I was dreaming! I was sitting in a swing in a garden. This was not a regular garden. It was black as midnight, yet I could see perfectly. There were hanging vines and huge flowers in shades of deep red, purple, and Indigo. Fruits that could not be identified, at least by my eye hung off the vines. The smell of over ripe fruit was strong.
I started to get up, but found that I couldn’t move. My hand that was swollen was pulsating with heat and pain. I looked around in panic for Anu and Magic. They were almost always with me in my dreams. neither of them were to be found. I was really scared now. This didn’t feel like a dream, it felt very real.
There was a man walking toward me. At last, something familiar in this frightening place. My hand throbbed and the pain ran up my arm now. I looked to see my hand and arm swollen. I could not move it. The man seemed to take forever to get to me.
He was a big, tall man. His eyes were an icy blue that seemed to freeze my soul. He was wearing a bright white suit. The white of his toothy smile off set the ice of his eyes. His skin was pasty and doughy. He laughed when he saw the obvious fear in my eyes.
“Hello my dear sweet Lassie!” He said these words mockingly. “Your angel can not save you now, he can not step a foot in this place!” ” This is my garden, no angels dare to tread!” “Are you Satan?” I’m pretty sure my voice was trembling now. He laughed and almost cackled. I swear he did! Oh Yes, he did! “Satan?” Satan is just a name to frighten children and the naive!” “I’m not Satan, although I do enjoy the notoriety!”
“I am not an angel, and I don’t want to be.” “I am a soul catcher!” He went on to explain the book I had touched in the book store was his. He had put it there to catch the innocent, the gifted, the curious. I asked him what happened to those he caught.
“I bring them here, of course, to my garden of delights!” That cackling laugh again. It was starting to really grate on my nerves, among other things. He swept his arm around, and I saw several people around the garden. A man hanging by his arms. His clothes torn, and bloody. A woman sitting in the red grass with vines wrapped around her. There were others all around the garden. This place looked like hell to me.
He laughed again and said, “No my dear, this is not hell, this is a place of their own making.” “These are so called good people!” “Good people that were a little too curious for their own good!” Again with that laugh. “Now they belong to me, and so do you, for as long as I choose!” I asked him if I was dead, and he told me, “No not dead, but you will be wishing you were soon!” I was wishing I was now.
I was crying now, convinced I would never see my baby, my kitties, or Frank ever again. He said, “now don’t cry, I might consider letting you go!” I was afraid to hope. “What’s the catch?” “If you swear to me, to have no more truck with angels, and freely give over all your gifts to me!” “That’s it, that’s all you have to do to be free and be reunited with your little family!” ” Think on it Lassie!” He was gone. What would this evil man do with my gifts?
Oh boy! What a predicament I had myself in now. I realized my mouth felt as dry as the desert. My hand and arm were swollen and painful. My other hand had started to swell. I realized there were vines twinning around my legs and climbing. Felt like thorns tearing my skin. I was so miserable. Hopeless. I actually considered giving him what he wanted.
I started thinking about my baby girl, and how much I loved her. I thought about my sweet kitties, I could see Anu and Magic in my minds eye. I started to call them to me. No answer. I gave up. I sat there in my misery. Both my hands and arms were swollen. The vines had almost reached my thighs. I could feel the blood running down my legs. Hopeless! If I gave him what he wanted, would he harm my family?
I looked up to see him standing there. Grinning at me, he asked if I made a decision. I told him no way. He snarled at me and said, “fine, you will become a part of my garden then!” ” The vines, fruit, leaves were all people once that refused me!” He was gone. I tried to keep my family in my mind, so I would have their love as long as possible. I resigned myself to my fate.
There was a flash of light! I looked up, wondering what now? There was a woman standing there. She smiled at me, and said “come with me, we need to make haste!” I was thinking “how?” I couldn’t speak, felt like I had sand in my throat. I couldn’t move either. I just looked at her. Everything was spinning. She told me to close my eyes and think of Melissa. I did, and when I opened my eyes again, everything had disappeared.
