Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From House to Home

From House to Home

          Sage and Lauren sat on their porch which they had built along with their entire house, by their own sweat and hard labor. It was honed out of timber that Sage had cut down from their property. His father had left him over a thousand acres with over four hundred of them consisting of the finest Douglas fir, cedar and oak. They referred to their house as a log cabin but with the four bedrooms, three baths and a kitchen that was the envy of most who visited, it was far more than just that. The fire place was constructed out of stones they had handpicked from the border of the brook where they love to picnic. On any given cold night, the logs would be burning giving off heat and a glow; on the double sided openings that divided the living and dining rooms. The stones ran from floor to the vaulted ceiling, creating both the fireplace and the chimney. The open beams that made-up the roof support and added to the decor, where solid pieces of fourteen inch logs that spanned over twenty four feet from center. The exterior walls where ten feet tall built from twelve inch clean cut fir lay horizontally stacked perfectly with lots of care. The floors where choice oak which Sage had milled, shaped the edges into tongue and grooved for a tight fit and laid diagonally on the entire floor. With the basement fully finish and furnished, a pool table, sitting area and flat screen TV, the place was over six thousand square feet. So to their friends it was daubed, the wilderness mansion. Looking from their porch they watch their horses trot and graze in the thirty acre fenced in field. The couple had been married a little over thirteen years and had built their dream house hoping to fill it with a home full of kids. A few years after the house had been completed they found out that Lauren could not bear children, so horses had become their passion. They had over a dozen stallions and mares which were gentle, broken and loved to be mounted and ridden. On weekends one could fine a half dozen teens from their church enjoying their ranch and their horses free of charge.

          Lance was a trouble nineteen year old who had come to see Sage asking for a job. Always looking for the good in everyone, Sage hired him to mock the stalls, brush the animals and mend the fences which were showing their age and decay. For the first several months Lance showed up on time and did what was expected of him. Sage didn’t understand what people in town had against the young man; rumor was that he was rude with an attitude and a short temper that landed him in fights. Most of the store owner didn’t want him in their place and would keep a close watch on him saying that he was known for shoplifting. After three months of employment the couple began to see a difference in the performance and attitude Lance took to his job. Sage had caught the boy sleeping during work hours. Lance would go into the stables or out on ranch and take naps under a tree when he was supposed to be mending a fence. One morning Lance arrived late and Sage said nothing to him. The following morning Lance showed up forty five minutes late again and around ten thirty in the morning when Sage walked in the stables, Lance was passed out in one of the stalls. Sage got a little irritated and with his boot kicked Lance in the ankle to not only wake him up but also get his attention. Lance immediately woke up and said, “What you think you’re doing? Man!” Sage reached down, grabbed him gently under the arm and stood him up, look him in the eyes and replied, “First, don’t man me, my name is Sage, and I don’t call you boy.” For the first time Sage knew what folks in town were saying is true. Lance got mean in a New York minute and with spit flying from his mouth he said, “I’m a man and not no boy, and you better treat me like one or else.” Sage could not believe the arrogance and the venom coming from young man standing before him and decided to school him. “Okay young man” Sage said after a minute of staring at him, “First, I pay you for an honest day’s work and not to sleep on the job. Second, when you do, you are not only stealing from me, but your stealing from God, who I owe everything I have” That didn’t help because Lance got even nastier and stepping closer said, “You just think you’re better then everybody and all you want is a slave around here.” Sage cut him off before he could continue and laid it all out. “Lance both my wife and I have found you sleeping more than once and we have not said a word to you about it, but I can’t keep paying you to sleep, and disrespecting me doesn’t help either.” Lance started to walk away but turned around, spit on the ground and asked “What you are firing me?” Lance said with a nasty look on his face and a whole lot of body language. “No I’m not, but I have to let you go, I don’t like to use the term fired, but yes get your things and go. You can stop by tomorrow or I can drop what I owe you by you place in the morning.” Lance stepped out of the stall and having to have the last words, turned and said, “You’re going to regret this.”

