“And Then, There Are The Demons…”
“And then, there were the Demons…
“They are some of the most vilest things I’ve ever seen in my life, Thomas…
“Worse than any horror movie. Worse than any nightmare. Worse than anything you’ve ever dreamed up as a kid and ever imagined lying in wait under your bed in the dead of night…
“And then, as if all the previous horrors in Hell are not enough, there were demons or evil spirits there which feed on the ethereal flesh of the tortured souls.
They bite and knaw you. They spit, scratch, tear, and rip, pull, kick, and pierce your flesh. And then, they defecate and urinate in the wounds they’ve caused…
“It is a an obscene horror beyond words, Thomas. My God, beyond words. Why would God make a such a place and then send His children there??” And his eyes implored me for an answer.
“Why would He do that, Thomas???”
“He didn’t.” I said calmly.
“What did you say??” Blurted out Jonathan interrupting me yet again.
He was shocked and apparently a little bit perturbed by my comment, so, I repeated myself.
“I said, He didn’t.”
“Why, but, but that’s what they taught us in seminary, wasn’t it?”
“After many years of studying the Bible in both the original languages aswell as English, I’ve come to understand a lot more than I ever understood in Seminary. I discovered old friend, the difference between ‘tradition’, (what people think the Bible says) and fact—what the Bible actually says.
God never created Hell with the purpose or intent of sending Man there. Hell was never made for man. It was made for God’s Arch Enemy, Satan. So it was made to be a place of confinement and horrific punishment for Fallen Angels, who are physically stronger, taller, and greater in strength and physical ability than man, and for Demons.
It was made to make rebellious Angels cringe in pain and torment for their abject disobedience. Man, is needlessly suffering in a torment that was never intended for him...”
“Why, but—! You can’t—! He, did--God, uh, you, have to.. You-you, just can’t say—!“ Jonathan Rawlings Smith sputtered and blubbered like an old Model T Ford running on two cylinders.
“Hold on John, and listen to my answer to Charlie and it should explain it to you. Because he was sputtering, blustering and sitting with his mouth gaped open just like you are right now. So I told him the same thing that I told you what I had discovered in my years of studying. Then I told him,
“Charlie. Listen to me. It’s just like your mother said, ‘Choices’. God doesn’t send or ‘make’ anybody go to Hell. It was never designed for them. It was designed to humble and punish rebellious and rouge Angels, that’s why it’s so horrible. But the choices we make dictate where we go.”
He responded, "But Thomas, no man in his right mind would say, ‘Send me to the region of the Damned for all my life and Eternity.I choose to go there. No man in his right mind would say that!”
“Your actions reflect your choices…” I said to him.
“Actions are the bedrock upon which choices are built. A doctor diagnoses you with a terminal disease, he prescribes for you a cure—'stop smoking and exercise'. You decide that’s its ‘your life’ and that you can do whatever the heck you want with your life. And you can, why?”
“Because it’s...my ‘choice’. He said quietly, solemnly with dawning understanding.
“That’s right, Charles. You reject his advice. Because you ‘think’ you know better.
“The world says, ‘There are ‘many ways to God’. God says, ‘There is only One.’ You choose. You decide. As with the Doctor, you can chose to follow what he says, or what friends, philosophers or others ‘think’.
"You gamble that they ‘could’ be right, and you choose to ignore his words. You die. Whose fault is that? The Doctor’s, or the man who has the last say—you. Your death is a result of your… what?”
“Choices… I see it now, Thomas. I see it…So my actions reflect who I serve. And who ever I serve, or ‘obey’, that’s who I ‘chose’.”
“Exactly. So it is with God, Charles… He has offered His Son and said,
‘You are in a burning building, I am the Fire Marshal, and there is only One viable exit, and I have provided it for you—My Son.’ If you choose the exit provided, you escape! If you roam around the building wasting time trying all the other exits, and the building collapses in on you in the mean time,you can blame everybody
from the Fire Marshal, to the Fire Chief's dog. But the fact of the matter is, it’s not their fault that you were burned alive, it was a matter of what you choose to do. Take the Fire Marshal’s sage advice, or, choose your own way… Choices, Charlie, choices…”
“I think I understand now, but what do I do! He’ll be coming for me soon! And I can’t go back, I just can’t Thomas! Night and day, night and day the same thing over and over! Torture! Evil! Pain! And Thomas, the stench! Oh my God, the stench! And Thomas! I saw people that I knew there! People that I knew! Judges, lawyers, men, women, cops, doctors, a minister, two priests—there may even have been more that I couldn’t see through the dim light!”
“Choices Charles, we all have to make them, and we have to make true choices, not just fake ones to fool or please family or friends..."
Suddenly, he bolted upright in the bed staring at the clock on the mantle.
“Thomas! Help me, it’s almost time! He’ll be back for me soon! In fifteen minutes!”
