Pete’s novel “Time Has Time” is an 86,000 word fiction story featuring a man who may or may not be the Son of God returned to Earth decides that it’s just about time the world hear His message again. Some believe in this man instantly and without question. Others remain quite skeptical. Both sides go to the extreme in an effort to prove that they are right in a story that escalates farther than you’d ever imagine.
“Fight Club” meets “The Da Vinci Code”: religion and zealots form the backdrop of this mystery/thriller.
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READ THE FIRST 5 CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK BELOW
By the end of the twentieth century, the prophesy of Jesus Christ’s return to earth was all but common knowledge. People knew that it was going to happen but they just didn’t know when. The year I came into being on this Earth was1977 on a date that should have been marked on every calendar in the world as my birth, but for some reason, remained as just another Christmas day. Being born on December the twenty-fifth was intended to keep at least that much the same for the sake for continuity. The problem was, that was the only thing that would be the same. The only thing. This time around no one brought frankincense, no one broughtmyrrh, and certainly no one brought any gold; although in this modern world that would have been very much appreciated. Worse than that was the fact that this time around, my mother’s husband was convinced that she had been unfaithful to him. Knowing that he would not understand, nor would he believe the truth, she tried desperately to make him believe the only lie that seemed even remotely possible. She tried telling him that the baby was his. Having been sterile from birth, and having been told so countless times by any number of fertility doctors, Joe didn’t believe it. Not even for one minute. On the eve before he left, my mother thought for one fleeting moment that she should tell him where my seed had really come from. Then, she reconsidered, thinking that a husband might, just might, return to an unfaithful wife, but he’d never come back to a crazy one. For some reason or another, I was thinking about all of this as I was sitting inside the state penitentiary looking through a very depressing set of steel bars. The florescent lights were humming in an otherwise silent space where all I could do now, was wait.
“Yeah, right”, was the response I would expect to have gotten from anyone on this planet if I had just walked up to them and told them that I was the Son of God returned to Earth. Before arriving here I’m not quite sure what I had expected. I guess I figured that I would have been heralded into being, flocked to, leaned on, listened to and learned from. This however was not the case. It was only my mother and I who knew my true identity, my true purpose and my real reason for being here. True, the fact that no one else knew these things was going to make it all that much more difficult my goals, but I figured that was supposed to be the point this time.
Being just sage and wise wasn’t going to convince anyone of anything. This planet was full of wise and learned people. At first, I thought that pulling off a miracle or two probably wouldn’t have hurt, but I soon realized that if men like David Copperfield could make the entire Statue of Liberty disappear, then any miracle I performed would surely be seen as some sort of parlor trick.
For quite a few years in my youth, I had dedicated a great deal of time to committing the Holy Bible to memory. That way, if someone ever asked me to quote from it in order to prove myself, I’d be more than up to the task. The ironic thing of course was that not a single thing in it seemed even remotely familiar to me. Great story though
I soon realized that quoting scripture was not going to prove who I was to anyone. Nor was doing good deeds, telling great tales or just being selfless and kind. The only thing these people would ever believe is what they saw with their very own eyes. I had been explaining this very same thing to Father Nathaniel Montgomery while we sat together in his office at St. Eulalia’s church just before I wrapped my hands around his throat and began to squeeze.
As soon as the life drained from his limbs, Father Montgomery’s body began collapsing to the floor. I held him up as best I could, then gently guided him onto the plush oriental rug that crooked just in front of his giant mahogany desk. Why the clergy had to surround themselves with such impressive things, I could never quite figure out, but for now it mattered very little as I put my thumbs to his eyelids and began pushing them back. His eyes had not yet rolled back into his head which, for my current purpose, was absolutely perfect. I knelt there, my legs straddling his waist, looking deep into his vacant brown eyes. Before too long, I closed his eyelids, leaned down to kiss him gently on the forehead, then, with more purpose than I’ve ever summoned before, I slapped him across the face and stood up still straddling his body.
“Did you see it?”, I asked him as his eyelids fluttered open to reveal two teary and bloodshot eyes. “Did you see me?”.
For a few brief moments the Father did not speak, but as I leaned down towards him again, I heard the word I knew that I would.
