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Old 12-17-2012, 08:18 AM
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Default Boring Brian's Revelation-Part Two by Phoenix Lazarus

‘Okay,’ said Brian. ‘So, you weren’t just a dream.’ He waited for the man to respond.

‘I warned you last month didn’t I-warned you of something that was imminent-something very very important….’ the man’s voice tailed off.

Yes?’ said Brian.

‘The time is now here,’ said the man.

‘Is it?’ said Brian.

‘Yes,’ said the man. ‘The time has come-and it has come today!’

‘Ah!’ said Brian. He did not really know what else to say.

‘I am in contact now to give you your instructions for today,’ continued the man. ‘And the very first of those instructions is that you are to get rid of that number which you were intending to ring.’

‘But how did you know….!?’ Brian began to protest.

‘Never mind that,’ said the voice. ‘You are to get rid of that phone number, and you are to do so now, you hear!? You are to tear up the number, and flush it down your lavatory.’

‘Y-yes,’ said Brian.

‘Take the phone with you, so I can listen while you do so,’ said the voice.

‘Okay,’ said Brian. Standing up, and taking his phone with him, he went to the table nearby, upon which the number was inscribed on the notepad. Tearing off the sheet of paper, without looking at it, he tore it into several pieces, and screwed them all into a little ball, close to the receiver, so the noise would be audible. Heading upstairs, with his phone, he dropped the paper bits into the lavatory bowl, then pulled the chain.

‘Okay, done that,’ said Brian.

‘Good man!’ said the voice, approvingly. ‘Now back downstairs.’ Brian obeyed.

‘Right then,’ the voice continued, as Brian arrived in his front room, still listening to the phone. ‘After our previous conversation, last month, you should have secured possession of certain items, should you not?’

‘Yes,’ said Brian, doubtfully. He looked at the tall rectangular box on the table, and the high square box next to it, both securely wrapped with brown paper and string, and labelled with addresses. ‘I have them all wrapped up-at least the two that were posted to me,’ he qualified, his eyes now straying to the two large canvas bags, with straps and drawstring mouths, that stood in the corner. ‘I’d decided to post them back to….’

‘You’re not sending them back!’ said the voice firmly. ‘Not now! You say you’ve got them all wrapped up for delivery-well, you’ll just have to unwrap them, now, won’t you!?’

‘Okay,’ said Brian.

‘I want you to get up and do that, right now,’ said the voice. Brian stood up, and went to the chest of draws nearby. Opening one of the draws, he found a Stanley knife, which he took out and brought over to the two wrapped parcels. Using the knife, he cut off the string and wrapping paper, leaving just the bare cardboard of the two boxes underneath. This done, Brian went back to the phone.

‘Done it!’ said Brian.

‘Okay,’ said the voice. ‘Well, I want you to load them-and the other stuff we brought, after our conversation-into your car, right now.’

Brian stood up and lifted the square box, which was quite heavy, onto the flat rectangular box, before lifting both, with both hands, and carrying them to the hall by his side entrance. Opening the door, he carried them out to his parked car, and put them down on the pavement. Unlocking and opening the back door of his car, he then loaded the two boxes onto the rear seat.

Returning into his main room, he went over to the two large canvas bags in the corner. Lifting them, he hooked the straps over his shoulder. As he did so, a rattling sound came from one, and the sound of liquid sloshing in a container emerged from another. From inside the bag, Brian felt hard edges against his side and hip. He headed out to the car.

Outside, Brian loaded the two bags into the pit of the rear seat below the two boxes on the seat above, and beside the painting which sat in the pit of the seat, too. As Brian did so, he drew the mouth of each tight, with the drawstring, which he then secured with a knot. Closing and locking the car door, he returned into the house.

‘Okay, that’s all done,’ said Brian.

‘Good,’ said the voice. ‘Right, just a question-after we spoke, last month, did you write the letters I asked you to? There was seven of them, remember?’

‘Yes,’ said Brian, confidently. ‘I did send those-yes.’

‘Okay, that’s great!’ said the voice. ‘So, that’s the first part of the mission done. I’m just going to leave you for a little while, to relax and generally prepare yourself. However, I am going to be back with further instructions very, very soon, so do be prepared, please.’ In the meantime, I suggest you have a sitdown, on your sofa, and contemplate those pictures which you so recently hung upon your wall. Keep the phone on and close at hand, and I’ll speak to you soon.’ With that, the line went dead.