          The following morning Sage went into town to run a few errands and pick up feed and supplies for his animals. Before going to the supply house he stop by Lance’s to drop off his pay check. Sage knew the boy was prideful and would not come back by his place. Lance’s mother answered the door and told Sage that her son was not home but that she would give him the envelope, Sage thanked her and left. After he was done with all the running around, he went back to the ranch unloaded his supplies. Saddling two of his horses he walked them to the front of his house. He stepped inside, greeted his wife with a kiss and said he had two mounts saddled and invited her along for a ride. They agreed and together packed a picnic basket and headed for their favorite spot by the brook. For as many years as they’ve been married, they still enjoyed each other’s company like a newlywed couple. They would sit by the brook for hours talking, at times praying and discussing a sermon or two that was still fresh in their minds. They would always thank God for each other, knowing that with no children, each other is all they had. Lauren Was sitting facing the direction they had rode up in; when she saw the smoke over the top of the trees. She jumps up causing Sage to turn around and in an instant he was also on his feet. He knew the minute he saw the smoke that their house was on fire. Without packing their belonging he looked at his wife with fear in his eyes and said, “The house is on fire, we better hurry.” Without another word they mounted the horses and took off running them as fast as they would go. They were both excellent riders and ten minutes later they were rounding the last bend. When they both saw the flames that consumed the house, they brought their mounts to a complete halt and just stared at the scene before their eyes. The fire had already started burning through the roof and was coming out the windows where the glass had already exploded. They agreed that they need to use a phone to call the fire department that was at least fifteen minutes, if they flew. The closest neighbor was about five minutes by car but already on her mount, Lauren turned around slapped the horse on the back side hard and took off at racing speed. Twenty two minutes later the fire rescue arrived, Sage was still sitting atop his horse with tears in his eyes. Lauren rode up next to him and stood there speechless and sobbing. Sage just looked over and said, “Two years of blood, sweat and tears gone up in smoke.” By the time the firemen had the fire under control the only thing standing was the fireplace and chimney. Lauren dismounted, bent over and threw up; Sage was still staring from his mount and didn’t take notice of his wife. The couple moved in with Lauren’s parent and for two days Lauren stayed in her old room and didn’t move from her bed. Her mother would come in from time to time and try to console her but she cried and went back to sleep. Sage was beside himself, he would leave in the mornings at the crack of dawn to tend to his horses and spend hours just staring at the rubble left from all his labor.
          After days of questions from the police about possible suspects and talk around the small community that someone was bragging to have gotten even with Sage, the police made an arrest. Lance had two empty jugs which he was seen filling up and placing in the trunk of his car the day of the fire. His anger got the best of him and he shot off with the mouth when interrogated by the police, lance was charged with arson. Sage was so angry when he got the news that evening at his in-laws that it took hours for his father-in- law to stop him from going to the police station and killing the young man. “I swear I will strangle him with my bare hands” Sage had said multiple times. His Father-in- law begged him to “let it go, it’s in God’s hands son, you have to forgive.” Sage prayed for two days that God would take the anger and hatred he felt for Lance. He knew he was upsetting everyone in the house especially his beloved Lauren. Lauren would get sick and whatever she ate would not settle in her stomach. Her mother fears she was going to have a stroke or a nervous breakdown and made an appointment for her with the family doctor for the following day. “I don’t want to see no doctor, this will pass as soon as we can figure out what we have to do” Lauren would tell her but her mother wouldn’t listen. So just to please her mother Lauren agreed to go and maybe the doctor would give her some meds for her nerves. The following morning Sage agreed to drop her off and said he was going to stop by the jail house and visit Lance. His wife and her father asked him the purpose for his visit and he replied, “Just to ask him why, and to tell him that I forgive him.”  They both looked at him a little suspicious but knowing that Sage was a man of his word, and was going to go either way, they let the matter fly. After dropping off his wife, Sage headed for the jail house. It took a little convincing the Sheriff that he was not going to do anything but talk. The sheriff agreed to let him see Lance if he agree to do it with the bars between them and not in the cell. The Sheriff walks up to Lance’s cell and told him “Someone is here to see you.” Lance asked, “Yea who? Even my own mother hates me right now.” The Sheriff replied, “It’s Sage and he wants to talk to you.” Sage walked up to the cell door and saw Lance who had turned pale when he saw and heard his voice. Sage walked up looking straight at him through the bars and said, “Jesus loves you, Lauren and I forgive you, now as for judge and jury, I can’t answer for them, but you must.” With his face still as pale Lance asked.  “Why would you forgive me?” With a thoughtful look on his face, Sage replied, “I’m not doing it for you but for myself, because I must forgive you so that my Father in heaven will forgive me, and change my thoughts, about paying you back.” With that said Sage walked out of the jail house, got in his truck and headed back to pick up his wife. Sage sat in front of the doctor’s office for about fifteen minute staring out at mid air thinking of all the events which had unfolded in the last four days. Thinking to himself he prayed, “Lord what’s next, right now I don’t think I can handle any more bad news.” The passenger door opened and he looked at his wife who had a serious look on her that he could not read. Sage reached for her hand bag and moved it to the center of the seat and asked, “Are you okay my love?” His wife looked at him without any expression on her face, both hands on her stomach, and then she replied, “We may not have a house, but we have two beats in the oven, to start a home.”


 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 
  26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Mark 11:25-26

Monday, February 18, 2013

When Pain's Collide

                When Pain’s Collide

          Wilber Barns Walked out of the factory like he has done every day for the past twenty six years, eight minutes after the final bell. His truck was always parked on the first row due to the fact that he was always one of the first employees to arrive in the morning. His first stop after work was always at his daughter’s house to visit for an hour with his grandchildren before heading home to his beloved Tracy. Jeremy his five year old grandson was the first one to meet him by the front door after waiting by the window for his grandpa’s truck to pull-up. Sandra was never too far behind her brother, at three years of age she loved him and mimicked everything he did. Wilber wrapped one arm around each one of his precious babies as he affectionately referred to them and scoop them up to himself. The children hugged and kissed him with the love that can only come from a child. Wilber carried them into the living room and sat on the floor in the middle of all their toys. He began to play with a Thomas the train set with Jeremy while Sandra ruffled his hair and laughed. His daughter Amy walked into the living room and sat on her couch smiling but also with a slightly sad look on her face. Wilber turned and winked at her and blew a kiss her way. He knew what the pain was without her having to voice it. For the last two and a half years it had been her pain but the entire family helped carry her burden. Amy was six month pregnant when her husband Corporal Jeremy Starks, was killed when the Humvee he was a passenger in was hit with several RPG’s. She now faced the task of raising her two children on her own and the only male figure in their lives was her father.

          At twenty seven Amy still had the same figure she had in high school and wore the same size two. She stood only five foot two inches, with dirty blond hair and emerald green eyes that captivated anyone who looked into them. She was a happy and content person or at least before her life had taken a quick left hand turn that destroyed the future she was looking forward to when Jeremy was finish with his army career. Church and God had become nonexistent to her and she didn’t want anything to do with either. Daily she sat to watch her father play with her children for the first few minutes and then off to her room to cry. She would bury her face in the pillow and sob uncontrollably. Afterwards it was a stop at the bathroom sink to rid herself of the evidence of her tears. "Why" was always her question to God who she blamed for the death of her lover and the father of her children. She never expected an answer from a god that would be so cruel as to take from her the only man she had ever loved. Jeremy had been her high school love and the only boyfriend she ever had. Now she was alone, with two children to rise on an army pension. The one thing she was grateful for was her father, who treated the children like his own and helps her with her finances. Her children were her world and while they were awake her mind was always preoccupied; but after they went down whether for a nap or at night to sleep, she would be overcome with a tremendous loneliness.

          Wilber didn’t need to hear it from his daughter about how she felt or the pain that consumed her because he could see it on her face and feel it in his gut. On weekends he would take the children as much for his own enjoyment as it was to give Amy the chance to cope with her feelings and deal with her grief. “Two and a half years and stills she suffers Lord” he would pray with tears of his own pouring down his face. Tracy his wife would just hug him and assure him that one day God would provide their daughter with a man who would love her and her children like they were his own. “I don’t know that He would answer her; she is very angry with Him and wants nothing to do with anything that has to do with the church.” Wilber would just put his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands and cry.  “She will come around on her own someday when she learns that with God all things are possible and that on her own she will just continue to be in pain”  Tracy replied and they both went silent.

          Amy had always warned Jeremy not to go out the front door without her or an adult to watch over him. When he was bored and Amy wasn’t being vigilant she would find him on his tricycle out front alone. Amy was dressing Sandra to make a run to the grocery store and called Jeremy to make sure he had dressed himself but got no response. She stepped out of her daughter’s room and continued to call after her son who still would not answer. She search the entire house and not finding him she walked out to the front of the house and noticed his tricycle on the sidewalk about twenty five feet from her walkway. She called for him and still no answer; she walked and picked-up the three-wheeler and returned it to her porch, went back inside and still no sign of her son. Again she searched every room and even her cellar to come up with the conclusion that Jeremy was missing. Amy tried her best not to panic but as the seconds turned to minutes she knew that something awful had befallen on her little family. The first call she made was to her father who assured her that he was already out the door with her mother in tow. The second call was to the police who immediately asked for a description of Jeremy and were putting a bolo (Be On the Look Out) out to every patrolman on and off duty.

