But enough stalling...onward with the story.
Cyrus wants his kids and his followers back. Tanya and Ty are like, "You have to hear the truth," but Cyrus, like all unbelievers in Ellanjayland, is like, "La-la-la can't hear you."
It turns out Cyrus has a lot of dynamite stockpiled and threatens to blow up Vicki's hole-in-the-ground. But before we can get any real tension, any feeling that the YTF are in some kind of danger, we get divine intervention.
I'll sum it up: some guy calling himself Anak appears. If you're wondering Ellanjay do bother to give us some description of the guy. Anak is dressed in flowing robes and sandals. He delivers some very pretentious dialogue to both Vicki's group and Cyrus's. Like all prophets in these books, he sounds like a poorly-programmed computer, able only to speak in Bible-esque phrases. I will give Anak credit, though: he's much less irritating than the GT.
His message for Vicki's group is that they've done well, but it's time they left this hideout. His message for Cyrus is, "Repent! And how dare you believe in salvation through works!" Some of Cyrus's followers fall down in prayer but Cyrus is like, "Screw this!" and goes back to his hideout.
Anak tells Vicki that she'll see her friends again before the Glorious Appearing but that the one she loves will witness much pain and not return whole. I'm assuming this "one she loves" refers to Judd. Given what he's already witnessed, he should be suffering from a massive amount of PTSD, even worse than a character in a George RR Martin novel. No one is left unscathed in an End-of-Days scenario.
Anak disappears and the YTF are like "What do we do now?" Colin, in a rare show of sense, says "We GTFO." To which I say: well duh. When you receive incontrovertible proof of the divine, which happens regularly in the LB-verse, you act on it. So they start getting ready.
The second chapter begins with an interlude with Judd. He talks on the phone with Chang. Chang tells Judd that the Tribbles made it out of Chicago in time. The Tribbles are now scattered everywhere and apparently the GC are making plans regarding the United States. I admit, I'd normally ignore this kind of talk, but I thought I'd give you the dirt just in case there is some kind of payoff later in the book. It's a futile hope but I've got to cling to it.
The YTF are loading up vehicles with as much stuff from the hole-in-the-ground as they can. They're about to load up and go, but Mark is concerned about the computers, saying that if Anak was trying to warn them about a GC raid, then they can't just leave them behind because they contain invaluable information that the GC could use against Believers. But they can't just take the computers with them because apparently the tribbles use an ENIAC as opposed to a modern laptop which they can just fold up and take with them. Mark decides their only course of action is to blow up the hideout using the dynamite that Cyrus conveniently left behind. But Colin's like, "we'll do this together." So he and Mark lit the dynamite and run like hell.
But they don't run fast enough because Vicki and the others find Colin and Mark lying stunned in a ditch. They gather up Colin and Mark and leave, but as they do, they see GC vans coming. I'm going to guess this, like everything else in the story, will GNDN (Go Nowhere, Do Nothing).
In the midst of this, there's a brief interlude with Sam. I'll sum it up: he has a crush on Naomi Tiberias, but since I peaked at Wikipedia, I'll go ahead and spoil it for you: give up on your Sam/Naomi ship.
The chapter ends with Lionel bravely watching the news. Apparently the GC found the wrecked hideout. Lionel wonders where Vicki and the others are now.
Ah heck, I'll throw in a third chapter for you.
Vicki and the others are fleeing. They listen to the news on the radio. The GC have searched their hideout and arrested Cyrus and his remaining followers. In a rare show of compassion, Tanya is worried about her father, saying that if they don't accept God, there's no hope.
Meanwhile, Sam is flirting with Naomi, but the bulk of the Petra section is taken up with a sermon from Token Jew. :prepares to grind teeth: For those of you who want to follow along, he's preaching on Isaiah, chapter 43. Great, I get to see one of my favorite prophets dragged into this.
Naturally, Token Jew skips over what prophets like Isaiah spent most of their time on: social justice. After all, what relevance would those verses about taking care of the less fortunate have in the End Times? Honestly...
He goes on and on about how much God loves us, which might have relevance if He didn't spend most of this time killing His people horribly.
“Do not think that when trials and hardship come to your life that God has abandoned you. When you experience these deep waters and the heat of the fire, remember that these are for your good. The deep water is not designed to drown, but to cleanse. The fire will not consume—it is meant to refine.”
If anyone doubts that the Left Behind gospel can be summed up as "He beats me but it's okay and I'm real sorry, Mister Lord, for making you so angry in the first place," point them towards this little section. Because that's essentially what Ellanjay are saying.
After Token Jew finishes his sermon, another token Jew, Chaim (still calling himself Micah) speaks. Chaim's speech is basically preach and preach to the unsaved without ceasing and it would be nice if any of the characters actually followed that, instead of just standing around and smirking about how they got it all figured out. Chaim ends his speech with a word to the young people. I'm assuming that Ellanjay put this in for the young readers of this series (this is Children's fiction after all).
“In fact, in the Scriptures we read these words from the apostle Paul. ‘Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.’ So no matter what age you are, no matter how long you have believed in the true God of Israel, let us come before him now with those we know who still are outside the fold, and let us pray.”
Like I've said many times, it'd be nice if the characters actually practiced what they preached. Since when have we seen any of the Tribbles trying to witness by being a living example of God's love? They do a lot of talking, but they seem content to hide in their hole-in-the-ground while everyone else dies horribly of hunger and thirst.
What do you call it when the writers say something about their characters then have all their actions contradict what they've told us? Really shitty writing, that's what! Okay to be fair, you can have hypocrites as characters--in the real world, most people are hypocrites about something--but the thing about that is it only works when the writers are aware that their characters' actions and words aren't lining up. Ellanjay lack that awareness.
The chapter ends with Vicki and the others at the new hideout. Marshall, a character I've completely forgotten about, says that the news showed a shot of their people being told to take the Mark or die. Some did, but a few didn't and were killed. And that's where I'll leave you for this week.