Joshua wondered where he was. He was in a small, sparsely furnished room holding a knife. Surprisingly, the knife was buried in a man’s stomach. God dammit.

He debated what to do. This had never happened to him in the middle of a job. Somewhere deep down he knew it was inevitable but he was still caught off guard that it had happened. He needed to decide what to do.

He was woken out of his reverie by the muted growls of the man in front of him. He had almost forgotten about him.

He looked around and tried to something he could use to stop the bleeding. The spartan room unfortunately didn’t have anything of use to him. He would have to leave the knife as it is till he could figure out what to do.

The man had passed out due to the pain and shock. He gently laid him down on the floor, taking care not to move the knife. He made sure the man was out. He looked like he a banker; small, bald, dressed in an unassuming manner. He probably had 2 kids and a wife he hated because she never stopped nagging him.

His watch started beeping. He hadn’t even realized he was wearing a watch. It was his timer telling him that he had just under 2 hours left. It also displayed a message for him to put on his earphones. For what, he didn’t know. He had gone through this before and his instinct told him that timer was important. He sat down to decide whether the man sleeping peacefully with a knife buried hilt deep in his stomach would live or die. He put on his earphones. He connected them to his phone and the song started playing immeditely.

“Tell me who’s that writing? John the revelator

Tell me who’s that writing? John the revelator

Tell me who’s that writing? John the revelator

Wrote the book of the seven seas.”

 

He could see that the man with the glasses didn’t want to be there. He was fine with that.

“So what do you got for me?” the man with the glasses asked him.

“You tell me. I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about some shit going down. We got something. But this has gotta work both ways.”

“You know I can’t tell you that. That wasn’t the deal. Louisiana should have made it clear to you that’s not how we deal.”

“Yeah, yeah I know, you don’t have to bring it up all the time. You gotta give me something here. I can’t go about this blind.”

“Gimme a minute.”

The man with the glasses took off his glasses and stared at the sea. It was dusk and the sun was just peeking over the horizon. Without the glasses, his vision seemed to be a blur of colours. Sometimes he liked to see without his glasses- to ignore the details and boundaries. It helped him clear his mind.

“Joshua doesn’t know. He has no idea and neither do you. But that’s for your own safety. Joshua is a different case.”

The man with the glasses didn’t have much of an idea either. But he had belief in John.

 

Joshua opened his eyes. His watch was beeping again. An hour and a half to go. He snoozed his watch and closed his eyes again.

 

This time it was the man with the glasses who was waiting for some information. The woman in front of him seemed nervous. He wanted to calm her down. If for no other reason than that she looked prettier when she was calm. Sentiment had always been his downfall.

“So does he know?” he asked her.

“Hard to tell. Our changes have been very subtle. He probably wouldn’t have noticed them anyway. So I can’t say if he knows or not.”

“Can’t we ramp up the changes?”

“That’s a risky proposition. If we do it slow, it’ll take us time but we’ll be doing it the right way. But if we start making bigger changes or too many changes, he might catch on. And we can’t risk that right now. Not until he has the book.”

“Well, you gotta do something. We don’t have time. Push it as much as you can. But pull back at the smallest sign of disturbance. We don’t want to antagonize him. Not yet anyway.”

By the time he turned around to bid her goodbye, she has disappeared into the fog.

 

One more hour to go.

 

This time it was Joshua himself. But in another time and another place. It was him but not as he knew himself know. This was him before he could remember himself.

“This is not a sentencing. This is a farewell. You are to live the rest of your life in Patmos. You will have everything that you will need, but you cannot leave. Maybe you can spend the time enlightening your soul.”

“But father why? I am an old man, I cannot live my final days away from my loved ones!”

“Enough! This is not the time to argue. We have gone over this more than once. Let us be cordial and leave each others company on a brighter note. Even after all your transgressions, I will always love you John. Remember that.”

He felt himself growing angry “All those morals will be your downfall one day, remember! You could have avoided this. You had the chance to warn me but you didn’t. You could have helped me. How da-”

His vision was filled with a blank canvas of white and he was lost.

 

Half an hour more to go. He couldn’t dream anymore. He would have to think now. He would have to figure out the rest of it on his own.

 

The man with the glasses was apprehensive. If all had gone well, “Joshua” would have killed that man by now. The setup had taken a lot of time and effort- it was their only chance.

If he Joshua had indeed killed the man, his downfall would be swift and ignominious. Joshua believed the book was a curse- an unwanted burden. He didn’t respect it and he didn’t deserve it. Adam would love the book, he would use it to its truest potential.

He decided to listen to the radio. When he switched it on, Son House’s rendition of “John the Revelator” was playing. He softly chuckled to himself, shaking his head. He should have taken the song as a sign of foreboding.

The last thing Adam saw before having his torso blown away by Joshua’s shotgun was his radio. As he lay there bleeding, Joshua’a presence filled his vision. His vision was failing him. But he could still hear.

 

Tell me who’s that writin’?┬áJohn the Revelator

Tell me who’s that writin’? John the Revelator

Tell who’s that writin’? John the Revelator

Wrote the book of the seven seals

You know God walked down in the cool of the day

Called Adam by his name

And he refused to answer

Because he’s naked and ashamed

He lies cowering there in fear

His heart full of malice and pain

His spirit and his body beaten and broken

Because he forgot the Lord’s way.

Tell me who’s that writin’?┬áJohn the Revelator

Tell me who’s that writin’? John the Revelator

Tell who’s that writin’? John the Revelator

Wrote the book of the seven seals

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