“Almighty,” inquired the deceptively respectful voice of the Accuser
of the Brethren. “Will this human continue to serve You if You allow
certain things to happen in his life?”
Almighty God considered Lucifer’s request. God knew the Enemy wanted
to throw a wrench into the plans He had for Alton Johnson and Maybelle
Carter, for all those called by His name. Lucifer, now satan, had
plotted from the beginning to turn humanity away from God and to the
Dark Kingdom. He hadn’t changed and never would.
God had great plans for Alton and Maybelle. But His perfect plan for
humanity called for testing and maturity through all manner of trials
and tribulations during their assignments on Earth.
“What do you have in mind, devil?” God thundered, already knowing
what the Enemy determined to do.
Having played everything forward in the continuum of time, God already
knew the result of everything satan would attempt on the Earth.
“I was thinking, Majesty,” satan said invitingly. “What if You
allowed something to happen to the man so he could not play basketball
anymore? Something to test his faith, Almighty? Will the human still
God listened to what the Adversary proposed. It wasn’t a bad idea, but
. . .
“I have created all things for My purpose, even evil for the evil day.
Whatever is in your mind to do, devil, perform it. However, you cannot
take his life,” God commanded, thundering his response as He dismissed
the wicked one from His presence.
Satan departed from the throne room of God. Laughing maniacally to
himself, he contemplated what he would do to the man Alton Johnson. He
wouldn’t kill him . . . just make him wish he were dead.
In the Unseen, Nashville
Slayer roamed the streets of Nashville waiting for the command from his
master the Prince of Darkness. Racism, Hatred, Jealousy, and Anger
roamed the streets behind him, causing minor skirmishes to while away
the time until they found out if everything was a go concerning Alton
“Oh, mighty Prince Slayer,” complained Racism to his boss. “What
is taking so long? It seems as though we have waited eons to hear from
the Throne of Darkness on this matter, Master,” Racism exaggerated.
Slayer processed the information Racism brought to his attention. He
deliberated whether or not to send one of his assigned minions to see if
there was an answer from satan as yet. He didn’t want to disturb the
Master of Darkness. He knew how volatile he could be at times.
“Be patient, lackey,” Slayer said. He decided to wait until the
Master sent someone to him with word. No need in stirring the old dog up
if I don’t need to, he contemptuously thought to himself.
“Dog am I, Slayer?” inquired the slippery, slimy, wicked voice out
of the atmosphere.
As the leader of the Dominions of Darkness, it was quite common for
satan to explore other demons’ thoughts. Slayer’s black heart
quivered as he considered the havoc satan could wreak upon him without
“Master, please forgive me. I meant ‘dog’ in the kindest sense,
your Highness,” Slayer explained, groveling to deflect the wrath of
the Fallen One.
But there was no need. From the appearance of his countenance, satan was
. . . happy.
“No need for all that, slave,” satan said to Slayer, reminding him
that he was, after all, only a servant. “We have permission to do as
we will with this human. The only thing we can’t do is kill him. But
we can certainly make him desire death,” satan said, a sneer on his
face and a scoffing laugh emanating from his raspy throat.
Slayer rubbed his hands together at the prospect of causing pain in the
life of one of those calling himself by the name of the Most High God.
He refocused on Alton. Slayer had watched this human for quite some
time. Now he would see if Alton Johnson was truly a servant of God or if
he would fall from grace. Slayer had looked forward to this moment. He
desired to shine in the face of Darkness.
Slayer called his minions to gather around him. “Hmm, let’s
see—Anger, Racism, Hatred, and Jealousy. Yes, you all will do just
fine. But there are two more I want to use for this assault
party—Callousness and Revenge,” he added gleefully.
Revenge would be the impetus for this siege. Callousness would lead the
charge. Slayer knew once Revenge took hold of the young men as they
assaulted Alton Johnson, Cruelty would step in and endue the attackers
with dark power to bring forth a beating that would make Alton want to
Nashville, Tennessee: September 1954
Alton escorted Maybelle safely to her dorm after the Sunday night
service at church. Afterward, he and a couple of his teammates went to
one of the burger places for a late-night snack before returning to
their dorm. He, Maurice, and Sam enjoyed the burgers and fries served at
Mabel’s Diner, one of the few colored-owned establishments in town.
Because they were basketball players, they received healthier portions
of whatever they ordered. And they enjoyed the attention.
As Alton and his friends came out of the diner at about 10:30, a voice
called to him belligerently, “Hey, boy. Aren’t you that Alton
Johnson boy from Fisk?”
Always respectful, Alton turned toward the voice to answer, “Yes, sir
. . .”
When he saw the asker, Alton changed his tact. It was Fletcher Conroy,
the same guy he’d had words with during the scrimmage in the fall of
“Hey, Fletcher, man, let’s not get started on that. It’s over,”
Alton offered, looking at this guy and his friends. Alton felt that
something was about to happen.
Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Fletcher rode on the back of the seat with the
top down on the almost new sky-blue Dodge Cornette convertible. Lights
shining brightly, the car rolled slowly down the street toward Alton and
his friends as though the occupants had been waiting for them to make an
Looking closer, Alton could tell the boys in the car were drunk.
