The Vision

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
A boy sets out to travel back to the city and then has the greatest experience in his life.

Submitted: July 20, 2016

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Submitted: July 20, 2016

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THE VISION

John sank into the seat close to the window and heaved a sigh of relief. This was a journey he always looked forward to and he would make sure he enjoyed himself as he always did. He glanced at his wrist watch: nine thirty-five am. It would take roughly eight hours to complete the journey from his country home to the city. An old man sat in the empty seat beside him. He greeted the old man, and the old man nodded in reply, snuggled deeper into his seat and fell asleep after a moment. Other passengers began to come into the bus. There was a woman with a little child who took a seat just across his. There were middle aged men - likely business men from their manner of speech – that shouted and laughed aloud with each other as they took their seats. More passengers boarded the bus.

John looked out of the window at the women and children hawking a variety of products: bread, fried plantain, chin-chin, egg-rolls, and many more. He knew from experience that a stare at them would bring them all to your window, displaying all their tantalizing commodities before your eyes until your mouth watered and you were compelled to buy. He noticed a girl, both arms laden with cooked eggs, staring expectantly at him and quickly averted his eyes.

The bus conductor began to shout for those standing to be seated and for everyone to hold their tickets for him to inspect. John looked in time to see the last passenger board the bus. He was a young man with a relaxed air about him. He smiled a gentle, self assured smile as he shook hands with a few people he knew. The conductor having finished the inspection of the tickets proceeded to make an announcement to the passengers. ‘This bus will stop only three times though out this journey,’ he said. ‘The first stop will be to buy gas, the next for the passengers to buy food, and the last to buy gas again. Apart from these three places we will not stop for any reason. So if you want to ease yourself or use the toilet you are free to do so now. Thank you and I wish all of us a safe journey.’

The passengers who had kept a reasonable degree of quiet in order to listen to the conductor now began to talk amongst themselves making a considerable amount of noise. The conductor went to and whispered in the driver’s ear. A moment later, after four unsuccessful attempts, the engine roared to life. Most passengers gave a final farewell to their relatives as the bus exited the park. The bus travelled, negotiating its way through the village on dusty, unpaved roads. It was about forty minutes before the bus left the village completely. The passengers had gradually become quiet as the bus wove its way through the village roads. Some of them, especially the young business men, were reading the morning papers. Others were either gazing out the window at the passing landscape or sleeping. A man at the extreme was snoring. It was at this seemingly unseeming juncture the young man who was the last to board the bus stood from his seat and walked to the middle of the bus. When he got there, he held the support above to keep himself steady and said in a loud voice, ‘Good morning my brothers and sisters.’ Many of those who had dozed off snapped out of their sleep and stared at him. The men reading looked up from their papers. One or two people groaned secretly as they understood the young man’s mission.

John opened his eyes with the man’s greeting. He quickly raised his head and apologized to the old man. He had fallen asleep on his shoulder. The old man stared at him with no particular expression then closed his eyes and went back to sleep. John looked at the young man who had given them all a greeting. The man had paused, waiting for them to focus their attention on him. When he was satisfied that enough people had their attention on him, he said aloud again:

‘Please let us pray that God will lead us safely through this journey and lead us safely to our various destinations. Let us pray that thieves and wicked men will not see this bus. And let us pray that God in His mercy will touch our hearts so that we will do what He wants us to do. Please can you bow your heads while I pray for all of us.’

John hesitated. He was ruffled, caught somewhere between bowing his head and ignoring the man. However, when he saw the men close their papers and bow their heads and the women do the same, covering their heads with handkerchiefs, he bowed his head also. After a fairly long prayer, the young man began to preach to them.

‘Praise the Lord!’ he said aloud.

‘Alleluya!’ almost everybody responded.

‘I believe that by now you will all be familiar with the words I am about to speak to you,’ the preacher continued, looking around at all the people around him. ‘However I will like to share a few things with you. In the beginning, God created the world out of nothing and made it a beautiful place for us human beings to live. Those who study science will appreciate the fact that this earth was custom made for man. We have just the right amount of heat from the sun, the right amount of rainfall, enough nutrients for our sustenance in the fruits and crops we grow, enough oxygen to breathe, enough water, in fact, the list can go on and on. In effect God had created the earth and given it to man.

