THE GLOBAL MARK© Johny Noer - www.noer.info
The desert seemed phosphorus white in the moonlight. Antoinette had just arrived at the caves in the Zin Mountains, John Williams had previously pointed out to her. The moon was clear; she had no problem finding her way, the herd following her. The mountain watched her quietly; the cliff-stones looked like dwarfs and cathedral demons clothed in sand. The silver light turned the cliff-formations into white boats waiting in docks. The desert-ocean looked unorderly, as if in the aftermath of a Tsunami.
The goats assembled around her; the dogs growled. Green eyes and sneaking shadows could be seen behind every stone heap that looked like an altar for sacrifice. For hours the wolves had been following her. At the base of the mountain they had caught a lamb; the wolf pack devoured it greedily! Cries of owls could be heard; her four dogs crept up to the donkey, she was riding…
Three days had elapsed since she left Tamar. Now she waited expectantly for John Williams and Jan, who had promised to arrive any moment. On the way she collected dry twigs from dwarf bushes; then made a fire at the cave entrance. The goat herd collected behind her, and she took the gun from the saddle. The donkey stood still, with lifted head, his long ears twitching to the shadows in the moonscape.
Antoinette noticed that sleep was overcoming her, but the growls in the plains kept her awake. It wasn’t just a few, it was a whole pack!
The next hours went by like a ritual. The goat herd shivering behind her, the dogs growling around her: A light sleep! Awakening, the sharp teeth and eyes like fire of the wild beasts, the shooting in their direction. The loud wailing ending in a bitter fight in the plain.
Then followed the dangerous pause: All was still; even the donkey hung his head and laid back his ears. The slumber in her heavy eyelids. The gun grasped in her hands. The silver plains before her, it all seemed a dream…
Antoinette awoke suddenly.Checking her gun, she realized only one shot remained. In despair she arose and threw more twigs on the fire, noticing, however, that the shadows did not recede. Slowly, as if trained in unison, the wolves closed in on her with growls, barks and howling. In front was a huge beast like a werewolf. Green eyes. Antoinette shot her last bullet into his jaws. Without a sound he fell to the ground, and for a while the shadows receded unwillingly. They seemed to know that her last defense was gone; an evil triumph gleamed from the circle of wolves’ eyes at the entrance to the cave…
The goats also felt the meaning. The herd turned with disorder, and two large goats fled into the dark. The dogs wailed, and Antoinette took the gun barrel, to whack around her as long as possible.
The open fangs, ready to devour their victim, came nearer and nearer. The wolves killed goats, and started to devour them at the cave entrance. Five or six others ran around Antoinette, who swung her gun at them continuously. One of them slunk away, howling, as she had hit his head. But the others crept closer, ready to leap on her. With a last effort Antoinette threw the gun at a nearing beast. Then she fell to her knees, lifted her hands to heaven, whispering a desperate prayer.
The sun rose over Jerusalem. The Holy City lay pressed against the Mount of Olives like a golden postcard. The air was filled with transparent waves, as if white horses galloped over the temple area; the city of the great King was expecting some fulfillment….
Adolf Engels’ headquarters were on the first floor of a square, an imposing building, not far from the temple area. The colossal cement structure didn’t add to the street’s beauty. It resembled a bunker from the Third Reich (still visible on Layerstrasse in Feucht, not far from Nuremberg). Not even the earthquake of the Gog war had touched Adolf Engels’ building. Only the balconies surrounding the square house were damaged. Some had not yet been repaired.
Adolf Engels, the 60 year-old EU-police officer, was a broad-shouldered man, inspiring faith, fear and trust. This seemingly sincere personality was the foundation of his career. He had served quite a few EU-presidents faithfully as ambassador in difficult places like Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, and was renowned to think before he spoke. He spoke English, French, and German fluently, and understood Russian. When asked by an associate whether to congratulate him for his latest appointment in Jerusalem, or to show sympathy, he answered: "Both!"
