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."
"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."
"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
In Gods' Good Time chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.
C V Fords' profile page and list of anime fanfiction stories here.
Fan Fiction dot net here.
Wikipedia article on A Thief In the Night film here.
Wikipedia article on the "Rapture" doctrine here.
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