Wow…it’s really cold O.o
I finally made a grocery run to Target today, and I kid you not, I spent half of my time just standing, waiting for the person in front of me to put away their phone and walk forward. I would proceed with a rant about technology and how absolutely ridiculous it is that so—nope, sorry, I’m not doing a rant. Maybe someday, but not today.
Remember that spiritual allegory I submitted? Well here it is for all of you to critique, judge, and enjoy 🙂
God Over Evil
The TV studio at which I was the executive producer was located in the heated atmosphere of Atlanta, Georgia, and it fried on the tarmac in the midst of a sunny, Saturday afternoon. The soap opera we produced didn’t air on the weekends, so we used the time to get ready for the upcoming week. Charlie, the coordinating producer, was trying to organize his mess of a desk while I edited a few of the scripts for that night’s meeting with the WGA. I was stressed and frustrated and I couldn’t stand the storyline.
“Why don’t you chill out on that pencil, Becca?” Charlie’s comment made my pencil snap in half. I chucked it into the wastebasket and put my head in my hands. Charlie stepped lightly across the room to where I was sitting.
“Charlie, is the restraining order still in effect?” I asked. He knew what I meant. About a year ago, the guy I had been dating at the time, Tony, had attempted to rape me. The lawsuit had been terrible. He stalked me and threatened me, but hadn’t been arrested. The script we were writing was about a girl getting raped by her father. I couldn’t handle the similarity.
“Of course it is. He can’t come anywhere near you.” I knew most of the staff of the neighboring studios, including those below and above us, and I had met their coordinating producers. None of them compared to Charlie. It was hard to find someone as empathetic and compassionate as Charlie in show business.
“I just can’t do this right now.”
“I know. Here,” he put a key on my desk. Without another word, he walked away.
“What the heck is this?” I asked.
“What do ya mean?”
“I mean this,” I picked up the little key. “in my hand.”
“Oh, well that’s the key to the L.A.M.B.”
A moment of silence passed between us while I tried to compose myself.
“Well yeah; Lackeying Association of Messiah Broadcasting.” He shuffled some papers and tried not to look me in the eye. “One of their interns dropped it off so you could access the building when you went.”
“I know what L.A.M.B. stands for. Why the…why in the world would you set me up with the L.A.M.B.? Even if I could forget how stupid and unattractive their name is, that whacko-fanatic Christian whatever is the last place I want to spend my afternoon. I can’t stand those people,” I mumbled the last sentence. “Besides, I have a work load the size of the Pacific Ocean…and I’m drowning in it.”
“Hey, did you ever answer that guy who asked you out the other day?” I flinched at the mention of this event. Why on earth would I agree to date someone? They would just try and take advantage of me like Tony had. I didn’t answer, but waited for Charlie to answer. He walked over to me and took my shoulders in his hands.
“Look, the producers just want to chat with us; they’re just trying to be neighborly. I told them you would head over around one,” he patted me on the head and walked back to his desk. “You’re the big kahuna of this studio, the boss. You have a responsibility to respond to people’s calls, especially the calls of neighboring studios…or did you forget that?”
I held in a groan and walked out of the office into the studio, where part of the cast was rehearsing. I had put Charlie in charge of it all for the day because my mind was inundated with all sorts of nonsense. My mother had called, asking about how my relationship with God was. Honestly, I hadn’t spoken to God since I left college nearly ten years ago…but I wouldn’t dare tell her that. I lied and filled her in with vague details of my spirituality. I knew she didn’t believe me, but she often said, “it’s between me and God.” There was nothing going on between me and God…in fact, I wasn’t even sure if He existed.
One o’clock rolled around and I headed out of the studio to go to the dreaded meeting. Outside on the sidewalk, I cursed under my breath about these stupid Christians. I was sure they would judge me for not going to church, or for being too skinny, or for what stupid things I did when I was fourteen.
As I grumbled, a snake slithered out from someone’s hedge and over my shoe. I screamed and jumped back, watching the snake crawl into one of the cavities in a manhole. A chill went up my spine and I moved on.
My destination was about a block or two away from the studio. Atlanta loomed in towers around me as I walked past a Chic-Fil-A and craved a chicken sandwich and waffle fries. I decided to get some on the way back, but then I decided against it. I felt fat enough as it was, and I hated eating. I could never feel skinny enough.
