By Cindy Koch –
Shaking my head, slowly opening my heavy eyes, I saw them for the first time. A grey film smothered the features of their face. Glassy fixed eyes stared right through me. Rotting flesh appeared to drip down their cheeks around their gaping mouth. They limped and stumbled aimlessly around the room, unable to see. They terrified me; I thought I was lost in a nightmare. But it was only a Tuesday afternoon.
I had drifted off to sleep, briefly, but I awoke to a horrible sight. Just minutes ago, I was in the waiting room with normal everyday people. The warmth of the afternoon sun, the quiet soothing instrumental track, and the forced rest in a padded chair lulled me to safe rest, for a moment. But now, a legion of un-dead creatures replaced the forgettable faces in the doctor’s office.
Paralyzed in shock and fear, every muscle in my body froze. What was this? What are these horrible things? What do I do? I sat still for a few minutes, and I looked even more closely at the disfigured monsters that wandered before my eyes. An inky black shadow hung around their necks. The noose of darkness pulled a thick hood of death over their eyes, nose, and mouth. You could see the labored gasps for air under that mask. They were people, somehow alive, but also dead.
In a surge of courage, I ran out of that little room to the safety of fresh air. Outside, I devoured a delicious inhale of freedom. Safety. But then I looked down. A dreadful little inky black tentacle brushed my chin. A nasty creature from the infected people also dangled around my own neck! I could feel the dark arms pull a little tighter and it began to choke out the sweet comfort of the bright sun.
This is the reign of Satan. Everyone is infected. I didn’t see it before. But when I awoke, it was painfully clear. These demons of unrighteousness are everywhere. Nice people, mean people, babies and grandparents limp around in the shackles of the Evil One. No one is strong enough to pull these shadows from their throat. No one is clever enough to avoid this noose of evil.
All day long I continued to see these little black demons strangling the loud and meek, big and small. All day long I struggled and fought with my own deadly passenger. It was a long and terrible day when I woke up to see the ugly reality of the reign of the Evil One.
Strangely, my friends and loved ones could not always see the horrors that haunted my vision. I watched these demons darken my beloved’s eyes so he couldn’t see the sun. I saw them choke out the words of life, comfort, and forgiveness between my family. I watched them pummel our frail bodies into exhausted submission. I saw them whisper lies into my children’s little ears.
And one day, I saw something else. Two ugly creatures limped forward holding the smallest demon creature I had yet to see. It writhed in pain and snapped its tiny jaw. It screeched and flailed. Suddenly a flash of Light seized this baby monster and threw it violently into a basin of water. The young one thrashed and gurgled. But this gleaming Light held it under. At last, there was not a ripple left; the water was calm. The baby was dead.
Slowly, the shining One lifted the small creature from this watery grave. Golden hair, tiny nostrils, peachy lips ascended from the water. I saw the lovely eyelashes of that baby girl. The terrifying Light held her close and exhaled a deep breath into her lifeless body.
The blinding Light spoke. Although I couldn’t even see His lips, I felt a warm breath graze even my cheek with every syllable. “You are mine,” said the bright Word holding the baby. The baby girl woke up, clear-eyed, beautiful, and focused directly on her Rescuer. I saw His breath burn away the shadows that held her parents captive. Their suffocating masks dissolved. Colorful eyes opened and they drank in that deep breath of life. Instantly, with His word, the grip of the black creature around me relaxed. It fell limp around my neck, but did not quite disappear altogether.
One great and terrible day, I could see the evil that imprisons us all. One great and terrible day, I felt the breath that set us free. One great and terrible day, light will no longer be hidden in water and the shadows will be gone forever.