It's Terror Tuesday, boys and girls! The mists are rolling in. Can you dare read what is about to happen? You know you want to!
THE MISTS OF PAPOOSE POND
Chapter Thirty Seven
Fully a hundred feet tall, He comes out from within the vortex, advancing towards us. The water crashes back down into the pond, creating a monstrous wave lapping at the shoreline.
Brownish-yellow teeth, razor sharp and pointed ever so perfectly, jut out from his mouth with a huge tongue lapping at miniscule lips. Gigantic webbed hands become ever larger the closer he comes to us, the sharpened, elongated nails glistening from the moisture of the Pond’s water.
His powerful chest, covered in a coating of slime, heaves from the anger within Him.
“Satan!” He hollers, “You have gone too far! In this sacred place you dare come and not only wage war, but you strike down a man pure of heart and soul who wanted nothing more than to be at peace with himself and those he loved.”
All action has stopped, and Lucifer looks for a place to retreat in to, but there is nothing. The power surrounding all of us does not belong to Him.
Louise is still trying to comfort her father, knowing it is a lost cause, but her love for him refuses to lose its grip. She needs to show Tom how much she loves him.
“I created you, Satan, but you became a turncoat and tried to usurp my power. I cast you out of this place many years ago, but you still persist in your attacks on me. Free will! I gave it to all my Angels.
“A gift. It was a gift to show you, my love: to show you that even though I was the Creator, I was not a dictator.”
“But you are a dictator!” Satan shouts back, anger building in Him once more. “Everything . . . everything has to be your way. Anything else is unacceptable.”
God seethes, his huge, scaly body shining brightly now that He stands on the beach. “That is not true, Satan. I even allowed you to decide how you could look. None of you chose to appear as me. You all wished to choose your present forms, intermixing your majestic wings with human like traits.”
“They are not human traits! You created humans to look like us, even though it took many years for that to happen.”
“Yes, another gift, but one which you rebelled against, calling them monkeys and worse.”
“We certainly did not want to appear as the disgusting being you are. You look like a fucking deformed reptile, much worse than that which you chased out of the garden here so long ago.”
Lightning flashes down from a sky turned dark almost within a second. The towering visage of God shows the power present within Him as He calmly says, “Disgusting as I might appear to you, my loyal followers, the ones also given free will at the very beginning, chose to look like me. None of them has ever betrayed me. Not one! You Angels were supposed to be special, and some are, but my Dark Angels, still my children, have disappointed me.”
Satan laughs. “Yet, you are too weak to destroy us.”
“No, my son. I can not kill my family. As evil as you are, you are a part of me. If you die at my hand, a part of me dies as well. I don’t wish for that to happen.”
The Dark angel’s lips curl up into a sadistic smile. “Me and those with me have no such trepidations. We have waited long for the power to be ours, and so it will be.”
Tom, still in Louise’s arms, gasps his last breath and expires. His body remains with his daughter, but his soul rises upwards, a wispy force of energy not definitive in its form. As I watch, he floats towards God and gently lands at his feet, his transparency soon retaining the appearance of the Almighty.
“No Satan,” Tom says. “Even in death, the loyal ones have free will. I choose to look like my God. I am honored to be closer to him in this visage. The warriors of the Light will continue to battle you until you are cast out forever.”
Louise cries, a confusing assemblage of tears because her father is dead, but there are happy tears as well because she realizes her dad is now happy and nothing can harm him.
Strength returns to me, the awesome majesty of God’s mantle spreading to all His followers and warriors. I stare at Satan and actually delight in the snarl on His face and the anguish within him.
And, of course, there is the hatred: not only that directed at God, but also at me. Mr. Ed still remains a pesky irritant and a thorn in his side. But He keeps His anger in check for a change, knowing that to kill me now, in this Holy Place, would totally infuriate the Almighty.
There are no more heated exchanges between God and Satan. Enough has been said. Both of them know what needs to be done, and where the battle must be fought. This is not that place.
Satan leaves and takes His army with Him. An unspoken truce has taken place, but His mind talks to me, saying, “We will meet again, Mr. Ed, and it will not be pretty as far as you’re concerned.”
There is no need to answer Him. War is war; Hell is Hell; and I will be battling in both.
I go to Louise and bend down to where she still cradles the lifeless body of her father and my friend. Everything is still swimming around inside her head. Her great loss is tempered by the fact her dad is in a better place now.
“Louise! Ed!” the booming voice of God shouts out to us. “See what awaits you when your time here is finished.”
We stare in amazement as a soul approaches Tom’s new persona, first changing into human form, and then to the splendor of God’s body. The two of them embrace for what seems to be forever, a magnificent glow surrounding the two of them.
“Mom! Dad!” Louise shouts. “Oh, my God, you’re together again!”
The human Tom vanishes from Louise’s lap. It is over. There is no need for him to remain.
