Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.
In a living room more concerned with the always lauded visitor over the human occupants of the abode, sat Debby Hanssen on a sofa comfortable and new. The over-sized TV screen flashed standard daytime fare. In the kitchen a crock-pot slowly simmered dinner for the household of four. But Debby did not hear the television or remember the cooking food. Only her body was in the house.
Debby was having one of those moments. "Shutdown Moments" she labeled them. Moments when she could not move or function or bear to engage the world in any way. Her eyes were blank, unable to see outside of herself. Her face held no expression. Later, the thought occurred to her how she must look at a time like that. She must keep it secret or the dreaded invaders would interfere.
Nor would she able to stop the so-called "well meaning" invaders.
Debby knew the type, she'd seen them in action. The busybodies, the do-gooding monsters who "just want to help". As long as they can hide behind that pretense they know no shame or gall. They become possessed, hacking online, digging into their victim's life like a fanatical mole hell-bent on control. The amount of damage those kind of people can do could be massive and sometimes irreversible. These clawing, scratching creatures were her greatest fear.
So Debby was very careful to be completely alone during her Shutdown Moments. Her fortress was formidable. A gated community, the power of affluence in a money-mad world and a lofty social standing buttressed her like high castle walls. Even so, she never felt safe from her insides.
The Moments terrified her to the core. It was if her memory were slowly being erased, deleting thoughts she could no longer tolerate. Her children were spreading their own wings now, behind their needs she had long hidden her decay. The carrion of her soul lay prey to the vultures of hopelessness who come pecking her mind out with abandon. She wondered: is this how Alzheimer's starts?
Mentally, she pictured herself running into the street, screaming and pleading for help. But how can anyone bring her dreams back? And to show weakness to the busybodies would be fatal. No, Debby could only sit in silence during these Moments while she lost her mind in God's disdain. She could almost feel the turning of her hair white.
She recalled the line from Revelation: 'They will pray for death but death will not come.' How could anyone in her privileged position ever justify such a horrid fate? But in order to maintain that position, over the years she had opened the seals of doom to her life to "keep things going." "There's always another seal," she told herself as the hole dug ever deeper. But with the appearance of the overwhelming Moments, she knew she could unleash no more destruction.
Only the Seventh seal remained, containing the last remaining purity of her soul.
Sex had lost its pleasure, Debby squeezed dry like a lemon. Food the new refuge, yet untenable in its ill health. Everywhere she turned Debby found another dead end. All the tricks she'd used over the years to avoid facing the truth had stopped working. She was trapped like a crippled stray dog nobody wanted. Where had she to go? The truth could only leave her to die in the street.
But if I erase my mind there is no truth and there is no lie, just the safety of the void. Who can blame me then? My sins will never be exposed. There is no way out.
Because she had so deeply withdrawn from the world, Debby did not hear the initial ringing of the door bell. Had the devil come calling at last?
Feeling as if lifting an elephant she got up from the leather couch when panic struck her in the worst way. Who could it be this time of day? Unexpected news is never good, it could expose the truth of her life. Had the soul-stealing "saviors" caught onto her already? Would they drag her away to a home in a straight jacket, doped up and left to die? The door bell rang again. Debby ran her fingers through her long brown hair, searching the room for nonexistant answers.
With the return of her heart pumping also returned the pain. Maybe it is better just to die, she mused. Get the nightmare over with. God has sent his final wrath to end her wicked, wicked ways. How could she say she did not deserve it? She'd always prided herself on knowing her failures (but not her successes).
Debby approached the heavy wooden front door like the gates of hell. Here she'd face her final fate. A small, tiny voice told her not to panic but a louder one screeched hysterics. Her instincts knew something was out of the ordinary, a messenger of doom at the door. Finally, she opened it.
"Registered letter for Debby Hanssen. Will you sign for it?"
Registered letter!? Divorce papers? No. Then what? What had she'd done? The whole thing reeked of something very public and very gossip worthy. She'd been right: death awaited her on the front porch. Dare she take the bait? She must. Can't blow her cover to the mail man or he'd spread it like wild fire. "That Hanssen lady refused the letter! What's wrong with her?"
Safely inside, Debby noticed the return address was from an out of state law firm. Why did that excite her? A flicker of something long lost sprouted within her. "No, no. I must be dreaming. I haven't even read it and I feel alive like I haven't in years and years." She hesitated to open it, wanting to stay in that magical moment forever. What she found was the Seventh Seal.
She'd been bequeathed a cashier's check for $6,827,483. The law firm was not allowed to say who it was who'd made the donation. "Was it him?" Debby instantly wondered of her long lost love. Was he dead now and this a gift from beyond the grave? Oh no! Can't be! It's only his life I've been holding onto all these years. I've nothing truly! Nothing at all!
Swirling emotions left her stranded as if in a river's eddy while the main current rushed past. Yes, this money is a way out. But no, it's too late too mean anything. How could she ever explain abandoning her life? She was supposed to be happy! Taking the money and running meant admitting her entire life a lie. But how many times had she told herself: "If only I had the money I could leave. I could start all over, a free person. See, God? I could make something of my life if You'd only fund it!"
God called her bluff. Despite being a very devoted churchgoer, Debby never expected God to still love her after turning her back on love. She always promised to turn to love one day if she got the chance. With the millions now in her hands, all the excuses were gone. Shit!
Though thoroughly alone, she anxiously scanned the room for unwanted witnesses. Feeling safe, Debby considered her options (though some very forbidden!). I must share this with my family, of course. What else could I do? But having asked the question, the answers she got did not please her. No! I can't do that! I can't leave and be free. That would be so...immoral. Please stop saying it!
But her pleading soul ached for the life she'd lost, to finally avenge a lifetime of regrets! But the voices of guilt stood accusing and angry, blowing back in gale force fury. Leaving would be selfish. Who did she think she was anyway? With her track record how could she ever believe she'd amount to anything? And worst of all, leaving meant exposing herself forever as a fraud.
And what a grand lie to stay! Yes, what more proof could anyone ask than to stay when one has the chance to fly away forever? Debby was staring down 6 million points of propaganda of her integrity, a lifetime's worth. Everyone in her circle would smile and curtsey in her presence, she the unquestionable queen. What kind of fool throws away approval like that?
Debby plopped down on the sofa, torn in her decision. And feeling torn gave her the urge to rip the confounding piece of paper in two as well. But could she carry that secret to her grave? It did offer the best of both worlds: not having to face herself and not having to acknowledge freedom's choice. But that was no answer either to her swirling head.
"God damn him! He sent this to destroy me! He's that damn smart thinking I'd be too weak to ever leave." Debby bent over clutching her sides, her chest heaving under the pressure. She had to make a decision before anyone came home. Hell, she had to make a decision soon or explain why she didn't instantly call to tell the big news.
"Who am I?"
Year after year she had gotten by, rotting away, selling pieces of her soul to buy precious time to elude revelation. When voices of truth told her she couldn't keep it up and survive, she knocked them back with the science of prescription medication. For years she prayed to escape her prison but once handed the keys she must inescapably face how much she was in fact her own jailor.
She knew what she wanted to do. But doing what she wanted turned out to be the hardest thing she'd ever done in her life, to finally step out of the shadows. How easy to claim faith in a faraway God, but having faith in herself? In this Debby faced the seventh and final seal of her life's fate, never to be the same.