Chapter 14

Oh, God, Andrew, where are you when I need you? I can't do this on my own! Monica thought desperately to herself as she began to feel her powerful determination and courage slowly abandoning her little by little as the demon Derek held her wrists forcefully behind her back. The tiniest bit at a time, the fear crept up on her like poison, slowly overtaking all other feelings in her heart and that same terrifying feeling Monica recalled experiencing when that gunshot rang throughout the store earlier that day returned like deja vu. It was a sensation she had wished herself never to experience again after this afternoon. The sentiment struck such horrifying recollections in her mind now that it was all she could do to just close her eyes momentarily to compose her thoughts and drive such memories from her mind. She knew already that this would never go away as long as she recalled what dreadful events had taken place today.

But Monica knew that no matter how much she thought about her dear Andrew, he wasn't coming back and now all she could feel was fear and regret for coming down here. She didn't want to be taken away from the Father. She didn't want to be taken away from Gloria and Tess and Raphael and everyone else she had ever worked with. She wanted to stay! She wanted to stay! But she knew there was nothing she could do about it now and she had no choice. She was being kidnapped and it was likely the others were about to lose her as well. With a horrible, gut-clenching feeling in the pit of her stomach, Monica realized she was lost. There was nothing more she could do to save herself or anyone else. She never even had a chance to say goodbye…

But it was then that a small, helpless voice suddenly cried out to her as if from nowhere it seemed. It rekindled the tiniest flint that sparked that bonfire back into Monica's heart once again and she knew, she had to keep fighting, no matter how hopeless it seemed. "Mommy!" The little voice screamed out from the darkness somewhere around her, crying desperately for her mother to help her. It was simple enough to tell just from the tone of voice of the little girl that she too had lost all hope but had it returned to her like a lost puppy brought back to its owner, when she had realized her mother was not as far away as she had previously thought.

Monica glanced around her frantically into all corners of darkness she could possibly lay eyes on, clearly searching anxiously for the little girl from whom that sweet, innocent voice was discharging. After a brief moment of silence, Monica knew her daughter was somewhere near by and she wasn't going to lose her again when she was this close. "Eliza!" She called as loudly as her lungs would allow out into the surrounding darkness in one last, desperate hope that somehow, somewhere, her daughter would hear her and follow her guiding voice and distinct, Irish lilt. "Eliza, I'm here! You're not alone!" She cried out in the hopes of the guiding words giving at least some sort of reassurance to the lonely, frightened little girl she knew was out there.

And it was then, as if from nowhere, that Eliza appeared out of the darkness. Racing forward to her mother bearing a tear-stained face and her little arms outstretched as if it was all she longed for just to hold onto someone who would comfort her and take care of her once again. All she wanted was her mother. But she never reached her and Monica's heart practically shattered like glass as Satan turned to see the little angel at the last minute and caught her in his own arms before she could connect with her mother, lifting her into his firm hold as she kicked and screamed for him to let her go and Monica didn't know how anyone could be so hateful and cruel as to keep a little child from her simplest desires, ignoring her desperate squirms and pleas of fright. Monica almost couldn't bear to watch as he held her tightly around the waist with both arms in a mere attempt to restrain her from a perfectly innocent desire.

Monica was then at a loss for anything more she could do for they were outnumbered by a near impossibility of demons and even the devil himself and she knew that minuscule spark of hope she was sure she had seen was beginning to be smothered in the vile ashes of evil. But then it came to her. Something she realized she had been a fool for not doing before. It was something that was so easy and came so naturally to her that she had not a single doubt in her mind that it would do the trick, even for as many creatures of the night such as these. She slowly closed her eyes, blocked out all chaos and cries of order around her…and she prayed.

"Oh Father, Almighty Father in Heaven, help us now. Carry us away from all harm on Your glorious wings of grace and love. Please Lord, we need You now. I know I have been imprudent lately with all that has happened, and I know You will take care of Andrew no matter how much I miss him. I will never stop loving him, but I am willing to let him rest in Your hands now Father, and we trust You entirely with our existence. Get us out of here." She prayed up to the creator of the universe himself as she felt the words just come to her heart as if from nowhere she had ever been. She knew it was working instantly, for she could here the shouts and cries of the demons around her, begging her to stop, but it was too late for them. She could already feel the undying love of her God flooding her heart and mind like sweet, smooth honey in a jar. It washed away all fear and doubt still left anywhere inside her until it had replaced it completely, and it was all she could feel.

And it was then that she opened her eyes again and tears of relief and rejoice suddenly began to race down her cheeks as she looked around her and realized, the alleyway had fallen silent and she and Eliza were left alone together here. The devil and his minions had gone and she realized her arms were free from Derek's hold as well. It wasn't such a frightening place when evil could no longer be felt in the air around them. Now she knew Andrew had been right. She was strong and had sent the devil himself away all on her own.