He was called the "Intelligence Czar". and had access to the yearly budget of 40 million Euro, given to the global security service by the European Commission. Not everybody in the encompassing security net of EU looked with benevolence at Adolf Engels’ central position, only a few hundred yards from the Jerusalem-temple area. Some had hoped for the same position: A few generals, one member of the committee, some Directors of the EU "intelligence service". They all stopped communicating with that EU-man in Jerusalem! Some thought he would do better in Iran or Saudi Arabia. After the Gog war there was after all some work to be done in establishing new, democratic constitutions.
John William Andersen was born in a dismal area of Copenhagen. The region around Saxo- and Istedstreet were the hard core of the capital; Throwing stones and gang-wars were a daily matter in the life of the youngsters. In the small, unnoticed ‘Revaldstreet’ was one dairy shop. That’s where the poor of that Westend bought their milk, bread and butter on credit. It was the home of John Williams Andersen. The whole street celebrated the day, John thanked his parents with flowers, - wearing the white "student-cap" - for helping finish his education by skimping their pennies. ‘Old Ole’ in No. 8 swore that ‘something would become of him’ and the neighbors pointed proudly at the white cap, saying: "He’s one of ours…."
In these teen years an insignificant event happened, none of the poor customers of the dairy shop could in the least anticipate. It concerned a young stranger who invited the gangs once a week to his quarters at the end of Revaldstreet, and offered them sweet, grated beets. He was a tall, blond young man with round glasses and long fingers. He read the bible and talked about Jesus. There was something special about him; even the gang leaders listened carefully.
"What brought you here?" asked Kaiser Wilhelm the man from Copenhagen’s westend. He wanted to get the job done that his Jerusalem-chief had ordered. "Find out why John Williams chose that place to put up his tent", he was told. "That’s all!"
‘In other words,’ noted the Kaiser, ’Brussels knows that he studied archeology, that he is about 40 years old, that his white hair is not because of age, that he published circular letters through the Internet, and that he concerns himself with so-called biblical prophecy. All they now want to know is the reason for choosing this particular area of the Arava for his tent.’ That’s why Kaiser asked: "What brought you here?"
"Bozra!" answered John Williams.
"Bozra?" the Kaiser echoed with confusion. He took his plastic covered desert map and opened it. "Where is Bozra?"
"Here!" answered John Williams and pointed at a spot about 80 miles south of the Dead Sea, on this mountain that divides formerly Jordan from Israel."
"Here," exclaimed Kaiser Wilhelm astonished, "that’s only a few miles from your tent! The mountain right opposite us?"
"Yes," answered John Williams, "and that’s where Bozra lies!"
"Bozra?" asked the Kaiser with hesitation. "Is this place connected to archeology?"
"No, Bozra is connected to the future."
"What do you mean by that?"
John Williams Andersen hesitated. His English had a definite Scandinavian accent. He pierced the EU-sergeant with a penetrating glance. The gleaming iron cross was dangling on the officers chest.
"I mean," he said silently, "if your life doesn’t change, you’ll take your last breath in Bozra; your eyes shall be closed and there your blood shall be spilled on the sand…."
With unbelief Kaiser Wilhelm looked at the man, he was supposed to interrogate. He had the impression that roles were changed. John Williams was the interrogator; he himself, the Kaiser, was on trial.
"My blood will be spilled on the sand?" he questioned. "Explain that more closely, please."
"You belong to the present EU-army, don’t you?"
"A unit of l500 men?"
"It can be alert and reach targets in four days?"
"Within 2000 miles?"
The questions fell quickly like whiplashes. The answers came a little reluctantly.
"All right! You will be sent to Bozra, to die there."
The Kaiser folded his plastic map, slowly, so that Bozra could easily be found on the top space. "To die?" He swallowed deeply. "Who says I’ll die in Bozra?"
"A well-known and most revered Jewish prophet, Isaiah. He tells you that a world-wide end-time war will take place in Bozra. You’ll be there! You will not escape with your life from there."