‘But it was not just the earth and every beautiful thing in it that man owned. Man had something far greater than the earth with all its glory, far greater than everything in the entire universe for that matter. It was this: God was close to man. God had not created the earth, blessed it, placed man in charge of it and then abandoned everything. Man had a very special relationship with God. Everything was in perfect harmony - until man sinned. Man disobeyed God and ate the fruit he was forbidden to eat. The result was inevitable: death and destruction.’ The preacher paused, looked around at them for a moment and then continued:

‘But still in that tragic moment, God in His love had begun to lay a plan to win back the man He had created. The plan was this: that His own son would take upon Himself all the consequence of the disobedience of man. The consequence: great destruction and eternal death.  And as it always did, the plan of God came to pass. Now all we are required to do is believe in the only Son of God. Believe that He came to the earth as a human being, suffered for us and, at the end died for our sins on the cross. Believe Him in our hearts and confess what we believe. If we do this then God will save us forever. But if we refuse to listen to God, then we will suffer the consequence of all our sin and evil. My brothers and sisters, I implore you to believe in the Son of God now because the end is near. At the end, a trumpet shall sound and those who have accepted God’s gift will be taken up to heaven. I don’t know about you but I want to be among those who will be taken up to heaven. Remember what I have said my brothers and sisters. Do not harden your hearts so that when the trumpet…’ The conductor suddenly shouted a warning and the driver, formerly lost in thought, slammed on the brakes and swerved the bus sharply to avoid a deep pothole. John hit his head on the front seat with the force of the turn. In that moment, he thought he heard the sound of a very loud trumpet and of people screaming in indescribable terror, and then he passed out.

 

***

John woke up.

He came to himself slowly. His head throbbed violently and he was still too weak to open his eyes. From the movement of the bus, he deduced that they were now travelling on a very smooth road. He noticed something else besides this: the bus was gradually going downhill. He cradled his throbbing head in his hands and slowly opened his eyes. The atmosphere about him seemed heavy as though it spoke of despair. The headache reduced slightly and he looked to see if the old man seated beside him had sustained any injury with the lurch of the bus - the old man was gone. He glanced at the opposite seat where the woman and her child had sat; they were also gone. Then for the first time, he noticed that there was an unusual type of silence in the bus. The only sounds he heard were that of the engine and that made by the tires crushing stones. With this realization came alarm. He stood and scanned the bus from back to front. The entire bus was empty except for the conductor who sat in his normal position with his back to the passengers. John heaved a sigh of relief. At least he wasn’t alone. Maybe the other passengers had alighted from the bus when he was still unconscious. They might have thought he was asleep. He would get all the information he needed from the conductor. He was making to go to the conductor when he noticed something queer about him. The conductor seemed wider at the shoulders and his head was excessively covered with hair. Two objects bulged conspicuously from underneath his shirt. John was contemplating all this when the source of his focus slowly turned around and stared at him.

John froze in horror. The conductor had the head of a bat! John screamed in terror. He screamed until he was exhausted and then fell back into his seat. He rubbed his eyes and shook his head violently in an effort to wake up for he was convinced he was having a nightmare. After shaking his head for a moment, he looked up and, behold, bathead was standing over him, grinning gleefully.

‘Are you done with screaming you sinner?’ bathead spat.

John fainted.

When he awoke after a long moment, he sat up and rubbed his eyes. Immediately, the memory of what transpired in the bus before he fainted flooded his mind. He began to think of how to escape from the evil bus. The plan he came up with was simple: he would jump out the window regardless of how fast the bus was moving. He stood and quietly slid the window open. What he saw when he looked out the window dazed him completely: he saw nothing. It was like a huge, black bottomless pit as far as the eyes could see. There was only just enough road for the bus to move on and that road continuously went downwards. He slid the window close and sank back into his seat in utter despair. After a moment, he made up his mind to jump into the bottomless pit, preferring it to staying one more minute with the terrifying apparition of a conductor. However he realized that he could no longer stand from his seat. It seemed as if all the forces present on earth and beneath held him fast to his seat.

‘The sinner is awake sir,’ he overhead bathead say presently.

