When Tomorrow Came
In December 2011, when Nate Andersen opens a letter addressed to the previous tenant, he throws himself into a story that has been unfolding for the past 150 years (Or is it five centuries? A millennium? Maybe 26,000 years?) that many thought would culminate on December 21, 2012—a date that some considered to be the end. But when tomorrow came, it turned out that it was only the beginning—the beginning of the end … or an elaborate hoax.
When Tomorrow Came
2012 is just the beginning…
Bound by Time: Book One
From the Arc of the Covenant Series
by ND Merritt
Truth is a beat, steady and undeniable. If we listen quietly to the beat, we all hear the same rhythm. With eyes closed and mind opened, the rhythm works its way inside, and we know truth. But in time, that beat moves us to move—step forward, step back, sway side to side. Arms reach up, out, and back. Each of us dances to that beat on the stage of his life.
These stages are all around us, beneath my feet, beneath your feet. In our own ways, by our histories and presence, we find the movements that best suit us, make us comfortable. Each of us interprets the beat in his own way, moving each of us differently and beautifully. For some, that choreography of histories leads them to dance the same steps. The shared stage brings with it comfort and the beauty of uniform motion, synchronized footfalls. But even there, the arm of one sweeps an arc greater than the arm of another. One person jumps slightly higher; one lands with a bit more grace… One falls. The choreographer will either assist you or reprimand you … or throw you out of the ensemble, leaving you to dance on your own.
But through it all, that beat remains the same.
Funny thing though … This book has absolutely nothing to do with dancing. It is, however, a metaphor for the matter and meat of this tale.
Contrary to what many people claim, truth, in and of itself, is not subjective. However, truth is open to interpretation when the myriad of facts and variables are not known in full. When truth is recorded by men, that interpretation creeps in. When time passes, when memories fade, the gap created by interpretation grows. When the history of truth is repeated, there is more room for interpretation in its telling.
And so we have danced around the truth over the centuries, a sequence of steps, a routine that has changed so many times that understanding it is no longer routine as it opens itself—or rather as we open it—to interpretation.
…On a completely unrelated note, here is a story where I, the author, am telling the story of Nate Andersen who is listening to the story of a story and beyond of creation, history, and future.
Enjoy the recital.
Introduction: The Nascent Days
December 21, 2011 (18.104.22.168.14 2 Ix 2 Kankin G3)
Darkness permeated the kitchen, giving way to a hint of light beyond the dining room, the living room, around the corner, down the hallway, into the guest bedroom-turned-office, over Nathaniel “Nate” Bran Andersen’s shoulder beginning with the 19-inch flat screen monitor showing the latest blog post in development for Rainy Monday.
Brown Paper Packages
A package arrived today. The delivery guy left it inside the door while I was at lunch. No return address—that label left blank. The only other writing besides my address read Do not open before December 22, 2011 12:30AM. I placed a few calls, but no one admits to sending it. Despite my curiosity, I’m waiting until Christmas Day. That’s just four days away, a manageable challenge. I’m alone for Christmas this year. I think it’s the first time ever without some family member. Ever since Dad discovered Viagra and Mom started seniors tantric yoga…it’s a third or fourth honeymoon in Austria…
Nasty. Anyway, I’m waiting on a few more responses to my inquiry about who this is from. Brown paper packages wrapped up with strings… This is one of my favorite things. It’ll give me something to open on Christmas morning… I know, pretty pathetic. Aside from that, there were a couple of Christmas cards and the usual bills and whatever for Andrea … whoever she is. I need to find out where she lives and get things forwarded to her.
Making the calls, I came across the number for Angela, she died over a year ago after recurring battles with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. That explains why she never answered my emails. It’s sad really. Anyway, I deleted that contact. (Sounds cold; doesn’t it?) I called Robert, but the outgoing message was a female voice, and unless something has significantly changed, he may be a ladies’ man but by no means a lady. There’s no telling how many of my other contacts are outdated. Hmm, maybe that’s why I’m alone this Christmas. I obviously don’t make the effort to stay in touch with friends long passed.
Anyway, back to the package. Weird isn’t it? Less than an hour to go before I can open it … well, before I should open it. It would be nice to know who sent it before I do. I’ll see if I can hold out until Christmas.
“Save and post,” Nate confirmed as he scratched the top of Sheldon’s head who lay sleeping in his lap. “Yep, just you and me this year, buddy.” Sheldon spent more time in Nate’s lap in colder weather. Like the lights, he used the heat as little as possible to cut down on his expenses. Besides, the rumbling of the furnace annoyed him and always startled Sheldon. He needed to use the bathroom but didn’t want to disturb her, so he decided to hold out as long as he could.
June 6, 2011 (22.214.171.124.16 12 Cib 4 Zotz’ G3)
Darkness surrounded the building as the security light in the parking lot randomly switched on then off. This late in the evening, the neighbors had all turned off their porch lights. It would take several minutes for the security light to come on again. Some security, about as effective as the video surveillance signs posted about the property even though there were no working cameras since property management failed to renew the contract.
A tall and feeble man, in his late forties or so, fumbled for his keys in the dark with his free hand. His other hand gripped tightly to a plastic bag wrapped around something about a foot long. As he approached the door, he could see the faint flickering light of the television from an otherwise dark room.
