I stood at the top of the escalator and looked down into the white tiled corridor below. We were in London and we were about to descend into the “Tube”, the subway system under the streets of that fair city. But, this escalator leading down into the ground was terribly familiar. I closed my eyes and I was back in the theater thirty years before; alone, frightened and sweaty. On the big screen before me was the exact same escalator and corridor I now stood before. On the screen, a deep throated growl echoed around me and a creeping creature appeared at the base of the escalator with glowing eyes.
Later that same week my wife and I decided to walk the mile and half to her mother’s house. It was a pleasant day and we sauntered down the road past houses with nice front yards and spinning mobiles and flowerbeds bursting with color. And then, we passed in front of a densely wooded section. The wind kicked up and the sky was suddenly a deep purple. A storm was coming and the air was filled with the taint of ozone and rain.
We paused to look at the sky and decided to hurry on to her mother’s house before the bottom dropped out. As I stood there I heard a low growl come from behind me. I whirled and peered into the inky shadows of those woods. Something moved in there. Suddenly, I was back in that theater as the creature in the “Tube” attacked and killed an innocent bystander. It was a werewolf from “An American Werewolf in London”.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a moment like that. We live in a reasonable, rational world. We know that things that go bump in the night are usually loose doors or changes in air pressure or perhaps a raccoon in the trashcan. But, at that moment, all reason left me. I was suddenly in the grip of unrelenting terror; a primal fear of the beast that waits to rip out our throats and tear us apart. I was paralyzed with fear and I KNEW there was a werewolf in the woods watching us. Crazy, huh? You’ve felt that kind of unreasoning fear, haven’t you?
Sherry touched my shoulder and I almost jumped out of my skin. I never told her about the encounter with the “werewolf”, only telling her we needed to hurry along before the rain fell. But, in reality, I wanted to scream my lungs out and run, run, run! Now, back in London. Standing there at the top of the escalator where the wolf in that movie ravaged an innocent man. For a moment, I felt the old fear, cold and clammy. Then, we moved on and for the rest of that trip, I tried to forget about an American werewolf in London.
I mentioned in my last post about my childhood. I had an interview with Greg Mitchell for his blog and it will be posted next week. During that interview, I mentioned my brother’s “hobby” of taxidermy. When I try and understand my unreasonable fear of werewolves and vampires, I can easily trace its origin to my brother’s taxidermy shop. It was filled with “mounted” animals standing, sitting, and hanging on the wall. They had these beady, shiny eyes that seemed to follow you around the room. And, there was all the offal on the floor; bones and muscle and flesh from skinned animals. No wonder I was scarred for life!
In my upcoming book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” I feature not only vampires but a werewolf or two. Just for good measure. I chose to throw a werewolf in because it scared me! I needed that edge while writing. I kept imagining the glowing eyes at the base of that escalator (go back and watch that scene – I dare you. It is terrifying!) and the shadowy beast in the wind tossed woods. That fear inspired my writing.
But, there is another reason I chose to include the werewolf. When the moon is full, a man will change from his rational, reasonable self into a hungry, uncontrolled beast. The next morning, he will awake with no memory of what happened the night before, just a gnawing sense of doom that he caused irreparable harm to someone during his nightly romp. I have a werewolf inside of me. There are events that set it free; moments of moonlight when the beast surges out of control. I tear into the tender throats of my friends and family; and, yes, my enemies. I leave them torn and bleeding on the side of the road. Then, I wake up and wonder why I did what I did. No matter how hard I regret my actions; no matter how passionately I ask for forgiveness the harm is done. Let’s face it. Even after receiving forgiveness for a heinous deed, the relationship is never the same with the offended. Something has changed in the doing of the deed. They look at you in the framework of the beast that they now see within. They stand at the top of the escalator or at the edge of the woods and see the eyes glowing within; the beast waiting hungry and ravenous.
There are lots of words that could describe the beast. In our Christian parlance we have the catchall word of “sin”. The truth is, the best word is our “fallen” nature. We are broken inside; damaged beyond repair because of our severance from the goodness of God. We are bitten by the wolf of rebellion and the wound festers and grows inward and the beast is now full grown; full blown waiting, waiting to be unleashed. In fantasy, there is no cure for the curse of the werewolf. Only the sweet oblivion of death at the expense of a sliver bullet.
But, in reality, we have hope. Our status can be restored. The beast can be tamed and conquered with the help of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He eclipses the moonlight of our soul and sooths the savage beast – tempering it, shushing it, controlling it. I am in need of a Savior. I know this every time I look into the mirror and see the shadow of the wolf.
I hope you will consider purchasing a copy of my new book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”. The running theme throughout the story is one of forgiveness. How deeply can we go into the beast before we pass beyond the point of redemption? Is there a point of no return? Are we werewolves lashing out at the moonlight forever doomed to slash and tear at the world around us? Or, is there a sliver bullet that does not kill but redeems? The answers may surprise you.
If you are in the Orlando, Florida area, I will be signing copies of the book at First Baptist Orlando on Saturday, October 27 from 5 PM to 8 PM (after the evening service) and again on Sunday morning, October 28 from 9 AM to Noon (after the morning services). Come by and see me. I promise I won’t bite!
Oh, and if you are in Shreveport, I’m holding a book launch on Friday night October 19, 2012 at the coffee shop, the Well, at Brookwood Baptist Church from 6 to 8 PM. We’ll be giving away an iPad3, a Kindle HD, and a Kindle Backlit in a drawing for those who purchase a book. Come by and see us!