Brian got up from the table, picking up the phone with him, and went over to sit down on his settee, as asked. As the man on the phone had told him to, he stared at the two paintings hung on the opposite wall.

The picture to the left, hung just above the electric fire, showed a man in a long white gown, with a golden girdle, standing, surrounded by a ring of seven lit candles contained in brilliant golden holders. The man had long hair and a beard, both which were a gleaming shimmering gold, while the man’s delicate looking face itself was ethereally pale. The right hand of the figure in front of him was shown outstretched, with the palm open, and facing upwards, with a series of pinpoints of white light, with rainbow edging-seven in all, hovering just above his palm. Hovering in mid air, just in front of the man’s face, and pointing from it, was a sword, whose handle, bejewelled with a rainbow of different coloured gems, faced just towards and in front of the man’s mouth, as though it had emerged thereof. This whole image was shown against a cloudy looking background of pale blue, faint grey and white. The painting took up the left half of the space just above the mantelpiece.

The right half of the space above the mantelpiece was taken up by a second picture, of equal size. It showed a majestic golden throne, with a grandiose looking figure in white robes, with long white hair and beard sitting. Around the figure, and reaching behind him, was a semicircle of smaller similar thrones, with similarly garbed but dark-haired figures-with a couple of blonds and one redhead-garbed in similar robes. In front of the man on the throne sat a lamb, with its throat cut, but yet seemingly still alive. In front of this, in turn, sat seven gold lamps, with flames ablaze, sat just before the dominant figure. Above the main throne hovered a lion, a calf, an eagle, and an unidentifiable but humanoid creature with a man’s face, all of them of similar size, and each with three pairs of wings. The scene was pictured against the same cloudy pale blue, faint grey and white background as the other. Overarching the whole scenario was a giant rainbow.

As Brian look at the two pictures, he thought of the man who had given him them, and thought how unlikely his friendship with John Marshall was. Brian, he himself knew, was one of the dullest people who had ever lived. John, on the other hand, must be one of the most colourful characters ever. The former art college student and one-time actor, who now worked as a children’s entertainer and amateur artist had just one thing in common with Brian: a devotion to Christianity, and regular attendance at the church and Bible study class to which Brian went. That is how the two of them had got to know one another.

On learning of Brian’s family’s shop, John had become a customer there, and several times now, his paintings had been accepted, in lieu of payment, for books. The painting which sat in the pit of the rear seat of Brian’s car, was another of John’s paintings, which Brian had chosen himself, on a visit to John’s house, to exchange for a particular book. John Marshall was due to visit this very afternoon, for he had another book ready to collect from the shop. As jolly and light-hearted as his public persona was, John’s paintings were always on sombre religious themes.

Brian jumped a little, as the phone beside him suddenly rang again. He answered.

‘Just me again,’ said the voice. ‘Told you I’d be back soon. Right then, have you had a good look at those pictures?’

‘Yes,’ said Brian.

‘Okay then,’ said the man. ‘What I would like you to do now, then, is to take this phone and yourself, into the room at the front of the shop, and have a little sit down at the seat behind the counter. Tell me when you’re there.’ Brian got up and passed quickly into the main room of the shop, where he sat down.

‘Okay, done that,’ said Brian.

‘Right then,’ said the man. ‘I believe you have, on the counter there, a number of books that were delivered this morning.’ Brian looked at the row of books that the postman had brought that morning.

‘That’s right,’ said Brian.

‘You’ve not opened any of them yet, have you?’ said the man.

‘No,’ said Brian.

‘Okay, I’d like you to start doing that now, please,’ said the voice. ‘I shall stay on the phone, as you do so.’ Brian set down the phone and began to unwrap the first of the books. Seven books to unseal. It brought to mind the seven book seals to be unsealed, in Revelations Five to Eight, he thought, with a wry smile.

As he finished unwrapping the first book, Brian suddenly heard a low rumble in the air. He looked up and out of the large window towards the street beyond. Rain could be seen spotting against the window. It looked as if a storm was brewing. Yet it had all seemed so fine earlier. As Brian finished unwrapping the book, he heard the clip-clopping of hooves, and a white horse came trotting down the street, with a grand-looking man on top.

