Josh was a pretty heavy sleeper most of the time, but that night he tossed and turned. At about three in the morning he awoke to the feeling that he was not alone. This was much worse than the previous night. He felt a presence of evil in his room that was darker than anything he had felt before. He opened his eyes to see two dark figures standing near his bed.
“Lord, what do I do?”
“Shield yourself, Josh,” said the Voice.
Josh said the words to shield his body and asked, “May I send these things away?”
“Instruct the Angels to come and remove these dark spirits and have them shackled and chained, to be taken to the Eternal Prison.”
As Josh began the words he heard a voice, it was not the calming sound from the Spirit of the Lord, but was accompanied by a feeling of darkness and bitterness.
“Who are you?” said the dark voice in Josh’s mind.
“I am Josh Knight, I am a servant of the Most High. Why are you here?”
“You are nothing to us. We will destroy you and your family. Your God is not our God …“
Josh stopped listening, he felt sick to his stomach. With careful meekness, Josh instructed the Angels to remove the dark spirits and have them banished to the Eternal Prison. A rush of air went through the room and there was peace.
“Lord, are there any more creatures or bad spirits in our house?” asked Josh.
“Yes, open your door slowly and look …”
Josh walked to his bedroom door and with caution began to open the door. He was nervous as the hair on his arm stood straight up. Looking into the hallway he saw something that chilled him to the bone. A large dark spirit had chained itself to the floor and was gnashing his teeth and growling like a wild animal.
“Josh Knight … you have no power over me! My power is beyond your comprehension. We will destroy you and ALL WHO DARE DEFY US!” His eyes flashed at Josh as the chains made a loud noise and he arched his gray body.
“What do I do, Lord?” asked Josh.
“Speak out loud as you raise your arm and using my authority, command the chains to break and for the Angels to take this dark spirit to the Eternal Prison.”
Josh followed the instructions and spoke with a commanding voice. He heard a loud noise as the chains broke and saw two brilliant, very large Angels seize the dark spirit and bind it with something as it was taken away.
“Whew, I’m glad that is over,” said Josh whispering.
Like a flash, Spencer’s door flew open and he jumped out in his pajamas. “What in the XXXXXX was that?” he said with his eyes wide as pancakes.
“Oh, hi Spencer, I was just practicing something for school.”
“Be quiet, some people are trying to sleep around here,” said Spencer as he went back to bed.
It was Saturday morning and Josh was sore after not only fighting the evil spirits during the week, but also from another football game the night before. Although it had been a few weeks since they lost to Gilbert, they had been winning, and had played Scottsdale and won. Ever since Josh shared his advice with Donavan, he had been almost unstoppable. The team was confidant and setting their sights to winning the championship.
“Dear, can’t I just wash your lucky socks to get the smell out?” said Mrs. Knight.
“No way, we’re on a roll and as long as I keep those socks the way we are, nothing can stop us,” said Coach.
“You don’t really believe that the socks are the reason you’re winning, do you?” she said as she looked in his direction. “I think you are simply coaching a great team.”
“Well, it makes me feel better,” said Coach.
Josh listened with interest. “It’s funny how many people seem to have their own kinds of superstitions. Why do we do that?”
“Nathaniel?” called out Josh with his spiritual voice.
“Good morning!” said Nathaniel. “Did you survive the party last night?”
“Oh yeah, that was fun,” said Josh grimacing. “Those were sure some bad spirits.”
“Yes they were. Those were a few of the fallen angels I told you about. Normally, they send disembodied spirits to do their dirty work, but they know who you are and are determined to destroy you.”
“Am I going to have to do this all the time? That was really unnerving,” said Josh.
“They’ll be more careful, now that they know you have some dangerous angelic powers.”
“I have a question - what do you think of ‘superstitions?”
“Hmm, well, some of them are based on truth, but often they have been changed and altered into little myths that don’t really do anything. Many people find they offer comfort in an unsure world.”
“But some people consider God and angels to be superstitions too,” said Josh.
