Excerpts from Secret of the Catacombs:
“Wow, it’s dark down here,” whispered Molly, stepping a little closer to Will as he fumbled to turn on the flashlight. Their eyes adjusted to the dark as they watched the circular beam of light run along the cement walls of the long hallway in front of them.
Molly breathed in deeply. “It smells kind of funky down here.”
Will shivered. “Here, you take the flashlight while I pull out the map,” he said, handing the light to Molly. As he took the map out of his pocket and began to unfold it, the light and Molly suddenly vanished.
Will inhaled sharply. “Molly!” he cried out.
There was no answer. Will began to breathe hard as he turned around in a circle, trying to see in front of him. He felt lost and could not remember which way was forwards or backwards. “Molly!” he yelled again.
“Are you an angel?” Molly asked.
Angie smiled and nodded.
“But you don’t look like an angel,” Will said. “Where’s your halo and the harp and the white robe?”
Angie laughed. “We like to blend in whenever we come here. We’re everywhere, all the time; you just can’t pick us out.”
“But why would you need a phone to talk to God?” Molly asked, looking at the earpiece.
“Oh, I don’t need this,” Angie smiled. “I just love playing with all of your fun gadgets. You humans are so clever. Technology and bubble gum, my two favorite things down here.” She suddenly chomped on a piece of gum they had not noticed before.
They realized they were standing at the back of a wooden structure as large as a three-story building. It was long and rectangular, with three decks. There were two gray trunks sticking out of one window and a pair of spotted necks sticking out of another window.
“Elephants? Giraffes?” Molly asked.
Will’s eyes grew wide as he realized where they were. This was not a building. This was a boat!
“It’s the ark!” Will exclaimed. “This is Noah’s ark!”
They looked in awe at the massive ship built of cypress wood. “Look at all the animals,” Molly whispered.
Will thought carefully. “The ark was around 450 feet long; that’s longer than a football field. It was one of the biggest and best-designed ships in history.”
“Can you imagine what people must have said about him? ‘This is so weird, a huge boat in the middle of a field!’ They must have made fun of him!”
Will nodded, realizing for the first time how brave Noah must have been. He was sure that his friends had probably laughed at him and called him names, too, sometimes.
“Remember the verse,” she yelled.
Will closed his eyes and together they shouted, “’Fear not; I will help you!’”
“Now!” Molly whispered, hitting Will in the ribs so hard that he lost his grip and began to fall.
“Aah!” he yelled, tumbling out of the tree and landing on top of the surprised horse. He squeezed its neck with all his might.
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Her knees shook as she made her way down the stairwell to the basement. With every step, it got cooler and darker. She clutched the handrail and wished she felt as brave as she had upstairs in the light hallway.
When she stepped out onto the basement floor, she blinked as her eyes adjusted. She could only see a couple of feet in front of her before everything turned pitch black. She clutched at the warm cross on her necklace and noticed that it was glowing with light. She unclasped it and held it in front of her. It gave off a faint light, just enough so she could see a little bit ahead.
“It sounds like there’s a baby in it,” Will answered, stretching his neck to try to see inside the basket.
Will kept one arm around Molly’s neck and used the other hand to pull the basket out of the rocks.
For a moment, Moses stopped crying and looked up at them through the slits in the basket. He was so little and cute – it was hard to picture him as a man parting the Red Sea with his staff. Molly and Will smiled as they looked down at one of history’s greatest leaders.
“Hi, Moses,” Molly whispered. “You have quite an adventure ahead of you.”
“It’s hard to imagine that this baby is going to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and to the promised land of Israel,” Will said.
“He’s also going to give us parts of the Bible like the Ten Commandments,” Molly added.
“We have to get him to safety. If we didn’t have the Ten Commandments, think of how bad the world would be.”
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A faint sound in the distance stopped Will dead in his tracks. Molly ran right into him, nearly knocking him over.
“Hey,” Molly started to complain, but Will shushed her.
“Did you hear that?” Will whispered.
Molly stood perfectly still, listening. The catacombs should be empty, everyone else was upstairs in service.
Everyone except the person changing the Bible stories.
Fear gripped Molly as she hoped Will was wrong. She was not ready to confront their suspect in a dark hallway where no one could hear them scream. The only sound she heard was her heartbeat, pounding in her chest.
Suddenly she heard a faint sound. It was coming from behind them.
They held their breath and strained to hear more clearly. It was the sound of footsteps.
Will squinted and rubbed his eyes. His mouth dropped open as he turned around in a circle, looking at everything around him.
It was beautiful.
It was paradise.
They were standing on a grassy hill dotted with cattle quietly chewing grass and gently mooing. Below them, a light breeze blew through thick trees and bushes full of colorful fruits and blooms. It was like someone had cut out pictures of all of Molly’s favorite plants and flowers and planted them in real life.
“It’s like we’re in the prettiest garden in the world,” Molly whispered.
“We have a chance to stop this,” Will said, still feeling uncertain about this mission. “What if God wants us to make it right again? We can live happily like Adam and Eve, just picking berries in a world without sin.”
Molly narrowed her eyes at Will and shook her head. “God sent us here to correct the story. It’s not our place to decide what happens in history. We have to set the story right.”
Will shook his head. “No, don’t you see? It’s our chance to go back to Eden!” He spoke quickly and with great excitement, which made Molly nervous.
“Will, you are doubting yourself. You’re doubting us, and you’re doubting God’s message to us.”
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