A Plague or not?
Just what were the Emerods?
The KJV Bible offers several explanations and yet, they seem lacking in some crucial way.
This story, told with a slight supernatural bent, revisits and old plague or is it the other way around?
Messages from the Deep
Something wrenched Paul bodily from the boat. He was flung into the air, but then, then he just floated there, just above the boat as the small craft dissolved in the suffocating white mist and the sea dropped away.
He was going to live. Somehow, he'd been saved and yet, he sensed that it was not over. Far below, in the abyss of the nightmare, he could still hear the hissing of the serpent. To late, he thought -- I made it! You missed again old boy! Try again next time! Maybe tomorrow!
Paul cracked his eyelids. He blinked at the clock's painful red glare. The bloody light spilled into the bedroom. There he was, shivering and sweating, the covers kicked away. It was 3:00 A.M. The dead of night and he felt terrible.
Being devoured by a giant serpent each night. Is that where this was heading? Paul wondered. But the nightmare always changed, always had some new twist, some new surprise -- like it was toying with him. Like a cat plays with a rat -- plays with its food -- before the meal.
And this time he was on a damned boat. Drifting in a dark sea. A wine-dark sea? No doubt. Jesus, it was using his own memories against him. Well, of course, the nightmare was him, he mused. It had access to all the books he'd ever read. All the movies and all the dismembered people he'd ever seen.
Too dangerous. The boat began to rock -- in the nightmare. Of course. What did I expect? It's under there. Slithering by. And I am defenseless.
Sure. As always.
Something bumped the boat.
Right on time.
An ophidian shadow moved in the sea. Aroused by a visitor.
Next, the white fog. Suffocating. Sulfurous.
Nice touch, he said to himself. But the fear remained.
A shriek then. Not a hiss.
No. The sound was changing. Echoing?
It was chime or a bell. Maybe a gong.
The sounds grew stronger. More insistent.
The Paul realized it was his cell phone, there in the bottom of the boat.
The boat that had just evaporated.
He fumbled on the nightstand. Blinking. Buzzing. Trying to escape. He realized that he'd fallen asleep again and went right back into the nightmare.
He grabbed the cell phone and for a second, it was the fang of a giant serpent. He pressed the red eye -- button by mistake. The cell phone disconnected the caller.
He hit redial. Waited. Wake up, he thought.
The snake was getting closer. The early dreams were always safer. He’d been in a high tower, overlooking the huge lake, which had somehow managed to appear in the neighbor's back yard. An eerie and calm shallow lake, more like a swamp, but with no trees. Something even Frodo would avoid.
From this tower he watched the brown serpent. Ugly dark green spots and an oddly shaped head, almost friendly looking face, with catfish-like whiskers. An expression of what now? Rage? Hunger? Curiosity?
Rows of fangs from the serpent's grinning slit of a mouth and beady eyes that were much too intelligent. It wanted him. Had to have him. He could feel that. He tried to hold onto that feeling. Examine it.
The phone rang in his hand. Now his outgoing call wanted to be placed on hold. Two options appeared. Combine calls? Crap, he thought, why was it so difficult to answer a modern phone?
Usually, the serpent in his dreams slowly made its way to the shore, came out of the water and actually stood on some kind of fleshy structure at the end of its tail. It had to be at least 50 feet tall, Paul figured.
When the serpent's head was level with his tower, it peered in and tried to push its way through his windows. But the windows held. It hissed, turned, tried a second and third window. Then it saw a way in.
Around the back. An open window. Paul ran or tried to, but as dreams always do, he was running in slow motion, legs not wanting to obey, fear choking him, trying to shut that one open window.
The nightmare faded. A permanent cliffhanger.
Saved by the Chief
Thank God for the phone this time, Paul thought. He could still hear the hissing of the snake as he rubbed his eyes.
Between these horrid dreams, the midnight dog walks and the phone, Paul's life was one of constant interruptions. But the dog walks were more for him, than the dog. He was trying to avoid sleep and avoid the damned snake.
What a life, he thought. Scared of my own nightmares.
The phone continued to ring. “Hello?” The phone connected. Voice commands. he should have remembered.
“Paul?” It was the Chief.
“Yeah Chief, whatcha got?”
“A death at Dagon Mental Health Hospital. Accidental I gather, but you need to check it out. Body is at the morgue already. Go there first. I’ll get Larry to go to the hospital. See what’s up there and have him send you any reports from there.”
“Okay. On my way.”
“Oh and Paul?”