“Yes they do. The Adversary has done his level best to confuse people by promoting myth and folklore to make people suspicious of these things. All around the world, you hear strange stories about the unseen realm. In the beginning, everyone knew who God was, but through deception and lies, His truth has been changed. Think about the Greek Gods of Athens, the Egyptian Gods of the Nile, and the Pagan Gods of the British Isles. Everywhere you go in the world, you find an adulterated version of the truth. Satan has been very busy.”
“So how do you know what is truth and what is simply a superstition?”
“You go to the source, my boy,” said Nathaniel with his most clear spiritual voice. “You ask God.”
Josh and Spencer sat in his kitchen eating Mom’s famous chili as Coach and Buffy carved the pumpkins for Halloween. Mrs. Knight was making brownies for that night’s party.
“I love Halloween,” said Spencer as he finished his second bowl. “If I was younger I’d still be trick-or-treating.”
“I’m going,” said Buffy holding her pumpkin. “I can’t wait to go out with my friends.”
“You have to be home by 10:30 Bethany or I’m coming after you,” said Coach.
“What do you think about Halloween, Mom? Aunt Jeanette says it’s evil and won’t let her kids do it,” said Josh.
“I suppose there are some people that are bad at Halloween time, but it has always been fun for the children,” said Mrs. Knight as she mixed the brownie batch in a bowl.
“I have another question, Nathaniel?” said Josh, feeling like Nathaniel was almost right beside him.
“Hold on a second, Josh …”
Josh waited a minute and asked again, “Nathaniel?”
“Oh, sorry, I was talking with somebody . . . aren’t you curious who?”
“Um, okay, who is it?”
“The Moses?” asked Josh.
“Yes, he’s on assignment in Hawaii. Cool huh?”
“I thought he died?”
“Nope, like me he was translated and given special work to do. It even says in the Old Testament that he died and was laid in a hidden sepulchre.  God raised him up just like Lazarus.”
“Wow, he must really stand out in the islands,” said Josh chuckling.
“Are you kidding? Old Moes blends right in. He got his hair shortened, shaved his beard off, and dresses like a tourist. He’s a great guy, a little shy though.”
“I have a question about Halloween,” asked Josh. “Is it an evil holiday or something?”
“As with most superstitions, Josh, there is a good side and a bad side. Halloween was used historically for both. The ancient Gaelic culture in the British Isles had a celebration at the end of their harvest season on October 31st. They believed that the boundary between the living and the dead would overlap and the dead would come back to life and cause sickness or damage their crops. They would carve faces into turnips to protect their homes. They also would dress up in costume to try to confuse the spirits.
“Christians, on the other hand, celebrated All Hallows Eve as a holy day to pray for the souls of those who had not gone to the light. Children would go door-to-door ringing bells and offering ‘soul cakes’ to people. Over time, especially in America, the tradition has grown into a child’s holiday for dressing up and receiving candy. Pretty harmless I would say, but, of course the Adversary has tried to turn it into something dark as he always does.”
“I still like Christmas more,” said Josh.
“Yeah, me too, but that one has been messed with by the Adversary too. We just need to be careful,” said Nathaniel. “I’ll be in Hawaii until 3:00, see you then!”
Josh was feeling kind of lazy. He wondered about going to the Halloween Party with Eric and the guys tonight. It sounded kind of fun. He wanted to make things good with them. Maybe he could help them somehow?
With a couple of hours until his lesson he decided to go across the street and see what Billy was doing. Josh knocked on Billy’s front door, but nobody answered.
“Where is he?” thought Josh looking at the station wagon in the driveway.
“Wahoo!” cried Billy as he swooshed by the house riding his bicycle. Billy rode down the street and turned back, then rode across the lumpy rock yard up to Josh on the porch.
“What are you doing?” said Josh in amazement as he looked down at Billy’s handlebars and saw a cat strapped to the front of the bike.
“Me and Chester decided to go for a ride,” said Billy smiling at the cat. The cat was wearing a tin foil helmet and its eyes were wide open like it just had the living you-know-what scared out of him.
