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SAGA OF DARKNESS VISION OF LIGHT

Chapter Seventeen - Final Battle

by Dennis R. Cook


SAGA OF DARKNESS VISION OF LIGHT

Chapter Seventeen - Final Battle

by Dennis R. Cook

THE LORD hadn't fired the first shot, but if, in human history there was a shot fired that was heard round the world, then what, in the mind of man, could the lightning bolt that exploded from the hands of Prometheus be called, but a shot heard throughout the heavens. One awesome burst of dunamis from the hands of a man under the anointing bypassed the natural systems power that governed the operation of the hydraulics so necessary to lift the garage hatchway, and literally ripped the doorway open, throwing on the lights throughout the compound as well.

Steven and Ketchum sprinted ahead. I knew they were hoping to stop whatever hellish madness was taking place on Dr. Sheolman's altar. Ketchum had his gun drawn, and was following routine stalking procedure, Steven right on his heels, the rest of us not far behind.

Ketchum stopped at every turn, placing his torso flush against each wall intersecting each doorway, two hands holding firm, the revolver arched high inches from his chin. Turning his torso, Ketchum took a deep breath, released it, then stepped into each doorway, gun poised to drop any resistance. None came.

Whoever or whatever had intercepted Sarah on the highway had escaped. No one was at home. Hell central was vacant.

"They got my men, too," Ketchum lamented, lowering his gun as the reality of our futile effort paled against the backdrop of the architectural wonder our antagonists had vacated.

"We have a real problem here," Old Blackgoat yelled from the far end of the sanctuary that housed the elevator. "I think the mountain is eating up the devil's house. Everything here is disappearing."

"Blackgoat, look above your head. It's the vortex," Steven cried, fearing for the old one's safety.

"Yes, I see it," the sage said. "That explains much."

"What do ya’ mean," Ketchum demanded, "do you mean to tell me that there vortex is swallowing up this fortress?"

"I'd say that is exactly what he is telling you," Steven said to the officer.

"Well, if that's the case then we ain't got much time. Sarah and all my men must have been sucked into that thing. If we don't get them out immediately they'll be stuck in there forever. Steven, did you get that faith stuff back from Sarah before she headed home?"

"Yes," Steven said, "but at the rate that vortex is devouring this place, we won’t have the time to come into the oneness of spirit required to get it to work."

"I guess we will just have to wing it." Ketchum said. "We may still win this thing yet. I say we go in after ‘em, but we all need to be committed.....what do you think, Joseph, you've been awfully quiet over there."

Indeed I had....."I'm sorry," I said, "what was that again.. never mind,...committed...? Yes, we all should be committed, committed to a mental institution for allowing ourselves to be backed into a corner. If I hadn't seen the Spirit of the Lord resting on Prometheus I would say we were beaten, but now I know the Lord wants us to fight to the end. Yes, I'm committed,..committed to God. Let's go!"

Ketchum had caught me napping, daydreaming, whatever. I called it meditating. It had occurred to me that the vortex was something more than a portal to a parallel dimension. After all, if the thing could suck matter into itself like a black hole, it's original purpose had not been, as I had believed, an escape route for Dr. Sheolman, but rather Lucifer’s version of womb of creation.

I realized that Steven had been close to the truth. He believed that with enough pure oil of the lamb you could rule the world. It was a half truth, however. The pure oil of the lamb was indeed a powerful tool in the hand of anyone with strong faith, but in Dr. Sheolman's case, it's purpose had been to create an antitype womb of creation, a false version of the realm of faith.

I'd thought it odd all along. A mountain hideaway for wicked spirits to receive worship from their wicked entrepreneurs? Had there been long lines of eighteen wheelers loaded with the lavish furnishings that inlaid the mountain fortress? Where were the dump trucks, the cranes? Surely the building of such a structure would have caught the notice of some passerby, but no..., not a word...Sheolman had used the blood he had drained from the hearts of the innocent to concoct the potion necessary to create a portal to a new realm. It was his gift to his unholy master, a clever move on his part. He had created the entire edifice by his own will. He brought the entire superstructure into existence overnight. Now he was removing all evidence the place ever existed the same way he had created it, and he had us right where he wanted us.

At any rate, Steven wasn't going to have to look further for the person and/or persons behind all that had been going on. Astarte and Sheolman were certainly in cahoots together, but it was now apparent to me that Dr. Sheolman was the man. He hadn't needed great wealth, a mentor, or benefactor, just occult knowledge and dedication. The loss of hell central wasn't important to him at all. He could duplicate his creation anywhere on the face of the planet with his newfound bag of tricks.