“Take a good look at this one. I got a weird call.”
“Okay.” Paul deadpanned, but his interest was roused.
“Anonymous caller. Said that the victim was a terrorist and he was feeding the rats. I’m thinking it was another patient there at the hospital, but you never know. Just keep it in the back of your mind.” He paused. “You got your hit kit?”
“Okay. Call me when you know something.”
“10-4.” He hung up.
Why did he do this? Maybe it was time to hang up his gun and badge, Paul thought. He glanced at his holster on the nightstand, next to his bottle of antacids.
The the dim red glow of the digital clock read 3:01 A.M. Another day of this crap.
The only nice thing was that he got a new puzzle. Something new to think about. No repetition. But the hours sucked.
He rolled up in bed, turned the lamp on and Sherry moaned. “Sorry, babe, I gotta go.” The dog’s head snapped up. “No walk,” Paul told him. He put his head back on his pillow-bed, eyes switching from him and back to Sherry.
“Be careful Paul,” Sherry said. Then she was asleep again, snoring.
Paul planted his feet on the hardwood floor, rocked a bit on his bad hip, too many times rolling around the bushes with the bad guys, then stood. His feet felt like someone just shoved glass shards from his toes to his ankles. A good waker-upper, he thought, as he padded to the bathroom. Age sucked.
Once dressed, Paul kissed Sherry goodbye, said bye to the dog, had a small glass of orange juice and jumped into his pickup truck. It rumbled to life.
He let the truck warm, while he fumbled for his hit-kit, finding it stuffed under the back seat, dusty. Evidence bags and flashlight spilling out. Crap, he thought, I haven't checked that in awhile.
He pulled out into the inky damp night. Headlights stark against the gloom. Awakening things best left alone.
It was an hour to the morgue -- the Medical Examiner’s Office. He’d take the country road, the hilly one, past the shadowy sand pines and the houses with the one light on. He’d always liked those.
Silent tucked-away homes in the trees, flashed by. One orange bulb flaring. Dead cars rotting in high weeds, waiting for mechanics who would never come; huddling next to broken fences. There was something about this, Paul thought. Something almost poetic or maybe he needed some more sleep.
Slumbering lakes reflecting a silver moon punctuated his progress. Occasionally, Paul would see another idiot just like him, a night-walker with his dog, half asleep, watching the stars. A bit of backwoods Americana, he mused.
The First Incident
Maybe he’d pull off for coffee somewhere. That dive in Ekron maybe. It was dirty, ancient, but homey and the coffee was always piping hot.
Then he nearly fell asleep at the wheel with the moaning of the wind. He yanked the truck back onto the road. “What the hell?” he yelled. But he was already back on the road.
That wasn’t the problem, however. He couldn’t really tell where the road was.
Small shapes were scurrying over the road. Tiny golden shapes. Moving, no, flowing from one side of the road to the other in his headlights. The things were bright, flashing by, scrambling in a mad rush to go somewhere. So small and furry.
He slowed the truck as much as he dared. Tires crunching over the living carpet. His side-view mirrors, replaying the horror. Red tail lights magnifying tormented creatures as they died and splattered, screeched and jumped out of the way or in the way.
It was like a boat travelling through a violent river, bodies of thousands of golden looking rodent things slamming into the truck, rocking it back and forth. Like the boat in his dream.
Paul fought for control.
"Where's the damned road?" The thought flickered through his mind. It had to be straight ahead.
On both sides were the trees. Just keep going between these trees and I should be good, but he worried that his tires were beginning to slip, move into the swamps that hugged both sides of the road. But he couldn't even see the swamps, just the trees, since the flow of vermin things was so dense.
Then it was over. Just as suddenly as it had started. The crunching noises gave way to the hum of his tires on the road. The jumping rodent like creatures, disappearing. Fewer and fewer. Until the last one bounced off the windshield, screeched in surprise and gave Paul a start. The truck had stopped its violent rocking.
In the rear-view mirror he could just make out an eerie golden phosphorescence as the hoards of vermin pushed into the woods, a snake-like river of gold, flowing around the trees and into the swamps.
He was shaking. Wide awake now. A golden snake, he thought. A serpent of vermin.
What the hell was he thinking? A carpet of rodents? Thousands of them, maybe a lot more than that. Nobody would ever believe this. That he’d just plowed through a mass of what? Golden glowing rats?
They weren't golden, maybe just wet. Maybe had oil on them or something, but in the back of his mind, he knew. Knew what he'd seen and it didn't make any sense.
