The grass smelled sweet in the baking sun. The soil was fresh, and the grass still clung to it in clumps. Truman grabbed the large rock. He heaved it onto the grimy table, a rickety structure of a sheet of wood on saw horses. The wood sagged under the weight. “Ian, I think you should look at this.” Ian Rockwell came over with his archeologist’s kit, and pulled out a lens.
“I want to test this at the lab.” Ian said. He drew his hammer, and tapped a small chip off the rock. Ian threw it into a bag. “Put the rest on the truck; bring it back when you’re done. I just want this for now.”
Truman laughed, and began shoveling again. Dirt flew from his shovel, and each time he had to examine the dirt he shoveled for remains. Nothing was there. Truman would have to dig yet another hole, the third of that day. But then Truman stopped.
Lying in the dirt under his boot was a piece of cloth. Truman grabbed it. It was old; yes, it was very old. Perhaps a hundred years, maybe longer. He had not seen a cloth like it before. Though it was brown, and hardly recognizable as cloth, Truman knew from the feel it was some linen, and probably white too. This was great. Truman had never found anything particularly wonderful. Maybe this was something good. Truman put it in another bag, and used his hands to carefully scrape away the dirt.
Truman hit something soft. It was firmer than the dirt, but it was soft. Using the loose fingers of his glove, Truman brushed the dirt away. But when he saw it, he ran to the truck.
Exactly what Truman saw is something he didn’t expect. Its image was so fearful, that if it were not real, the fear alone of what it might be was enough to scar one’s soul. But it was real. Or at least it looked it. It was unspeakable, the expression frozen on the woman’s face, and it almost struck Truman dumb.
Truman went back to the hole. There it was, as real as ever. Then Truman did something he regretted. He dug around the face, and found a full head, and a neck. There were shoulders too, but Truman would have to make the hole bigger to get the body completely out.
“Hello, Truman Beck.” Truman fell flat on his back. “I know your name.”
“What?” Truman shuddered these words.
“I know you,” spoke the face, “I know where you’re from, what you’re from, and where you’re going. In fact, I know everything about you, even though I have never seen you.”
“It is an unexplained phenomenon, some call it wisdom, others demonic infestation.”
“Who are you? Why are you here?”
“I am Oracle. Years ago I was buried here, because man did not want to hear.”
“Hear what?”
“The Oracle.”
“What is the word of the Oracle?”
“That man shall die.”
“This I knew. What has the Oracle said that men wouldn’t listen?”
“Much have I said, little has been heard, except by those who refuse to believe it. The prophecy in full regarded much that is past. Some is long past, some happened but a short time ago. And then there is that which has not yet come to pass. But it is told in song. You would not know it, for its language is known to none but the Oracle.”
“I will listen.”
“First, the horse is not to be trusted, there is much mightier than he, for it is ruled by what is in its stomach. Second, even the greatest will burn, and all that is left is marvelous ruins. Third, fire will fill the sky, and man shall perish from even a small portion of it.”
“The third I understand, it prophecies that man will invent a new machine of war, the gun.”
“Already you have seen the effects of disregarding a prophecy. Fourth, there will be much trouble and pestilence, but the savior will be the waste of the mud-wallowing beasts.”
“This would be, by my guess, the black plague in Europe, which some cured by drinking large amounts of bacon grease.”
“Fifth, the Oracle says that all the world should sink into hate and greed. Twice they would fight, the second time led by a man who single-handedly was responsible for the death of thousands.”
“Hitler, the World Wars”
“Sixth that mans own destruction will be the goal of many. Through these foolish pursuits, nature will rupture. Beaches will be without sand, and wind will flatten the city deep.”
“Nuclear weapons, global warming, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, all this I have seen.”
“Then be not surprised at the seventh. With the seventh, it is finished. All of the world shall perish by fire and sword. The slaughter will be rank, the blood shall flow deep. All that was done shall be undone, and all that is made unmade, and then made again. There will be weeping, and mourning, but there will be none to save.”
“This has not yet come to pass?”
“It is yet to pass, but it is nigh at hand, and each moment makes it one moment closer. Time is unforgiving, it will not lend you aid or give rest to the weary.”
“What is it called?”
“There is no name that is known to the tongues of men, except dread, fear, and mourning. Therefore be ready for it when it comes.”
“And how am I to know this shall indeed come to pass?”
“The Oracle has spoken.”
“Will any survive this dread end?”
“The Oracle has spoken.
“Why is it that no one knew of this before it happened?”
“No one would listen. Still they would not listen. Preach yourself the truth that must be heard; only the dreamers will follow you in quaint fear.”
Truman stopped. He could go no further. But there was something he must know. “How is it that you are still alive, even though you have been in the ground for two thousand years?”
“The truth is true, it is not flesh that withers and dies. If truth is true, then the truth can never die.”

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