He was right, our conversation had taken all of 15 minutes and the clock said, 11:45 pm.
“What do I do Thomas! I did everything I could remember from Seminary! I shouted the Rosary as best I could, and not even a thousand Hail Mary’s did anything for me there. I was still burning and being tortured in that horrendous place! What do I do Thomas, what do I do!!” The desperation in his voice was palatable; I could literally feel it reaching out to me in abject terror and extreme anxiety.
“I can not go back!” he said burying his face suddenly in his bandaged hands and bursting into tears and sobbed quietly for several minutes.
“Charlie. Charlie! Listen to me. Listen to me!”
“Yes,” he said with red-rimmed and swollen eyes.
“How did you get back?”
“How did you get back here? What did you do or what did you say?
“Noth-nothing…” he said wearily.
“You must have done or said something which brought you back here and gave you another chance. Because once you leave here and get to the other side, it is too late then. All transactions for souls, all choices and actions that reflect and result in your final destination, must be done here. You were given another chance Charlie. One more opportunity to get it right. Most people never get that chance. Tell me, quickly what is the last thing you remember, the last thing you did, the last thing you said, etc.”
“Well,” he said slowly as his mind labored to remember, “I was walking along this road of some kind, with pits on either side, every few feet, all of them filled with tormented people. These pits, were about three feet round, and were filled with this slimy green substance. And as I was walking looking at all the horrific sights and sounds around and ahead of me, I stumbled over this loose rock in the road, and I slipped and fell into a pit on the left side of the road. It was a ‘pool’ of, of, ‘ooze’ for lack of a better word, I was up to my elbows in it. And I struggled and tried to pull my arms out again. And when I finally did, the slime started dripping off, but-but when it did, so did my skin! It was horrible! I could see my bones! No more skin, just bare bones, and then I started screaming and screaming and screaming! “
“Then what did you do…”
“Yes, go on, go on!” I shot a quick look at the mantle clock because time was of the essence. It read 11:55 pm. Five minutes. We had to hurry!
“I, I said something…”
“What Charles! What did you say!”
“I think I said, “God, please help me, in the Name of Jesus…
“And-and then the next thing I knew I was ba-back here, calling for you. Can you help me, Thomas?”
"Wha-what was that?"
Charles drew a long and terrified breath.
“Help me Thomas, he’s here! He’s come back for me and he’s coming up the stairs!!”
The clock showed 11:58.
“Quickly Charles, I know this will hurt, but quickly get out of bed and up on your feet.”
“Ka-Whoomp… Ka-Whoomp… Ka-Whoomp!”
“Uhhh, ack! It hurts Thomas! My whole body hurts!”
“I know, my friend, but stick with me, please, stick with me—hurry, take my hands with yours!”
“Quickly Charles, repeat after me..!”
Suddenly, the footsteps were at the end of the hall, they had reached the top of the steps, then as if sensing something was out of the ordinary, their came an urgency to its steps. It no longer walked towards us and the Blue bedroom—it began, to run.
Each footstep louder than the last, each footfall increasing in volume and intensity till soon the whole floor was shaking as the evil thing pounded its way toward us and the trembling bedroom.
“Father! Please forgive me for all my sins—don’t stop Charlie!! Hurry! Say it with me!! Repeat it! Don’t be distracted! Say it! Quickly!!!”
“Oh, uh, Father Please forgive me for all my sins...”
From no where a sudden gust of wind swept the massive bedroom door closed with a heavy thump.
The old grandfather clock on the stair landing began to chime,
“Bong! Bong! Bong!”
And I knew when the last chime had struck, it would be, 12:00 midnight…
Heavy cloven feet rushed toward the door.
“’Dear God I receive your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ’…Repeat it!!”
“Dear God, I receive your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ…”
“Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!”
The heavy footsteps reached the door, and I heard the powerful and massive shoulder hit the door with a thunderous surge and a frightening growl and roar.
But God was with us, and the door held.
“Thomas!!!!” Charlie whinned.
By now I had to scream to be heard over the pounding and the echoing chimes.
“Don’t stop Charles! Repeat! ‘As my Savior and my Lord’!”
The massive shoulder hit the door again—harder, and there was a bullet-like ‘CRAACK’!!!—as the door frame began to split.
“As-as my L-Lord and my Savior..”
“Concentrate Charlie! Concentrate!!! ‘Come into my heart Lord Jesus’…”
“Come-come into my heart Lord Jesus…”
“I surrender my self to you now…”
The door split as a huge crack appeared from the top half way down the middle, and a huge angry blood-red eye glared through it, at us hatefully.
“I surrender myself to you now, I am Yours!”
“I surrender myself to you now. I AM YOURS!” Shouted Charles with all his remaining strength.