Kaiser Wilhelm closed his eyes. Many would have listened skeptically to the explanations of this white-haired man. But not the Kaiser! Biblical prophets were no riddle or "sectarian talk" to him. The EU-sergeant had just escaped from the hell of the Gog war. "That war was prophesied by another of these old Hebrew prophet", he whispered, "and has already been fulfilled. He saw brimstone falling from heaven - and they fell on me!" murmured the sergeant. "That prophet saw pestilence and sickness destroy an invading army", the sergeant continued, "and that army was mine!"
John Williams gazed silently at Kaiser Wilhelm, who sat before him with closed eyes. A film strip was passing before the sergeant’s eyes. He heard him, continuously whispering: "I saw it happen!"
"The prophet foretold that heavy hail would be directed like laser beams at fortified tanks….and I saw it happen!" the Kaiser was continuing his monologue. "He prophesied that an advancing army would be destroyed by ‘friendly fire’….and I saw them die," sighed the EU-sergeant.
Kaiser Wilhelm straightened up. "You say that a great military battle will take place in Bozra?"
"Where is that written?"
John William Andersen quickly wrote some numbers on a piece of paper.
"And that is why you are her?"
"Yes, that is one of the reasons."
Kaiser Wilhelm got up. His job was done. The interrogation was completed. Fundamentalists seem sure that an EU-army will someday (with other allies) be destroyed in Bozra. He added in his report some scripture verses from Isaiah, chapters 34 and 63. Then he got ready for Eilat. Before leaving, he stood for a moment, gazing at the Edomite Mountains towards Bozra. "I saw it happen!" he murmured again. "The sand turned red!" Then he jumped into his desert jeep, and his convoy disappeared behind a cloud of dust and stones….
John Williams Andersen turned and walked towards a tanned, young man. "Welcome, Jan," he exclaimed, "We had better hurry. Antoinette is in danger!" The men loaded a green land cruiser and headed off in the opposite direction. In a few hours they could cover the same distance that it had taken Antoinette three days with the goats, sheep and donkey to travel. While the sun went down like a red ball on one horizon, the moon appeared like a gleaming silver coin.
"It is important for us to gather as much information about Bozra as possible," explained vice president John Edwards to the committee. "Our latest news from the plane with the hostage is that they are on their way to the Middle East. The former bodyguard explicitly ordered an addition of two parachutes in the plane. Most probably he wants to jump in the difficult terrain of mountains between Israel and former Jordan. During the Gog war he survived in that impassable region north of Saudi Arabia. There are many caves there..."
"With suitable troops we should find him" one officer said.
"Do you know how many caves there are in these heights?" The vice president’s question sounded strangely mild…..
"No, Mr. Vice-President!"
John Edwards lifted his head to listen to the surprised whisperings. He continued: "We will do our best to find him. Yeah, a unit of soldiers is already on the way to receive him. I think he will shortly be in Brussels again. Meanwhile it is important to let Europe know that this terrorist sect will leave nothing overturned to arrive at their goal. Our president has not yet returned – and should he die in some tragic way – anyone taking his place will be in danger of death! That’s why I declare herewith: Should our EU president, Mr. Pierre Henri Clark die in this brutal abduction, I may refuse to take his place. I have to think of my family. Therefore this post is open to anyone, but I want to warn any successor about our enemies. I tell you: The days of that man are numbered! Our enemy is united with untold strength nobody can imagine!"
Again John Edwards sat down. The meeting dissolved. Singly or in groups the ministers, officers, politicians and security men left the room; the vice president was alone. He sat, bent over, whispering: "Everyone who takes the president’s place is in danger of death!"
For a moment he sat thoughtful. The projector that had lit up the pulpit, was turned off. The circle of stars on the blue background of the podium was hardly visible. A shadow approached the sunken figure. It appeared out of the darkness.
"They expect me to take the position, but I will not do it", whispered John Edwards. "Who will be his successor?"
"I will," announced a voice from behind.
John Edwards wanted to turn around, but a heavy hand came down on his shoulder. "Stay seated! Don’t turn around!"
John Edwards was paralyzed, pale with horror. He wanted to turn around, but could not. He realized that a hypnotic, iron grip had control of him.
