I am done being afraid.
Yesterday morning, I had the epiphany that as long as I avoided the fear of encountering the black armored angel, then I would continue being terrified of the black armored angel. From our first encounter, they have demonstrated patience, concern, and benevolence. It is I who have ascribed ulterior motives, hostility, and aggression to their countenance.
Enough of this shit.
I resolved to get a rosary to match the one I rebuilt and gave away, but my perfectionism activated and I found myself sinking into the quagmire of trying to match what I could either buy or build with the angel’s appearance and the qualities of the discharged rosary.
By the afternoon, I realized that I was replacing one obstacle for another. I cognitively know that I will never make a rosary identical to the rebuilt one, and I will never find a “gently used” rosary with the same wear marks as the crucifix I gave away.
A client at work gave me the last impetus I needed to follow through with my resolve. In the middle of social conversation he became silent and stared at me for a few unusual seconds. Without prompting or suggestion, he said, “You know fear. You know how to overcome fear. You know that you have to stand at the center of it and let it devour you until only you remain. You have come through a lot of fear and [redacted]. Whatever it is that you’re facing now, you’ll come through that too.”
Later in the same conversation he said offhandedly, “You have the grace of an angel and I bet you have the fury to match. And you exhibit both in their proper times.”
I have no idea how I didn’t flip my desk at his words. Instead, I took his encouragement to heart and waited for night to fall.
When all was settled, I willed myself into a place of nothingness. No scene, no backdrop, no imagined substance. Only a desire.
To face the black armored angel.
A cold hand came from what was suddenly “behind” and gripped my left arm that I had not willed to feel. Malphas’ grip chilled me and I could feel something invading my skin where he touched it. I didn’t need to look to know it was black ink.
“My… aren’t we feeling brave tonight?” He pulled me back and draped his other arm across my chest to rest his hand over my heart that transmitted my already accumulating regret. “Your heart is going to burst if you persist, my dear.”
I was confused to see him. He is most certainly not the black armored angel. So why…
Sometimes you have to hold hands with the Devil to see God.
“Malphas. I need ya to do sum’n for me. Sum’n I’m prolly gonna ask ya to forget half a second after my plan goes to hell.”
He held me tight and delighted in the scent of the fear I was trying to ignore. “Hmm?”
“Don’t let go. Don’t let me run. I’m not physically here, so I can’t use fainting as an excuse. No matter how much I beg… or worse, promise you… don’t let go. I have to face my fear.”
His left hand pulled mine slightly further back. His right hand moved from my flooded chest to just under my jaw. This time, the pricks of his talons failed to alarm me. I could feel him smile at my lack of response.
“Oh, you are terrified already. Very well, my dear. I will not allow you to flee.”
I became aware that our conversation was being held in complete darkness only because a point of light far above us became and started to approach. Even though it was very distant, the illumination was intense enough for sharp shadows to be cast under us.
I became aware of a loud sound, like the rushing of water from a burst dam or the relentless movement of high winds.
Without being told, I knew. Angels were coming.
I told myself that I was prepared for the arrival and interaction of one angel, and only one angel in particular. For there to be a mass of them was more than I was willing to experience. As the light intensified, I recognized the hues.
Old fears kindled as old memories matched the arriving glory with deposited abuses. I tried to turn away.
Hands blacker than the souls of those who hurt me held me in place, preventing me from even looking elsewhere.
“Let me go.”
The light intensified. I could feel the sound shaking my innermost. I forgot I was not physically in this place.
“Let me go! I have to get out of here!”
“No. Listen. It will be like the day the fire was poured into you, into your throat. Do you remember that day? When glory was poured over you and you spoke?”
Yes. I remember that day. Though the sun was behind me and I was standing in shade, the light was so intense, I could not see in front of me and the words burned my throat like a hot coal.
I had no fear in that moment as the glory consumed me. (The fear would come later after all had ended.) The memory ceased and the light was now so close I could barely see where it was not.
His voice was a distant whisper even though his face was beside my ear. “Decide now. Does what comes next happen for the sake of writing, or for the sake of recovery? If you want to write, I will release you. If you want to recover, they will have to take you from me. Which is it?”
I had ceased being able to see. The light was everywhere, blinding me with its pervasiveness. The light slipped between his grip and my consciousness. The light waited for my answer to his question.
“Malphas. Don’t let go.”
The light consumed me.
I came to crying and shivering. I have no idea what happened after.