Unkept PromisesDecember 28, 2016
Finders Keepers [Book Review]December 29, 2016
A Short Story
By Vinnie MacIsaac
He was beautiful in rage and ruggedness.
He was flawless in imperfection.
He was full of being incomplete.
Darkness illuminated him as the periscope image, created by his mirrored sunglasses, reflected in the rearview mirror, creating an infinite number of selves to detest. He hammered the gas pedal down to the floor board with more force than reasonably necessary using, not one, but both bare feet.
He was driven, but he did not know where he was going or even why it should bother to matter.
He was driven. But where was he going? Driven! But driven to what with such certainty? What was this; because more and more it was looking more like a suicide run than an emotional fleet of ferocious fancy. His eyes cut loose and nearly vibrated with movement underneath his masked eyes, locked behind the shades which he had pulled onto his face as the rising sun eclipsed the tip tops of the mountain ridges along California State Route 1. He had been driving 28 hours or more, non-stop except for refueling and urinating. Ever since it happened he had refused to stop for longer than a pit stop or two, and only when circumstances demanded it. He was driven, but he did not know where he was going or even why it should bother to matter. Why should where he was rushing even to be an answer worth exploring? The universe was random, chaotic, and he was quite all right with all that. It did, after all, make things interesting. What bothered him was that life and death were simply senseless.
The fire burned in his forehead, yet there were no real coherent thoughts. There was in him only the retardation of hope with the setting in of the perdition of loss; only emotions without reason. His Ford Escape Hybrid, despite being an SUV of sorts, was not built for this and both the conventional engine and hybrid system were screaming at full tilt as he felt the car shudder when it etched around the mountain curve. The early morning fog was covering most of the road and obscured his vision even more than the gleaming rays of sun over the mountain tops, but the combination of them both was lethal and he knew it. It was the fact that he was aware that it was lethal that fueled his rage even more, and he thought he might end up putting his foot through the floor of the car by the pressing of the pedal if it was possible. His knowledge of this lethal combination was the one thing that made it anything other than random; and since he could not even trust himself he wondered if it was not calculated after all.
There had been nothing calculated about what happened to Clara. It was more than random. It was more than chaos. It was senseless. Randomness could have hidden rhythm not yet found. After all, the splendor of randomness was the combustible kindling of sage and avant-garde art. Poets wrote clever bits about the randomness of life, love, and leisure but who would sing a Sonnet to Senselessness? We all understand, in the abysmal boundless belly of gameness found in human intuition, that such things could always happen. The fact that they never did happen lures us all into, what amounts only to the hopeless faith in the present state of affairs. And so we all dive into the bathwater of ignorance and pretend not the see that senseless things happened all the time in life. His Clara was just that latest victim of existence itself, and her autocratic demise was his final breaking point. He snapped.
Lots of people snap, or rather lots of people say they snapped…
Lots of people snap, or rather lots of people say they snapped; or perhaps it is more likely that someone else says that they snapped. But this was not what we would think when we commonly hear that someone “snapped”… this was the real deal. Actions had divorced reason, and rationale and motivation took the Children of Delirium in as their own metric of operations. This was, to borrow a phrase of 80’s heavy metal, going “off the rails on the crazy train.” Sinister laughter of maniacal demonic portions should have filled the air if Mandel was even still sane enough to process his emotions vocally. But he was too far gone into madness for that, and his insanity remained imprisoned behind his cheap sunglasses.
His bare feet pumped the gas pedal as if the action of pumping it would yield more speed momentum. As the SUV accelerated down a vast incline, it disappeared into a small cloud of fog much like his life had. Clara had awakened at 12:45 A.M. with a massive throbbing headache. It was the kind that experience painfully told her only an injection of Toradol, in the doctor’s office, would cure. She had had these migraines all her life. She loathed the idea of having to go to the ER and ask for a shot in the middle of the night. Sure Toradol was a simple nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and was certainly no drug addict’s injection of choice. But she just hated the idea of looking that desperate for anything to the locals. Becoming a transplant from the big city of Boston made her an east coast city slicker to these mild-mannered midwestern folks. But when a double dosage of Excedrin and three coffees had not put a dent in the throbbing that spread from the back of her neck to rest over her right eye, she knew this would not wait for morning, nor the privacy of her doctor’s office.