"Are you prepared to obey me?"
John Edwards nodded consent.
"I have a great job for you to fulfill!"
Again John Edwards nodded.
"A bloody job!"
John Edwards closed his eyes.
"If you obey me, you will be rewarded; you’ll find delights you never dreamt of."
John Edwards was all ears….
"But if you do not obey, I will disclose your secret. Will you obey me?"
John Edwards nodded….
The hand lifted from his shoulder; he heard quick steps departing. He quickly turned around. The room was empty!
A security officer appeared, and the vice president followed him. In the doorway he turned once more to look at the empty pulpit. It stood sinister and lonely, with the eighteen stars glimmering.
"Nobody knows the whereabouts of the EU president", announced Jeff Straw, the TV reporter, to his world-audience. He always chose a ‘trade mark’ in his reports to stand beside. In Washington it was the White House, in Paris the Eiffeltower, in Copenhagen ‘The Little Mermaid, and here in Brussels the ‘bull and the woman. "The last news is that the plane is nearing the border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia", the TV-report went on:" The former bodyguard feels threatened by some unidentified planes chasing them. He has two parachutes ready. Initially he pretended one of them wouldn’t work; now he doesn’t want anyone to know from where he himself will jump. We can only speculate..."
Then Jack Straw gave one of his background reports that had made him famous as a TV journalist. He disclosed why the EU-president was afraid to jump over Saudi Arabia.
"It is no secret," he exclaimed, "that during the Gog war the EU-president gave a blank check to hand over suspicious terrorists for trial to the Arabs. In his anti-terror war about 150 persons were given over to Arab interrogation. They had methods to force them into speaking. In spite of the EU-constitution’s prohibition against torture, the president could loosen their tongues. The forbidden book titled: "The Interrogators", tells how one known terrorist, called Saliou Mohammed Saahr, after three days, willingly disclosed his secret. Later he escaped, and is now hiding with l00 other bitter men in the mountains of Saudi Arabia. They have heard of the possibility of meeting the EU-president and letting him taste the torture. "If you don’t stop persecuting me", the hostage taker declares, "I will throw the president into the lion’s den."
With these words Jack Straw ended his report from Brussels….
Slowly evening approached and dusk enveloped the desert plain. John Williams and Jan Apostolou raced through the solitary road. In the twilight the mountains looked like greenish copper; the dark trees reached towards the sky like crippled buildings. The horizon’s color turned into a sort of desert fog. A sandstorm was on its way. The wind blew from the West. Uprooted thistles blew like a fleeing army over the sand. Sometimes shadows looked like greyhounds, racing over hill and dale. Was it a vision or reality? Soon the desert gave its answer: yowling and belling: the wolves were on their way.
Jan looked with a secret despair at the face of John Williams: John, with his Western hat deep down, never slackened his pace through growing uneven terrain.
Both men lifted their heads, listening! Did they hear a shot fired?
"From there," called Jan and pointed into the direction of the storm. John Williams turned west into a wadi. Some ‘longlegs’ ran behind them. In a cave entrance they saw a row of blinking lights and heard a tremendous banging.
The wolf pack that had followed them joined the fight at the end of the Wadi. From the depth of a cave they heard one more shot, then total silence. Both men ran with their guns to the top, where slinking, growling shadows receded unwillingly.
At the cave entrance they saw the bloody remains of a torn goat. As the men came to the entrance, the last of the wolf pack took to flight. One tremendous beast lay dead with a bullet through his head.
Next to the dead wolf knelt a young woman with raised hands and closed eyes, as if waiting for death any moment. The picture was engraved by fire on the walls of the cave: it looked like ancient graffiti with a prehistoric motive: a dead beast, a woman with raised hands, and some hunters with spear-like weapons.
Jan ran toward the waiting figure. Carefully he embraced her, whispering: "Antoinette! Antoinette!" The young woman opened her eyes; they filled with tears." Jan!" she answered with a trembling voice, and then lost consciousness. Carefully Jan lifted the lifeless Antoinette and carried her to the waiting jeep.