This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual per- sons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2016 by Zita Grant
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
ISBN 10: 1-945491-00-0 (Mobi eBook)
ISBN 13: 978-1-945491-00-9 (Mobi eBook)
ISBN 10: 1-945491-01-9 (ePub eBook)
ISBN 13: 978-1-945491-01-6 (ePub eBook)
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy- ing, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher.
Published by 2 Tigers, LLC, USA
Cover design by Jeshart The first edition
His eyes darted across the food court, looking for just the right one, so many faces, so many choices.
“That one over there!” the voice said in his head, screaming louder with every word. “Hurry up before they get away, you idiot. No, wait a minute.” The voice whispered in a hissing tone,
“That one approaching the side exit, they’re perfect.”
Quickly as he could move his long legs, the almost zombie-like Richard slithered across the open space, trying to look inconspicuous. Only twenty more feet before the door, he just needed to stay cool; he was almost there.
“Come on, come on, they’re getting away. Move faster.”
With all the self-control left in his torn mind, Richard kept his right hand from slapping his forehead. He did not want to bring any attention to himself. Just two more steps and he would be home free.
The door was heavy, but he managed to control it from slamming shut once on the other side. No need to alert anyone in the corridor that he was there, just a short distance behind. The light was a bit dimmer and the air was stale. Footsteps up ahead confirmed that his target was still within reach. He could smell her perfume now, sweet like spring flowers on a warm summer’s day. Thoughts started to flood his mind of how delicious she would be.
Sweat started to run down the sides of his face, his hands were becoming wet. Licking his lips in anticipation of her body under his control hastened his stride. His steps now gave off a faint echo, loud enough that he feared detection.
“Keep your mind on the task and not on your insignificant desires,” growled the voice. “You better remember who’s in charge here.”
The opening and closing of the exit door ahead made Richard snap out of his daydream. He couldn’t let her escape into the open without seeing where she went. Quickly now he walked towards the door. Slowly opening it to sneak a peek at what was on the other side; his target was now approaching a bus stop just to the side the building. Too many people were surrounding her; rage built inside him. Biting his lower lip was all he could do so as not to scream. How desperately he wanted this one. So beautiful and tender, the scent of her perfume still lingered in his nostrils from the heat of the hallway behind him.
“Next time I tell you to do something, you do it!” the voice roared in his head. “I had so many plans for that one, she was just right for the needs inside us”
With hunched over shoulders gazing down at the pavement, Richard walked along the sidewalk heading for the parking lot on the other side of the mall where he’d parked his car. The thought of no restful sleep tonight made him feel even more tired than he already was. The dreams most definitely would be more vivid than before, since the monster that walked around in his head wasn’t pacified today. It had been a long time since the last flower petal in the park, when the fear in her eyes made the voice almost sing with pleasure. How did it even get inside me? What did I do to be paired up with such hatred and vileness? He thought.
Tears of self-pity started to swell up in his eyes, loathing bubbled in his spirit. Disgusted with himself, he started to form the words to ask the evil to leave him. Before he could even begin to speak a low groan said,
“Don’t even think of separating yourself from me. I own you now. Your desire for affirmation and acceptance brought me to you. I like it here and there is nothing you can do to make me leave you.”
Without saying a word, Richard continued to walk towards his car. The roar of a truck maneuvering in the parking lot to his left made him think for a second of throwing himself into its path. This way he was sure to be free of this nagging thing. Only a few feet more and it would all be over.
“Oh please go ahead and do it. This way I can choose someone else that is stronger than you to do my bidding. Go on, that’s it just a few feet more and you will be mine forever,” the voice hissed at him. Urging each footstep with heightening anticipation of the moment Richards’s soul would leave its shell.
“Go on do it!”
The sound of the trucks’ horn seemed to snap him free from the mental fog. Immediately he stopped moving to stare at the oncoming vehicle. Instinctively he jumped back out of the way. The reality of being forever in the bonds of this monster, made him think soberly for a moment. He decided he must find another way to be free.
The shrieking of Xian’s alarm clock made her groan slowly as she rolled over to turn it off. It felt like she just went to sleep. What a set of dreams she had again. Her body felt like it had actually participated in them. The top of her shoulders ached. A hot shower should do the trick of relaxing those muscles, she thought.
In a daze, she walked to the bathroom sink, turning on the water and splashing her face, trying to put into perspective the events of her dreams. Why do I get them now and what do they mean? she thought to herself staring back at her reflection in the large bathroom mirror.
This time she dreamt of what looked like men, talking to her in a language she could not understand. They seemed just out of phase, as if not really there, not completely solid. She could not make out their facial features, just the outline of their silhouettes. Their voices sounded like flowing waters, strong and constant. Speaking their words in authoritative tones never wavering, they always seemed to be looking directly at her. No eyes to stare back into, yet their presence ways always peaceful, safe.