Then, the last chime sounded…
With the last blow of his massive shoulder the huge man-thing blasted its way into the room and shattered the huge door into shards and a thousand pieces. They exploded into the room like darts.
The Thing stood in the doorway, all 8 feet nine inches of him, his massive bulk was like that of a Rhino standing straight up on its hind cloven feet, patches of stringy hair like swamp grass hung from its body and, it was furious…
Tiger like teeth ground together in rage and eyes as bright and red as human blood bored through me with a hatred I could feel.
I turned to Charlie to take his hand and run!
He, to the amazement of my unbelieving eyes, was climbing just as calmly back into bed as if preparing for a good nights sleep!
“Charlie! What on earth are you doing! We’ve got to get out of here—now!”
“No, Thomas…” He said calmly…
“You’ve done your job, and done it well. All will be fine now, just as you said..” He pointed past me and said, “He, is here to protect me…” And pulled the covers up to his chest and closed his eyes…
Shocked, I looked behind me to where he had pointed, and standing there, between the evil giant and my friend and I, stood, fully armed and sword drawn, a gigantic Angel—an Angel larger even than our ferocious evil nemesis. And everywhere the giant tried to get in, the massive, golden-armor clad Angel turned and said,
“No.You, shall not pass…”
The blade of the Angel’s Sword glowed like lightening on a summer’s night and hissed and crackled with pure Power, as if filled with a Heavenly current that no demon nor evil spirit alive dared touch or challenge.
I turned to Charlie to say, ‘Did you see that—!” But, he was gone…
“Just as quietly and as peacefully as you please, he was gone into the Saviors’ arms. And Jonathan, he had the sweetest smile on his lips…
“Gone was the gaunt, fearful and death-ridden face of but an hour ago, and instead, there lay the pleasant and youthful face of the Charles I had known so many years ago.
"When I turned round, both the Angel and the demon were gone, vanished…
“So, you asked me if I had ever seen a ‘miracle’? Decidedly, yes…”
“And now. I have a question for you, Jonathan.. What would you do in such a situation? But even more importantly for the moment: Why did you react so strangely when I mentioned Charlie’s address, 4401 Kalorama Road?”
Their chess game was like a Porterhouse Steak Dinner, it had started out very good, but now had grown cold and not quite as appealing. And yet, Jonathan Rawlings Smith suddenly pretended to become intensely interested in it once more. His brow furrowed, chin in his hand and eyes locked on the board as if studying his next move.
“Hmmph?” Suddenly obsessed with his King’s Knight.
After a few moments Father Chadwick said, “So, are you going to answer my question? Or just stare at your knight all night…”
“Huh? What? Oh, terribly sorry, I didn’t hear you,” he lied. “Uh, what was your question again?”
“Why did you start when I said Charles’ address, for one?”
“What?” He chuckled a bit then added, “What makes you think that you startled me with a silly thing like Charlie’s address? I, uh had just forgotten how, uh, close you and Charlie lived to each other is all…”
“You never really were a good liar, John. You know that, don’t you?”
Jonathan’s face turned red as a beet, then he made an abrupt and sudden move. “Knight takes Rook, check…”
Father Thomas eyed his friend’s surprising move, and as he did so began to muse aloud, which quietly made Jonathan’s face even redder.
“You know, that house has been on the market for several years now, ever since Charlie’s death. And the Police have been to that house several times. Seems there’s some witches or a ‘Satanic Coven’ in the area and they use the property from time to time for their ‘activities’ it would appear.”
“Yep. Seems around some of the high holy days for the Evil One, that his cronies like to gather in empty houses and such. You know, they have been more active than most people know.”
“Really.” Was the bland reply.
“Yes, really. Unfortunately they are very organized and have penetrated most if not ‘every’ level of society. I’m convinced they have some one on the local payroll who’s a Real Estate Broker who gives them quick and easy access to empty houses in the area for their nefarious deeds, without raising suspicion…”
“Are you going to move or not Thomas.” Jonathan snapped impatiently. “And why are you telling me all of this?” Then he added in a somewhat mocking tone, “Do I look like a man interested in ‘worshipping the devil’ to you?”
Father Thomas moved his King out of harms way, one square to his left. He noticed that John’s eyes suddenly lost their slightly ‘irritated’ look, and now took on a slightly hidden but nonetheless still somewhat obvious, smile…
Thomas sat back in his chair, folded his hands and looked over the top of his gold-rimmed glasses at his friend, looking for all the world like a one of their old professors in Seminary.
“You, worshipping the devil? No, I don’t see that,” he paused, then added as his old friend reached for the piece he felt would close his trap,
“But I do see you, as you said earlier, as a man who still seeks ‘power’, and after all these years, still seeks something to believe in…”
John’s hand froze in mid air tightly gripping his Queen on the way to close his chess trap. But the Priests’ words had hit home.