And there it was, the beginning.
Twenty-eight years earlier my mother had named me Jesus Christ, but I never did feel quite up to the name. For all this time, I had insisted that people call me James. It was a more common name with much simpler expectations. Now though, for the very first time in my entire life, as I stood there looking into the Father’s eyes, he looking back into mine, I actually began to feel like I might be able to live up to that name.
As we sat together in our oversized and slightly worn brown leather chairs, Father Montgomery began to softly paw at his right check; the one I had slapped a few just minutes earlier. I smiled as he recounted to me all of the things I knew that he would. He told me that he had seen the Kingdom of Heaven. He said he had felt the love of God. He also said that now more than ever, he knew that his own life had meaning and purpose. Then he said to me
“…and you. I saw you too. You are divine. I understand now.”
It was the first time that someone on this earth besides my mother had seen me as I truly am. The gift of these visions I had bestowed on the Father was coming back to me in spades. The feeling I was getting from being “seen” for the very first time was almost indescribable.
As a wave of contentment began to wash over me, I sat back in my chair and studied the egg and dart crown molding along the ceiling.
“Will you tell your congregation of this?” I asked.
Not hearing a response immediately, I returned my gaze from the molding to the face of Father Montgomery. His eyes were still bloodshot, but to me, they looked like the eyes of a child; wide and wondrous.
“This is something they really need to see for themselves” he replied.
It was not the answer I had been hoping to hear, but it was the answer I somehow knew he would give. Seeing is believing, at least for these people and in this time.
Father Montgomery reached for his Bexley PCA pen that lay flat on his desk atop a small block of black marble indented ever so slightly on the top. The pen was a beautiful reddish black wood grain rimmed with gold and monogrammed with his initials. This particular pen was created in very limited edition and was only sold at an obscenely high price to raise money for some charity or another. How Father Montgomery had come into possession of this collectable pen, he never did say. He was however quite proud of the treasure.
He held it in his right hand as he reached into one of the drawers of his desk and pulled out a leather bound booklet that he usually used to make notes in for his sermons. First putting pen to paper, he then looked up at me for an instant to say, “I’d like to write down what I just experienced…so I don’t forget”.
Nodding, I sat back in my chair once again thinking of the future. What would I do next? Who else could I show this miracle to? Once the congregation of Father Montgomery’s church believed, then what? I felt within me a confidence that I had never felt before. The way that the Father now looked at me, the way that he now felt about me, maybe that in itself would give me the power I needed to show this world what they needed to see.
“Do you trust me?”, I asked Sarah as I looked into her green eyes and reached for her right hand with both of mine.
“Of course I do”, was her reply.
Sarah was the woman who had introduced me to Father Montgomery just three years ago. I was now twenty eight and she was twenty five. She was a very beautiful woman despite the fact that she looked much older than her years should have allowed for. This was probably due to the fact that she had spent a good deal of time living on the streets. She had married very young. Too young. Too young to be with such terrible man. Some men take trophy wives to show off and flaunt to the world. Other men take pet wives that they treat as dogs. They belittle them, break their wonderful spirits and train them to obey or suffer the consequences. Sarah had been a pet for nearly five years before deciding that having nothing at all was better than what she had with Mark; her bastard of a husband.
She had spent months going in and out of different shelters, surviving on state charity and doing her absolute best to stay out of trouble. At age twenty-four, her striking visage had been framed by long reddish brown hair that shone in the sun and looked to be softer than the petals of a lily. At twenty-four and a half, after just six months of living on the streets, her hair had turned black and gone lifeless. Once long and beautiful it now only reached just past her ears and hung off her scalp like spider webs long abandoned by their weavers. She had cut her hair with a razor blade one night after yet another man had offered to “take care of her”.
Often times in the shelters, she would encounter different men who, although appearing to be in rather similar circumstances to her own, had tried their best to convince her that she’d be better off with them than alone. She’d heard that whole wrap before though. It was a very similar thing that Mark had told her just before they got married, and just before the beatings started.
