Jordan Corona

CRW 2001

9

"The Conviction"

I opened my eyes to a horrifically dark room.

"Where am I? How did I get here?" I couldn't smell anything or hear anything. This room was void of all sensory.

Then, an alluring blue flame appeared, defying gravity, floating in mid-air. Surprised of my absent fear, I slowly approached it. The closer I got to it the more I yearned to be closer. As though the flame was speaking to me, commanding me, I cupped it in my hands. Expecting the flame to burn me, I cringed to prepare myself. Instead of feeling like fire in my hands, the flame felt like a warm, soft and oddly fuzzy ball. Unsure of what to do next, I stood there with the only source of light in this pitch black room. All the darkness was making me very tense. Then I heard a voice softly say, "Relax."

I heard a voice! "Where did it come from?" I thought to myself.

"It is I." responded the voice.

The blue flame was talking to me! It was not like one person talking to another, though. I heard this voice neither through my ears nor my mind, but in my heart. It was using my voice to talk to me! "This flame has powers! The flame could probably hurt me…" I battled these fearful thoughts when suddenly I felt peace settle in my chest. It was like sitting in a warmed up bath that was just the perfect temperature. Sensing this peace- or instilling it in me-the flame started to move forward; pulling me with it. I was hesitant because I couldn't see where I was walking. All I had was a tiny blue flame to guide me. "Trust me," said the flame," you will not fall." Even though I heard this in my own voice, I felt like I could trust this flame more than anyone I have ever known.

We walked in what seemed like a straight path for about five minutes; which led me to believe that this room was bigger than I imagined. Suddenly, I saw a green wall start to reveal itself from its dark curtains because of the flame. When I got within arm's reach of the wall, what I saw confused me. The wall was alive with leaves, vines, bushes and fruit. The life on the wall swayed back and forth as if being caressed by a soft breeze. This added to my confusion because I couldn't feel any wind at all. As I sat there puzzled, the flame explained,

" The life on this wall sways because of me."

"If anything, the green life should shrink back because it's a ball of fire!" I thought to myself. Then the flame said something that bugged me.

"Like a child lives in a world they create, so does the mind of men." I wasn't too sure what it meant by that, but before I could think about it, the flame started to push towards me forcing me to walk backwards, away from the wall.

Watching the wall of life get swallowed by the shadows the flame somehow turned my attention to my feet. I noticed that I was not wearing any shoes and that the ground was wet and bobbed beneath me. A sense of unbalance overtook me and I almost threw the flame out of my hands. It was like trying to walk in quicksand. Every step I took felt like my foot was going to sink into the ground.

"Don't forget my presence," said the flame, "you will not fall."

At that moment the bobbing of the ground calmed. After regaining my composure the blue flame gently pulled downward toward the ground putting me in a squatting position. The light from the flame uncovered the blackness from the floor and exposed a deep blue ocean. I was walking on the ocean surface. I was in fact walking on water. My mind was racing at this point being unable to understand where I was. I gazed at this ocean floor taking in the beauty of it's the deep blue.

" Please look up."

Tearing my eyes away from the ocean floor I looked up to see what looked like a floating window frame. No lighting was around it and somehow I could see it without the flame's light. Unsure if I was supposed to go to it, I asked the flame.

"Go, look through the window." It responded.

I walked up to the window frame and stuck my head through it. I saw what appeared to be me a few feet away. Then I noticed this hulking creature on his shoulders. It was the vilest thing I have ever seen in my life. The creature had the shape of a human body but was hairless. It had talons like a hawks where the fingers should have been that dug into my reflection's shoulders. Its teeth protruded from its torn up mouth, which was unable to contain the sharp daggers. The creature's skin had a grey tint with black spots that look like deep bruises all over its body. What made it worse was that the skin was decaying. Even though I was at a distance from this thing, I could smell its stench from where I was. It was the worst smell I had ever smelt before. It was like vomit, blood, feces and urine all mixed together with rotting meat. I could not hold back the urge and vomited all over the ocean floor. All I could vomit was foam. As I watched this thing a piece of its rotting flesh fell to the ground and it whispered something into its prisoner's ear.

