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#5 The Guardian—Julie has a near-death experience, during which she encounters a guardian angel. But is this "angel" what it seems to be? Or is it something terrible in disguise? In the ultimate test of Julie's emerging faith, she must learn to trust God and heed his guidance in discerning spirits.
The group groaned.
"I feel like I've already been there," Philip said, rubbing his neck.
The others agreed as they headed out of the darkened house and into the brisk early morning air. They still couldn't quite take it all in. What had started off as a simple séance in a deserted mansion had ended up as a major showdown between good and evil.
"I still don't get it," Krissi, the group's
full-time beauty and part-time airhead, exclaimed. "I mean, so much stuff was going on; it was like a crazy, mixed-up dream, all jumbled and everything."
Rebecca took a deep breath of the cool air and slowly let it out. No way was that a dream, she thought.
Ryan had been watching her expression, and he reached out and gently pulled her toward him. It had not been a dream for him, either. Or for Scotty. The three of them had just fought the battle of their lives. Everyone else had been distracted by illusions and hallucinations, but these three had fought with everything they had. And then some.
It had been close—too close at times—but God had used the three of them to literally beat back the forces of hell.
As they headed down the sidewalk to their cars, Priscilla, the only adult in the group, turned to Rebecca. She hadn't spoken since they left the upstairs room. Now her voice was hoarse with emotion. "Becka ... ," she faltered. "Without your help ... if you hadn't shown up ..." She looked down to the ground and shook her head, unable to finish.
Becka nodded. Nothing more had to be said. As a channeler of the spirits, Priscilla had been in the most danger. True, Krissi, Philip, Darryl, and Julie had also been attacked, but their fight was more on an emotional level. The evil had actually entered Priscilla's body, so her battle had been more physical. And more violent.
Julie tossed her thick blonde hair to the side and motioned toward the eastern sky. "Hey, check it out." The horizon was already showing signs of pink and orange. "Can you believe we were in that place all night?"
"It felt longer than that," Darryl said, sniffing loudly.
"Anybody for breakfast?" Scott asked. "I'm starved."
"You're always starved," Ryan joked.
"Hey, we deserve it," Scott said, doing a mock karate kick and a couple punches in the air. "We beat them bad boys bad. If you ask me, it's time for a little victory celebration."
Becka winced. She loved her brother. She just wished he would do something about that ego of his. She sighed. Then again, he was a guy, so what could she expect?
"You kids go ahead," Priscilla said. She pressed the remote alarm on her key chain, and her car gave a little beep-bop. "I'm really exhausted."
The group nodded in understanding.
Priscilla, better known as the Ascension Lady because of the New Age bookshop she owned, climbed into her white BMW. She turned the ignition and gave a little wave as she pulled off. The group waved back and watched her disappear down over the hill.
Then slowly, one by one, their gazes drifted back to the mansion. There it stood on the hilltop, absolutely quiet, absolutely still. No more shadows fighting in the window, no more screams echoing down the hallway. Everything was normal, just as it should be. Just as it would always remain.
Still, there were the memories... .
"Well," Philip finally broke the silence, "I think I'd better call it a night, too." He held a hand out to Krissi and she took it.
"Sounds good to me," she said.
"What about the eats?" Scott asked.
Philip shook his head. "Some other time. Maybe we can get together tomorrow or something."
The others agreed, and Philip and Krissi started across the street toward his car. Halfway there, he turned back to Julie and called, "You riding with us?"
"Yeah," Julie answered, "I'll be right there." She turned to Becka, then reached out to take both of her hands. There was a moment of silence as the two friends held each other's gaze. "I don't know what all happened in there," Julie said quietly, "but I think we'd better talk. The sooner the better."
Becka held her look.
Julie continued, "I know we've teased you about your faith and everything, but part of me really takes that stuff seriously. And if what I saw in there really happened ..." She hesitated, then shrugged. "Well, I just think it's something we need to talk about."
Becka nodded, hiding her excitement. This was something she had wanted to do for months. "Sure." She shrugged. "Anytime."
Julie gave her a quick hug, then turned and headed for the car. Philip and Krissi had already climbed inside and cranked up the radio nice and loud. It was an oldies station. There was something about the old-time music blasting into the early morning that seemed reassuring. As though it reminded everyone that the world was still turning, that life still went on.
Ryan pulled Becka closer, and she looked into his blue eyes. Even though strands of jet-black hair hung in them, there was no missing their gentle sparkle—or that killer smile that always made her knees just the slightest bit weak.
"You did OK," he said, grinning.
"Yeah," she answered softly. "We both did."
The grin grew. They turned toward his car, a white Mustang. Scott and Darryl stood beside it, stomping off the cold and waiting. "Yes sir," Scott was saying, "a three-egg omelet and a stack of cakes will do me just fine."
"And a side of onion rings," Darryl added.
Becka started to comment, but the words never came. She wasn't sure if she saw it first or heard it, but an older gray car appeared out of nowhere. It roared over the top of the hill with only its parking lights on.
Becka spun to Julie, who hadn't quite finished crossing the street. The music from Philip's car was so loud she didn't hear the other vehicle.
"Look out!" Becka cried. "Julie, look—"
But Julie didn't have a chance. By the time she saw the car, it was on top of her.
Everything seemed to go in slow motion... .
Julie tried to dodge the car, but the right headlight caught her in the thigh. The impact flipped her into the air until she was sailing over the hood, headfirst. She turned her face, and for the briefest second her eyes connected with Becka's. They were filled with pain and confusion.
When Julie came down, she missed the hood.
She did not miss the windshield.