I expected to be the first into the vortex again, but that wasn't to be the case. Old Blackgoat, then Prometheus, Steven and Ketchum were each snatched from my view, as greater and greater portions of the sanctuary were gobbled by the vortex. I was last...

This time there was no long accommodating tunnel. We were instantaneously transported by the vortex to a very darkened arena. I wondered how near we were to Astarte's hacienda?

I was catching on. Dr. Sheolman was several steps ahead of us. Even our rendezvous earlier at the hacienda was a taste of what was to come. Even then, hell central had begun to disappear within the womb of creation, but no, it wasn't disappearing at all, it was reforming into something else, something even more remarkable than before. It was reforming and becoming the arena we were now in, one that, as it became illuminated before our eyes, was more grand than the structure in the mountain in New Mexico.

We were in a mammoth indoor Romanesque coliseum, reminiscent, in part, to the great coliseum of Rome, just many times more grand in splendor and craftsmanship. Rows of white marble pews encircled the arena, arching high on etched balconies that sloped gracefully to give perhaps ten thousand spectators an excellent view of the carnage to follow. At our feet, a pure crystal floor caught the sheer beauty of it all. Ablaze from the ever increasing light, it was as though we were standing on fire.

"I don't see Sarah or my men anywhere," Ketchum said, as we began to gather our wits about us, adjusting, as it were, to our newest of predicaments.

Steven nudged me in the rib cage.

"What now," I asked.

"The thrones," Steven said, "the thrones are materializing over there."

I heard the sound of a door opening high above us. Sheolman stepped out on a lone balcony set high above the rest.

"Well, if he ain't got himself a gol-dang luxury box," Ketchum said, running his fingers through his hair, as if to declare his exasperation before stating it. "Now I've seen everything."

I was about to say I sure hope cows don't fly, but Sheolman cut me short.

"Do you like my auditorium?" Dr. Sheolman said, glaring down at us.

One couldn’t deny his genius, but I, for one of many, couldn’t fathom paying the price he would most assuredly pay during all of eternity.

"This is my baby," Sheolman went on. "This is my crowning achievement. I designed it myself you know. There isn't anything like it anywhere else in the world. Even the marble of India, or the crystal of Nepal cannot rival the richness of quality I have given these marvelous pieces of stone. Not even Nubian black onyx can compare with the perfection of the quality of stone with which I've endowed these thrones. Have you ever seen anything so glorious? Oh, that's right, I suppose you have..."

Dr. Sheolman abruptly changed his tone of voice. "You know why I've brought you here don't you?" Dr. Sheolman questioned lasciviously, bending his torso over the balcony enough to give us full view of his hatred. "You caused my master to grieve! You defiled his temple," Dr. Sheolman said with tears welling up in his eyes. "Do you dullards realize what the Lord Satan has had to sacrifice in order to have this grand opportunity to destroy your souls? His grand fortress of pleasure! You kerrsare nothing more than ignorant fools, dullards, tripe. You couldn't even avoid the simplest of our traps. You kerrs think you have mastered travel through the realm of the gods, and can escape us with that small pittance of faith you possess...and the girl, and the other agents,...do you expect to save them as well,...ha.,ha ha,"

Dr. Sheolman's maniacal laughter filled the auditorium for some time. When he finished, he left the balcony long enough to push a button. He had set and elevator in motion. We heard its tell-tale hum behind us and turned to see who would appear. Doors opened revealing Sarah and Ketchum's men.

All were pale and clammy, as though deprived of oxygen. It would be some time before they would recover enough to be of any real value when we made our stand. The elevator doors closed as we helped the last agent out of the shaft. With that, we knew our last natural avenue of escape had vanished. Steven pushed the buttons outside the elevator, but it was dead to our touch.

“Well, it was worth a try, anyway.” Ketchum said.

With that Dr. Sheolman resumed his tirade."This grand coliseum to the glory of all evil will be your tomb," he said maniacally. "The true glorious ones will be here tonight and all the host of hell on Earth. For us, this will be the greatest night of rejoicing we have ever known. My master has waited long for permission to destroy such hated pests of that hated Christ of yours. The loss of my master's pleasure palace and that careless coven beyond Mt. Palomar are nothing to Satan compared to the delight and joy I shall have delivered to him with your souls. You bastards! How can you hope to keep the Earth from our reign. Our master has prepared all power, signs and wonders to unleash on this age, and your God has left only fools to defend against us. Ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......"

Dr. Sheolman threw his hands in the air as he laughed us to scorn, leaving us then to dwell on what he had said. Within moments, he vanished from our view through the door to his balcony.

