A Humble Estate

Second Coming: Chapter 5

The two hours west out to the far reaches of the panhandle had us arriving at The Pastor’s home. The town was obviously smaller than what I was used to, but still quite accessible to a city boy. The Cummings residence, on the other hand, was something of a surprise. The entrance to the property was guarded by its own giant metal gate, leading to a paved driveway that could have had its own zip code. The home itself may have been called an estate if it were built at another time, with at least two stories in most places. With my car and the RV safely on the property, we closed the gates behind us and took our time settling into the dwelling.

Joseph’s wife and daughter began preparing dinner while The Pastor and the strange man confronted me, a reminder that I was, indeed, still in charge of managing some of the campaign. “Jude,” Joseph spoke up, leaning against his thighs from his living room recliner. “I’d say we’ve got a leg up now. Quite a fortunate turn. What’s our next move?”

I stared pensively at the ground as if I had a good idea. “The… news coverage is going to be all over the place now. You… you know how they are, right?”

Joseph frowned and shook his head. “They always want to turn a good thing bad. Scandal here, corruption there, painting everyone in a bad light.”

“Of course…” I hummed, peering to the strange man, pensively listening. “We have to take the next week or so carefully and slowly. The world… may not be ready, if you know what I mean. We need to provide… the truth, but in a way that people won’t be able to misunderstand.”

“Grassroots!” Joseph exclaimed, tapping his hand on the armrest. “That’s the term I was listening in to the past week. You know, Jude, I wasn’t supposed to be back here for another week. Last week’s sermon was broadcast all fancy-like over the Internet back to the church here, put it up on the big screen. It’ll do right well for us to do the same, but come out to my followers here about the truth of the matter. My parishioners are among the most accepting of folks, I guarantee it. Plenty are on the social networks, spreading the good word. That’s how we start, I reckon… that is of course, if you feel it’s correct.”

I held my breath and looked to the man. He gently smiled, but otherwise gave no indication of agreeing or disagreeing. “This is a small town, Joseph… I wouldn’t want to risk throwing it into chaos or anything.”

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! That’s Psalm 133:1, Jude.” The Pastor hummed pleasantly, looking to the man with an assured smile. “Even if not all of the folk here come to my sermons every Sunday, some not at all, I should hope the most of them are God’s children. Believers. They won’t start a ruckus.”

I went to bed that night in the guest room I was offered, hoping that I would wake up back right after in reality where I had only dreamed the whole series of events that day, and that we weren’t in the midst of some assumed divine being. I woke up sometime in the early morning, delirious and rather parched, looking for a source of water. On the ground floor, I came across the man, fully awake, sitting with the TV on to a channel of static. He looked at me through the pale light of the set without a word.

I cleared the rasp from my throat. “I don’t know what channels they get out here, or if they run during the night. You might try again in the morning. I’m surprised you were able to get it on, though.”

“Jude…” He finally spoke up. “Where is your faith, Jude? That is what people have in order to believe, Jude.”

I blinked my eyes and shuffled my feet on the carpet. “Some say seeing is believing. Personally, I’m seeing, and I still can’t believe it.”

“You do not believe, Jude? You do not have faith. What would make you believe, Jude?”

My dry lips rubbed against one another. I forced myself out of the spot and walked to the tile of the kitchen before glancing through the cabinets until finding one with a drinking glass. The cold water from the tap rolled into the vessel, filling it to the top, and my mind landed on my following action. The man was still in the same spot when I returned to the living room. I held the full container down carefully to him with my eyes expectantly on his. “You know what to do with this, right?”


“Into wine.” I said, nodding. “Can you?”

The man looked at the shining glass, up to my hand, then to me. I raised it up before my mouth a took a deep swig. “I see. I’m going back to sleep.”

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