I dream. Or rather, I nightmare.
I am surrounded by my demons. Fear. Sadness. Anger. Disappointment. Resentment. Bitterness. Weakness. Guilt.
They kick. punch, bite. They laugh, goad, mock.
I lie on the barren dirt. I crawl into a fetal position. It is the only position I know. I wait patiently for the kicks. I know they will not kill me. I am only useful to them whilst I remain alive. If I were dead, they would have to find another energy source.
I close my eyes and wait. This will pass. It always does. I just need to wait.
The next kick does not come.
After a few moments, I dare to open an eye. And I see her feet.
Hope stands smiling at my assailants, and now I see that they have turned their attention to her.
They growl in unison and I have been forgotten in an instant.
She beams at them briefly, and then suddenly her visage changes. She stops smiling. Her delightful beam disappears. Her forehead crinkles in anger. Displeasure flows into her lips and then upwards into her eyes, which suddenly acquire an icy cold look of hatred.
I watch as she slowly draws a sword I never knew she carried. As I gaze upon her blue armour, the sword draws a white cold sheen. As I look upon it, it looks coldly back. This sword has never known any prisoners. Its purpose emanates slowly through the air.
She brings the sword towards the ground, and lazily begins to draw circles in the dirt with the tip. I watch in fascination. This angel – the one I love – has become something else. She has become a demon in her own right.
My companions hiss at her. And spring.
She moves effortlessly. Every motion acquires a deadly purpose. She knows no hesitation, and no fear. She dances in the air and as she does so, she opens the fabric of the air around her. The demons cannot help but enter, and as they do so wounds open in response.
They scream in hate and fear and pain. The white sword sings happily as it hisses through the air. As it sings, it becomes faster. And faster. And faster.
As I look upon my angel, I realise she has ceased to exist. She is now an image on the retina. A blur. A state of being. I now realise Hope’s purpose. She is a killer of negative things. And as I watch the blur, I am sure I hear a happy laugh escape. She happily fulfills the purpose for which she was designed. She did not come into existence to play with cats. She came into existence to further a divine purpose. One which she embraces.
The demons drop back . All except one.
It is bigger than the rest. It must have fed on me since I was born. That is 38 years times 365 days times 24 hours times 60 minutes.
Since my entry to this world, it has fed. And fed, and fed.
It hovers over me, and screams.
Maybe Hope will leave. Maybe she will allow this thing the one object it desires. Maybe she has calculated that she has done enough for one day.
No. Hope springs eternal.
She flows effortlessly through the air as my demon swings for her. She moves inside the arc of the demons swing and brings her sword upwards, hilt first. The hilt smashes into the demon’s jaw as she continues her flawless movement. She bestows a crushing kick to the back of its leg, and it drops weakly to its knees.
It lets a screech – mournful to behold. Hope stands over it, sword ready.
I feel pity in my soul and I hold out by arm in supplication.
Hope draws an icy gaze upon me before starting to melt.
“John. Would you like me to save this poor soul?” she whispers.
The demon stares at her sword before turning its gaze towards me. Its eyes are full of fear. It looks at me beseechingly.
My mind fills with conflicting emotions.
“Yes.” I finally whisper.
Hope looks upon me sympathetically.
“If it was a soul, I would.”
She swings and the white sword makes a gleeful sound. She watches the demon’s demise coldly, before turning back to me.
She sends a sign through the air, that, upon hitting me, throws me backward onto the ground.
As I cough and splutter, my eyes open and I see the sign burning the air in front of me.