Life Lines


“You know where you are…

“Denial is strong in you. But you know.”

Who is that? Can’t say I recognize the voice. Or even pinpoint what direction it’s coming from.

“This insane mash up of worlds that you’re doomed to contend with for eternity is your own fault. Admit it so you’ll feel an even heavier weight than these crazy days impose upon you.”

Oh, a tormentor. “Fuck off.”

Evil laughter echoes around me. There’s nothing to see. Blackness.

“It isn’t always about fire and brimstone,” teases the voice.

“Ha,” I scoff involuntarily from nerves. Trying to make me think it’s the devil?

“Trying?” answers the voice. I know damned well I didn’t say that out loud. “Trying? You obviously recognize me.”

“I recognize a phony when I hear one,” I manage with mustered bravado.

More cackling from the beyond. “You think you’re a good judge of authenticity? Yet you never believed in the one thing that could save your soul…”

“Turn on the lights!” I strongly suggest. “Show yourself.”

A light comes on above me. A mirror is before me. But the image is that of a blonde woman. It isn’t me but it’s moving with me.

“It’s you all right,” says the voice. “Well,” it goes on with resignation and a heavy sigh, “I am forced by regulation to offer you one last chance to give your life to the Lord and Savior who died on the cross for your sins, blah blah blah. Comments?”

“What happens if I do that?”

A long moment passes before the voice admits, “I don’t really know. You just get taken out of this…is all. Who knows? Could be even worse. Harps and halos for eternity? Choir music only? For all time?”

I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming. I smash the mirror.

I am a new mother in my 30’s on the way home from a visit to my sister’s place a hundred miles north. Driving alone, I’m 35 miles from home when I run low on gas.

As I pump, a large man approaches from the dark side of the building.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” the suspiciously grimy, deep-voiced hulk says politely, not getting too close before stopping. “I heard there was a fire in the direction you came from. How far down the road is it? Can people still get through?”

I am about to answer politely when grabbed from behind.

The two abductors chain me naked in a remote cabin where I am abused and humiliated by them, aided and abetted by a strange female accomplice. This degrading torture goes on and on…

…For a year.

On a year to that night, my disappearance unexplained to family, friends or coworkers, a strange meteor falls in the wilderness, seen by all but landing in whereabouts unknown.

Campers and outdoors enthusiasts are the first to feel the eerie chill of change.

In the night the chirping of crickets slowly gets louder, increasing by midnight to a frightening continuous shriek, alarming thousands in several campsites, keeping them up through the night.

By morning crows are everywhere, upon tents, firewood, limbs, cars, outhouses.

Maddening chirps are replaced by deafening caws. People are overheard whispering of witchcraft.

As the panicked flee, a thousand raccoons scamper over everything, their long little fingers snatching hats, backpacks, guns, knives, tools, food, jewelry and anything loose. People dodge them in every way possible, many tripping and falling then trampled by other people fearing the furry intruders.

As gunshots ring out amid the screaming, many jump into their vehicles finding themselves rapidly covered in red ants.

Those running down the roads further on come upon thick, gleaming, swaying layers of unavoidable spider webbing. The eerie thickness of it stops most from going on. Those who tear through the disgusting stickiness never go camping again.

“How could such an organized assault happen?” asks a ranger to another.

The other ranger thinks she knows. “Some folks credit it to that witch in the woods.”

“That’s not real,” the first ranger hopes.

My true name has been forgotten.

I’d never thought I was special. No one ever told me so. This much I know about this woman I’ve become… in Hell?

“It was that night the meteor fell,” the second ranger declares. “I came upon the place it landed. The meteor fell on a cabin, destroying it with two men inside. They had a weird glow to ’em…”

“You never mentioned this?” wonders the first ranger.

“I’ve never remembered it until now,” the second ranger realizes incredulously. “I had to get out of the area. Weird feelings… strange vibrations… Just couldn’t stay, but then I guess… it seems I must have… forgotten?”

Locked in the basement, I survived. I was buried and unconscious in a pocket with some of the meteorite.

Exposed for days to a fraction of black body radiation and amazingly empowered with resonant oscillation to other living beings, I lead a wildlife revolution to win back the world from humans.

The human incursion is driven out, dive-bombed by bald eagles, boxed in by brown bears, surrounded by growling gray wolves… as if all had suddenly decided it was time to push humanity back; all because of me from Hell. They call me Radiant.

But I send my signal faster than The Light.