Even Old Blackgoat, though rejoined with his granddaughter, seemed disheartened by Dr. Sheolman's reckless tirade of blasphemy. We assumed there was more scathing rebuke to come. We weren't disappointed. When the black-hearted reprobate returned, he was escorted by the ethereal mystique of Mother Babylon. I couldn't fathom what Dr. Sheolman and Astarte's next venture might be.

"Listen, you fatted calves," Dr. Sheolman said.

"Do you recognize this woman?"

We stood silently.

"This is the embodiment of Astarte, witch extraordinaire," Dr. Sheolman said. "I am sending her essence this very moment to make war with all your seed. She will draw your every blood relative to the pit with her cunning wizardry."

"Behold," Dr. Sheolman said, raising his arms in power toward the ageless witch...Astarte twirled her hand...A mammoth fireball began to form round about it which she hurled at us with unerring deftness, causing us all to agonize from the seering heat which scorched our skin.

Again Dr. Sheolman threw his hands into the air and laughed us to scorn. He was done for the time being.

Steven sat down against the arena wall and fumbled for the bootblack can containing the lamb oil. For some time the wizened Peterian just sat staring at the container as though reaching for some conclusion about our predicament.

I approached him to see what was on his mind, but before I could speak he cut me off.

"Shh," Steven said, "hush, I'll tell you about it later if I get the chance. Ketchum has ears like a dog. I don’t know about the others, but I don’t want anyone getting upset more than they already are.”

I wasn’t upset by his comments, just perplexed. I turned aside to watch Old Blackgoat. He had produced the paper on which he had earlier scribbled some Bible text, and was pacing back and forth mumbling words under his breath I couldn't quite make out.

Meanwhile, Ketchum checked each of his men to make sure no permanent damage had resulted from near asphyxiation. Then he confronted Sarah. I knew that was coming. The Texan wasn't used to being bested by a woman. I didn't think the fact Sarah had rescued us bothered the old boy as much as her flippant disregard for his need for more answers.

Even I didn't know Sarah very well, but I thought I knew her well enough to predict the outcome of Ketchum's current approach. The young woman exuded a not so quiet confidence, and Ketchum was going to have his work cut out for him if he intended reprimand or inquisition. She seemed to be the type that would prefer days on bread and water, thanflippant disclosures. When she said "you figure things out," she meant, "you figure things out."

I walked back over to where Steven was sitting. I wondered if he was ready to explain himself whileKetchum was preoccupied with Sarah.

"You know," Steven said, twirling the bootblack can on his fingers, "this stuff isn't going to work this time."

"How do you know?" I asked, feeling hope fade.

"This isn't my bootblack can…, see, my can had a worn spot on it right there. Oh, ya’, this is the same kind of can, but it's newer, and you know what, bet there is shoe polish in here."

Steven opened the can…."Yep’, that's shoe polish," he said.

"You want to know what else," Steven said, Looking me in the eye, "Sarah doesn't have the lamb oil either,...ya’, she switched cans.. but take a look at those skin-tight jeans she has on...there is no can there. They either took the lamb oil from her when they snatched her off the highway, or she hid it back at the church or in her car. Either way, it's gone."

"So, what now?" I asked, puzzled by Steven's seeming lack of concern.

Steven pointed at Old Blackgoat. "He has the answer. I suppose it's time to quit playing and start praying. Our only hedge now is our faith in God's word. It is fortunate for us Old Blackgoat took time to write down the kind of warfare scriptures we're going to need later this evening.

“Joseph, I need you to gather everyone around Old Blackgoat. Let's give the devil a fight, characteristic the born again, spirit filled believers we are."

I guesstimated the time to be about 8:00 P.M. when the doors leading to the balconies opened and people started filing in. We had spent an entire day awaiting our fate.

Not long after, lights were dimmed above us. The arena itself became a stage on which a most human drama was indeed about to be portrayed. The odds said, "lions 5, Christians, 0."

People chatted nonchalantly. It was just another opening night to them, but we were their play, their opera. Only the curtain remained to be drawn, the orchestra to play it's opening strain.

There was a tap, tap, tap. It echoed throughout the auditorium. Someone was testing a P.A. system. Spotlights suddenly flooded the throne area, rotating nervously, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ignominious ones. The crowd quieted. I couldn't hear a whisper.

Imperceptibly at first, and then louder, the rumbling sound of pounding horses hooves began to break through the deafening silence. Then we saw him riding toward us, whited bones glowing from the shrouded unholy glory accorded him by the blood thirsty crowd, poised to explode through the veil of the netherworld into the tomb of our internment. Death raised his bejeweled sceptre to oohs and ahs, then reared his pale horse and made it dance on hind feet so all might see the gaping blackened sockets holding the horses blood drenched eyes.