Monica then focused her gaze on her daughter, who stood opposite her in, what used to be the demons' surrounding circle. Eliza glanced about her in a perplexed manner for a brief second but soon came to the realization that it didn't matter at all what had just happened. What was important was the fact that she was safe now and she had her mother to thank.

She then shifted her own gaze over to her mother's as well and hadn't been staring back at her for long when an ear-to-ear beam of relief and elation split her pretty face and she raced across the minimal distance into her mother's awaiting embrace. Monica lifted her child into her arms the same way she had done when she'd first seen her again after the plane crash. Supporting her minimal weight completely in her loving arms as she held her and allowed the tears to pour out in wracking sobs of joy as Eliza followed her lead and cried into her mother's shoulder with such passion and relief that Monica had no doubt in her mind that she loved her just as much as she had loved Abby.

But it was then that she realized how frightened and lonely Eliza must have felt throughout this entire ordeal and she suddenly began to wonder if staying with her was really the best thing for her daughter. She loved her so much she was willing to do anything in her power as long as it kept Eliza safe…even if that meant removing herself from the picture.

After controlling herself with minimal difficulty, Monica lowered her daughter back onto the ground on her feet again and took a brief moment to wipe away any remaining tears she could keep away from her angelic features. She then lowered herself onto her knees on the ground in front of Eliza so she was eye-to-eye with her daughter and Eliza could see the solemn expression overtaking her mother's face as an indication that she was about to discuss something very serious with her. She then took one, deep, cleansing breath as if to make sure the tears didn't return as she tried to explain this to her little girl before beginning.

"Eliza, sweetheart…" She paused momentarily to compose her thoughts and plan out what she was going to say before continuing. "…Now I want you to think about this very carefully okay? I know this has been very scary for you and I will understand if you don't want to stay with me anymore. So I will take you to a shelter if you want me to." She informed the little girl sincerely as she stared directly across into that matching set of hazel eyes before her. But Eliza already knew the answer. She didn't have to think about it at all. Shaking her head almost violently, she forced a tiny smile of love for her birth mother before explaining herself. "No, I want to stay with you." She replied confidently as she wiped her own tears away. Even as an eight-year-old she knew she just couldn't leave now. She would miss Monica too much. She was her mother after all.

But Monica seemed unsure about this and took another long pause before confirming what her daughter really wanted. "Are you sure?" She inquired in response with such seriousness in her tone that it did make Eliza think about her answer a little further, but she still didn't change her mind at all and she nodded a reply as her smile grew ever so slightly. "Yeah, I'm sure. Actually, this is all kinda' exciting." She reassured her mother quickly as she glanced around her at the dark, menacing alleyway. It was then that Monica realized Eliza had not only inherited her eyes and smile, but apparently her nerves of steel as well. She was definitely a brave little angel, and Monica admired this in her child as she managed a smile of her own and nodded obligingly. She then rose to her feet once more and took her daughter's hand gently in her own, feeling her child's soft, young touch as she beamed down at her. She never knew she could love anyone or anything this much. But she did and she and Eliza then turned and walked with a confident stride out of the dark, hateful place and back out into the gentle moonlight of a glorious night that seemed to just shine with the power of God's love.

Monica knew she would never leave her daughter again after today and, as for Andrew, Raphael was right. She may very well see him again some day, but until she accepted the fact that he was gone, she would simply look up at the stars and remember everything he taught her about them and know that somehow, somewhere, he was looking out at those same stars, thinking of her…and smiling.

At The Beginning

A Song By: Donna Lewis & Richard Marx

We were strangers starting out on a journey

Never dreaming what we'd have to go through

Now here we are and I'm suddenly standing

At the beginning with you

No one told me I was going to find you

Unexpected, what you did to my heart

When I lost hope, you were there to remind me

This is the start

And life is a road and I wanna keep going

Love is a river, I wanna keep flowing

Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey

I'll be there when the world stops turning

I'll be there when the storm is through

In the end, I wanna be standing

At the beginning with you

We were strangers, on a crazy adventure

Never dreaming how our dreams would come true

Now here we stand, unafraid of the future

At the beginning with you

And life is a road and I wanna keep going

Love is a river I wanna keep flowing

Life is a road, Now and forever

Wonderful journey

I'll be there when the world stops turning

I'll be there when the storm is through

In the end I wanna be standing at the beginning with you

I knew there was somebody somewhere

Like me alone in the dark

Now I know that dreams will live on

I've been waiting so long

Nothing's gonna tear us apart

And life is a road and I wanna keep going

Love is a river, I wanna keep flowing

Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey

I'll be there when the world stops turning

I'll be there when the storm is through

In the end, I wanna be standing

At the beginning with you

Life is a road and I wanna keep going

Love is a river, I wanna keep going on

Starting out on a journey

Life is a road and I wanna keep going

Love is a river, I wanna keep flowing

In the end, I wanna be standing

At the beginning with you

THE END

Author's note: Hey! Come on, you didn't really think I would let the story just end like that did you? Fear Not! For the Lord said, 'let there be a sequel!'