Chapter Forty Five, in which all hell breaks loose
Tyler could feel Pauline reaching out to him in prayer across the miles. He closed his eyes and began to pray too. “God, I don’t know what’s going on here, but I need to get out of this and get my job done and get back home to Pauline. Please let her know that I am alive and tell her to keep praying. Then please God get me out of here somehow and keep that gnome from bothering us anymore. I’m surprised it can do physical damage in the physical world, but only you know what is really going on. But with you, Lord, all things are possible. As it says in your Word, in Romans 8:39, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I’m praying in Jesus’ name, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.”
Tyler’s eyes had been closed but he could have sworn he felt the skeleton cringe when he said the name of Jesus. He opened his eyes. “Jesus!” He called out.” Jesus!!”
The skeleton cringed again. “Stop saying that!” It said.
“JESUS COME AND RESCUE ME RIGHT AWAY!” Screamed Tyler. “This gnome and his devils aren’t supposed to bother Pauline anymore and she is bothered by this even though not directly.” He looked straight at the skeleton and said “In Jesus Christ’s name I command you to loose me and let me go.”
The skeleton’s arms wilted in front of Tyler. Just then the door opened. The gnome walked in with two men right behind him. The first one was menacing and had a scar on his face and dirty hair. The second one was hiding under a hood and couldn’t really be seen. “What’s going on here?” Asked the gnome.
“He keeps talking about . . . about that name!” Said the skeleton.
“You know, the name we’re not supposed to say. Starts with a J.”
“Oh he does, does he? That name means nothing to me!” The gnome scoffed.
“Oh no?” said the second man with the hood. Throwing back his hood, Tyler saw with a thrill that the man had kind but currently angry eyes, long hair, and a beard. There seemed to be a flowing white robe under his cloak.
The demonic beings all screamed. “JESUS!” Cried Tyler.
The skeleton, the menacing man, and the gnome all fell to the floor on their knees.
“Too late!” Said Jesus. “You’re coming with me.”
Jesus rounded up the three of them in a single lasso. Towing them behind, he rose into the air and they all disappeared out of the ceiling. He landed on the ground at the opening to a cave, really just a hole in the ground.
“Let’s go inside!” He said.
“Not that!” Shrieked the gnome. It appeared he knew what fate awaited him. The skeleton’s bones were clattering together, dry bones just like in Ezekiel’s valley.
“I didn’t even do anything!” Protested the menacing man.
“Doesn’t matter,” said Jesus. “You were going to. I told the gnome to leave this couple alone, and he didn’t, and he drew you into it. Your deaths will be his responsibility.”
All three now pulled to try to get away from Jesus and the rope binding them tightly together. He was too strong and pulled them into the cave.
They descended deep into the ground. It was dark when they started, but as they descended an orange light could be seen further ahead, like flames. They landed at the edge of what appeared to be a bottomless pit. Angry colors swirled in the air below them, looking like a nebula in outer space, but full of fire too. The stench from the smoke would have been unbearable had Tyler been there. As it was he was still wherever it was the gnome had brought him, but he was lying on the floor in some kind of trance, able to see all that was happening where Jesus was.
Worse than the smell and the heat, there were ungodly screams from down below in the pit. Sparks flew up to where the four of them stood. The gnome, skeleton, and menacing man were cowering, actually hiding behind Jesus in an unsuccessful attempt to escape the heat. Where Tyler could see down into the pit, he couldn’t really see the bottom, but from the top edge on down it was a terrifying ordeal. He writhed in fear in the room where they had held him. I’m going insane, Tyler told himself.
“The worst will see the other two go before him,” shouted Jesus.
Jesus took the arm of the skeleton and swung her around his head. The tendons stretched out and then snapped back together, making a horrifying sight. Jesus let go and the skeleton went sailing over his head and down into the middle of the pit. It laughed that screeching laugh one last time and then began to moan and wail. “It’s too hot!” She said.
“You should have thought of that sooner,” said Jesus.
Next he took the arm of the menacing man and swung him around. Since this man was human, he had never seen such a thing before and was screaming the whole time to think of being thrown into this fiery pit. “You had the human free will,” said Jesus. “You could have chosen to believe in me.” Jesus let go and the man was hurled toward the bottom, howling in fear and rage as he fell. Demons on the way down pierced him with pitchforks. He fell right into a big cauldron of boiling blood. Others before him had fallen in there and were screaming. It was so loud he knew it would drive him mad.
