Saga of Darkness Vision of Light
Chapter Fifteen

Subtle Deceptions

by Dennis R. Cook

Saga of Darkness Vision of Light
Chapter Fifteen
Subtle Deceptions
by Dennis R. Cook

It seemed Steven, Prometheus, and I were without option. Didn't figure there would be anyone on the other side of the vortex waiting with a basket with which to lower us to safety. There would be no appeal to Caesar, either. I would have liked to have heard Ketchum's analysis, but there wasn't time. I didn't know if he would accompany us into the vortex or not, but it was time...

If we had been dealing with criminal types that took hostages in bank lobbies, and demanded helicopters as escape vehicles, Ketchum could have called in a swat team, but such training and methodology would have been useless here. I suppose it wasn't the time to find humor in our dilemma, but I couldn't keep my imagination from displaying the sight of fifteen heavily armed, body-armor-clad agents rolling around in the vortex as I had done.

However, the sad truth of the matter was this, the flesh and it's weapons would have no power over the spiritual forces we were about to face, and that fact wasn't funny.

I pondered the legal ramifications of our precedent setting event, wondering if Ketchum had any jurisdiction at all beyond the gate opened before us. I wondered if his highly trained mind could comprehend, or even imagine a solution which would satisfy the demands of justice.

Because mine had been the privilege to taste a finite portion of the characteristics which revealed themselves to me inside the vortex, I did all I could to prepare Steven and Prometheus for our journey down the passageway of the serpent to the "quote," Adamic plain, or whatever. Ketchum listened in.

I briefed them with few words, but hit hard on one point. No matter what Dr. Sheolman surprised us with in the void, maintaining a functioning will, was our only hope of survival. "We must not, at all cost," I advised, "focus our eyes on the vortex prior to entering," and, I continued, "once inside, we must demand the void to yield to our authority."

Last of all, I pointed out that we had perhaps one advantage. Dr. Sheolman had no prior knowledge of what might be the deciding factor in whether or not we returned alive, and that was, as I had been instructing, our wills. We, not Dr. Sheolman, not Satan, not Hell, and not Death, or Astarte, had authority on planet Earth. As long As Dr. Sheolman was convinced we were totally powerless inside the vortex, he might be inclined to become careless and afford us just the time needed to make our escape with Old Blackgoat.

"You don't sound to me like you believe Sheolman is gonna let you all go after you deliver Prometheus and that stuff to him," Ketchum said after listening to my briefing.

"No," I replied curtly, "should I?"

"Well, realistically no," Ketchum replied in a sardonic tone, implying he felt we were foolish to risk our lives for Old Blackgoat.

"One thing you do have goin' for ya', though," Ketchum continued, softening somewhat toward us, "just maintain the attitude you've demonstrated, that there's no way in hell Dr. Sheolman's gonna let you all go, and you might just find a way of escape."

I entered the vortex first, taking care to discern, if I could, what my own spiritual response was going to be to the new environment. I particularly wanted to discover, if possible, whether or not the passageway afforded me the same reality as the one I had encountered at hell central.

As soon as I could make out Steven and Prometheus floating along behind me, I righted myself and imagined a concrete pathway of short duration beneath my feet with which to walk on. That worked out fine. I motioned to Steven and Prometheus that everything was as it had been at hell central by pressing my thumb to my middle finger. That was our prearranged signal. I then imagined the sidewalk disappearing, and released my will to the natural flow of the vortex, which, at hell central, had whisked me along for some distance. I was not disappointed.

Steven, Prometheus, and I floated along peacefully for some time without incident. I only hoped both my companions were tapping in, as it were, by inward man, as I had at hell central. Soon they would be as proficient or schooled as I in the finer art of navigating the realm of the vortex. Such expertise, I hoped, might come in handy by the time we arrived at the Adamic plain, whatever it was.

I could see that up ahead the vortex veered sharply to the left. Disdaining hesitation, I probed my inward self in search of the still small voice of my spirit. I knew it would comfort me as I awaited what was to confront us around the bend. A picture of the two green scaled specters, the same two who had delivered Dr. Sheolman's ultimatum, flashed across my eyes. They were standing watch, or so it seemed, waiting for our arrival at the gate, of what, I couldn't quite make out at first, but then it became clear.