Her neck and left shoulder smashed into the passenger's side with a dull, cracking sound. She tumbled across the roof, rolling once, twice, before being thrown to the pavement with a loud "Oof!" as the air was forced from her lungs. Then she lay there. Unconscious. Unmoving.
"Julie!" Becka screamed. "Julie!"
The car never slowed.
By the time the paramedics arrived, Julie had lost too much blood.
Becka had been the first to reach her friend's side. She was the one who insisted nobody move Julie in case her neck was broken. She was the one who ordered somebody to find a house and call 9-1-1. And she was the one who used her first-aid training to apply pressure to Julie's open wound and try to stop the blood. But the gash was too deep.
"Stay with me," she whispered into her friend's ear. "Don't go! Stay with me, Jules, stay with me... ."
Becka was so involved that she didn't hear the EMS vehicle pull alongside them.
"Please ... there's so much I've got to tell you... ." She didn't hear her friends describing the accident to the paramedics.
"Stay with me! Come on now, fight! You wanted me to tell you about God, and I will, but you have to stay with me. Oh, God ... do you hear me? Stay with me!"
She barely heard the paramedics speaking to her. "OK, sweetheart, we've got her now. We'll take over."
Becka didn't move. "Please, Jules, don't go, don't go... ."
"Let us in there ... ," the voice insisted, but it wasn't until she felt Ryan's firm hands around her shoulders and heard his voice that Rebecca finally allowed herself to be pulled away.
"It's OK, Beck. You've done all you can. It's OK."
Even then, she wouldn't leave. Her hands were covered with her friend's blood, her jeans were stained, and her cheeks smudged—but Becka remained, not caring how she looked, hovering over the scene. She watched as the paramedics took Julie's fading pulse and read her falling blood pressure. She prayed as they shoved IVs into the collapsing veins, lifted the limp body onto a gurney, carefully slid it into the vehicle, and shut the doors.
The one thing Becka didn't do was cry. Not a drop. Until the ambulance started to pull away. Then the sobs came. Hard and gut-wrenching. She could feel Ryan take her into his arms. She could hear him fumble for the words. But nothing helped.
"Why didn't I warn her?" she choked.
"She should never have come with us."
"Becka, you tried—"
"You, me, Scotty—we're Christians! We can fight this stuff, but—"
"What are you saying? You don't believe what happened out here ... you're not saying it's connected with what happened in the mansion." It was as much a statement as a question. Ryan was new to all of this, and there was a lot he didn't understand.
Becka didn't have an answer. "I don't know." She buried her face into his chest. "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know... ."
It was only a dream. A hallucination.
But it was the most vivid dream Julie had ever experienced.
She was riding in an ambulance looking down at a cute paramedic. He was hunched over some poor soul, working for all he was worth, but the patient wasn't cooperating.
She'd never been inside an ambulance before so she knew she was having to make up a lot of the stuff she saw. For the most part, she was impressed with her imagination. Everything seemed so real, so lifelike.
"No breathing! No pulse!" the paramedic shouted up to the driver. "I'm starting CPR!"
Her dream-self watched as the paramedic ripped open a blue-and-green flannel shirt. His head and shoulders blocked the victim's face, but Julie noted with interest that the person's shirt looked exactly like one she had picked up at an after-Christmas sale.
The paramedic placed his hands on the center of the patient's chest and began to pump vigorously. A growing curiosity tugged at Julie. She leaned past his shoulders to get a better look at the patient's face. It was pale. Lifeless ...
And it was hers.
Oddly enough, Julie felt no panic. She experienced no fear. If anything, she felt a growing sense of peace. She remembered the speeding car—remembered sailing over the hood and smashing into the windshield—but none of that mattered. She was even losing interest in the paramedic's attempts at pounding life back into her chest.
Instead, Julie's attention was drawn to a entle stirring. A breeze. It was barely noticeable at first, but it grew stronger by the second. It seemed concentrated around her upper arms and shoulders.
And then she saw it.
It wasn't wind, but a light. It was a light that gently touched and brushed against her shoulders. She turned to watch. Slowly, the light began to take shape until it had formed a person. Or something that looked like a person. Julie could make out a head and long flowing hair. Then a face, then a nose, and a mouth. The mouth wasn't smiling. But it wasn't angry, either.
And, finally, she saw the eyes.
It had been a long time since Julie had seen such tenderness and compassion. But they weren't weak eyes. They had a strength, a depth, and a love—the deepest love she had ever seen. Julie knew these eyes were true, she knew they could be trusted.
She felt a gentle tugging at her shoulders. The being never said a word, but he was making it clear that it was time for Julie to leave.
She took a final look at her body. Funny, but everything seemed so useless, so pointless. The clothes, the hair, the popularity. Weren't school elections coming up in just a few weeks, and hadn't she been fretting about whether or not to run for office? Julie almost laughed. None of that mattered now. It just seemed silly and vain.
Yes, it was definitely time to leave.
Julie looked into the creature's shining face. He nodded and they began to rise.
"Come on, sweetheart. Don't you quit on me!" the paramedic muttered in concentration. Julie looked back at him. He sounded so worried ... but the being was waiting, so she turned to follow.
Posted January 14, 2004
Posted November 20, 2002
This is my favorite book I have ever read. It teaches you about the battles of heaven and hell, and that the Bible will keep you save you from demons.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 1, 2002
I think this book is very good. It's really cool how they can beat Satan with their faith. You learn a lot more about the forms and ways of contact Satan and his little demon guys can take. This book is awesome!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2001
I loved this book!All the Forbidden Doors books are great ,but this one was the beginning to the really great ones. In here you learn more things about what the devil can do. You really get in to this book. You also learn more about 'the perfect angel' Ryan. He is still cool though. This is such a great book! Bye it TODAY!!!!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.