The Vision: A Brand-New Cool Subplot

The Vision: A Brand-New Cool Subplot December 18, 2020

The Vision, pp. 227-234

Now that I’ve spoiled the ending by revealing Magdalene’s demise, I’m unsure of how much depth I should include as I move on. But there’s still a lot of very weird shit going on here.

Basically everyone has moved onto the TLP compound, because they’re worried about bombings or other attacks. “Showers were scheduled,” Debi writes. “It was not a spa experience.” And for some reason—god knows what reason—Yancey is there too.

“How’s your scout troop going with their drills, Asher?” Yancey asked between mouthfuls of food.

Asher stole a fleeting glance toward Yancey. Opposite him, Cheyenne could see that Asher had little use for Yancey. Today he appeared down-right disgusted at him. Cheyenne mentally made a note to tell Asher about Zulla Mae’s pronouncement of Yancey. They had all laughed at Zulla Mae’s stories of rats as they told the boys of her visit, but somehow it was hard to tell him about what she had said about her foreknowledge. Suddenly it seemed important. Zulla Mae had been right about death.

Yancey is very clearly trouble. He’s an outsider, he came to their area of Tennessee with very little explanation, and they’ve never tried to do so much as a brief background check on him. Is a wild woman’s prophesy really the only thing that could possibly make them reassess the access to their operations they’ve given Yancey?

Also, why does no one in this operation actually talk to anyone else?

This book is very very often written backward. Right after this, Asher lets the conversation move on while he slips “into a world of his own” remembering something Omar told him earlier that morning—about Yancey.

Omar was clearly troubled when he walked with practiced quietness into their prayer room at the office. “Hey brother,” he said softly, as if he thought someone might overhear, “did Yancey ever tell you anything about his assignments in the Middle East?”

A sick feeling engulfed Asher as he recalled the conversation. He put his head down. This kind of information was … revolting. He tried to slip back into the spirit of the meal, but he couldn’t remove Omar’s burning eyes from his thoughts.

Are you ready? Buckle up!

Asher could still feel Omar’s intensity as he explained, “He was there for several months covering a story about a Syrian Jew named Mohammed who was raised in a Catholic convent. You know he says he does religious news pieces. I found the story last night when I was doing some research on the internet. Yancey was credited as the photojournalist for the articles on Arabic news sites.”

Asher remembered his naive response. “You’re kidding … a Syrian Jew raised in a Catholic convent? How do you know it was this Yancey? Maybe some other guy has his name?”

Omar had almost kicked him. “Oh, give me a break! How many professional photojournalists are named Rueben Yancey? It was him, all right. With that wild hair, I could spot him from a satellite image. Besides, his name is all over the news concerning what the Muslim people call the Happenings. I’ve read everything I could find on the Happenings and a good portion of it was under Yancey’s byline.”

This. Book. Is. So. Weird.

Asher swollen some hot tea, trying to stop the unbidden recollection, and almost choked. Cheyenne studied him from across the table. Clearly his mind was busy with something very troubling.

Asher stabbed his salad and chewed while his mind continued to turn over the information Omar had given him early this morning.

Thirty years ago a beautiful thirteen-year-old Jewish girl got pregnant. She came from a family that has one of the oldest unbroken lines in Israel. 

Her family was in an uproar and demanded that she ‘get rid of’ the pregnancy, as it would disgrace their family and ruin her future prospects. She refused to get an abortion because she said a light came to her and told her that she carried the divine son of God. She said his father was Mohammad. 

Asher unknowingly groaned at the table as his heart prayed, God, do we have a terrorist at our table? A Judas? Is he setting us up? Is he passing information? 

Uh. Yeah. All of that.

I have so many questions.

Does Debi know that Jews in Israel are not a monolith? How this girl’s family responded would have depended on a whole lot of things. There are Orthodox communities in Israel, and then there are also secular Jews. And what exactly does “one of the oldest unbroken lines in Israel” mean? Does Debi know nothing at all about Israel, or about Jews? (I’m thinking the answer to that is probably yes.)

Also, what the heck is going on?! I’ve never heard any story of the end times that has the antichrist born of a 13-year-old Jewish girl impregnated by the Prophet Mohammad. And what exactly does this have to do with the whole Muslim terrorist plot, which has Muslims emigrating from the middle east to westernized countries and effectively taking Sharia Law?

And why the heck did no one check Yancey’s background before this? And why is Yancey actually here? The TLP people are just printing graphic novel Bibles in Arabic, they don’t seem to have anything to do with Yancey’s middle east assignments, or his reporting on this virgin-born possible future antichrist.

Back to Asher, still at the table:

Omar had told him that according to old Arabic newspapers, as the young pregnant teen wandered the old parts of Jerusalem, Muslims began to fall down before her, claiming that they could see a light emanating from her and a high clear sound like Music.

What.

She asked someone to take her to a convent in Syria, where she gave birth and has lived with her son for many years. 

Asher’s hand automatically kept putting food in his mouth, but he tasted not a thing.

