Visions of Darkness

"Anthony..." a soft voice called from the other room. Anthony Conlon rolled over onto his side and stared at the closed door. He could hardly make out anything because the room was still pitch black.

"Yes?" he asked.
"I had a nightmare," the voice whispered.
"C'mon in, Phoenix," Anthony sighed. Phoenix entered, a pale white blanket wrapped around her. She layed down on a bed opposite his and rested her head on the pillow.
"What was it about?" Phoenix's older brother asked, turning to face her.
"I can't explain... Anthony… I only remember a bright light... and then everything fell into darkness..." Phoenix began, tears forming in her eyes.

"By fire, rain, torture, and one more. By darkness and things unseen."
Anthony sat in silence for a moment, watching the shadows dance on the walls.

"We're all okay, so it was just a bad dream. Try going back to sleep."
He heard Phoenix sigh.

"Anthony, I can't sleep. This nightmare was unlike all of the others. It was so real. Like a vision. I felt the pain. I lived the horrors. The darkness could touch. Breathe. Kill."
"It's not real. Go to sleep."

Phoenix woke up again in a cold sweat. The vision had returned. It was more complex and detailed this time. She tried to remember exactly what had happened...
A bright light. A voice that struck pure fear into her heart. Fear from what she had done. The concerts she had gone to. The witchcraft books she had read. The curses she had attempted upon others. The friends she had made in the dark alleyways or at the gothic gatherings. Her allies in the darkness… coming after her. Other people disappearing into the white light. Pain...
She couldn't remember anymore. She felt a headache coming on. She stumbled out of the bed and into the bathroom, looking into the mirror. A pale, lifeless looking girl stared back at her. Green eyes that looked as though the life had been drained from them. Auburn hair appeared as flames engulfing the head. A slim figure that hardly looked human. Suddenly, the figure shifted. The hair became black as midnight, the eyes a fierce red. Across the lips formed a wicked grin. An evil cackle filled the room.

"STOP!" Phoenix screamed. The figure in the mirror reached out an arm, as if it was coming to claim Phoenix's soul.
She stepped back until she hit the wall, pain piercing her mind.

"Go away! You're not me!" she exclaimed.

"GO AWAY!" She yelled with more conviction this time. She ran foreword, smashing her right hand into the mirror with all her might. The pain hit her and she began to cry. She watched as the blood ran down her arm in torrents.
Then, Anthony ran in.
"Phoenix! I heard a scream. And a crash. Are you okay?" he asked, wrapping her in a brotherly hug.

"The mirror. That face... Anthony, look in the mirror." She sobbed. Anthony looked at her inquisitively.

"The mirror...?"

He let Phoenix go, and went into the bathroom to investigate. All he saw was a broken mirror; some pieces were covered with blood.

A suspicion rose deep in his mind. He knew her lifestyle, the things she had done, the concerts she had gone to, what she read, the friends she had made. She has gone astray from the Father… Anthony looked to the sky, his eyes shut tightly. He tried to hold back tears as he prayed over Phoenix.

Anthony grabbed his sister's right hand. "What did you do?"

"I broke the mirror. Anthony... it was after me!"

"What? Phoenix what are you talking about? What was after you?" Anthony asked. Phoenix didn't respond. She only stared past him at the broken shards of blood stained glass.

"Phoenix!" Anthony shook her shoulders gently. Still no response.

The shards of glass. The red... Those eyes... The eyes that haunted her dreams, sparking the nightmares. The eyes that caused the sleepless nights and started the horrid visions. The shadows that lurked in the darkness...

She couldn't get her mind away from those eyes. They always watched...always haunted her.

"Phoenix..." Anthony called to her. She stared into his river blue eyes, her own eyes glazed in fear.
"Anthony, it is coming..." she whispered.
"Phoenix...we're going. There is something seriously wrong," Anthony retorted. He grabbed her wrist and headed for the door.

"Where are we going?" Phoenix asked coldly.

