Friday, November 21, 2014

In Gods' Good Time: Chapter Eighteen of an Angel Beats Fan Fiction Story

In Gods' Good Time: Chapter Eighteen of an Angel Beats Fan Fiction Story


C V Ford

Chapter 18: It's a Date!

Jack definitely had an interest in Rachel. She being the only other non-NPC staffer (And a looker at that!) it was only natural he having his eye on her. He wasn't going to push, or be obvious about it. Rushing in would do no good. He'd play it kool and bide his time.

While he was friendly and helpful in getting her oriented, settling in to her new job and circumstances, he kept a respectful 'distance'. The past two weeks involved his showing her around, pointing the ins and outs of the schools' operation.

On her third day she made a discovery as they walked along the edge of the athletic field.

"You know," Rachel started, "your Japanese is very good."

"Is it now?" Jack tried to keep from snickering and failed.

"Just what do you mean?" The teacher asked, noting the intonation. "It's kind of strange sounding and a bit disordered but it also seems like it fits at the same time.

Turning to her the man said, "look at me carefully and listen closely. This'll really grab ya'."

"Oh?" She cocked her head as he stood there reciting.

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary. Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore ...

"Now ... Tell me what you just heard."

"Hmm ... ," elbow in hand, other hand to chin. "It's a bleak midnight ... you're thinking ... tired and weak ... reading rare books. And-?"

"I'm gonna' repeat myself, only this time ... THINK ... in English."

"In ... English?"

"Yes ... ENGLISH." With that, he repeated.

It took a second or two for it to register.

"Oh my God! ... Poes' Raven! ... ," she gasped, head forward, mouth open, "then ... what is? ... you're ... ?"

"That's right kid ... ," laughing at her amazement, "I'm dubbed!"

"THIS ... IS ... SO ... UN ... REAL!"

"Oh, I don't know," Duffy started in friendly sarcasm. "I mean ... Subtitles'd be kind of awkward in a situation like this, don't ya' think?"

"Sub-," she gasping in faux exasperation and laughing. "It's like something out of that terrible Left Behind series of books (1)."

"Actually, I have a vocabulary of several hundred words and phrases ... learning new ones every day. Gotten in the habit of useing them as much as I can ... switching between that and English. That's probably why you didn't catch on to it."

"Now that you mention it, sometimes your lips match and sometimes they don't. No wonder. I thought you might have had a speech impediment!"

"Tho how come ith it YOU know Japanethe stho well?"

Well," laughing, Rachel began cautiously, "you might laugh if I told you."

"Try me."

"Okay ... It started with ... Anime."

"Cartoons." Grinning in the hopes he might get the right reaction.

"No ... ," she also grinning, "anime ... A-n-i-m-e."

"While it's true, that's the way to spell it, the correct pronunciation is cartoons ... K-a-r-t-u-n-e-s."

"That's NOT how cartoons is spelled!" She smilingly scolded.

"That's the way Walter Lantz spelled it."

"Walter who?"

"Lantz ... You know ... Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Wally Walrus-"

"Scooby Doo?"

"Uh ... " he blinked. "That's a Hanna/Barbera property."

"And you, Mr. Duffy ... are being silly."

"On the contrary, I take my CARTOONS very seriously," he retorted, putting on an air of mock indignation. "And I find it hard to believe you learned Japanese as well as you have from watchin' them there violent Chinese porn toons."

"Uh ... They're Japanese ... and hentai, which I stay away from by the way, is but a small part of the genre."

"Now who's being silly? First it's anime, now it's about formal wear for chickens."

"Chickens? What are you ... OH!" Realisation hit her. "Hen-tie. Very funny sir ... and most original."

"I got a million of 'em!" He replying to her sarcasm. "But seriously, you say it STARTED with anime?"

"Yes. Of course it was English dub at first but as I got into it more, I decided to try it subs and noticed there were subtleties of some kind. I couldn't put a finger on it so I thought I'd try studying the language. In a few months I got to the point where I could watch a show or a movie WITHOUT the subtitles and get a general idea what was going on in the story."

"It helps that half the words you pick up at first are Japanized English to begin with."

"The 'borrowed' words."


"I then started in on manga, trying to read it-"

"Comic books," snorted Duffy.