After walking a block, I was greeted by a large amount of construction taking place in the road up ahead; this construction had poured onto the sidewalk, making pedestrians like me have to walk off the sidewalk and into the middle of the street to avoid passing through the construction zone. I attempted to walk around, but there was a sudden flow of men in hard hats intersecting my path. My trajectory was changed and I was forced to walk through the site rather than around it. I continued to mumble under my breath as I pushed through all of the inconsiderate, rude, disturbing-
A shriek escaped my throat as I fell. It was a drop of about twenty feet, and it was painful to be so harshly rejected by the dirt below. I had landed on my stomach and my mouth, eyes, and nose were brimmed with the dust of the ground. The sudden pain and discomfort distracted me from thinking about the now ruined state of my white blouse. I groaned and had a coughing spasm or two before I felt I could move.
A few moments later I gingerly rolled myself onto my back and stared up at the hole through which I had fallen. Light poured through it, but not for long. Before I could muster up the air and the strength to call out for help, a heavy grate was pushed over the hole, blocking out the light. My heart wanted to rip open my chest and begin screaming for help.
Did no one see me fall? Did no one hear me scream? I wondered.
I wasn’t sure if I had broken anything; I hadn’t felt so when I rolled over. Trying to sit up, I was greeted by a severe ache in my chest and laid back down in submission to my own body. When I could breathe decently, I reached into my purse (which had been strapped over my shoulder and therefore stayed with me through my fall) and pulled out my phone.
I’m going to die here.
You’re not going to die here. Rise up and walk, you of so little faith.
Without a second thought, I sat up and noted that the aching in my chest was gone. I stood up slowly, stretching and checking for broken bones in absolute darkness. I knew the Owner of the voice that had spoken in my head, but I didn’t want to believe for a moment that He was trying to get back into my life. After all, I didn’t believe in Him.
But how did I go from not being able to breathe correctly to standing up without pain? Did I fall asleep in the studio? Am I dreaming? Because none of this can possibly be happening.
I took the liberty of pinching my arm through the cardigan that I had worn to complement my blouse. The pain of the pinch was real, just like the pain of falling had been real. This was not a dream. I tried yelling at the top of my lungs, hoping a construction worker or a passerby would hear me. I still couldn’t believe nobody had seen me fall.
Eventually I sat back down in the dirt and cried out until my throat was dry and my chest had begun to ache again. Giving up on calling out, I became aware of the thick darkness around me. I couldn’t see my hands and my eyes couldn’t adjust. Paranoia set in over hopelessness and frightening creatures began creeping out of my subconsciousness and flirting with my fears and insecurities. I hated the dark; I hated the unknown.
A dim light entered the left side of my vision. Turning towards it I discovered that I was in some kind of underground tunnel, maybe some kind of subway or a mine shaft. The mine shaft seemed more likely considering the predominantly dirt composition of the floor and walls, and the fact that there were no subways in the South. But then why would there be a mine shaft underneath Atlanta? There was nothing to mine except red clay.
Upon seeing the light I got up and walked toward it, hoping to find an open manhole or some exit. I walked down the tunnel for a little while and the light grew as I neared its source. From the amount of radiance that attacked the darkness, I pictured a giant gap in the wall of the tunnel, like the round door of a Hobbit-hole. Imagine my surprise when I came around a wide red corner to see a long medieval sword leaning against two planks of wood nailed together like a cross.
Light emanated from the blade, and I had to squint and shield my eyes because I felt like I was staring into the sun. As if responding to my reaction, the light dimmed to the point where my eyes could bear its glow. There was writing on the blade. I recognized the language as Greek, but couldn’t concentrate well enough to figure out what it said.
“Lego…loco…logos? Ugh, what does that mean? Where did this thing come from?” I inspected it a little bit further. “How long has it been down here? It looks brand new.”
I glanced behind me, feeling as if I were being watched…
No…I was being watched.
“Hello?” I called into the darkness. I was tempted to stay by the sword, but it was kind of freaking me out. My decision was made quickly and I began to travel back to the place where I had landed…at least, where I thought I had landed. The further I walked away from the sword, the more uneasy I felt.
“Hello?” I called again, thinking I had heard someone breathing. A red glow came in opposition to the light behind me. I continued on toward the red light and away from the mystical weapon. My excitement grew again and I began hoping that this light presented some kind of rescue like I had hoped upon discovering the glow of the sword.
A deep-chested growl and the subtle shaking of the earth stopped me from going further. At first I thought I had imagined it and was tempted to pinch myself again, but then another growl rolled through the ground and walls of the tunnel. What started out as a warm breeze drifting through, evolved into a boiling hurricane and made the air thick like soup.
“Rrrrrrrrebbecaaaaaa!” The growl molested my name and made clay tumble from the tunnel ceiling. I fled in the opposite direction of the growl and the collapsing shaft and toward the light of the sword. My name was growled once more and the heat behind me grew in intensity as I ran. When I came to the sword, I snatched it up.
