The Great Scarlet Reset Chapter 1

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The Silver Lining

Thanksgiving Day – Notre Dame, Indiana

Gideon Shumway turned on his computer after a less than satisfying Thanksgiving meal with his roommate, Duane, and his girlfriend, Khepri. Gideon felt like the third wheel. Still, it was better than going home and facing his father.

Karen dumped Gideon back in September after reading his book on Ezra’s Eagle.1 The subject was just too scary for her. President Towers was dead, and President Michaels had resigned. She didn’t want to accept that President Ball would meet a similar fate.

Gideon picked up one of his copies and turned it over in his hands three times. Ezra’s Eagle; What Ancient Prophecy Tells Us About Today and Tomorrow. Gideon spent three months writing the paper for his Comparative Religion class. Five months later, President Towers was assassinated, proving Gideon’s analysis right.

It was still a thrill to see his name on the cover. But perhaps writing it was a mistake. So far, it had brought nothing but heartache. Losing Karen wasn’t the only problem this book had caused. Gideon’s father, Benjamin Sr., had enjoyed the paper on which the book was based. But quitting football and spending his summer on a book tour instead of at home had soured what little relationship he had left with Dad.

Gideon spent that summer doubling the length and depth of his analysis, guided by Professor Jenkins. Gideon thought finishing the manuscript was the last step.

Instead, he spent six weeks researching publishers and publishing methods. He finally found a hybrid publisher that allowed Gideon to maintain control of his book while still giving him access to broader distribution.

Then Gideon spent four months going back and forth with the editor, making changes, rewriting phrases, adding more citations, and approving the cover art. Two months later, Gideon’s book was for sale at Christian bookstores everywhere.

Book sales were dismal. President Michaels’ resignation boosted his sales from a dozen copies a month to several hundred. The ten thousand dollars he’d earned in profits wasn’t enough to cover his tuition next semester. Without his football scholarship, Gideon would have to take out a student loan.

As Gideon’s email loaded, he saw ninety-three emails in the last two hours. Curious about the flood of emails, he started reading through them. Amazon said his book was sold out. That was odd. That morning, Amazon had more than a hundred copies.

The next one was from They were also sold out and were requesting five hundred copies to cover their backorders. Gideon gasped. What was going on?

Five more emails had similar content. Every bookstore and online retailer carrying his book was requesting more copies. He even found a second email from Amazon, asking him to send one thousand copies to cover their backorder demand. The printer wasn’t even open today.

Gideon’s phone rang, showing his younger brother’s face on the caller-ID. “Hello, Ben. How was your football game?”

Ben was the quarterback for BYU. “I’m not calling about football! Turn on the television!

Gideon turned on the TV, and Channel 16 came up. “Which channel— Oh.”

The Breaking News banner was flashing at the bottom of the screen. “President Ball is confirmed dead,” Beatrice Price said. “Vice President Nicholson was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. We’re all waiting anxiously to see if she pulls through. Former President Michaels and dozens of family members were pronounced dead at the scene in what appears to be the worst mass poisoning ever which didn’t involve a religious cult.

“Ball is dead?” Gideon asked.

That’s not the only piece of news,” Ben said.

“Something else happened?” Gideon asked.

In a strange twist of fate,” Price continued, “a book released earlier this year predicted the death of President Ball and warns that Haley Nicholson may not live through the night. Even if she does, her Presidency is as doomed as the last three Presidents. Local author Gideon Shumway’s book, Ezra’s Eagle; What Ancient Prophecy Tells Us About Today and Tomorrow, officially hit the shelves on February 10th. Shumway’s book shows connections between recent events and a little-known ancient prophecy from the Old Testament’s apocryphal section. Shumway was unavailable for comment.”

“Unavailable for comment?” Gideon asked. “Is that what they say when they can’t find my phone number?”

Give them a break,” Ben said. “President Ball has been dead for less than an hour. I just thought you should be prepared.

“Thanks, Ben. This explains all the emails.” Something about Ben’s warning was out of place. It took a moment for Gideon to put his finger on it.

“What emails?”

“Every bookstore carrying my book is sold out. They’re all demanding more copies. Hey, this is a local station talking about me. So how did you know they would mention my book?”

Your local station isn’t the only one discussing your new book,” Ben said. “You’re national news.

Gideon gasped. “I need an agent.”

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