It was like something from some nature show. A freak movement of life. A horror movie.
Paul's foot was shaking.
The Medical Examiner's Office
Paul kept going. The carpet he’d just mashed under his tires making him queasy. How messy might his truck be now?
And just where were they going? What direction? Why at 3:15 in the morning? Where were they coming from? Why were there so many. Some sort of biblical exodus?
Paul didn’t stop in Ekron for coffee. He was already wide awake. High on his own adrenaline.
Maybe he should call someone. No, he thought. I'll not be labeled a wing-nut. A wacko. A Jesus Freak talking about plagues. A plague of rats? No way. But, maybe I should. He mulled it over.
Thirty minutes later, Paul was at the Medical Examiner’s Office. Standing in a cold room that had a faint odor of flowers and an overpowering scent of death. He didn't even look at his truck. Just came on in. Maybe he'd dreamed to entire thing.
He was staring at dead bodies on concrete slabs. At one in particular and trying not to think of the vermin carpet. Let it pass, he kept coaching himself. Do what the Chief wanted.
Two tired guys, just like him, called in early, were having an urgent conversation over the body. It was the Medical Examiner -- the ME -- and his assistant.
The assistant, covered in a face shield and blue paper-like pajamas, just like the ME, shot Paul an accusing look. Blaming him, Paul thought. Fresh spots of watery blood stained his pajamas. Jeez, first thing in the morning, Paul thought. Not right.
The assistant guy looked like one of his corpses, behind his face shield. Pale and rattled. Bad night? Paul wondered.
Not like him, Paul thought. When was the last time you ran over golden rats? The memory of it kept rewinding, playing, re-crunching. He felt sick again.
The Man from Gath
As bodies went, this one really stank, Paul thought. There he was, his victim, naked, opened from the throat to the groin, laying on his back. Bright lights and mini-saws. They’d not waited for him. Typical. Autopsy was almost finished. Thanks, he thought.
“Morning gentlemen. I see you had as much sleep as me,” Paul said to the ME and his only assistant.
“Less,” the assistant said. “We waited for 30 minutes. Tried you on the phone.”
“Sorry, I took a back highway. No signal,” Paul apologized. Then he scanned the body. “Is the victim a foreigner?”
“Palestinian from Gath. He’s a recent immigrant apparently. Not even a green card the hospital advised.”
The ME had paused, holding something. A spleen? Paul wasn't certain.
The ME continued pulling out organs, popping them into what appeared to be metal dog food bowls. They made a sloshing sound with each plop.
The bowls hung from small chains, attached big clock-looking scales. They were hanging there like the ones you see in supermarkets next to the vegetables, but with more numbers. Finer measurements, Paul assumed.
The ME glanced at the clock -- the scales -- made a note on a bloody pad, reached in, removed the organ, a liver, a lung, whatever he was working on, and set it aside. Then he’d repeat the process. Snipping out more organs, slicing them into paper-thin slabs, talking into the recorder, as his assistant used a large syringe device to withdrawal fluids from the victim.
“Anything yet,” Paul asked. The ME had ignored him.
The ME shook his head. Now he was on the stomach. Held it up, sliced it open, pulled out the contents, gave Paul a look, shook his head. “What’s he been eating?”
“Uhm,” Investigator Paul said, “everything.” He paused looked at the records he was holding, a collection of photocopies Larry had just faxed over, fumbled, felt guilty about something he had no control over. “Mattresses, foam cups, plastic trays, you name it, Doctor.”
The ME reached into the stomach. It always disgusted Paul. “Yep, he has all kinds in stuff in here. Bottle caps, stuffing..?” The ME’s was still digging in the stomach sack. Trying to grab something. But whatever it was, it kept slipping from his forcep-looking tool. He dropped the tool and just reached in.
“That’s matress stuffing,” Paul offered. “He tore his mattress open.”
“He was eating his own mattress?” The ME still had his hand in the stomach. “Stand back, investigator, wouldn’t want to splash you.” Paul took a step back. Then another.
He answered the ME. “Until they took it away. He was always ravenous, they said. Always hungry. Starving.” Paul was squinting at the counter of organs.
The ME was shaking his head again. “Okay, run it by me again.” He grabbed his scalpel. Tried another tack. He began to open the stomach. To get at whatever he was trying to dig out of there. Paul winced.
Wrong way to Drink Coffeee
“Okay.” Paul glanced at the contents of the stomach, now empty, sitting on the tile counter, oozing.