"Are we getting back in silly mode?"

"To me, manga is a fruit and I just can't bring myself to call them 'graphic novels'," he explained. It makes it sound like one is attaching an importance to something that doesn't really merit it. Though, I guess they would be a great place to start if you wanted to learn how to read the language."

"During high school, I studied Japanese on my own. We didn't have formal classes. After, I took courses at a language school in Toronto before going into college. It was  there I honed my skills."

"With English too ... eh?"

"Uh ... yeah." Smiling. "I taught English for a time at 4M Company in Kyoto."

"Hmmm ... ," he turned, hands in pockets, staring off past the general direction of the gym building.

"The 'royal city' should be somewhere off in that direction."



"You really think we're in Japan?"

"Albeit a Japan without any people other than this school. This could be Japan before the coming of humans for all I know, if not a parallel uh ... 'in between' ... Which this seems to be panning out to."

"Are you sure there are no others ... People I mean."

"Before you came here, I did a lot of exploring the immediate area. I've hiked at LEAST ten, fifteen miles in every direction. Nowhere have I found any signs of human habitation. Knowing how 'built up' modern Japan is, I should have not only run into lots of signs, literally as well as figuratively, but people as well."

"I know what you mean," she stated. "When I worked there ... here(?) ... It seemed as if the whole country was paved over."

"When I first came here," he continued, "I would take some time at least every other night and tune around with my radios. Shortwave, AM, FM, ham frequencies, what have you and ... nothing."

Rachel, nodding in the other direction said, "I noticed the pavement in the front of the campus is an actual stretch of public highway."

"Too bad it leads to nothing but woods on either end. Would be nice if there were any highway signs as indicators. Every thing abruptly changes to forestland. It's as if an actual school and grounds were ... scooped up and placed here."

"You say you're into cartoons." Changing the subject. "The Front kids say you like your movies. I'm willing to bet you've some anime in your collection."

"I BEG YOUR PARDON!" He putting on yet another show of mock indignation. "I wouldn't even dream of viewing  such lowbrow drivel!"

"Wouldn't you now?"

"Of course not! I mean ... Shows like ... uh ... Cowboy Boogie Woogie, Azumanga Day-glo, Neon Genetics Evangelist ... um ... The Melancholy of Haruhi Hirohito ... I know absolutely nothing about that stuff or care to ... I mean ... Just because I MIGHT have about sixty plus shows, franchises and movies on that genre doesn't make me a fan of it or ... something ...

 "Just what do you take me for!? Some kind of oh-TACO or something?"

"That's otaku-"

"Haven't you ever heard of Meximation?"


"Go to any conventions and such?"

"And such ... a few."

"Cosplay any?"

"Oh ... some," she replied noting with a smirk, Duffys' appraising, furtive glance. "Just WHY would you ask that?"

"Mmmmm ... just wondering is all."

"I'll bet."

"I'm also willing to bet you made for a GREAT Yoko Littner ... Still do."

"You'd win that bet," thought Jack to himself noting she had seen right through him. "And I wouldn't mind losing that wager either. I'm also willing to bet you made for a GREAT Yoko Littner (2) ... Still do."


"It's been a couple weeks so far," the Leader declared from the desk. "Other than what I've seen in my period social studies class, just how is our newbie history teacher doing?"

"Seems to be settling In," answered Hinata. "She got into her job, no hesitation right from the start."

"She looks like someone who enjoys her job," Takamatsu stated. "The way she teaches is interesting enough."

"Yes it does," Yuri noted. "Her approach to the War in the Pacific the past couple days, is unique to say the least."

Murmurs of  agreement all around. That subject was only lightly touched on in Japans' schools, as if the government wanted everyone to forget about it. Rachels' approach involved stating everything clearly in detail, the war, atrocities and all, on both sides and placing the blame (Politicians!), again on both sides. Hardly what one would call approved school curriculum.

"Of course," Yuri scanned the assembled Front members. "Don't get TOO interested. Don't want anyone 'leaving' if you know what I mean."

More murmurs of agreement.

"Of course Duffy-san clued her in about our lack of enthusiasm for learning and why. From what I've seen, she understands and cuts us some slack ... LOTS of it. Be sure to return the favor."

