End of the Age: Final Deception HTML version

Chapter 9
Fighting against the cloak of shadows shrouding her just below consciousness,
Jesse tried to open her eyes. Someone was screaming. She wanted to cover her ears but
her arms wouldn’t move. Terror filled her mind—she was tied down in the concrete
room. Tortured screams grew unbearably loud as she struggled against hands trying to
pin her. Gabriel—she could hear his voice in the distance. He was coming for her. She
called to him.
“Jesse, I’ve got you. You’re safe.” She tried to listen but couldn't hear past the
sound of someone gasping for air. Gabriel’s voice drew closer. “Shhh, Jesse. You’re safe
with me. No one will hurt you. You’re home now.”
She called his name. “Gabriel?”
“Yes, Jesse, I’m here. No one will hurt you.” With a soft moan, she relaxed,
allowing herself to be pulled back into the tide of oblivion.
Voices floated into Jesse’s awareness before she groggily opened her eyes. The
Pastor and Olivia were standing by the bed, praying. Turning her head, she saw her
grandmother and Gabriel on the other side. Tears streamed down her grandmother's face.
“Grammy, don’t cry,” Jesse said. She was surprised at the weak sound of her own voice.
Her grandmother bent over to brush the hair from Jesse’s face. “I’ve never been
so worried, child. You were very brave.”
Jesse didn’t understand. Brave? How had she been brave? Why was she in bed?
Starting to move, she closed her eyes against the pain. She felt like she’d been run over
by a bus. Hazy memories began to flash through her mind—a woman’s angry face, a
concrete room. She had been kidnapped. Rachel, had she been kidnapped, too?
“Grammy, where's Rachel? Is she safe?”
“Yes,” her grandmother said. “Rachel is safe at home.”
Olivia came around the bed to touch Jesse’s hand. “We were so worried, Jesse.
We prayed, but I was still afraid.” Her tear soaked face moved Jesse with love for the
young woman.
“God heard,” Jesse said before meeting Gabriel’s eyes. His face was haggard, as
if he hadn’t slept for days. She couldn't stop looking at him.
Her grandmother bent over to kiss Jesse ‘s cheek. “We'll leave you and Gabriel
alone,” she said.
“We praise God for bringing you home, Jesse,” the Pastor said.