The cold water on her face made her more awake; the prospect of a good hot shower to ease her aching muscles brought a slight smile to her face. Now even as she stood under the pounding force of the showerheads’ spray, their presence seemed to be in the room with her. Replaying the dream over in her mind, she thought she heard someone call her name. It was almost like a faint whisper.
“Xian, Xian,” the soft whisper filled the room, making the direction from which it came impossible to tell.
Smiling, she did not make a sound, only spoke within herself,
“Yes, please explain the dream to me so I can understand”
Only the sound of the water hitting her body and the tub echoed in the small room. Her eyes still closed and her mind blank, the dream she had moments ago began to play back in her head like a movie. This time she was watching as if on the sidelines instead of being in it.
She noticed the surroundings of where the event was taking place. The soft sweet voice pointed out significant things to her. Defining each ones relevant meaning, so she would understand the message. Someday she would meet strangers who would show her things to help her understand and use the gifts she had inside her. The things that she hid from everyone, things she feared to share.
“You are at the time when you must learn to use your gifts. You need not be afraid, as The One that gave them to you does not use fear, but love. I will always be with you to show you the way and give you the words to speak. Trust in me and never doubt my direction and you will succeed in your mission,” the voice continued as she watched the images move in front of her eyes.
Slowly they faded away and the presence that was just upon her, lifted. The hot water started to become cold, a cue that it was time for Xian’s to get out and prepare for her day.
She needed to get moving if she was going to stop at the coffee shop for breakfast before heading to work. Xian’s stomach was growling and desired the breakfast special this morning as if she had not eaten in days. With that thought, she hurried to get dressed and within ten minutes was out the door.
Traffic was light, to her surprise. Making it to the coffee shop in record time felt like victory number one for the day. The line inside was not too bad, only four customers ahead. Scanning the menu board to see if anything new was added, she simultaneously reached for her wallet inside her bag. Stepping up to the counter, Xian ordered the special and a small house coffee to go.
After receiving her change, she slowly moved along behind the customers to the pickup counter. Feeling as if from a distant memory, the room began to shift in and out of focus, bits and pieces of it looking oddly familiar, though not just because she had been there so many times before. The tiles on the lower half of the walls along with the bright yellow window treatments, the placement of the furniture were all so familiar. I saw this place in my dream last night. Looking at each detail as if for the first time again, in a half daze she collected her order and moved towards the service counter to pick up utensils and sugar for a much-needed cup of coffee.
While taking a sip of the black hot liquid to see if it was sweet enough, she looked to her left to see two men wearing sunglasses like none she had seen before. Something about the frames grabbed her attention.
“You like them?” said one of the men, as she tried to quickly turn away.
“Yes, they have peculiar frames. I’ve never seen any others like them,” said Xian as she reached for some napkins. Turning to look at the men and their sunglasses,
“Where did you get them from?”
They both smiled almost at the same moment, then in unison,
“They came from very far away.”
The one closest to her and shorter of the two stepped forward, leaning as if to whisper a secret.
“Would you like to try them on? I must warn you though, they are not ordinary sunglasses, with them on, you are able to see, but we already know that you have the gift, don’t we?”
Stunned and gasping for air as if hit hard in the stomach, Xian leaned back a bit before barely getting out,
“Gift, see. I don’t…” stopping mid-sentence when she felt the familiar presence come upon her, whispering that it was ok.
“Umm yes, I would like to try them on,” she forced the words out of her now dry mouth. Pressure from non-visible strong hands held her shoulders as if bracing her so she would not fall. She slowly put on the pair, eyes kept closed until they were snug on her face. Slowly she opened her eyes surrounded by duplicates. Every building and thing were in full color as she had always seen it but next to each was a reflection like a shadow in a burnt orange and crimson red transparent shade.
Her legs seemed to give for a brief second, but the strength of the hands on her shoulders kept her steady and standing until she gained her footing again. The sharp intake of breath stayed stuck in her chest for what seemed like an eternity; slowly it escaped out through the small opening at the back of her throat.
Her head moved left, up, down, repeating to her right. Everywhere she looked, there were two of everything. The people in the coffee shop were busy doing their own thing. Some had a dark shadow moving in, out and around them. Then there were others that had a white glow emanating from inside them, leaving behind a faint trail of light as they passed by.
Suddenly the dark shadows and glowing lights looked right at Xian. They saw and felt her staring at them. The dark shadows became restless and started to move about frantically. Some seemed to have left the bodies of those they possessed while others that had no bodies, appeared to float towards her. She started to take a step back, when suddenly beings of light materialized standing around her, shielding from the dark shadows. With eyes closed and gasping for air, she pulled the sunglasses off her face and shoved them back at the stranger.