I could see that the vortex ended where the two spiritual hooligans stood guard. Beyond them an expanse of flat, sandy desert stretched as far as my mind's eye could see.

Steven, Prometheus, and I allowed ourselves to float harmlessly into the awaiting clutches of the two gargoylean guards. One grabbed both Steven and me by the scruffs of our necks. The other grabbed Prometheus. As planned, we acted as though we were totally out of control. I gasped for air perhaps to apprise the evil pair of my frustration. Steven flailed around as though he couldn't gain control of his limbs. Prometheus stared into space as though catatonic. I hoped we hadn't overdone our little ruse.

It didn't matter I soon discovered, at least to some degree. The Adamic plain, though parallel to the vortex passageway, I sensed, did not allow me to connect with my inward self in the same way. The place was so rife with sordid perverseness I balked at the thought of any continuance of control and closed my eyes in revolt.

Soon I found myself along with Steven and Prometheus floating high above the wretched expanse of desert below in the grasp of two devils. It was as though we were not any different to the specters than the sheep Steven had observed them carting off from Old Blackgoat's flock to Dr. Sheolman's underground altar.

As I turned my attention to scanning the desert's horizon for signs that might indicate an upcoming encounter with Dr. Sheolman, I noticed what appeared to be an oasis of some sort not far off. It startled me that the immenseness of the thing hadn't caught my attention before.

One magnificent tree which appeared to spread its branches to the horizon in every direction and towered to the very edge of heaven above, seemed to gather it's source of life from a crystal clear lake surrounding it's trunk. Our predicament was reflected in the lake's shimmering appeal.

With quietude, as had been the demeanor of the serpentine figures that bore us above the sandy expanse, the creatures settled us upon the shoreline of the Adamician oasis and floated, with quietude, away.

Though we all were awed by the spectacular scene before us, we dared not speak, or move, maintaining what we hoped was still a convincing illusion, that we were quite helpless.

I still maintained the sense that the Adamic plain was full of abject perversity. I hoped my sense of the macabre was not so intense as to be detected by Dr. Sheolman. In fact, I counted on it, trusting that his intuition was no more keen concerning good than mine was concerning evil.

Welling up within me was an explanation for what was before us, but I couldn't quite get the gist of it, as pangs of primordial hunger began to gnaw away at my gut, drowning out what remained of my intuitive powers.

A fierce driving urge enveloped me as puberty to a young man. I so wanted to wade into the cool water in search of a tree limb bowed low from the weight of the fruit of that magnificent tree that I soon lost touch with the foreboding sensory variance stirring within my intuition.

I spied a fruit laden limb. Oh how I hungered for that fruit. I stood and hovered by the water's edge, and was on the verge of diving in to fetch my prize when one word literally exploded inside my brain. ADAM!

As though scales had dropped from my eyes, a bolt of revelation riveted my body to the sand, horrifying me at the thought of what I had almost done. Before me stood the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in all its glory, the ultimate deception; snaking its poisonous roots to humanity below, ever vital, penetrating to the very core of humankind with perversity, blinding each person to the right and true nature of Father, forever sealing the fate of those preferring darkness to light, lies instead of truth.

I could see from the eyes of Steven and Prometheus that they, too, had recognized the terrible significance of the primordial tree and had also been preserved from its consequences. Had we yielded to its appeal, we would have belonged to Death forever, and our resting place would not have been this shimmering lake but the lake of fire. God had enabled us to overcome through the life of His Son in our spirit's, but I wasn't so sure how the rest of humanity was about to fare gazing on the countenance of the son of perdition. After all, who is like God, who, from the very beginning, has declared the end? You know, microcosm to macrocosm?

I couldn't imagine what was to come our way next. Surely Dr. Sheolman knew we had power in that realm to exercise our volitions since we had overcome the lure of the tree. What did he have left for us to endure? How long would he allow us to remain in custody of Steven's bootblack can of faith? The answers to my questions were forthcoming. It was as though Dr. Sheolman had read my thoughts, for the bootblack can of faith hidden in Steven's hip pocket, loosed itself as though by unseen hands, and flew by sprouted wings beyond the tree and our vision.

Within moments all the desert around us blurred, as did the scene before us, and Steven, Prometheus and I found ourselves standing alongside Old Blackgoat against one wall of what could have been launch control at NASA.

Turning to greet us, Old Blackgoat gave us a look containing a mixture of emotions ranging from perplexity to relief. "Did Scotty beam you in," the old sage quizzed, as he poked around on us as if to assure himself we weren't a vision. "I was afraid you wouldn't make it past the forbidden fruit," Old Blackgoat sighed, looking upward as though to give thanks. "God heard my prayers for you. I told Him if he didn't deliver you he would have to listen to my granddaughter, Sarah, complain about having no one to take care of. I told Him that would be fine with me. I told Him I had been listening to her complain about having to help care for me for many years. I knew He would see that you made it here to rescue me. Anyway, He told me after our fight with the bear it wasn't our time to go home, yet, anyway."

"What's going on here?" Steven asked Old Blackgoat, turning to survey a myriad of ethereal looking devices emitting the unmistakable glow of pure faith. "What are those things for?"

"Looks like we're in some kind of war room," I said.

Prometheus surveyed our surroundings. "I have not seen anything like this in my travels. Witchcraft has found many new toys with which to torment man."

Old Blackgoat interrupted. "I believe I know the answer to this great puzzle before us. Who must prepare the way for the Antichrist before he can come?"

"A very good question," Steven said, "but I think I know the answer. The Earth has always had its problems with people who channel and interpret the services of beings from parallel dimensions. Our society is no different. Call a 900 number and pay four dollars a minute and you can have your world turned upside down by psychics, clairvoyants, and soothsayers. The consequences are minimal, and enough receive, or seem to receive benefit. Those charlatans appear to duplicate the powers of heaven, itself, and are taking, or keeping people from true deliverance through experience of the Spirit of God.

Moses met these types in the persons of Jannes and Jambres in the court of Pharaoh, but their roots go all the way back to Babylon where Prometheus was trapped and imprisoned.

"They've had six thousand years to prepare for our day. Jesus said the chief characteristic that would be prevalent before the end would be deception. He said many false prophets would arise and deceive many. The book of Revelation reveals under whose banner those false prophets would gather. Now, Joseph, you tell us, who has prepared the way for the Antichrist?"

"Well, through the Bible with Steven, from cover to cover in two minutes," I laughed, remembering what it was like to be in class with the guy. "Well, mmmmm, let's see, who could it be, uh.., Mother Babylon?"

"Yes, that must be who it is," a somewhat surprised Prometheus said, having his spiritual eyes enlightened a little more. "And that woman Astarte who seduced me, she and Mother Babylon must be one and the same. God has given me a chance to get my revenge."

"Calm down big fella'," I cautioned. "You aren't a part of that tree anymore."

"Well, are you finished?" I teased Steven a little, knowing when it came to analysis, he could always fill in a few more blanks.

"Now that you mention it," Steven smiled, knowing I had bated him, "Astarte, err..Mother Babylon, has a double edged role."

"That is right," Old Blackgoat said, happy he wasn't the only one with a little understanding.

"Go on," I urged Steven, motioning with my hand to hurry him along, "what do you mean, double edged role?"

"I know you are aware of the error Christians say the Jews made in regard to their interpretation of prophecy concerning the messiah's coming. They failed to see the duality of his role. To them he couldn't be both a suffering messiah and deliverer. He could only be their deliverer. The problem we have understanding the role of Mother Babylon are similar. Mind you, I didn't say the roles are similar, I said the problems we have understanding the role of Mother Babylon are similar. Mother Babylon must first come and set the stage for the coming of the Antichrist. The Earth has to be dripping from her way of life."

"And that is," I interrupted?

"Witchcraft, Satanism, Idolatry, Numerology, Voodoo, Astrology, Palmistry, Phrenology, Humanism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, i.e., perverse governments in all forms along with its adherent culture. You know, music, art, cinema, etc. Today's Mother Babylon offers everything at the flick of a switch and the touch of a computer.

"In other words, a big bunch of crap," a familiar voice with a Texas twang on it, interrupted.