"Unless Fujimaki has a string of bad luck (Often!), we try to keep the noise with the Mah-Jong down."

An audible growl could be heard from the aforementioned sword bearer above the chuckles  in response to Hisakos' statement.

"What I find interesting is Duffy-san in all this."

Everyone turned to Yusa, sitting in a chair beside the desk.

"You see them in the cafeteria or food court talking of course, but it looks like more than that. He checks up on her. A LOT! Usually just walks by whatever class room she's in, pretending he's on his duties."

Another chorus of laughs as others recollected.

"Yeah!" Fujimaki interjected. "He looks like he thinks she doesn't notice but she does."

"Every so often," Hisako picked up, "he'll stick his head in through the door for a quick look and takes off."

"Think we might have a stalker on our hands, Yuri?" Sakaki asked, jokingly recollecting something from her own past.

"Perfect Bluu-uue!" TK.

"I think it's sweet."

Everyone looked toward where the GiDeMo girls sat near the back, they themselves checking one another as to who uttered the last.

Credit: Dreamsinger99 at Deviantart.

One who did know, looked past them to Shiinas' now occupied corner, she returning a knowing glance detectable only by him.

"Yes," the ninja thought, undressing the observer with her eyes. "Even here ... Some things ... can certainly be ... sweet."

"To the business at hand, " interrupted Yuri.

The out loud romance speculation stopped.

"About tomorrows' operation."

"Tornado hit!" Rang the chorus.

"Uh ... no."

"But Yurippe," Matsushita began. " We're about due. The Guild has to be fed 'n all."

Yuri lifted a rather full trash bag from behind the desk, placing it on top.

"Is that?" Oyama queried.

"Sure is!" The Front leader exulted.

"Where'd you get all those meal tickets?" Hinata inquired.

"Thanks to Duffy-sans' ammo, tools and goodies purchases the past couple months, we don't need to pull a hit tomorrow."

The chorus of positive exclamation was cut short.

"There is STILL going to be an operation howsomever."

"So we don't get time off so to speak," stated Hinata.

"Um ... Yes ... and no."

The collective "huh" hung in the air.

"I was talking with Duffy-san between classes the other day when something he said gave me an idea."

"Annnnd ... " urged Takamatsu.

"Operation ... Drop Out!"

"Uh ... We can't just quit school Yurippe. Where would we go? That would- ouch!" Hinata grabbed his ankle.

"I chose that name as it sounds better than Operation Skipping Class."

"Wait!" Matsushita brightened up. "You mean ..."

"That's right! Tomorrow, bright and early ... Everyone ... and I mean EVERYONE ...  in the Afterlife
Battlefront ... Cuts class ... All day ... No exceptions!"

Laughs, giggles and cheers flew back and forth.

"But Yuri ... Won't Angel try to do something about it?"

"Fujimaki! ... STAY!" The Leader commanded.

The sword bearer stopped in mid 'lunge' on Oyama.

"That's the whole idea. Let her try!"

The whole of those present looked on their Leader questioningly.

"She can't be everywhere at once and we'll be all over the place. Poor little angel 'll be beside herself trying to cope with an impossible situation."

"All she has to do is call on her uh ... 'powers of persuasion'," Matsushita pointed out, "and it'd be all over. We'd be fighting her piecemeal. We'd be much stronger if we were all together!"

"United we stand!" TK.

"Yeah! We can't just-"

"It'd be a total route-"

"And it-"


The collective turned their eyes back on Yuri.

"That's the beauty of it ... We don't have to fight! If she runs true to form, she won't resort to violence unless we do."

A collective "What?" then took flight.

"If she approaches you and reminds you class is in session, make like you're going to class. When you're out of her sight, you go back to what you were doing."

Replaced by a collective "Oh!".

"What if she escorts one back?"


The overbearing one sat back down in a huff, arms crossed, hands in armpits "hugging" in an attempt at self restraint.

"Just go back with her, take your seat. When she leaves, wait awhile, then YOU leave."

"Some of us are in the same classes as she," explained Iwasawa.

"Same as before. But if she stays (But maybe not. She might go looking for more of us.) then you stay. When 'Big Ben' sounds off, make it look like you're going to next period class but keep on walking instead."

