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Synopsis

An unlikely trio must come together in an attempt to stave off Armageddon itself in Frank Heiberger’s riveting new thriller, The Seventh Seal.
The book from Revelations has been found…and worldwide earthquakes are due to opening the sixth seal.
With only one more seal preventing the Apocalypse, they must find the book to stave off the End Times.


Chapter 4

Georganas

Rebecca wasn’t looking at the moon. She was at home, where her father had told her to stay and keep safe. She was sipping Ouzo and alternating her attention between the overwhelming broadcasts and the quiet streets below her third floor window. Normally, her perfect for singles area was busy with people out and about, enjoying their evenings, but few people were out tonight and they seemed to be rushing to get somewhere. Or they were like the one group at the street corner café, who maybe needed to pretend it was a typical night. The usually dark apartments around her were almost all full and lit up, their occupants glued to their televisions as much as she was.
The estimates of the crop and livestock losses were mind blowing. Half of the wheat, corn, potatoes, cattle, and hogs in the nation; the beef industry in Omaha, all wiped out. Just gone. There were reports of ranchers vowing to stick it out and save their herds despite having the ash already descending on them. They vowed to resist forced evacuation with violence, if necessary. Which wasn’t likely to happen, per the analysts, because the sheriffs were already too busy helping people that wanted to live.
There were also those who weren’t leaving the larger cities and towns. They expressed expectations of hardships, but expected that power and water systems would continue to operate or get quickly restored despite the ash and severe damage. The analysts expressed opinions that they had no idea what was coming at them. Some equated the decisions to stay with committing suicide.
The good news stories were emerging, as well; stories of people uniting together to help each other in escaping Denver, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis. The fineness of ordinary people that always came out in terrible times was beginning to show. That gave Rebecca a sense of hope. It was giving a lot of people confidence that they would get through this without a descent into Hollywood-esque anarchy.
She got her answer to where the next fault line was. It was the Caribbean plate. Another earthquake struck and Haiti wasn’t the only island it hit. From Jamaica to Puerto Rico, every island suffered major damage. The images were more of the same. Fires, mudslides, collapsed buildings, and crying people trying to survive. Cuba was mum, but you knew they had also been hurt. Heavy tremors had been felt as far off as Miami and throughout the Keys.
And then it happened.
The one thing everyone had feared, as though everything would have been all right, had it not happened. But it did. The San Andreas Fault didn’t just slip. It came apart.
Rebecca stared at the television in horror with her hands to her mouth at a five second video from a screaming reporter and then nothing. Contact had been lost. From northern California to the Baja, the coast had gone silent, not even cell phones were operating. No one had a clue what had happened in those first few hours although the conclusion was clear. For all communication to have gone out, including satellite phones and radio, it had to have been the worst anyone had ever imagined.
Rebecca had to turn away to catch her breath. Gaping and with her heart dropping through the floor, she stood at the window with her back to the television, carrying on with its bleak newscast.
That was it. Everything was over. There could be no doubt that the aftershocks from Yellowstone were spreading and were going to destroy countries around the world.
This was the Apocalypse.
They were in the End Times.
There was nothing anyone could do.
At the now empty street corner café, the waitress was sitting alone and hunched over at one of the tables. Her face in her hands, she was sobbing inconsolably.
No!
The thought forced itself into Rebecca’s mind. This couldn’t be the end. That was impossible. That was all just biblical lore and movie fodder. There was no such thing as the End Times. She was over-reacting, letting fear rule her emotions and thoughts. She needed to recover her perspective, to get reason back into her thoughts. She tried calling Pullman, but the circuits were busy.
Instinctively, she grabbed her keys and wallet to drive out to his house, but then she froze in her tracks at the front door. Why had she called Richard before her parents, and then not even thought of calling them? She stared at her astonished reflection in the hallway mirror and questioned herself. All night long, as she watched the newscasts, she had been wondering how to adapt The Keep and their operations to whatever new realities were going to shake out. She hadn’t and didn’t want to imagine a life doing anything that didn’t involve Richard.
She wasn’t in love with him. At least she didn’t think she was. Then again, her love life had been so bad, maybe she hadn’t ever really understood what being in love meant. She knew it should mean you wanted to be with someone every day, sharing the same world. She knew that was how she felt about Richard. Only she had never felt any stirrings, when around him. She would be the first to say he was a handsome man, even challenge one to try denying it. But she had never felt anything… special.
Well, that wasn’t entirely true, she had to admit to herself. Richard had been amongst her first crushes as a teen. At the time he’d been with Jan Kessler and away more than he was home. Like any hormonal young girl, Rebecca had felt a lot of things about a lot of people. The crush on Richard had faded away with everything else. Or had it? Had it merely slipped into the background, waiting for her and their relationship to mature? There had to be some reason she was thinking of him first and over anyone else.
She found that she had retreated from the door and was sitting on her sofa, staring at nothing in particular, while she thought. She also found that what filled her with the most trepidation was not the confusing feelings running through her just then, but how he might react to someone who was basically his little sister telling him she was confused about them and their relationship.
She set her keys and wallet down on the coffee table and sat back, vacantly watching the newscast, while she waited and hoped the confusion would clear itself up.

While Rebecca sat with uncertainty filling and surrounding her, and while Pullman sipped his beer and looked up at a moon he knew a lot of people couldn’t see that night, Jan Kessler was trying to get a question answered. She feared she already knew the answer, or rather dreaded what she suspected. She had seen the changes coming over Weissman since the end of the previous year. She didn’t want to believe what she was seeing. She didn’t want to believe that her benefactor had turned on her, that he had turned on all of them.

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Frank Heiberger

Chicago, USA

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