Billy unwrapped the cat as it darted into the bushes.
“You must be really bored,” said Josh.
“Yeah, do you want to go cruising tonight,” said Billy nodding his head like he was cool.
“Um, well actually, I got invited to go to a Halloween Party with some of the football players. I told them I would go.”
“That’s too bad, Cherice invited me to a party too, but they wanted to go to some abandoned haunted house and I don’t like that freaky stuff. I get scared just watching reruns of Scooby-Doo,” said Billy sticking out his lips.
Josh thought about how freaked out Billy would be if he knew all the crazy things he was going through right now.
“Well, I’ve got to go, I have my painting lesson soon. Have fun tonight,” said Josh.
“Yeah, you too. I’ll probably just be passing out candy.”
Josh gathered his art materials and waited in the chair in the family room. He looked at the Indian painting of the snowstorm on the wall and thought how he wished that some day he could see real snow. His whole life he had lived in the desert and had never seen the real white stuff.
The doorbell rang and Nathaniel stood in the doorway in a white Hawaiian shirt with green flowers.
“Where do you get those cool shirts?” asked Josh.
“I shop at Angelmart,” said Nathaniel. “They got everything, you know; you wouldn’t believe the bakery!”
“I’ve never heard of Angelmart. Where is that?”
“Well, it’s pretty far from here, but I brought you a croissant if you would like one?” said Nathaniel as he opened his brown bag. Inside he pulled out some bread wrapped in white paper. “Here you go.”
Josh opened the paper and saw the croissant. It looked pretty normal to him. He took a bite. “Whoa, whooooa, that is amazing!” said Josh. “I’ve never had bread that tasted that good.”
“You can’t compare to the Heavenly Bakers, they give the words, ‘rising up’ a whole new meaning.”
Nathaniel moved his chair closer as Josh finished his croissant. “So, what should we do for our lesson today?”
“Well, Nathaniel, you always talk about knowing God more and asking God for everything. I’m not exactly sure how to do that,” said Josh with a concerned look. “I pray now and then and have heard a Voice in my head lately guiding me when I deal with the Adversary, but I think I need to pray more or something?”
“You could not have said it more perfectly,” said Nathaniel. “Josh, God wants you to learn how to pray with power.”
“There’s like billions of people in the world. Why does he listen to me?” asked Josh.
“He listens to everybody. He is God; therefore, he can focus on each person as if they were his only child in the entire universe. He really cares about you, but can only reach down to you to the extent that you reach up to Him.”
“Okay, well I learned how to do the Lord’s Prayer when I was younger, is that what I say?”
“That is a wonderful start. Like an outline of what to pray for, but there is an even more powerful way to speak with God,” said Nathaniel. “Would you like me to teach you?”
“Please, would you?”
“All right. I call this, ‘Opening the Windows of Heaven’ or ‘OWH’ for short. You start by finding a quiet place to pray. Could be your bedroom, closet, bathroom, out in nature; somewhere uninterrupted. If you can’t find a spot, you can make do with wherever you are.”
“Okay,” whispered Josh.
“Then, speaking in your spiritual voice, start by saying:
“Father, please forgive me for anything I have done wrong …”
“You then pause and wait. Sometimes you will have impressions of things you need to do to make yourself right with God.”
“Do I do this every time I pray?” said Josh.
“I would use the OWH method twice a day, every morning and evening or if you feel a need. The rest of the day, you are simply continuing the conversation. Asking questions, thanking Him, singing Hymns, it all counts as prayer.”
“That’s not all is it?” said Josh.
“Oh no, next comes what I call ‘expressing your love for Him.’” Nathaniel looked up at the ceiling and back down at Josh smiling. “You need to express all your reasons why you love God. Think of anything that comes to your mind. Really feel it in your heart. Imagine yourself kneeling at the steps of God’s throne asking Him to hear your loving words of thankfulness and gratitude. Say something like:
“Father, I love Thee because …”
“Why does God need to hear all that? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but is He insecure?” said Josh, a little nervous for asking the question.