"Passive/aggressive resistance!" TK.

"I figure it will take at least first period for her to figure out something is wrong, then she'll go ... uh ... hunting. After awhile she's gonna' notice many of the same people she put back in class to be on the loose again. I think she'll give up sometime after lunch."

"Like you said, she can't go everywhere at once," stated Matsushita. "There's only one of her. In spite of her powers, we'll wear her down fer sure!"

"Be sure to spread the word," Yuri further instructed. "Hell, tell as many of the non-aligned as you can too. Call it 'National Skip Out Day' or something. Who knows? Maybe some NPCs 'll want to get in on the fun!"

"All right then. Tomorrow ... Bright and early ... When you get up ... It's operation ... START!"


Grading papers, Rachel looked up from her desk, smiling, as her "stalker" entered the room, lugging tool box and step ladder.

"Here to look at that blinking ballast," he explained espying the offending light fixture.

"I put the work order in earlier today."

"Was going to check it out, but there were classes. Didn't want to disturb, so I waited 'til school was out."

With his peripheral vision, the man noticed Rachel eyeing him as he moved a desk aside and positioned the ladder under. Climbing up, he set the toolbox on the swingout shelf.

"Just as I thought," he said working the long "bulb" in its' sockets. "It was only loose. Quick fix."

The now fully secured bulb gave off a steady stream of light and no distraction.

Still on his lofty height, he turned to Rachel.

"How was today for you?"

"How is any day here?" Answering with a question of her own. "I mean, this is totally out of my experience."


"I know I have to let a LOT of things slide. I have to keep in mind that if I do too good a job, someone may disappear. I wouldn't feel good about that."

"I can only imagine. Of course, good grades aren't necessarily a prerequisite for passing on," he explained while he riffled through the toolbox. "As I understand it, some of the kids, Tachibane for example, get great grades and are still here."

"It must vary from one to the next," she speculated. "Grades may not have been a problem for some before they came here so it's not going to affect them. Still ... some of this is ... well ... NUTS!"

"How so?"

"I see some of them not paying attention. They're reading something else, or they're writing ... and even drawing, things not at all related to history. Others are actually playing games. GAMES!"

"Oh yeah!"

"Chess, Shogi, checkers, go, ten sen hockey ... Anything, I guess, to keep their minds off cooperation and possible unwilling transcendence.

"... You know, that Hisako girl and her friends have hot
little Mahjong sessions in the back? Can you believe it?"

"I can't bring myself to scold them ... Knowing what achievement might bring ... I ... You know, that Hisako girl and her friends have hot little Mahjong sessions in the back? Can you believe it!?"

"Just be glad it's not strip poker," Jack chuckled.

"You'd LIKE that wouldn't you?"

"How do you mean?"

"You'd be coming around a lot more often than usual if that was the case."

"Have I been that obvious?" He thought then said aloud, "they're doing strip poker'd be a waste of time for me."


"Fujimaki doesn't do a thing for me."

"Whaaat?" Rachel laughing.

"If Hisako is even half as good at cards as she is Mahjong, she wouldn't drop a stitch. Fujimaki and the other guys would be the ones catching a cold. In any event, I like my women 'legal', if you know what I mean."

"Speaking of which," she started, elbows on desk, chin resting on knuckles of flat folded hands, "what are you doing this weekend?"

Fumbling, Jack dropped a couple screws he had just dug up from out of the bottom of the box.

"I've been trying for three days to get the guts to ask HER that," he thought. "And she's asking me! That's a red head for ya'!"

The two screws clattered noisily to the floor as he tried to regain his composure.

"Oh ... uh ... ," trying to find words to eloquently conceal his nervousness. "Nothing really. Might hike down the creek ... some terrain features I'd like to map out ... get more details on the chart I'm working on ..."

"I'm talking Friday, tomorrow night." Still in open faced 'Gendo' pose.

"Well, I still have my gym workout and walk after work and ..."

"What say you cut out the walk and head for the showers? What say a dinner and a movie?"

"Dinner sounds fine. As for movie uh ... ," he a little more composed, "you may have noticed ... well ... there aren't any theaters and the closest to a restaurant would be the cafeteria-"

"Don't take this the way most normally would but ... Your place or mine?"