Her parents smile back at Louise. “We love you, sweetie. We will eagerly await the day when all of us can be together.”
Louise reaches out to them, knowing she can not extend her arms into Heaven, but wishing to show how much she cares. They wave at her and vanish into the mists.
I bow down before God. “Thank you for showing us our future, Almighty One. I am honored to be one of your soldiers. Knowing the glory awaiting me, I will fight even harder.”
“You can come now if you wish, Ed,” the Almighty says. “You and Louise both.”
Looking at Louise and peering into her mind, I say, “Thank you, sir, but we both feel we must do what we can on Earth before we take our places with the righteous.”
He smiles and shakes His head. He knew that would be our answer, but the offer was extended to us. Even though I can not see in to his mind, His gift of instant redemption was made with no strings attached.
The creator walks to the edge of the Pond, turns around, and smiles at us once more before walking to the center and vanishing into the depths. The light leaves and the darkness returns once more.
George and the others are shocked by what has happened, some almost in denial after all they have seen, but knowing the truth for what it is. “What now, Ed?” George asks.
“We finish our job, George,” I say. “Now we know the glory waiting for us when the war is over.”
“What if we lose?”
“We will not lose, George. Right is on our side. The power belongs to us now.”
“But God won’t kill Satan and the other Dark Angels.”
“Then somehow it’s up to us then, isn’t it?”
He scratches his head at that, but he knows it’s true. It’s highly inconceivable that the rag-tag army we are can do what needs to be done, but looking at Louise, I know there’s no way we will give up now.
“Tom gave everything he had, George,” I sat. “And so will we. If we die fighting, we still win. What’s better than that?”
George doesn’t completely understand, and if truth be told, he is afraid of what’s ahead, but he’s willing to do what needs to be done. His fear might even help him make clearer decisions on the battlefield.
“The bastard is getting away,” Louise says. “Let’s stop jawing and get his ass.”
She has a look of determination on her face. Revenge is on her mind. Her Dad paid a terrible price to gain entry into heaven. Louise will do everything she can to see that justice is meted out. This time I will have to make sure she doesn’t make any hasty decisions or take on too much bravado. Usually I am the one needing to be kept on a tether.
The trail is an easy one to follow, loaded with guts and gore, trampled trees and brush, and feathers from Angels on both sides scattered about. Satan’s Zombies attempted to eat the bodies of the snake Angels, but when the flying guys started back on their path to become whole again, they burst out from the guts of the undead and left them squirming around on the ground.
“Holy shit!” I say, coming upon the scene. “Those are some bad-ass Angels. I’m glad they’re on our side.”
George and his boys torch the remains, the Molotov cocktails lighting up the sky. God’s Zombies and the demons go after Lucifer’s army, knowing where they are headed. I know too, but we need some cool heads and planning. I’m sure there will be some surprises up ahead.
“Howard,”I say, “what’s left at the Armory?”
He looks at me, wondering what I have in mind. Louise’s eyes sparkle, the anticipation of what is coming sending her hormones into overdrive.
I laugh. “We don’t have wings, Howard, so we need an equalizer.”
“An equalizer to end all equalizers,” Louise says. “Tell me we have some aircraft and armament there, Howard.”
It’s time for Howard’s eyes to light up now. “They’re not new, mainly vintage ‘Nam era, but there are some jets there, parked in the back. Bomb loaders are close by, and there are tons of ammo cans.”
“Be still my beating heart!” I shout.
“Don’t tell me you’ve flown jets,” Louise says.
“Shit no, sweetie. This will be on the job training for me.”
“Don’t leave me out of this,” she says.
“I wouldn’t dream of it. This will be the flight of a lifetime.”
“We could die, you know.”
“Oh well. That’s a chance we’ll have to take.”
“Yes, it will prove to be one hell of a rush.”
Howard shakes his head, wondering about our sanity, but also thrilled to be a part of all of this. “You know guys,” he says, “ I have more helicopter experience than time in a jet seat.”
“You have some, though?” I ask.
“Well, yes, but . . .”
‘”No buts,” Louise says. “You will fly, and we will pick your brain and do the same thing. Our co-pilots can help us too.”
“You mean the chosen people; the webbed guys?”
“None other. Let’s not forget that these guys are superior to us. Yes, I realize it’s hard to believe a scaly, webbed looking guy could be more advanced than we are, and are actually the ones God created in his own image. I guess we need to revisit the Bible a bit. It appears to pertain to humans. Reality, understanding, and devotion come naturally to my big buddies. I can accept it.”
George nods. “You’re right, of course. I’m just glad to be on the winning team. We are winning, right?”
Louise laughs. “You bet your sweet ass we are!”
“You heard the lady,” I say.
George thinks for a while before saying, “Will I have the same choice Tom did when he died? You know: what form I can take?”
“Sure you can,” Louise says.
“I’m changing to what my new friends look like,” George says, embracing one of them. “I will be honored to.”
