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Rated: 13+ · Book · Thriller/Suspense · #2133500
Global warming. Sea level rise. Floating Community. Attempted Robbery at a pearl farm.
#920398 added September 15, 2017 at 12:39pm
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26 Those Who Would Save Us / Part 2
Those Who Would Save Us / Part 2

Andalib hurried along the catwalks, in the direction of the stranded yacht, while singing.

"I have decided to follow Jesus!
I have decided to follow Jesus!
I have decided to follow Jesus!
No turning back!
No turning back!"

Back inside the shack, Xavier shouted, "Well don't just stand there! Go after her!"

Then he, Ted, Eric Mann and Quin also rushed out of the shack, following Andalib at a considerable distance along the catwalks, while she continued singing.

"The World behind me, the Cross before me!
The World behind me, the Cross before me!
The World behind me, the Cross before me!
No turning back!
No turning back!"

Within two minutes she'd come within ten yards of a person kneeling down, while sawing a serrated knife through a chord on which oysters were tied. This person was Clarissa Kellington. The actress looked up at her.

Andalib felt the planking beneath her feet sink down slightly. All the catwalks in this section had been weakened when the yacht smashed through the gate. She halted. Then she took a few steps back, to where the planking was firm, about thirty feet from Clarissa.

Now a guy seated on a nearby catwalk called out. "It's the pearl thief woman!"

Andalib looked around, at what was going on in this section of the facility. Most of the people who'd come on the yacht, were now spread out along the adjacent catwalks. They had halted the work of 'liberating' the oysters with sawing blades, and now sat where they were, watching Andalib and Clarissa.

I was right. She smiled. I've got them totally distracted. They've stopped cutting the lines.

Andalib also thought, I'd better stand still, and not get any closer to the knife wielding Clarissa Kellington. If I move closer, the weakened planking might give way beneath me, or she, or one or more of her demonstrators might also throw his or her knife at me, or both.

On the catwalk to Andalib's right, Carlton Grabel was speaking into his microphone, his excited voice carrying to where Andalib stood.

"The actions of Clarissa Kellington and her band of volunteers, as they crashed through the twenty foot fence, risking injury to themselves and sacrificing their yacht to help the oysters, is nothing short of heroic!"

His cameraman then panned to his left and saw Andalib and Clarissa staring at each other. Hastily, the soundman aimed his amplified microphone, hoping to catch the two women's words.

Andalib thought, I have to keep holding the demonstrators' attention, until the Harbor Patrol arrives.

She resumed singing.

"Though none go with me, I still will follow!
Though none go with me, I still will follow!
Though none go with me, I still will follow!
No turning back!
No turning back!"

Clarissa called out to Andalib, "What do you think? You can stop us with a bullhorn?"

Andalib put the bullhorn in front of her mouth; smiling she pointed it at the stranded yacht and spoke calmly.

"Jesus loves you!" She announced to W. Parker Harrison who stood at the helm, and seemed to be the only person still aboard the vessel. "He died for your sins! So repent you sinner!"

Everyone seated or standing on the surrounding catwalks remained still, staring at her.

Clarissa said, "What are you doing?"

"'I have drawn near to God," Andalib expressed her faith, quoting the Bible through the bullhorn. "and He draws near to me! I resist the Devil and he flees from me! I've put on the full armor of God, and taken up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God'."

"The 'Word of God'?" Clarissa asked, "You mean the Bible?"

"It is our Manufacturers handbook, containing all information necessary for the proper use, maintenance and repair of these lives He's given us! You've probably heard the saying, 'When all else fails, read the instructions'!"

She pointed the bullhorn at the halted demonstrators and sang again.

"Will you decide now, to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now, to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now, to follow Jesus?
No turning back?
No turning back?"

The voice of W. Parker Harrison now boomed out from the yacht's loudspeaker. "Don't listen to this woman! Get back to work!"

Andalib pointed the bullhorn at the TV News Crew on the opposite catwalk and again spoke calmly. "Jesus loves you! He died for your sins! So repent you sinners!"

Carlton Grabel, his cameraman and soundman, along with everyone on the catwalks remained halted, staring at her.

The yacht's loudspeaker again boomed out, "I told all of you to get back to work!"

Clarissa laughed. "If God does exist, what has He ever done for you, huh? When your mother left, did He answer your prayers? When your father introduced you to a life of crime and raped you, did He help you?"

Now Andalib pointed the bullhorn at the actress, 30 feet away from her. "I was going to say 'Jesus loves you Clarissa Kellington! But if I did that, I'd just be tossing pearls to a pig!"

Now Clarissa rose up from her crouching position, raised the knife she was holding, and screamed in outrage.

"Don't talk to me about that! I don't want to hear another word!"

She began to move in Andalib's direction. After she'd taken two steps the weakened planking under her feet tilted sideways, and she tumbled off the catwalk, hitting the water with a loud, erupting splash.

Some of the halted demonstrators on the catwalks began to laugh.