An explosion of blazing hellfire proclaimed the arrival of the next night thief. Hell appeared,raising both knarled, pus-oozing arms to accolades of primordial groanings and gruntings from the crowd. With one elongated scoop of a taloned hand, the once imagined prison keeper caught Old Blackgoat and raised him above his slime covered fangs to roars of approval from the crowd, then flung him back at us, as though a disdained morsel. He landed in our midst and sent us all sprawling. The crowd laughed raucously, but landing in our midst had broken the fall, and we were all ok, including old Blackgoat.

Then, without warning, a great white steed appeared atop a towering whirl wind. A fierce looking warrior dressed in shimmering white was upon the beast, holding a great golden serpent in his hands. His eyes, black as coal, pierced to the core of my soul. The viper, unleashed by it's keeper, slithered downward toward the sparkling burning crystal beneath it. Satan withdrew to his throne.

Again the lights dimmed, drowning the pit in darkness. An eerie glow enveloped the viper as it raised a grotesque reptilian head and glared our way. I felt my knees begin to buckle, but sobered.

Light began emanating from a great circle that suddenly appeared in the crystal floor. Dr. Sheolman materialized and stood near the serpent. The serpent remained motionless, its hungry eyes maintaining a death glare upon us. Were we to be its meal?

Bathed in the spotlight, Dr. Sheolman began his introductions. "Tonight, we have the great pleasure of introducing to you a master of masters, the likes of whom you have not known before. Our gracious host has chosen this evening to reveal his mentor to you. It is a night of great joy for our masters. Never in all glory to Satan, Hell, and Death, have covens been so blessed as this night. Never again will covens lack power or prestige. As you shall see, this night all shall know the realm of evil has a king even the nameless other so called deities cannot conquer. He shall never bow his knee to the Christian God of the hopeless. This master and monarch of all intrepid disdain is the life force of every child of pride. No one in this generation shall escape the subtle malevolence of his temptations, and you who serve him shall wield all the power on Earth. I give you…, LEVIATHAN!!!"

Dr. Sheolman retreated to shadow of the golden serpent, close enough even to climb on its back, which he did. I watched with amazement as the serpent lifted from the fiery floor and took flight, much to the delight of the frenzied onlookers.Moments later the creature came to rest atop the high balcony above all. Still spotlighted, Dr. Sheolman made a grandiose gesture with his hand, and the serpent exploded in a great ball of fire which brought a gasp from the crowd.

Again a great silence fell on the congregation of infamy. All turned their attention toward the ever growing, lighted circle in the arena's center. The floor itself began to arc higher and higher as though some invisible hydraulic arm was inching the circle upward. Higher and higher the cylindrical aberration lifted, revealing a titanic light-cage enshrouded in the glow of lamb oil. As more of the cage came into view, a tinge of reddish smoke told me Leviathan was near. Then I saw...

First, blackened spires reminiscent of gothic crowns accompanied the bloody show of smoke billowing up from the depths, then one head, then another, then another, until seven heads, the likes of which I never hope to see again, filled the restraining cylinder with the eternal beast of the pit.

Armor plating tempered by the heat of the smoldering coals of hellfire covered the beast's trunk and seven tyranisaurean heads. Teeth, each the size of a man, came to razor sharp points underneath nostrils the size of prehistoric caves. Hypnotic eyes set deep in the creature's seven foreheads dripped blood onto seven scissored tongues that swirled continuously. One spiked horn adorned six of of the seven heads, each horn the shade of night. Only the middle head, the seventh, had three horns. Each horn reached its full height at the pinnacle of the auditorium.

As the beast admired its prey, some of the devil's weaker onlookers screamed. Spirits of fear began searching out the congregation for additional fodder. The blood dripping eyes of the behemoth shot living chains of iron at each cry, anchoring and silencing each weakling in their spot. One crazed young woman above us made a fierce effort to dodge her pursuer, rattling locked doors in an attempt to flee the horrific apparition, but to no avail, as the living chain searched her out, crushed portions of her frail body, and dropped her without mercy at our feet.

Prometheus pulled the disoriented woman to his bosom and prayed a desperate prayer for her soul. Steven, Old Blackgoat and I, after kneeling to search out the condition of the woman, sprang to our feet, sensing as one that the hour of our destiny was at hand.

Prometheus soon joined us, laying the bruised, but alive body of the young initiate at the base of the Romanesque wall at our back. Two other resistors soon fell limp at our feet. My, what tasty morsels we were about to make for the vainglorious heads.As the protecting wall of luminescence began to fade, and the horror was soon to be unleashed upon us, Steven marched forward....