Clara quietly scribbled a note that read, “1:05 A.M., Did not want to wake you. Gone to Greater Regional. I hope to be home before you ever read this.” As she placed the note on the kitchen table, she stopped, and something made her pick it back up again and add, “Love, Clara.” It never crossed her mind that those were the last words she’d ever write. She should have wakened Mandel. She knew he’d gladly drive her. She knew he loved her, but they had not shared the same bed since…well, since….Cadeon.
Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston, IA
Had it been a migraine that killed her Mandel could have lived with that. There would have been some reason. An autopsy would have found an aneurysm, tumor, perhaps even stroke. It may have been unfair, random; but not senseless because at least there would have been a reason. There was no reason; no sense, no aneurysm, tumor, or stroke; there was only a sign. The sign had read directly, “Main Entrance” in blue bold separately cased letters a mere 150-200 feet from the ER entrance of Greater Regional Medical Center. Since they were in the mid-west wind storms, even tornadoes, were not unheard of. The gusts of wind had been brutal that night, and as Clara made her way up the side building towards the ER she was squinting, partly because of the wind gusts, and even more because of the intense pain in her head that consumed her world. Even the least amount of light now made her want to die, and she pulled her hoodie down over her face covering all but a small peek-hole to allow her to see barely. The parking lot lights gleaming in her peek hole were torture enough to her, but the pounding wind slapping and snapping her head made her start to tear up. She found herself sobbing in a low mutter, “Help me, Jesus, make it stop.” A massive gust of wind hit her back and made her think of the Wizard of OZ. Oddly enough, her very last thoughts were, “Dorothy, you might not be in Kansas anymore, but if this wind does not let up soon, I will be!” The first cased letter to fly off the sign bracket and to strike her was the letter M. The first letter hit her in the back of the head and instantly knocked her out. Then the second letter A followed. Before she even hit the ground, it landed with a direct hit shattering her clavicle bone. However, it was the letter N that sliced through her back into her gut splitting upward to meet the other edge of the letter that had stabbed through her into her sternum, killing her, as she fell forward before collapsing both her lungs.
Big Sur on Highway 1, CA
Mandel awoke to a pounding of his own; not in his head but on the front door. What exactly happened next only the officers at the door could say, but Mandel could not because he blacked out. All Mandel remembers is “Love, Clara” and being driven to get in the car, bare feet and all, still in a robe and night clothes. He was uncertain exactly how he got on California State Route 1 from Creston Iowa. Mandel was fast approaching Big Sur, just before Yankee Point Rock when he suddenly awoke to his condition. Looking at the front part of the cabin of the SUV he noticed it was littered with cheeseburger wrappers and an empty bucket of chicken, now housing nothing but bare bones. On the front passenger side, he saw his ATM card (without wallet), several hundred dollars of cash sprawled across the seat in the twenties, and a spilled mega bottle of NoDoze Maximum Strength Fast Acting Alertness Aids (aka mega Caffeine pills). His speedometer read 90 mph as he flew past the south side of Yankee Point Rock weaving between the sea and the mountains with life and death hanging in the balance. Mandel gave no thought to the dangers to himself or others as he struggled to hold the wheel steady. It was just after the break of dawn and tourist traffic had not yet started as he hit the decline, taking him deep, deep, deep down to Bixby Creek Bridge. He closed his eyes as he reached the nadir of his decent, holding the steering wheel in a tight blinded line. He knew that the incline back up was too steep to navigate with his eyes closed and that no matter how steady he held it, he was sure to drift off the road to his sudden death at any point along the path back up.