He opened the door to the sounds of moaning, disappearing behind it just as the security light came on again, followed by the click of the deadbolt popping into place isolating the inside from the outside. After a few moments of the muffled sounds of the television, other voices grew louder. The neighbors could certainly hear arguing through the walls, arguing that grew to a more fevered pitch with yelling and possible screams. Irritated by the disturbance, one of the neighbors called 911 when banging on the wall failed to quiet them down, though the noise moved from the living room towards the bathroom or bedrooms.
Within seven minutes, the police arrived. Half naked and clutching his bloodied arm, the roommate came running out the door, blood dripping from the foyer, to the porch, and down the sidewalk to the police car.
July 28, 1563 (126.96.36.199.9 11 Muluc 17 Pop G2)
Darkness shrouded the ruins, giving way to a hint of light moving through the trees. The light grew as it approached the chosen location, wandering from tree to tree. Tomás de Bierzo would have preferred making his way without the torch because agents of the Provincial could be anywhere, but clouds rolled in to block the moon and starlight. As the clouds hid the light, so the first drops of rain hid his occasional tear. Followed by his older brother Bartolomeo, Tomás maneuvered his way through the ruins of the ancient city. He could never forget the events of the last several days and wanted to protect what he knew from others and to do as he promised with the contents of the satchel hung over his shoulder. The time might come when the truth would be revealed, but that time would be long after he was no longer of this earth—or a part of it rather—concealed until such a time when it might be needed and understood. At his chosen location in the ruins he found his starting point and measured off the steps in each direction, carefully calculated and committed to memory. Each of the past nights while staying with his brother at his nearby encomienda, he had been here without anyone’s knowledge, his brother accompanying him only on the previous two nights. Using the simple tools they could take with them—chisels and wooden mallets—they had crafted an opening at a precise point on the stone facade. Now, he pried the stone loose, sliding it out to reveal the cache angled upwards ending at a small ledge to prevent water from reaching the back. Bartolomeo thought the cache to be considerably larger than needed but chose not to question his brother. Pulling the satchel over his head, Tomás caught the seam of the shirt, ripping it just under the arm—his brother’s shirt, which he had borrowed, knowing that he needed to buy clothes of his own. From the satchel, he removed a plain wooden box (measuring 12 inches by 12 inches by 9 inches) placing it deep into the shadow before forcing the stone back into place. Bartolomeo had not expected there to be a box, which fit precisely into the space. Anyone who knew what to look for may be able to find it, but to an untrained and unsuspecting eye, the edges of the stone blended into the natural degradation of the building. This marked his third burial with which Bartolomeo had provided him greatly needed assistance. Unfortunately, he still had a fourth burial ahead of him, and his brother would not be able to help him with this one.
September 12, 986 (10.7.18.14.6 12 Cimi 4 Muan G7)
Darkness pressed tight against the length of the coast to the distant and unseen horizon, yielding to faint flashes far to the east. Uuc Ek’ Chan (Seven Black Sky) sat at the line of trees at the edge of the world while keeping watch with his brother Ikan Nacon (Star God of War). “Chac Xib Chaahk approaches.” He is Red Man Chaahk, bringer of rain, rain deity of the east.
“The water rises, brother Chan. Chaahk is angry.” Ikan stepped back into the trees as a wave crashed against the rocks. He seldom ventured this close to the great waters but would never reveal his distaste for it, would not admit to a fear of it. A warrior could not be afraid, and he wanted to be a warrior one day. “Three Stones is a short walk from here. There we can rest. There we can find food, drink, be dry from the coming rains.”
“We have seen Chaahk angrier. Ah Pekkhu still speaks with but a whisper. We must remain.”
“Why can we not leave for Three Stones?”
“Akna (Our Mother) Ix Xoc Chan sent us to this place. Vision Serpent sent us to this place.” Uuc Ek’ Chan looked unwaveringly towards the dark horizon. Between the glimpses of Chac Xib Chaahk he sought the signs that Akna did not tell, that he did not know. Time and the Vision Serpent would reveal to him that which was to precede Chac Xib Chaahk. Only after the signs could he leave the edge of the world and return with brother Ikan to Three Stones then beyond to their village.
Ah Pekkhu echoed his whisper to the brothers. “We come.”
23,614 BC (0.0.0.0.0)
Darkness descended from the heavens, ascended from the depths falling heavy on the land. That which was here had not seen this moment for five Long Counts. From out of the darkness they came, born into this world, their names as yet unknown, their faces unseen in the night for none were as yet there to see. In time, one spoke, his voice splitting the surrounding stones. “This is the place. It is here where we will begin. Here we will enjoy what this place can give. Here we will learn of the worthiness of this place, of its gifts, its many pleasures. When we have learned what we can, taken what we can, it is then that we will give what we will, make what we will, do what we will. We will make this place of us and for us.”
Another whispered through the dark, his words rattling the limbs of the jungle. “Still, we must be swift. Now that we are here, we must work well to keep open the road, to clear the path before the others know we too have arrived.”
So it is that those born into this place on that night set about securing their place in this place before the light and the ones of the light returned. The two spoke, and the great stone before them opened. This became the door to their home, hidden in the dark, hidden by the mighty roots of the wacah chan, the yax imix che, the ceiba.
So began the history of the ones who should be feared, would be feared, the causes of torment, bringers of blood and pus, gatherers of bones...