Duffy regained his balance as a screwdriver hit the floor.

"Yup!" She observed amusedly. "He did."

Stepping to the floor, Jack scooped the offending driver and screws.

"It's not that I'm trying to seduce you or anything-."

In spite of the last remark, the man got himself together and stood, arm resting on the ladder and facing the teacher.

"-I have every intention of honoring God in all this. It's that I'd like to thank you for the help you've given me in this impossible situation we're in."

"There's really no need to-"


Duffy was brought up short.

"Got the ingredients a couple days before ... I arrived here. Put it together last night and it's in my freezer. Enough for two ... and some xtra."

Lasagna. He hadn't had that in over a year. The very thought had him almost drooling.

"So uh ... ," swallowing saliva. "What's a good Irish girl doing with lasagna?"

"My mother's Italian."

Leaning back in her chair she continued.

"To keep it 'safe', we eat at my place and take in the movies in a neutral setting."

"Hmmm ... There's that little used student lounge in Class C. Has a big 'flat screen' we can hook a laptop to. No event scheduled there to my knowledge but I'll check to be sure."

"Perfect!" The teacher exclaimed. "And any students who happen along and watch'll complete the theater experience."

"You said movies ... as in plural."

"I was thinking of a double feature. I get one out my stash I think you'll like and you get one I MIGHT like."

"And just what kind of girlie whirly chick flicks are you into?"

"Figured you weren't into those."

"I was forced to see Beaches once."

"I looove that one!"


"Awww! And I suppose you have nothing but Eastwood and Schwartzenegger."

"I'm more into The Duke." Declared he, putting on his best imitation of the actor.

"John Wayne. Should have known. Typical American."

"Wellll ... I do have Princess Tutu."

"You're kidding ... right?" Giggling.

"It's the music!" He adding quickly. "When I heard DeBussey, Korsakov, and Wagner in the trailer, I You-Tubed it. After a few episodes, I went to Amazon and bought it. As for something you might like ... well ..."

"Surprise me ... ummm ... Something like ... Something by Frank Capra maybe?"

"And just what do you know about Capra?" A reading of her file told him she was born in 1985.

"Oh ... uh ... A Christmas Story!" She enthused knowing she made a mistake. "Yeah! That's it!"

"I think you mean, It's a Wonderful Life."

"What ev-er!" Laughing.

"I remember Turner playing that one to death on his stations every Christmas. It was one I never tired of tireing of."

"I was just a kid but yeah, he did use it a lot."

"Tell you what." Duffy declared. "I actually do have some of Capras' films in my collection, one of them I'm certain you might enjoy."

"Great! Other than  A Chris- uh It's A Wonderful Life, I don't remember seeing any of his ... It should be interesting."

"So then," gathering the ladder an toolbox. "It's a date."

"You got it!"

"I'll make the popcorn."


Leaving the building, Jack felt like he was walking on air. A date! ... Sort of. No restaurants or theaters but they would make do. Dinner, a movie(s), and-

"OH!" Jack Paused.

"Let's see ... Hmmm ... I'm going to be with an incredibly beautiful woman ... Who seems quite willing to spend some time with me ... Wants to watch movies with me. And on top of that, she'll  be serving Lasagna!

"Yet says ... boldly(?), I might add ... She's not trying to seduce me!?"

The man went into a slight sweat.

"I ... Don't know," thinking.

"Man! The things I go through for Jesus!"

To be continued ...


1. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is a multi volume adventure series about the "end times" based on the last book in the Christian bible, The Book of Revelation/The Apocalypse of St. John the Divine. In it, "believers", no matter where they're from, are able to communicate with one another in their own languages. Example: If someone was speaking Chinese to one who knew only English, the listener would hear it in English and vice versa.

2. Yoko Littner is a protagonist in the anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan. I have absolutely NO idea as to what the show is about. What little I have seen (Part of one episode.) I didn't like. All I know is that Yoko is one FABULOUS character design.

Storyline and original characters (only) copyright © 5-1-14 C V Ford


In Gods' Good Time chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Go to C V Fords' profile page and anime fan fiction list at Fan Fiction dot net here.

