“The Gathering,” a story about the times leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, is Lindsay’s first published novel. From an early age, his mind traveled in new and unusual directions. His preoccupation with “what if” eventually led him to write speculative fiction. According to his wife, everything is a story to him. And it is.
Although this is his first novel, Lindsay has been published in a variety of science-fiction and fantasy magazines. He is a native Arizonan and lives in Mesa with his wife and five of his nine children. If you want to find out more you can check him out at RandyLindsay.net.
John, the father of the Williams family, accepted a calling to help build Camp Valiant in preparation for the upcoming “gathering.” In this scene, he encounters a problem with the residents of the nearby town where they get their mail and supplies.
John noticed two middle-aged women watching him as he pulled into the gas station at the edge of Greenville. The way they both faced him, inclined towards one another, it made it obvious they were talking about him. They didn’t look happy and when they noticed John had spotted them they didn’t bother to turn away.
He filled up the tank and went inside to grab a treat. How strange that getting a candy bar and a soda from the gas station had become something he looked forward to during his trips into town. It reminded him of taking trips with his father out to his grandparents’ farm. What a thrill it had been then to stop anywhere and pickup something sweet.
It took almost five minutes to make his selections. When you lived mostly on beans, eggs, and Ramen all the offerings in the snack aisle tempted you. Finally, he decided on a root beer and a king-sized Crunch bar and placed them on the counter next to the cash register.
The cashier, a paunchy man with an unkempt mustache, wrinkled his nose at John. Then he stepped away from the counter as if he were afraid of catching a virus.
“That’s it,” said John, when the cashier failed to ring up his purchase. “That’s all I’m getting this trip.”
The cashier glanced around the otherwise empty store and then stepped back up to the register. His fingers stabbed at the cash register buttons. John handed the man a five and the cashier made change and then slammed the money down on the counter.
John pocketed the money and left.
His second stop, and the main reason for being in town today, was the hardware store. The trailer had blown a fuse and they had used their only spare. If another one blew, they would be without electricity for their kitchen.
A brawny man with a thick neck stood behind the counter. He wore a blue shirt with the store logo and a patch that said – My name is Merle.
John pulled the blown fuse out of his shirt pocket and showed it to Merle. “I need a couple of replacement fuses.”
“Not here,” said Merle. He folded his arms and leaned back.
“It seems odd that you’d be out of fuses,” said John. “They’re just the standard 20 amp variety.”
“I didn’t mean we don’t have them,” Merle snarled. “I meant that you can’t buy them here.”
It took a moment for the implication of the man’s words to sink in. “You’re refusing to sell them to me?”
“That’s right,” said Merle. “We don’t want you in our town. We don’t want you anywhere near our town.”
“We haven’t done anything illegal,” said John.
“I don’t care. I want you out my store.” Merle unfolded his arms and leaned on the counter, his face a scarce foot away from John’s.