Next to the stomach, a steaming cup of coffee. The gory deflated balloon next to the cup was disconcerting somehow, but ME’s were just plain weird, Paul thought. Chunks of plastic and wet gray stuffing, hair-golf-balls, in big globs, all pulled out and surrounding the cup of java.
Oh no you don’t, Paul thought, but he did.
The ME took a sip of coffee.
Dammit man, not this early, Paul shook his head. And the fumes.
He moved farther away. How could these guys get use to this stuff? He wondered.
The ME then set the cup back down in the muck of organs and raised a questioning eyebrow.
Paul recovered “...he was sitting at a table and grabbed the tray of food from another patient and just starting shoving it into his mouth as fast as he could. The orderlies grabbed him and took the tray away, but he started to choke. Handfuls of macaroni and cheese.”
Then he thought better of it. “And the guy liked talking to himself.” Paul scanned more. Now he was shaking his head.
The ME nodded. Waiting for more. Paul continued. “They tried to help him, but he fought them, until he passed out -- choking. Medical responded to the dining room, but were unable to revive him.”
“Investigator,” the ME prompted, “is there anything else?”
“He apparently had a fixation on rats or mice.”
The ME cocked his head.
“Rats and mice?”
“He talked to them, said he had to feed them or they would kill the world.”
“Pardon?” the ME asked.
“That’s what the record says Doctor,” Paul replied. “He was saving the world by feeding his golden rats.” The description bothered Paul.
“Dagon Mental Hospital has a rodent problem?” It was the assistant.
“Not that I know of. Pretty clean at Dagon,” Paul said. “Or it was.”
The ME sat down, leaned over the spilled contents he’d removed from the deceased guy’s stomach. “We have problem,” he said. He was jabbing at the hairballs next to the empty stomach.
Paul moved closer, trying to see what the ME was moving around the counter, next to the deflated stomach. He was using what appeared to be a pair of forceps again, to pick up one of the hairballs. “This looks like some kind of parasite, maybe.” He held it under the light. The assistant was ready with the dog food bowl again.
“Tom, let’s check the the intestines.”
And so they did. The inspection took some time. Intestines are long, Paul thought.
“Okay,” the ME said as he took small sections from the small intestines then the large intestines. Golf-ball sized objects were removed and placed in the metal tin -- the dog bowl -- for weighing. He worked his way to the end. The colon.Then they flipped the victim over.
“Okay, we have what appear to be tumors or very large hemorrhoids, Doc,” Tom said. “And more of those furry balls, protruding.” The ME looked pale now.
“Man, these things are glowing.”
Then one of the furry balls moved. The ME was so shocked, he dropped his scalpel. The furry ball then skittered off of the table and onto the floor, let out a squeal, then rolled under the nearest table.
Both the ME and his assistant, Tom, a middle-aged guy, who looked like he’d seen it all, gaped at each other.
"That's never happened before," the ME deadpanned, empty hand still holding an imaginary scalpel.
“What the hell was that?“ Paul asked. “And where did it go.”
But the ME was still in shock. Only the assistant reacted. He grabbed a mallet. A mallet? Paul thought. They need mallets around here?
Tom crouched down, ready to beat the thing.
“Tom,” it was the ME. “Wait, wait!” He scrambled over the to far wall. Pressed a big red button. Alarms sounded.
“What's going on?” Paul asked, raising his voice over the alarms. He was standing well away from the table, where the hairy thing had disappeared.
Tom was still scanning the floor, crawling. Red lights from the alarm were spinning. Sirens yelped.
“Are you serious?” Tom asked. He was holding his mallet up high. Getting ready. “If that thing comes out, I’m gonna pound it, Doc!” he yelled over the cacophony of the alarms. He gave a quick eyeball to the ME, who was opening a plastic bag.
“You wanna catch it?” Tom yelled the question.
“Yes. If we can. Alive. I can’t believe it is still alive.” the ME responded, but Paul could barely make out the words.
“No way Doc. If that thing comes out I’m gonna smack the hell out it! And maybe you should call the boss over here and the cops and the firemen -- this could be bad Doc!”
“Okay, doctor,” Paul asked, “what is going on? Seriously. Why did that thing crawl out of his...his...”
"Anus," the ME finished.
"Yes. Why? What the hell is it?"
The ME, a fragile geezer, whose best days were in the deep past, seemed to have a bright spark in his eyes. Paul had seen it before. The ME’s wheels were turning. If he could catch this thing he would be some kind of hero or maybe make the discovery of a lifetime. Paul figured he was seeing dollar signs and young girls on faraway beaches.
