CHAPTER 1-THE BOOK OF LOVE

My life was nothing special. I had no talents except in English class, but even then I couldn't really figure out how I would come up with a topic to write about for the final project once school started.

My name is Randy Welkins. I was 17 and a half when I guess it all started. It was in August of 1998. Before that year, my life was like any teenager's life: I was a liar, jerk, and anything else you can think of that would lead to some form of violence against someone I didn't like. But the school year of 98-99 changed my life. I'll always remember it…for eternity.

See, in August, we were all preparing for school in about a month. It was my senior year. My older brother, girlfriend, and I always hung out together. My brother, Jonathon, was preparing for freshman year of college. My girlfriend, Jenny, was in the same grade as me, only a different school. I went to Littleton High, while she went to Columbine.

That month was what started it all. I remember we were in my living room. I was writing something in my journal of the summer. As I said, I like writing. My brother was packing, and Jenny was reading a novel for an advanced class. I believe it was Of Mice and Men.

Jon peered into his bag and frowned. "Randy, have you seen my math book?"

"No," I told him. "Where'd you see it last?"

"Last night," said Jon. "I was studying. I've heard we have to take a pre-unit exam. I wanted to freshen up on my algorithms."

"Maybe it's by your bedside."

"Yeah, I'll go check." He got up and left the room.

"How's the book?" I asked Jenny out of boredom.

"Fine," she said. "I don't understand the symbolism, though."

"Maybe it's a literature thing," I suggested. "Who knows?"

Jon returned with two books. One was his math book, the other was…

"My old Bible," he explained. "I haven't seen this in years. I've been reading the newer version lately. I…remember."

He trailed off. Obviously, he was remembering something. It wasn't until several months later that I found out why.

"You should really take a look at it," he told me.

"Me?" I had never read it before. "Uh…that's okay. You can keep it."

"No really, bro," he insisted. "I really insist. It'll change your life."

Why argue? "Okay, I'll take it." I took it and set it next to my journal, certain I was never going to pay any attention to it.

Jon turned to Jenny with a somewhat concerned look on his face. "Where do you go, again?"

"Columbine. Why?"

"Hmm…"

"What?"

"I don't know. It's…bizarre. You'd think there's no reason to suspect anything, but…I don't know. Something's troubling me. I'm feeling something horrible. I feel the need to…warn you about something, but what? I don't know!"

Jon grabbed his bag and left the room, his hand rubbing his head. I heard him mutter, "What is it, Lord?"

I turned back to my journal, thinking he was completely crazy. Jenny, on the other hand, seemed distressed for obvious reasons.

"Randy," she asked me. "What did he mean by 'Something's troubling me'? I doubt anything would be dangerous at my school but, what?"

"I don't know," I said in annoyance. "He's probably being all spiritual again. You know he thinks he can speak with God? He hasn't been right since last July. I don't know what the heck he thinks he's talking about, but it makes absolutely no sense. He doesn't respect other people's beliefs."

"But, Randy," she protested. "Don't you think there may be something else? I mean, listen to him! You know he was before last July! He's completely changed! That's not really all that…natural, is it?"

"Not natural? Hmm…I suppose so. But, how else could something like that happen?"

"You know, I really think you should start reading that book," she suggested, gesturing at my brother's Bible on the table next to me. "Maybe it'll tell you something."

"Uh, but I've never read it before!" I said. "It's full of…you know…ancient stuff. Who talks like that anymore? Why should I take an interest in living like someone without any technology? I like advances."

"It was just a suggestion," she told me, returning to her book. "It's up to you."

I scoffed and started writing again.

Jon returned. "Listen, I need to go out."

"Go out?" I repeated. "Where? And why?"

"Just out," he replied. "And because He needs me."

"Whatever, bro," I said. "You keep thinking that."

Jon gave me a look of despair and left again. I heard the door close.

Normally, he would've been mad at me, but ever since he started on Christianity, he's just been sad about everything I've been doing. It was really annoying.

I turned back to my journal once again.

"August 8, 1998.

My brother is so stupid. What does he think he's playing at? I hope it's nothing more than pre-college nerves, because he's being really creepy. I highly doubt anyone can talk to whoever's up there…it anyone's up there. This whole thing is stupid."


A week later was no closer to normality. I came home from my job at Wendy's…I was a cashier. My brother was sitting at the kitchen table, reading something. He glanced up at me.

"How was work, bro?"

"Fine," I said. It was another nine hours of continual "Can I help you"s and such.

"That's good," Jon mumbled, turning back to his reading material. "That's good."

"What's your deal?" I asked him.

"Nothing you would care about, unfortunately," he said.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Bro," he told me firmly. "I know things that would blow your mind. Things that would turn your entire world upside-down if not tear it apart."

"Like?"

"Did you even look at that Bible once?"

"Yeah," I said simply. "Sure."

"Stop lying to me," he said sternly. "He knows, and He's showing it in your eyes."

"Would you stop talking like that?" I said angrily. "I'm sick of what you've become! Why can't you go back to the way you were?"

"Why won't you just hear me out?"

"Never! I will NEVER listen to what you've got to say!"

"Bro…"

"Leave me alone!"

I stormed past him up the stairs into my bedroom. Slamming the door, I threw myself onto the bed.

"God," I mumbled into the covers miserably. "God, why did You have to take my brother from me? Why? He was so cool before…and then You made him…made him lame. Why? Give him back to me! Is that too much to ask?"

Suddenly, my head was pulled up. I eyes were drawn to that holy book on my desk. I picked it up and looked at it. The cover was navy blue with the golden words HOLY BIBLE written in gold on the front cover. They gazed back up at me.

I placed my fingers on the edge and lifted the cover. The same letters printed in black greeted me on the front page. The next page was almost identical. Finally, I reached a page with the three lone words THE OLD TESTAMENT written on it.

The book of Genesis was interesting. God creating the world, the universe, everything living. When I reached chapter 3 and read it, my mind became somewhat interested. Were we actually created to be…perfect? As I read it, I couldn't help but think Thanks a lot, Adam and Eve. By the time I got to the end of chapter 4, I grew weary. The long list of names of the first several descendants tired me. I laid down in my bed and closed my eyes, with the holy book of love sitting back on the desk where it was.