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Disclaimer: The preceding is a NON-PROFIT work of fan fiction for entertainment purposes only. I make no claim to ownership of the names/characters, places, & events mentioned in this work that are the intellectual properties of others. They are the sole properties of their respective owners. Please, by all means support the owners of such properties in the purchase & enjoyment of their works.

Friday, November 7, 2014

In Gods' Good Time: Chapter Seventeen of an Angel Beats Fan Fiction Story

In Gods' Good Time: Chapter Seventeen of an Angel Beats Fan Fiction Story


C V Ford

Chapter 17: Hands Across the Table

As with Duffy, some months before, the info Rachel recieved was quite an eye opener. After a few questions revealed Angel and Yuri had filled her in on the basics, Duffy gave as much as he could on himself and the Fronts' grudge.

"And they blame God for ... ," she glanced around, "this?"

"Well ... Keep in mind they, especially Yuri, have not had what you or I call ideal lives. That, and the fact their concept of the divine is quite different from ours. As you've seen on their shoulder patch, 'Rebels against the god', small g. I don't think they're uh ... 'gunning for Jesus', so to speak."

"From what you and they've told me, they were almost gunning for you."

"Oh yeah ...", Jack mused. "For awhile there, I thought it was going to be High Noon at the OK Corral. Was touch and go for a couple days as we scoped each other out."

"And was that ... gunfire ... I heard this morning?"

"Some of the kids target practicing in the ravine."

Rachel, both hands flat on, gazed at the tables' surface.

"Guns ... I ... this ..."

"Each one of these kids here have their own ways of coping with this situation. Most of them are pretty much on their own, hashing out in their minds whatever from their pasts haunt them. With Yuri and her group, their way is banding together in their own little resistance movement against God and who they think is one of His messengers. I think they're wrong, but that's how they deal with it. Anything to keep from passing on I guess.

"While you're about your duties as a teacher, you may find some of the kids, Battlefront or otherwise, being inattentive or even disruptive. Go easy on them. They're resisting transcendance ... Like Yuri and her bunch, some don't want to go. They don't know what awaits if they leave and it frightens them ... Does me."

"This passing on ... this obliteration as Yuri calls it. It actually happens? Have you ...?"

"Seen it? Yeah ... twice. Both times gave me the willies, I'm telling ya'."

"Twice? Not more?"

"It's not something you go looking for. Never find it then. When it happens, it happens ... and if you just chance to be nearby, you might see it.

"Usually it's you get used to the faces of those around you as you go day to day about your work. After awhile you notice one of those faces has been missing after a day or so. A day or so more, you get reconciled to the fact he or she is gone. Presumably to a better place ... maybe."

"Better place ... ," she shuddered some. "So ... How DOES it happen?"

"As Ms. Tachibana might have told you, when one finds peace ... fulfilment ... I guess. When one is finally reconciled, comes to terms ... Settled with oneself over the inadequacies and traumas from when alive ... Or achieves something they were prevented from in life or maybe realizing they 'had it in them' all along ... They just ... go."

"Go as in ...?"

"Oh, I see," the small bulb in Duffys' head flickered. "It's like ... hmmmm."

"Go on."

"Like there they are then there they aren't ... like ... Blink ... and they're gone."

Rachel cocked her head in puzzlement an eyebrow raised.

"Have you ever seen a very low budget movie where someone vanishes ... but they didn't spend any dough on visual effects or even 'faded' the subject? They're just ... gone ... in less than an instant."

"Like those older 'end times tribulation' or Book of Revelation movies they'd show at church?"

"Not quite 'Thief in the Night'/rapture (1) stuff. They'd at least cut to the face of an onlooker then back to where the subject had been standing. No ... This is more like ... Everyone freezes on que as they stop the camera, the subject walks off frame then they continue rolling the camera. The desired effect in the completed shot is ... Bam! ... gone.

"Oh! sorry ... ," Duffys' sudden 'emphasis' startled the new arrival. "Didn't mean to-"

"It's all right," in reply. "This is all sudden and new, but I've got to get all the info I can, now that I'm here. Need to know everything relevant if I'm to cope. Please ... Go on."

Duffy felt pleased that this Ms. O'Hara was not a shrinking violet. Her determination to keep on keeping on heartened him.