My reflection then desperately fell to the ground and shoveled the flesh into his mouth. This was so disgusting to watch. Seeming satisfied, he got back up and started walking away. I backed away from the window in fear, letting the blue flame out of my cupped hands. My legs could barely support me because they were trembling so badly.

"What was that- oh my god I don't-"I couldn't think or talk fluently, the image of me eating that was burned into my mind.

I covered my mouth with one hand as tears began to stream from my eyes down my cheeks. The flame did not respond, instead started to fade away.

"No! N-n-no don't leave me here!"

The darkness reclaimed the room. I was alone and scared for my life. I started weeping, hoping that the light would come back for me.

I suddenly started falling as the floor under me gave way. I was falling into god knows what as it was pitch black. I wanted to faint. I wanted to escape where I was and just faint. Falling so fast was so intense I thought that my limbs would start breaking off. As if someone turned on a bright light in a dark room, the world around me was revealed. I was plummeting to a busy city with narrow streets and towering buildings. Wind blowing my tears behind me I got closer and closer to my demise. I couldn't scream at all. To not be able to scream was like being burned and told not to move. About to smash into the concrete of the sidewalk I shut my eyes closed tight as if it would soften the impact. I felt my body abruptly stop falling. I slowly opened my eyes and noticed my body landed on the street while my head landed on a curb.

"A-Am I paralyzed?" I thought to myself fearing the worse. I moved my arms out from under me, then my legs. I slowly stood up and felt relieved that I was ok.

"How did I survive that?" I wondered while taking in my surroundings.

Looking around I noticed something strange. It was as if I was seeing the world through a heavy mist. The sun was out in full force yet the city itself seemed very dimly lit.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a group of people staring at me. Some were women who appeared to be dressed in business suits ready for work in a big company. Others where casually dressed men and children, even a few homeless people. From the lavishly dressed people of power to the lowest of human society and their rags, they all stared at me with the same empty eyes. Each of them carried their own abomination on their shoulders like the reflection of me in the window frame. Just the site of those things made me want to gouge my eyes out. The creatures on the people's backs were whispering a strange tongue into their ears with strange clicks and exaggerated moans. Hearing this stung my ears. I didn't understand why they let those things sit on them. Why act like a slave to those beasts. It was as if they couldn't see the creatures on their backs. As I looked into the crowd I became terrified as I saw some of the people morphing into the beasts that stood on their backs. They arched their backs, talons ripping through the fingers and bladed teeth tearing through the lips. The eyes' dilating to black was the worst. It was there that a human being was lost and a demon was born. The monstrosities then glared at me angrily. I was paralyzed with fear. I couldn't move. They didn't charge me, though; they just sat there and glared. Why am I here? Why is all of this happening to me? At that moment, a gust of wind blew through the city and thrust me up into the air. The wind continued to propel me up toward the sky leaving the city behind. I cried tears of joy that this wind saved me from that hell I was seeing. I kept flying upward till I passed the clouds and was suddenly sucked back into the darkness I used to enter that nightmarish place.

I was back in the pitch black room. I felt the water underneath my back. I just lay there weeping. It was the worst, most terrifying experience of my life. Nothing in the world could compare to this fear that flooded my body. My mind was tormenting me with the images of those soulless people and their captors. I felt like I was crying for an eternity when a dim light started to shine behind me revealing some of the ocean floor. I quickly turned around and saw the blue flame floating there as it did when I first saw it. The floodgates of my heart burst open letting so many kinds of emotions flood my body. I couldn't describe what exactly I felt, but it was a mixture of joy, fear and relief. Like a child seeing their dad after a long time, I stumbled onto my feet and ran to the flame. I cupped it in my hands and held it close to me as I cried heavily. It was as if I became whole again, that the missing piece of me was found.

