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  1. Let me know what you think about it. If you'd like to receive email updates when new stories or parts come out visit my website http://thestarvingmissionary.weebly.com There is also a poll on whether you'd like to see more short stories or continued chapters. A tall slender man stood behind Cole and Cali. He had pulled a pistol from its holster and while he didn’t point it at them, he didn’t keep it hidden. “Must have been something to get through those traps, I hear they can be quite deadly.” The man took a step closer. Cali and Cole scrambled to their feet to back away. The man tisked and shook his head then motioned to his left and right. Ten men surrounded the pair, all had their guns ready. “What do you want?” Cole lifted his chin boldly. The man rolled his eyes, “You’d think if you were smart enough to crack that code to get the key you’d know when you were being robbed.” Cali spoke up with determination, “This book is an important discovery to the history of Christianity.” “Exactly.” “You can’t take it. It is meant to be shared with the world.” Cole interjected. The holstered his gun and moved forward with an outstretched hand, “Then the world can pay to have it.” Cole sighed defeated and offered the book up. “You did the right thing. Wouldn’t have wanted things to get messy now would we.” The man smiled through perfect teeth then motioned to one of his men who came with rope and tied Cole and Cali’s hands behind their backs. “What are you going to do to us now? We gave you the book.” Cali asked, her voice slightly raised with concern. The man bowed low, “My dear, I am the great Lucif Redding. I wouldn’t dream of hurting either of you.” As Lucif turned to leave he snickered, “I’ll let the desert do that.” Cole collapsed to the ground after being hit from behind. Cali screamed but soon followed suit as a man did the same to her. A voice called out to Cali in the darkness. It was soft but firm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 KJV). They woke with monstrous headaches. Each laid with their face half in the sand. Cali coughed out sand as she sat up. Cole moaned next to her. “Cole!” Cali kicked at his leg. “Ouch. What?” “Cole wake up.” He opened his eyes and finding his arms still tied jolted up. “What happened?” “Lucif stole the book and left us here.” As Cole pressed his back to Cali’s he sighed, “At least he didn’t kill us.” “Why do you think that is?” “I don’t know, and I don’t care the fact is we’re alive thanks to God.” Cole was able to untie the knot of ropes around Cali’s hands. She turned and helped him with his bindings before she stood and stretched. Heading to the entrance of the shipwreck, all she saw was a wasteland. “Well he took our camels.” She called over her shoulder. “He did say he’d let the desert kill us.” Cali swallowed hard, her mouth already parched. “It’s three days to the nearest oasis with camels. We have no food, no water, no rides. We won’t make it.” “Matthew 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” Cole put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her. “God will bring us through if it be His will.” “And if it isn’t His will?” Cali was still nervous. Cole shrugged, “Then I guess I’ll see you in heaven.” As strange as it sounded, the thought comforted Cali. Death wasn’t the end to her, she had eternal salvation in heaven. And if God wanted them to continue their journey, He would make a way. They set out with nothing but the clothes on their backs. It was night so the desert was cool but not silent. Whispers came among the wind against the sand. Lies that filled their minds with doubt. But Cole pushed on, following the stars towards the oasis and dragging Cali along with him. When the sun rose, they camped on the dark side of a sand dune, following the shade until there was none at the height of noon. They walked only at night and rested during the day and by the time they were too tired to move they weren’t even halfway to the oasis. Cali laid in the sun shaking from heat exhaustion. Her lips were cracked and bleeding and not a drop of sweat coated her skin. Cole held her in his arms and prayed for a miracle. “Luke 22:41-44 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Cole’s voice cracked, “God thank you for sending your son to die for us. We know that eternity welcomes us because we believe He died and rose again for our sins. Now I ask of you please save us. If not both of us, let Cali live to carry your word to the ends of the earth. Allow her to go on. But not my will but your will be done.” As Cole finished his eyes grew heavy and the sun beat down on him, beckoning him into a deep sleep. With his eyes fluttering closed Cole heard a shout that sounded far away. Then the darkness took him.
