“Opened Eyes” (Part 6)
by Joseph Linhardt, ©2003-2004
The woods loomed black and large before him. They seemed dark, and threatening in a way they had never been before. Peter swallowed. All of a sudden, he began having second thoughts.
“Maybe it is true,” he said, hesitating. “Maybe I can see angels.” The memory of what had happened to him in the ravine only moments ago surfaced.
The voice in his head answered him.
Are you crazy? You’re tired and you hit your head. You’re just dreaming. Get in there. You’ll wake up. All dreams end sometime.
“Right,” answered Peter uncertainly. Still, it was the only thing he could do. He swallowed hard and plunged into the woods.
The eerie quietness of the woods unnerved him. The silence itself seemed dead. No wind rippled through the trees. No birds sang. Everything was completely still. Peter could hear his own breathing clearly.
Quiet as a graveyard, he thought.
In no time, you’ll get back home, came the voice.
I hope so, thought Peter.
His footsteps echoed through the trees. Dead leaves crunched under his feet. He could hear the pounding of his heart. He glanced furtively around him, looking for the source of his anxiety. Something was close…something was getting near him!
Peter stopped, looking wildly at every tree, every shadow. Nothing moved in the woods. Nothing was out of place. The silence was complete; he could hear nothing except the sound of his own heart thumping quicker and quicker. He broke out into a cold sweat as he realized he was completely alone.
That was what scared him the most.
Finally, he arrived at the ravine. It looked the same as it always had; there was nothing unnerving about it. Carefully, he worked his way around to the slope. His hands were sweating and clammy. He glanced down into the ravine.
“How am I supposed to get back home?” he wondered aloud.
A voice answered him! “I can tell you.”
Peter shouted in surprise and whirled around.
“Who…who are you?” he asked, his eyes wide. The being that stood before him was clothed in pure white, just as Malachi had been.
Another angel?! thought Peter.
“All you must do,” said the creature, “is go down into the ravine bottom. Then, this dream will simply vanish.”
“You mean,” said Peter, slightly baffled. “It really is a dream?”
The angel looked hard at him. “Yes. You said so yourself.”
Peter was taken aback. “But—”
“It doesn’t matter,” interrupted the being. “Go down and you’ll forget all of this. You will be free from it.”
Peter frowned. Something was not right. This angel…something about him was not right.
“Who sent you? How did you find me?” Peter asked suspiciously. The angel’s face collapsed into a frown.
“You need not know. You wanted to know the way out, and I’ve shown you.”
“What about Bryan?” asked Peter. “Did he leave too?”
“Yes, of course.”
Peter did not believe those words.
“But Malachi said that he was in a stronghold of the demons!” shouted Peter, his suspicion hardening every second.
The angel hesitated for an instant. A horrible glare flashed from his eyes.
“You know far too much now, boy,” he said in a sinister voice. Peter took a faltering step back.
“You…you’re no angel!” he realized.
The “angel” laughed, a horrible grating sound that cut into Peter’s ears like knives. “You realized that too late! You’re already in my power!”
The features of the white figure began to blur and melt. Blackness rose out of the center of the being and enveloped him completely. Peter stepped back in horror, his eyes glued to the terrible scene before him. With a boom, the white figure before Peter was suddenly replaced by a dark, evil demon!
“You are mine now!” he growled in triumph. “Just as your friend is mine!”
“Nooo!” Peter shouted and stumbled backwards. With a cry, he fell head over heels down the slope, into the ravine. The demon laughed and leaped down behind him!
“Leave me alone!” shouted Peter, scrambling backwards. The thing laughed.
“You have no power of me!” it said in voice that caused trees to shake. “You’ve surrendered to me already!”
In that instant, Peter saw what had happened. A true angel, Malachi, had warned him but he had refused to listen. He had refused to believe. Now, he was facing the price of his unbelief. He was powerless against the demon.
“Your life will be mine to use as I please!” continued the demon. “You cannot ever overpower me! Ha-ha-ha!” His horrible laughter shook the ground. His dark, evil hand reached out to take Peter.
Suddenly, like a far off echo, the memory of what Malachi had said surfaced.
“In the name of my master, leave!”
