The metal gas tank exploded and knocked me on my back, my ears ringing and eyebrows singed off. I could hear the stomping of my brother-in-law running up the stairs. Sage smoke drifted up from the cellar to plume over the house, and fire began to lick out from under the house. Spiders began to run out in all directions. I rolled over to my hands and knees. Then I crawled into the house through the back door. By the time I made it to the stairs, I could stand. I weakly climbed to the top floor.
Rick was laying on the floor of the room, knocked out, and Jeffery was sitting on an old dusty bed, staring at the floor in a trance. “Jeffery?” I called out in a voice that I usually reserve for the angry lady behind the DMV counter, calm, reasonable, and pleasant.
He slowly looked in my direction without any comprehension. The shadows in the room began writhing progressively faster and faster. Just then a single shadow crawled at me like a man running on all fours and tackled me to the ground. I cried out and tried to punch at the face, but I couldn’t hit anything solid. When it placed its hands on me, it held me to the ground and pressed its face into mine. I heard a steady slurping-sucking sound. Then I lost consciousness. In my dream, a woman that I knew years ago was trying to seduce me with promises of pleasure. I didn’t trust her.
“I’m married, and I never truly knew you!” I exclaimed in horror and rage. I knew that I was dreaming and in danger, but I couldn’t break out of it. The woman leaned in to kiss me, but I couldn’t move. Then a loud slurping-sucking sound came out of her mouth, and I felt my life force was being drained out of me. I summoned the image of heaven opening up, and angels descending to my rescue.
Just then the scene in my dream changed to a coffee shop. People were drinking coffee and eating muffins. Everyone was in trendy jeans and the guys had cool looking stubble on their faces. Why couldn’t I manage that kind of stubble? I get about a two hour window of cool stubble before people start offering me spare change.
“Would you please focus?” A cool stubble-faced guy said to me from his table as he sipped his coffee.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“I just don’t think that cool stubble on your face is really a priority right now. Don’t you?” he retorted, but his face remained kind and somehow amused.
“So… I’m dreaming? And… I’m knocked out? And…. My family is in danger?” I sounded out the obvious.
“Yes, yes and yes. You called, and I came. Oh, and a few church congregations. I hope you understand where I am going with this?” He answered.
“You’re and angel?” I asked.
“Messenger. You are the ones that get caught up in labels and names. If you just go by the task, it gets a little easier with identifications,” he said with a kind smile.
“Okay… I’m supposed to test you, to make sure that you aren’t a demon, trying to deceive me. So, show me the miracle!” I declared with smug satisfaction.
He nodded with a little mirth in his eyes. “The miracle is being delivered as we speak, but at the moment, what I can do for you is give you the message. When you see the miracle, you will know the message to be true.”
I squinted suspiciously at him. “Okay… Hit me.”
“Faith really is the key to all of this. But to the two Fallen who use the Darkness Born as their guardian…” He saw the confused look in my eyes and quickly corrected himself. “I’m sorry, the two ‘demons’ and the ‘poltergeist’ as their guardian. They have made the ‘poltergeist’ their key to staying on this property and cursing it. When anyone performs an ‘exorcism’,” he made quotes with his fingers to show me that he was using my terms again, “the ‘poltergeist’ attacks the one performing the ‘ritual’.” When he finished, somehow he managed to keep his face kind and slightly amused.
I sighed. “Okay… You make it seem like it is more complicated than we think, am I right?”
He nodded. “When you wanted your mom to fix you a cake on every birthday of your life, did you just take the same index card and read the same paragraph at her, with the exact wording that described how much you would like to have cake for your birthday?”
I chuckled, a little confused. “Of course not.”
“Let’s take it a bit further. The ‘poltergeist’ is the key to this, but you need to attack it where it eats. You need to see to it, that the people who it is feeding on aren’t feeding it with extreme emotional trauma. You need a hit list of love, and you need to delegate.”
I didn’t know if I was just having a crazy dream or what. So being me, I asked, “I’m a prophet?”
He arched an eyebrow and put his hands up in impatience. “No, and don’t go starting any more religions. We’re done for a while.”
I stroked my chin in exaggerated thought. “I don’t know. I think I could come up with a little extra flavor. Mix in a little of this religion and a little of that?”
He put his palm to his face, chuckling. “You are actually messing with me? Your rescuer?”
“What can I say? I have a gift,” I replied. “We haven’t established that you aren’t a demon, trying to deceive me, while my family gets ripped apart by the ‘poltergeist’.” I made quotes with my fingers.
He just started laughing as if he just got the joke. Or maybe that I would get the joke. I couldn’t decide which. “Wake up, Johnathan,” he said.
I heard my wife and my sister screaming with rage as I woke up with a start. The shadow was still over me when my sister poured salt into her hand from a salt shaker. She hurled towards the shadow, making it dematerialize.
I yelled, “Get the boy!”
My wife, Lisa, ran over and grabbed Jeffery. Lilly, his mom, hovered over them with a fist full of salt in hand. I rolled over to Rick and shoved his shoulder. He moaned and started to blink.
“We’ve got to go! Get up! We don’t have much time!” He started to crawl for the stairs and I followed him. I could smell the sage smoke in the room rising up to the second floor from the crawlspace beneath the house. I hoped we could get out of the house alive. Just then the shadow lunged out of a corner in my direction and hit an invisible wall where the sage smoke billowed over me.
I could hear Alicia down stairs chanting, “Let only love, light and peace enter this house!” Outside I could hear people chanting:
“Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen!”
The shadow began to scream in rage and frustration. It scratched at the invisible wall as I could hear my brother-in-law dragging himself down the stairs. I turned to follow, still hearing the screaming poltergeist upstairs as I stepped out of the front door to the cheers of the people who had been praying outside. I even recognized several people from Pastor Randal’s congregation. Some of the people in the crowd had crucifixes and crossed themselves. There was a group of people sitting in a circle still chanting, “Let only love, light and peace enter this house!”
Ambulances arrived, and we were checked for injuries and loaded in each one, two people at a time. The fire department arrived, but after consulting with Bob, he would only let them wet the ground surrounding the house to keep the fire from spreading. Then Bob was loaded in an ambulance with Randal and they rolled off.