Just a quick word of explanation: this post is very atypical for me, but I have had a very strong urge to add this to my blog since the moment that I first dreamed of it. I had dabbled in short story writing, but it has primarily been the result of school assignments. As much as I love fiction, I have never felt a strong desire to write it myself. Of course that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about it. And that’s how this little piece of fiction was written. A few nights ago, I had a dream that I was back in high school, and I was reading aloud a short story that I had written. The gist of that story can be found below, written from memory after waking up.
As I wrote the story down, scrambling to get it all in writing before any of it was forgotten, I was brought back to the moment that I first felt the urge to write. I had always scored well on writing assignments, but I did not develop a passion for it until I was in high school. I was blessed with many incredible English teachers, but there was one in particular who taught me what it was to make your dreams come alive through the written word. I hope that I’ve done her justice with this piece, but if not, remember this: “Through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5).
He was almost human, but just not quite. He was almost perfect, but that somehow made him repulsive. He was almost beautiful, but there was something off about him. He was everything I had always dreamed of, and yet somehow I knew that if I was sleeping, this was certainly a nightmare. He smiled at me, but his smile was just a little too wide. He spoke to me, but his voice seemed hollow, as though the breath of God had not been breathed into his nostrils. He was breathing, but his breath had no life in it. He laughed, but his eyes were dead, as though there were no spirit within him. He seemed so right, but there was something just so wrong about him. He was temptation to my body, but simultaneously, he was aversion in my mind. He was angelic to look at, but the word that came to mind when I saw him was demonic. I immediately scoffed at the thought.
The word demonic suggested ideas that I abhorred. If there were demons, then there were angels, and if there were angels, then there must be a God. The thought left a bad taste in my mouth, but as I stared at this man, I was haunted by it. Just as surely as this hideous creature, who seemed so beautiful to behold, haunted me, so too did the thought of what his existence suggested. I was not alone in this world. I was not the master of my own life. I was not in control, and the forces of good and evil were at war all around me. I had been blind, and I seemed to have accidentally stumbled onto a battlefield, with a war raging all around me- and inside me.
My thoughts pulled me in a million different directions. Grab him before he runs. Run before he grabs you. Take a nice, long look at that gorgeous body. Close your eyes and cover your ears. He’s an angel. He’s the devil. He is everything you want. He is everything you don’t need. He will be your salvation. He will be your damnation.
Should I listen to that little whisper inside my head, or to the raging scream reverberating in my ears? Lust filled my vision, and the creature standing before me demanded to be touched, caressed. His voice filled my mind and caused my heart to pound in my chest. But his voice seemed to be a warning, and my heart, which alternated between racing and stopping, seemed to suggest that I was edging closer to the grave. His smile promised life, but his eyes revealed the truth: he could bring only death. His words promised salvation, but he reeked of decay. His skin was smooth and called to me, but the stench of death, so sickly sweet and verging on rancid, filled my nostrils when he moved.
“Come with me,” he whispered. His voice should have been lovely, but the sound was harsh to my ears. It could have been lovely, but its beauty had been perverted. He started at me, demanding an answer, and I was struck by the color of his eyes. As black as ebony, or as dark as the night sky when neither the stars nor the moon appear. Whereas night always held within it the promise of morning, the black of his eyes only succeeded in reminding me that one day there would be no tomorrow. Only darkness. Only death.
He called to me, and my body longed for him, but a single thought made me hesitate. I had spent my entire life avoiding the light, and this was certainly a creature of darkness that had found me. I should not have been surprised- when you spend your entire life in the dark, there is no light to chase away the shadows. If you reject the light, the shadows will find you. And they will devour you.
“Come with me,” he said again. I shook my head and began to back away.
“Why not? Am I not handsome?” He was lovely to behold, and my resolve wavered. I took a step forward as I nodded.
“Don’t you want me?” Another nod, the only movement I could manage.
“I can give you everything. I can make you happy.” His promises enticed me. I wanted to be happy, and he claimed that he could give me what I wanted. Could I see a future in his eyes? Could the stirrings in my body be the beginnings of love? Or was it lust that I felt?
I had stopped moving, and seeing my hesitation, he quickly removed the distance between us. I could feel his body against mine, feel the heat that lingered on his skin as it swept over mine. I breathed in deeply, but my mouth was dry. I longed for a drink- I had never felt so empty, so parched. My breath was raspy as I exhaled.
“I need water.” It was the first thing that I had said since I had first found him, and it seemed a rather odd way to begin this conversation.
“If you come with me, you won’t need to drink anymore. You won’t need to eat. I will be everything that you need, everything that you could ever dream of.” I was so hot, and so thirsty. I could feel his hands on me, and his breath on my neck, but all I could think about was the heat. It was hot as hell. Hell.
The thought woke me from my reverie. I hastily untangled myself and stepped away, my hands behind me to prevent me from backing into the rosebush there. Suddenly a pinpoint of pain exploded on my palm. I raised it to my face, taking in the thorn that had lodged itself there. I pulled it out, and watched as a droplet of blood formed in my palm. It was the deep red of a rose, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Blood flowed from the wound, and I watched as it fell to the ground.
Blood had been shed.
Hands had been pierced.
He had hung from a cross.
He had died.
And rose again.
He granted us salvation.
An outpouring of grace on the world.
Blood mixed with water.
My blood and tears mingled in my hand. I had begun to cry, and through my tears, I saw the truth. The creature before me was not human, nor was he beautiful. He was something out of a nightmare, the devil himself. His smile had become a scowl. His breath was putrid, and his flesh was rotting away before my eyes. He was sin and death, temptation and damnation. His laughter had ceased, replaced by a deathly howl. He knew that he had been defeated. Sin and death had been destroyed. By the shedding of blood. By a man, who was also God, hanging on a cross, whose hands and side had been pierced. Whose pierced flesh had poured out blood and water. His death brought life. He had descended into the grave, and had banished the darkness. He had brought the light, and the light will not be defeated. There is no darkness too deep, no sin too great, for Him. The light will always conquer the darkness. Life will win out over death. A battle had been fought over my soul, and through the outpouring of blood and water, God had been victorious and I had found my salvation. This man, who was also God, but also wholly human, had saved me. There was life in His eyes, joy in His laughter. He was everything I had ever wanted, but more importantly, He was everything I would ever need. He was my salvation. He was my Lord and Master, as well as my Savior. There was nothing almost about Him. He just was. He was human. He was God. He was beautiful. He was perfection. He was life. He was light. He was. He is. And He always will be. Amen.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!