03 Thomas Year 0 Day 33 AV
Known Vampiric Biology
The ingestion of blood feeds the life source of the creature as it creates energy for their biological structure.
Thomas’s fingers gripped the bricks with more force than should have been physically possible. He no longer felt any connection to his previous life. His memories of his family, his past habits, and even his former self were losing their fondness as he developed an understanding of his superhuman powers.
Hundreds of feet in the air, he hung onto a skyscraper, watching the citizens of the town scamper about in the middle of the night like an overturned ant mound. Having spent weeks living in the sewers, hiding from the sun in the depths of the city’s hell, Thomas enjoyed spending time up in the air, lingering over the city like a god watching his creations. That was a common topic in his mind, God. Over the weeks after his miraculous changes, he had considered what had been happening to him. With no real answers, he could only be thankful. Thankful to God that he still had not been arrested for his murders. He was forced out of his apartment, as it was crawling with police, but he was still grateful, regardless of how surreal his world had become.
He let go of his grip of the grey building, free-falling five or six stories before grasping a ledge, abruptly stopping his descent. Closer to the ground, the people looked more like a blurring glow. As the days had passed, people’s features became less and less distinct. Now, weeks since he had slept and days since he ate, all he could see was a glowing pulse within people who walked by. He had no hunger, at least not in the traditional sense. There were a few times where he tried to eat fast food, but it did not seem to give him the rejuvenation he was looking for.
To anyone below, Thomas must have looked like a gargoyle hanging from a window ledge. His skin was now as pale as the building itself; all the fat had melted off his body, leaving a lean, muscular specimen hanging from the structure, scoping out the world below. The layout of the city was ingenious from such a high vantage point. There were many center points throughout the design, with roads and neighborhoods connecting each point together. It resembled explosions instead of a simple grid. The library, the courthouse, the mall, the university… They all had their own dedicated areas. Thomas’s mind drifted away into the beauty of his hometown, allowing his body to lose focus. His grip slipped and he fell.
He nearly fell to the ground before he found another ledge to catch onto. His motion stopped immediately. He hung there for a few seconds and then dropped to the floor.
The moon was exceptionally bright that night, as full as it could have been. Thomas stepped out of the shadows of the buildings and joined humanity in the lanes of commerce, which had become an uncommon event for him. He spent much time lingering in darkness out of sight of the normal men who utilized the roads at night, hoping that he would remain unseen and free from persecution for his murders. The moonlight was invigorating, an abundance of get-up-and-go streamed through his body, tempting him to bounce up and down along the sidewalk, leaping over people’s heads to express his joy, but that was too much for him. He was not “that kind of” guy.
He spent his time quietly strolling along the street being as casual as possible, thanking God for the blessing of keeping him alive that fateful night. He always pushed down the desire to curse God for making him the way he had become and remembered to be thankful for what he had.
Suddenly, Thomas felt a rushing come through his neck as if all the nonexistent blood in his body was rushing into his head, creating a hot, stuffy feeling. He fell to his knees, afraid he was going to start oozing from the eyes. As he put his hands on his face, trying to push the feeling back in, he lost control. He was just a passenger in his human vessel.
Thoughts coursed into his mind, forcing him to look for the weak people who crowded his personal space. The visions he was seeing through his uncontrolled eyes began to mimic those of the daytime: colors were blurring together, lights were becoming intensely bright and the pedestrians around were nothing but bodies with glowing veins pumping blood through their spiritual machine.
He stood up. People seemed to be getting closer. They left only inches on either side of him and before he knew what happening, he was bumping into bodies. Tunnel vision, the scenery was gone, nothing but people hording near him.
Wanting to close his eyes to avoid the mind trip he was on, he desperately tried to regain control of his muscles, but it was to no avail. His body began to move, quickly, through the crowds, moving faster than he had ever traveled in a car. All he could see were bodies flying past him, like a motorcycle driving through a forest. There was body after body, a near miss. He soared through the sea of humans, and then suddenly, he stopped moving.
The background came into focus as the silhouette of a man stood in front of him, digging in a dumpster. There was no body, just some floating, glowing veins housed inside a manly shadow.
Thomas, still just a spectator in his own body, leapt up above the dumpster where he clenched a balcony ledge several stories above the alley. His feet swayed back and forth over the veins in the dumpster. Road kill on the ground of the alley accentuated the desperation of the supposed man looking for sustenance in the oversized garbage can.
