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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Supernatural · #2236640
Yes ghosts are filling the Earth, but Alec has messed things up even worse than that.
Ghosts filled the Earth. It was such a nuisance. There were so many of them that frequent jolts of intense cold were a part of everyone’s day. Since you couldn’t see them, they were hard to avoid. Alec Panagos gasped as another ghost passed through him.

“You know if you walk slower, you’ll give them time to get out of your way,” said his wife, Maya. She strolled beside him along the residential sidewalk toward the church.

“If I walk any slower, I’ll be going backwards,” said Alec. “Your advice might have worked in the past, but not anymore. Their numbers are increasing exponentially.”

“It makes sense, doesn’t it? If the number of living people is increasing exponentially,” said Maya, “shouldn’t the dead do so too? Perhaps being in Minneapolis matters too.”

Alec looked at her with raised eyebrows.

“Sure, and I’ll also bet you,” she said, “cities have more ghosts than rural towns.”

Loudly beating drums erupted from the loudspeaker at the Temple of Tibiti, Queen of the Gods. A priest’s blaring chant joined in.

“Late again,” said Alec.

Maya tugged on his arm. “Come on, you coward. Defy the icy shocks and run.”

Their laughter halted as the couple entered the temple. A brown-robed priest at the door frowned and tapped his wristwatch.

“Sorry,” whispered Alec, and ushered Maya to a pew.


“Wake up!” Maya said, shaking him.

Alec cried out, then flopped back onto his pillow. His hand over his heart, he said, “You trying to give me a heart attack?”

“You were having a nightmare. You kept saying, ‘Shut it!’”

“Shut what?” he asked.

“How should I know? It was your nightmare.”

“Yeah… sorry,” he said. “Go back to sleep, my love.”

Looking upward in the dark, Alec pondered his horrific vision. The gate to Hell stood open. In its entrance Maweth, gatekeeper of the underworld, summoned forth daemons. It was all so vivid! Glowing embers swirled in the air. There was a stink of corpses and sulfur. It repulsed him. Alec wondered, had he ever smelled anything before during a dream? No.

A tiny, faint light appeared on his side of the bed. He scooted towards Maya. Growing ever brighter and larger, a winged man materialized. His eyes burned like two suns. Alec’s own eyes watered while he squinted into the brilliance.

“You have been summoned,” declared the being.

Maya was still asleep. Was he dreaming this?


The compulsion to follow was irresistible. Despite his terror, Alec rose, pulled on jeans and a black T-shirt from the floor. Once he’d tugged on his sneakers, he followed the man into the light.

“Where are we going?”

“To see Maweth, maker of an abomination. Behold, we arrive.”

They entered a large, dark sanctuary. Circling a forge, a group of men, women, and children stood watching a blacksmith stir a small, molten pan of metal nestled in the coals. All wore black robes. The adults wore golden crowns. A tall, black-haired, bearded man raised his arms and shouted, “Give of your selfishness to Maweth.”

Each person came forward, cut their arm, and dripped blood into the molten metal.

Alec recognized the dark man as the demon from his nightmare. Couldn’t the demon see them? His companion must be veiling them somehow, since the ritual continued.

“Give of your hate to Maweth,” shouted the demon.

One at a time, each person cut their left wrist and let their blood dribble into the bubbling metal.

“Give of your evil to Maweth!”

With that, each adult slit the throat of a child. The blacksmith walked with the glowing cup in a clamp handle around the circle of crowned adults. Each squeezed a sopping cloth of a child’s blood over it. When his journey was complete, the smith approached an altar. Upon it, a mold for the amulet lay ready. As the glowing metal poured into the mold, Maweth roared, “Honor the Pendant of Power! All hale the Key to the Door of Hell!”

With that, the people cast their crowns before the altar.

The winged man said to Alec, “Come.”


“Stop,” said Alec, halting in the passage of light. “I want to know what is going on.”

The winged man turned to face Alec. “Did you not see? Did you not hear?”

“Yes. It was vile, but that ceremony explains nothing.”

The being remained silent.

Alec asked, “Who and what are you?”

“I am Michael, an archangel of God.”

“Which god?” asked Alec. “There are lots of them.”

“There is but one God and His name is YHWH.”

“Never heard of him,” said Alec.

“That’s because you killed his Son,” said Michael.

