Flame and Shadow

By Joshua Carr All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Other

Chapter 73

Before I knew it, I was floating high in the sky, toward the approaching fireball. At first, my stomach flipped, but then, I felt a strange calm. Everything was going to be OK. I knew what I had to do. When I looked out to my sides, I found that I had a pair of large wings. They appeared to be made of the aurora borealis, but in the shape of quasi-transparent flying apparati. I had never seen anything like them before.

I kept rising and rising, until I could see South America in the distance, then even higher. I must have barely been within earth’s atmosphere. I floated there, seemingly weightless. It was completely quiet, with a strange stillness that actually made one feel less lonely, like the quiet itself was company. I felt like I was floating in water, absolutely at peace, and with the best view on the planet. I’m not sure if I’d ever been happier in my life.

As the ball of fire came ever closer, I knew what I had to do. I stretched out my arms as wide as they could go, and formed a shield. At first, it was just around me. Then, I expanded it until it reached the ground. Finally, I stretched it to cover the horizon. Beads of sweat were forming on my face as I continued to force the shield bigger.

I had to make a force field around the entire planet.

“Oh, God…give me strength, please…”

As I made it larger and larger, it felt like my body was being torn in half. RRGH Come on! I can do this! I know if God is with me…I can do this!

The shield was almost to size, but was flimsier than a soap bubble. And I was going to stop an enraged seraph bent on world destruction with this?

“Come on! More! MORE! MOOOOOORRREE!!” I screamed.

Just then, all of my markings began to glow and shimmer as though they had the aurora borealis running through them. My eyes followed suit, glowing and flowing with color.

With an indescribable sensation, I felt something leaving my body, as though a part of my spirit was just projected. It became one with the shield, and reinforced it around the entire globe. The world was turning orange, as Mavethel closed in. Eventually, he no longer appeared as just a fireball. I could see his body: flying toward me with his arms out, and the flaming wings behind him. His silhouette looked almost exactly like the interlocking hooks of Tsalderek overlaid upon the scooping wings of Nahalore. It was as though someone were seeing exactly what I was seeing when they designed it.

Only a few seconds later, his fiery aura collided with my shield. My body was rocked with the contact, but the barrier held. He then began screaming at me.

“You know how this ends, right Eqdachel?! You cannot possibly hope to hold back my power! You imprisoned me once, but things are different this time!!”

I heard a voice, not my own, shout back at him from…within me? On the other side of…the veil from me?

“My brother! There is no way the Father will allow you to destroy His creation like this! Their hour is not come!”

“Do I look like I care about that?! The hour of judgement is exactly when I say it is!!”

“He will give us the strength to defeat you! You will be locked back beneath the earth until the time of judgement!”

The flames grew hotter and more intense as my enemy put all of his strength and speed against the force field. His immense flames reached around the entire planet, so it appeared to be daytime everywhere on earth. My shield blocked thermal radiation however, so they didn’t even feel the heat. I did, though. My body was beginning to break down. I could feel my skin beginning to melt, and the constant shockwaves from the angel’s pounding was destroying my insides. But I wasn’t giving up. I knew I could hold on, as long as Jesus was holding me.

The seraph was growing even angrier. He put everything he had into his burning flames.

“YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, HUMAN! YOU DO NOT HAVE A CHANCE OF STOPPING ME!!

I could feel my shield weakening, being penetrated by the burning flames. He was right. I was dying, and I couldn’t stop him, as long as I was holding anything back. The very sky shook with energy from the collision between his fire and my bubble.

“THIS IS THE ALL-POWERFUL FLAME OF JUDGEMENT! ALL OF HUMANITY WILL BE BUT A SHADOW OF MY DIVINE LIGHT!! ALL WILL BE AS IT SHOULD!”

I refused to let the darkness take me. It was time to stop holding back. With one final scream, I released the last of my spirit into my shield.

In that instant, I could see everything. It was as though I was looking down from within the earth-encompassing shield. All over the world, people were looking up into the sky. Billions prayed to their god, or their favorite celebrity if they were atheists. I wished that I could talk to all of them, to share the love that I had come to know, but what I was doing what all I could do.

With the final bolstering of my shield, Mavethel could see that it was over for him. He increased his raging flames to a point they had never reached before. Still, they could not overcome my shield. The trabeculation between our powers exposed the seraph to a constant bombardment of energy. He screamed bloody murder as his own body began falling apart.

I put all of my strength into one last move. With almost unbearable soul tearing pain, I pushed the supercharged barrier forward into the angel. He screamed again, and his physical body disintegrated.

In an instant, the flames disappeared. My shield disappeared as well. My body began to fall, but I was so high up, I could hardly tell I was falling. Everything was at peace for me. I had done what I was meant to do. Before my eyes, I saw another glimpse into the spirit world. An angelic form, glowing like the aurora borealis, caught a hideous, twisted creature with chains the same coloration as her, and dragged it down toward the earth. From a distance, it sounded like she was screaming a war cry. But as they passed by me, I could tell that she was shouting praises to the Most High God, who gives the strength for her to be able to do what she needed to do.

