Lead Us Not

Fever raged. Ice and fire, both burned through her blood until her screams ran out and she could do nothing but lie still, exhausted.

Rayne had no idea how long she’d endured this agony. Time had no measure, day and night no distinction. All she hoped for were those moments of reprieve. They happened on no set schedule, but without warning the pain would ease.

No sound penetrated the empty cabin except for her laboured breathing. And then the voice came.

Your pain can end. Every moment you suffer is your choice. Give in to what we offer and you will be free.

It was a woman’s voice, soft and soothing. Hearing her offer, Rayne knew she preferred the pain. She refused to give in. Her nature demanded she struggle to overcome. Everything she was, everything she hoped to be and achieve-none of it would allow her to succumb to the voice’s wishes.

An angel could not give into temptation.

Foolish child, the voice continued, her tone still smooth and reassuring. How do you see this ending? Do you believe I will release my claim on you in the face of your stubbornness? Your stubbornness is one of the reasons I’m here.

Rayne screamed again, this time out of frustration and not pain. Her will would not be broken with such simple arguments.

Anger fuels you to resist. It makes you strong. Imagine the strength you’ll have once you embrace it completely. Such base emotions were not meant to be denied, to be buried under silly ideals of altruism and kindness. To give to others is to deny yourself and no one should be selfish enough to require that of you.

“It’s my choice,” Rayne mumbled. The fever made it difficult to speak, but the need to say the words aloud helped her push through. “To face you so others don’t have to.”

A hint of the pain returned and Rayne gasped, her fingers gripping the edges of the bed until her knuckles cramped.

The voice laughed. We are everywhere. You think by accepting this trial you suffer alone? You are naive.

“No. I am doing what I was made to do.”

The burning in her veins subsided again and Rayne panted in relief. The voice was silent and for one brief, blissful moment, Rayne wondered if she’d won. Had her words broken the spell of the demon’s influence?

Sweat trickled down her brow and her vision cleared, the room creeping back into view. Through the window on her right, a full moon poured its light over her, a healing light that cooled her skin and made it possible to breathe.

The truth is not yet clear to you, young one, the voice returned. Rayne froze and fought the fear that threatened to clench her heart.

You do not ask how I reached you. For one such as yourself, it should not be so easy to penetrate your mind. Are you not curious?

The fever continued to ebb and Rayne carefully sat up. “I didn’t want to indulge you by asking questions. It doesn’t matter how you got to me, only that I did not give in.”

Your Father gives you many great gifts. Love, protection and the strength to fight darkness from creeping in. So how does such darkness enter your blood so quickly? Do you not see?

“I am being tested, but my will prevails.”

For now, the woman conceded, humour in her words. But do not think I’ve given up. You’ve chosen your Father today, but how long can you deny the wishes of your Mother?

 

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