(A rescue mission in Hell.)
“Follow me.” Gabriel told me as he walked out of the elevator like he owned the place.
Well, I don’t own the place so I tip toed out and peeked around his broad shoulders hoping he would extend his wings and hide me if need be.
“Wait, wait, wait. What happened to the lioness?” Gabriel asked.
“I…It…Well…” I started, kind of annoyed that he caught me hiding.
“Weren’t you just thinking about ‘Who shall I fear with the Lord on my side?” he asked smirking.
He can read minds? What if I think really loud? Blue! Blue! BLUE!
“You’re funny. I’m glad I got this mission…” he said looking deeply into my eyes.
Yes I can read your mind. But only because God is allowing me to. That way we can talk and not break cover. Brave yet?
Can I have time to work on it? I pleaded and pouted a little.
He winked at me and kept walking. “You are officially going to like the outcome of your actions today. What you did upstairs has saved Lorena’s life.”
“Cool.” I said blushing and ready to face what was ahead.
“Door number one if you please.” he motioned towards the third door down the corridor.
I opened it. Inside there were two large closet door mirrors. Lining the room there were large jars of pickled organs and animals. There was a symbol I didn’t recognize in front of each mirror.
“What is this?” I asked him.
“The one on the left says import and the one on the right says export. Importing means they are sending objects to hell that don’t belong there. Exporting means they are bringing things out. Depending on what it is, they may need an arm, a leg, an eye, a lizard… the jars… to pay for passage.” Gabriel explained.
He walked up to the importing mirror and brushed his fingertips across it. The mirror rippled and revealed a dilapidated looking room behind it. No flames but excessive heat poured out of it.
I looked at him piecing together what he wanted me to do. Suddenly I thought of every last single person I had ever told to ‘Go to hell’ and felt very sorry and repentive! He looked at me laughing and stepped into hell through the mirror.
I was really trying to not think the bad words that were itching to spring to mind. I think I failed but I stepped through the door and once we were inside of the room there was nothing but a solid wall behind us. Only one way in, and I guess we have to find the other door to get out. I looked at Gabriel wondering if I had been tricked somehow by an imposter so I’d be trapped here. But, at least some of the guilt about Ryan I had been carrying all of this time began to ease. He wasn’t here alone anymore and if I was tricked then I got what was coming to me because of what he sacrificed.
“Nope. I’m not a trick or imposter. We are making a side trip to the original mission you put yourself on.” Gabriel told me as he held my hand and pat it gently.
“You mean?” I began as the opportunity began to dawn on me.
“Yes. I know where he is. Primus didn’t have Ryan killed. He was thrown through a mirror just like this and kept locked away until Primus was sure that the last convert was killed. Ryan is only alive here as long as Paul survives.” Gabriel explained.
“Does that mean Paul won’t survive?” I asked afraid for my friend.
“It means Ryan has been here for a day and a half in stasis and we need to retrieve him before Primus knows he’s gone. Then he can’t be used as leverage anymore. Besides, Primus thinks you are Grenhelda.” he continued as he searched my eyes for understanding.
“A day and a half?” I asked perplexed.
“Time is different in heaven and hell. He hasn’t been trapped here that long. My mission to go get him came along as you prayed before you stormed the sanctum. God thought it would be nice for the first face Ryan saw to be yours. Let’s go. Primus is down here on business and while he is distracted we are going to sneak Ryan out.” Gabriel explained as he and I quickly descended a staircase that led to a door outside.
“Well let’s see what’s out there.” I said nervous.
Once the door was opened I could see a fork in the road so to speak. A door made of pure flame and a door that led to pure darkness. I hoped Ryan had not been hidden in flames. Gabriel walked ahead of me grabbing my hand. We went into the darkness.
He had his own sort of light emanating off of him and I could see people with saucer sized eyes milling about like they had just survived some sort of disaster.
What happened to them?
Purgatory. The place of punishment for those who claimed their own life. Trapped here in darkness they are unaware and living in a repeating shadow of the life they were running away from.
Ryan is here?
Locked in a dark room upstairs and guarded.
Let’s just say your Holy water filled squirt bottle will do the job. But, you have to be quick about it. If they touch you then you will require cleansing before you can return to earth.
A lizard jar?
A Holy water bath more like.
We walked for what seemed like a mile through people who were just stuck and talking to themselves and crying out to their loved ones, apologizing and begging for their mothers, wives, sisters and everyone else to forgive them. I felt my heart break for them.
We finally came to a broken elevator that looked to have been on fire at one point. We stood, looking up into the shaft listening to the shrill screams coming intermittently from above us. Gabriel held me close like we were hugging and he jumped… well floated… in slow motion sort of. Angel flight is cool. We went almost as far up as the penthouse and sort of hovered at the end of the hall where the elevators doors were pried open and stuck.
These huge deformed looking cats with snake heads bulging out of their eye sockets hissed at us. They had reptile scales on their legs and the fur on the rest of their bodies seemed to flicker like flames. They crouched in attack formation as I fumbled for my water bottle. Before I could squeeze the trigger I dropped it and watched as it fell some twenty stories down.
“Damn it!” I screamed as I felt for the vile of Holy oil I had stuffed into my bra but Gabriel was hugging me to keep me from falling too.
“Wait for it…” he said expectantly.
I’m gonna get fed to a demonized cat.
I looked below so I wouldn’t see them lunge at me and give into the fear trying to take over my mind. Looking down I see what he meant though. The heat must have melted the bottle and then turned the water into steam.
Gabriel floated up a little above their line of sight. The two cats jumped into the shaft after us they turned to ash as the steam from the water reached them. The whole building shook.
“The building’s gonna come down isn’t it?” I asked.
“Yep. Good job. That’ll keep them busy while we get out of here.” he said as we touched down into the hallway. We walked briskly to the door of this rotting condemned building and Gabriel put his hand on the door. “Peace be still.”
The door opened and there he was. Unconscious and stuffed into a broom closet. Ryan moaned gently as Gabriel slung him over his shoulder. Before I could do anything Gabriel had grabbed my hand and the three of us were standing at the elevator doors looking into the shaft.
Gabriel smiled at me. But, I knew what that meant and before I could protest… we jumped.