How to make them stop? How to make them leave her alone? She was no Sampson, but without her hair, at least some of her allure was gone. Alone at last, she could finally focus on herself. With time to reflect and time to introspect, she went from receiving soup and meals at the shelters, to handing them out in just six short weeks. It was there where I had met her.
“Good” I said in response to Sarah’s affirmation of her trust for me. “Then I need to show you something.”
I brought her hand to my face and kissed the top of it, then softly laid her hand back onto her lap. Then, I reached for her face with both of my hands, first touching it with just my fingertips, then pressing both palms to her cheeks and holding her there as a sculptor might hold a soft clay vase just before lowering it to the kiln. I leaned in close to her and whispered,
“I am going to show you God. I am going to show you who I really am.”
Quickly, I then slid my fingers down her soft, cool cheeks and onto her neck where I began to squeeze. She struggled at first, reaching for my wrists, but I held both my hands and my gaze firm, focusing on her ever-widening green eyes and telling her once again to “trust me”.
She let go of my wrists as I laid her down onto the thick carpet that we had been seated on. I was glad the carpet was so soft. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt her, and the softness of the rug made her landing on the floor that much easier. I put her head down on the rug, still looking into her eyes and said “I am going to show you heaven and it will be beautiful”,
After just another moment, her body went limp and I released my grip on her throat. I stood up for an instant then knelt back down, putting my thumbs to her eyelids just as I had done with Father Montgomery earlier that day. I opened her eyes and saw within them the innocence that must have left her the day she had met Mark. I let her lay there for just a few more moments before leaning in to give her a kiss on the forehead. Then, I let her eyes close and slapped her back to Earth with a swift yet careful left palm to the cheek.
“Did you see God? Did you see me?”, I asked still kneeling over her.
“Yes. I did”, she whispered.
It was rather unfortunate that the only way I could show people these visions was through such violence. I remember thinking this very thing the moment I begun to wrap my hands around Father Montgomery’s neck just yesterday. I knew that things would be so much easier if I could just take people to what I wanted to show them, instead of having to send them there on this potentially very dangerous journey.
“It was beautiful”, Sarah croaked as she struggled to regain her natural voice. “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“You never would have believed me” I said
“True…I guess”, she replied as she sat up fully and ran her fingers through what used to be her long locks of hair. “So why now? Why did you show me this now?”
“Because I could, I guess. Because it’s time”.
“Time?”, she asked.
“It’s time to show the world that I have come and time to spread the truth. The Divine Word has been jumbled and lost for far too long and now’s the perfect time to set it straight.”
At this, Sarah looked puzzled. I’m not quite sure whether it was my words that confused her, or whether it was the situation as a whole that was perplexing. Either way, she looked bewildered to say the least.
“I don’t know how I’m going to do it”, I said, anticipating her next question. “I just know that it’s why I’m here and it must be done”.
We sat close to each other on the rug of her living room for the next few hours as I tried my best to explain things to her. I did so not just for her benefit, but for mine as well. Talking things out was even helping me to understand them a little bit better.
“This world has become lost”, I told her. “Egocentric, self-centered, self absorbed, self-righteous and forgetful.”
“Forgetful?”, she asked.
“People have forgotten that there is more to this world than just themselves”.
“Tell me about it”, she said with a look of knowing all too well what I meant.
“It’s time to remind everyone that they are not alone.”
As the evening went on, Sarah asked less questions and just let me talk. Only just past midnight did she ask one question that, when it came to her mind, seemed to leave her both pale and cold.
“No. I’m not here for the rapture”, I replied to the question she had not yet asked with a broad smile on my face. “All those stories that have been told over the past two millennia about Jesus coming back and raising up the good as the wicked burn behind are just that, stories. I’m not here for any divine rapture. I’m just here to put things right.”
As we talked, I felt more and more of the confidence that I had begun to feel in Father Montgomery’s office. Having someone actually listen to me, believe me and trust in every word that I spoke was an amazing feeling.
We talked all night long and with each passing minute, Sarah’s faith in me seemed to grow as did my own confidence in myself. For twenty-eight years, I walked this earth not sure if my purpose would ever be fulfilled, but now, these last twenty-four hours seemed to be casting all that doubt away. For all the time that I had known Sarah, her eyes had revealed to me nothing but doubt. She doubted herself, she doubted the world and doubted the possibility of anything better for herself within it. Now though, for the very first time, I saw a flicker of hope within her eyes. I couldn’t wait to help that flicker grow to a fire.
