The majority of Haven had retired to eat dinner. Later, some of them would visit each other’s houses for a Bible study. Brad wanted to avoid them all. He walked across the fields, pausing a moment to gaze on the medicinal plots, Farmer and others had worked so hard to cultivate. They had become a testament, perhaps a legacy to the good he had done for the settlement.
With a nod of satisfaction, he continued on for his house, trembling along the way. Sometimes he felt that way at the end of the day. This eve, he couldn’t tell whether he trembled from exhaustion or from fear. With head lowered, he avoided exchanging greetings with Mrs Leatherworker on the central path among the houses. Finding his, he detected a neat bundle on his doorstep in the dark of the new night. He stooped to pick up the bundle and activated his night vision lens to read the attached note.
Haven’s prayers are with you, Missionary – Seamstress.
Unfolding the collection of clothing, Brad held in his hands a flame covered unitard and black mask. He hugged it tightly to himself.
“Bless them, Lord,” he whispered, almost tearfully.
He entered his house and closed the door after himself. God was omnipresent, and therefore, in his house. Brad showered, changed into fresh clothes and collapsed onto his bed. For minutes after, he stared at the ceiling, devoid of any thoughts; grateful that God didn’t speak with him. Brad didn’t feel like talking. In time, his eyes gradually closed as God watched in companionable silence.
Brad awoke, feeling no apprehension; only that he had a job to do. He changed into the new clothing and harness and looked in the mirror. The red flame covered attire didn’t quite match the one of his memory.
It doesn’t matter he told himself.
He took up his pack, already containing a few helpful plants, then noticed his Bible on top of the bedside drawers. Without ado, he thrusted it inside the pack and cinched tight the straps, completing his survival kit and then ventured outside. The mask and goggles dangled in his hand as he trod the path towards the gates. Haven’s population stood with lowered heads in the compound near the tower.
“He’s here,” he overheard one of the males say.
They looked up and regarded him as he approached Pastor.
“Let’s prayy, son,” the older man said.
Brad nodded and accepted Pastor’s hand at the rear of his head. They lowered heads, touching foreheads as Pastor prayed for Brad’s success and safe return.
“Amen,” he said.
Brad raised his head. “Amen.”
He waited as his “family” offered last minute blessings. As much as he loved them, and valued their input, he wanted to get it over with.
“I’ve got to go now,” he said, cutting it short.
He made to move.
“Wait, Brard. Therre’s someone else warnts to gi you their blessing,” Pastor said.
Following Pastor’s motioning of his hand, he turned. Chris and Shauna smiled, standing behind Moriah. The little girl said nothing; she rarely did, although Brad detected a certain fondness since she joined the settlement.