Dinah whimpered in relief at the sight of Dylan and collapsed to her knees beside him. She immediately put two fingers to his left wrist and located the pulse she was desperate to find. Pulling him onto her lap, she cradled his head while she examined his features for signs of injury or abuse. Dinah was relieved to find neither.
“Dylan,” she called his name softly, not wanting to scare him. Her cousin didn’t respond.
“Dylan.” Her voice was firm this time, but still Dylan didn’t stir.
“Dylan!” Desperation began to creep in this time and she shook him by the shoulders. Finally, a groan seeped from his inert form and she breathed a sigh of relief. His eyes fluttered open and she smiled, tears of gratitude flowing from hers.
“How did you find me?” His voice cracked as he tried to sit up.
“It’s a long story. What happened to you? How did you end up here?”
“I have no idea. I remember being attacked from behind on the rooftop. I didn’t even get to see who jumped me before being thrown off. I must have passed out on the way down and landed on a balcony or something. There’s no way I could have lived otherwise. I woke up on the slab, but I was sure I was dead. I’m not really sure what happened next. I must have been dreaming. It wasn’t actually possible.” His voice gave way on him at the end.
“Nothing is impossible anymore. Trust me.” Dinah stood and offered Dylan her hand. “Can you stand?”
“Yeah. I’m not hurt, just a little groggy.” He took her hand and found his feet. He also found himself in his cousin’s embrace. He patted her back and tried to reassure her. “I’m ok. I promise. I don’t know how, but I am.”
“You have no idea how worried I was. I just thank God you’re here, and alive.” Dinah squeezed him tighter for a moment longer and then released him, surveying the rest of him to make sure he wasn’t just playing off an injury.
“I gotta say, I’m pretty happy to see you too. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back. Do you have a transport waiting?”
“Not exactly. You aren’t the only one with a tale to tell when it comes to ending up here.”
“What do you mean?” Dylan’s confusion was plain on his face.
“Let’s just say that my transportation was other-worldly.” Dinah couldn’t help but laugh at her own play on words. The day’s events had been so impossible, improbable, supernatural, that her only response could be joyous wonder.
“We can talk about it later. Right now we need to figure out how to get back without being caught.” Dinah started to move back toward the door she had come from when Dylan cried out in shock, causing her to start violently. “What is it?!”she shrieked.
“Y-you,” Dylan stammered, “You’re glowing!”
Dinah felt foolish for not remembering that there was ethereal light emanating from her very being. She also wondered how Dylan hadn’t noticed before now. She looked down sheepishly and mumbled, “I know.”
“What do you mean you know?” Dylan was still gaping at her.
“Well, it’s kind of hard to not know you’re glowing, don’t you think?” Dinah tried to make light of it.
“But, how?” Dylan clearly wasn’t going to let it go, not that Dinah could blame him. It had to be shocking.
“It’s a gift from God.” Dinah thought saying things simply would be the best way to position it.
“Wait! You say that like He gave it to you personally. Not like you have found out you have this gift, but like He actually gave it to you.” Dylan did not sound nearly as skeptical as Dinah expected him to be.
“He did. He brought me here to you.”
“I’m pretty sure He brought me here too,” Dylan hesitated, considering how best to say what he wanted to next, finally deciding to just say it, “I didn’t get to see Him clearly, but his voice. Dinah, it was your dad’s voice.”
“I know. That’s how he appeared to me too.” Dinah’s eyes glistened with the same emotion that thickened her voice.
“It wasn’t actually your dad though was it? I mean, it couldn’t have been, right?” Dylan was almost apologetic as he asked.
“No, it wasn’t actually him, but I think God knew that would be the most comfortable and familiar way for you and I to experience Him.” Dinah stepped forward and took her cousin’s hand with an encouraging smile, “I know there is more to your story here, but before we get lost in that, we need to get back. The others need to know you’re alive.”
“Yeah. Ok. Do you know where we are?”
“I was hoping you could tell me.”
“Well, I did get to explore some before I blacked out again. My best guess is the old public library.” Dylan hoped he was wrong. Getting back to headquarters from there would be treacherous at best, and suicide at worst.
“Gotcha. Well that will make this interesting. Have you seen any patrols go by?” Her tone had that forced optimism Dylan had always loved about Dinah. Even in the darkest moments, she had always been a light. He wasn’t sure she even realized she was doing it, let alone the impact it had on those around her.
“Interesting. Yes, it will definitely be interesting.” Dylan laughed as he spoke, unable to hide his amusement.
“What’s so funny?” Dinah narrowed her eyes at him as she spoke.
“Nothing. You just always know how to make things a little easier, that’s all.”
Dinah shrugged, “You’re welcome, I guess.”
“I haven’t seen anything in the area, but I’m not sure how long I’ve been here, and I haven’t been conscious the whole time so there’s no telling what is going on out there with any certainty.”
“Then we are just going to have to be careful,” she chirped.
“You think?” Dylan punched Dinah in the shoulder. It was his customary response to her sarcasm.
They worked their way back upstairs. Dylan still was a little unnerved by Dinah’s status as a literal beacon of light. He knew, though, his own life was a far bigger miracle. A vast number of unexplainable things had happened since he ascended to the rooftop of that tower. His cousin’s luminescence was really on the tame side when it came down to it. He recognized that a deviation from his long held expectations of the world was in order. Clearly, it was not still the world he had believed it to be. It was a world infused with power he knew nothing about. Dylan was surprised that he wasn’t uncomfortable in his new reality. Apparently he was not as attached to normal as he thought he was.
Lost in his own thoughts, Dylan nearly ran into Dinah as they reached the top of the stairs that led to library’s foyer. He was about to step around her when she threw her arm out and pushed him back behind her. He noted with curiosity that she was no longer glowing, then he realized why.
An array of armed men had created a perimeter around the outer edge of the room. It was clear from their matching black uniforms and equipment that these were not rebel forces. Dylan could see the insignia of the New World government on the arm patch of the soldier standing right in front of them. His back was turned and there had been enough noise in the room to allow their approach to go unnoticed.
Dylan rested a hand on Dinah’s shoulder as he leaned in to whisper in her ear, “There’s too many of them. We will have to find another way out.”
Dinah remained silent and stationary. She could feel power swelling in her chest. The immediate panic and fear that had exploded in her mind at her first sight of the soldiers had been overwhelmed by indescribable peace and confidence. Her father’s voice spoke in the back of her mind.
“You know you have but to ask,” he soothed.
“Thank you Father,” she whispered.
“Who are you talking to? Come on! We have to go!” Dylan tugged at her arm, and still Dinah remained steadfast.
“Dylan, do you trust me?” Dinah searched his eyes for the answer to her question.
“Yes,” he replied after an extended pause.
“Then follow me and believe.”
Dinah pushed the energy she felt in her core outward, all the while praying and giving thanks for His protection. Immediately cries of confusion rang out from the men. Their hands flew to their eyes clawing at the darkness that had suddenly gripped them.
“Let’s go.” Dinah took Dylan’s hand and led her bewildered cousin quietly through the chaos. More sentries poured in from other parts of the building to investigate the cause of the commotion and they too were blinded the moment they entered the foyer.
“How are you doing this?” Dylan gasped as he stumbled after Dinah.
Before Dinah could answer a searing voice burned through the cacophony, stopping them just feet from the front door.
“That’s far enough. I can’t have you leaving our little party before I’ve even gotten to meet the guests of honor.”
Check out all the chapters of The Mountain by Duane Deats