Covering my ears, with my palms, I squeezed until my head ached. My eyes were shut so tight, I thought they might actually burst through the back of my skull. Then I screamed until the sound of my own voice drowned out the cacophony around me. I screamed until my voice went hoarse. Then I fell unconscious.
When I came to, distance explosions, falling debris, and scraping metal brought me back to a reality I wished desperately to escape from. My eyes opened to a red sky littered with dark clouds and thick concrete ash. The total carnage was endless. Buildings, once stoic and majestic structures that defined the downtown skyline, now lay in utter ruin. The Ambassador Bridge spanning the Canadian to Detroit borders had been severed. Its suspension cables dangled from the remains of the two support pillars on either bank. And everywhere I looked, there were bodies; lifeless and charred.
“I’m dead. I have to be dead. This is a dream.”
“Neither,” a deep voice boomed behind me.
I jerked ‘round, and saw him staring at me with eyes blazing like white fire.
He was massive! Standing at least twelve-feet tall, his proportions were larger than those of an ordinary man. Gabriel’s square chin leveled as he looked out beyond the devastation. His muscled bare chest expanded as he sighed. Then, his gaze fell back on me.
“You did this, son of Adam. This destruction came by the hands of man.”
“What…I don’t understand? What happened? Am I home? And how is it that I know who you are?” My thoughts were incoherent. I couldn’t catch a breath of fresh air. “What is happening to me?”
Gabriel shook his tree-trunk sized muscular arms. Brilliant white light exploded behind him, fanning out and transforming into vibrant yellow and red fringed wings. He reached down toward me. Instinctively, I rested both hands inside his huge left palm. In an instant, we were soaring above the Detroit River, looking down on the ruins of a once pristine downtown landscape.
He pointed south. “There.”
A flash of blinding light far off into the distance. An orange mushroom shaped cloud rising from below.
“God no,” I whimpered.
“The light of atom,” he said, cradling me in the crook of his arm as we flew toward the cloud.
“World War III?”
“I have to be dreaming. This can’t be.”
“You are not, son of Adam. The visions are not dreams.”
“You’re saying this will happen, Gabriel?”
“As it is written by the one He loved.”
“This…is a glimpse into the future?”
“As it is written, ‘your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’ Look at the time, son of Adam. The hour is near.”
Gabriel cocked his huge arm backward, then hurled me toward the earth. I streaked through clouds, headed toward the base of the mushroom cloud. Below, I could see a rippling ring of concussive fire spreading out, destroying everything in its path. There was nothing I could do to stop my descent, except tuck and brace.
“Look at the time, son of Adam,” Gabriel’s voice boomed again.
I shut my eyes and prayed that the afterlife would be pleasant. God knows I don’t deserve it.
“Then what happened,” doctor Spilner asked.
“I opened my eyes, here; in your office.” Daniel said.
Doctor Spilner and Grace exchanged a puzzled look.
“This is a regular occurrence, Mrs. King?”
“Lately, his dreams have been a bit more…extravagant,” Grace said. “Of course, he’s been prone to have a full night’s sleep also.”
“How long was I out?” Daniel asked.
Doctor Spilner and Grace exchanged another glance.
“C’mon, talk to me! How long was I under?”
Doctor Spliner cleared his throat. “Seven minutes, Daniel. You were officially in REM sleep for seven minutes.”
An awkward silence settled over the tiny office. It was suddenly shattered by the screech of the doctor’s wrist watch alarm.
“Oh my, look at the time. I would suggest we reschedule for another session, Mr. and Mrs. King. Something fascinating is happening with you Daniel.”
Doctor Spilner saw them out, to the parking lot. The ride home was an especially quiet one.
“Honey, what’s wrong? You’re in your own little world.”
“He said, ‘Look at the time.’”
“I’m sure he had other appointments.”
“No. Not the doctor. The archangel, Gabriel. He warned me to look at the time.”