I was laying in a bed, a cool bed, with white sheets. I didn’t know where I was. I looked up and Frank was looking at me with worry written all over his face. I asked him where I was. He told me I was in the hospital. I asked why? “You’ve been in a coma for a week!” “The doctor said the infection in your hand caused it!” Frank said the doctors tried, but couldn’t find a reason for the swelling in my hand and arm.
I kept telling them I was fine, but they kept me for another two days. The doctors couldn’t figure out what caused my hand to swell or why I just woke up, with seemingly no ill effects. The swelling was completely gone and I felt great. I finally convinced the doctors to let me go home. I wanted to hold my baby again.
I ran into the house and there she was! Surely, she had grown in a week! I picked her up and shaking badly, I sat us down in the rocking chair. I was crying and Melissa was laughing and patting my face. Magic leaped on to my lap, purring and rubbing against me. She said, “Mama, we knew you were in a bad place, but we couldn’t get you out, we was so scared!” Anu was growling about trying to follow me, but being tossed aside. I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I knew she would have saved me, if she could have.
I was so happy to be back with my family. I tried not to think about what happened to me. Was it a bizarre nightmare caused by infection or did it really happen? Was there a nightmare place like the one where I was? Where was Tip when I needed him? I was so confused.
I was dreaming! I was sitting in the swing, the vines had climbed to my waist. I couldn’t feel anything but pain. I was swollen all over. I was crying silently, no moisture for tears. Did I dream I was holding Melissa again? Had I never left this hellacious nightmare?
He was standing in front of me laughing! If I ever got my hands around his neck I would stop that laugh permanently. “Thought you could escape me that easily, did you?” “There is no escape from me, now I must attend to my other flowers!” I was praying over and over, dear God, please release me from this torment. My baby needs me, my kitties need me, and even Frank needs me.
There was no answer, no flash, no beautiful lady to save me. I was bereft! A loud scream tore through my misery and sharp claws raked my chest. I woke up!! I was sitting in the rocking chair with Melissa in my arms. Magic said, “I sorry Mama, I was scared you was in the bad place again, and you wouldn’t come back!” I was terrified!!
I made myself stay calm for the rest of the day. Frank ordered pizza, but I couldn’t eat any of it. I played with Melissa, talked with my sister over the phone. I laughed at a corny movie Frank turned on. I fed my kitties, petted them, fed my baby, put her to bed and all this time there was a current of terror running through me.
I was afraid to sleep. I prayed! I begged! I pleaded for Tip or the lady to appear. Nothing! I watched movies until late, made strong coffee. When ever I started to drop off to sleep I woke myself up. This was torture.
Frank was surprised to see me up with coffee and breakfast. He ate quickly and left for work. Melissa was still asleep. I was about to nod off, when Tip popped in! “Oh my God Tip!” “Where have you been?” I started to cry which surprised Tip. How could he not know? Did he not know? “Tip, I needed you so badly!” He really didn’t know.
I felt like everything was alright again now that Tip was there. I wasn’t alone anymore. I told him all about it, and why I was afraid to sleep. “Soul catcher!” “Lassie, this was a human being who chose to become a demon!” “I thought you told me there was no devil, no Satan!” “There isn’t, but The One gave freedom of choice to all humans.” “There are those in your world that have warped themselves through an over abundance of everything, food, money, all the so called earthly delights!”
This selfishness, over indulgence warps them into less than humans. They embrace evil and cruelty and look for every chance to take more and more until there is no humanity left in them. They plant evil seeds in good people and show no mercy!”
“Tip, what am I going to do?” “Did he plant evil seeds in me?” I was about to panic and freak out! Tip said, “It will be alright!” “You have to take a stand and give him back the evil seeds!” “What?!” “You are going to help me, right?” “Sorry, Lassie, you have to do this alone!”