“No, it’s not like that at all. Our worshipping Him benefits us. When we express our gratitude, we open the door to great blessings by aligning ourselves with Him. Our motives become pure and he is able to wash away our sins.”
“I see. Then what?”
“Then comes the finale,” said Nathaniel beaming as he looked squarely at Josh.
“At that point, having done the first two steps, you are ready to ask:
“Father, if it be thy will, wilt thou share Thy love with me …?”
“Here is where you ask the Lord, always if it be His will, if he will help you to either understand or accomplish what you desire,” said Nathaniel.
“I can ask for anything?” asked Josh.
“Yes, but there are two things to remember: First, always seek the Lord’s will, because you don’t always know if your desire is good for you. Second, if you don’t get a clear answer it means you need to rephrase the question.”
“Okay, that’s awesome. Talking to God … wow,” said Josh as he sat thinking.
“There is something else. Remember, God hears everyone’s prayer regardless of how fancy they are, but this really helps you to focus and reduce the static. If you want to really boost your signal, here’s a tip:
Ask the Lord to share His love with another person. Think of them and pray for them too.
“Now that you have this information, you will be capable of doing even greater things and helping more people. You are a servant of the Most High and must always be on your guard for the Evil One. He’s a tricky sucker and will try to get you to trip up. Pray always, that you don’t fall into temptation.”
“I’ve heard that before,” said Josh. Nathaniel nodded and smiled.
“What’s our art lesson today?” said Josh.
“Well, I think it’s a good time to talk about ‘COLOR,’” said Nathaniel picking up and looking at some of Josh’s paints. The other day, up at the mountain I taught you a lot of things about painting.”
“Yeah, that was awesome,” said Josh nodding.
“We talked about ‘value’ and how the lightness or darkness of what you paint makes a huge difference. There is a wide range of values or tones on the scale that range from total black to total white. The degrees of value are without number, so we have to assign a value in our paintings to represent them. Let’s go outside for a minute.”
Josh and Nathaniel walked in to the backyard. Leonidas came bounding around the corner and licked Nathaniel’s hand.
“So how do I choose what color to use?” said Josh.
Nathaniel touched Josh on his forehead.
For a moment, things seemed blurry, then he felt as if a veil had fallen from his eyes. The gray landscape before him had burst into an incredible vision of color and light. There were colors he had never seen before, beyond the spectrum you or I would imagine. Josh remembered what Nathaniel had said in the mountains about warm and cool colors, but now he could see it with more vivid realism that he had ever before.
“Josh, when you paint, you assign a color that represents how you feel about the object painted. Often you will paint the most obvious choice, but sometimes you will feel compelled to paint something different. If you respect the accurate values or tones of the colors, you will paint it right.”
“That was … unbelievable!” said Josh almost cheering as he stood with Nathaniel in the back yard. He never imagined there were so many colors around him and now, he could see more clearly. Within minutes, his vision returned to normal, but from that time forth, when Josh wanted to see the full spectrum, he simply asked for permission and the colors would burst around him.
“Okay Josh, next time we meet for a lesson, I want to see all your new paintings,” said Nathaniel.
As Nathaniel left and drove away in his car, Mrs. Knight asked Josh, “How are the lessons going? I haven’t seen any actual paintings yet?”
“Oh Mom, you have no idea. He is the best teacher I’ve ever had. We are doing a lot of drills and practicing, kind of like Dad does on the football field to prepare for a game. Next week when he comes, I’m supposed to have some new paintings for him to evaluate. I have learned more than I had ever hoped. Thank you so much,” said Josh, as a tear welled up in his eye.
“You’re welcome, Josh, I love you.”
As the sun began to go down, trick-or-treaters started making their way to the Knight’s home and knocking at the front door. Spencer had a vampire costume and loved trying to scare the kids as they came up the steps. Buffy went out with her friends and Josh waited for his ride to the party.
“I hope this party is fun with some good food and music,” thought Josh.