"They're going from here is like ... that."

Rachel noticed Duffy's face taking on a distant look.

"I was coming out of Class A, the big building. I just happened to be looking right at her as I went through the doors. A regular student, she was sitting on the retaining wall out front. Holding several sheets of paper, looking at them ... Face all lit up ... Wearing the biggest, happiest looking smile I'd ever seen up til then. Then ... gone.

"Only the papers were left. They were test papers from one of the advanced math classes. All  covered with these convoluted looking equations ... With a perfect score noted very enthusiastically by the teacher at the top.

"I later showed the papers to the Fronts' resident genious, Takayama. Little egotist did his best not to show it, but I could tell he was impressed. I let him keep them. Mumbled something about 'further analysis' or some such.

"The second time," Duffy continued, "I was sitting on the tractor, taking a break from cutting the grass out near front of the main field house. See four of them coming out ... girls. One, still in leotard, jumping around, screaming about how 'I did it! I did it!' over and over again, the others congratulating her. Then she ... gone. Like I said before.

"They stood there ... must've taken a few seconds to register ... did me. Two of them start crying, holding on to each other. The fourth just stood there ... blankly impassive. Must have been one of the zombies."

"Zombies? ... The ones the Front kids call NPCs?" Rachel inquired hoping to change the subject.

"Zombies, droids, clickers, robots, republicans, democrats ... yeah ... same thing."

"Makes me wonder what you call the Battlefront," giggling.

"Oh ... The Ungrateful Dead, Carbon Monoxide Commandos, Barnacle Battlefront, Hecks' Angels ... um ... The Evil Cookies? ... uh ... ," Duffys' voice trailed off. "Anything but SOS Brigade I guess."

"SOS what?"

"Private joke 'tween me and that bunch. Ask Yuri about it ... ," he smiled. "Then again ... better not."

"You mentioned 'thief in the night' and the rapture."

"Uh ... yeah."

"Are you ... a believer?"

Cocking an eyebrow, Jack paused, knowing what she was asking, "as in?"

"If not in the salvation Christ offers or ... at least in the concept of God in general?"

Duffy took a moment, staring past Rachel before answering.

"I do believe ... Not only that God exists but also in that offer he gave one and all through what Jesus did ... I guess I wasn't a very good one as far as believers go."

"That's what I'm getting at," Rachel admitted. "Why are you ... and I ... here?"

"Think you're being punished?"

The newcomer took a moment.

"It's a possibility."

Duffy reached over taking both hands in his in a reassuring grasp.

"This is something I've been trying to figure out ever since I got here a few months ago. I've serious doubts this is hell. The only real torment I may have had is from a possible adversary, who so far, is a neglible meanace. That and I wonder what's been happening in the world ... friends ... what little family I have left ... since I've been gone.

"If this is hell ... well ... It's too mild for that. A purgatory, Catholic or otherwise, just doesn't fit Biblically."

"Think this could be a test of some kind?"

"Maybe, though I don't think God may have anything to do with it."

He slightly tightened his grip.

"All I know is, is we're here. And like anyone else in this place ... we ... You ... I ... have an obligation to ones' self to make the most and best of it. Maybe it's a test as you say-"

"It's certainly a challenge," the new faculty member interrupted. "And I guess one has to meet it."

"And it most certainly has been made easier to meet it," Duffy thought as he looked into her shining face.

"Uh ... Mr. ... Duffy?"

His thoughts abruptly broken as he came to the realisation he was holding her hands a little too firm.

"Oh! ... Sorry!" Withdrawing his hands, blushing slightly and noticing the same with her.

"Who or ... what ... is this 'adversary" you mentioned?"

"Yeah ... that guy."


Duffy scowled, getting back to business. His eyes taking on a more than serious look.

"His name is Ayato Naoi ..."

"His name is Ayato Naoi. He's the student council Vice President. You probably haven't met him yet."

"I saw him with Ms. Tachibana earlier today. She was filling me in on council matters as I was going over my duties and looking over my assigned classrooms."

Jack straightened up in his seat.

"He ... didn't try something ... anything with you?"

"Is he some kind of troublemaker? I can't imagine someone like that getting anywhere in student government. And he didn't strike me as being one of the actual persons here."

