Happy March, Reader Friends and New Subscribers! We welcome
you to David Telbat’s serialized novel God’s Colonel, Chapter 30 today! First, a little news—You may have heard that this week is READ AN EBOOK WEEK at Smashwords! David Telbat’s books are going for 50% off this week, March 3-9! So be sure to click the link and please share with your friends! Now to our story…If you are new to the story, you can begin here with CHAPTER 1.
[RECAP of God's Colonel Chapter 29: Cas finds Emit studying the map of their escape. She tries to convince him to meet with Gray, but Emit feels it is too dangerous for them all. Emit is to order seven more uniforms for the prisoners and gives Cas the route for their exodus.]
By D.I. Telbat
Sergeant Gray Dross set the phone down on his desk. Numbness swept over him. He tried to swallow, but his throat was too dry. Colonel O’Regan had called for Gray to report to his office. For a long moment, Gray wondered if he could simply brush off the colonel, and pretend that he hadn’t received the order. Certainly, this had to do with Lt. Cruz’s last known location or the paperwork for the mass execution and transfer that night.
Standing before O’Regan a dozen times over the last three years, Gray had always left the dynamic man’s presence feeling small. And those were moments when he’d had much less to hide than he did now.
Gray considered telling the Badger about the summons, but it would only worry the man unduly. For years, Gray had been sneaking around. But everything was finally climaxing on this single day. As he buttoned his collar, he told himself that he had to be ready for the worst.
Walking to the headquarters building, he was aware of many officers’ eyes on him. He felt as if everyone knew what he had been doing and what he was hiding. In five minutes, he could come back that way in chains to be celled in his own holding facility. Lt. Cruz would be found, and Gray would receive no merciful beheading. No, he would be kept alive as they tortured him for every bit of information he had been hiding over the years. It was over.
At the sergeant’s desk in headquarters, Gray was handed an envelope. The sergeant assured Gray that he had not been called to see the colonel, but to pick up the sealed envelope. Gray stepped outside and tore the envelope open. He drew out a single slip of paper that read, “the cellar.”
Chuckling to himself, Gray figured someone was definitely playing games with him now. He remembered the cellar quite well—that hellish night and day he’d spent in there when he’d first come to the base looking for work. Suspected as a spy, he had been given no water or food under the utility shed, nor bathroom facilities or light from the outside.
Nevertheless, Gray was too curious now to not check it out. Someone had gone to a lot of work to impersonate the colonel and deliver him a note.
When he arrived at the utility shed door, Gray glanced over his shoulder. No one seemed to be watching. Thankfully, the shed was in the shade. Before he opened the door, he checked his watch. He should’ve given Cruz another shot by now, just to keep him asleep.
Inside the shed, Gray pulled on a string to illuminate the small space by a single bulb. The grounds keeper wasn’t organized. Kicking at the trap door handle on the floor, Gray could see that it had been opened recently. Tugging open the hatch, he looked down into the darkness.
“Hello? Anybody there?”
Sensing a trap, Gray surveyed the rest of the shed for some kind of sign. Perhaps he had arrived before whoever was supposed to meet him. He took a deep breath, then stepped carefully down the steep wooden steps, the trap door closing over his head.
While still on the steps, Gray sat down on one of the rungs to wait. He sighed, trying to manage his rapid heartbeat.
The unseen man’s low voice in the dark recesses of the cellar made Gray jump. He hit the top of his head on the ceiling hard enough to see stars. An instant later, he was face-down on the cool soil of the cellar floor. Shaking his head to gain his senses, he looked up. Still, he could see nothing.
“Who’s there?” he whispered.
“Are you all right?” The man muffled a chuckle.
Gray was surprised by the concern. The voice sounded a little familiar, but he couldn’t place it. He rolled over to sit with his back against the stairs.
“I’m okay. Who am I speaking to?”
“We wouldn’t be down here if I wanted you to know. But I’m a friend.”
“What kind of friend?”
“Cas asked me to meet with you…finally. I’ve been hesitant. You understand.”
“Well, I don’t know any Cas,” Gray claimed. “What is this about?”
“Flo—I knew her,” the voice explained. “I was happy to hear that she and her daughter had become believers before they had to endure this nightmare.”
So, this was a friend after all. Gray closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to relax. This was Cas’ contact from somewhere in the administration. The tension in his chest seemed to float away.
“I miss her.” Gray began to choke up. “Flo was the glue in more ways than I ever admitted. How did you know her?”
“It was a long time ago. Let’s talk about tonight. Everything is in order for midnight? You received the uniforms?”
“That was you? Yes, thank you. We’ll make them work.”
“And the highway checkpoints—those are the most recent I have, updated yesterday.”
“Those are extremely helpful.” Gray could hardly believe he was conspiring with someone besides Cas for a change. “Thanks. I was planning on driving straight west, but we’ll take your route. That must mean you’re staying behind?”
“Believe me, I’m tempted to go, but Cas and I have work to do here as long as we’re not discovered.”
“You’ll be exposed eventually,” Gray reasoned. “It’s just a matter of time. I used to think I was safe. My own wife sold me out.”
“I’ll take that under advisement.” The stranger shifted his feet. Gray could tell from the direction of his voice that he was a sizable man, maybe as tall as Gray himself was. “If you need me to clear anything at the last minute, I’ll be on the base through midnight. All you have to do is let Cas know. She’ll contact me.”
“Anything within reason, right?”
“Even anything unreasonable,” the man corrected. “There’s nothing I won’t do to make sure you guys leave this place. You may be the last few we get out of this base alive. We’ve had a good run, huh?”
“So it was you from the beginning, working with Cas?”
“It’s been the Lord’s work, Gray. I’m just glad you’re leaving. It’s bound to get worse soon.”
Both were silent for a moment, though the silence wasn’t uncomfortable to Gray. He imagined the other man was just as comfortable in the presence of someone else who risked his life every day as he did.
“We should go,” the voice said. “We both have a lot of work to do.”
“Would you mind, well, praying for us? I don’t need to know you to pray with you. God knows.”
A hand touched Gray’s forearm and Gray placed his hand on the big man’s shoulder as well. Gray sensed the man’s head close to his own.
“Lord God,” the man began, “our faith is in You as we embark on a new adventure. If we fall to the enemy, we know You will not abandon us. Keep us diligent and wise as we shepherd the lives You have given us to lead out of this place. Please watch over Cas and I as we are left behind. Take our fear away. Blind the evildoers and keep them from us. We ask that You give Gray and the convoy safety in travel. We trust You, the Savior of our souls. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
The men drew apart.
“I’ll go first. Wait a couple minutes, then come out. God is with you, Gray.”
The stranger moved up the steps past Gray and pushed the trap door open. Gray shielded his eyes from the small amount of light as he tried to glimpse who the man might be, but his face and head were already through the hatch. All Gray could see was that he wore a GSF uniform.
Gray waited in the darkness for nearly five minutes. His heart was pounding as he climbed out into the clutter of the shed, closing the trap door.
It was nearly sundown. Only a few hours until they were to leave.
[End of God's Colonel Chapter 30]
You can find all of the chapters after posting on the God’s Colonel page.
COMING UP: Please join us again on WEDNESDAY for Book Reviews by David Telbat on two favorite books he’s read, Peace Child and How to Pray. And next MONDAY you won’t want to miss God’s Colonel Chapter 31 when we witness fire and hailstorms plaguing the world!