          By the time Wilber arrived at Amy’s house the street was engulfed with police cars. He pulled as close to the house as he could, jumped out but before he could reach the front door an officer stopped him and asked the nature of his business. After he and Tracy were cleared he stepped into the house to find Amy on the couch with Sandra in her arms crying hysterically. Tracy quickly took Sandra and he sat next to his daughter and wrapped his arms around her. Amy couldn’t speak through all the sobbing so Wilber asked who the officer in charge was and what did they know so far. The officer explained that a neighbor saw a red pickup truck driving off and thought nothing of it since there is one there almost on a daily basis. After the neighbors description and with Amy’s help they determent that it was his pickup the neighbor had confused. The truck in question was an older model two door pickup and Wilber drove a late model four door crew cab and the only thing the two had in common was the color red. Two hours had went by and they were no closer to finding Jeremy; Amy was starting to show signs of a nervous breakdown when the FBI walked through her front door.

          Special Agent Eric Campos had been working for the agency for thirteen years and eight of those were in the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment also known as C.A.R.D. He quickly took charge by letting the local police know that this was now an FBI case and investigation. At six feet two inches he towered over the couch as he approached Amy who was still sitting with her face buried in her father’s chest. After introducing himself and his partner Special agent Doris Knights, he asked a few questions which Amy answered without any hesitation until he mentioned a polygraph to rule her out of the equation; those were his last words before he got a taste of what five feet two inches of angry mother looks like. She stood up off the couch and looked up at the man who stood a foot taller and without warning hammer punched him in the chest with enough force to move him away from her. She then went into verbal abuse mode and it took everything Wilber had in his strength tank to restrain her from attacking the agent once again. Wilber is a steel factory worker with powerful arms and good upper body strength and Amy was wiggling so violently that he could barely contain her. The insults that came from her mouth were a surprise to Wilber because he had never heard his daughter speak to anyone this way before. Agent Campos had heard people’s insults before, he knew that usually they were guilty and were trying to divert the attention elsewhere by throwing insulted at his allegation or suggestions to a lie detector test. Looking at Amy and studying her reaction, body language and the painful look on her face, he knew she was innocent of any wrong doing. “I’m sorry if I have upset you Mrs. Starks but it is agency policies that a parent be ruled out as a suspect in a missing child’s case. I didn’t mean to imply any wrong doing in your part, I’m going to wave that for the time being and set up a command post in your dining room, if that’s okay with you?” Campos was winded by the time he walked away and headed for the other room.

          Agent Campos set up wire taps on the phone lines and on Amy’s cell phone. An Amber Alert was put out for the entire state and the neighboring states with the descriptions of Jeremy and the pickup truck he was last seen in. He then asked the local police to set road blocks as far as one hundred and fifty miles in all directions; giving the amount of time that had past their suspect and hostage could be that far already. He sat discussing things over with his partner but his mind kept running back to his first encounter with Amy Starks. Why that bothered him so much he didn’t know, he had been down this road more times than he could remember and it had never nagged him like this one. The look on her face was the most painful of all the mothers he has helped in his eight years as a C.A.R.D. team member. He figured that there was more to her pain than her missing child and he was going to find out what that was. He made a call to Quantico and asked one of the desk agents assigned to gathering information to send him everything they could on the Starks family. It was less than twenty minutes before his iPhone chirped announcing that he had an email. He pulled the phone from its holder, pulled up the file and in minutes he knew and understood Amy’s pain. It had been twelve years since he had lost someone he cared for, or better yet, loved. He had met and fallen in love with Penny in his second year as U.S. Navy pilot. Penny was finishing her training on the F/A-18 hornet when another pilot also in training misjudged a maneuver and collided with her plane killing both himself and taken Penny with him. After almost twelve years the memory was all of a sudden fresh and clear. He put down his phone and rubbed his eyes, he knew this was going to be a long night if they didn’t find Jeremy real soon.

          Amy laid in her bed with her daughter asleep next to her but all her thoughts were on her missing son. She never thought that the pain in her heart could get any worst then when she had lost her husband, but today she realized that it had. She felt like the life was being sucked right out of her and dying would be a relief. “Why have You taken him from me also, wasn’t it enough to take my husband? Now you take my son, haven’t I suffered enough in the past few years?” Amy finally cried herself into a deep sleep where her dream was as real as life. She saw herself standing on a small bridge over looking a creek that ran under her feet; she could see through the floor of the bridge that was made of glass and the water was so crystal that she could see right to the bottom. Across on the one side she saw children playing while adults watched, laughed and cheered. In the middle of the crowd she saw her husband, and she froze just staring at him. A man walked up and stood next to her and just smiled as he also watched the children play. “What do you see Amy?" The man asked looking at her and waiting for her response. “Children playing” Amy replied without looking back at the man. “And what else has caught your eye Amy?” He asked still with a big smile on his face. “How do you know my name?” she asked looking up at him this time. “I know every person’s name that has ever been born and those yet to be” He replied with the big smile still on his face. “Now who do you see in the crowd Amy?” He asked never taking his gaze away from her. “I see my husband and he looks really happy” she answered turning back to look at Jeremy Sr. “Do you know that when you hurt I also hurt and when you cry it also brings tears to my eyes? He is safe and waiting for you, Jeremy Jr. and Sandra to join him here. Amy, you live in a fallen world and bad things are going to happen, but you have to trust Me to watch over you at all times. I don’t just want you to love me and confide in me when all is well; it’s when things go into chaos that you must rely on me the most, do you understand that?  I see everything, but there is also one who wants to destroy every good thing in your life and your relationship with me is number one on his list. You have to be strong Amy, and don’t hate me for what the enemy is doing, remember that he is no match for me. Also remember that his days are numbered and he knows that better than anyone else. Now you let me take care of big Jeremy and you go back and look after your little ones and I promise we will see each other soon." Amy was going to ask the where about of her son but the man was gone, she looked over at the crowd and Jeremy was also gone. Amy woke up smiling for the first time in over two years.

