I should be asleep by now. But something grabbed my attention. Fire, I think. A single flame. When I sit up to be sure of what I see. It is gone. A flicker. I sit a moment to see if it will show again. Nothing. I lie back down. And through closed eyes, I see something bright in front of my face. I open my eyes.
And there it is. A flame hovering in the corner of my home just below the ceiling. In a blink. It no doubt retreated. It doesn’t shine as bright as it did when my eyes were shut. My eyelids stretch not yet adjusted to the dark. I try to see what it is connected to. It has to be connected to something. Somebody’s standing on my table with a lighter. Somebody’s trying to trick me.
Who is in my house at two in the morning? I think it’s two in the morning. Unless my watch, my phone deceives me. They both couldn’t have been tampered with and I do not know. Their electronic numerals blaze before me. Unless something has deceived it.
No light peeks through the closed blinds seeking to witness an exchange with the flame. My home is completely dark. I hear nothing. I never fell asleep. I was trying to get there. That desired dream state. Have I obtained that rare sleep of rapid eye movement, and now I dream? Maybe? No. I am awake. I heard no footsteps on the stairs. No doors unlocking. No doors opened. I live alone.
Did someone enter my home while I was gone and now is here with me? My eyes have adjusted. I see no silhouette beyond the flame. So how does it stay suspended? What energy sustains it? What miracle? What magic? Why is it here? Who has it come to find?
Why does it have to be here for someone? Why can’t it simply exist, as I exist? It can. Everything serves its purpose. What is this flame’s? I didn’t call for it. I didn’t wish this moment to exist. Or did I? What prayer did I pray that brought this entity to me? What is its message? Why is it not stating it? It simply floats there. It’s random flitting, dancing as if harassed by the wind. But there is no gale in this home. Only the air conditioning to cool the summer air.
“What are you? What do you need here?” Determined to move forward with its purpose and plan. “What do you want with me? Are you the flame of the burning bush; the flame that visited, and spoke with Moses? The non-consuming holy fire, instructing him, guiding him, leading him? And yet you occupy my home and speak not to me.”
“Or are you hellfire come to consume me. My town? My city? As once you razed London and Rome. What verdict was reached in your smoldering courts that I should be burned alive? What sin have I committed that is so unforgivable that you’ve come to execute the sentence in my sleep?”
“Mankind,” a soothing female voice replied. “I am angel and demon.”
“Angel and demon,” I said to myself having some general idea what the entity meant. “You’re either evil or good. Angel or demon.”
“At one-time angel, now felt much like yourself son of Adam.”
“You are one of the third cast out like lightning from Heaven. You chose yourself over Alpha-Omega.”
“Son of Adam. I was beguiled as you were.”
“Maybe. Or maybe you did the beguiling. Angel and demon, perhaps beguiled. I ask again. Are you hellfire come to set ablaze my beloved home. My town, my city to watch and relish our misery as embers fall like snowflakes in a blizzard for days on end? Or have you brought blessings and a message of wisdom and instruction from the kingdom of Heaven?”
“We’ve been watching you, son of Adam,” the entity’s soothing female voice replied. “Heaven and Hell. The Alpha-Omega believes you to be as Job. Righteous. Hell believes. The only reason you remain loyal to the Creator is because of the hedge he keeps around you. And if He lowers that hedge you will act as we did before we were cast from Heaven. You will become as we are spreading hellfire and causing destruction.
I stand to speak. I rise to defend myself. “Wait,” says the fallen one. And the small flame grows to ten times its size. The light immediately blinds me. I thrust my hands up to protect my sight. The wave of heat knocks me from my feet. When the heat dissipates, I pick myself up battered and bruised from being tossed across the room. I open my eyes. I see nothing. I am still blind.
“This is your purpose, then, you’ve come to execute me by fire?”
“No mankind. I want to be like you. I seek to be released from imminent destruction. I no longer want to dwell in the seventh circle. I desire to be redeemed.”
“Redeemed?!” Suddenly realizing the tone in which I reply is not supportive. I turn my face away and again raise my arms to protect myself.
“Forgive me mankind. It is a fine line I travel between angel and demon. My dark side tends to dictate terms more and more the longer I exist in the dark realm. I’m losing what little of the angel that still existed after we fell.”
I open my eyes. My vision is not clear but it is returning. I can see pockets of fire through the slowly dissipating black smoke. I look to my ceiling. Small fires are everywhere. I cannot decipher the fallen one from the other flames. My blurry eyesight and the black smoke camouflage, her, the angel-demon. “What is your name fallen one?”
“Who am I?” she replies. “My name is not important. What I am is fallen desiring redemption. I need you to intercede on my behalf for preserving your life.”
“My life is not in your hands. I am redeemed. If the Creator sees fit to remove me from this physical realm then so be it. Absent from the body…you know the gospel better than I do angel-demon.”
“Intercede for me as you will your family who have just departed their home on summer vacation to visit you. Are they redeemed? I know how you feel about them. I was the flame on the candle on your table on that cold crisp snowy holiday at your parent's home last winter. It was your brother and his wife who sought to convince you that demons and angels were ‘fake characters in your fake gospel.’ I listened intently as your mother told you to let go of your hate for them as you sipped apple cider by the fireplace. Wouldn’t you thoroughly enjoy the moment we meet during that dark long lonely drive in the early morning hours right before sunrise?”
“No, I wouldn’t….Why not ask Jesus yourself?”
“Too quick to cast demons into hogs. If I wanted to spend eternity going from slop to slaughter I would have asked the Son. Jesus wants nothing to do with us. Yet the Alpha-Omega is so mindful of man. He heeds your prayers.”
“Fallen one. Who will I tell God I’m interceding for if I don’t know your name.”
“Sera, mankind. Or at one time Seraphine.”
“Burning ones, The Seraph.”
“Yes.. Now, keep your promise as I keep watch over your brother and his beautiful wife and children. Or would you prefer otherwise?”
“I will intercede on your behalf, Seraph…Seraphine. Whether God sees fit to redeem you…” Before I can finish my statement my vision returns. The burns on my arms heal. A strong breeze blows the smoke away and the fires extinguish. My home is no longer the reflection of Hell. Everything is as it was before Seraphine’s flareup. And at the moment the flame disappears I see a silhouette of enormous height yet nothing beyond the flame materializes. And so I intercede. “Creator, Father God. Not my will but Thine be done. Your servant Seraphine…”