The pastor and his wife greet us at the door and we all go inside and take a seat. My family comes to church every Sunday. It’s very rare that we don’t attend service. It feels good to be here today and I’m actually looking forward to hearing the pastor’s sermon. Then, suddenly a strange feeling comes over me. It’s a sensation I’ve experienced before and I know immediately what it is. I only have this feeling when he’s nearby. So I start frantically but cautiously looking around. Then I spot him. It’s Eiden walking into church.
I feel so enraged I want to rush up and beat the daylights out of him. But I’m in church and service is starting. His beating will just have to wait. Eiden walks up the aisle right past me and sits down three rows in front of us just a bit to the right. He turns his head toward me, smiles and nods knowingly. I want to rip that grin right off his face. I don’t know why I’m so angry. I should be afraid. After all, this guy is the entity that controls hell! But I’ve got only one emotion to spend on him right how and that’s anger.
I’m counting every second since the pastor started talking. I need to talk to Eiden. The sermon is about love and forgiveness, but I’m really not paying attention. I’m just waiting for it to be over.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the pastor concludes his sermon. The first thing I do is look three rows up and to the right. But he’s not there. As the congregation files slowly out of church I get lost in the crowd and break away to go find him. I go into the corridor leading to the Sunday classes. There I see him walking toward one of the classrooms. I seize the chance and pounce toward him. The second my hand almost grabs him from behind something that feels like a force field pushes me off of him and throws me to the ground. Eiden turns, walks over and looks down at me.
“Well hello there. Nice to see you again Markus,” Eiden says full of pompous sarcasm. “What are you doing on the ground? The Earth is no place for someone of your stature,” he says with such calmness that it almost disarms me. For a brief second so many thoughts rush through my mind – torment, torture, hate, anger, death. Then I hear a voice whispering, “Sweet pain never enjoyed, beautiful suicide of angels fallen from heaven.” What was this? I snap myself out of it.
“I know who you are,” I say accusingly.
“You do Markus?”
“Yes I do, Eiden. You’re the silver-tongued devil!”
But Eiden seems to have no reaction to any off this. He just smiles and stretches his hand down to me to help me up.
“The silver-tongued devil,” he says, “Is that the name of some character from an RPG game Markus?”
“Don’t play with me, Eiden,” I say flinging his hand away from me. “I know who you are and there’s no use denying it!”
“Silver-tongued devil,” Eiden says glancing up stroking his chin. “I haven’t been called that for centuries. Well,” he continues, “I suppose it’s no use hiding from you then, now is it?”
The corridor then suddenly becomes darker. The shadows in the hall begin to move and I hear faint voices. No, I hear screams. Distant screams of people suffering. Then pain started seeping through me. It’s like my very essence is being drenched with suffering and mayhem. This is Eiden’s doing. He starts to change as well. His eyes absorb the darkness of the moving shadows and change from stark blue to sinister black. I lose my focus, the pain is getting too great. My body is paralyzed. I can’t move.
“So, Markus,” Eiden says ominously, “Are you liking what you see?”
“What’s going on here?” I ask. “What are you doing to me?”
“Just giving you a taste of what’s to come.”
“What are you?” I manage to ask terrified.
“I am Eiden,” he replies knowingly. “Nothing more and nothing less.”
I feel the need to sleep. I can’t focus on anything not even my thoughts. My body is still paralyzed. My angel’s face flashes in my head and I know I must not give in to Eiden and lose control.
Struggling, I manage to say, “I’m here to tell you… the deal is off!”
“Oh, is that so Markus? You’re here to tell me the deal is off. Well. I’m afraid it’s not that simple you see. The deal has been stuck Markus. It is done. You have no more say in the matter.”
“YES, I DO!” I scream seething in anger. “I’m telling you the deal is off!”
“Markus, Markus, Markus! Why so angry? Why so rude?” Eiden said full of mockery. “Why I’ve done nothing but help you and this is how you thank me? I grant you the peace of mind of knowing your loved ones will be taken care of. Tsk tsk tsk, Markus. You Hiciousites are so ungrateful. But I am always willing to forgive, Markus. That is my nature. So what can I do?”
Am I losing my mind? I can’t think. I want this to stop. The pain just keeps coming. It’s consuming me. What have I gotten myself into? I sitting immobile and powerless barely propping myself with my trembling arms behind me. I have no strength to do anything, not even lift my head. Eiden senses my pain. He leans over and looks at me.
“Oh Markus, what ever is the matter?” he says with scorn. “You don’t look so good my boy. You should enjoy yourself. After all, there’s much more to come.”
I then sensed someone else at the end of the hall and closing in fast on us. Eiden’s face and tone suddenly changed as well. Now he is angry.
“We shall continue this another time,” he said in a controlled rage. Then he turned, walked away and disappeared into one of the classrooms. With that my body and mind turned normal again. I can move again. The pain vanished and the voices of the people in agony disappeared. The shadows on the wall are again still. Then the person who entered the hall walks right past me and into the classroom where Eiden went. I get up and rush to the door to open it, but it won’t budge. Through the glass at the top, however, I can see Eiden inside. He is talking to the woman who just walked past me. When she turns and I saw a familiar face. But I can’t exactly place it. I’ve seen her before. But where?
“Markus!” a voice from behind me suddenly breaks my focus. It was mom. “Markus, what are you doing in here? Come along. We’re going home,” she said.
I turned to her. “Oh. Okay mom. I’m coming.” But before I leave I turn to look one more time through the window. But this time the door was open and I can look right into the classroom. It’s empty. In disbelief step inside. They are gone.
“Markus?” I heard mom calling from the doorway. “Are you okay?”
“Y . . .yes mom. I’m, I’m fine.”
Mom stepped in and walked over to me. She leaned in and kissed my forehead. “Come along honey. Let’s go home,” she said putting her arm around me. I feel safe again.
Back outside getting into the car I was silent. I was thinking that things were going to be more difficult than I had imagined. If what Eiden did to me in there is a taste of what he is capable of then I shiver to think what else he could do to me. And that woman in the classroom. I know I’ve seen here before. Who is she?
“Dad, can we get something to eat on the way?” Nathan bellowed.
“What would you like son?” Dad asked.
“Anything. I’m just hungry.”
“How about we stop at Java Lava? Would you all like some coffee and breakfast there?”
“Yes sir!’ “And how!” “Sounds great honey,” everyone answered at once dreaming of their lattes, pumpkin muffins and Denver omelettes.
Java Lava. That’s it! Now I remember. That woman is the waitress from Java Lava. But what was she doing with Eiden? And why did Eiden get so upset when she came in? Well, we’re just a few blocks now from Java Lava. I guess I’ll find out.