ramblings, and that is the fact he seems to be enjoying this whole thing so much.

I find that even Kurt appears to be zoning out at this point. He had been eagerly listening to the Instructor earlier, and I had felt fortunate to get some of the Instructor’s attention off of me and onto Kurt … at least for a little while. But as the miles ground on, Kurt’s gaze had turned toward the window and the rolling landscape beyond.

You’d think I would have been fascinated to see the view, given it was an unusual experience for me to see it, but I dared not completely turn away from the Instructor. Plus, my thoughts were on something — someone else: Mark. It is hard for me not to think about him whenever I am given a moment to reflect. I wonder where he is. And despite the fact that I realize how foolish it is, I half expect to see him around every corner waiting to come and rescue me. But it isn’t me he had come to rescue — it was his little sister, Katie. I have very little doubt he would have taken me along with them if it had panned out that way — but it hadn’t. And as I said before, it probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway even then. Everything that I have learned since I returned to the complex has just confirmed what I had suspected. I am too important to the Instructor — or at least to his plans —as it turns out. He would have tracked me down. But Mark and I had no way of knowing that at the time. So, I figure Mark’s desire to help me, if he could have, had been sincere.

Not that it makes it that much easier to take that I have essentially been abandoned to this odd life under the Instructor’s thumb. I feel trapped. It is strange to me that I haven’t felt this way before, for I have been trapped all along. Perhaps the constant evolving layout of the complex had masked that feeling. Yet somehow, it has now become obvious, and I actually feel the fact that I can’t leave. So, my reality has begun to wear on me.

And now I have Kurt to deal with as well. Speaking of Kurt, every time I get to thinking about Mark he seems to be able to tell. He starts to stare at me relentlessly at those moments; it has really begun to creep me out!

I begin to look around the room with just my eyes, so I won’t tip off the Instructor that I am not paying attention to him. I do this until Kurt stops looking at me. Kurt can see my eyes, though the Instructor can’t. Looking away seems to keep Kurt at bay … for a little while anyway.

In the meantime, I observe the people around me, and I try to figure out why the Instructor is so intrigued by them. At first glance, they seem normal enough to me. There is indeed a woodenness about their interaction that seems off, though. It reminds me of the Instructor’s actors. I am about to confront the Instructor with my suspicions that the people on the train are merely actors, too. But then, I realize there is an uneasiness — a lack of conviction in these people that wasn’t present in the actors. It is as though they are looking to take their cue from someone else but can’t find that person. No, these people are real … and yet they aren’t.

End of Book One

Copyright © Jennifer Alice Chandler 2020

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