The rest of us realized what we must do…and took to Ourselves the whole armor of God.

"Leviathan," Steven roared, with such power, that all quieted in the auditorium. "It is written, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will break the pride of your power, and you shall be taken in your pride!"

I wasn't sure what effect scripture against pride would have on the beast. Old Blackgoat had selected the scriptures for battle with the unholy trinity. I could tell the audience was stunned by Steven's boldness, but I couldn't see the unholy trio for the horror before us.

Again Steven confronted the beast, repeating and repeating the Almighty's Words. Seven times Steven hurled the Word missiles until I began to detect momentary perplexity come across the creature of perdition's eyes. Then, as though a dagger had pierced to the core of the dragon's skulls, the behemoth's eyes rolled as if smitten, and the head's writhed with pain as though hammered from within.

Old Blackgoat joined the assault. "Oh Leviathan," Blackgoat thundered under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. "Pride goeth before destruction, and you shall be taken in your pride!"

Again the beast's eyes rolled, primordial heads writhing in pain, darting side-to-side as if dodging the discomfort of the onslaught of "THE WORD OF GOD."

Incensed, Leviathan began a rampage. One inflamed head siezed a man from the balcony on our left and dashed him to pieces on the unyielding crystal below. Another gaping skull arched high toward Dr. Sheolman, thrusting an improbable spear through the ceiling above. Dr. Sheolman scampered to escape, but it was too late, caught in the gnashing razor sharp teeth of the behemoth, he screamed for mercy. Seeming to understand for a moment, the monster tossed Dr. Sheolman into the air, but the game was for the beast's pleasure, not Dr. Sheolman's. Clinging to the tip of the highest horn, Dr. Sheolman again laughed us to scorn, but what followed would have fouled the stomach of the strongest man. The denizen of our worst nightmare lowered its bloodied horn beneath the swirling eyes of the other flailing fangs. Dr. Sheolman's eyes pleaded his cause toward us, but we stood helplessly by as six ravenous sets of tongues and teeth feasted on his fated frame, even tearing at one another for the right to lick Dr. Sheolman's blood from the seventh head's taloned, middle horn.

A chaos of screams reigned supreme all around us as the beast swung ten tons of burning hell across a balcony forcing shrieking onlookers to plummet all around us. The time for verbal warfare had passed. Nothing could be heard over the nightmare of screams of the pitiful minions who flailed arms and legs in an attempt to escape the slashing jaws of the beast.

But all was not lost. Prometheus vaulted upon the back of the dragon as it turned toward Satan and his cohorts, then leaped to catch hold of the greatest of the denizon's horned spires.

Never in the history of humanity has human sinew bowed with such might to tear a mortal enemy. I didn't think Prometheus would be able to succeed in his mission. Two herculean jaws attacked him, but collided with each other, locking their own horns. A primordial shriek filled the arena as Prometheus gained his weapon by tearing loose a spiked horn, leaving a gaping hole in the monster's head.Prometheus then plummeted the full length of the beast's own horn-turned-spear deep into it's head, leaping to safety only as six other sets of fangs came crashing down on the spot he had vacated.

Choking and sputtering, the monster reeled from the taste of its own blood, writhing and thrashing until even the trio of terror were forced to disappear. And not any too soon, for the falling beast toppled their fabled thrones and crushed them to powder. I suspected they would return to fight another day.

As I continued to gaze at the mindless spectacle, I heard a distant voice urging me, "Come on, Joseph, hurry, we have to get out of here while we can."

I turned to see Prometheus standing beneath a shattered balcony. The wall had been crushed just enough to allow Prometheus to lift us all to safety. I could see that Old Blackgoat, Sarah, and all the rest were already making their way to safety through the shattered doors above. I was the last alive in the pit besides Prometheus.

It only took Prometheus seconds to lift me up, then he was left alone. I knew there was no hope for the titan. The monster righted itself as I, too, made my way to safety through the doors above. I turned to see Prometheus face the matchless creature.

Although weakened, it was still six heads against one. Tears flooded my eyes. I couldn't bear to watch any more. As I turned away the startling sound of buckling metal brought me up short. Steven and Old Blackgoat ran past me. "He's climbing the elevator shaft," Steven bellowed, grabbing my tattered shirt sleeve and dragging me toward the upper elevator doors. Sure enough, the crumbling edifice had made a way for him to escape.

"Stand back," Old Blackgoat ordered!Seconds passed before two titan feet exploded the elevator doors outward, yards into the air."Hurry!" Old Blackgoat ordered Prometheus. "We must all join hands and pray.”

Instantly one in mind and spirit, the Spirit heard our prayer of agreement, and soon caught us away.




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