Omar had found some old video clips posted on the internet that shocked him. One was of Mother Uressa bowing with her face to the ground before the young boy and his mother when he was around eight years old. The caption quoted Mother Uressa as saying that he is the chosen one of God. “Now I can die in peace. He has come.”

What is happening.

Asher considered the facts:

His mother says Mohammad sired him.

The people refer to him as the Living Qur’an and The Healer.

Wait they what now?

No one except his mother and a very old nun known his name.

Omar already said his name is Mohammad, so…

The numerical value of The Qur’an is 666.

The number 666 is now being revered by Islam.

Uh…

His brows knotted as he searched his mind. Was there an obscure verse that indicated the Antichrist will be a Syrian Jew? No … ? Yes … ? I can’t remember. 

I just. This book. I can’t.

But the Antichrist is not supposed to be revealed until after the Tribulation. But then, he hasn’t been revealed has he? No one even knows his name. 

What do we know about this Syrian Jew? 

Oh boy. Here we go.

He speaks every language effortlessly, without study. 

Okay. Why isn’t he on Ellen?

Even before the person in front of him utters a word, he greets them with a blessing in his own language. 

Yep. He definitely needs to take this show on the road!

There have been published claims of healings while in his presence. 

Published where now?

Now even the Pope is hailing him as a blessed one, the Man of Peace. 

Uh. What.

Muslims, and now the Catholics, are calling him Blessed One. 

His mother has not aged, she still looks like a young woman, and is incredibly beautiful. She only answers to the title ‘His Mother’. 

This isn’t anywhere in the Bible.

The Happenings. They call all the miracles … the Happenings. 

Asher suddenly looked up from his meal and started at Yancey. Asher recalled the scared, vacant look in Omar’s eyes. It echoed as if it had sound. Omar had told him, “I saw a video of Yancey kneeling before this woman, kissing her hand. He looked like he was in a trance.”

What.

What is happening.

Okay, look. This book is almost done, and this feels like an entirely new subplot. Frankly, it doesn’t really fit with any of the rest of the book! How does a miracle-working child with a Muslim name who was born of a Jewish mother and raised in a Catholic convent in Syria have anything to do with Muslim immigrants taking over the world with terror and Sharia Law? It doesn’t! It’s a random weird antichrist that doesn’t fit with anything else. 

As Asher sits there still thinking about this, the phone rings, and Malachi answers it. The he goes to the computer and pulls up a video: it’ s an amateur clip of a couple weeping in the woods and saying that they found a head, and the clip shows hair hanging out of a tarp, and WTF.

After a minute, a newscaster comes on:

“The hikers who took this video footage told CBC News that they made the gruesome discovery about one hour ago. The hysterical couple says they literally stubbled across a young woman’s head near the Rock Creek Gorge, northeast of Cattanooga off Highway 411. Last Wednesday the beheaded body of a young girl was found near Coker Creek Gorge just twenty miles east of here.

So which is it: a young woman, or a young girl?

“Officials on the scene say they will give a statement in a few minutes, although the local authorities told CVC news that the slaying is thought to be what some radical Muslims refer to as an honor killing.”

The screen switched to the face of hte local sheriff. Tears rolled down his rugged face as the man’s broken voice told the listeners, “How anyone could use the word honor in connection with the brutal killing of a child is beyond decent human understanding.”

So far we have: child, young girl, young woman. Which is it? Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine. This book calls the exact same character all of these things on multiple occasions (and it’s not just this character). It’s genuinely confusing. I really don’t have any good idea how old this person is. Is she Magdalene’s age? Younger? Older?

I genuinely do not know.

But of course, the head is that of the girl Magdalene met, the one who passed the women working at the Herb Den the note of warning, and later went missing. At least, we’re meant to assume it’s hers, because we get this:

Magdalene’s childlike voice shrilly cried out. “No … couldn’t be!”

Then she hit the floor in a dead faint.

And there the chapter ends.

There are also footnotes here. Lots and lots and lots of footnotes. Thank you, Debi. We learn that there are 6666 verses in the Qur’an, and that the word peace appears in the Qur’an 666 times. We also learn that the “Greek symbol for 666=Bismallah which means ‘in the name of Allah.'” And we learn this:

When I (author of this novel) started to research this subject for my book, the internet was full of Islamic websites advocating the number 666 as a Muslim holy number. Many of those websites seem to have disappeared in the last few months (spring of 2009). Perhaps when you read this, most of the sites will be gone. Obviously sentiment has changed.

Uh huh. Sure Jan. I mean Debi.

What is that last sentence even supposed to mean? Is it supposed to be sarcastic? Or what exactly?

This feels like it’s actually three different books.

Also, I genuinely don’t understand why they gave Yancey such access to their operations without the least tiny bit of checking. We’re meant to believe they live in a world where they’re haunted by white supremacists and bombed by Muslim extremists. We’re meant to believe they live in a world full of so much danger that everyone has moved onto the publishing house’s property. And yet they open all of their doors to newcomers without the first attempt at asking questions? Really?

These people really aren’t very good at what they do.

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