Once her composure was gained, eyes fluttered open as she tried to formulate words as best she could,
“What just happened? What did I just see?”
Ushering her to a nearby table, the men began to answer her question. It seemed like a long time before they spoke. Both looked at her without any facial expression, just sitting across from her; starring.
“What we speak to you now, no one else can hear us. So, do not be concerned with those around you. To them we are having a casual conversation about nothing in particular.”
Xian looked around to see that no one was paying either of them any attention. They all seemed preoccupied with themselves. She looked down at her watch, thinking she did not have much time to chat and if she did, she’d be late for work. Strange, the second hand’s still. I just got a new battery. This thing better not had just died on me.
“There is nothing wrong with the watch, Xian. Time to us is irrelevant. We are messengers, sent to you to help you prepare for your destiny.”
“What destiny? I’m just trying to get to work here. Look, I didn’t get much sleep last night and my belly wanted this place’s breakfast special with coffee. I need the energy to face the pile of paperwork on my desk today,” she said with her head shaking as if to wake up from another dream that felt all too real.
“You are not dreaming, and yes your destiny. Why do you think you have the dreams? Why do your dreams come true if they were only your imagination? How is it that you dreamt of this moment only hours ago and was told of our meeting? Xian’s face went pale. “You have been given gifts from on high. Ever since you were a little girl, you were aware of your uniqueness. How you seemed different from those around you. You always received your blessings in a way that would be considered hard by man’s standards. Your blessings were indeed hard to get because those that walk in the spiritual realm don’t want you to have them. You have been chosen, Xian.”
Deafening silence engulfed her. She sat back in her chair, each heartbeat pounding in her ears. Her stomach became a tight knot.
“You have just looked behind the veil that separates this physical existence from that of the spiritual world. The sunglasses you tried on was just a prop to help you see, but you really don’t need them. To be able to see behind the veil is also a gift that you must learn to use. After that, you will be able to see at will. You are wondering why you were chosen? Do you even know what your name means?”
Without a sound, she shook her head, eyes never leaving their faces. Her body felt heavy as if being she’d been drugged.
“What you are feeling is the presence of God, he is pouring into you wisdom and understanding of the things you will do in the times ahead. You will be able to see the dark shadows that plague men so that you may help them become free and receive the truth of God. The bright lights you see in and around others are His believers. They already know the truth from Him and like you, are working to free others, but you are a bit different from the rest.”
Silence again, this time to allow all the information just spoken to sink into her. Color slowly coming back into her cheeks, she was now ready for more.
“You have already experienced the touch and voice of God through the Holy Spirit. He is the one that has been directing you thus far. He shall always be with you, we however, have been sent so that you have a tangible body to confirm and communicate with. Another shall come to walk with you on your journey. He will also help you to understand your gifts and to be a more permanent tangible body to communicate with regularly. The things you now know and those that you soon will, cannot be spoken of to just anyone. Look at those around us. Many of their minds would be lost to total confusion if you shared this knowledge with them. They would look at you as if you were crazy.”
“How will I know this person, I mean are they just going to appear out of the blue, show up with a business card or something? Just when and where will this meeting take place?” she asked, with fear in her eyes at the thought of now being alone with all this information and no one to hear her rant.
“Don’t be afraid, you always have guardians with you even if you can’t see them. Honestly, we don’t know the time this meeting will happen. Just know that it will.”
With her eyes closed and taking long deep breaths, Xian began to calm herself and the fear slowly left. Xian turned, looking at her surroundings again. Knowing she could no longer deny the unrelenting feelings she’s had, she turned back to look at the strangers again, but they were gone. Inside herself she knew it was pointless to try and look for them.
The busy sounds of the coffee shop came rushing into her ears, making her snap back into the present. Looking at her watch while walking out the door, she noticed that only ten minutes had passed since she first entered the building. She felt though as if much more time had passed. Trying not to show how shaken she was by the encounter; she got into her car and headed for work. It was going to be an interesting day. She had to find a way to get through it without daydreaming of all that she had just seen and heard.
God help me, she thought now understanding the dreams and visions she begged to be rid of as a child were preparing her even then for the road she now walked.
The day seemed just like the many before it. Michael sat on the rooftop of the apartments where he lived now for the past 6 years. The morning sun was creeping across the night sky. A new day was dawning and the creatures of the night slowly went into their resting places. The flurry of people below, announced the start of another life cycle for many as well as the ending for some. Death had come unaware again to thousands on earth; they were warned but thought lightly of the signs. Instead they chose to live their lives without regard only to witness the beginning of eternal torment with the blink of their eyes.
He too had received a message as he slept as for what seemed like only minutes. Sleep, still a strange experience for him. This flesh body was still taking some getting used to and all that it required. It was time now to go to her. Her journey was started and she must be made ready. Deep inside he hoped she was not going to be that great a challenge. No time to persuade anyone of their destiny, besides his job was to train, not hand hold. The cause was too serious and the price paid too great to deal with any closed minded individuals who could not accept the evidence presented to them. He sighed, praying that his human emotions that came with this suit of flesh were unjustified.