Fletcher and his five friends brandished sticks, sledge hammers, and
chains. It didn’t take much for Alton to realize that he and his
friends were outnumbered.
“Boy,” Fletcher slurred, “I been looking for you for a long time.
I come to get muh respect, darkie.”
Alton whispered a quick, “Lord, please help us,” before he said to
Fletcher, “There’s no need for name-calling, man. Look, I’m sorry
we got into it that day. I apologize for disrespecting you. Please
Alton looked for an escape route so he and his friends could avoid the
impending altercation. Unfortunately, there was no place to go except
back to the diner. Six against three, the odds didn’t look good for
Alton or his friends to make it back to the diner without being hit with
one of the objects in the hands of their aggressors.
In 1954 in the Deep South, colored men were still being lynched. He
didn’t want anything to happen to his friends or to himself because of
pride or arrogance. There had to be a way they could get out of this
situation without too much harm coming to any of them.
“Please let my friends go. They had nothing to do with this,” Alton
pleaded as the driver stopped the car and Fletcher and his friends got
If they couldn’t find a way to escape, the menacing items held in the
hands of the other young men were set to inflict much damage to Alton,
Maurice, and Sam.
Keeping his eyes on their aggressors, Alton whispered urgently,
“Maurice, Sam, when I tell you, run across the street and back up to
the diner! They only want me. You can get to the diner and call the
police. Get ready! Now!”
Hoping this was a good plan, Maurice and Sam didn’t hesitate. They
quickly split up and darted away from the threat. Maurice quickly
sprinted across the street then back toward the diner they had just
left. Sam ran past the almost empty car then sprinted across the street
in a zigzag course behind Maurice.
Maurice burst through the diner door and quickly asked the waitress to
phone the police. Sam entered right behind him. Both panting from the
sprint, they attempted to explain to the waitress what was going on.
It didn’t take Ellie long to understand what was happening. She
immediately alerted the police.
In the Unseen . . .
Slayer sat on the hood of a chromed black 1950 Studebaker parked in
front of the diner. He watched as the situation amplified to where he
wanted it to be.
Anger, Racism, Hatred, and Jealousy surrounded Fletcher and his cronies.
They knew all the buttons to push and made good use of those buttons.
Slayer called Anger to his side. “Look, this is what I want you and
the others to do,” he said aggressively. “Surround the human
Fletcher and his friends and cloud their minds to commonsense. Help them
remember that Alton is a better everything than they are. Then, let
Jealousy have his way with them,” Slayer instructed. Anger understood.
Slayer failed to see the figures sitting on top of the building across
the street from the diner. He allowed his zeal to carry him well beyond
the parameters satan had set for this assault. He would not be denied.
Holy Guardian Angels Hazmar, Kangor, and Eliasa considered the
happenings beneath them on the street. Knowing what was about to
transpire, they discreetly followed Alton and his friends from the
diner. They saw the forces of evil gathering around the six boys in the
car. Recognizing Anger, Racism, Hatred, and Jealousy, they also observed
Slayer sitting on his temporary throne, instructing his minions in their
Hazmar instinctively knew these were not the only demons present. The
others had just not made themselves known as of yet.
“Be on the lookout, Protectors,” Hazmar warned. “I fear there are
more demons than what we see at this moment.”
He spoke not a moment too soon. Like a flash, Callousness and Revenge
flew toward Fletcher and his friends, Andy, Bobby, Carl, Stan, and
Steve. As Callousness and Revenge touched down in their midst, the boys
staggered as the demonic power engulfed them, seemingly taking control.
There was no turning back.
Fisk University: Women’s Dormitory, Room 211
Maybelle suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to pray. She heard the still
quiet voice say, Quickly! Pray for Alton.
She had already turned off the lamp and lay down in her bed to go to
sleep. She immediately rolled out of bed and onto her knees.
As she murmured, “Father God . . .” Alton received the first blow to
The Intercessor heard the plea from the dormitory room.
Father God in the name of Jesus, I don’t know what’s going on with
Alton. I don’t know if he’s in his dorm room or out somewhere
getting a bite to eat. But Lord, please protect him and anyone he might
be with right now. In Jesus’s precious name.
The voice of the young woman continued in prayer, supplication, and
thanksgiving because she knew her prayer was being heard in the Heavens.
“Come, Angels of Intercession. Let us assist this woman in praying for
the situation on the Earth. We will pray that the Grace and Mercy of God
will prevail in this situation,” directed the Intercessor to His staff
of interceding angels surrounding Him. “Spirit of God, endue the woman
with power from on high to pray for what she knows not.”
He knew of the conversation between the Father and the Accuser of the
Brethren. He knew that Alton Johnson would be physically injured.
However, it was up to Alton whether he allowed himself to become
spiritually injured as well.
Excerpted from "The Baby Chronicles: Where You Were Before You Were" by Beatrice Bruno. Copyright © 2017 by Beatrice Bruno. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.