The doorbell rang, Spencer answered and saw the kid that came to bring Josh to the party.
“You’re a little big to be trick-or-treating aren’t you?” said Spencer as he looked at him.
“Is Josh here?” he said not smiling.
Josh walked out with the boy who he knew from the team. His name was Brad and was a good friend of Eric. “How’s it going, Brad?” asked Josh in a cheerful voice walking with him to the car.
“I’m good,” he said not looking at Josh. “We’re going to miss the party if we don’t hurry.”
Together they drove to the far side of Mesa to where Derrick lived. Brad played his hard music without talking to Eric the entire way. Josh thought the kid must be pretty anti-social to be so quiet; his car was a disaster, filled with beer cans and clothes, it even smelled like vomit. When they got to the party, Josh was happy to get out of the car. Brad had a dark pink halo around him; which typically meant that someone was dishonest or lying. Josh wondered if his parents knew how much beer he drank.
Walking into the house, Josh felt sick in his stomach, as he noticed gargoyles sitting perched on each corner of the roof. It felt like a dark cloud hit him as he stood in the doorway. The feeling was the same he had the other night when he encountered the dark spirits in his own house. “What was going on here?” he thought.
As he walked in, he was met by Eric, “Glad you could come, Knight,” he said grinning. “We’ll make this a night you’ll never forget.”
Josh looked at the people sitting and standing around the dark room. Most were drinking alcohol or smoking. It didn’t smell like tobacco, probably something else. There was not much light in the room and Josh could hardly detect any halos coming from anyone.
Some of the kids were gathered around a TV watching a video of the Exorcist.
“Come on over Josh - here comes a good part!” shouted one of the players on the team. Josh had no interest in watching.
“Here you go, Dude,” said some kid Josh didn’t know handing him a drink.
“What’s this?” said Josh.
“It’s just a ginger ale, don’t worry about it,” said the kid.
Josh sat down and sipped his drink. He looked around at the other people and tried to search out with his spiritual senses to see what was happening. To his shock, the people were not just being tempted to do bad things, but were actually being entered into by these bad spirits. One spirit after another would enter into their bodies, usually through the top of the head and then jump out again, almost as if it were a game.
Josh stood up. He decided this was not the place he should be. “How could he be so stupid?” he thought. Taking a step toward the doorway he tripped and fell on a person nearby.
“Hey, you’re cute,” said the girl near him as he got up.
Josh knew something was wrong. He felt dizzy and his head was cloudy. That kid must have slipped alcohol in his drink. Being careful of his steps, Josh made his way to the front door of the house.
“So are you leaving already?” said Eric meeting him at the door. “What, aren’t we good enough for you?”
“No, that’s not it, Eric,” said Josh walking out on the front lawn. “I just don’t feel so well.”
“You’re just a loser anyway!” said Eric as he pushed Josh, knocking him to the grass. “Come on, give me your best shot, XXXXXX.”
A crowd of kids started to gather around as Eric stood holding up his fists. Josh tried to get up, he staggered and stood in front of Eric.
“I don’t want to fight you,” said Josh as he felt a hard fist pound into his face. He was kneeling on the ground holding his jaw.
“Get up, I’m going to beat the XXXXX out of you!” yelled Eric.
“Nathaniel, I don’t know how I got in this mess, what do I do?”
Within seconds, Josh could hear the sound of police sirens as three police cars stormed the front of the property.
“Walk directly to the street, don’t look to your left or right and then keep walking,” said the Voice.
Josh got up and without even blinking walked straight to the street as he was instructed.
The police stormed the building and gathered most of the intoxicated people together. A few, including Eric and some other players were arrested for carrying a controlled substance. The entire house smelled of marijuana smoke.
Josh walked for about ten minutes down the sidewalk without looking back. He felt nauseous and couldn’t believe he would be so stupid as to think Eric had good intentions. Why had he not seen a halo around Eric? Josh finally realized that it was because there was no more light in him. Eric had been under the control of the Adversary. Josh promised himself he would not forget the lesson he learned that night.