He ignored Paul. “Tom, do you see it? Can we nab it?”
Tom looked up, then back. The thing was in the corner of the room. It kept rolling back and forth, making muffled squeaking sounds. Like it was trying to decide the best way to go. To escape.
“Are you serious Doc?! What is it? I just want to kill it. Shouldn’t we do that?”
The ME reached over and silence the alarms. After the warbling sirens, the room was unusually silent. Paul swallowed.
“Christ!” Tom said, then realized he was still yelling. “Christ, what the hell is it, Doc? It’s moving again.”
“This, this discovery -- well it could make us very wealthy men -- all of us here,” the ME said. “But we need to catch it, secure it and if at all possible keep it alive.”
The Road Rats
Paul was thinking about the carpet of rodents now. How he’d run them over with his truck. How similar this thing seemed to be to those back on the road.“Wait a minute,” he said.
“Tom, keep an eye on that thing. I need to check something.” Paul pulled out a his personal cell phone and tapped the news icon and there it was. Top story. Unknown Rodents Flood into Mental Health Hospital, Hundreds Feared Dead.
“Gentlemen, this is not a local phenomenon. And I’ll bet that thing is one of them.” Paul said. He let the ME read the story. Then the phone’s signal died. No internet.
“You mean,” Tom hesitated. “You mean the road rats?”
“On the way here, well I ran over some rats, thousands of them as a matter of fact. They were running all over the road.” Tom stared at Paul. “I’m serious. I didn’t want to say anything. And they were bright as hell. Like that thing under the table. All golden looking. Lit up somehow. Thought I was daydreaming.”
“On Highway 19?”
“Me too,” Paul said. Realization struck.
“We need to catch it,” the ME said. “Whatever it is. If this thing is part of some hoard of new rodents, then we need to grab it -- and yes we’ll call the police.”
“Too late, Doc.” It was Tom he was at the high window, peering into the parking lot. “They’re here.”
Paul followed Tom’s gaze. There in the parking lot or where the lot used to be, was a blanket of churning hairballs. Not thousands, not hundreds of thousands, but millions -- maybe billions -- of golden balls of fur.
Tom backed away from the window as the things began to pile up against the glass. A phosphorescent glow brightened the dull gray of the room. The hairball in the corner began to squeak excitedly.
“Oh Christ,” the ME said. “The emerods.”
“What?” Paul asked.
“It’s a biblical reference to a strange plague that affected the Philistines. It was a confusing reference. Tumors in the private parts, rats, golden mice. Hemorrhoids. But the end result was death. It all seems to fit.”
“The Philistines, allegedly today's Palestinians, were a warlike people then. They stole the Ark of the Covenant. God punished them with a plague of rats or mice. Again, it seems to fit. Except…”
“What, Doctor?” Tom asked.
“Well, who has the Ark of the Covenant?”
“This ain’t happening, Doc,” Tom said. I mean I ain’t no bible thumper, but hell Doc, how can this be? A plague from the Bible?” He was tapping the mallet in his palm. Ready to pounce on the thing if it tried to move.
Then the lights began to flicker.
Paul glanced at the ceiling, just as the power went out and the emergency lights buzzed to life. “The power is out,” he said too obviously. He looked over at the body again. “You say he is a Palestinian?”
“Yes,” the ME responded.
“And the swelling -- those lumps --”
“Could be emerods.”
“Biblical Scholars argue about that, but this is about a plague of sorts. If it’s true.” The ME turned his head. “Those things are after something and we are in their way. It’s about this man -- the one we are working on. It all makes sense.”
“Okay, let’s go with that for a moment,” Paul said. “We have these things piling over this office building and we have this Palestinian and --”
“The Ark?” It was Tom. “I mean I did the inventory on the guy. He had a cigar box. Looked like it was covered in brass. Had strange writings all over it. Could that be the Ark?”
“Maybe,” Paul said. "Or part of it. Where is this guy’s property?”
Tom walked over the a row of lockers. Spun a combination and opened the door. Paul and the doctor watched.
The thing on the floor went mad. Rolling, bumping into the wall, until it made a beeline for the locker. Tom didn’t hesitate and caught it mid roll with his mallet. There was a sickening crunch and the thing lay still, flattened.
“Jesus!” Paul was leaning down. It doesn't even look. It doesn't look real. Look at its fur. Is that gold?” He reached out.