Cadeon. Cadeon was to be his last thought. As he closed his eyes, he saw Cadeon in his arms. He had been such a proud father. Mandel had made a lot of mistakes in life. Post college he had struggled with addictions to nightlife and women, the party scene of Manhattan on work trips that got him out of Beantown, and good quality cocaine, otherwise known as the designer drug of champions. When Clara had gotten pregnant Mandel gave it all up and took a job teaching History at Southwestern Community College in his parent’s hometown of good ol’ Creston, Iowa. Maybe he had his demons. Perhaps he had not always treated Clara the best, but he was finally ready to commit. But holding Cadeon in his arms that last night, placing his son in the crib, nothing would ever be the same because it was all senseless. The thing about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is it is senseless. There is no explanation. It takes without reason. It kills otherwise healthy vibrant babies leaving no clue as to why. He had put Cadeon in the crib that night. Had he left him on his back, was a pillow left too close that rolled on him? He replayed those last few minutes in his head for hours, every day since it happened. Clara knew it was not his fault. SIDS never is anyone’s fault. She moved out of their room; not so much in disgust but because she slept every single night in Cadeon’s room on the floor by his crib crying herself to sleep.
In the months that had the past, Mandel had spent his nights and weekends working out, lifting weights, honing his body into perfect shape. He had to do something, Clara barely looked at him, much less talked to him. Again, it was not that she blamed him as much as it was that she just could not process her grief and had slipped into undiagnosed clinical depression. Mandel had to do something, or he’d slip into his old addictions to cocaine, again. And in the backwoods of Iowa, that was likely a pathway to the crack that came out of Des Moines at best or the locally produced Meth at worst. So the endorphins produced in hours of working out each night had become his new drug of choice.
Cadeon. He saw Cadeon in his mind for what he thought was the last senseless time. He had loved that boy, still loved that boy, and always would love that boy. Oh dear sweet Cadeon, it was so senseless. How could he go back to his life now, knowing beyond any sense of the word that life was senseless and devoid of order, purpose, or infinite goodness? Evil crouched at the door to consume us all, and there was no one there to save us.
In his mind, he was, again, reliving that last night holding Cadeon as he slowly and lovingly lowered him into the crib when Cadeon suddenly did what no infant could do, had this not been a caffeine driven exhaustion laden illusion that his mind pulled on him to save his life. Cadeon looked up at Mandel as he laid him in the crib and screamed, “Daddy Wake Up!” At that moment Mandel opens his eyes and beneath him he only saw sea water as his SUV was headed to drive right off the bank of the incline back up from Bixby’s Bridge! There was no metal barrier along the side of the road, but Mandel woke up just at the point in the incline where there was a runaway ramp that veered off to the side. The jolt of angst that hit as a result of the caffeine and the life and death dread he faced head on, made him over-react and he jarred the wheel of the Ford hard and hit the curb of the main road, wobbling. For several seconds it went back and forth on the left and right wheels deciding if it would tumble over either way. When it did not topple or plunge into the sea, then an instinct in Mandel took over and instead of trying to stop or even control the SUV at such high speeds, he drove into the spin, speeding up to match the topple. It was more gut reaction than renewed sanity, as he knew in his gut that speeding up and driving out of the tailspin was safer than trying to end it.
What he saw, as he approached the top on the southside hill of Bixby’s Bridge, it would take investigators over 2 and a half weeks to fully reconstruct what he had fractions of seconds to recognize and respond too. With the sun barely peeking over the backs of the mountains the dense fog still hung low on the inclines like a thick cloudy curtain separating the sea from the sky. Driving up such a profoundly arduously cliff, through the fog, was like driving up into literal clouds from Heaven. But as he poked through, all he could see was Hell. Through the dimly lit fog he saw a woman at the dip in the top of the hill desperately trying to change a flat tire or at least jam her jack into place, as an out of control 18 wheeler barreled down the incline towards her, horns blaring. To the woman’s credit as soon as she heard the horns she got up. For some reason, even odd to Mandel who had not slept for nearly 30 hours, she tried to get back in the car. The hit was instant and catastrophic.
Over the cliff wreck.
Mandel watched as the woman was thrown from the side of the car and slammed into the road head first. The truck kept on rolling down that hill and before he could hear it tumble, he heard the deadly explosion. Mandel stopped as quickly as he could and leaped from his car. His legs cramped and as he tried to run to the injured woman they gave out and he fell to the asphalt, damaging both his knee and smashing his foot on loose debris from the impact of the 18 wheeler and the woman’s car. He’d been in his own car too long. Even running across this side of the road made him feel dizzy and like he was still driving. He picked himself back up and limped along.