Clarissa swam to the surface, still looking outraged.

"What are you laughing at?" She screamed at her own people. "You pieces of sh--! If you've you forgotten what we're here for, I won't be forgetting any of you!"

The demonstrators had stopped laughing. Now a woman among them pointed toward the water, at a spot a few feet away from Clarissa.

"Watch out!" She screamed. "The alligator!"

Clarissa looked where she was pointing. The alligator's head and lines of scales along its back were moving rapidly in her direction.

Now Clarissa screamed in horror, flailing her arms as she desperately tried to reach the catwalk and pull herself up.

"Stop splashing!" Xavier yelled as he ran to Andalib's side.

The demonstrators were now frozen in horror at the sight.

The creature kept swimming toward Clarissa before making an abrupt turn and chomping its deadly jaws into the TV star's shapely figure. The woman screamed; a blood curdling scream of agony as the gator's jaws locked around its prey before it began whirling around, sending her arms and legs flailing, while its enormous tail whipped around in all directions. Then, the creature was gone from sight -- along with any sign of Clarissa Kellington.

"Death roll." Xavier said softly as he put his arm around Andalib's shoulders. To his astonishment, she wasn't shaking and didn't even flinch as the water turned red where Clarissa had been a little while ago.

"Andi?" He said softly and looked down at her.

Ted, Eric and Quin had come up along the catwalk and now stood beside Andalib, all looking at the grizzly sight of the red water. "Andalib, are you ok?" Ted asked softly.

"She's in shock." Xavier said as he continued to stare at Andalib's face, seeing her stony expression but reading something else entirely in her eyes.

"It's okay Andi." He told her, hugging her to him, "It's okay."

"No it isn't." she told them, as she turned to stare down into the water. "The alligator ate her."

She looked at Ted. "I told her that Jesus loves her, and she went into a screaming rage; like she really was a devil woman!"

"Well -- " Eric began. He stopped, when in the distance they heard the sound of a police siren. "It's the Harbor Patrol. Now they come."

The voice of W. Parker Harrison again boomed out from the yacht's loudspeaker. "Listen carefully. This is what you're going to tell the police! Tell them that Miss Andalib Elkart, a woman with a long criminal record, grabbed my wife and shoved her into water, where she knew the alligator was lurking. I'm accusing Miss Andalib Elkart with the premeditated murder of my wife!"

"What?" Andalib said, "'Murder'? I was standing here. She was standing over there, 30 feet away from me. It was an accident! She fell into the water!"

She pointed across the water to the catwalk, where Carlton Grabel, his cameraman and soundman continued recording the incident.

Andalib went on. "It's been seen live, by millions of people, and it's all going on videotape. So, say what you want, Mr. Harrison, this time I'm innocent!"

W. Parker Harrison's voice boomed again. "Remember! Miss Andalib Elkart murdered my wife!"

Now Quin said, "Oh forget it!"

He grabbed the bullhorn from Andalib, raised it in front of his mouth, aiming it at the demonstrators, who were now looking uneasily at the Harbor Patrol boat that had just emerged from the channel, and was now approaching the MacKenzie's oyster and pearl farm.

Quin's voice blared through the bullhorn. "Forget it everyone! It's over! The publicity stunt is ended! For your own good, don't go committing perjury! It's time for all of you to get yourselves good lawyers; and I mean good ones, who're not gonna plead you guilty, to earn brownie points with the Social Justice Movement! That's what this guy Harrison, who's been running the show, would be doing to you, just like he was doing to me!"

He now lowered the bullhorn and handed it to Ted.

Ted now asked, "How are you doing Andalib?"

"I don't know." She said as she faced him, trembling. "Tell me Ted. Is this a judgment of God? Is this a victory for the Lord?"

"If it is, it's not one I'd want to celebrate."

He looked at her, Xavier, Quin and Eric Mann.

Now he told Andalib, "When it comes to the judgment of God, and other difficult questions like that, I think we should ask Pastor Randolph."

Now the Harbor Patrol boat had come up and stopped alongside the Venus on the Half Shell. Ted recognized the voice of Sergeant Frank Torrance, booming out from the loudspeaker on the Patrol Boat.

"Attention everyone aboard the "Venus on the Half Shell". You are about to be boarded and everyone on board is hereby ordered to surrender!"

Behind the yacht's helm, W. Parker Harrison now raised his hands.

Sergeant Torrance's voice boomed again, "Good morning Mr. MacKenzie! Are there any unauthorized persons inside your facility now?"

Ted lifted the bullhorn to his mouth and replied. "Everyone who is not standing here beside me is trespassing! These four people, have either been hired by me, or are here at my invitation! All the others are trespassing!"

"Everyone inside the fencing of the MacKenzie's property, without his authorization, is also ordered to surrender!"

The demonstrators standing on the catwalks all now tossed their serrated knives into the water, and then raised their hands.

"Oh Lord," Ted prayed, "have mercy on all us sinners who are here in Shellfish Shoals. Amen."

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