I don’t know how to use a sword!
The sword was still glowing as I grabbed it. It wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be, which made running with it much easier. I spotted a separate tunnel and sprinted into its blackness. The heat disappeared and the growls no longer followed me, but I kept running anyway.
A few moments later I stopped to catch my breath. There was no water dripping anywhere, which threw me off since most mine shafts always had a stream of water running through them, at least that’s how it was in the movies. The only sound was the sound of my heavy breathing; the only smell was the stagnancy of the air about me; the only feeling was that of fearful self-consciousness. There was something watching me still.
“Rebecca?” I spun around at the mention of my name, only to wish I had run in the other direction. Tony stood about fifteen feet away from me, a terrible grin on his twisted face. Terror clutched my heart as I clutched my sword. I knew it wasn’t actually him; I knew it had to be the demon in the tunnel playing with my mind, but the terror would not evaporate.
I will say nothing.
“Rebecca.” Tony reached his hand out to me, stepping closer. I stepped back. Upon seeing that I was afraid of him, his smile grew wider. “You’re right to be afraid of me,” he began. “After all, I have control over you. I control your thoughts, your relationships, your desires, and especially your fears. You are nothing without me,” I shook my head, trying to make his snakelike voice disappear. He continued to step forward, yet I was unable to continue with stepping back. “Logos” grew heavy in my hands and my arms suddenly lacked the strength to wield my only weapon.
“You always try to tell yourself that you’re in control, that you own your own life, that you have some sense of strength when your fears come bubbling up in a black liquid from the depths of your heart. But we both know they’re all lies; I am in control of you. I control your past, present, and your future,” his voice reached a climax, his eyes burning like the fiery pits of hell. The control he exercised over me pushed me to the ground and made me cower on my knees, still holding Logos.
“I am the reason that you will never get married. I am the reason you can’t trust the likes of men. I am the reason for your nightmares and your paranoia. I own you, and you cannot escape me,” he towered over me now; his spindly fingers weaved themselves through my hair; his acidic touch made me sweat and shiver. He squatted down and leaned in to whisper into my ear.
“This Jehovah cannot save you. You are mine,” the silence became deafening then; this shade of Tony moved in slow motion, making the small space between us slowly fade into fable.
“You. Are. Mine,” he whispered again as he let his hand creep up my leg. At this moment of weakness in me, Logos began to glow, and strength and adrenaline permeated my bloodstream.
“No!” With this exclamation and newfound strength I pulled up Logos and cut a deep wound in Tony’s neck. He screamed like a thousand haunts shrieking in the night. Not waiting for his body to fall away from mine, I leaped up and ran into the dim light of the perpetual mine shaft. Rotting wood tried to trip me; wires and roots scratched at my face
I have to get out of this shaft. I thought.
Despite the darkness that beset me, Logos glowed with a warm light and pierced my frightening surroundings with an impenetrable ray of hope.
I am going to get out of this shaft.
My sprint slowed down to a walk. Using the sword in my hands, I inspected the dirt walls, searching desperately for a ladder, a rope, anything that led to the ground above. I thought I heard feet behind me, but when I pivoted on my heel to face my self-consciousness, the light of Logos exposed nothing but empty shadow. The air didn’t move; there were no sounds for a moment.
Then, when I thought Satan had given up, a groan from deep in his chest rose up from the ground beneath my feet; I feared that the dirt would collapse and swallow me up.
My footing eventually betrayed me and the ground did collapse, sending me sprawling downward like Alice down her rabbit hole. When I fell, my first instinct was to drop Logos, yet the sword somehow clung to the inside of my hand, as if it would not leave, though I would drop it when my hope was pulled out from under me. My fear was quieted by this revelation, if only for the moments in which I fell.
The ground hit me hard, knocking the wind out of my lungs before I had a chance to breathe. I laid on my stomach for a while, ignoring the feeling of déjà vu, waiting for the aching in my rib cage to go away, and hoping that whoever found me (if anyone did) would think I was dead and just leave me. I painfully pushed myself into a ball, hugging my knees and carefully positioning Logos so I wouldn’t cut myself. The tears came unashamedly and flowed in rivulets down the geography of my face. It was dark, darker than it had been, considering I was now at least a good three stories further underground. I sobbed out my fears, my anxieties, my insecurities, and my frustrations to an invisible Comforter. I wondered if He could even hear me, if He was even listening.