"He's real alright," Jack corrected, "and so's the power he has."

"Power? As in ..."

"Hypnotism of a sort. Turns your head inside out ... brings things out in your mind you'd as soon not want to remember. Had a little run in with him a few days ago. Didn't figure out what it was until it was almost too late. Almost killed the little scumbag."

"Hypnotism? In what way?"

"Starts in low and subtle. Tries to turn your mind away from the present moment and ... Gets you to thinking ... if you could call it that ... about yourself. Has you digging up stuff out of your thoughts ... things you tried to forget even long ago. He then has you manipulate them, twist and change ... Uses them against you."

"He can read minds?"

Duffy sat back, wry smirk to the face.

"No. Doubt that. It's that we all have things we hide in the back of our minds. Dark thoughts and memories we shove aside as they get in the way of our continuing to get on with our lives and Naoi knows everyone has them. He doesn't know any of your thoughts in particular. Only that they're there and he uses general statements to get you to use them against yourself. Manipulate you into deeper fear ... doubt ... helplessness. So much so, you yearn for help ... guidance ... from outside."

"And there he is to 'help' ... convenient."



"Hmm?" Duffy puzzled.

"Like a would be dictator." Her reply. "Works on whatever anxieties the crowd might have. Fixes a blame on someone or some thing . Points out a 'problem' then offers a solution, namely him, and manipulates the mob into action. He's then in control."

"He does at that. You watch yourself around him ... be careful. Especially when he starts talking."

"Thanks for the warning."

"I warned HIM what would happen if he made a try on me again. If there's even a hint he's trying anything with you, break off immediatly ... get away from him. Tell me ... a Battlefronter ... Tachibana ... "

Rachel could see the tension manifested in Jack. The look on the face, hatred in the eyes, right hand gripping the table sending a slight vibration through it.

"Negligable menace?" She thought. "He's taking it much more seriously than that! He's-"

"Just be sure ... if I'm not the one you talk to first about it," calming somewhat, " ... that you let me know ... ASAP."

The man checked his watch.

"Gotta' get back to work in a few," he stated, getting up.

"There's still so much to ask."

Looking down, a smile on his face.

"Tell you what. I get off in a few hours. Need to clean up and I'll have some info printed out. Drop it off at your place or we could meet back here."

"Here would be fine."

"Here it is then."

Jack got up. Before turning he gave her a mock serious look.

"Before I go, there's something else I haven't told you and it IS rather important."


"Yeah," the man then put on a semi-serious frown. "So much so, I should have mentioned this right from the start. In fact, one mistake regarding this could have serious consequences in regard to your continued existence here."

"Serious?" She cocked an eyebrow.

"Yes. Could be quite dire."

"And that could be?" An even more anxious Rachel asked, leaning forward. Transit to this place, being told of an armed conflict, then about a possible menace ... What more could be happening here?

The man, putting both hands flat on the table, leaned forward, his face but a foot away from Rachels'.

"It's the vending machines here."

"What!?" Her face squinched into a frown.

"They don't take Canadian coins."

Smiling, he straightened up, leaving.

"See ya' in a bit!"

To be continued ...


1. A Thief In the Night (Mark 4 Pictures, 1972) - First of a series of four low budget Christian films based on the Bibles' Book of Revelation and various verses. Produced and directed by Donald W. Thompson, written by Russel S. Doughton Jr.. Considered by some to be the most widely seen Christian evangelical film in the world.

"The Rapture", (Emphasised in the above mentioned film. The title is taken from First Thessalonians 5:2.) is a belief based on various verses of Bible scripture. Thought by many (Including this writer.), to be of dubious interpretation as many of the verses seem to either be taken out of context or its supporters having read something in to them.

The belief entails Christ briefly coming near to Earth one day to gather all the bodys as well as souls of genuine believers, taking them to Heaven before the prophecies listed in the Book of Revelation come to pass. This is generally held by many Christian Fundamentalists and rejected by Catholic and mainline Protestant groups.


Storyline and original characters (only) copyright © 5-1-14 C V Ford

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Wikipedia article on A Thief In the Night film here.

Wikipedia article on the "Rapture" doctrine here.

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