          Wilber was talking with the two FBI agents when Amy approached and he saw a different look on her face than the one she wore for the past two and a half years. Wilber couldn’t help but to ask, “Are you okay baby girl?”  She smiled first because it had been a while since her father had called her that, and second because she felt alive for the first time since her husband was killed. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but yes, I am real good, now what is going on? Do we have any news about my son special agent Campos? And before you answer that question, I want to say that I’m sorry for the way I treated you. Will you please accept my apology? I assure you it will not happen again, and if it will make things move along faster, I will summit to that lie detector test you said was a policy." Campos stood there at first not knowing whether to answer her question or agree to the lie detector test, so he chose to address the test first to stay on her good side. He had sat at her table for the past two hours while she slept and he couldn't stop thinking how much he liked the fire inside the small woman. “There won’t be any test, and at the moment there is nothing new to report. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not doing everything in our power to get Jeremy back home safe. She smiled at both men and said, “It’s in God’s hand and I’m going to make some coffee, would either of you like some?” No one answered as she turned and headed for her kitchen and started the brew.

          It was eleven at night and thirteen hours since Jeremy had gone missing. The house was quiet with Amy’s parents sleeping in her room with Sandra and agent knights resting in the living room. Amy walked into the dining room with two cups of coffee and handed one of the cups to agent Campos. “Any news?” she asked as she looked at him expecting a different answer then the one she knew she was going to get. “Nothing yet, but we have road blocks far beyond two hundred miles, amber alerts across the entire country; and we have Jeremy’s face on every news station. Someone is bound to spot him and we will be there when they do, you have to trust us to do our jobs. I know how you feel” he was saying when Amy interrupted him. “You may think you know how I feel because of your job but you don’t have a clue what it’s like to lose your husband and now a child." Agent Campos tried injecting a word “Mrs. Starks” he started to say when again she cut him short. “Amy, please call me Amy, that Mrs. Starks is way to formal and if we are stuck here together for a few days, that’s just not going to cut it” she said with a shy smile. “Okay then, Amy, if you insist, but you’re going to let me tell you a little story. I was once a fighter pilot in the Navy. I met this wonderful woman and we had plans to get married after we were finish with our military careers, but she was killed in a training exercise and that ended our dream. Now do you have any idea why I work in the CARD unit for the agency?” Amy didn’t answer so Campos continued after a minute of silence. “Two years after I left the Navy I applied for the FBI, and less than two years with the agency my niece was kidnapped. The local police in her area waited too long to get us involved and she was found dead a week later.”  He let that sink in for a few minutes before he went on with his story. “One year to the date of her death, I entered my superior’s office and insisted on being transferred to C.A.R.D.; so yes, with all due respect, I know exactly how you feel and what you’re going through. Now I need you to please trust me to do my job. I promise to do everything in my power to find Jeremy, and bring him home safe and with God’s help, I will do just that.” She lowered her head “I’m sorry” was all Amy could say.  

          At two in the morning Amy laid down in her daughter’s bed after praying for the first time since her husband’s death. She thanked God for the healing she was beginning to feel in her heart and for the safety of her son. With her eyes wide open in the dark room the only thing she could see was the face of agent Campos as he related his story. She chastised herself for thinking how handsome she found him and how strong his forearms were with his sleeves rolled up. The compassion in his dark brown eyes when he said he knew exactly how she felt. She didn’t think anyone could know how she felt and the pain that burned in her heart. But he knew and something about the way he said to trust him to do his job to find her son, calling Jeremy by his name, made her feel at peace. She closed her eyes and when she reopened them, the sun was shining through her window.

          Campos had been awake all night busy on the phone with field agents and tracking down any lead that came his way. He looked spent when Amy walked into the dining room with a fresh cup of coffee. She had bathed and wore a clean pair of jeans that hugged her small hips and a white blouse that accented her olive skin. Campos had not only spent the entire night on the job but on his down time waiting for any responses his thoughts had been about the beautiful woman that now stood before him. “Good morning agent Campos, I thought you could use a fresh cup of coffee” she said as she set the cup before him. “Thank you, how did you know I wouldn’t make another minute without it” he replied reaching for the cup and wishing he had more to say. “By the way, any news and are we any closer to finding Jeremy agent Campos?” He shook his head, “No Mrs. Starks” he replied and she interrupted, “Amy, remember you agreed to call me Amy.” She said staring at him and brain slapping herself for it, and quickly looked down at the table. “Sorry yes I did Amy, it’s just a habit to address the people I’m charged to protect or help by their family name” he replied while staring at her and not wanting to look away. She raised her head and found him staring at her and couldn’t help but to do the same. Their eyes locked for a long moment in silence and they smiled pleasantly at one another and then without a word, Amy got up, turned and walked away. Campos sat there sipping his coffee and just watched as she marched down the hall and disappeared into one of the rooms. “What are you thinking Eric” he screamed silently at himself, “when this is over you will have to move on; and if this ends poorly she will hate you for stepping over the line. Get your emotions under control and just do your job, you have never let a woman into your life after Penny so why start now.” After a long talk with himself, he was no better off then when he started and all he could do was laugh.

          Jeremy was not the typical or ordinary five year old. By the age of three he could count pass a hundred, knew his colors, shapes and could read single words. Amy always boosted how her son could memorize all the lines in the Thomas the train movies, he knew them word for word and what was going to happen next. He also had the movie Cars with all their character memorize to the point he didn’t need to have his eyes on the screen to know what the next line or scene was. Amy was always amazed when she walked into his room and he would be on the floor playing with his toys but his mind was on the TV quoting the following scene before it came on the tube. Amy always told her son that he was the man of the house and that he was to always be brave and look after his sister. Jeremy had learned at a very young age not to be afraid of the dark, noises or being alone in his room, but he had been warned about strangers. Jeremy sat buckled into the seat of the truck and to him it seemed like he had been there forever. The man had stopped and brought him something to eat each time he stopped for fuel but never a real meal just a few snacks. It had been two days since he had seen his mother, sister or his grandpa and he was starting to feel the loneliness. At his age he had no idea how far he was from his home or how much time had actually past since the man had tricked him into his truck. The man had told him that they would stop soon to sleep for a few hours after he complained the he was tired of sitting in the same position for so long. The night before they had parked off a dirt road and the man had covered him with a small blanket while he slept on the seat of the truck. The man said that tonight they would do the same and that by tomorrow they would be at their new home. The man so far had been nice to Jeremy, spoke to him in a non-threading manner and had promise several times that he would never hurt him.

