Tenebris: Darkness Arising
I had never felt so helpless in all my life, there was no fight or flight for me because every part of my body was held down by an unseen force, and breathing was becoming difficult. "You are my chosen" the voice said in a cold and evil tone that sent shivers down my spine. I felt something wet wrap around my neck tightly, and there was a burning sensation on my neck- I could perceive the smell of burning flesh, my flesh. I was flung to my bed from where I stood, and the force pinned me down to the bed. Struggling was futile because I couldn't move any part of my body no matter how hard I tried, and the room was filled with darkness so thick I was choking on it. Suddenly I was set free, the darkness disappeared, and everything felt normal again. I jumped out of the bed and looked around, but I was too frightened to take any step either to the bathroom or out of the bedroom. It felt like I had just woken from a nightmare, but I could feel the burns on my neck, so I summoned some courage and went into the bathroom to get a good look at my neck in the mirror. Alas! There were burn marks on my neck. "Is this some sort of dream in a dream?" I was both confused and scared, because I had no idea what I was experiencing, and it was too vivid to be a dream or the effects of the little wine I had earlier. Slowly, I walked back into the room, looking around like I was expecting something to happen again, and stopped when I perceived the odor of burning rubber and sulphur just at a spot in the bedroom. "that can't be good", but I was too exasperated to think straight, so I just sat there on the floor of the bedroom with my head in my hands, trying to wrap my mind around what I had just encountered. The room soon began to swirl, with the walls changing to bloodied tapestries, and lit candles arranged at the points of a pentagram. I was at the centre of the pentagram, bound hand and feet with chains of fire- I screamed as I burned! The shrill sound of my phone ringing seemed to bring me back to reality, and I was glad for the distraction from the horror I was experiencing. I crawled to the bedside drawer with the burning sensation on my neck, hands and feet, and looked at the caller ID before picking up- 'Mom' "Hey Mom!" I greeted. "Son! How are you? I had a vision about you some minutes ago" My mom said, and I was confused. "Vision?" I asked. "What's wrong with you dear? Why's your voice sounding like you're dying? Yes a vision, a bad one at that." She asked. "Wha-what was the vision about?" I asked, even more scared than before. "You have not answered my questions" She said. "I'm surviving, so what was the vision about?" I asked, looking around me and noticing something strange on the rug where I was moments ago. "Your voice doesn't sound convincing at all. Anyway, I know this vision wasn't ordinary. You were being dragged with chains into darkness, and you kept screaming one word- Ten-something." "Tenebris?" I asked. I was both shocked and relieved. Shocked because I couldn't fathom the logic behind my Mom getting a vision of what I was going through, and relieved because I could hear my Mom's comforting voice. "Yes that's it! Are you in trouble, is there something you want us to know about? I don't know what it is, but you need to be careful. If you can't or don't wanna talk to us about it, you can talk to God to help you out, he always hears." She said. "Mom, please pray for me" I said, as I crawled to the strange thing I saw on the rug, and realized it was the pentagram I had seen earlier in that other dimension where I was chained. As my mom said her prayers for me, I got into bed, and as I listened to her soothing voice, I dozed off. I have no idea if it was a dream or it was for real, but I found myself at the river bank, crouched and weeping, and then hands came out from the ground to pull me and drag me into the river. I struggled with the hands, but they were stronger than I, and I could also feel snakes slither around my body. The pitch darkness around me did not make things easy, and I barely had the strength to do anything, even as the snakes began to make their way through my mouth. With the last ounce of strength in me, I focused on my mind being able to say "Please God!", and like magic, the darkness faded, the hands and snakes disappeared, and I was back on my feet like nothing happened. I jumped from my sleep with a start and looked around me, and then laid back in bed trying to process all that had happened. The burn marks were still on my neck, hands and feet, and the pentagram symbol was still on the rug, so it wasn't a dream. I sat on the edge of the bed with my hands on my head, not able to understand what was going on, and clueless about what to do, considering that it was just 2am. I lay back in bed and realized I was thirsty, so I summoned courage to leave the bedroom. I had barely taken two steps out of the bedroom when the lights began to flicker again "Come on, not again", I heard my bedroom door slam shut, and other doors in different parts of the house getting opened and slammed. I rushed down the stairs with the intention to run out of the house, but at the landing, the whole lights went off, and everywhere was silent save the sound of water dripping from a faucet. I groped around in the dark trying to find my way, but it felt like I kept moving in circles, so I stopped walking and just stood there, and then I began to hear voices hum an unsettling dirge accompanied by the sound of some native drums. Almost immediately, the whole place lit up with burning torches, and I was at the center of a large burning pentagram surrounded by hooded people whose faces I couldn't see. Again, I was bound hand and foot with chains of fire, and screaming my lungs out from the pains. The hooded people began to whisper loudly and walk around the pentagram, and I could feel myself getting burned from inside out "God!" I screamed, and everything stopped, I opened my eyes to find myself on the floor of my living room, the smell of burning sulphur and flesh was strong in the air. A knock on the door had me on my feet and walking cautiously to find out who could be knocking at 2am. I saw it was Hilda and opened the door. "Oh my God! What happened to you? We heard the screams, and my mom said to come check while she looked around" She said, looking at me in bewilderment. "You-you were right about this place, wanna come in?" I asked faintly. "No way she's stepping in there" Hilda's mom said as she came up the porch, armed with a riffle and sidearm. "You don't have to stay in there, you could come stay at our place till daybreak" Hilda suggested. "I heard she tried to warn you, but you were too full of yourself to listen" Her mom added. "Mom, not now" Hilda answered. "Did you do those to yourself?" her mom asked, pointing at the burn marks. "No, it's a pretty long, confusing and painful story" I answered. "It