Alec’s mouth fell open. “What? I've killed no one.”

“Didn’t you travel back in time to observe Judea in 23 AD?”

This shocked Alec. “That information is classified.”

“You caused a pestilence. Many thousands died, including Jesus of Nazareth. He was never the sacrificial Lamb of God. No one’s sins are forgiven.”

Alec didn’t understand what the archangel was talking about except for one thing. “I changed history?”

“Oh,” said Michael, “you did more than that. You changed the way the spiritual realm works. You eliminated the process for entry into Heaven. YHWH immediately slammed shut the doorway to Hell. Had He not, the evil one would have claimed all who had ever lived. For now, the dead sojourn upon the Earth.”

“But we just took videos,” said Alec, “a few environment samples, and left.”

“We are wasting time,” said Michael. “You witnessed tonight Maweth creating a key to unlock the gate of Hell. Once open, demons will rush forth to gather in all the billions of unredeemed souls. You must stop him. You must fix what you have broken.”

“How?” Alec felt despair. “I can’t fight a demon.”

“God has always chosen a way of weakness to defeat evil. The Words of God will destroy the Key. Come,” commanded Michael.


Alec stepped forward into a dark emptiness. He floated in a space without direction. Looking behind, the tunnel of light was gone.

Suddenly a nuclear flash burned and blinded him. Searing pain caused him to scream, but he produced no sound waves. How could he still be alive? Surely his body been vaporized? Was he a ghost?

The flash faded, revealing Maweth before a portal. His long loose hair fanned about his head like black flames. He wore a necklace. Its pendant glowed like a sun in his right hand. From the opening in the void, a hoard of fiendish skulls flew forth with monstrous shrieks.

Tibiti, Queen of the Gods, prayed Alec. There is no way I can stop this. Help me.

Maweth laughed, “Are you supposed to be the champion of YHWH?”

An invisible tug pulled Alec within a meter of the demon. Its stench of decaying flesh gagged him. Maweth laughed again.

What had Michael said? Alec thought. The words of God would destroy the key? But what were the words? Could he pray to this YHWH? He was a worshiper of Tibiti from his birth. She dwelled in the spiritual realm. Why wasn’t she here helping him?

Michael had said there was only one God? Perhaps Alec should try Him.

YHWH, Alec prayed, I’m sorry for messing everything up. I know nothing of your ways. Please speak your words through me.

Alec spoke without thinking, “You are loved.”

The pendant dimmed.

“Repent and mercy will be shown.”

A crack formed across the disk in Maweth’s hand.

“You can be forgiven.”

The key shattered into tiny shards. Maweth roared as he rocketed back through the gate, and the portal winked out.

Alec floated in the dark nothingness of the void and watched a door of light open.

“Come,” said Michael.


Alec followed Michael along the passage of light, leaping and dancing like a football player who'd made a touchdown. “We won!”

“No,” the archangel said. “You have only postponed the dividing of the sheep from the goats.”

“You realize,” said Alec, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Make straight the way of the Lord.”

“Nope,” said Alec, “that explains nothing.”

The angel stopped and turned. “You must fix the plan of God. The way he prepared for the salvation of people from the foundation of the universe. You must prevent the premature death of the Lamb of God.”

He’d have to convince his fellow physicists that the plague of 23 AD was not historical, but an unintended consequence of their visit. They were good people. Once they knew they’d changed history, they’d create a plan to reverse it.


A middle-aged gentleman in a business suit exited the 3T, Time Travel Transport, which had arrived 45 minutes earlier. It had taken the 3T physicists that long to look out a window and notice it on the back lawn of the University of Minnesota's Physics building. It was quite a shock to see it, since they were only now building their first 3T in the lab.

Alec and a few others from the project team approached to great him.

“Hello,” he said. “I’m Dr. Ryan Cline. I’m here to give you your antibiotics and antivirals. My, my, but you are going to make a real mess of things if I don’t.”


Loudly chiming bells erupted from the loudspeaker at the Saint Paul’s Methodist church.

“Late again,” said Alex.

Mary tugged on his arm. “Come on, you slacker. Defy the withering glares of proper society and run.”

Their laughter and fun halted as the couple entered the church. An usher frowned and tapped his wristwatch.

“Sorry,” whispered Alex, and escorted Mary to a pew.

Word Count: 1605
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