          Stanly and his wife March were married for five years before they were told that March would never carry a baby to full term. March had gotten pregnant three times and all had ended in a miscarriage. On her forth conception the doctor had put her on total bed rest and on the seventh month he advised and March had a C-section. Isaac was born weighing in less than two pounds and only fourteen inches long. He had spent eight weeks in the hospital in which March spent every waking minute there with her son. He had grown at a normal rate even though he was small for his age he was as smart as any other child his age. Stanly and his wife could not be any happier or grateful for the gift of their son. March had always been over protective of her son and at times Stanly would ask her “to ease up a little and let the boy be a boy” he’d say. The previous summer they were visiting a friend who had an above ground pool and Isaac being the curious child that he was, went out to the yard unbeknown to the adults in the house. After a short time of not seeing or hearing from her son, March went looking for him. Not finding him, she asked those in the house if they had seen Isaac and they all responded in the same manner, that none had seen him in the past half hour or so. Ten minutes later Isaac body was discovered floating face down in their friend's pool. Nine month had passed since the fatal drowning and March had not recovered from her loss. She had gone into seclusion and wouldn’t see or speak to anyone including her parents. There wasn’t anything Stanly could say or do, that would bring his wife out of her depression. Most days she wouldn’t even get out of bed to bath or eat, and answering the phone wasn’t an option. She always got enrage at anyone who try to console her, telling them that they could never understand how she felt. March knew deep down in her soul that she would never have another child and that Isaac had been a miracle that wouldn’t grace her twice.

          Stanly was starting to exhibit signs of fatigue after driving for more than three day with minimal sleep. He had stopped and rested but with the boy to keep an eye on, he only rested but couldn’t really sleep. He knew he wasn’t thinking clearly when he looked at his fuel gauge and notice that he was near empty. There weren’t many places to fuel up on the long stretch of single lane highway they were on and the sign read thirty three miles to the nearest station. Stanly was glad when the sign now read two miles and was happier when his truck pulled up to the pump. He told the boy who still refuses to tell him his name to remain in the truck and not to speak to strangers, that he would bring him something to eat. Stanly stepped out of his truck, locked the door and walked across the lot to the convenience store to pay for his gas and purchase snacks for the boy. Jeremy looked to his left as Stanly stepped away from the truck and noticed the man had forgotten his phone on the seat. Jeremy kept his eyes trained on the man in the store as he walked around looking for what to buy and at the same time reached and grabbed the phone. Nervous and never having dialed his mother’s cell phone or his home phone, he quickly entered his grandpa’s number which he frequently called just to say hello. No one answered so he hit end and dialed again and again got no answer, so he did what he always had done when Papa as he called him didn’t answer, Jeremy left a message.

          Amy woke up at four in the morning and as she had done for the past two days when she first opens her eyes, she prayed. She went into her bathroom, brushed her teeth and headed for the kitchen. She filled the coffee maker with water and six scoops of Folgers and turned on the peculator. She walked into the dining room to find Campos on the phone with an exciting look on his face. “What is it” she asked, but he put up one finger, covered the phone and with a smile he said, “I think we may have the break we been praying for.” She waited till he ended the call and not a second longer before asking again, “what is going on?” He took a deep breath and replied. “Well” he paused and then continued, “we have been monitoring all of your phones and a few hours ago a number out of the Northwest called your father’s phone. If you don’t mind waking your father up I would like him to check his voice mail. My team can get access to his voice mail but it would be quicker if we can retrieve it right from his cell instead of waiting for the service provider.” Amy called her dad who had went to his home the night before and left his wife to help take care of their two girls. It took three tries to wake her father up; Wilber was a heavy sleeper who could sleep through a storm. After answering, Amy explained and he said he would call back as soon as he checked his voice mail, than hung up. Not two minutes later he called Amy who then turned the phone over to agent Campos. Wilber relayed the message from Jeremy which simply said that he was scared and for his grandpa to please come and get him. Wilber also told the agent that Jeremy sounded a little scared and didn’t sound like he was in any immediate danger but to please act fast, which Campos assured him that he would do nothing less.

          Amy couldn’t help herself and also didn’t realize that when agent Campos finished relating the message to her, she had wrapped her arms around him and was hugging him before he had a chance to react. She quickly stepped back and apologized feeling a little embarrassed. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to do that” she said with her face blushed to the point her ears felt like a bad case of sun burn. “It’s okay” he replied with a boyish smile and then said, “it was my pleasure to elicit such a reaction, maybe I can keep giving you good news.” He stopped knowing that he was sounding a little flirtatious. Amy stood there and studied the man with a smile on her face and then she became serious and replied, “I’ve never hug a man other then my husband and my father now that I think of it, but if you find my son I promise they’ll be a kiss with the next hug, on the cheek that is.” She said before she had a chance to process her thoughts and again her ears burned. Campos’s phone rang and after a few yeses and “okay I’m ready” he hit end and put the cell back on his waist. He was still staring at Amy when he ended the call, he reached out his hand and touching her on the cheek he said, “I wish I had met you under different circumstances, now I have a chopper to catch and Jeremy to rescue.” With those last words Campos stepped outside to find his partner on the phone barking orders and taking notes. The two jumped in their car and Amy stood there watching, praying, crying and wishing that the circumstances were different as Campos had just pointed out.

          Stanly made the final left turn of his journey and headed down the long driveway to his house. He cut the engine and stepped out of his truck and asked the boy to follow him. Jeremy opens his door, jumped down and tailed his abductor to a welled groomed yard and neatly painted house. Stanly unlocked the door and signal for him to follow, then closed the lock behind him. Stanly hollered, “Honey I’m home” and a very pretty woman immediately came walking down the hall. Jeremy studied her and she was doing the same to him. Jeremy observed and noticed that even though she was pretty and seem nice she looked like she had been crying for a long time. “Who is this?” She asked Stanly while not removing her stare from Jeremy.  “Well he won’t tell me his name” Stanly replied looking back at Jeremy with a questioning look. “I wasn’t asking for his name Stanly" She raised her hand before Stanly had a chance to speak in his defense and blurred out all her questions in a single breath. "I want to know why he is here, why is he with you. Who the child belongs to, why you told me you had to go away for work and a week later you show up with a strange boy on your heels.” March was now looking at Stanly and she wanted answers and she wanted them fast because those were the last words out of her mouth, “answer me fast Stanly.” Stanly asked Jeremy to follow him and after putting the boy in his son Isaac’s room he closed the door. He returned to the foyer and explained everything to his wife but it didn’t go as planned. “What do you mean you took him? Stanly have you lost your mind? That boy has a mother who is going out of her mind worried about him and you’re here thinking that this would help me. I know better than anyone what it is to lose a child, in fact I have lost four and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Now what made you think that I could do this to someone else? Stanly I believe that your intentions where good, but this is kidnapping and that child must be petrified. We have to return him to his parents Stanley, and you’re going to turn yourself in and maybe they won’t be so hard on you.” Stanly knew he had done something wrong but with the pain of losing his son, he had not been able to think clearly for mouths.