My master, thought Peter frantically. Who is my master?
The name of his Master, the One Peter believed in, surfaced in his mind like a rocket.
“Get out of here!” he shouted. The demon stopped for an instant, then laughed.
“You cannot stop me!” he shouted cruelly. “You have no power over me!”
“I don’t, but Jesus does! In His name, leave me alone!” bellowed Peter
The effect was immediate! The demon staggered back, as if dealt a mortal blow. A hideous, evil expression of rage came over his face.
“No,” he muttered. His voice grated with effort. “You can’t…stop me!”
Peter stepped forward, boldly. “You can’t defeat Jesus! Leave!”
The demon knew he could not win; he was defeated. With a shriek of pure hatred, he vanished with a sudden burst of black shadow that cannoned into Peter and left him unconscious. The demon’s scream of loathing faded slowly into the woods until it was lost completely.
* * *
Slowly, Peter felt his eyes open. How long he had lain there, he didn’t know. As his eyes focused on the leaves high above him, he realized he was still lying in the ravine. Slowly, he sat up, trying to remember what had happened to him.
Darkness…whirlwind of dark…what happened? Where am I?
Full memory flooded back to him. He shuddered as the image of the evil being rose in his mind. Slowly, the last words he had spoke before collapsing in the ravine trickled into his mind.
“You can’t defeat Jesus! Leave!”
Slowly, Peter realized what had happened, how he had nearly been conquered. His head sank into his hand. How could he have forgotten? No evil thing, no matter how strong, could ever stand against the name of Jesus.
Why didn’t I remember that? Peter berated himself soundly in his mind. He knew he had read that in the Bible somewhere before.
But does that mean…Oh no, Bryan!
Peter stood slowly and unsteadily, questions surging through his mind. What had happened to Bryan? Was he…defeated? Had he too forgotten?
“Yes, he was,” said a voice. Peter whirled around and saw, standing behind him, Malachi. Or was it? The memory of the demon that had disguised himself as an angel surfaced.
“Who are you?” he asked warily.
“Don’t worry,” said the white being. “I am Malachi and Jesus is my Lord.”
Peter sighed with relief. No demon would say that. “I’m glad you’re here. But what did you mean? Where is Bryan?”
Malachi’s face fell. “Like you, he did not believe what I told him was true.”
“He really is here?”
Malachi nodded. “And like you, he came back here, to this ravine.” Malachi sighed. “But…a servant of darkness was waiting for him.”
A chill ran down Peter’s spine. “You mean—”
“Yes. He, like you, did not know how to fight the evil. He was taken into one of their strongholds.” Malachi shook his head. “As long as he remains there, he will never be free of their oppression. He will live his life as any normal man but unless rescued…he can never be the man he should be.”
Peter closed his eyes in anguish. “What can I do? How can I help him?”
Malachi smiled sadly. “You can do nothing on your own.”
Peter looked up, confusion and anger on his face. “Wha? Then what’s the point of me being here if I can’t do anything? Why did—”
“I said ‘On your own,’” interrupted Malachi sternly. “Fight with our Lord, in His strength. Only then can you rescue your friend.”
Peter realized what the angel was saying. His face brightened as the meaning of the angel’s words took hold. “Yes, fight in the name of Jesus!” A frown came over his face; a problem entered his mind. “But where can I find Bryan?”
Malachi pointed further into the woods. “He is held by them in these woods. You will know where to look.”
“Will I…succeed?” Peter asked with a gulp.
“Has God ever lost? You are His servant,” replied Malachi reprovingly. “Take this.” His finger stretched and pointed to Peter’s heart. A thin ray of light appeared to shoot from the angel’s finger towards Peter. However, he felt nothing. The light faded almost instantly.
“They will not be able to stop you. Fight in our Master’s name.”
Before Peter could say anything, the angel disappeared, leaving no trace of his presence.
What does he mean? Peter wondered. What’s happened?
It was no good wondering about it. Resolvedly, Peter turned once again toward the slope. He climbed it with surprising ease, only slipping once or twice. He reached the top quickly and stood straight. He gazed with resolve in the direction Malachi had shown him and took a deep breath.
His battle was about to begin.
Continue on to part 7…
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