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They were awakened in the middle of the night by goons bursting through the door, guns drawn. Leif and the others jumped up, dazed. In the darkness, shots from the Sensitives rang out towards the one emitting the most hope. It wasn't Devan.
Silently Liesl crumpled to the floor, mortally wounded.
Someone turned on the lights. Kamiko could be seen on the floor cradling Liesl's head in her lap. Leif, Isabella and Devan stood silently, a dozen guns pointed at them.
The room grew cold. Into the room glided the two dark forms. Leif felt dread come over him. Evidently the goons did, too, because they lowered their guns and fell back, not looking at either form. The Pulsing and Death slowly advanced towards them.
Leif became aware of a stranger who had appeared out of nowhere, standing over Kamiko and Liesl. With a jolt, he realized that, somehow, he knew the stranger. He was one of the hearts of the three-in-one Source, in human form.
The Pulsing and Death obviously also knew the stranger, for they both froze.
"I defeated you before," the stranger said to the forms. "You have no power over my own."
As he said these words, the stranger began shining brighter than the sun. The Pulsing and Death disappeared before their eyes. With the dark forms gone, the goons in the room looked confused. The Pulsing and Death had temporarily lost their hold over them.
"I offer you Life," the stranger said. A look of consternation and terror came over them as they fled from the room. The stranger said sadly, "Such is the power of believing false over truth."
"But what about Liesl?" Isabella asked.
The stranger bent down and gently took Liesl in his arms. For the first time Leif noticed he had scars on his face and hands, evidence of some terrible wounds in the past. Who could have caused them? Leif wondered. No one was more powerful than the Source.
The stranger looked intently into Liesl's face. She stirred, opened her eyes, and looked into the face of the stranger. A look of total peace and rest appeared on her face. She had found what she had searched for her whole life.
"Journey's end, my little one," the stranger whispered.
Liesl closed her eyes. She was gone. Isabella and Kamiko started crying. Tears rolled down Leif and Devan's cheeks. Then Leif experienced something incredible: the stranger was entering into Leif’s grief and pain and was sharing it with him. And that made it more bearable. He can enter into my life, Leif realized, in an intimate way that no one else could! Who was this stranger?
"Don't cry," the stranger said. "Her life is just beginning."
The stranger turned to the four friends.
"As for you, well done. You accomplished the task I gave you. I now give you the Fourth Great Truth: ‘Give me all your tomorrows.’"
A flow of pure love went to each of them. Leif thought he would melt right there. Sourceworld will be this way continuously, he thought. He noticed the flow to Devan was as strong as the flow to the rest of them, even though Devan had fallen away and they had had to rescue him. The Source's Life is available freely to whoever will receive, he realized, not on what we have done or not done.
A shimmering, semi-transparent wall formed. The Stranger said, "Journey's end."
He turned, still holding Liesl, and walked through the barrier and was gone. Leif knew that barrier was the division between his world and the Source's world. He knew when he died physically the Source would come and take him across the barrier, too. That thought comforted him greatly. Death, you lose.
"But what happens when the goons come back?" Isabella asked. "And what if the Pulsing and Death come back?"
The four friends looked at each other in alarm. A voice shouted to them from the hall outside the room.
"I've come on behalf of Death, authorized to offer you safe passage out of here to the destination of your choice. But you must leave immediately. Do you accept?"
The four looked at each other in amazement.
"Of course!" Leif exulted. "They don't dare attack us again for fear the Source will show up again! They want us out of here quickly, before the Source ‘corrupts’ their domain anymore."
Leif couldn't help but laugh at the beauty of it. Soon they were catching a flight out of the nearby Palace airport. They were the only passengers on the plane.
“Guess we would contaminate someone,” Leif commented wryly.
"I wish we could have known Liesl better, but I know she is in a much better place," Isabella said.
Devan was silent. Kamiko put her arm around him.
"What did the Source mean by, ‘Give me all your tomorrows?’” Kamiko asked to no one in particular. “And what do you make of the Source appearing like one of us?”
"I've given that some thought," Leif answered. "I think the Source was telling us we each, in our own way, saw our lives as having arrived at its destination. Whenever we do that, we have built a Construct, one of the most subtle ones. And then we stop moving with the Source. The Source is always moving, always with more we are to learn and live. When we stop moving, things grow stale. We look to other things or people rather than the Source. As for appearing in human form, I guess we’ll know more about that when and if the Source reveals it to us."
"But why tell us now? Why did the Source wait this long?" Kamiko asked.
"Because it takes living a while and experiencing enough things before we can see how easy and dangerous it is to stop moving with the Source, even if what we are doing is for the Source, and once you stop moving it is much harder to trust the Source with your future," Isabella said.
Leif looked at her with admiration and love. That's the Isabella I married, he thought. He now knew how to mend his marriage. He would give his tomorrows to the Source. He would no longer worry about or fear tomorrow.
"Which makes me able to understand the last lesson the Source taught us," he said. "The Source said, 'Journey's end,’ but now I know when the Source says that it always means a new one has begun."
"Right on,” Devan agreed.
"Amen," added Isabella.
"Yep," chimed Kamiko.
"Yep?" they cried, looking at her.
Kamiko just smiled.
The roar of frustration from the Pulsing reverberated throughout the Land of Death. Like wasps whose queen has died, all were agitated but not sure why.
“I will have my revenge!”
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
“Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” Genesis 3:1-13 NLT
End of Part II: Journey to Death