          The chopper transport to the airport had been short, but the plane ride to Seattle was going to take a few hours. Agent Campos, his partner, agent knights and Wilber, who had insisted on coming along for his grandson’s sake, were now at thirty thousand feet and traveling at 650 MPH but were still three hours from Seattle. A swat team had already been deployed and was on site yet invisible surrounding Stanly and March’s home. Agent Campos had instructed that unless the boy was in immediate danger they were to wait for his arrival before entering the home. Campos had full Intel on his suspect and his wife and didn’t feel the need to storm the house hoping that when he arrived he could talk them out peacefully. He had been here many times before and knew when to send in the big guns and when to hold the line. He prayed that he was making the right choice and he always relied on God for his wisdom and guidance and he had not been let down yet. For the first time he felt a sense of more responsibility than any other case he had worked before. Amy was not easy to eradicate from his mind and not that he wanted too anyway. The thought of her hug and the statement she made afterwards played over in his mind and for some strange reason he wanted to bring Jeremy home safe but he didn’t want the case to come to an end. After another three hours the plane touched down and agent Campos stepped out of the plane and into an unmarked car. The town of Everett was about thirty minutes south of Seattle but at 80 MPH Campos would be knocking at the door in twenty.

          March left Stanly standing at the foyer and walked to her son’s room, opened the door and walked inside. Jeremy was sitting on the bed looking out the window when March walked over and kneeled in front of him. “My name is March; would you tell me what yours is?” March asked in a soft and compassionate voice. “Jeremy” he replied without any hesitation. “You look like a brave little man, now you, Stanly and I are going for a ride and I’m going to make sure that you get back to your mommy safe and sound, okay?” March said with tears in her eyes. “Why are you crying?” Jeremy asked not understanding the reason for her tears. “Because I once had a little boy just like you, brave and tough as nails.” She replied, “What happen to him and was this his room?” Jeremy asked now looking at her and holding her hand. “He is in heaven now and yes this use to be his room” March answered with the tears now streaming down her face. “My mom said that I will see my daddy again when I go to heaven, so that means that you will see your little boy also” Jeremy said with the surety and faith of a child. March wiped her tears and for the first time in nine month she smiled. She took Jeremy by the hand and walked with him to the foyer. She hugged her husband and then said, “Are you ready to take him back” and then walked out the door with Jeremy.

          Ten minutes from his destination agent Campos’s phone chirped, he reached and removed it from his waist and hit talk. “Campos here” he said and listening he turned to his driver and said, “head right into town” He then talked back into the phone and said, “follow them but do not and I repeat do not approach the car unless the boy is in danger and see where their go, understood? And call me the minute that car comes to a halt.” He hung up the phone and three minutes later it rang again. He answered and sat there speechless and then said, “We'll meet you there.” After hanging up he looked at his partner than at Wilber and said, “They entered the police station with Jeremy.”

           Campos walked into the station house not knowing what to think; in all his years with CARD he had never seen anything like this. He had encountered those who run and those who stand and put up a fight, but never one that turned themselves in and the victim with them. Jeremy saw his grandpa and broke free from the officer holding his hand and jumped straight into his grandpa’s embrace. The officer was about to intervene but one flash of the two FBI badges and the officer relaxed. Wilber could not contain the tears or the joy that overwhelmed him at seeing his grandson and the feeling was mutual to Jeremy. Stanly confessed to the kidnapping and was booked and incarcerated. The officers in the station knew Stanly and March and the loss of their son since they had been the ones to answer the call along with the EMT’s the day of the drowning. Agent Campos promise to put in a good word because the couple had returned the child unharmed and voluntarily. Stanly had told Jeremy that he was sorry and didn’t mean to scare him. Jeremy told him that he was also sorry that he had lost his son and thanked him for all the snacks he had brought for him on the ride. Stanly couldn’t help but to smile at the boy and ended by once again saying how sorry he was for taking him. Stanly said good bye to his wife and was returned to his cell.

          Amy had gotten the word that her son was safe and that they were on their way home. She sat there with her mother and daughter and they all thanked God for his mercy and for looking after all of them. Around ten o’clock that night her mother took Sandra and went to the room to put her to sleep. Amy couldn’t even think of closing her eyes, she just wanted to see and hold her son who had been gone for almost five days. The thought of never seeing him again had not entered her mind since the night of her dream or divine encounter. She knew without a doubt since that night that her son would return home, she just didn’t expect it to be so soon. The thought of seeing agent Campos startled her and made her a bit nervous. She felt like a school girl with the little butterflies inside her stomach. “Stop it” she told herself, “soon he will drop off Jeremy, leave and you will never hear from him again unless another awful thing happens and the FBI is at your door again.” She sat on the couch and decided to rest her eyes and didn’t notice that the peace she felt was relaxing enough that she fell into a deep sleep. The next sound she heard was her son calling her and she thought she was dreaming till she felt him jump on her lap and wrap his arms around her. She opens her eyes to see her father and agent Campos staring at her and her son close enough that she could smell and kiss him. She held on to him like she would never let him go for fear that he wasn’t really there. He let go and said he wanted to go see his sister and before she could stop him, he was down the hall and yelling out her name. She stood, rubbed her eyes and just said, "Excuse me" and she also went down the hall. She went into her bathroom, splashed water on her face, rinsed her mouth and straightened out her hair and returned five minutes later. Agent Campos and Wilber were talking when Amy walked up and offered to make them some fresh coffee. Her father decline claiming it would keep him awake but with a big smile Campos accepted, and that put a smile on her own face, she brain slapped herself for it. Over the next two hours Amy and Eric as he insisted that she call him, sat, talked, laugh and at times Amy cried and Eric sympathized. The conversations came easy to the both of them like they had been friends for a very long time. Eric told her everything that happened in Seattle and how he was glad that Stanly had returned Jeremy without an incident or confrontation. Eric stood up and said, "I think I should be on my way; I have to get to the office and write up my report early this morning." They both stood and walked to the door; Eric threw on his suit jacket and turns to face Amy and had no clue how to say good bye. Amy took notice of the awkwardness and broke the silence and asked “how far is your ride home, or do you have to catch a flight at this time?” Thinking that she was being a little too personal she said, “Sorry I didn’t mean to be nosey.”He laughed and replied “It’s okay you’re not and actually I live less than thirty minutes away, it was the main reason why I was assigned this detail.”  Amy looked him in the eyes and said "I believe I owe you something" and without a warning just like the hammer punch to the chest, she reached up on her toes and hugged him, kissed him on the cheek and said, “I now know that God didn’t send you here just to rescue my son." Still with a stun look on his face he replied, “I know, he sent me to rescue you.”