doesn't look like you want to come with us. Your power is in your belief in God, make it count. Hilda, let's go." Hilda's mom said. "You sure you don't want to leave here?" Hilda asked. "It's a few hours to daybreak, I'll survive. Thanks, and if I die, please burn this place down." I answered with a weak smile. I had questions to ask; going with Hilda and her mom would have been a good avenue to get some answers, but I couldn't bear the guilt of bringing danger upon them, considering that I had no idea what I was dealing with. I watched as they went back to their house, and then I stepped back into mine. I stood with my back against the door, and looked around, as if expecting the torments to begin. "Your power is in your belief in God" resonated in my mind, plus what my mom said about asking God for help. As I knelt down at the spot I stood, the lights went off again "oh shit!", and then they came on again. I could hear my phone ring upstairs, I ran up the stairs and just as I reached the doorway, the lights went off, the door slammed shut in my face, a whip cracked near me and wrapped my neck tightly, pulling me backwards. Suddenly, all the air seemed to disappear, I was choking and gasping for air as I struggled with the whip around my neck. "Embrace your darkness! You have sent souls to me, now Tenebris wants yours." a voice said. "No-no. God please help me" I muttered, still struggling with the force pulling me. "Let him go!" Another voice said, this one was calm and cool, and all I could see was light. "This is your not place Angelus Custos!" the voice behind the whip said, sounding angry and tightening the whip around my neck. "You demon I said let him go!" the second voice said, and I could see two flaming swords appear, and immediately I was set free, the demon with the whip disappeared. "Who are you?" I managed to ask as I felt gentle hands lead me to my bed. "I'm Angelus Custos, your guardian angel" the light said. "I have a guardian angel?" I asked, surprised at the revelation. "Oh everyone does!" the gentle voice answered. "What took you so long?" I asked as I lay in bed, weak and sleepy. "You need to get some sleep. Have no worries, I'm not leaving your side, I never left anyway." my guardian angel said. In no time I was fast asleep, and dreamt I was taking a walk through a garden with someone that looked like a friendly bodyguard. "I bet you haven't had it this peaceful in a while" the friendly bodyguard said. "No, but who are you?" I asked. "Oh, it's me, Angelus Custos" He answered. "oh my guardian angel. Wait a minute! How is this even happening? What's really happening? I went through that torment and you didn't show up?" I asked. "Well! The spirit realm doesn't function logic, its operations cannot be explained from the human perspective. There are different dimensions, and it would do you good to stop trying to get answers with your human mind and just believe Deus at all times. I was assigned to you from birth, and my permissions reduced as you got older and began to differentiate right from wrong, and good from evil." He explained. "Oh! Okay, so why did you show up when you did?" I asked. "There is spiritual jurisdiction for spiritual matters, remember when you were forced to attend Sunday school, and the teacher talked about Daniel and how the Prince of Persia delayed the angel with the answers to his prayers for 21 days? Deus had to send an angel with a higher rank to go release the other angel. That's one type of spiritual jurisdiction. In my case, you limited my abilities and spiritual jurisdiction by not believing. I had to send word to Deus to reach out to your mom, her prayers have kept you from losing your mind and doing something irrational, as well as a partial activation of my abilities, we needed you to believe. Remember how you mentioned God twice and got saved? I got the activation I needed when the third time you asked God to help you." He explained. "Wow! You mentioned Deus? Who's that?" I asked. "That's the supreme being- God" he answered. "Oh! Hmm!" "Heads up, you don't send a demon away and it stays away, it's gonna come back with reinforcements, so you need to brace yourself up for attacks. I'm only as powerful as the faith you have in Deus to get me to fight for you. So, it's your call." the angel explained. The smell of burning rubber and sulphur was so strong it woke me up, I opened my eyes to find my room getting filled with thick black smoke. "Dear God, I know I've been a fool, we'll address that later, but right now please fight this battle, I can't", I shut my eyes, and the whole scene changed. I found myself in what looked like a battle field engulfed in darkness and evil, with flaming swords in my hands. I looked on either side of me and found my mom, dad, guardian angel, and Hilda with flaming swords. "You've got your army, time to use your samurai skills in the spirit realm. Remember, in this realm, anything your faith wills, will happen" my guardian angel said. It was an intense battle, more intense than all the battles I had fought in real life, we were battling demons, undeads, monsters, and strange beings. It felt like the battle had gone on for hours, until they were no more. We won! I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and sunlight pouring through the windows. I looked around me, not sure whether I was really awake or in another dimension. I picked my phone and saw so many missed calls from my mom. I called back. "Hello mom!" I greeted. "Ah! Thank God ooo, you're alive! You had me worried. Your dad and I spent hours praying for you, and God showed us a victorious battle. How are you?" she asked. "Mom, I'm coming to Nigeria tomorrow, we have so much to talk about" I answered smiling. I still had the burn marks, the pentagram symbol was still on the rug, but I wasn't bothered anymore. I heard sirens and looked out the window to find squad cars, an ambulance and fire truck outside. "what the hell?!" I ran down the stairs and opened the door just as Hilda and her mom were about to use the doorbell. "Oh my! You're alive?" Her mom said. "Alive and kicking" I said with a smile. "I told you mom, told you there was no need for all of those" Hilda said pointing at the vehicles behind. "Oh well, something had to be done." her mom answered. "I can't thank you enough for showing up when you did earlier." I answered. In one night, I learned a lot about life that invalidated almost everything I thought I knew about life, I also learned about the little girl I was seeing; she had been used as a sacrifice by her parents and other members of an occult group they belonged to a long time ago when the area was deep in the occult. One day a mysterious fire burned down the building where the cultists were gathered, and they all died in the fire- the case was never solved, and then some wealthy person bought the property off, and no one ever made it out alive, except me.