By the time he reached the woman, she had lost a lot of blood. It seemed a foregone conclusion that she may have already passed. He turned to see her car teetering on the edge of the cliff about to follow the 18 wheeler down to the bottom of the embankment, which was fine by Mandel until he heard the cry. The cry of a baby.
“Cadeon!” He screamed. “Oh my God no! Cadeon I won’t fail you again! Hell, no Cadeon! Daddy is coming!”
What he did next can’t be explained. Whatever bedeviled him is beyond elucidation and yet that did not stop it from happening much to his own shock. Mandel took off running towards the car. A minute ago, Mandel was drunken with exhaustion and caffeine overdosing, and Mandel literally could barely walk. Now, as if suddenly endowed with the skill, power, and might of 5 golden Olympians, he strode like a rocket infused superhero to the car and unexplainably leaped as if jumping over a race hurdle and landed on the roof of the woman’s car.
And his Olympic race car hurdle was not even the odd part! The weird part is what he saw in the hurdle between the time his bare feet left the ground and landed on the roof of the car. He saw Jesus.
He saw Jesus… and Jesus saw him— or rather was watching him get baptized by his (Mandel’s) dad at age thirteen in the old Church before it had moved onto Oak Street into the old abandoned Scientology building, and taken it over. Those kind Midwest folks it turns out were not so open minded to Scientology and everyone in town felt more at ease when the church took the building. What Mandel saw was not unlike an out of body experience, except Mandel, knew he had not as much left his body but rather “flashed” on an event that had happened. Only he was in some way being “shown” parts of that event which he did not see when it had originally happened. Jesus, in Spirit, had been present that day and watched Mandel gladly give his life to God at the tender, yet enlightened, age of thirteen. But that day, Mandel had not seen nor even sensed Jesus there. Just before his bare feet landed on the car, to his dismay he saw … or rather heard one more thing from that flash of the past he had not recalled. Jesus was not only there, but Jesus also spoke directly to the younger boy, who was his past self and said this; “Kid, do you have any idea what you’re doing, right now? You can’t hear Me, so you don’t know what on Earth you are doing. But if you could, I’d tell you what you’re about to do right now, if it is done right, it will kill you.”
Mandel landed, and vision left, just as it had come.
“You bastard!” He swore at Jesus. “How dare you talk to me!” You killed my Cadeon you cruel twisted All Knowing Demigod. You killed Cadeon and you stole Clara! You’re nothing more than a crutch, a broomstick if you will, that witches ride on Halloween. You’re a flipping fable who makes the demands of an Infinite Spirit, but gives the results of an useless wooden idol!”
I’ve been called worse and believe me when I tell you, Mandel, I understand and grant you the permission to hate me for all that has happened. I’ll take your hate. It is what I do.
A soft shadow appeared in the fog that Mandel could not quite see the form of, and that is where this unique voice had come from. Oh yeah, Mandel suddenly remembered he had snapped a long time ago. He was insane and the idea that he was crazy not only explained what he was doing on the roof of a car, in his bare feet, that was about to plummet down a bank of a cliff, but it also gave a weird feeling of relief. After all, how else could he hear Jesus talk, even after the lost memory had ended? “I am just loco nutso… I am lock-me-up-crazy, baby,” Mandel thought to himself.
You’re not crazy. Stop thinking that.
“What the Hell!” Mandel yelled more in shock than in meaning, because the “Jesus voice” could seemingly read his thoughts.
Hell, hmmm… interesting “go to” at a time like this. Now hell is a topic most people get ever so wrong. But really, time is short, let’s move this along. Just the essentials please— for now. There is a baby in that car, you know!
Now just a few minutes ago Mandel was willing to give life and limb to save that baby. But hearing that “Jesus voice” in his head fueled the kind of deep, red, raw hurt that demands revenge! And half assuming it was his own mind he was really fighting with, he decided he no longer cared. The “Jesus voice” wanted him to save the baby and Mandel’s path to revenge never seemed more clear.
