1989 — IV

Rich lay in a pool of blood in the center of the detention cell. He had been beaten mercilessly, and even so he had not cried out. This only seemed to anger the guards more so they continued to hit him. They had finally left him, almost dead, suffering for his Faith. Gentle hands reached down and turned him over, carefully pulling him to the side and then washing his face. He opened his hazy eyes to see the girl he had witnessed to. How come they had put him back in with her? Was this some kind of a joke? He gasped as she moved his arm, obviously broken. And she was singing softly. He couldn’t understand the words, but they washed over him like a balm and he drifted off into a deep sleep.

• • •

He suddenly felt like he was floating and looked down to see a dark-haired figure bent over an inert, battered body. Then there was a loud rush and he found himself standing on a vast open plain. He could see black sentries standing before him with bloody swords and the visors of their armor down. A great host of shining warriors swept down from the starless sky above him and engaged the dark legion in battle. The battle seemed to last for years, though it might have been only moments. The shining warriors had been vanquished by their evil enemy. He cried out in sadness and pain when he saw that the shining ones had lost.  Then a great Voice echoed over the plains.

“Why do you cry, son of man?” it asked.

He looked up and answered, “I cry that the heavenly host has been defeated.” Again the great Voice rumbled from the heavens,

“Who will stand against the forces of evil in this world?” He felt something begin to burn inside him.

“Here am I, Lord, send me!” he said.

“Then go,” echoed the Voice. He walked towards the legions, unarmed, when suddenly another Great Warrior appeared beside him.

“Here, friend,” the Warrior said, “is your armor.” Shining ones surrounded him attaching the blazing armor to his body while the great Warrior watched. Then the shining ones melted away and another warrior appeared in their stead. Long hair flowed from beneath the warrior’s helmet and the build of the armor revealed that this was no man, but a woman. She turned her face towards him, he recognized her and spoke her name. She smiled and drew her sword in a salute. He drew his also and the two marched into battle side by side. The black sentries saw them coming and readied themselves. The sound of the clash of blades echoed across the heavens. He could feel the heat and the danger of the situation. But he fought on and the black sentries fell before his blade. The woman was also fighting, but there were too many.

“Help us, Lord,” he cried. And beside them appeared the Great Warrior. His armor was battered and his sword’s surface was uneven from the many battles he’d fought. The Warrior waded into the fray and the singing blades cut through the dark warriors as around them more and more soldiers of Light appeared. He reconized some of them, but could not speak to them. Then suddenly the legions of deepest darkness fled. He felt tired and happy as he turned to the Great Warrior.

“Kneel, my friend,” the Warrior commanded and he complied. The Warrior’s great sword touched his shoulders lightly. He then stood and looked his commander in the face.

“You have fought and won this battle, friend,” the Warrior said, “but you have another one you must fight. On this battle will depend your life and that of your wife and the lives of many people. Call on me when you need help and I will be there for you.” The Warrior pointed toward a doorway filled with light. “Go now, my friend.” He tuned and stepped through the door.

• • •

Rich opened his eyes, his mind still full of the memories from this wondrous dream. He looked up and saw the girl that had been thrust into the cell with him. She looked at him as if she had never seen him before.

“Help me up,” he said. After a moment’s hesitation she did. He stood uncertainly at first, but then felt his strength returning. He then began pacing through the room and with every step he took he felt stronger. Then the door opened and Kirkland stepped in. He stared at Rich incredulously for a long moment, but then recovered himself.

“Room 101,” was all he said. Rich felt a pang of fear pass through him, but remembered the words of his great Lord, straightened his shoulders and followed Kirkland through the door.