I realized of course that I wasn’t going to be able to walk the Earth, half strangling to death every person I encountered in order to show them the splendors of heaven and teach them the lessons I knew they needed to learn. That’s why the Father, Sarah and myself developed a slightly different plan. Over the next few months we started holding small meeting groups at the Father’s Church. These groups usually consisted of anywhere between seven to thirteen people, all of whom were interested in “learning more about what religion had to offer them”. Once again the irony of the Father’s tagline for these meetings did not elude me. People came to learn more about religion, but what they ended up learning was so much more than what religion alone could possibly have offered them.
“In all of my fifty two years, thirty six of them in the service of the Lord, I have never learned so much as I did in one single day from this man”, is often how Father Montgomery would open up the meetings to the small yet interested flock of attendees.
The first time we would meet with a group, Father Montgomery would do most of the talking, only working me into the discussion every now and then. As time went on though, and as people returned for their second, third and fourth meetings, the Father would slowly but surely begin to step aside and let me do more of the talking. Eventually, by the fourth or fifty meeting, Father Montgomery would end up taking a seat at the front of the room next to Sarah, who attended ever single meeting, while I lead the group.
Seeing is believing, and both Sarah and the Father had seen the truth. It was through their infectious enthusiasm for my teachings and their complete conviction in my words that the groups would listen so intently. The congregation trusted Father Montgomery and listened intently when he had something important to say. For them, just seeing how excited he was about me, excited them as well. His trust became theirs and the same was true for his faith in me and my message.
For months, I spoke at these meetings, periodically combining two or three smaller groups into one larger one. By the time the group sizes were reaching forty to fifty people each, I decided it was time to show them a little bit more.
“Is there anyone here that would like to see in one instant, and with complete clarity, what it is I have been telling you about for these past few months?”, I asked after a long moment of silence during a meeting in early December 2005.
All looked interested, yet none raised their hand. I think that maybe they were expecting me to break out a slide projector, show them a movie or something like that. I needed to be a bit more specific.
“I need one volunteer. Someone who trusts me completely”, I said.
Both Sarah and the Father knew what was coming next. They rose from their seated positions at the front of the room to stand by me side.
“This will be the most amazing experience of your life”, the Father declared to the crowd.
“Come”, I said to a man seated in the second row who was trying desperately to catch my eye.
His name was Adam Leture. A man in his early forties, I knew of him only from what Father Montgomery had told me before. He came from a modest home but had done very well for himself starting up his own political consulting firm. He had joined the church six years earlier while looking for comfort after losing his wife to breast cancer.
“Come Adam,” I said taking a few steps in his direction. “Come.”
He rose from his seat, surveyed the room, then recaptured my eye as he made his way towards me.
“I am going to show you the Kingdom of Heaven. Do not be afraid”, I said quietly to him as he stood nervously between myself, the Father and Sarah. “Relax and have faith”.
What followed next was a very similar set of actions that had taken place between myself and the Father, then myself and Sarah those many months ago. At first, the crowd looked more confused than scared; maybe even more interested than shocked. This was good. A loud murmur however did arise as I put my hands firmly around Adam’s throat. At this, the Father asked in a very quiet but firm tone of voice that the group be silent. He told them to trust me.
As soon as I brought Adam back, I lowered my head to his and asked softly, “Did you see it? Did you see me?”
“Yes.” he replied. “Yes I did.”
At this, I decided to leave the room and told the Father, Sarah and Adam to relay to the group what they had all seen during their individual experiences. I know not exactly what they said after I left the room, but I do know that the next time we met, the group was larger and even more eager to learn than ever before.
I repeated this process three more times over the next ten days, allowing almost two hundred people to witness the whole ordeal. After Adam came Lindsay Lerner, then Marcus Dumont and Peter Gillum. I had been planning to do it for a seventh time until one day someone from the press decided to show up at the Father’s house on Sunday February the fifth, 2006.
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