"We're going to a place of refuge, a sanctuary; somewhere where you can be safe. We're going to the One who can look over you."
"NO!" Phoenix screeched in a voice that shocked even her. Anthony's grip tightened and he took her to the car. Their destination: Anthony's church. She screamed bloody murder.
Anthony was grateful when he could finally get her into the church building. He told Pastor Mark what had been happening.

"Please, say you can help her," Anthony begged.

"I really and truly can't; but I know the One who can. Let me speak with her alone," Pastor Mark said, gazing back and forth between the girl and her brother. The minister was on the shorter side, so he stood a mere few inches taller than Anthony. He had hazel eyes, and if you stared into them long enough, you could see that he had witnessed the horrors of the world. His once jet black hair was now showing age.

Pastor Mark took the girl into a back room and tried to talk to her. The answers she gave to his questions were broken and hardly understandable.
"What do you see?" Pastor Mark asked. He needed to know if his suspicions were fact.
"Sometimes, when I look at someone, I don't see their outer appearance. I see... something different. It is like a horrific mask that is slowly consuming them. Eyes of demons... smirks that scream evil... like...their soul. People are not as innocent as they seem. Everyone has a distorted side. Even me. And mine is what scares me the most. It's what I see when I look in the mirror. I don't see an auburn haired, green-eyed girl. I see this midnight black haired, evil red-eyed demon. And...she tries to get me... get my soul..." Phoenix's eyes glazed over yet again, and her voice seemed to shift.

"Everyone has a distorted side. You could die any moment. I know the horrors that await. You can't escape eternity and judgment." Phoenix's body began to bend and twist into unnatural positions.
Pastor Mark had just about all the evidence he needed. He locked his eyes on Phoenix, no, whatever was taking over Phoenix's body. Boldly, the minister spoke to her, both sides of her, and then rushed out to get help.
"Anthony, your sister is indeed possessed. She sees things that are not from this world. Things mortal eyes are not supposed to see. The blood of Jesus is our only hope! We must plead the blood."
"Will it hurt Phoenix?" Anthony asked, thoroughly concerned for his sister.
"I don't know. It should mostly hurt the demon!"
"We do what we must."
Pastor Mark and Anthony went into the back room. By now Phoenix was shooting out screams and vile words. He heard screeching from his sister and prayers being repeated by Pastor Mark.
The building grew dark and Anthony could feel an unnatural presence. The screeches grew louder and Anthony was forced to cover his ears.
Pastor Mark's prayers only got louder with the screeches. "Satan, you have no authority in this place! The blood of Jesus Christ is against you!" The demon-possessed Phoenix mocked the pastor. She imitated his prayers and jeered.

"The Christ is nothing against me! You just wait until the Day of Judgment when your so-called God condemns you to eternity in hell!"

"Jesus, we plead the blood over her soul!" Pastor Mark shouted before the cross. "Demon, we command you to leave her, NOW!"

Anthony was beginning to feel as if all hope was lost. He went out to the church courtyard and looked towards the top of the church, into the dark sky. Something like flames soared across the horizon.

"What the….." Anthony did a double take. In the blink of an eye, whatever it was had disappeared. It was then he realized it had become deadly quiet. The screeches ceased. The loud prayers simmered to whispers of thanksgiving.

Anthony went back into the church and stared at his sister, lying on a table before the cross.

She looked so lifeless, so pale.

"Is she…alive?" Anthony asked, weary of the answer.

Pastor Mark nodded vaguely. It had taken lot of energy and faith to cast that demon out.

Anthony watched his sister intently.

"Wake up. Please wake up…" he pleaded silently.

Phoenix lay still.

"C'mon God. I know You're with us. You took it this far, please don't let her die. Please…" Anthony was desperate. He stared at Phoenix, hoping for a miracle.

Phoenix's eyes flickered open. Red was no where to be seen –her eyes were green again!

"PHOENIX!" Anthony exclaimed, hugging the girl tightly. Phoenix hugged him back weakly. "Anthony…where…where am I?"

Mark 16:17

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons…