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SAGA OF DARKNESS VISION OF LIGHT

Chapter Sixteen - Powers of the Lamb Oil

by Dennis R. Cook


SAGA OF DARKNESS VISION OF LIGHT

Chapter Sixteen - Powers of the Lamb Oil

by Dennis R. Cook

Where my companions were, I didn't know, but I, I was given a comfortable apartment. Perhaps, somehow, we had passed from the netherworld to Astarte's plush La Jolla mansion. I didn't know how, but the scene before me was of the Mexican villa type, one not unlike the one in the vision I had seen while in Los Angeles with Steven.

It wasn't lavishly furnished, but there were amenities. I was most impressed with the small, but practical library that afforded me the opportunity to brush up on my knowledge of the Bible. That's right. The very creatures bent on destroying me had placed me in an environment most capable of keeping me alive. Quite a deception, huh?

I didn't know where to begin. There was a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom with balcony, living room, whatever. Although in awe of my new environment, the absence of sleep, the absence of my companions coupled with nagging anxiety and mild feelings of depression, led me to the conclusion I was in need of a nap. I headed for the bedroom, but didn't get very far. I felt drawn toward the Bible in the small library. When I opened it my eyes rested on the beginning of Matthew chapter 24, Jesus' forecast of the signs of his second coming. As I mulled over the contents, my mind began to drift back in time to incidents in my own life that were, well, umm, err,...sin filled acts.

Of course the incidents which had occurred before my Christian conversion were no longer viable living reminders of a fallen nature that needed a remedy. Nevertheless, those nasty little deeds of the flesh haunted me to the nth degree from time to time. I assumed that was normal.

I realized sin was not, as it were, something I was practicing as a reborn Christian, but rather a ghost of my past that had followed me into life. It was always there, waiting to rear its ugly head in the most unlikely places. I felt the need to repent and confess again those nasty little deeds and be done with them forever.

I kneeled. I prayed. I felt refreshed. Retracing my steps, I placed the Bible back in it's rightful spot in the library, but while doing so, spotted a stack of magazines I hadn't noticed before. What were they? I lifted the top copy. Oh,... men's magazines with a picture of sport's latest fem fatale on the cover...just a little peek won't hurt...

"Oh my God," I thought to myself, remembering where I was, and the precariousness of the position I was in, "what have I done?"

It was too late.....A raging sense of dread and fear flooded my torso, a confusion explosion if you will. Terrified, I listened for the voice of judgment I thought must come. Then I heard it speak its intent, "I'm going to give you all these things," a demon swore. Suddenly, I felt the oppressor.

I stood paralyzed by fear, not knowing, ashamed by my failure. Was I doomed? Fire exploded in my brain and cascaded downward into my belly. Hell had me and I knew it.

I thought I must have committed the unpardonable sin. My playful attitude toward sexuality had finally caught up with me. For one moment of tasteless titillation I had sold out, it seemed.

Another voice sounded, only adding to my confusion. "Now, you are saved," the voice said.

"How could that be?" I balked, kneeling by the bed.

Again I felt the oppressor. This time I understood what its intent was. I glanced toward the balcony. I felt compelled to throw myself off of it.

"No!" I shouted.

Again I tried to pray, but it seemed as though all hope and faith had gone out of me. I was shaking so from the fear and the fire, I couldn't find the remotest iota of God given peace anywhere in my being.

I grabbed the Bible from the bookshelf again. I opened it and ran references in attempt to find some scripture that would enable me to regain some semblance of peace, but nothing helped. A voice in my head kept repeating a Bible phrase that with all certainty described my exact feeling, "well without water, twice dead, plucked up by the roots."

Where there had been peace and strength and confidence in my inner self, now there was hellfire, and unending fear. I needed help! Oh, God, how alone I felt at that moment...., and there was no one there. Was this hell? Was this what it was like to be separated from God for eternity? Was this the reason Jesus had given his life for us, to spare us all these things? Was this the kind of calamity now coming on humanity from which we have so long been warned?

There had to be a key to my dilemma. Jesus had the keys to hell and death and of Heaven. He had to have the key to my situation. I just had to find it.

"What are you going to do, look under the bed?" a mocking voice questioned.

I turned to see Astarte leering at me through her ethereal glow. I couldn't do or say anything. I stood there before her shaking like a wet dog in a burning inferno.

When she seemed satisfied my condition was genuine, the walls of my prison dissolved, and I found myself again alongside my friends. One agonizing glance at the trio told me they, too, had been poisoned by the sting of Death. Were we all doomed to experience hell forever?

How would we survive, how would we go on? I tried to force the overwhelming scourge of doubts out of my head and focus on our new environment. We seemed to be in some sort of dimly lighted central plaza of a hacienda. A ranch style building surrounded us. Flowers and shrubs and walkways led to a central fountain area.

That's all I could make out. That wasn't enough. I knew my mind needed something concrete to lock on to, something, some thought that would enable me to hold my soul together long enough for a solution to present itself. I was sinking fast, and I knew the others, though mute, had to be fighting the same battle. The fire burning the crown of my head seared downward into my belly. It was as though all the water of life in me had been lapped up by unquenchable burning.

"Oh, stop the blubbering," a voice whispered. The air around me exploded with a familiar scent. I know that perfume. Giorgio. I turned toward the voice, but didn't find anyone there. Steven, Prometheus, Old Blackgoat, and Ketchum were startled as well.

"It's me," the voice whispered, "it's me, Sarah."

"Sarah?" Old Blackgoat moaned, not quite knowing what to do or what to believe.

"Listen," the invisible maiden continued, "you've got to remember you are all men of faith, men of God. Don't let that demon continue to steal your spiritual selves.

"What you are experiencing is a deception. Whatever you did in your separate chambers is of no consequence to your eternal well-being with God. Use your faith and fight. You were born into the Earth, not that demon. You have authority in the Earth, not that devil. Jesus is Lord!

"The only repentance you need is to realize the action taken in your quarters that got you in this mess was not a faith action. Take the guilt off yourselves. God didn't put it there, you did."

"I see it," Steven said, with some relief I might add. "Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. We all acted without faith."

"Do you all understand?" Sarah asked.

None of us answered. We were too busy rebuking the devil and regaining our composure. My mind cleared. I stopped shaking. I felt peace return.The next thing I knew I was sitting on the ground outside the vortex behind Old Blackgoat's church, and all my companions were there with me, each, as the other.

We were all batting our eyes like little froggies caught in a hail storm. Recovering my wits enough to gaze through the dim light, my eyes came to rest on Sarah, hands on hips, no longer the stiff lipped matron, but the gallant warrior.

"You boys need to go see those of the congregation that remained at the church to pray and let them know everything is alright," Sarah said.

Apparently little time had elapsed since our entry into the vortex. The men were still around us. "O.K.," Steven said, "let's all go inside."

The congregation, although exhausted, seemed satisfied with our return, and especially the return of Old Blackgoat. They didn't balk at Old Blackgoat's suggestion that they go home and get what was left of a night's sleep.

I longed to join them, but wasn't going to rest until Sarah explained how she had managed to rescue us. As the last parishioner disappeared out the front door, our eyes fastened on the well-bred granddaughter of our mentor, Old Blackgoat. She didn't have to read our minds. Even Prometheus eyed the lass with such a sense of admiration, that Sarah blushed. Nevertheless, the glow on the cheeks of her creamy Tahitian bronzed skin didn't deter her from explaining her actions with her typed intrepid candor. Since I had met her she had always embodied what I deemed to be the archetype of human Christian boldness.

She held up the bootblack can, then handed it to Ike, or so we thought at the time. "I know you boys (I resented her calling us boys but she knew we all did) thought the devil had picked your pocket, but it was me. I was with you the entire time. Steven, from the time you revealed the power of pure faith to Joseph in your basement out in California until now I have known I would use it to set you boys free.

"You mean, you knew all along?" Steven said, incredulously, rising from his seat, shocked by her nefarious deed of silence.

"I knew I must," Sarah said, "for just such a time as this. It wouldn't have done any of you any good to have knowledge that I could use the substance. Satan could have discerned the information within you and done to me as you. But since I have been absent during your trials, he has had no occasion to attack me."

"Then you mean to tell us that the whole time we were in that hellhole, that you were there with us, that not only we couldn't see you, but the devil either?" Ketchum conjectured, incredulous that she could be so wily.

"Yes, that is correct Mr. Ketchum," Sarah said.

"But... how?" Ketchum stammered.

"I know the Lord watches us from places that we cannot see, and from places where He cannot be seen to be watching by the devil. I just believed for Him to put me in that place, and He did. From the moment I left my car at midnight in front of the church, I smeared the pure substance of faith on my forehead and believed.

"Steven, you remember that small amount you gave me at granddad's? I used it all.

"At the tree of knowledge of good and evil I decided I might need more faith, and took the rest of it from Steven. Don't be mad at me Steven. You are all safe because I believed and God heard my prayer."

"But how did you get us out of the vortex without all hell breaking loose?" Ketchum asked, dumbfounded by our instantaneous exit.

"Oh, I remember now," I said, "my exit from the vortex up at hell central was instantaneous once I figured out how to maneuver in there. Getting us all out at once though, that took some kind of faith I'm not familiar with."

Sarah yawned. "No more questions, boys, I still have to drive back to Teec Nos Pos tonight. I have to be at work by 7:45 in the morning. You boys are all intelligent. You figure out the rest of the puzzle."

Old Blackgoat tried to persuade his granddaughter to rest for the night, and head out early, but she wouldn't hear of it, calling to mind some metaphor having to do with sardines.

"Women," Old Blackgoat muttered, as Sarah sped out the front door, "you can't live with them,..."

"And you can't live without them," we all chimed in unison.

"Well," Ketchum slapped his knees and stood up. "This case certainly deserves a lot of analysis, but I'm dad blamed tuckered out. Figure you fellas will be moseyin' back up the mountain to tend those sheep. I've got to get back up there, too, and check on my men. Somewhere along the line we're all gonna' have to get some shuteye."

Too tired to speak, I just rolled my eyes and headed out the front door of the church toward Steven's old 4X4. Somewhere in the back of my mind bits and pieces of an old song began to surface..... something like blah, blah blah, what happened? I tried to fill in my own lyrics on the way up the mountain but sleep left the humor trapped in the moment.

Flashing lights cut my nap short. I rolled down the passenger window of Steven's old 4X4 and thrust my head outside the vehicle in order to hear, as well as see, what was going on.

"I just caught 'em in the corner of my headlights," I heard Ketchum tell Steven. "They drug her off in the direction of hell central. They must a' pushed her car off the road somewhere over yonder, but I ain't got time to go huntin' for it. God only knows what's happened to my men."

Steven motioned for me to get out of his 4X4. At my approach he repeated what Ketchum had told him, most of which I had overheard. What I had missed was this, they had Sarah.

"Something big must be going down for them to pull this stunt," Ketchum said. "I don't know about you fellas', but I've just about had enough of Sheolman and his parlor tricks. Don't figure that hatch leadin' to their underground parkin' garage is open...."

Ketchum didn't finish his sentence, but trailed off. Old Blackgoat and Prometheus were arriving.

Old Blackgoat had his Bible in hand along with a pad of paper and pencil. I couldn't tell what he was writing, but the old seer moved like a cat when he wanted to. He seemed oblivious to everything being said. He didn't have to react. We knew he knew.

Prometheus, not a slacker either, had already disappeared beyond the range of Ketchum's headlights. He had something in one hand. I couldn't see what. After grabbing a lantern from Old Blackgoat's camper, I followed, knowing the remaining three would have to bring their vehicles the short distance on to the underground garage.

Approaching Prometheus, I could see he was feeling for the lip of the hideaway with a crowbar.

"Here, shine your light here," the titan said. "All I need is enough hand space with which to get a hold on the metal roof the road rests on."

Prometheus slammed the crowbar into place and bowed with all his might until he heard the metal roofing buckle. "That did it!" Prometheus said about his success, spawning a short lived grin. But his smile did not mask the primordial glare within that forewarned me that in the titan's mind, he had a score to settle...

Lights from the highway signaled reinforcements, but although all vehicles came to rest with headlights on Prometheus, no one moved. The hair on my head rocketed as my mind grasped, with the others, the sight unfolding before us. The Spirit of the Lord had come upon Prometheus. We were going to war...




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