The green steel that housed people’s discarded items shifted slightly left and right as a body began to take shape around the veins which had been floating in mid-darkened air. The veins faded and the lights returned to their former magnitude. Thomas felt that perhaps his disorderly nightmare was over.
He tried to move his foot in an attempt to regain control, but nothing happened. Seconds later, Thomas felt a growl growing from his throat and upper chest. The sound was subtle, hidden in the noise of the city, never alerting the dirty old man whose feet kept coming off the ground as he dug deeper into the garbage bin. He seemed to be favoring his right arm, as each time he tried to lift a huge piece of garbage, he would drop it back as he winced and recoiled from the offended arm.
Thomas looked to each side, his eyes searching for witnesses. Then his feet swung beneath him as his hand let go of the balcony. He fell with a sensation like airline turbulence until his feet landed squarely on the man’s back. The force of the fall caused the man’s ribs to crack on the edge of the dumpster.
Thomas, balancing on the man’s body, reached down and grabbed his victim by the chin, yanking to the side, pulling the man’s head a hundred eighty degrees, breaking the neck bones and leaving the head facing in the opposite direction.
The man was obviously dead as his body immediately went limp and Thomas, still with no control over his own body, squatted down and bit into the corpse’s neck. Feeling more and more energized each passing second, he inhaled the blood of the bum. He was not drinking or eating. He was pulling the blood into his lungs and his body began to feel invincible. The corpse quickly turned a ghastly pale and began to shrivel as Thomas withdrew all hydration from it.
When there was no blood left, Thomas stood up and hopped off the edge of the dumpster and onto the concrete. The wound in the man’s neck closed up right before Thomas’s eyes, leaving no scar. Thomas looked down to see the blood on his hands and his mind snapped.
Suddenly in control of his body once more, he began backing up, trying to escape from the realization of what had just happened. Thoughts pounded him from every direction. That’s my third murder. Now I’m eating people? What kind of monster am I? He took off running down the alley. His new sense of invulnerability caused him to recklessly run through the street without care for what was in the way.
He sprinted down the street, stepping on cars, leaping over bridges, nearly flying. What if I left evidence? I’m going to get caught. I saw the police at my apartment. They know I killed the other two. What kind of sadistic person does this? What kind of sadistic person have I become?
Every time his foot crashed onto the ground, he thought he heard another footstep behind him. He would not look back to see who was following him because he was afraid of who or what could keep up with him. Nothing would stop him. He continued sprinting, looking for refuge… somewhere… anywhere.
He leapt up a three-story building with only one handhold on the way up. On the top, he stopped to gather his thoughts. Doing his best to avoid the inevitable theories of his capture, he reflected about the last month.
Aware of his sensitivity to light and avoidance of the sun, he considered the obvious. Only a vampire drinks blood, avoids the sun, and has superhuman abilities. Although this thought would have shocked and frightened him months ago, it came as a relief now. Suddenly, he felt that he understood what was happening, realizing he was not insane, but a vampire.
He took a deep breath and looked up to the moon and spoke to his Creator, “Thank you, Lord! You have made me a vampire, a creature of the night. I do not understand why, but I will do my best to honor you.”
Thomas lay on the roof of the library watching the stars twinkle in the distance while he reflected on everything that had happened. Just the thought of what he had gone through enraged him to the point of physically shaking. It was the same question time after time. Why me? This is not what I wanted. I just want to live my life as normal.
Unfortunately, he knew this was no longer an option. He had abused his chance at a normal life and wasted every moment of it, never living up to his potential. Without telling himself, he knew that God was giving him another chance at living life. It may not be the chance he desired, but it was God being merciful and allowing him to not leave his life an utter waste.
The only issue he could not resolve was why he was forced to endure the inhalation of blood. Maybe it was karma forcing him to look at his life and consider the people he had harmed. The bum may have just been a symbol of all those who had suffered from the unholy life he had been living.
The experience of witnessing a brutal murder for cannibalism from a first-person perspective was one of the most traumatic experiences he had ever endured. The lack of humanity in the initial attack, the gore of forcing his teeth into the man’s neck, the whole ordeal had been animalistic. The lack of control left him not feeling human. He knew that he could not let himself go that long without blood again. As a vampire, he must find a way to feed.