It was late, most of the trick-or-treaters had finished as Josh walked through the dark neighborhood in a part of Mesa he wasn’t familiar with. He heard noises behind him. Looking back, he saw what appeared to be a pack of wild dogs in the distance. There must have been a dozen or so, he thought. They were barking and growling, running full speed in his direction!
Josh looked back as he tried to run. What were they? Doberman pinschers? Rottweilers? No, they were Gargoyles!
“Oh crap! Help me Nathaniel, PLEASE!”
“GET IN THE CAR!”
Josh looked over just as a large green station wagon drove up beside him. The front passenger window was open and Josh dove head first through the window with his legs still hanging out the end.
“What’s going on, dude?” yelled Billy as he slowed down.
“Keep driving, they’re after us!” shouted Josh as he pulled his legs in the window.
“Whoa, what’s after us?” asked Billy as he sped up the car.
“Let’s just call them, ’The Hounds of Hell!’ Hurry, speed up, they’re gaining on us!”
Billy turned the corner and the gargoyles began to open their wings and fly. Two landed on the top of the car and you could hear the loud sound of two thumps as they landed.
One began to crawl out from under the car as it raced down the road. Another gargoyle landed and attached itself to the passenger door near Josh. It was hissing and growling as its long sharp teeth snapped at Josh’s hand. He felt a burning pain on his face as he kicked it away from the door.
“That thing spit on me!” said Josh in a panic.
“They spit too?” said Billy almost crying.
“Keep your eyes on the road!” yelled Josh as he rolled up the window. Realizing that there were two gargoyles still on top of the car, Josh thought about his options.
“I know what to do,” he said out loud, “by authority given to me, I command that an Eternal Flame start at the front of the car and move over the entire vehicle, and as it does, that it remove any evil presence!”
Just then, a bright orange flame started up at the front of the station wagon and moved steadily across the car. Josh could see it as the flame moved closer and closer to them.
“We’re going to DIE!” screamed Billy as the flame approached.
“No, we won’t die. It will pass right through you and stop the gargoyles,” said Josh.
“Gargoyles? You mean like form Castles and Dragons?” said Billy as a big grin came upon his face.
Josh looked back in relief knowing that the car had been cleansed. “What is that?” he thought as his eyes squinted to see something in the distance. About a hundred yards away, Josh could see what appeared to be hundreds of gargoyles converging on the car.
"I command that an Eternal Flame shield our car from all the approaching gargoyles,” he said as the car lit up with orange flames. “That will stop them,” said Josh to Billy as they continued home.
“Are they still following us, dude?” asked Billy shaking. Billy drove about eighty miles per hour as he held the steering wheel. Each hill sent the old station wagon air borne as it drove like a ball of fire down the highway.
“Stick in that tape, Josh, I’m in the mood for some ROCK AND ROLL!”
Josh, at that moment, heard a voice in his mind, “Josh … what are you doing?” said Nathaniel.
“It’s all under control, Nathaniel,” said Josh with a proud smile. “We stopped the gargoyles.”
“No you haven’t, you have lit up a beacon that is attracting every gargoyle within three hundred miles! Turn off the Eternal Flame and just shield your car so they can’t see it!”
"Oh, sorry,” said Josh as he prayed for permission and asked that a shield be placed over the car and that the Eternal Flame desist.
“Turn here Billy, let’s throw them off,” said Josh pointing at a road back to Mesa. Looking back, Josh could see the gargoyles disbanding. They looked like thousands of large bats in the moonlight.
“This will be a Halloween I won’t soon forget,” said Josh.
“Me either, it ROCKED!” said Billy as he pulled into his driveway.”
“How did you know to come and get me?” asked Josh.
“It was the weirdest thing. I was sitting in my living room, eating a bunch of candy bars when I had this major urge to go driving around Mesa. It was like I couldn’t help myself,” he said, poking out his lips.
“Well, I’m glad you showed up, buddy,” said Josh smiling.
“Anytime, Josh.” And they both went home to peace and quiet—or so they thought.