Ravens Cove, An Iconoclast Thriller (Book 1)
The Spiritual Battle for a Small Alaska Town
By Mary Ann Poll
America’s Lady of Supernatural Thrillers
OUT OF THE ASHES
Paul’s heart pounded in his chest when he realized the direction of the smoke and light.
“Please God, please. Not the church!” He broke into a full run. He reached the street where the small house of worship sat.
It was his church. It was burning. Worse, a mob stood in front of it cheering with each snap of a burned beam. Paul’s heart broke. His resolve broke with it.
“Why, God, why?” he whispered, tears running down his face, “have I been so wrong in Your calling?”
The crowd pushed in on him.
He knew these people; they were parishioners of the Congregational Alliance, each and every one. The victorious gleam in their eyes said it all.
“No reason to stay now, is there Pastor?” Gary the librarian’s assistant spat at him.
“We’d help you pack up the church, but there isn’t much left. So should be easy for you and your wife to get out of here,” Erwin yelled.
Bart assessed the crowd. He knew a mob mentality, and he knew Paul was in physical danger. The hatred in these people was alive. He put himself between Paul and the throng.
Ken came up and stood beside him, his gun drawn.
The crowd stopped moving forward.
Ken held out Bart’s .357. “Forgot to give you this earlier. Kat thought you’d want to have it.”
“Thanks.” Bart holstered his weapon. He looked into the mob. “What is wrong with you people?” he yelled, “this man is a member of our town! He has been for months. What has he done to you?”
“He lies. All he preaches is guilt and fear!” Erwin screamed. “He’s not welcome in this town!”
“Not your call, Erwin.”
The horde pushed forward.
Bart and Ken held their ground.
A rock whistled past Ken’s ear. Ken fired a shot into the air.
Bart stayed Ken’s hand. “You people go home before something happens we all regret.
No one moved.
“Get out of here, or so help me, I will arrest each and every one of you right here, right now.”
Grandma Bricken, Kat, and a few members of Paul’s church stepped out of the shadows. They stood, unified, with Ken and Bart.
The members of his church joined him, holding hands, bowing heads.
A small dirt cloud rose up in front of the angry mob. It started twirling. As it did, a cold breeze began to blow.
The wind increased in strength until the throng could no longer hold their ground. Erwin fell backward. Gary followed. It was like life-size dominoes—one by one the mob toppled, falling into the person behind.
The dirt cloud vanished as fast as it appeared, and the wind stopped.
Confused and frightened, the crowd scattered.
“Does freak weather occur here often?” Ken spoke to Bart out of the side of his mouth.
“Sometimes, God answers prayer in a way no one can dispute. I believe it’s called a miracle,” Grandma said.
The fire department arrived, yanked the hoses from the truck and sprayed the structure, now completely engulfed in flames.
Tears again streamed down Paul’s face. “Why, God, have You allowed the Evil Foe to destroy this place of worship? Why have You allowed the Congregational Alliance to prosper when they, indeed, serve Satan?”
Bart overheard Paul’s plea. Sadness, then anger, gripped his heart. He placed a hand on Paul’s shoulder. “Until the fire is out and we can assess the damage, there is nothing you can do. Why don’t you come with us?”
Paul lifted his red, tear-stained eyes to Bart’s clear, angry ones and nodded.
He, Ken, and Bart turned from the wreckage of Paul’s treasured little church.
Walking toward Main and past his church goers, Paul overheard them discussing where to hold their next service and how to recover from the loss.
God’s promise to make bad work for the good of His beloved children hit Paul like the proverbial brick. The fire and frightening mob emboldened his small congregation, bringing them even closer together. His spirit lifted. Paul fell to his knees and called out to the
church members. “Come. Join me in prayer.”
The small group gathered around Paul, then knelt.
“Dear God, You have brought this church family together in only a way You can. Please grant us the grace and wisdom to forgive these people, dear Lord, and we ask You forgive them, too. In Jesus’s mighty name. Amen.”
“Amen.” The little gathering echoed.
Paul stood. He strode over to Ken and Bart.
“It’s time to bring this battle to our enemy. He’s messing with the wrong church.”
“He’s messing with the wrong town!” Bart answered.
“Then let’s go get some well-needed, even if they aren’t believable, answers,” Ken said.