It’s December 24, 2015. Christmas Eve. The rain has just stopped, it’s 68 degrees in in New York City and the weather is, to put it bluntly, all kinds of wrong. Where we should be seeing snow and ice encrusting windows and burying cars this winter, we’re seeing something very different and not a little creepy. The world is changing whether we like it or not.
On another Christmas Eve many years ago while on my first trip to visit Israel, I had a particularly eye-opening experience. It was during a tour of the Golan Heights, on the country’s northern border. Syria was just a few miles away, along with batteries of artillery, miles of barbed wire, and anti-tank obstacles strewn through valleys and hills.
One fact of life in Israel is the sound of explosions: the sonic booms made of fighter planes patrolling Israeli airspace. Three, four or more times a day. The crack of thunder flies above you despite cloudless skies. Windows shake in their frames. You get used to it pretty quickly, the same way you get used to small earthquakes in Japan or even California.
As we passed through a supposedly secure part of the Heights that day in 1986, we were allowed off the bus and walked around through country that had seen awful fighting in 1967. Suddenly, booms crashed overhead. We ignored them. It had become background noise to us. But they kept coming, one after the other, precisely spaced, echoing between the hills. Radios squawked and our tour guides hustled us back onto the bus and we tore out of the area.
Later on we learned that the area we’d been walking through had been part of an artillery exchange between Israeli and Syrian forces. When you live in a war zone, you get used to things like that, too.
And yet, Jerusalem is the site of three major religions’ holiest places. Control over the city has been traded between tribes, nations, and empires for nearly three thousand years. Yet we can’t seem to stop fighting over it.
Still. The world is changing whether we like it or not.
Politics of the Apocalypse is a short story that throws religious zealotry at self-sacrificial idealism. It’s Christmas Eve and the Hordes of Hades are about to launch their final attack on the Old City of Jerusalem. Dedicated defenders of three faiths are ready to cut and run over dogma. What do they do? What would you do?
The story is live for Kindle on Amazon’s website, for 99 cents.