"Where did you go?" I yelled at the flame between sobs. "Why did you leave me?"

After a silent pause I heard in my heart," I never left you."

I saw myself hitting the street after falling and the angry glares of the morphed people flash in front of my eyes. Without the flame telling me, I knew it was the flame that protected me from the fall. It also stopped those creatures from attacking me. Never in my life have I cried so much.

When I finally recovered, the flame then spoke to me,

" I needed to show you the reality that the world does not see."

I felt so small not understanding anything that was going on. As if looking over the questions in my head the flame began to explain,

" There are two worlds; the physical world that everyone can see and the spiritual world that you saw down in that city. The people you saw down there are the spirits of those in the physical world." I took this in and asked about the creatures on the spirits backs.

"Those creatures represent the wrong doings of the person, a person's sin. It takes form of a creature that controls the person."

"How could they not know they are being controlled?"

The flame responded," They become one with the sin and fail to see that. They think they are in control when in the spiritual world they are slaves."

I thought about this and thought back to the window frame. That thing was on my spirit!

"What about me?" I asked wanting to know and at the same time hoping the flame wouldn't answer.

"You are on a destructive path and I am here to change that. You have played around with your sin and are close to the edge." It felt like I was in court and the judge was reviewing my crimes.

"The lies you have spread to manipulate, the curses you placed on others with your words are the tools of your destruction."

Immediately I saw parts of my life that reflected on what the flame said. Out of petty jealousy I whispered foul things to my rivals. Lying, curving my words to what they wanted to hear and then hung them up to dry as a fisherman does his catch.

"But everyone lies! Everyone gets jealous!" I tried to explain my past actions.

"There is no justifying the destruction of other people." A wave of shame and guilt hit me. I knew I was wrong. Tears gathered in my eyes as I whispered,

"What can I do to change?" The words barely passed my lips.

"What is most simple is what people do not understand, or choose not to." Stop. Stop? You can't just stop!

"Why can't you stop?" Questioned the flame.

"I'm not sure." I really had no idea why.

"It's because you love the sin. You love what it can do for you. Without it you are afraid you won't be able to live the way you want anymore." This struck the core of my being hard.

I felt such heavy conviction. The flame was right. I was afraid to let go.

"Remember everything I have told you," said the flame," take it to heart and never let it go."

Without warning the room shook violently, then paused, then shook again.

"What is going on?" I yelled terrified of what was to come.

"Acknowledge my presence and I will be with you," Another violent quake," and when I am with you," I focused on the flame pushing away what was happening around me," you will not fall."

With this a great force launched me into the air and the flame instantly disappeared. As if gravity rejected me I continued to fly in the darkness. Foreign voices filled the room in frenzy. It was muffled and I could not make out what they were saying.

"Clear!" screamed a voice.

My eyes bulged open when a shock was sent through my chest. I saw two blurry figures over me. A heavy wet cough erupted from my mouth allowing a path for the air around me to enter my lungs. I drew deep breaths, my chest heaving. I tried to lean forward but one of the figures put their hand on my forehead and pushed it back to the ground.

"Sir you have just been in an accident, relax and stay down."

I was so exhausted. I began to lose consciousness. The world slowly spun above me as everything faded to black.

Beep. Beep. Beep. I slowly opened my eyes as light from outside flooded through a window to the left of the bed I was in. I was in a white gown of some sort and had an IV in my arm. The beeping was the heartbeat monitor. The door opened and a nurse came in placing a clipboard at the edge of my bed and smiled at me then left. The room was quiet, a peaceful quiet. I could hear birds chirping outside my window. I tried to sit up but was still too tired. I rested my head on the pillow allowing my body to relax. I sighed heavily. I was back in the world. I did not come back empty though. Now I had what was missing all my life. I had my conviction. I had my eyes opened to the truth. I can change.