23. Angelic Intervention

“For our newcomers: while Tony & I are on the road, please enjoy his book, ‘Leaving the Trail’ as a weekly series in condensed form. Be sure to go back to the beginning to understand the story! If you can’t stand the suspense, simply order a copy from Amazon or write toinfo@martonpublishing.com.”

Arms and legs flailing, gasping for air and eyes wide in terror, the men rushed straight down the hill toward the trail, unaware that as they did so, they were passing through two ranks of angelic Beings. Jake stood at the front, sword raised and eyes fixed on the approaching demons. By now some of the beasts had caught sight of them, but by a combination of their momentum and rage at seeing the loss of two of their own, were unable and unwilling to stop.

So be it, thought Jake, raising his sword even higher as a signal to the waiting ranks under his command.

* * *

The men reached the trail barely fifty yards ahead of the demons. Fisher just had time to form them into a line, shouting to the men on each end to pull around and guard the rear as they became surrounded. There were at least twenty beasts, each one roaring and swinging huge clubs. They eyes blazed red and foam blew out of their nostrils, carried away by the wind. The closest one was a few steps ahead of the rest, its eyes fixed on Fisher, who held his sword straight out toward his attacker. Fisher’s plan was to use the beast’s momentum against him, sidestepping to let him pass then strike him from behind. Five steps away. Four. Three. Jumping quickly to one side, he let the beast pass through the line of men, swinging across with his sword as he did so. Disappointed, he thought that he had not made contact with the beast, but was shocked to see it fall to the ground, blood spurting from multiple stab wounds. There was no time to think about it, though, and Fisher turned to face the next creature, just as it seemed to explode right in front of him. Its club went flying into the air, one burly hand still gripping it, then fell harmlessly to the ground.

The other men were seeing similar phenomenon, using their farming tools the best way they knew how, but finding that the damage inflicted was far greater than they had been responsible for. By the time six beasts had fallen, the remaining few seemed to lose their taste for the battle, and were turning back uphill. Those who ran unstopping eventually disappeared into the trees, but whenever one paused even for a second, it was immediately cut down by an unseen foe and left to lay in a pool of blood.

For several moments, the sound of the retreating demons could be heard from high up the hillside. Occasionally a roar would rise above the trees, but it was different from what they had heard before. This was a higher pitched, almost communicative sound, rather than the freight train cacophony which had terrorized the men only moments earlier. Hands trembling and sweat pouring down their faces, the men kept looking up to the trees, then back to the fallen monsters. Ken was the first to speak.

“We fought well. But not that well. How did this happen?”

Fisher thought a moment, then said, “Remember what I said about the Ruler’s strongest power being deception? He doesn’t want you to know that there’s a greater Power he answers to. The real Creator doesn’t depend on smoke and mirrors. He made everything you see, including you.” Fisher looked around at the men, who were now listening intently. “And He loves each and every one of you, more than you can ever imagine. And He’ll do anything in His power – except brute force – to show how much He loves you. We’ve just been given a small demonstration of His love.”

There was a long silence, as the men pondered what they had just seen and heard. Occasionally they would venture over to the body of one of the beast, poke at it cautiously, then come back to the group. Ken was sitting on the ground, running his hands along a huge club he had picked up. “This is good wood,” he said at last. “Doesn’t come from around here.”

“Neither do you, Ken,” said Fisher. “You’re a pilgrim like me, created by a loving Father and set on a trail going to His kingdom. But somewhere, a long time ago, your people forgot about the journey and settled down here. When that happened, the Evil Man and all those who follow him laid claim to you. He wants you to believe that he’s your king and provider, but in your heart of hearts you know that’s not true. You were made for better things. And this path you’re sitting on will take you there.”

Ken stood up, dusted off his hands on the sides of his trousers and said, “It’s just that, well, it’s hard to admit that all your life, you’ve been living a lie. And you don’t know what all I’ve done for the sake of that lie. If I’m really a pilgrim like you say, I’m a pretty poor one.”

“That’s the beauty of it all,” smiled Fisher. “People of the Way are all pretty poor at what they do. None of us could take a step on this path if we didn’t have a measure of strength outside of ourselves. God will give you what you need. And He’ll forgive you for what you’ve done in the past. I guarantee it.”

“What about it guys?” Ken asked, turning to the other men. “I’ve seen enough today to know we’ve been missing something important. I for one want to know more about it.”

There was an immediate response, as every man there declared a turning away from the Ruler’s influence. Even without knowing what or to Whom they would now turn, they determined to seek the truth. And they would find it, Fisher promised them, when they reached Rendezvous.

“They were here two days ago,” he said, “so you may have to go awhile before you catch up with them. But I can tell you this for sure: they’ll be on the trail. Stay on the trail, and you’ll find them.”

“What about you, Fisher?” asked Ken. “You talk like you’re not going with us.”

“I’m going back to my wife and your parents,” he said. “I’m not sure how this is going to play out, but I have a feeling that when the Evil Man hears that you’re not coming back with Lisa, they all may be in danger.”

“Then we need to go with you,” insisted Ken. “We have family back there too.”

“I do want you to go back, but first you need to find the Rendezvous people and tell them what’s happened. Trust them to do the right thing. If I go alone, tonight, I can make better time, and just maybe I can slip by any demons without being spotted. When I get to your parents’ house, I’ll do what I can to keep them and everyone safe until you arrive. But go, now. Don’t waste another minute.”

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