It was so dark that Jason could barely see where he was. The flashlight in his hands revealed only small, circular glimpses into the darkness ahead. It looked like some sort of underground sewer system that had been abandoned for decades.
Stale water dripped from the curved ceiling and ran down the moss covered stone walls. Old, rusted pipes ran along the ceiling and branched off into smaller tunnels off the main passage he was wandering through now. The air was heavy and stagnant and reeked of rotted sewage and mold.
He seemed to be walking at a decline, the tunnel gradually dropping deeper into the dark abyss of some unseen world below and hidden away from his sunlit existence above ground. He trudged through black, decaying water that splashed up to his knees as he moved forward. Debris and some unknown, filthy sludge floated on the top of the black water and splashed against the walls as he waded through it. The smell made him gag, but he couldn’t stop himself from continuing on.
He had no idea where he was…or how he got here, but he kept moving forward despite the warning in his head to turn back. A will that was not his own drove him into the darkness, pushing him further and further underground.
He heard a scratching sound against the stone walls, followed by chilling squeaks.
They were on the pipes overhead, scrambling away from the darkness that lay before him, a blatant warning sign that Jason ignored despite the pleading in his mind and his heart to go back. He continued forward, splashing through the foul water and following the tunnel as it curved left and then right, leading him deeper into the blackness.
He seemed to be walking forever, nearing the very core of the earth itself. There was a tiny, spec of light up ahead. It grew brighter as he drew closer. He moved faster now, the water splashing past his thighs as he trudged his way through the heavy, desecrate waste.
He was drawn to the light like a moth to a flame. He pushed himself forward, faster and faster through the tunnel, driving himself to reach the sanctity of the light. The light was his salvation from the dark shroud of the rotting, moss covered passageway that had him imprisoned in fear and dread.
As he got closer to the light ahead the tunnel grew wider. The water began to recede as it flowed toward the mouth of the tunnel opening. The light at the opening of the tunnel had an ominous orange glow, nothing like the pure and natural light of the surface world above this dark Hell.
Jason could hear voices up ahead; they were coming from the room with the light. He slowed his pace, afraid of what might lay in wait of his arrival. He moved toward the opening cautiously, but no one seemed to be alerted to his presence.
At the end of the tunnel was a huge, circular room made of stone. The curved walls reached up to a rounded ceiling lit up with torches dispersed throughout, throwing off a flickering orange light into this strange room.
In the center of the room was a large pentagram drawn in white on the stone floor. It was surrounded by strange symbols that had meanings of which Jason would never know. Standing against the walls of the room were twelve cloaked beings that resembled humans. They were much taller than humans and had pale grey skin, lifeless black eyes and razor sharp teeth that revealed their deadly intentions every time they let out a blood curdling cackle.
These were no humans.
In the center of the pentagram there was a man tied and bound, kneeling on the floor. His arms were tied behind his back and his grey suit was torn and covered with dark red blood and filth. He hunched forward, his face inches from the stone floor, revealing the tattered remains of the once beautiful wings of an angel. They were shredded and torn; only a few precious feathers survived the torture and beatings that this angel had endured at the hands of these evil pawns of Satan.
Off to one side of the room were three more angels. They were being restrained by the horrid demons as their fellow angel lay in wait of his inevitable fate.
One of the angels was Sarah.
She squirmed and fought as they were forced to watch the torture of the fallen angel crouching at the demons’ feet; he was beaten but not broken. Sarah and the others screamed and shouted in defiance while the demons watched with pleasure as the redeemer before them was tormented and degraded. The pain was beginning to show on his face despite his efforts to deny his tormentors the satisfaction.
Jason watched in terror as he witnessed his angel of mercy, his Sarah, being held back by the boney, foul hands of the wretched demon behind her. Sarah’s wings were struggling to get free from the evil that touched their beauty, trembling at the very touch of this beast.
He heard another voice scream out in the darkness…it was his voice.
“Sarah!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. “No!”
All eyes were upon him now. He couldn’t run, there was no where to go but back into the endless, black abyss of the tunnel. They were heading straight for him, revealing their horrifying teeth as they closed in on him with stealth speed.
He screamed again.
“Sarah!” he closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable.
“Sarah!” yelled Jason as he sat straight up in bed.
He looked around the room and realized that it was only a dream. He put his hands to his face and took a deep breath. Marissa was pacing the room, holding their baby girl, Sarah, in her arms and rocking the restless newborn back into a deep slumber.
“Are you ok honey?” she asked in a soft whisper.
He looked at her and replied, “Yeah…weird dream.”
“You said ‘Sarah’,” she noted to her delirious husband, still in a half-sleep fog.
“I did?” he looked down, his brain working overtime trying to remember the ugly details of his dream.
“Our Sarah, or your Sarah?” she asked, no contention in her voice, only concern for her husband’s mental state.
“My Sarah,” he reflected a moment, not sure if he should give his wife the graphic details of his dream. “I was in a tunnel. It was so dark and went on forever. And when I finally reached the end there was a room filled with…,” he stopped.
“Filled with what babe?”
“I’m not really sure. Not quite people, something…bad. Anyway, Sarah was there with other angels. They looked like they were trying to save another angel, a fallen angel maybe…she was in trouble.”
“Trouble?” Marissa fully believed Jason and his encounters with Sarah. Not just because she knew her husband wasn’t a liar…or delusional, but because she truly believed in the divine herself.
“Weird dream, huh?” he asked.
“Yeah, but I’m wondering if it was some sort of warning or premonition maybe,” she replied as she continued to lull their baby Sarah into a deep sleep.
“Oh God…I hope not,” he looked down, his mind replaying the dream he had just had. “The things in my dream were horrible. Do you really think something bad can happen to an angel?”
“Of course I do,” she said, not missing a beat in her bouncing and rocking technique. Jason looked at his wife, now he was really worried about Sarah. How would he know if something bad was happening to her? Would he even be able to help her if she was in trouble?
He lay back down on the bed. Marissa put their sleeping, little bundle back in her bassinet and climbed into bed next to her troubled husband. He couldn’t go back to sleep, he just didn’t know what to make of his dream. He tossed and turned, finally finding sleep just as the sun crept through their window. It was going to be a long day.