Brian began to open the second of the wrapped books. As he did so, there were more sounds of hooves, and a second horse followed in the white one’s wake, this horse a gleaming hue of chestnut, and, like the first, ridden by a grand-looking man. As he opened the third book, a black horse with horseman came after the reddish-brown steed. Brian had just begun to unwrap the fourth book, when a pale grey horse followed all the others, with yet another man on top.

‘How many of those books have you opened now?’ Brian heard the voice on the phone ask, from where it lay. Brian picked up the device.

‘Four,’ he said.

‘Okay, then,’ said the voice. ‘Well, as you open the fifth, would you mind having a look at that painting I know is hung just behind where you’re sitting.’ Picking up the fifth book, Brian turned on his seat, and stared at the picture which hung on the wall behind him. The painting showed a white-haired, white-bearded figure with white robes, on a gold throne, sitting before a large, ornately carved, stone altar, beneath which was visible a sea of ghostly faces, crying out in anguish. From amongst the faces could be seen the occasional hand, reaching out, as if for supplication. It was another of the paintings John Marshall had given him, for a book.

‘Opened it, yet?’ said the voice.

‘Yes,’ said Brian, as he finished unwrapping the book.

‘Okay,’ said the voice. ‘Turn away from the picture then-and open the sixth book.’ Brian turned away to face the front window, and picking up the sixth book, began to open it. As he did so, the sound of thunder, much louder than a moment before, made him look up.

‘Lord!’ exclaimed Brian. ‘Can’t believe how dark it’s gone!’

‘Brian,’ said the voice. ‘Once you’ve finished opening the sixth book, take the seventh one, the one you’ve still not opened, and go back into the living room. Once there, please do not sit back down on the settee, but sit in the armchair to the left of the settee, do you understand?’ Brian confirmed it and, taking the phone, he went and sat in the front room, in the place directed by the voice, taking the phone and book with him.

‘Okay, I’m there,’ said Brian.

‘Good,’ said the voice. ‘Well, don’t start to open the last book yet, please. Instead, just sit there, and have a look at the three paintings which are hung on the wall, above the settee, which will be visible from where you are sitting.’

Brian did as he was bidden. On the wall he now looked at, just above the sofa, two slimmer paintings, which together took up most wall space, were hung above one shorter but broader painting whose width was enough to take up most of the wall alone.

The leftmost of the paintings in the top corner portrayed the globe of the earth, with the continents visible as familiar from any atlas. At each of four corners each side of the earth, could be seen positioned winged angels, facing from the globe, and, with arms outstretched, facing tubular shaped billowing clouds that were emanating from each of the four corners of the painting, in the direction of the earth. By so doing, each of the four angels was preventing the billowing cloud-like tubes from reaching the world, at his corner.

Brian’s eye shifted from that, to the picture below it. The second picture showed a range of mountain peaks: six lower ones in the foreground; six higher ones rising above, in the rearground. Each of the peaks could be seen to have a multitude of small figures crowded around it and reaching up to the top; each of the peaks had a name and number shown beneath it, as if carved in letters of stone, that somehow floated in space, at the base of the peak. The names were Juda, Reuben, Gad, Aser, Nepthalim, Manasses, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zabulon, Joseph, Benjamin. The number beside each was twelve thousand. At the top of the picture, in the cloud-filled sky, the clouds could be seen to have formed themselves into letters, spelling: ISRAEL: 144’000.

Brian’s eye shifted in turn from this, to the picture above and to the right. This last picture showed again the tableau with the man on the throne, with the lamb with the wounded throat before him, both ringed by a semicircle of men on smaller thrones, with four beasts just above. In this painting, though, this part of the picture was in the distance, to leave room for a big crowd of people in robes, standing before the throne, facing it, with their hands stretched out. Both this and the previous paints, like the two opposite and one in the front room, were ones that Brian had accepted from John Marshall, instead of monetary payment.

‘Okay, have you had a bit of a look, then?’ said the voice.

‘I have,’ confirmed Brian.

‘Okay then,’ said the voice. ‘Now open the last of the books, which arrived this morning, will you?’ Brian did so, and, as he did so, recognised the small burgundy-covered book that sat in his lap.

“An Exposition of Prophecy” read Brian, from the gilt lettering on the spine. This was the book John Marshall had on order. He was due to arrive and collect it at any moment.

‘Okay, done that?’ said Brian. ‘What now?’