How could he believe that God gave him the gift of a second chance, but still be forced to murder the innocent for such a basic function as consumption? Maybe this was his punishment for not letting the robbers take his life. Maybe this was all just a way for the Father of all men to prove he exists, to show Thomas his purpose in the world. He was confused and angry.
Thomas looked to the sky and shouted, “If you wanted me to know you existed, why didn’t you give me a sign? How about now? Give me a sign!” He fell to his knees on the asphalted street, an activity which would have left bruises and scrapes before now. But this night, his deadened vampiric nerves felt nothing. Looking left and right, he hoped to receive guidance, but it was no good. He was left kneeling in the road … waiting.
Just as Thomas was going to scream out that God must not exist, the sun began to peek over the buildings. The morning light took the useless breath out of Thomas’s lungs the same way a kick to the chest would. This was not a merciful God helping his child. He felt the sunrise was nothing more than extended punishment.
While Thomas was lying on the street with the first light of the day beating down on him with merciless pain, a beautiful vision appeared in front of him. Glistening in the bright reflections of the sun was the sign he was looking for, although he did not recognize it at the time. It was a small church. No large cathedral towers overshadowed the purpose of the house of worship. It was a monument to faith rather than a monument to man’s triumph over nature.
As Thomas felt his energy being sapped from his body, he stared at the small brown brick building in awe. The huge oak door stood open, inviting the masses to enter below the large stained-glass portrait of Jesus of Nazareth. Thomas pulled himself toward the Lord’s house, dragging his lower body in a military crawl, desperately trying to reach the sanctuary.
Upon arrival at the steps to the door, Thomas mustered up enough energy to stand and walk into the building. He stumbled a little as he passed the dark brown oak doors and entered the worship hall. The old wooden plank floors creaked as he took each labored step toward the next set of doors below a golden cross on the doorframe. The dingy, off-white walls persecuted Thomas, the unnatural, by securing an abnormal silence in the room as he made his way into God’s house.
The second set of doors flung open almost before Thomas touched them, revealing a room that could have been there for hundreds of years. It was the picture of worship from centuries before. The area was filled with pews, two rows, all facing the front of the church, their backs to the entrance where Thomas stood. Some old wooden benches were placed next to brick walls with a single window on each opening up to the outside world. The ceiling stood a good sixty feet up in the air adorning chandeliers lit by candlelight which swung softly in the breeze that blew in from the open doors.
There was no dust on the floorboards, at least not in amounts collected large enough to be seen. The light of the sun did not affect Thomas’s vision in the way it had been. He could see clearly as he followed the wooden planks along the floor all the way to the front of the church.
There, at the front, stood a large stone altar, wearing the cloths of the season. A white cloth draped over the stone reached nearly to the ground and an intricately designed green cloth was crookedly arranged on top of the white one.
A frail-looking man stood behind the altar looking into his oversized Bible. The man’s few stitches of white hair sat completely still upon his otherwise bald scalp. His wrinkles across the back of his neck and hands suggested that he might be as old as the church in which he worked in.
Just as the altar was, the man was clothed with a white robe under a green sash with a perfectly matching design. He faced a large stained-glass window of the Pearly Gates. They looked dark and ominous this early in the morning as the window faced due west and caught no morning sunlight.
To one side of the altar was an iron spiral staircase that led down into the floor. On the other side, a white door led to a small interior room that was obviously added on since the church was first built.
The man at the front of the church bowed his head to his Bible and clasped his hands together in prayer. He turned to see Thomas wearily standing in the back next to the last set of pews. The holy man shuffled his feet as he quickly made his way to where Thomas was standing.
Excited to help someone down on their luck, the priest began to speak to Thomas as he passed the first set of pews. “My son, please come in and sit down. This is a place of sanctuary for you, whatever your situation.” As he approached Thomas, he noticed how unnaturally pale his skin was and the odd shine of his hair. Even his eyes were almost colorless…
The man of God slowed his pace as the stranger who was standing in his church gave him an unholy feeling. His appearance and his presence seemed to be not of this world, but he kept telling himself “all of God’s children are welcome.”
“Please, sir, sit down. You look as though you need to rest. I am Father Timeus, the priest of this parish. Whatever your issues, we are here to help you,” the priest said as he came within feet of Thomas.
Thomas staggered to the side and flopped down in the last pew. He looked up at Father Timeus and saw fear in his eyes that normally only appeared when confronted with death itself. He worried that the priest knew he was a vampire and might not let him rest, but nonetheless, he spoke. “Thank you, Father. My name is Thomas. I have nowhere to go and I am exhausted.”