“Don’t touch it!” the doctor hollered. “That may be the attraction. Gold. People think they are valuable.”
"Look!" Tom said. He was pointing at the floor. The dim red glow of the emergency lights made them difficult to see. Thousands of tiny glowing worms were spreading out from the smashed thing. Flowing in all directions.
"Unreal," was all Paul could say.
"Back everyone! This way. We'll seal off the Exam Room from the front." The ME hurried out. Paul and Tom were close on his heels.
There was a banging noise. It was coming from the front. They all swung around. “You expecting anyone?” Paul asked. He was trying to peer into the lobby.
At the front doors, stood a lone man. He had a foreign look, maybe Israeli and he was apparently some sort of Rabbi. His face looked both concerned and friendly at the same time.
The old man was so out of place, Paul thought. Maybe from some other century.
Around the elderly man, swarming over his ankles, but not apparently harming him, were the little fur balls. Faceless rats. Emerods.
“Gentlemen, I think you have something that does not belong to you,” he said through the glass. “May I come in?”
His accent was Middle Eastern, Paul thought and he didn't appear to be armed.
Paul glared at him through the glass doors, took in the elderly man’s loose garments. He was seemingly out of place and yet, completely at ease.
“Those things?” Paul pointed at the furry things, scurrying over the man’s sandals.
At once the old man raised his right hand and the furry animals moved away, back by several feet.
“Now?” he asked. They did not move.
“I suggest that you let me in soon, gentlemen. I cannot control these emerods for long.”
The ME’s expression changed. He moved to unlock the door.
“Doctor, maybe we shouldn’t do -- we don’t know this guy and…” Paul started to object.
The ME unlocked the door and the elderly man stepped in.
“Thank you.” He shut the door. Immediately the emerods piled against it, roiling. For the first time Paul thought he saw mouths and eyes. Clear eyes. No color at all. Like you were looking into their morbid souls. It made him shiver, unconsciously.
Paul unsnapped his pistol.
“That won’t be necessary, I assure you,” the elderly man said. “I am Rabbi...well, my name is of no consequence.”
He gave them all a quick once over. Noted the wet mallet still in Tom’s hand.
"Did you harm one?" the Rabbi asked.
"Huh?" Tom asked. He looked at the ME then back to the Rabbi.
"You should not have done that. They only have one purpose. To guard the Ark of the Covenant."
"Pardon me?" Paul said.
“It appears that you have stumbled upon a missing piece of a very ancient object. If you turn it over to me, these emerods will leave.” He smiled.
If you do not, gentlemen, you will die horrible deaths. Deaths which I am certain you now know about.”
“Pretty direct, Rabbi,” Paul answered. “I’m not so sure about this --”
“Give him the damned box,” Tom said.
‘“That’s evidence now,” Paul argued. “We can’t just turn over the --”
“Here sir.” It was the ME. He handed the box to the rabbi. The rabbi nodded, turned and headed for the door. As he approached, he raised his hand and the emerods moved back. He opened the door and left. The emerods, flowing like a living carpet of gold, following. The rabbi got into a small van and left. A literal river of gold followed.
All three men stepped into the cool night. The power was returning, street lights were flickering to life, and best of all, there were no more emerods.
"You suppose any of this was real?” Tom asked.
“I think we had a very close call,” the doctor answered.
“How am I going to write this one up?” Paul asked. "I mean who on earth is going to believe any of this?"
"We have the recordings, gentleman." The ME was gazing at the building. "In my office. All digitally backed up."
Then the building exploded or more like it imploded, sinking inward into...into a hole in the earth. All three men ran back, to the edge of the parking lot as the entire building was swallowed whole.
"A damned sinkhole?" Tom looked exasperated. Beyond that. Shaken, visibly. Close to some mental breakdown perhaps.
"Oh crap," Tom said.
"What?" the ME asked.
"I think they are destroying the evidence." It was Paul. He was holding his hands out. Thousands of tiny worms were slithering under his palms. The serpent, he thought. He finally got me.
Tom and the ME began to wither in pain.
The Rabbi drove to the airport. The golden river of emerods thinned out as he went, dissolving into the landscape, their job completed.
He would report back Jerusalem and add this piece of the Ark to the collection. Soon, he thought, soon we will have them all.
He watched as the emerods faded into the ether of darkness.
"Good bye my friends. Until next time."
He thought about the innocents at the ME's Office. Good men, but alas, non-believers. He then dismissed the remorse for what it was, a human weakness.