‘Wait for my next directions,’ said the voice. ‘I’ll be back in touch soon. I’d say about half an hour, in fact. Speak to you soon.’ Once more, Brian heard the man end the phone call.

Brian sat, thoughtfully, in silence, after the man rung off, and recalled how the mysterious man had rung him, at the time of his mother’s funeral, and told him to buy certain things and prepare for certain coming events. He had heard no more from the man and had convinced himself he would not be doing. It appeared he had been wrong.

He sat, now, and looked through the window nearby. The sky was getting lighter already. The storm which seemed to have been looming, just a moment before, had now, it seemed passed on, for somewhere nearby to take the brunt of.

Presently, after almost half an hour had gone by, Brian, getting bored with waiting, got up and went into the shop front. Through the big glass window, he saw now the sun shone brightly. The windows were not even spotted with rain. The threatened storm had indeed passed the town by. As he looked out into the street, the phone suddenly rang again.

‘Hello again,’ said the familiar voice. ‘Here I am, true to word. Half an hour, on the dot. I made a point of timing it-and the timing is most important, in this little lark. Anyway, I want you to get yourself out to your car, right now, taking this phone with you-because, this, my friend, is where it all starts getting really exciting!’

Pausing only to get his raincoat, for fear of the storm recurring, Brian exited his rear door, and got into his car, outside.

‘Okay, I’m here,’ said Brian.

‘Right,’ said the man. ‘I want you to drive to Maple Street, to the end of the terrace of houses there, at the point where the road runs just over the brook nearby, as it passes through the recreation ground. Once there, you park on the side of the road by the metal fence overlooking the brook. You follow me?

‘Sure,’ said Brian. Putting the phone down on the dashboard, he started the car and set off. Soon, he had reached the location the man on the phone had stipulated. Having done so, he parked, just beyond the final house on the terrace. Through the posts of the metal fence, he could see the brook running by, below. He recognised the final house on the terrace, nearby, as one where he had heard loud noises of rather discordant trumpet notes sounding, when he had passed by. Presumably some child was been educated in how to produce a passably music sound there.

‘Right, I’m there,’ said Brian.

‘Okay then,’ said the man. ‘Now, I believe that you have another of your friend John Marshall’s paintings still sitting in the rear seat of the car. Can you fish that out and study it a moment, please?’ Brian reached into the rear seat and fished out the painting, which he stood on his lap and examined. It showed a stone alter, with an angel holding a gold censer, from which the vapour of fumes were portrayed as rising in tendrils. A little behind this figure and the altar, were seven other angels, holding large golden trumpets.

‘Okay. Have you had a look?’ said the man. Brian confirmed he had.

‘Right, listen carefully, then,’ said the voice. Brian listened intently, as the figure began to relay a set of instructions to him. As he did so, he was unaware of an old woman, from a house on the opposite side of the road, peering through her front window, to stare curiously at his parked car, and at Brian, as he sat listening, and giving the occasional nod or ‘Yes,’ of affirmation. Presently, a large van with printed lettering drew up not far from where Brian now sat. As Brian watched, two men, dressed in overalls and wearing safety helmets, got out of the van. The men each fished out of the rear of the van a road blocking sign, in red and white, mounted on a metal pedestal. While one placed his sign at the point in the road just passed Brian and the metal fence overlooking the brook, the other man placed his sign still further down the road. This done, one of the men approached a manhole in the road, and set about removing a cover, while the other one returned to the van, and came back holding two large toolboxes, one of which he gave to his fellow, before leading the way down the manhole, followed by his companion.

‘They’re here, now,’ said Brian. ‘The men I told you about, doing maintenance on the phone lines, or gas pipes, or electricity lines-I forget which it was the lady from the council said they’d be doing, when I saw her at church. Anyway, they’re here, and they’ve taken off the manhole cover and they’re going down there.’

‘Okay, that’s fine,’ said the man. ‘Now, you just get out and do what we arranged, when we spoke last month-do you reminding of any of that?’

‘No, I remember!’ said Brian, confidently. He exited the car, putting the phone in the inside pocket of his raincoat. Opening the rear door of the car, he climbed on the backseat and opened the two cardboard boxes. As he did so, the woman watching from her window stared curiously at the movements of the young man in the back of the car. What could he be doing? Finally, as he watched, she saw Brian emerge, with the two canvas bags he had placed in the rear of his car hanging from his shoulders. Brian removed his phone from his inside pocket.