Daylight now flooded the entire horizon; time to go to work. He knew that he had until sunset to find her. After that, she would be confused by the attacks that were already making moves towards her. The veil for her had been removed. She could see every wicked thing out there and they knew it, not a good thing if unprepared. Ready or not her life certainly had changed. By this time of morning she was sure to be on her way to work. In another hour or so, she would be buried in her daily routine. He thought he’d better appear clean shaven and wear something other than all black clothes, no need to look so gloomy. Michael made his way back down the staircase to his apartment, second guessing why he was even bothering to change his appearance; not like it really mattered in the scheme of things anyways. Then he remembered his instructions, to appeal to her every emotion, as she is well in tuned to all of hers. Her trust must be gained at first contact. No time to play cat and mouse, or go against the grain. Whatever it takes he thought.
His apartment was sparsely decorated since he really didn’t require much and not like this was a permanent gig. There was a single bed in the farthest corner from the door with a nightstand and a lamp. In the center of the room a small three-piece table and chair set. Along the large double window was a worn sofa. The interior screamed temporary, definitely no long-term attachment. It took only a few minutes for him get ready. Speed was something he had, naturally. Time was something he disliked to waste.
Hopefully her morning chat went well and she’s open to taking the next step he thought as he stepped out onto the streets sidewalk. Just two blocks ahead was where she worked. He could just make out the roof of the building as he weaved through pedestrians still shuffling about trying to get where ever it was they were in such a hurry to get to. Eyes scoured the sky, nothing but clouds. No one seemed to be paying him any particular interest either as he made his way. He didn’t know whether to be glad or concerned with that observation, but then again, none of the others knew she was his assignment; yet.
The glass doors to the office building seemed to effortlessly glide open as he approached them. It was as if time slowed down, the closer he got to her. Whether it was great timing or just the perfect opportunity, either way, the open doors of the empty elevator beckoned to him. With the flick of his wrist, the elevator camera lost its focus. He decided his outfit still wasn’t going to make that good an impression on her. Looking at his reflection in the elevator doors, he shrugged his shoulders in defeat looking at his dark rugged clothes and wild tossed hair falling just below his shoulders. Suddenly he was changed into a business suit and neatly slicked back locks. Now with a briefcase in hand he flicked his wrist again to reset the camera while the elevator doors opened onto the twenty-first floor. Immediately, the buzz of the open space hit his ears. Workers scurried about getting on with their days assignments. Some on the phone, others chatting, while a melody of keyboard strokes played in the background.
With the blink of his eyes, he tuned out every sound. Slowly walking down the center aisle of cubicles, he listened for the voice of her spirit. Each step made it clearer, the soft words of prayer she repeated. Something had her spooked; she kept calling out to God for help. To his left he caught the white light of her aura. Busily she typed on her computer, whilst talking on the phone. Suddenly she stopped and looked right up at him. Her gaze seemingly looked straight through his disguise.
“Ernie, I’m gonna’ have to call you back. Umm I just got a visitor, umm ok!” she spoke into the phone.
Eyes never leaving him, she put down the handset and stood up, straitening her clothes as she did. With her head slightly tilted to the left she said,
“Hello Xian Reed, can I help you?”
“It is I, who came to help you, Xian,” said Michael in a firm low tone, “my name is Michael, the help you requested.”
Xian’s face became flushed; she was a bit confused by the statement. Her mind sorting at light speed through her thoughts, wondering what help she requested. She didn’t remember asking her boss for any, although she could use it. She thought it best to play along and get all she could while the chance lasted.
“Ah, did Mr. Fredrick request you from the Temp Pool for me?”
With a slight smile, Michael realized she hadn’t uncovered who he really was, even though the connection she made with her eyes was strong enough to do so; if she knew how to look.
“Actually no, I’m the help you asked for earlier this morning. The coffee shop, remember?” he said tilting his head slightly to the side to mimic her.
As if all the breath had been knocked out of her for the millionth time in one morning, Xian felt her legs get weak. She reached for her desk to balance herself. Wide eyed she stared at the image before her, mind racing, wondering if this too was really happening. Color slowly returned to her face as she swallowed hard to moisten her dry throat.
“You,” she managed to blurt out, “how, why, wait I mean I know why but kinda’ fast don’t you think?”
“You have been chosen, remember?”
“Chosen? Here we go again, I mean seriously for what? Like why me? Why am I being singled out?”
With a plastic smiling Michael, reached out to help her sit down. She appeared lost to all that had happened so far. This one needs a lot of coaching; great! There is such little time and this here baby still doesn’t know how to crawl.