By Dan Blankenship
"Wow, what an incredible dream!"
Tony Mason hopped up from his bed, the dream still clear in his mind. He intended to replay it over and over for his own enjoyment.
Tony was convinced he had the good life. He had started his own very successful lawn care business in Chicago ten years earlier. He made the right decisions in the stock market, which gave him a standard of living his parents could only dream about.
He dated the most beautiful women, drove the best cars, and owned a well-furnished condominium that his peers admired; but he had one fear that haunted him daily. Tony feared death.
A drunken driver had killed his parents in 1984 when he was just sixteen years old. Tony had worried about death from that moment on. It was the reason he never married, for he could not survive another loss should the marriage fail.
The vision he had encountered in his sleep had the answer he needed; it showed him the comfort he was seeking so desperately. It was an amazing idea. Tony replayed it in his mind's-eye.
In the dream, Tony's friend, Kalick Neemeth, had called on the phone and told him he had some incredible news for him. Tony asked what it was but Kalick refused to discuss it on the phone, stating, "This is TOP-SECRET stuff."
Kalick drove to Tony's home and with great excitement related the strangest piece of information he had ever heard. Kalick explained that in 1941 two scientists discovered the part of the brain that controls aging in humans. These scientists had received their research money from five of the wealthiest Americans in that day. "Force Five", as they called themselves, decided the discovery could not be submitted to the general public and devised an elaborate scheme to keep "Project Eternity" a secret.
"Well, what did they do?" Tony asked.
Kalick replied with a burning intensity. "Well, in 1941, construction of The Pentagon began. While the entire country thought it was just the U.S. War Department's new home – in truth it was built to cover a large underground city."
Kalick was trembling with the importance of his news. He paced a little, and then continued.
"The ‘Force Five’ decided to share the ‘Project Eternity’ secret with their immediate families only. They established a way to add members to their city below the ground, five at a time. There are around 4,000 citizens living directly below the Pentagon in the most elaborate, fascinating, innovative, and modern civilization you could ever imagine. Not one person ages, and they are far more advanced than those of us stuck up here."
Tony was speechless. Kalick kept talking.
"Every few years the secret is allowed to reach a selected few. In my case, my sister who I thought had disappeared, contacted me and let me know about the entire scheme. There is just one catch though. Once a person informs you about Project Eternity and The Pentagon Village, you only have 48 hours to reach The Pentagon, approach the security guard by elevator number thirteen, and declare ‘Code of Federal Regulations – LAW number 216’ as your means of access. From that point, the guard will show you the most incredible elevator ride of your life."
Kalick paused to observe the effect of this stunning message.
"If you wait longer than the forty-eight hours – you won't live to tell anyone about the Village. But if you know you can make it in time, you are allowed to invite up to four more people to go with you. I chose you. We have been friends since high school bro."
Tony was amazed. This was exactly what he was looking for.
Immediately the dream advanced to The Pentagon where he entered The Pentagon Village with his friend Kalick. It was simply astounding! The walls were made of crystal that reflected light as bright as the sun. The Village was huge. It was just like life above the earth, except there was no crime, dirt, pain, or injustice.
All of the people were dressed in the most beautiful robes he had ever seen. They greeted him, laughed with him, hugged him, and showed him around this wonderful place. Within an hour he had the minor surgery to remove his brain's aging mechanism.
Tony knew he was home. Immortality was his! He now had conquered his only fear: DEATH.
* * *
He cherished the incredibly comforting DREAM, but the nagging feeling seemed just a little too real. He ran to the phone and called Kalick Neemeth. He had to know the truth.
"Hello", Kalick answered.
"Kalick, it’s me, Tony"
"Hey Tony, how ‘ya doin'?"
"Kalick! It's true isn’t it?"
"What's true, Tony?"
"Pentagon Village! You really know all about it don't you? Kalick, you have to tell me man. Is it true?"
"Tony... umm... Have you been drinking?"
"Never mind Kalick. I gotta go."
Tony could not believe it. Kalick had to be lying. Sure! It was true. It was all absolutely true, but Kalick must be ashamed to say he had not really picked Tony to go along with him.
Tony was desperate. He would book a flight right now and go to The Pentagon on his own! He would march right up to the security guard in front of elevator number thirteen and demand access with LAW number 216! Tony just knew the whole thing had to be true. The dream felt too real to be anything else.
He grabbed the phone and phone book. He would book a flight to Washington D.C. tonight. In the morning, he would be on his way to Pentagon Village. He just knew it.
"Drats!" His first attempt at calling O'Hare International Airport earned him a busy signal.
Tony's doorbell rang. He was sure it must be Kalick – come to tell him he could not talk about "Project Eternity" or "Force Five" over the phone. Tony ran to the door and jerked it open.
But Kalick was nowhere to be found. Instead, there was a man Tony had never seen before. The man was dressed in a suit and tie. He carried a black book by his side and a few pieces of paper in his other hand.
"A Bible Thumper," Tony swore to himself.
Anger welled up within him! How dare one of these HOLY ROLLERS distract him from his very important life and death task at hand!
"Hello Sir. My name is Joshua Day. I am the Youth Pastor down at Jesus Lives, Pentecostal Church on Michigan Avenue. I was wondering if you know Jesus as your personal Savior?"
Tony slammed the door shut as Pastor Day continued, "Um. Whoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life...."
Pastor Day lowered his head and said a quick prayer for the man who had just closed the door in the face of TRUE Salvation.
Tony ran back to the phone. As he dialed the airport one more time he thought to himself, "What kind of a fool would believe God sent some guy named Jesus who is supposedly our key to going to Heaven?"
It was simply amazing the stuff people will believe in. Tony was glad he had never fallen for any of that stupid religious garbage people kept slinging his way. He was not so weak he needed a crutch like religion.
"Hello. Thank you for calling American Airlines. This is Debra. May I help you?"
"You sure can, Debra. My name is Tony Mason, and I need a one way ticket to Washington D.C. for tonight."
"No problem sir. Will that be First Class?"
"Yes it will. Hey are you married?"
"Umm... NO sir, I am not."
"Hmm. Well Debra, how'd you like to live forever?" Tony asked, a smile spreading across his delighted face.
"Great," Debra thought to herself, "Another one of those Bible Thumpers!"
Dan Blankenship, the author of The Running Girl, lives with his wife and two daughters in Lowell, Indiana. He is the former race director of the Buckley 5 Miler cross-country race and has written three short stories appearing in Catalyst Literary Journal. The fictional works of C.S. Lewis, Frank Peretti, and Randy Alcorn inspire his writing. You may write to Dan through the Letters page of this magazine.
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