3:00 am, Bucharest, Romania
July 22nd, 2011
The old gypsy woman left the auditorium though a little used back door. It had been a big night and fittingly, her last. The wheels were in motion. She’d done her job as best as she could.
“Not too bad for an old gypsy,” she thought with a satisfied smile.
Now, as she shuffled down the dark alley, she looked into the dark sky and hope he would be well pleased with her work.
Earlier that evening, after her “Judas” announcement, the crowd of several hundred had immediately organized itself into a protective barricade around her. She was their prophet. If there as a Judas among them, he’d have to go through them to get to her. Even after she assured them that she would be fine, they had continued to keep their eyes open for an unknown face or unexpected movement.
While everyone scanned for a traitor, a “Judas,” not wanting to draw attention to himself, joined the crowd’s watchful eye.
The old gypsy spent the rest of the evening spreading the word of what her “seeings” had uncovered. This was how she spent her time over the last several months. Ever since she’d had the priest-prompted vision several months ago, she’d felt compelled to spread the work of His coming.
She’d had visions before. It was her reputation that had drawn the priest to her to begin with. But what she was experiencing now was different. She didn’t need to go into a trance. She didn’t even need to consider what she would say to the hundreds that would hang on her every word. She just walked on to the stage and “knew.” She felt the words come to her as if they were her own. Never mind that she had no recollection of thinking them before they came out of her mouth. She called this sensation “knowing.”
As for Him; She didn’t exactly know who or what He was. However, she assumed him to be a messenger sent by God; maybe even the second coming of Christ. Still, she wasn’t exactly sure. What she did know was that things were going to change because of this one man. The world would not be the same after he completed his mission, whatever that might be.
Every night she was “preaching” to a larger and larger crowd. At first, there had been only her, talking to no one in particular as she stood on the street corner; outwardly just another feeble homeless person. One day, a man had stopped to listen to what she was saying. Soon there was another and then another. People, it seemed, were hungry for the message she was providing. Within a few weeks, she had a regular crowd of a couple of dozen. After two months, they’d moved her off of the street and into the old movie theater.
Night after night she’d slip into a trance while she sat on the stage. Eventually, she’d open her eyes and begin to speak, telling the faithful her visions. She often spoke of a place she referred to as the “knowing forest.” She saw others there, following in the footsteps of Him. He was there as well; typically pacing around a small cabin as if uncertain as to what he should do next. From her perspective, she could tell that He was the one she’d first felt several weeks earlier. He was the one that was sent to change things. She could feel that he wasn’t complete. Something was missing and she could feel that the cabin held the missing piece. Soon, he would decide to open the door and face whatever was inside.
Then the world would change. If only he could survive long enough to make that decision.
At the theater, everyone was welcome, providing they could fit inside. Tonight the house was packed. She received no payment but they did provide a room for her and there was always food on her table.
“He is only a man, but his soul is all encompassing,” she said to the crowd. “He somehow knows this but is not certain what or how his soul is supposed to direct him; and do not doubt that there is a mission.”
“He does not wear wings nor does he perform tricks to draw attention to his cause. This outer façade of an ordinary man allows him to walk among us without celebrity. He does this for his anonymity is his only armor. He is in need of such armor as the world has never seen before. He understands that his life is in danger. Even now, they seek him.”
“Who? Who seeks to harm the savior? His enemies are our enemies. Point them out to us, Prophet. Point them out so we can shield him as we shield you,” voices shout out from the crowd.
She’d been seated as she spoke into a microphone. Her body was old and she hadn’t the strength to stand on the stage and pace back and forth as if preaching at a revival. However, now she stood up with a new-found strength.
“You want to shield our savior? Do you think your bodies of soft flesh can stand up against an enemy so immense that it controls the minds of nearly every person on Earth? No! I say again, NO! Do not seek to fight an enemy of such power with your pitiful swords. To fight this enemy, you need to tap into the river of your soul. You need to free the minds of enslaved. Do this and you will create such a fortress whose walls can never be breached.”
She felt like she hadn’t in decades. There was strength in her body and a power behind her voice. She knew this was her candle’s last flame, burning brightest before the end. She needed to make the most of the moment for there would be no more after this.
“You know of whom I speak. They control us through fear. The keep us, as the shepherd keeps his sheep. We are led without knowing it. We are controlled by the thoughts they give us. They create borders and fabricate conflicts, all well justified for those who follow without question.
So you say you want to protect the Savior? Then the time has come. Throw off the shackles which you have allowed to be placed on your wrists and ankles. Leave their fear-soaked thoughts behind in the dark where they can do no harm. Raise your eyes from the ground and walk into the sun. Look for the light. Seek the truth in all things. Follow your soul and help others to follow theirs. Be about this business with intention. Do not wait, for the time is drawing near. He will need the protection of the masses or he will be dispatched before the change he brings with him can be realized. Go into the city and spread the word. Your message should be to seek the light, and help others to do so as well. Time is short. Time is short indeed.”
Then it left her. She could feel the strength flow out of her body. She was spent; her deed was done. Now it was up to them.
A couple of men helped her to her seat. When it was clear that she was done speaking, the crowd was allowed to pass by her as if she were something more than just the tired old woman she felt herself to be. Some knelt briefly as they passed. Others, dropped flowers at her feet. Still other felt the need to kiss her withered old hand.
“Let them do what they need to do,” she thought as she sat silently.
She was given a room upstairs. It was a small caretaker’s living quarters that had been relinquished for the night. Volunteers patrolled the floor below, keeping her safe from the prophesized Judas.
It as an easy thing for her to slip past her protectors. After all, they were looking to keep an intruder out, not thinking that she may not want to be kept in.
It was a warm night but she pulled her shawl close around her as she shuffled down the dark streets. It was as if she knew she’d need it soon. Eventually it came to her - a coldness that chilled her to the bone. He was near; her Judas. She lifted her head trying to get a sense of where the cold had come from.
There, down the alley just across the cobbled street and to the left.
She straightened up and walked into the darkness to meet her fate.
He saw her coming. She walked right towards him in spite of the fact that he was certain that he could not be seen. As he reached for her, she fell to the ground untouched. A quick check told him that nature had done his job for him.
He left her where she lay.