Tony’s face flashed through my mind, and for a moment it felt as if he was there again. I cringed and scurried sideways a little, as if this action would somehow brush away the sour thought of him. The thought of him touching me….the sound of his voice….I began to jerk violently, like having a seizure, but I knew it wasn’t caused by anything medical. The emotional pain had become physical pain, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Logos began to glow again; this time its glow lit up the “room” in which I had been deposited. I released my knees and composed myself as much as I could manage, given the circumstances. Standing up shakily, I observed my surroundings:
The floor was not soil as I thought it would be, but rather a surface of natural slate. I wondered how I hadn’t died from the fall; the hardness of the concrete should have crushed my chest.
I laid the foundation of the earth; do not fear creation when you know the Creator.
With this divine intervention, my thoughts were thrown into confusion. I couldn’t understand where I was or how I was going to get out. It was quite obvious that Satan was down in the shaft with me…but so was God? Why would God care?
I couldn’t lose my wits; without my wits, I would certainly die. I regained my focus.
The state of the floor wasn’t very perplexing when compared to its comrades, the walls. The room was an octagon, and every section of the shape was a mirror that was nearly twice my height and width. My reflection didn’t appear in any of them. I continued to rotate, trying to see if I could command myself to be seen by moving to a different part of the room; my reflection remained hidden. Soon I gave up on the mirrors, deciding they probably weren’t mirrors at all. I began wondering where the exit was. I moved towards one mirror to inspect it for a door handle or a budge. But as I neared the mirror, my reflection appeared before me….at least I think it was my reflection.
Taking a step back did not help the image, but I did it anyway. The girl in the mirror was at least 300 pounds heavier than I, with long greasy hair, four chins, and all of my facial features enlarged. The sight made me want to throw up. I looked down at my physical body, very much able to see my shoes; my arms were not gargantuan; my thighs were not mammoth. When I looked back in the mirror, the reflection was still there, this depiction of an unhealthy, obese me.
“Look at how fat you are. I don’t see how you could eat as much as you do and be able to live with yourself being so large. Look at you!” A scratchy voice scolded me from the darkness not touched by the light of my weapon. “You work out and run and starve yourself and you still look like this…look at it. Look at yourself in the mirror,” the voice went on. I began to believe the words; the tears fell again.
Do not listen to this voice. You forget how you were made.
“And how was I made?” I whispered to the voice in my head, my words sounding nasally due to the snot draining from my nose. Pretty soon it would start bleeding as it always did when I cried a lot.
Beautifully and wonderfully.
I sighed. The engrossed picture of myself stood dauntingly and formidably in front of me. She began stalking forward through the mirror-world, her eyes burning as Tony’s had. Soon she began bounding, causing the ground beneath me to shake. I brought Logos over my head and, rather than run away from this monster of mine, I ran towards the mirror and shattered it with my blade. Screams of pain and agony and defeat sliced the air like a shark’s teeth shredding its prey. Glass shards rained down onto my back as I ducked for protection. The rest of the mirrors shattered into an eruption of glass that filled the air and smothered the floor.
Once the chaotic symphony of exploding reflections moved through its crescendo, I lifted my head to see a tunnel leading back into the mine shaft. I raced towards it, jumping over the skeleton frames of the mirrors that were no more. In the mine shaft, the light of Logos proved true once again in exposing everything which had been shrouded in darkness. I ran through the shaft, kicking up clay and causing fresh beads of sweat to soak my brow, heading towards what appeared to be a legitimate exit. Pushing away any doubts I had about the possible escape, I ran faster and went through the large opening, up the slope of a dirt hill, and out into the daylight.
The ground on which I had ended up was the space behind a tall building. Piles of red clay and construction signs stood around me. I looked down at Logos, only to find that the sword had transformed into a leather-bound Bible. I hadn’t held one in nearly a decade.
My knees buckled and I fell weeping to the ground in a crumpled heap. Dirt covered my khaki dress pants and stained my blouse. The cardigan I wore was sprinkled with beads of glass and torn in a few spots. My hair was a rat’s nest and my hands were soiled with my salty tears.
I was comforted by the One I had forsaken for so long, finally feeling at peace in my own body despite the horror I had witnessed. When my sobbing ceased, I stood up and tried to control my present shakiness. I held the Bible close to my chest as I walked away from the hole from which I had escaped. A sign on the building before me told any observer that it was the L.A.M.B. headquarters, and I let out a short laugh. Pulling out the key to the studio, which had somehow remained in my pocket, I unlocked the back door and entered in. A man stood there as if he were expecting me.
“Hello, Miss. You must be Rebecca,” he looked at the state of my clothing and smiled sadly. “It seems you took the hard way to get to the L.A.M.B. But you are here now, and that’s all that matters.”