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RedeemedAlive.com

Hey, welcome to RedeemedAlive.com, home of various fiction and nonfiction writings by Nate Schmolze. If you enjoy or benefit from something you find here, do me a favor and share it with a few friends. Thanks!

– Nate

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Thought-provoking book reviews and biblical commentary on the issues of our day.

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Ex Nihilo

 

He’s just that – a dream, nothing more. We live in the real world, Allison. You find a real man, an imperfect man, and you find a way to forgive his flaws; with luck, he’ll do the same for you.

Allison’s life contains a hint of normalcy — she works a steady job, loves her friends, and is searching for the man of her dreams. Unlike most women however, she only knows the man from her dreams, where they hunt one another until dawn.

When a letter arrives linking her rival to Ex Nihilo, a small bioengineering firm in the shadows of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, her dreams come to life as their conflict becomes terrifyingly real. Haunted by ghosts from her past and an uncertain future, Allison must learn the truth about the hunter before he reaches everyone trapped in the halls of Ex Nihilo.

Ex Nihilo: Chapter 1

Allison Rhode didn’t know much about the sleeping man, and that concerned her. After following him for months, she’d only learned that he traveled a lot, which was why she needed to keep searching for him every day or two. The last few nights he’d been staying at a bed and breakfast in the country; tonight however, she found him checked into a filthy motel in downtown Grubsttip.

She always found him though; that much never changed. She always found him sleeping, always in the same nightshirt, and always smelling of sweat and cigarette smoke. As she inhaled his toxic scent once more, Allie considered it odd that such a noxious odor could at the same time seem pleasant, or even endearing.

Stepping toward the bed, she knelt down beside him, and studied the creases of his weathered face. She didn’t know his name, didn’t fully understand her own reason for seeking him out each night. She only knew that they were connected, somehow, and that tonight she was determined to find out how.

“Wake up,” she whispered into his ear; he barely moved an inch. “Wake up!” she demanded with a great deal more volume; the man winced and began to stir.

As she reached out to shake his shoulder, however, she felt a surge of cold run through her hand, causing her to draw it sharply back. She hadn’t actually touched him, but as her fingers neared his shoulder a warning shot through her nerves, not unlike the freezing sensation she felt when digging with bare hands through a bank of snow.

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Empathy Weeps

 

Still, it was not her diminished situation which caused the deepwaters of her soul to overflow. Nor was it that unrelenting desire for a husband, for relief from this dismal solitude. It was an image that felled her, a memory, of a woman gazing at her own reflection in the waters of a well.

Empathy felt a hand rest upon her shoulder – upon the woman’s shoulder, and saw the tips of a man’s fingers crest the top of her reflection. And she knew; before he could even speak, she knew what he was going to say.

Empathy has heard of sorrow; she read about it once in the libraries of Alán. Her own parents lived through the age when death reigned over the heavens and the earth, but like all bearers descending from the ancients, Empathy does not personally understand the experience of pain.

Something is changing, however. Out of all of the star systems which could occupy his attention, the high king is visiting Mother’s world – and seeking Empathy! As they walk together, he tells her of the coming sorrow, and she is faced with an impossible decision resting in the one thing she could never refuse.

Empathy Weeps: Episode 11

It was nearly thirteen minutes before someone at the wedding recognized Leah Hammondi, ancient. Twelve minutes and forty-three seconds, her Word-bearer Hammond replied by thought.

“By my Word! Is that…?” somebody shouted during the forty-fourth second. “Helaen, see this! Lady Leah Hammondi has come!”

“And Lord Hammond Hammondi, if I am unmistaken,” a companion voice – his Breath-bearer – replied with measured awe.

Fantastic, Hammond smiled in her mind. They have recognized me too. A brief glance around the forest clearing confirmed what her Breath was already telling her; the young Word-bearer’s outburst had caused every gaze in sight to converge upon her face. Well, hers and Hammond’s.

Hammond laughed, secretly blaming her for the recognition. Hey, I tried to dress down, she mentally replied, stepping toward the young couple who had exposed them. I really did. I cannot believe we are still being recognized at these things!

Footnote 1

With the advent of the Great Dispersion upon us, emphasis is being placed upon the education of the general populace regarding the incident on Empathy, and the days on Earth before the re-creation. While the university strives to meet the needs of the crown, humanity is far too numerous to be educated by traditional means prior to the dispersion. Therefore, by order of the High King, ancient Nathanael Schmolze Alandi has been commissioned to rework the Tomes of Empathy into narrative form, for broadcast among the nations. Footnotes are provided by university president Levi s.o. Ahithophel Empatheadi.

“My lady,” the couple spoke in unison, bowing their heads.

“Oh please, my children,” Leah sighed, placing her hand under the Breath-bearer’s chin to lift it. As the girl’s face arose, her eyes lighting to rest upon Leah’s gaze, her awe and excitement transmitted itself into Leah’s hand. To Leah, it seemed a strange addendum to reality that emotion could be transferred by touch, from one Breath-bearer to another. I cannot imagine what it must be like for Empathy, she noted.

“You must pardon my Word-bearer’s display of excitement,” the young Breath-bearer cleaved to the arm of her husband; she shrugged. “We have never before met anyone so ancient as you.”

Leah graciously smiled, and Hammond laughed, then the expression on the young Breath-bearer’s face changed to one of inquiry. “Did I speak something amiss?” she wondered.

Her companion glanced to the side, presumably recalling something from the Word. “Oh,” he started, glancing to his Breath-bearer to explain. “There was a time, before the re-creation, when it was considered an insult to call attention to a woman’s age2.”

Footnote 2

The term ‘woman’ here refers to a being which existed before the re-creation. A woman would be comparable to the present-day Breath-bearer in that she bore the image of the Breath; however not all women bore the Breath itself. The age of a woman was considered a taboo subject in that day, because the passage of time actually made their temples less attractive rather than more so. :-: On Pre-Restoration Human Mating Practices, Ammond s.o. Thrinseir Alandi, pp. 271-73, 310.

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