Two years later, Natalie Campos was born..


God Bless .. Tbone

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Walking the Warrior’s Way

                                     Walking the Warrior’s Way
   He became aware of its presence around the age of seven and in his small and finite mind he knew it had been visiting him for years. Sean’s eighth birthday was not like all the rest before this one, this one he would always remember. He was a single child raised by his godly mother Rebeka. His father had walked out on them when he was but months old. When he was about two years old, his mother became a Christian and started taking him to church. That had to be about the time when it started coming and hanging around waiting for the right moment to recruit him. His uncles, aunts and cousins came by every year to celebrate on his day, as they called it. That night after everybody was gone his mother let him stay up later than usual. Around eleven O’clock he took his bath, said good night to his mother and went to his room. After he had said his prayer, he turned off the lights, laid down and went to sleep. Around two in the morning he woke up to a hissing sound, but before he could remove the covers and turn on his light, he heard the creature. His voice was like that of a person talking with a life saver in their mouth and unable to move their tongue. Sean could see him clearly in the total darkness and for a split second he was terrified. His mother had talk to him about the enemies of God and Sean had no doubt that this hideous creature was one of them. Young, bold and fearless Sean leaned forward and spoke like his mother had told him to if the enemies ever bothered him. “This is my room and Jesus is here with me, so leave and don’t come back.” From the minute Sean had said the name Jesus, the creature had been hissing louder and slime was dripping from his mouth. Sean got mad that the thing was still standing there so he yelled at him this time: “I said JESUS is here, now get out.” With the emphasis on the name of Jesus, louder than the rest of what he had said, the creature was gone.
          At twenty seven Sean had just got his black belt in Vee Jitsu, a form of martial arts, which is a combination of Filipino martial arts, American Judo and Jujitsu. Sean had arrived at the dojo at ten in the morning that Friday, along with four others for their initiation and ceremony to acquire their belts. After hours of being kicked around and pushed to the point of exhaustion, he received what he had long worked for. Before getting in his car and out of the sight of his peers, he threw up what little he had remaining in his stomach. The heat had been his worst enemy that day and by the time he got to his small apartment, he had just enough left in the tank to shower before going to sleep. The sun had come up again before Sean had regained consciousness. That morning when the bottom of his feet touched the floor and came in contact with slim, he knew that instant that his childhood nemesis had invaded his space that night. It was Saturday and Sean knew exactly where to find Sid. Sid was an ex-Mossad agent and these days a Messianic Jew and one of Sean’s spiritual mentors. Sean walked into one of the back rooms of his church where on any given Saturday; you would find Sid teaching a class. The room was empty except for Sid who was reading his bible and stopped when he saw Sean. “It’s good to see you my young friend” Sid said extending his hand. Sean reached and took the hand and replied, “I’ve got a big problem and I need your help.” The man studied Sean for a minute and asked, “What can be so big that God can’t fix.” Sean didn’t answer so Sid put his arm around his shoulder and said “Clearly there is a problem, so let me hear it.” Sean just blurred it out; “I have a demon who is nagging me.” Sid smiled and answered like it was just any simple problem he was helping someone with. “Sure you do Sean; we all have demons who nag us everyday.” Sean turned around to face the man and replied, “No you don’t understand, I really have this creature that shows up at my house. The last time I saw him, I was eight years old, but last night he was at my place again.” Sean stood there waiting and for a minute he thought his old mentor was going to call the patty wagon. “You are in a real spiritual war my young friend. Sean, what you need is to arm your self with as much of the word and really pray like never before. Listen, you know how you prepare for your tournaments; how you practice the same moves for hours and some for days. Well in spiritual warfare you fight it with prayer and the word of God; and sometimes you have to get your hands dirty and just beat that demon to submission. You have to put on the full armor of God from head to toe.” After thanking Sid, the two had prayed and Sean went back to his place, read his bible for a few hours and prayed some more. For about a week Sean woke up and before going to work he put in the time to read his bible and pray. In the evenings, Sean did it all over again and was happy that the creature had stay away. Another week had gone by and his peace had not been disturbed. 