The two plunged toward the tiny island in the ocean, the light angel dragging the other at incredible speed. It screamed: “NOOOOOOOO!!!” as it neared the earth, but it was too late. With a mighty crash that rocked the ocean and even the sky and clouds above, it was finished. The fallen angel’s spirit was sealed beneath the ground, for good this time, until the final judgement. According to the scriptures.

As I slowly fell, it seemed like I was surrounded with the aurora. I had never seen anything so beautiful. It was finished. I had fulfilled my destiny. I wasn’t even aware of my own body crumbling to dust. Then, the angel that I had seen came to me in the air, and guided me on.

I opened my eyes, but everything was so bright that I couldn’t see at first. Although slightly disorienting, it wasn’t a painful brightness, more like a refreshing glow. Eventually, I became aware that I was sitting on a grassy hill. Nothing looked familiar, or even smelled familiar. The grass smelled wonderful. And there was music. Not a band, but the air…or the plants…themselves seemed to be making music. It was the kind of music that you immediately feel like you know, but when you try to sing it back, you can’t find the tune. All around, I was a bit bewildered.

Now that my eyes were accustomed to the brightness, I looked around to find that I wasn’t alone. There were men and woman dressed in white as far as I could see. They all looked happy to see me.

I looked down at my hands, to see that I, too, was wearing white, and all of my markings were gone. I couldn’t help but laugh nervously.

“Um…hi… uh…where am I?” I waved awkwardly.

Just then a man stepped to the front of the group, and I knew exactly where I was. There was no way to describe his glorious appearance, so I won’t even try.

“Jesus?”

The man nodded, smiling.

“Hey, there, little sister. I’m glad you could join us.”

“Uh…uh…uh…Je…sus…?”

“Yes, Hal? You’re wondering if this is all real?”

“Y-y-you can see into my mind?”

“More. I can see into your heart.”

“Oh, dear.”

I started to blush, and I would have been sweating, but it wasn’t working for some reason.

“My heart isn’t necessarily the…most, um…there are some rather impure things in there…”

My savior laughed. His mirth was the most comforting and assuring thing I had ever experienced. It just had a way of making everything bad disappear.

“Don’t worry. Those didn’t make it in here.”

That’s good. I relaxed.

“Do you know why you’re here?” He asked me.

“Um…because I was washed in the blood of…well, yours…actually.” I replied awkwardly.

“That’s right. And do you know why they’re all right here, right now?”

He gestured to all of the people dressed in white that surrounded me.

I shook my head quickly.

“No idea.”

“Because you’ve just done something amazing. Immediately prior to your arrival here, you sacrificed yourself to save every living human being on the earth. You demonstrated the perfect example of submitting yourself to the will of God. There is nothing that makes the Father happier than when a strong and powerful person will set aside their right to have their way, and give it all to him.”

“Um…”

“Hey, there’s someone I want you to meet.”

“OK…”

Jesus motioned with his hand, and a young woman stepped forward. She was slightly taller than me, with deep tan skin, dark hair, and a kind face.

“This is Eqdachel. She is an angel who shared your body with you for your entire life on earth. She provided you with your shield.”

“I’m glad that I finally get to meet you.” Eqdachel expressed.

She reached out, and touched my cheek with her soft hand.

“It’s been a good adventure, huh?”

I could barely contain my tears.

“Yeah…yeah it has. Thank you, for all the times you saved me, and everything you did.”

Eqdachel shook her head.

“As long as I was in your body, you were completely in control. I gave the ability, but after that, it was all you.”

I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I couldn’t even think. What…what should I do? I had never been taught proper etiquette for, you know, heaven. Fortunately, Jesus prevented anything from being too awkward.

“Hal, we’ve got something special for you. Hold on, it looks like they’re starting.”

All of a sudden, all of the brightness and splendor of heaven seemed to be turned down a bit, only to be replaced with a dark sky filled with swirling auroras. It was every bit as glorious as the ever-present light of heaven, but in a different way.

“It’s…the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” I admitted, my throat almost closed with emotions. “Do they do this often up here?”

Jesus shook his head, smiling.

“Never. This is the first time, and probably the last. It’s for you, Hal.”

This took me by absolute astoundment.

“F-f-for me? Wha…”

“You just did one of the greatest acts in human history, Hal. It’s only fitting that you get a little something special.”

The knowledge that all of the glory of heaven was changed to this form just for me, completely shattered me. I cried and bawled like I never had before. I could barely even look at the aurora honoring me, because I was breaking down so much. Eqdachel put her arms around me, and Jesus hugged us both. I had no idea how long we spent like this; time means nothing in heaven. Then Jesus took me by the hand.

“Come on. I want you to meet my father. He’s…he’s really great…”

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