‘Okay,’ he said. ‘I’m out of the car, with the bags, with everything inside, ready.’

‘Good, good!’ said the voice. ‘Now, you just go off and do what we’ve arranged!’

Brian walked, now, past the metal fence that overlooked the brook and, coming to the gateway beside it, leading into the recreation ground, he made his way there in. Along the grass, parallel with the brook, a row of evenly-spaced saplings had been planted. Brian walked, slowly and casually, from one end of the row of trees to the other, before returning once more. Brian made his way back to where his car was parked, with the old woman in the front window still staring, curiously. As he did so, he noticed that one of the lower windows of the house at the end of the terrace, near him and on his side of the road, had been opened.

‘Okay, I’ve done the first bit,’ said Brian, to the man on the phone.

‘Okay,’ answered the man. ‘Well, get ready for the next bit then.’ Brian put down the two bags on his shoulders and began to rummage inside them, removing some of the things. As he did so, the old lady across the road continued to stare curiously. Finally, Brian straightened up again, with the bag hooked back over his shoulder.

‘All ready,’ said Brian.

‘Right,’ said the voice. ‘Now wait for the signal.’ Brian stood, and waited. Some minutes passed.

‘I’m waiting,’ said Brian, at last, to the man on the phone.

‘Okay,’ said the man. ‘Well, you’ll get it soon. Just you listen.’ Brian did so.

‘Excuse me please!’ said the fat middle-aged woman, suddenly approaching.

‘Sorry!’ said Brian, moving to one side, beside the fence, where he had positioned the items he had taken from the bags.

Suddenly, a series of discordant trumpet notes reached Brian’s ears.

‘I can hear it! The trumpet!’ said Brian, into the phone speaker.

‘Excellent!’ answered the voice, with a sudden note of excitement. ‘Now do your bit!’ Brian suddenly looked out, over the metal fence, and lifted his arm.

‘Fall ye, hail!’ cried Brian, at the top of his voice-and, as he did so, a sudden shower of hailstones seemed to begin to descend.

‘Fall ye, fire!’ cried Brian, and, with this, Brian threw one hand upwards, in command, and he seemed now to see fire itself falling, from above, to set alight the row of saplings nearby.

‘Fall ye, blood!’ cried Brian, and it seemed now that Brian’s face were becoming spotted with droplets of blood falling as rain, before dissolving as dark clouds, in the waters of the brook below.

Suddenly, more trumpet notes sounded.

‘The second signal!’ cried Brian. ‘Mountain afire, descend to the seas!’ And, as Brian watched, he saw a huge burning figure plummet to the brook below. The waters become clouded with blood. The trumpet sounded again.

‘Descend ye, the falling star of Wormwood, which galls the waters with its bitterness!’ cried Brian, lifting his arm. As he watched, he saw the glowing incandescent shape of the falling star falling, to land within the waters below. Yet again, the trumpet sounded.

‘The third part of the sun is smitten!’ cried Brian, and, looking up, he glimpsed a dark crescent occluding a third part of the sun’s body, before the glare made him look away once more. He reached quickly into the bag over his shoulder. The trumpet sounded once more.

‘The star falls; it lays open the Bottomless Pit!’ cried Brian, throwing his arm out. As he watched, he saw a small but brightly glowing star descend into the open manhole cover. There was a noise like thunder, and black smoke began to gush from the manhole. Brian retrieved his phone again.

‘All done!’ said Brian, into the phone.

‘Good-now return home once more!’ said the voice urgently. Running quickly to his car, Brian opened the rear door and threw the bag he was carrying inside, before jumping into the front seat. Reversing, and turning, because of the road signs that still blocked the road nearby, Brian headed away down the road in the opposite direction.

Brian switched on his car radio and hummed along casually to the songs on the local radio station, as he drove. He felt unhurried and calm, with just a faint hint of excitement at what had taken place. His attention was now taken by the speech of the DJ on the radio.

‘…Sarah Davis has written in, saying “Please, could you play a request for my fiancé, Pete, on his birthday?” It so happens Pete’s birthday is today, and his fiancé says he needs the request to cheer him up, because he’s in Denby, and she can’t think of anything more depressing than Saturday afternoon in a town where nothing interesting ever happens.’

‘You can say that again!’ muttered Brian, as he drew near to his own road once more.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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