Louise and I look at each other, our eyes going skyward. “All this sweet talk is nice,” I say, “but we still have a war to fight. We need every warrior we can have. Let’s concentrate on sticking around for a while. We can sort the rest out later.”
“Yes,” Howard says, his eyes showing excitement. “There are some jets that need flying.”
Now the excitement switches to Louise. “Yes, I can hardly wait.”
“Okay then,” I add. “Let’s beat feet to the Armory.”
The Armory. I can’t help but wonder if it will still be there when we arrive. At least there to the point that anything of value is waiting for us. If for any reason Satan decided to make a shambles of the place in order to impede us, we will have lost valuable time in getting there. Time that could have been spent on battling our antagonists.
It takes longer traveling on foot to reach the Armory, even taking the short cut my big buddies know, but as we approach it, I see that the perimeters of the place are still intact. That’s a good sign. I’d had a nagging fear that maybe the Zombies tore the shit out of it, or that it had disappeared into a huge chasm of molten lava.
“Nobody or thing is here,” Louise says. “We’re lucky. Let’s check out the goody piles.”
I nod, and we go in. Everything is as we left it. Wait a second! It’s even better. This place looks pristine, maybe not like the Pond, but it appears as it must have looked when it was first built.
“Wow!” Howard says. “Looks like they had a major GI party here.This place bristles!”
“God must have spiffed it up, Howard. “I say. “He knew we’d be coming here. There’s no doubt that what we need and want will be up close and personal.”
Something draws me to a particular area in the back, adjacent to a runway that wasn’t there before. Oh my God! There are F100’s here. When I was in ‘Nam these things were old. I loaded bombs and ammo on them for awhile and it seemed the bolts were ready to fall out of them Were it not for the safety wire holding everything together, I believe they would have become unglued in the air. I check them all and am astounded to see that these babies are like new. Oh yeah, baby!
“Louise!” I holler. “These guys are loaded and ready for us.”
She shares my enthusiasm as we see napalm bombs hanging down from the pylons, as well as Sidewinder missiles, their gyroscopes alive and well. And, yes, the guns were there, waiting to be fired, the ammo cans full.
“Yes!” Louise shouts. “Let’s do this!”
And then . . . and then I see something much larger off to the side: B-52 bombers. These guys can carry an arsenal of five hundred pound bombs easily. Looking inside, I see everything is ready to go with them as well. But how are we going to fly the jets and the bombers if we have to rely on Howard to transfer the knowledge to us?
One of my little webbed buddies raises his hand, and we exchange our thoughts. He knows more than I knew. Somehow, okay, it is all God’s doing, he and his pals can fly the bombers. His raised hand is actually a hand, still webbed, but it shows the functionality to maneuver the controls, and his mind has to knowledge to do it.
Without even thinking about it, I know Louise, Howard, and I will do just fine with the jets. I actually feel the prior flying experience within me even though I don’t have any. Wow!
“Burning daylight,” I say, trying to use my best John Wayne impersonation. “Let’s get going now. The groadies are waiting.”
Louise shakes her head. “Yes, they are. Time to kick ass!”
Just as I knew, all the aircraft take off just fine. The exhilaration of what is to come excites me. I should be slapped for the feelings I have, but who’s going to do it? Either the others are as excited as I am or they are squirming in their seats, worried about what is to come, their minds on much more than my wonky exploits.
In no time at all, we reach the viscous opening that awaited us the first time we entered Hell, the time we thought that this was the only opening. That day seems so long ago. Since then how many times have we been introduced to other dimensions of Hell? Too many. Far too many! But those experiences have wised me up. We will make the Dark Angel meet us on our terms this time.
Shit! Our terms don’t look as good as I thought. Thousands of Satan’s Angels come flying at us, the sky filled with their presence. As the B-52’s bomb the evil forces below, the jets attack the incoming Angels. They are no match for our guns and we mow them down, dropping napalm on their sorry asses once they fall.
Woo, hoo! The bastards are falling. Will the flames destroy them as they do the Zombies? Is that the answer to ending their immortality? I can only hope. I have no other answers now.
My cockiness comes too soon. They’re coming. Off, a ways the sky is filled with them. How many, it’s hard to gauge.
Three F-100’s against hundreds, maybe thousands of aircraft, jets much newer than the dinosaurs we are piloting. Satan has trained, experienced pilots on his side. No helicopter pilots this time.
“Louise to Ed! We are in for one hell-of-a dogfight! Save me a kiss for when this battle is over.’
“You got it, sweet thing!” I shout.
They come right at us, but all we can do is fight back. We’re still on the right side.
The bastard human traitors are in my sights, almost within range. Almost. Now they are! Our guns blasting, we attack like we have nothing to lose.
Bullets fly everywhere, hitting my jet as well as the enemy, and then I see it: a missile coming straight at me. I am so fucked!