“Do not worry, my son. We take in anyone who is willing to let Jesus into their hearts. You are welcome here. We have some beds downstairs if you need one.” Timeus closed his mouth and peered into Thomas’s soulless eyes, silently asking God to make the demonic-looking man leave.
“Thank you. You are kind. I would love to lie down for a while.” Thomas tried to stand, but was still weak from the ambush he received from the sun minutes earlier.
Timeus put his hand under Thomas’s shoulder and helped him up. They slowly walked across the floor to the staircase in the front of the church, each step causing creaking more suitable for a haunted house than a church. Upon reaching the stairs, Father Timeus knelt down to open the door in the floor, as if they were leaving an attic.
The two men descended the staircase below the old floor of the church into a damp and dark room. The basement of the church looked like a dungeon with moisture creeping in through the concrete walls. The room was garnished with six cots set equidistance apart from each other in two rows. The ceiling had four beams to support the altar above. The only addition to the room was a single lightbulb hanging with a pull string.
The priest did not venture all the way down to the water-stained floor. Instead, he remained on the third to the last step and said, “Stay as long as you need. All of God’s children are welcome here.” With that, he turned and began making the climb back up the stairs, retreating from the unholy man. There was no welcome in his voice and it was obvious he did not want to spend any amount of time in the cellar of the church.
Thomas sat on the center cot and turned out the light. When the priest reached the top of the stairs, he closed the door, leaving Thomas alone in perfect darkness. He lay down on the cot staring up at the lightbulb, invisible in the blackness, but still swinging back and forth from the momentum Thomas had put into the object when he pulled the string. His eyes did not adjust to the darkness.
He lay totally still. It was the first time since he became a vampire that he did not feel like he was being followed. He still did not feel alone, but it was a comfortable, secure feeling this time.
The coldness started to overtake his body so he turned to his side and curled up into a fetal position. Although the room was much like the sewer system gutters, a concrete box, it had a different feel to it. It was cozy. Or maybe he felt different here since he could not see in the dark anymore. He felt more normal, tired, but normal.
He lay there for a long time; it felt like days, but he could not sleep. He had not slept since the transition, so it was not a surprise to him. It was more of a disappointment than anything else. But he was feeling better and he knew that his body needed that time to heal itself from the overworked night and the pain the sun caused that morning.
He let his mind wander for hours while he lay on that cot, allowing many theories to birth in his head. Most of the ideas fled his brain as quickly as they arrived, but one that stuck around was the realization that the church was God’s way of protecting him. He could have been thrown out. He knew that was what Timeus had wanted to do. He saw it in the priest’s eyes, but he was allowed to stay. He was given a chance to apologize to God for his sins. God was merciful after all. Finding the church was not a sign, but a conversation with the Lord himself, spoken through actions rather than words.
Once he came to these conclusions, he felt he had a purpose. God was not punishing him by turning him into a vampire. God’s divine plan for Thomas was no more a punishment than Job’s tribulations or Jesus’ crucifixion. His transition into vampirism was to save Thomas and turn him into a beacon of truth, a messenger of God.
Thomas’s attention was constantly diverted by the creaking of the floorboards above. Daily activities of the church required lots of movement inside the old structure of the building. It did not keep him awake, as he was not going to be able to sleep anyway, but his thoughts were not given the attention they deserved. It may have been a good thing; he felt his ideas should remain holy in the house of the Lord and that may not have been the case had he been allowed free reign over them.
The entire day had been spent in blackness within the small room with no adjustment by his eyes. He was left without his security light, the single point of entry in the sewer room where he had stayed. There was no such point of light in the basement and after what felt like an eternity, he decided to rise out of his tomb and return to the surface.
Ascending the staircase brought a familiar experience which had been absent for months. He felt as though he had to use some energy to get up the staircase, not strenuous, but it was more noticeable than running down the street or leaping onto balconies had been. Each step left a clanging sound echoing in the room below as his tattered and mildewing sneakers found traction on each stair. Reaching the top step, he lifted his hand above his head to push open the door to reveal the historic splendor of the church.
Emerging from his hole, Thomas felt like he was walking into a new world where tradition was beauty and faith ruled over logic. As he looked at the chandeliers hanging still from the lofty ceiling, he noticed the candles were not lit, yet it was light inside the building.
