Part I continued…
Yet fear still raged in my heart. Every ounce of blood in my body contained it. Every muscle and bone bore the weight of it. Fear filled me so that I was unable to speak. The devil was unfazed by my condition as he moved toward my bedside like a concerned friend. Not a loving friend, but an arrogant friend; you know, the one who hates to be bothered by the small details.
I felt small in his eyes as I lay there and did nothing. I just stared, unable to call out to my mother or scream for help.
But who would I want to risk their lives to rescue me? My brother or parents? What would the devil do to them? I knew no one could help me, so I sent a silent cry out to the heavens.
He began to talk as if this was a normal occurrence. “My Dear, you must not fear me so. I hate the way historians have written about me. They make me out to be such a demon, just because a few battles got out of control and tempers flared, and someone escaped and lived to tell a one-sided version of the truth. Now, I’m the bad guy. I’m no demon; that’s beneath me. Why do humans forget there must always be an equal to counterbalance every force in nature? If there is no death, then how can life be so precious and if there was no me, then how could He be so righteous?
“That is not why I’ve come tonight. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss my bad press. What I’ve come for is you. I lost you millennia ago, and I haven’t been right since you’ve been gone. It’s been agony trying to find you, and now its time for you to come home.”
Home? My home is with the devil? I raced through a lifetime of discussions, and none of them included or hinted to my home being in hell.
The devil read my mind. “You bear my mark. You are mine, no matter how you pretend not to be.” The devil rubbed his fingers on his lapel of his jacket. “Quit this foolishness. I need you to remember beyond this life. I need you to remember our life. I need you to come home.”
I had his mark? I tried to remember a time, any time, that didn’t belong to this life. I had no idea. How do you push your mind beyond what it knows? I felt trapped in a riddle. There’s nothing beyond this life. And then, there was a light, a fragment of an image. I didn’t know if it was the power of suggestion or if it was real, but the image was pure temptation, stronger than my first dose from when our eyes first met. This temptation had a direct line to sin. In that tiny glimpse of another life, I found my change, that crazy thing that flips your world upside down. I had no more crushing weight against my soul, and I believed his words. Relief washed over me. My foundation, everything I knew of the world, had been wrong until that night.
For the slightest second, I felt a brush of his power as his fingers neared my face. I was in the presence of an angel—and not just any angel, but the angel God loved the most. His beauty was radiant. He knew my resolve had weakened. I saw confirmation in his eyes. The arrogant friend was gone, and an immortal lover was born. I sensed his need for love. He was a vast, dry and empty like the remains of an old canyon, and I was the only one who that could fill his space and make him whole again.
But somewhere out in the heavens, my request for help came back like a lone soldier returning with the cavalry. Prayer filled my mouth as wind filled the room, blowing papers and curtains all about. I’ve never been one to recite Scripture, but verse after verse flowed. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” I stood, and my words slashed at the devil as he backstepped from my newfound power. “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. I will fear you not, and you have no power over me!” I repeated it a second time and began next with the Lord’s Prayer.
The devil backed away; he was not afraid, but he no longer thirsted for my touch; my lover was gone. He smiled, and the arrogant friend returned as he replied. “I’ll go, but this not over. You are mine, and I will have what is mine . . . maybe not today, but one day, this I guarantee.” His eyes rolled upward, and then he looked me dead in mine. “I will wait for you in the shadows, and you will come of your own accord.” He bid me farewell; he tipped his hat and left my room.
Everything went black, and everything was as before.
When I awoke the next morning, I remembered it all. I scanned the room, half expecting to see it disheveled, while joking to myself, “Really? Was I expecting to see a messy, windblown room?”
I sighed in relief for the personal victory. “Surely, the nightmare is over.” Then I looked at my bedroom door. The very door I always kept closed. The very door that would stay closed because the new carpet was higher than the old and forced the door to stay in position.
My door was open wide.
My stomach sank. He was real. The moment I thought those words, I felt him smile, and my soul quickened. My mind’s eye saw the fallen angel wink. Somewhere hidden deep within the truth of gospel, I was grateful he existed. I felt a familiar pull on my new foundation. I had changed, and I knew I would not be complete without him. I found his mark. It was branded onto my heart. I was his, but I would not be his. My foundation had changed but not enough to live with my immortal lover.
You may wonder if this is all a game between good and evil, between God and the devil, and if we are all pawns. That answer belongs to you, and only you can answer it.
As for me, I’m caught questioning if one heart can change a damned one.
Like my house, I am in the bend.
I fight daily to coexist between two worlds. One calls my name, and the other protects it.
This is my life.
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