‘At last,’ a sibilant voice said. It sounded as though three vipers had spoken in one voice. ‘I’ll have to go and see him.’

John heard a pair of feet shuffle towards him and prepared for the worst. But no amount of preparation would have done him any good. The moment he set eyes on the approaching figure, his breadth caught in his throat. He opened his mouth to scream but no sound came out. The figure got to his seat, stopped and fixed its eyes on him. From the neck downwards, it was human. The head however was that of a snake – a cobra. Its forked tongue kept darting in and out of its mouth in the manner typical of snakes. Its red eyes were tiny and dark and seemed much deeper than the bottomless pit outside the window. As he stared into them an unfathomable dread crept into his bones. Cobra just stared at him for a long time and then simply turned and walked back to the driver’s seat, revealing bathead who had been behind him all the while. Bathead grinned maliciously at him for a while and then returned to his seat.

John mustered a scrap of courage and cried, ‘Where are you taking me to?’ Bathead turned at the question and stared at John as if surprised by it.

‘To where you asked us to take you to of course,’ it said.

‘I never asked you to take me anywhere,’ John protested alarmed.

‘You surely did,’ Bathead insisted. ‘How else could we be travelling there? Although you did not direct us with spoken words, your actions did. You have been a sinner since your birth. You have lied to and cheated others. You have hated some people and have been jealous of others. You are wicked and evil. You deserve to die.’

John’s heart sank deeper. Bathead was right. He was a sinner and deserved to die. He bowed his head and wept. The bus moved faster. As he wept, his despair mounted threatening to swallow him. But at that moment, a word he had heard many times before came to his mind: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

John meditated on these words and would not let them slip from his mind. As he did his heart began to rise from the depths bringing hope with it. The bus slowed considerably.

‘Go and do your work!’ Cobra hissed angrily over his shoulder.

Bathead shuffled from his seat towards John’s seat, stopped directly in front of it and stood glaring down at him.

‘You are trying to become pious, are you not,’ it spat. ‘How can someone like you ever be holy. You are too evil to dream of being so. It seems you want me to remind you of your sins again. Fortunately, there are too many to count. You are a liar. A thief. A fornicator. Deep down in your heart you desire to do unrestrained evil and commit the worst abominations. You don’t just deserve to die, you deserve to die twice.’

John’s heart was on the verge of sinking again. He hid his face in his hands and wept: ‘O Lord Jesus!’

Lightening struck the bus.

The bus jolted with the force and bathead was thrown off his feet. He lay there dazed for a moment and then scrambled to his feet. John was too surprised for speech. He thought he had read fear on Bathead’s countenance for a fleeting moment. Bathead regained his composure quickly and walked to John’s seat.

‘If you say that name again,’ it threatened menacingly, ‘I will make you suffer until you beg for death. Do you understand?’

John’s faith however had begun to grow with these signs. He bowed his head and began to pray: ‘O Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me. Forgive my sins and save me Lord.’

‘He’s praying! He’s praying!’ Bathead shouted. ‘Do something! Stop him! Stop him!’

‘There is nothing I can do!’ Cobra shouted from the steering, and then screamed almost immediately: ‘The cross! We are going to crash into the cross! Find your way!’

John finished saying his prayer and opened his eyes in time to see Cobra and Bathead jumping out the window. In the path of the bus stood a large golden cross that shone with an awesome brilliance. John closed his eyes and braced himself as the bus collided with the cross; then he passed out.

 

***

 

‘He’s coming around. Please get some water.’

‘What kind of driver is this? Does he want to kill us?’

‘I hope the child is not seriously hurt.’

John slowly awoke to the voices of the passengers in the bus. The young preacher stood before him peering intently at him.

‘Are you alright?’ the preacher asked him when he opened his eyes.

John nodded and said: ‘I want to accept God’s gift of salvation and become a child of God.’

The passengers were somewhat surprised. Here was a boy they feared had received a serious injury to his head, and the first thing he speaks about on regaining consciousness is salvation.

John noticed their surprise and proceeded to narrate to the vision he had received. After his narration, he and many of the passengers confessed their sins to God and accepted God’s gift of salvation. The preacher prayed for them all. That day they all became children of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Michael Vincent. All rights reserved.

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