He looked to one of the side windows. It was still daylight outside. He turned to go back down into his pit when the light shining in the stained-glass mural of the Pearly Gates caught his eye. It was a glorious picture of ornate golden gates partially open to allow men to enter the splendor of heaven. In the center of the stained glass was a small circle of uncolored glass, leaving a tiny vision to the outside world. He took a deep breath and noticed he could feel his pulse for the first time since he became a creature of the night.
He bowed his head slightly and thanked God for giving him this chance, this second try at life. Pulling his head up from his brief prayer, he looked to his side to find Father Timeus speaking with a short woman. They stood at the back of the church just as he did when he first arrived. He could not hear their conversation nor could he sense their moods. After weeks of peering into people’s lives with no effort or permission, he felt as though he were missing an innate ability. He compared his lack of intensified senses to someone losing the ability to walk. He had been taking it for granted and felt crippled without it.
He moved away from the stairs and slowly crept toward the pair. He wanted to be anonymous and stealthy, but every movement his body intended to make caused the floor of the church to scream in its symbolic squeaks from the age of the old wood. The smallest movements threatened to blow Thomas’s cover as he tried desperately not to be noticed. His stare was intense and unwavering. He could not pull his gaze away. Something about the situation drew him to it.
The white cassock of the priest contrasted with the dark black hair of the woman he was talking to. She stood with a rounded back, a posture that gave her the image of being completely submissive. She mostly looked down at the floor. The occasional glance up at the priest allowed Thomas to see her features. She was still young, most likely in her late twenties, but there was obvious experience on her face. She bore the marks of a woman who has felt her fair share of pain from life.
The priest was emphasizing his conversation with hand gestures and constantly waved his hand over her head. Although he was a short man, he stood well over a foot taller than she. Had she lifted her head and squared her back, they may have rivaled each other’s height.
Thomas felt a strange connection to the woman. It was not a romantic love at first sight, at least not one that he recognized. The sensation was one of pride and love, something rarely felt outside of the relationship between a parent and their children. With no experience to draw from, he could not understand the feeling. He believed her to be beautiful, seeing past her scars and the time-worn effects to the true identity within. She either had an addiction she was battling or was starving to death, told clearly by the bones that left a clear outline through her skin over each part of her body.
She looked up past the priest and looked directly into Thomas’s eyes, causing him to abashedly look away, avoiding her recognition of his gawking. As he looked up to the ceiling, he caught a short glimpse of her face. Her cheekbones seemed to protrude from her skull with sunken-in eyes that had no faith in humanity or nature. Her dull black hair swung forward with the thrust of her head, causing the long strands to sway around arms and hips at the tips of their extension.
In a panic, Thomas refused to look away from the ceiling, afraid that she was still looking at him, disapproving of his ogle. He watched the crystal in the chandeliers glisten with different reflections as the light of the outdoors began to wane and the sun retreated to the east. It was the movement of his shirt as the woman walked by him that alerted his senses to the fact that it was OK for him to look down again. He turned back to look at the woman and watched her descend the stairs into the basement, exiting from his view.
With no hope of looking uninterested, Thomas turned and began a brisk pace, attempting to reach the priest as quickly as possible. Father Timeus had begun straightening the Bibles in the cubby on the back of a pew when Thomas spoke to him in a slightly rushed manner. “Who, uhhhh, who were you talking to?” He worried that it might not be any of his business.
Timeus looked up at Thomas, assuming that the young man was experiencing puppy love due to his poorly masked interest in the young lady. “Lilith is just another of God’s children seeking guidance.” He decided to leave it at that. No need to encourage lust. Then he began the subject that he felt was important for Thomas’s spirituality. “You were very tired this morning and I didn’t get a chance to really speak with you. What brought you to our doorstep?” The priest had to force his fears of the young man aside.
Thomas wanted to avoid people knowing about his vampirism, so he spoke in code. “I was down on my luck and I just sort of stumbled in here.” He needed to make sure the priest did not press the issue, so he redirected the conversation. “Why did you join the ministry?”
The abrupt change in subject seemed to miff the priest a bit, so Thomas continued in an attempt to transition to his new topic. “I spoke to God yesterday. I think I have a calling, not to run a church or preach or anything like that, but I think God has a very specific job for me. Did you always know or was your calling an unexpected change in your drive?”
