And the Heavens Shall Fall - Tentative Release Date August 22, 2012
When an earthquake flattens New York City, the devastation is phenomenal and loss of life beyond comprehension. The world is in shock.
More than that, it is the first sign.
There are those chosen to see it.
A firefighter, newspaperman, thief, engineer and a priest are all strangers across the country thrown together. All of them believe it is the beginning of the end. Together they work diligently to try to save humanity and stop the inevitable.
But is it already too late?
For thousands of years it has been predicted. The prophesy has begun.
The mountains will crumble … and the Heavens shall fall.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25 - 2:35 a.m.
A car horn blasted continuously just outside of Fire Station Fifteen, breaking the dead silence of the early morning. It overshadowed Jude Dombroski’s painful grunt as he sprang up in his bed. The pain, not the horn, stirred him despite the fact that he was deep in a Codeine induced sleep. It seared from the back of his head like a burning knife, throbbing his temples and pounding in a complete circle across his forehead. It had been that way for one week, growing worse with each passing day. He breathed out heavily, like a woman in labor, but the headache was at its worst.
Looking around the sleeping quarters of the fire station, Jude checked to see if his scream woke anyone. He brought his legs up close to his chest, rocking back and forth as he dug the palms of his hands deep into his eye sockets.
The air was cold but Jude began to sweat. A knot formed in his gut and a wave of nausea grew with each pounding strike of pain.
Clenching his jaws, his stomach churning tighter, he flung the covers off and swung his legs over the bed. Unsteady on his feet, he nearly tripped over his boots as he made a mad dash to the bathroom.
His upheaval was loud as he hovered over the commode. Whatever the reason for it, he didn’t feel better as his stomach emptied the last of its contents. Jude Dombroski felt like he was dying.
After flushing, he turned on the water in the sink, frantically splashing his face. The coldness felt good. In his desperation, he barely noticed it running down his forearms across his chest and soaking the rim of his boxer shorts.
Nothing was working.
“Oh, God,” he grunted as he turned off the water and grabbed a towel. “Please make it stop.” He pressed the towel to his face. Nothing had ever fazed Jude Dombroski. No amount of pain from burns or falls that he had taken as a firefighter slowed him down. Nothing, that was, until the week long battle with a headache.
“Jude,” the whispering deep voice called to him.
Jude lowered the towel. He shifted his eyes over to Ben who leaned in the doorway watching him.
“You look like hell,” the short, husky man commented.
“I feel . . .” Jude squinted. “I feel worse.”
“Maybe you should go back to the hospital, let them check . . .”
“No.” He shook his head, gripping the edge of the sink. “They said there was nothing wrong. I can’t figure it out, Ben. I can’t take this pain.”
“What about the pills they gave you?” Ben questioned. “Are they helping at all?”
“No.” Jude raised his eyes. “I feel like my head is about to explode. I feel like . . .” Suddenly he paused, his hands released the grip on the sink.
“What?” Ben asked. “What is it?”
Jude’s eyes widened and he stood up straight. “It stopped.”
“The pain,” Jude spoke almost in shock. “The pain just stopped.”
“Maybe the pills you took just kicked in.”
“I took them hours ago. An awful long time to start working, don’t ya’ think?” Jude looked down at his hands, they no longer shook. “Amazing.” The corner of his mouth raised in a half grin. He opened and shut his hand forming a fist. “My hands don’t even feel weak anymore.” He shook his head once in a shudder. “Whoa.”
“What’s wrong now?”
“I feel good.” Jude gave a slight chuckle as he placed his hands on his hips nodding. “It’s like I never was sick.”
“Your face is still pale. I really think it was those pills, Jude. Maybe you should go lie back down and don’t push it.”
“Maybe you’re right. Hey, Ben?” Jude stopped walking from the bathroom. “Maybe I should just stay up. What if I go back to sleep and that headache comes back?”
“Then you take another one of those pills the doctor gave you.” Ben patted him on the back. “You had me a little worried, Jude. I’ve never seen anything bring you down.”
“That’s true,” Jude whispered as they re-entered the second floor sleeping room. “I don’t think I ever felt so . . .” Jude stopped speaking when the fire station dog barked loudly, running in circles. His animal cry repeated almost in a warning mode. “Hey, Jugs. Hey!” Jude tried to catch the retriever. “Hey, knock it off!” He scolded in a whisper. “Ben?”
Ben scratched his head. “I don’t know.” He lifted his shoulders in a shrug. “I’ve never seen him . . .” Ben turned toward the row of four windows. Almost as if an echo, there was more barking coming from outside. “Did he start every dog barking in the neighborhood?”
Ignoring the loud yell of ‘Someone shut that dog up!’, Jude moved to the window with Ben. “And cat.” Jude commented as he listed to what sounded like a jungle of domestic animals gone mad. “What is going on out there?” He faced the dog. “Jugs, what do you hear?” Jude’s body jolted suddenly. “Ben? Do you hear that?” He lifted the window slightly. “Do you hear that? What is that?”
Ben listened as he leaned closer to the crack of the open window. A deep rumbling, loud, came from the distance and grew stronger. “Sounds like a tractor trailer convention.”
“It sounds like a . . .” Before Jude could finish his words he felt it, a slight vibration from beneath the soles of his bare feet against the cold floor. The rumbling sound grew louder and before any more sentiments could be spoken, the four windows exploded simultaneously spewing shattered glass.
Ben ran frantically. His blood coverdbody had glass protruding from every square inch.
“Ben.” Just as Jude extended his arm, the noise level reached its highest peak. Jude never made it to Ben. The floor shook violently.
Ceiling plaster drizzled upon him moments before huge chunks of ceiling fell to the buckling floor. Jude attempted in vain to help Ben..
Jude desperately fought to keep his balance as the floor buckled. He knew he had to get out. As he reached for his clothes, a cracking rip moved across the floor, racing to him like a snake. The long crack opened into a canyon and the floor crumbled down, taking Ben along with it.
Lifting what articles of clothing that he could, Jude raced for the pole, grabbed it and slid down. His feet set on the quaking ground just seconds before the pole bent, curving it into a completely different object.
Fleeing from the fire house, Jude’s mind raced with questions. Was there an explosion nearby? Maybe a gas line under the station? The moment he reached the street, Jude knew. It wasn’t just the fire station. Rumbling and screams filled the night air. Lost and feeling total desperation, Jude watched as his fire station, the neighborhood he loved and protected, and everything around him . . . crumbled before his eyes.