He finally placed the Queen down firmly.
“Check Thomas! And the next move is mate! Perhaps you should have spent more time concentrating on your game, than trying to meddle in my business affairs…” He said pointedly.
“Perhaps…” Was the quiet reply.
“But perhaps, both in ‘business’, as well as in life,” Thomas said, now picking up and moving his own Queen to the back rank at the far end of John’s side of the board, “One needs to be cautious about what one ‘rushes’ into… Checkmate…”
“What!?” John sat dumbfounded as he looked at a perfect Queen’s Mate by his old friend with no where for his King to run. He was furious at himself for missing such an obvious trap, so preoccupied setting up his own. Presently, he laughed at himself and his guffaw. With his index finger he toppled his own king and congratulated his friend, the Priest.
“Good job Thomas. Brilliant move.Your game has much improved . Well, we’ll have to do this again some time. Well, I must be going, I have business to tend too.” And began putting on his light coat.
“Must you be going? Thomas replied,
"After all it is rather late, it’s, uh, let’s see. Oh, it’s 11:45. Rather late to be going to a ‘business’ meeting isn’t it? Why don’t you stay the night? I’ve got an extra bedroom. How about it?”
“No, sorry no, perhaps some other time, Thomas. Was really good seeing you again.” He controlled the conversation by buttoning up his coat and steadily moving toward the door, purposely giving the impression of the importance and urgency of his pending meeting.
At the door he turned to say goodbye, shook hands again with the Priest and then turned to leave. Father Thomas held his hand for a moment, refusing to let it go and stared softly into the eyes of his friend for a long minute, then said,
“Is there anything you want to tell me, Jonathan? Anything at all…”
False bravado flashed across Jonathan’s face in the form of a confident, but fake smile,
“Tell you? Why, no Thomas, nothing at all, I have every thing well under control and handled. Totally.”
Thomas’ grey eyes locked into his.
“I know you think so Jonathan, but if you need me old friend, call me…” and released him.
Running down the steps of the church to his car, collar turned up to the brisk night air,
“Of course I will Thomas. Of course I will.”
The car door ‘thumped’ closed quickly, the engine of the red Mercedes roared to life and Thomas watched the red tails lights zip up the road, headed toward 4401 Kalorama Road…
A light rain began to fall as he tooled his way up the hill on Kalorama Road. He leaned forward and squinted through the wiper blades trying to read the address on the poorly lit street.
Finally, he found the long winding driveway leading to the huge mansion. The Mercedes pulled to a smooth stop in front of the gloomy, ivy infested home and right behind a brand new Jaguar.
The porch light was on, and Gabriella stood in the doorway waiting eagerly for him under the protection of a large black umbrella.
He raced up the dozen or so steps and into a warm embrace.
“Right on time,” she remarked pleasantly and rewarded him for his promptness with a kiss on the cheek, “Now, let’s go inside. We’re nearly ready…”
The drive way was completely empty except for his car and hers, so he was quite surprised and a little unnerved when he entered the palatial foyer and found 30 people all dressed in dark clothes, and the entire first floor lit by nothing except for oddly shaped wax figurines, and candle light…
What in the world, was going on here? He quietly swallowed his fear. Nothing to worry about, he told himself, nothing at all...
Father Thomas clicked on the bedroom light and looked at the clocked. It glowed back at him: 2:31 AM.
Who in the world could be pounding on his door at this unearthly hour.
He swung his feet out the bed and into his slippers and wrapped his robe about himself.
“Alright! Alright! I’m coming!” He tried to always be a good example as a priest, but waking some one up at a crazy hour like this, left even him abit irritated.
The knock seemed to be getting weaker and weaker. His conscience stabbed him. Perhaps some one had been robbed or injured and needed his help…
His steps quickened as he moved swiftly to the door.
He checked the peephole first, but it was so dark he couldn’t see a thing.
“Who is it?” He called.
“Who is it, I said?”
A muffled grunt.
“What is it that you want?”
“Thom—mass…” came the extremely weak reply.
He swung the door open wildly at that voice. His friend’s voice.
When the door swung open Jonathan Rawlings Smith could not stand up anymore, he fell over into the arms of his friend. He collapsed there, tattered, covered with large strange scars, exhausted, and bleeding.
His clothes looked for all the world as if he had been trampled by a small herd of wild animals.
“Jonathan! Jonathan! What happened to you?? Quick, let me call an Ambulance.”
“No!” Said his friend grabbing him by his robe,
“Don’t leave me--please!” He gasped with what appeared to be his last once of strength.
“I-I should have listened to you...” He said, gasping again.
“Wha-what do you mean Jonathan, what happened??”
Jonathan Rawlins Smith pulled himself up with everything he had and with his last breath and his last once of strength, he managed to whisper a one word reply into his friend’s ear, before he died…