Finally the giant dream gnome was picked up by the arm and swung around Jesus’ head like the others had been. “I told you to leave this couple alone”, Jesus said firmly. “If you had listened, I wouldn’t have to do this. Now leave and never come back!”
Jesus flung the gnome like it was a child’s toy, down, down, into the pit. The flames flared up even higher and brighter. Tyler was in agony watching all this. “Jesus, come back,” he whispered. His mouth was dry and he was beginning to dehydrate.
Suddenly, Jesus was back in the room with him. “Let’s get you back to your world,” he said.
He picked up Tyler in his arms, throwing him over his shoulder like a doll, and in an instant they were in the conference room. However, apparently they were invisible, because Mr. Ness and the police were in there and did not see them. Tyler looked at Jesus questioningly.
“They cannot see us because they must not see me.” It was as if Jesus was speaking into his mind without any sound. “If we talk to each other, they will know I am here. It is not the time to reveal that.”
“What happened back there,” Tyler asked Jesus, just thinking the thoughts and hoping Jesus could hear them.
“Pauline was praying for you,” said Jesus. “Then you started praying. Eliot’s wife was praying. Pastor Xavier was praying. Then the whole support group and the prayer chain at your church got involved. With all that prayer, I couldn’t help but hear the urgency and rushed to save you. When you rebuked the skeleton, I knew you were my man. You are going to do great things for the kingdom,” Jesus said to Tyler.
“It’s my honor,” said Tyler.
“If you are ok I will disappear and then I will let them see you. You can tell them anything you like including about me. Then call your wife. She loves you so.”
“I love you Jesus,” said Tyler.
“I love you too Tyler,” said Jesus. “Never forget it. And share it with others.” And Jesus disappeared.
“Tyler!” Exclaimed Elliott. “Where did you come from?”
“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Business first. Just let me check the upgrade.”
“Actually,” said the police officer. “We need to get a statement from you first. There was a broken window and you were considered a missing person for 24 hours. We need to know where you were and with who, and what happened, to the best of your knowledge.”
“Well, I was in the conference room after Mr. Ness left for dinner. There was a noise in the kitchen and when I went to check it out, I was abducted, and I don’t know where they took me.”
“How did they get you out of the building?” Asked the captain.
“You know, I don’t know if we were out of the building. It was like a different dimension? But the guy was huge and had one of those big papier mache heads, like for day of the dead.”
“The mental patient,” said Ness.
“What?” Asked Tyler.
“There was an escaped mental patient dressing up for day of the dead. Sounds like that is who took you. Then what happened?”
“No, it was a giant gnome when he took the mask off.”
“A gnome?” The captain, and the detective, and Ness exchanged glances.
“Better call an ambulance. We will want to get him cleared at the hospital,” said the captain.
Ness went to call 911.
“Tell us what happened after they took you.”
“The gnome told me he and his boss wanted Pauline--that’s my wife--and me to stop leading a support group for people under the influence of the occult. I said we wouldn’t and he had this skeleton bride pin me against a wall. She had this horrible, awful laugh. So then I started praying, and then the gnome came back in with a tough guy and Jesus was with him too, but the gnome thought Jesus was on his side. Jesus threw all of them into the gates of hell in Superstition Mountains.”
“OK did you see this?”
“I could sort of see it but I wasn’t there. I could see it in my mind if you know what I mean.”
“Sure Tyler. Here are the paramedics, we’d like them to take you in & check you over to make sure there’s no brain damage or anything like that.”
“OK. I really should check my work here and then Mr. Ness can sign me out. He was only involved in this by chance.”
“How long will that take?”
“Maybe 15 minutes.”
“OK you do that and I’ll take another look around and see if there are any more clues.”
“I told you, you won’t find them. They were thrown into the pit of fire.”
Tyler checked his laptop, which was still just where he had left it on the conference table. The upgrade appeared to have finished successfully.
“I think you’re all set, Elliott. I’ll go ahead and reboot the server. Call me right away if there are issues. Looks like I might be in town for a couple more days.”
“You are a trooper, Tyler. Call that wife of yours and let her know you’re safe. I hated having to tell her you were missing.”