Father Timeus was taken aback by Thomas’s interest in his calling from God, but was excited to share his experience with him. “It was a shock when I felt the Lord guide me to my purpose in this world. I was studying to be a lawyer at the time, finishing up my prelaw degree and preparing to take the LSAT.
“One day I was spending an afternoon at a coffeehouse just off the edge of campus studying for my test when I saw a squirrel run across the street. The little animal scurried around the cars that were driving down the lanes when it froze in the middle of the road. Just when it looked like it was going to be run over by a truck, it jumped onto a telephone pole, narrowly escaping death.”
The priest walked past Thomas over to a pulley system. He continued his story as he turned the crank, allowing the chandeliers to descend to the ground. “It hit me that the squirrel could have been killed right there, just like any of us at almost any moment. I knew that I wanted to be lawyer because I wanted to help people, but it was only a type of monetary assistance. I would be helping people get some money for when they were wronged, but that wouldn’t help people in the long run. So I reflected for a long time on what to do.” Father Timeus finished turning the crank and slowly walked over to the grounded chandeliers to light the candles.
“One day I went to church, which was a seldom occurrence for me and God spoke to me through the priest. He talked about moving your life in a new direction and taking a leap of faith to do what you know in your heart you need to do, even if it leaves you uncomfortable.”
Father Timeus droned on about how God was righteous and he needed to enlighten the world, but Thomas had drifted off into his own thoughts. The reflexive movements of the priest lighting the candles acted as focal point while Thomas fell into his hypnotic state, considering how lost he had been in his life before gutting religion from his routine after he was forced to attend mass as a small child. God must have been correcting the situation now by drawing him to a church for shelter. Or maybe he was chosen and he had a greater purpose, just like he told the priest. Maybe there was more truth to his words than he thought.
Father Timeus was still telling his story. “Knowing that I needed to spread the Word of God, I took great solace in the divine plan, because God has a plan for everybody, no matter how important or unimportant things may seem.”
Thomas awoke from his trance to hear the last few words the priest had told him and he had to interject, “So, it is all in God’s plan?” Thomas was having an awakening as his mouth continued to move. “I was saved during a robbery. Not saved like I was born-again, but truly pushed out of death’s grip. God saved my life, and he did it for a reason. Those thieves should have killed me, but I was salvaged. God was speaking to me, saving me from thieves, allowing me to save others from the same fate. He gave me a mandate to rid the world of robbery. ‘Thou shall not steal!’” Thomas’s voice was amplifying as he put these ideas together in his head.
Father Timeus lit the final candle and started to make his way back to the lever on the wall. He knew that Thomas was getting amped up, but what he was saying was sounding dangerously like a vigilante. “I am glad you are having a dialogue with God and I can’t know what your role in his plan is, but that doesn’t sound like the job of man. We all have free will and I can’t believe that God would want you to take away that choice from his children.” The priest was hoping this would strike a chord with Thomas.
Thomas, now teeming with energy, started to make his way toward the doors, ready to go out into the night. The stained-glass gates had returned to their dark and foreboding appearance as the only light shining through them was the glimmer of the newly risen moon. But he wanted to finish his conversation before he left.
“You spread the Word of God; you are his voice. I understand now that I am to enforce the Word of God. I am his hand, his angel. He wants to work through me.”
Thomas turned to leave the church, but as a priest, Father Timeus felt he must try to stop him from committing more sins. “God will allow you this decision, but before you go and sin in his name, is there anything you would like to confess? Maybe I can help clear up your confusion about your purpose on this earth.”
Thomas stopped inches from the threshold of the door. With great speed, he turned back to face the priest. His eyes bore holes in the priest’s psyche. His annunciation increased, leaving his sharp vampire teeth as Father Timeus’s primary focus. “I spoke to God this morning. He led me to this church to make sure I knew that I was to honor his name. I don’t need you to mediate between my Lord and myself. There is no confusion on what I am to do.” In his head Thomas added, He made me a vampire; he made it so I have to sin to exist.
Thomas turned back forcing the doors open with an extreme force as the priest watched him walk out into the entryway and out the oak doors. Timeus’s heart was pounding in his chest, driven by fear and nearing failure. Standing with his hand on the crank for the chandeliers, the priest bowed his head, trying to slow his pulse. He was afraid he did not try hard enough when he heard something in the back of his head, which he identified as God, say, “The devil sends men who believe they are right.” At that point, he decided Thomas was not an angel, but possibly a minion of Satan.