  2. “It’s so hot!” Cali fluttered a fan in front of her face trying to ease her discomfort. “It’s not hot you’re just dramatic.” Cole continued to dig, the hole in the sand was a good six feet deep now. “Easy for you to say, you were born here. My delicate skin isn’t used to such extremes.” “Get over yourself,” As the shovel went into the sand once more, it hit something and sent a thud echoing through the ancient shipwreck. Both Cali and Cole stood in silence. The excitement vibrated through each of them until Cole finally spoke. “Hand me the brush.” Cali scrambled by the side of the hole and tossed the brush to him. He caught it and began meticulously removing the dust from below. A large square was revealed with an inscription written in ancient Greek. Cole squinted at the characters and tried to decipher the message. “Here lies God’s temple, beware all who enter. Your faith shall be tested. Only the worthy shall succeed.” Looking up at Cali he smiled, “Hand me the crow bar.” She did as he asked but was hesitant, “Should we be doing this Cole? That sounded pretty heavy how do we know the legend isn’t true.” “Every legend has a wisp of truth in it. But we can’t be afraid to try. Think about it Cali! No one’s been in here for a thousand years. We could be the first to explore it.” “We also could be the first to die.” “This isn’t a movie, if you’re too scared then I can go alone.” A loud hiss filled the room as the stone was unsealed. Then a rush of wind coursed through the entire ship, sounding like a howl of agony. “God is with us, I’m not scared. I just don’t feel right about this.” Cole struggled to lift the stone slab to the side. Then through pants he spoke, “Then don’t come. I’ll be fine on my own.” “You’re not leaving me alone up here. I’m going.” “Then hand me a torch and let’s go.” They entered the tunnel through the hole. The first thing they noticed was the wind, it breathed through the hall as if the place is alive. Cali quickly pulled out her camera to document everything. As they walked down the long corridor, she clicked a picture of the entryway. She glanced at the picture then suddenly grabbed Cole and yanked him back. “Ouch! What is it?” Cole rubbed his shoulder. “There’s writing on the stones.” Cole looked up at the entryway and shook his head, “I don’t see any writing.” “I can see them on my camera if I sharpen the image a bit. See?” She held the camera out to him and he took it in his hands. “Humble yourself in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you. James 4:10” Cali studied the entrance for a moment, “What do you think it means?” “They are using humble as a verb what is the action of humbling yourself? To be humble is to lower yourself to someone in dignity and importance according to Webster's dictionary.. Lower… Lower! We have to crawl through the entrance.” “Why? There’s nothing there.” “We have to have faith.” Cali nodded and they both got down on their knees and began to crawl toward the entrance. As they came closer, Cole discovered a thin wire just above his head, it was knee high. “Careful, I don’t know what this does and I don’t want to find out.” Cali got down even lower, “You don’t have to tell me twice.” On the other side, they stood and let out a breath. Together, they continued on, Cali took pictures and checked every entrance before they came to a great hall. It was filled with all kinds of treasure made of gold and silver, embedded with jewels of all kinds. “Wow! God is definitely tempting us. Look at all this!” Cole exclaimed. Cali shook her head, “James 1:13-18 When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” Cole lit up, “So what you’re saying is we should take all of this?” Cali looked around, suspicious of everything. Looking down she discovered another stone with writing on it. “1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Cole’s shoulders sagged. “You’re right let’s stay on task. It’s real treasure that we seek.” They walked through the gold filled room and reached a wall with a keyhole. “Wouldn’t it be terrible if this was the wrong key?” Cole laughed. “Don’t even joke like that. This has to be it; we went through so much to get it, I’d cry if it didn’t work.” Cali took the key from around her neck and inserted it into the slot. She gave it a turn and heard a bolt move. Then she heard gears turning and more bolts moving until a light pop came from a crack in the wall and the stones suddenly moved together to reveal a door. The room on the other side was dark and almost empty. A table rested on the opposite side with a box. The floor was all stones with verse locations written on them in Greek. Cali stepped forward only to be pulled back by Cole in the nick of time. As her foot stepped on a tile, a slew of poison darts flew out from the walls towards her. They both ducked and narrowly missed a slow death. Cole swallowed hard, “I think I should go and you wait here. I'm better at Greek and I’ll ask for help when I need it. “How are you going to get across?” “You stepped on 1 John 3:8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.’” “So?” “So, All these first verses talk about either evil or good, Satan or God. You need to step on the ones about God and good.” “Fine you can go but tell me which ones you’re about to step on beforehand.” “Will do. The first should be Psalm 121:7-8 The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Cole stepped out onto the corresponding tile and nothing happened. They both exhaled with relief. He looked over his shoulder at Cali, “2 Corinthians 11:3, Acts 5:3, or Proverbs 3:7-8” “Proverbs 3:7-8! ‘Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.’” Cole nodded and landed on the next tile safely. “Ok I’m not sure about these three, John 8:44, Matthew 16:23, or Genesis 3:1-5.” Cali bit her lower lip and shook her head, “I don’t know they are all about Satan.” “Wait the next row has Psalm 34:14 ‘Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.' I think I can make that if I jump.” “But it also talks about evil what if you’re wrong?” “If I am, let God judge me for it.” Cole squatted down and then leapt into the air aiming for the tile a row ahead. He made the landing and was able to stop himself from falling over. He stepped off the tiles onto the stone stairs leading up to the table. Cali watched him make his way up the steps to the box. He lifted the lid and smiled back at her. “It’s here!” Cali sighed in disbelief. Cole pulled out a large book and put it into his sack then hopped down the stairs preparing to come across the tiles once more. But as he stepped on the first tile, a clicking sound began under the box. The table began to rise and the room began to shift. Cole turned to Cali and jumped to the next tile as quick as he could. Then making it to the final tile he grabbed her hand. The two ran into the treasure room which was filling with water rapidly. By the time they made it to the corridors, the water was to their knees. They quickly sloshed to the final entrance and forgetting the wire, ran through it. A large stone dropped from the ceiling and landed behind them, unsettlingly close. They scrambled up the opening and made it safely into the shipwreck. Cole and Cali laid on their backs breathing heavily. They looked at each other and laughed nervously until they were finally certain they were safe. Then Cole pulled the book from his bag to inspect it. It hadn’t gotten wet thank goodness. “The first complete Greek Bible.” Cali smiled. “Worth so much more than money.” A voice came from behind them, “That it is. And I thank you for retrieving it for me.”
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