"Ketchum," I said! ",..."

He seemed to have a knack for overhearing our conversations, I thought, somewhat perplexed by his sudden appearance.

"Don't mind me any. You all go on with your discussion. I just might learn something."

"The role," I reminded Steven, "finish up about the role of Mother Babylon, err.., Astarte, or whatever her name is.

"When the Antichrist comes, in order to make his deception work, he has to get rid of Astarte. The problem I have understanding is how will he accomplish that? Will he just destroy all spiritual fornicators, that is, all that practice those things I have previously named, or will he simply discredit her by claiming all her work to be his own? It's a tough call."

"What do you mean, Steven?" I asked.

"You see, Joseph, in order for the Antichrist to get the law abiding, conservative, Jewish and Christian populations to follow him, his ministry has to be initially convincing. Ridding the world of smut would seem to be a great thing, and it would be. But in this case, it would be a deception, if you weren't God, and your real purpose was to snare and damn everyone to hell.

"Sure scares the hell out of me," Ketchum said.

"How did you get here?" I asked, squaring myself up to Ketchum with a smile on my face.

"I just figured I'd give the three of you a little head start. You know, it's not exactly a trade secret that we federal agents like to gather information by following the suspects. I wanted those two green skinned things to have plenty of room before I tore out after 'em."

"Did you have any trouble in the passageway, or with the tree?" I asked with concern.

"No problem in the passageway. What tree? The passageway dropped me off right here."

Steven and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. "Never mind," I said.

"Well, where in the Sam--hill are we?" Ketchum said, looking around the ultra-modern war room.

"I would say we are in Mother Babylon's kitchen," Old Blackgoat said coyly.

"Well, where is this Mother Babylon?" Ketchum said, looking like he would handcuff her if he could but find her.

"Wish you hadn't asked that question," I winced, taking a step back from the pack as an eye blinding glow exploded in the center of the room, knocking us all to our knees, arms raised to protect our vision.

"Welcome, boys," a soft disarming voice said. "You don't know how long I've been waiting for your race to evolve this far," Astarte intoned seductively.

"Oh, boy," I mumbled, "we're about to make the vaunted quantum leap into the god class."

"Why yes, Joseph, you are quite right," the seductive voice acknowledged. "You are all so wonderfully gifted it would be unheard of not to provide you with every opportunity to exercise those gifts."

"Oh, I get it," Ketchum said, "we're gonna be your lab rats. You're gonna study us in an attempt to figure out how best to pervert God's elect during the tribulation. Now everything makes sense. This whole mess has had me hornswoggled until now. Couldn't figure out why anyone would want to burn their own operation. You needed guinea pigs. And it was worth it to you to set up this whole elaborate passageway of the serpent, hell-central-thing, to cage us in your laboratory."

"My, how astute, Mr. Ketchum, for such an impoverished spiritual person as yourself. But please, do not be offended if we fail to wait upon the tribulation to implement the knowledge we gain from the five of you. Just look around the room you are in now. Do you think these devices are mere props for your titillation?"

Astarte had us there. The myriad of ethereal looking sensory devices embedded in three dimensional transparent crystal work stations emitted the unmistakable glow of pure faith. As best as I could tell while shielding my eyes from the blaze of the witch's unholy glory, the overall purpose of the lab was to pipe misinformation into the human equation through the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and keep a running tab on each and every individual biting on the ol' proverbial apple. If you read your horoscope today for the first time, her lab recorded the deed.

And, I assumed there was more. For example, I assumed once a person got in Ma Babylon's computer, the computer began working out an elaborate plan for that person which ended abruptly at the pit.

"That may be so," Ketchum shot back at the voice, "but we wouldn't be here if Christians weren't a problem for your little toys. What puzzles me is how you think you're gonna trap any of us now that we all know what you're up to."

"Oh, my dear Mr. Ketchum," the voice spoke caringly, "you are so bold for a novice, whatever am I going to do with you. We will just have to see."

With those words, Mother Babylon, that old witch Astarte, split us up. I had expected as much. Together, we had Jesus in our midst. Alone, well, I didn't know ... Sheolman and companions always seemed to be a step ahead of us.

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