That second Sunday after speaking with Sid, he woke up and all through the day he heard a soft voice that warned him to put on his armor. Sean didn’t totally understand so he prayed and kept his bible close by all day. That evening when he knelt to pray, he felt heaviness and a cloud in his room. He had no idea how long he was praying when he sensed the presence and he knew that his nemesis had returned and was at the foot of his bed. Sean didn’t want to open his eyes and stayed in the same position praying. Finally the creature ran out of patience and spoke. “You know I’m here, don’t you?” came the hissy voice. Sean didn’t answer and the creature spoke again, “You won’t get rid of me so easily this time, your faith is weak, you don’t have the faith you did when you were a child.” Now Sean was sure the creature was standing over him. The smell of sulfur and sewage was so bad that he wanted to puke. Sean had refused to open his eyes, but in the next instant he was in a room with dim lights. The room was large and from where he was standing he could see his own room at the bottom, like a room within a room. He could also see himself praying on the side of his bed. It took him a minute to realize that he was standing, but there was no floor. As he try to orientate himself with his new surroundings, he notice that his footwear were new to him. The boots were more like what the Roman’s used for war, flat at the bottom and tall enough to reach half way up his calf and laces all the way and tight. He looked at his body and saw that he was wearing a Gi, but it wasn’t his black one. This one was silver, but the color was defined by every thread that shined like the precious metal itself. He looked at his hands and they were cover with gloves that had knuckle protectors and were woven from the same thread the Gi was. The belt was made of gold that sparkle with every move. On the left side of the belt hung a sheath with a sword that gave off a glow from the emeralds that made up the handle; it was amazingly beautiful and yet deadly looking. Sean was sure that it had taken him only seconds to get familiar with the new realm he found himself in. The smell had not yet hit his nose when out of nowhere came the blow that sent him flying across the room. As he flew through the air approaching the wall he was quickly about to smash into and without any thought of his own; he put both legs in front of himself, took two steps up the wall and arching his back he completed a back flip. Quickly he did a one eighty and was facing the creature. “Welcome to my world Christian boy” the hissy voice said in a mocking tone that brought Sean back to realize that this was no picnic and that he was in the fight for his soul. For the first time Sean got a real good look at the creature and his enemy .He could not come up with words to describe the ugliness that stood before him. Sean saw the four other men in the room, each standing at one of the four corners in the room. The creature took notice of his observation and said, “Don’t look at them, they can’t help you church boy. Their just here to make sure that I also don’t receive any assistance from my friends, so pay careful attention. Now I will assure you that with a doubter like you, I don’t need any help and just so you know who will be taking your soul today, I want to formally introduce myself, my master calls me Dubitāre. I have the gift of doubt and I am good at it, as you well know. Sean kept his month shut and didn’t speak a word, hoping not to add fuel to the fire and give Dubitāre the edge. Sean took a mental inventory of his foe, he stood about his height and would have been taller if not for his hunch back and the fact that he stood with his knees slightly bent at all times. His arms and legs were lanky and skinny yet muscular and one could see the tendons and ligaments for he had no skin, as though it had been burned off his entire body. His head and face were oblong, both up and back, and also were devoid of skin. His eyes appear to be missing the eyeballs; and the deep sockets just had a red dim glow that look like small windows to hell. Where a nose should have been, were just two oddly shaped holes that released a fume that lingered before him. His mouth was also deformed and he had a serious over bite, no lips and teeth that were long with huge gaps and the color of pewter. His right ear was about two inches lower than the left and with nearly no neck his head leaned on either one shoulder or the other depending in what direction he was looking. His shoulders were bony and extended forward causing his chest to be caved in. This image all put together in Sean’s mind was the perfect picture of the hunch back from Notre Dame, on a past and over due-should have stopped-a millennium ago Jenny Craig diet. Sean was no sooner done sizing up his opponent when the creature charged at him. Even though Dubitāre was awkwardly proportioned, he was agile and fast. Without moving his feet after his first step, Dubitāre leaped head first like a missile aiming for Sean’s chest. Before he could make contact, Sean bent his knees and pushing off hard with his toes he preformed a perfect forward somersault over Dubitāre’s head. Sean landed about three feet from the creature that had just slammed hard into the wall; he quickly pivoted his body ninety degrees and delivered two powerful snapping side kicks, catching Dubitāre on the hump of his back and bouncing him off the wall like a basketball. Sean immediately threw both hands in the air and did a triple cartwheel to put distance between him and his opponent; then pivoting on his left foot he turned to face Dubitāre. The creature spun around spitting slim and hissing profanities out from his mouth and fume from the holes were his nose should have been. Sean had to cover his nose and mouth to limit the fumes and odor that otherwise he would inhale. At that moment he realized that all but his head was covered and that on those last two manoeuvres something hard and solid yet also flexible hung at the back of his neck. Sean’s first thought was that he needed his full armor and that at the moment he was missing the helmet for his salvation. He recalled what Sid had told him about a full armor and at the moment he didn’t have it on. Sean reaches behind his head and pulled the hood over till it covered his forehead. With it was attached a piece like a handkerchief to tie over your nose and mouth. At last Sean knew he had on the full armor and he was by all account, a spiritual Ninja. The creature started his taunting with that hiss that was getting on Sean’s last nerve. “Do you really think that that’s going to help you? You are a doubter and you’re always going to be” Dubitāre went on. “You no longer have the faith you had on your eighth birthday.”  Sean had yet to speak a word and again came the physical attack. The creature pulled a sword out of mid air. Sean didn’t remember seeing him carrying one but there it was and coming at him swinging and with all intent of doing damage. Sean reached down with his right hand and in a flash he had the handle of his sword in both hands. Dubitāre was coming down with his blade just as Sean raised his sword to meet the blow, the two swords connected with a load clang that resonated in the empty and hallow room creating a deafening sound. They exchanged blows for blows with their blades till Sean misjudged and the creature’s blade sliced him across the upper arm. Sean could see the thin gash on his Gi but knew his flesh was untouched. As soon as Dubitāre saw that Sean was busy inspecting his arm he lunched at him with his sword pointed straight for his heart. Sean had seen him on time to jump over the creature in a front flip. After landing he kept his sword directly pointed straight and away from his body. Doing a complete three sixty on his left leg, keeping his knee bent at half squat and bringing the sword around, he caught Dubitāre across the hump opening a huge gash. Dubitāre fell on his knees rolling over to his feet quickly facing Sean, again and as before spilling slim and speaking blasphemy even to the Host of Heaven. Sean was starting to ware down and had no clue how long he could keep this up. He saw from the corner of his eye that the angel in front and to his right was reading a book. Sean thought, why if they are suppose to make sure that this remains a one on one, then why read instead of being vigilant. Sid came to the forefront of his mind again and he heard the words of his friend. “Use the word to defeat the enemy” At that moment Sean became aware that he had another weapon in his Gi. He reached in like a ninja and retrieved the only object he had and looked at the book in his hand and read its title, “Holy Bible.” Dubitāre stared at him and for the first time Sean saw panic in the creature’s ugly face. “Prayer and the word” Sid had said.  Sean looked down for the first time since the fight started and saw the small room beneath him and that his physical body was still praying. Sean held the bible with his left hand and with right he put the sword back into his sheath. Dubitāre hissed and made a noise that Sean assumed was his laugh. Sean looked at the angel in front of him and to his right; the angel looked back at him with a smile, than blinked and nodded his head in agreement. Sean looked up at Dubitāre who was standing there hissing and blowing smoke. For the first time he heard Sean speak. There was no doubt in the creature that Sean believed the words that poured out of his mouth. Before Sean finished saying, “No weapon formed against me” the sword had vanished from Dubitāre’s hands. “Though I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil” with that the creature shrunk to half his size and became even more grotesque and the slim became heavier, thicker and many gross colors. Sean kept up his attack becoming bolder with every quote. “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” By the time Sean was done with that quote Dubitāre had disintegrated to fumes and dust. The large room became instantly bright like the dawn of a new day. Sean had never felt stronger or more alive. The four angels left their post and convened in the center with Sean, none spoke a word but Sean could feel their strength and in a silent way he understood their message, that they had been his protectors since birth. In the next instant Sean was back in his bedroom where he was still on his knees. He picked up his head and then looked down at his chest to see what he was wearing. He got up off his knees and walked to his bathroom, turned on the faucet to run the cold water and splashed his face. He stays there with his elbows on the edge of the counter bent over for a minute. When he stood up and looked in the mirror, there stood one of the angels he had met. When Sean turned around to face him he saw nothing; when he faced the mirror again the angel was there and this time Sean just stared at him without looking back. After a few seconds had passed, the angel said to Sean, “You keep always walking the warrior’s way and never turn to the left or to the right, and remember that when you don’t see me, is when I have your back.”
Written by Tbone /ATW Jah