“Why should I care about this baby, any more than you bothered to care about Cadeon, you sick figment of my lunacy!”
Well, that is indeed a better question and quite nice progress if I do say so, Myself. I love questions so if you don’t care about this Baby then why in hades, (Shadow Jesus looked almost as is he winked as if to say, excuse my hellish use of puns), did you leap onto this car?
Mandel searched his heart and found only hate for the “Jesus voice” and yet part of Mandel knew all he would have wanted was for someone to save Cadeon. No one did, and evil struggled to make Mandel want someone to pay. But was that this baby’s doing?
“It’s senseless, if I save him, You will just kill him later,” Mandel said with hate taunting in his voice.
Sure, some say I kill them all, eventually. But what about your will and the role it plays even now. You’re the one holding the keys to life and death, are you not?
“Cadeon wasn’t ready!” Mandel wanted to continue a rant of yelling but his words folded into sobs, tears, and hyperventilating.
“You did this! You! You! You!” he cried through the sobs, standing on the roof of the car in the fog, literally shaking his fist in deranged mania.
I, too, was not ready for him to go. I miss him even more then you could know. I wanted to watch him grow up, play in your backyard, and impact you in ways that might have brought you back to Me.
I need you to hear Me now, Mandel! Time is short, and I can’t hold us in suspense much longer without damaging the laws of cause and effect. I loved Cadeon as much as I love Rick. Rick is about to die unless you act now!
The car slipped. It fell only less than a foot. But even in his state of manic frenzy, Mandel knew two things instantly; the car was now totally hidden from oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the embankment, making any other rescue, besides him, impossible. Secondly, if the car started sliding it would topple and roll at this level of incline.
A voice in our clouds.
Mandel slid across the roof and down the west side of the car putting himself between the car and the incline to the sea. He dug his bare, bleeding feet against a large rock and propped himself against the car in a futile attempt to stop the car from sliding down the embankment.
Who do you think you are? Sampson?
“Shut up! Just shut up! Get out of my head! You’re no more real than Scrooge’s undigested bit of brained beef, his manic lunacy blot of mustard, a crazy crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone baked brain potato of the ghost of Christmas past!” Mandel screamed into the empty air. “I know crazy when I see it, this car might be real of that I can’t be sure, but I am nuts, you hear that! I am nuts! I am ‘cuckoo for coco puffs’ crazy and you, you; you’re just my left over sanity trying to make sense of my current decent into psychosis!”
Then, explain that.
Mandel went to scream “Explain what?” But the words did not come, as he peered into the car, seeing a little baby literally hanging suspended from the straps of a car seat screaming its head off, beet red in the face, and soaked by its urine. It was his greatest horror come to life. The abhorrence of what he saw made him vomit against the car and vomit traveled down the side of his body, his leg and covered the rock his mashed and now bleed feet braced against. The baby could not be more than four months old, and he looked just like Cadeon. But that was not the greatest horror. What convulsed Mandel back to sanity was due to the position the suspended car seat was holding the baby, he could see the back of this neck, and there was a name tag on the collar of his baby shirt that read, “Ricky.”
“You bastard! You’re real after all! You knew his name! It’s not fair! It’s not fair! Why? Why! Why? Why the hell do you want to save him and not Cadeon?”
But no answer came.
Mandel continued to scream at the shadow in the cloud. “What did Cadeon ever do to you? He was just a baby! Why Ricky? Why not Cadeon?”
The shadow remained still, but no words came. Feeling the guilt of the idea of actually letting the baby die, Mandel was internally exploding with conflicts between revenge and love of what it meant to be decent.
“No! No, I refuse. I won’t do it! You can’t ask me to! I am not your puppet! This is all so senseless!”
Senseless? That is what Adam said when he found Abel’s blood in the field. Senseless. Other than a few sheep and some turning leaves Adam had never seen death. What Cain did was so senseless. Sin is senseless. Do you think Adam, and even Eve, never once asked Me why not Cain and why Abel?
We can talk about David and his sackcloth and ashes all day long but how do you think the poor despoiled and ravished Bathsheba felt when her only baby died due to David’s sin of her own violation. Senseless.
