Monday, March 20, 2006
Chapter 15: The abyss, pt 2
The staircase, just inside the doorway, descends steeply. I feel a rough wall on my right side, my shoulder braced and rubbing against it. He presses against my left side so I cannot tell what is there, perhaps just emptiness. I am glad for His presence beside me as the darkness disorients me. Slowly my eyes begin to adjust to the darkness. I can see only a faint glimmer of light and that is coming from something He carries, a lantern perhaps, in His left hand.
The staircase is long, we seem to descend for a very long time. The air becomes oppressive, stagnant, heavy and hard to breath. Briefly I wish I had brought the oil He just gave me.
“Do not fear, you have everything you need with you.” He replies to my thoughts as we continue to climb down.
My feet become heavier and heavier, my legs burning with the effort of the climb. I want so desperately to rest, to sit for a moment.
“No,” He warns me, “do not rest in this place, if you become restful here, you will be drawn into the abyss.”
I need no further encouragement to continue. Finally we reach the end of the staircase, the last step ending in sharp jolt. The air is even more oppressive here than it was on the stairs: hot, sticky, stale and musty. It feels like the air itself is sticking to me.
In the quietness of the moment, I hear a curious dripping sound nearby. The light of the lanterns allows me to just make out a sticky, murky fluid dripping from my robe. The air, or whatever is in it cannot stick to His garments! This place cannot hold on to me any longer! The revelations floods in like fresh air.
I try to focus in on this freshness, but something distracts me. I hear a faint sound, like that of someone moaning in pain.
“What is that Papa?” It is familiar, but I cannot quite place why.
“It is the sound of this place, the cry of pain that draws you here. It is the legacy of your past generations. I will show you.” We begin to walk slowly toward the sound, His arm still entwined with mine. The light of His lantern is absorbed in this darkness. I can see only a few steps beyond us. As we walk, the sounds, cries becoming screams now become louder. I feel a pull to join them, to become enmeshed in my own pain—this is the pull of the abyss.
We continue our approach. I hold tighter, with both hands now, to His arm so as not to become separated from Him. It is the only way I can see not to answer the powerful call of this place. The sounds, the call keeps getting louder though.
Finally we are at the edge of a horrible pit; the cries now so loud I cannot hear myself think. I fight the urge to surrender to it, to throw myself into the abyss. “Papa!” I scream, not hearing my own voice in the cacophony of the calls. “Make it stop! Make it stop! I can’t hear You anymore! Make it stop!” Tears flow freely down my cheeks as I plead to Him.
My hands still clutch His right arm. With His left, still holding the lantern, He reaches around me and pulls a hood over my head, covering my ears. I had never noticed a hood on the robe before. The moment I am covered by this hood, the sounds stop, they are gone! I sag against Him in physical relief from the assault.
“Papa!” I am surprised to be able to hear my own voice now.
“You are safe.” He assures me.
“Are the voices gone?” I am confused.
“No,” He gently pulls back the hood along one side of my face, exposing my left ear slightly. I hear the sounds muffled in the folds of the hood; they disappear as He lets the hood fall back into place. “This will protect you from those calls.”