Did you even realize the poor Zebedees were still alive when James was murdered for simply believing in me? Do you think I would not have wanted to spare them that pain? Senseless.
Forget the garden, forget my sweat of blood. What about mom? The only mom I had ever known. I came to you all helpless. That woman fed me at the breast. She kept me safe for the sake of the world. That woman who took public shame all her life for me. The woman people taunted and whispered about in the back of synagogues as being a fornicator and harlot. They said she lured and trapped her man into marriage, like a spider lures a fly to the web. She suffered so much to protect me all my life. I had to watch her, watch me; be beaten, stripped, shamed, nailed to a tree, and to die as a common criminal. All her work and sacrifice to protect me all those years …to her ….Senseless. What about her!
Ricky’s name tag. The voice knew his name.
“You could have stopped it! You could have stopped it all.” Mandel accused! “If you loved her as you say, why do it? Why make her watch? Why not just stop everything and do it another way?” Those accusatory questions roared out of Mandel like a forest fire in the Californian mountains in late August. The heat was intense and unstoppable, consuming with hunger! “You, you, get no sympathy from me! You’re God, and all of this is on you! Why not stop it? Why did you not just stop right then and there?” Mandel demanded more than questioned.
I was driven.
“Driven to what? Where did you think you were going?” Mandel fired back with not a hint of reverence in his voice.
I was driven to you.
“Don’t! Just don’t… Don’t you dare put this on me! You’re the one who carries the title of Almighty! This is not on me; it is on You!” Mandel’s eyes flared with rage towards an entity he now openly admitted was the Almighty and the Creator of all.
I was driven to the only way I could save you.
“I don’t care about me. Let Hell have me. Let damn well go of me!”
No! Because we both know you don’t mean that. Not yet, anyways, given more time, maybe. But that is why our time is up!
The car shifted. It was sliding. It was not going to stop this time. It had a good 5-10 feet to slide at best and then it would start toppling, and nothing would stop it. Mandel panicked as the car pushed against him and he slid against the rock bracing him, and the rock slid with it even further bloodying his already inflamed feet.
I was driven. I am driven. And I will be driven. And so are you! That is how you got here, no?
Driven. Yes, for almost 30 hours. Driven blindly to where and why? Driven, only to end up in this place at this time? Looking up from his useless embrace of the car he screamed with all his might! “God, help me! What do I do?” Mandel kept screaming for God’s help into the empty air with the clearest amount of sanity in his whole life. “Please, I beg you to give me the power of Sampson!”
But yet again, the voice in the shadow went quiet, and to Mandel’s dismay, he thought he heard Jesus sobbing.
“Please don’t let another baby die tonight! Please, not for me! I know I don’t deserve it!” Mandel kept pleading, but the sobs from Jesus only grew louder. “Please save Ricky, for Cadeon’s sake! God answer me! You win! God I am begging you now! I don’t care the cost, help me save Ricky!”
The car won’t stop. For Ricky to get out you must get in. That is how this works now. I wanted it to be different but man must be free and freedom has certain unavoidable costs.
It is time to trust me! You either trust Me or you will end up letting the baby die, if you mean to or not! Those are now the only options you have left on the table. You’re dealing all the cards. Don’t you, yet, get it? I sent many would be rescuers to stop what you called SIDS, but they were not driven. What happened was not my plan for Cadeon or Clara! But I am the Head, and you all are my hands, and arms, and feet in this world. My Father’s Spirit pleads with you all, as it is pleading with you now, in Me. But you Mandel, you, yes you, are not those who fall back into destruction! You Mandel, are driven!
With several swift strokes he began shattering the driver’s side back window…
It all became clear, and Mandel picked up the rock his poor shredded foot had been braced against and with several swift strokes he began shattering the driver’s side back window, he was in the car within seconds as he felt the car accelerate a few more feet in its slide down the hill. He knew beyond any shadow of a doubt this car was not going to stop until it hit bottom. Unbuckling the car seat, Mandel scooped up the whole car seat in his massive arms with the near might of Sampson and was out the passenger side door with the baby in tow before the car began to tip.
Mandel, you know what comes next. Search your heart. You knew before you broke the window.
Mandel now understood the sobbing of Jesus. And why it was not even easy for God Himself to allow what must happen next. For reasons he could feel in his gut but not yet process in his mind he knew it had to be this way and that if it could be different, it would be different.
I promise you won’t be forgotten when you come into my Kingdom.
As Mandel exited the car, his bleeding foot got caught on the entanglement of the seatbelts left in the wake of their rapid detachment from the car seat. And suddenly Mandel was being dragged back first in the dirt by the car but desperately was clawing at the ground, car seat in hand, to gain ground toward the top of the embankment. His body, being dragged down by the car, and the car seat being pushed up in earnest desire to save little Ricky, if anyone could have seen it, it would have been in the shape of the cross.
Be driven! Be driven just like Sampson! Be driven just like me! Be driven by the power of my Father, His Spirit, and My Compassion! Drive that baby home!
Officer Sisson, who was still in his first week of working for Big Sur Police Department had never seen anything like this before, back in Kansas. His partner applied first aid to the lady they found at the side of the road. Other than a lot of blood loss, the wounds appeared to look worse than they were. Office Sisson knew the ambulance would be here soon and she likely had a better than 50/50 chance of full recovery. But something still bothered him. Something about this whole scene did not add up. They had just assumed the explosion below was from the woman’s car that somehow slid off the road and she apparently had jumped out at that last minute. But if that was the case, why was there a parked Ford Escape in the middle of the roadway with no driver in sight? It was apparent to the officer that SUV had not hit the car and knocked it off because there was no damage to the parked SUV. It just did not add up. Was this murder? Suicide? Just what happened here?
Sisson, right away, followed the tracks of the woman’s car to the edge of the cliff looking for clues to this new riddle. He tried to squint to see down the side of the cliff, but the fog was too thick. The fog was still like a carpet separating the world of the mountain top with the world of the sea, and Sisson could not peer into it as hard as he tried. And it was exactly at that point, which officer Travis Sisson had turned to inquire of his partner if he should try and scale the incline down and investigate; that it happened. Mandel, infused by the power afforded in all his workouts, mixed with the tremendous strength of the conviction of God, had tossed the car seat with all his might and it came up seemingly out of nowhere from the low-level fog cloud and struck officer Sisson in the side of the head. With his trained, sharp reflexes he caught it safely in his arms.
His body, being dragged down by the car… if anyone could have seen it, it would have been in the shape of the cross.
“It’s a baby!” Officer Sisson screamed in unbelief! “I think it’s a boy!”
Just a mere few feet away, below the cloud of fog, and completely unbeknownst to the shocked officer Sission and his partner, the woman’s car began to roll. The slack on the seatbelt whipped Mandel, breaking both legs instantly, but sparing his neck and life on its first roll giving him just enough time for one word…
“Cadeon…” he whispered as the sun finally came up entirely, and the fog began to dissipate.
Cadeon and Clara are not forgotten. Every thought, every emotion, every memory, every cell, every strand of DNA are all committed incompleteness to my Fathers mind forever. They cannot be lost, forgotten or deleted. And on that last day, when the trumpet shall sound and the dead in me shall arise, trust me, Mandel, I will call them to life again, and you will be united with them, together again, but even more importantly for evermore.
There was no more time for words. Just one more thought. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
On the Cross
He was beautiful in rage against sin and injustice infused with ruggedness of determination to redeem us.
He was flawless in our imperfection so he could pay for all our apathy of sin.
A Short Story by Vinnie MacIsaac
He was full of being, yet became our incompleteness that, in Him, we might be complete.
He was driven that you, yes you, might become driven in Him, too.
He pleads with you now, with the authority of His Father, and power of His Spirit to be illuminated from your darkness and, . . .
“Even so, be driven!”
 Crazy Train; Songwriters O. OSBOURNE, R. DAISLEY, R. RHODES; Published by Lyrics © NEWMAN & COMPANY CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS
 A paraphrase from Charles Dickens classic; A Christmas Carrol.