The Unveiling Chapter Twenty-one
Powergirl loses her powers

Chapter Twenty-one: Powergirl "crucifies" her powers

"I'm inside, mom," Stephanie said. "Are you there?"

Stephanie had just forcefully projected herself into Nick's mind again, and as before, now lost contact with the outside world. She knew her mom and dad were with her physical body in the small padded room, but she felt so alone again, just as before.

She found herself in a beautiful garden at dusk, but could still make out flowers of many shapes, sizes, and colors, in the setting sun. A confused but pleasant mixture of fruity aromas filled her nostrils. A large round stone was in the center of the garden, and she felt an instinct to go to it now, kneel before it, and pray.

I'm here, Stephanie, she felt her mom say in her spirit. She didn't hear any audible voice, but it was pretty clear, reminiscent of times when she would very clearly hear God speak to her in her heart on the outside world.

After Stephanie's mom and dad had burst into Lawrence's office, her mom had explained how she hadn't really been in a coma, rather a trance, in which she had gone to heaven and received instructions from God on how they could possibly help Nick. The Lord had given Valerie the gift of influencing and guiding a person's thoughts without their awareness and showed her how to use it.

"How can this help Nick?" Stephanie had asked, and her mother had explained that it was the ideal complement to Stephanie's gift. With it, the both of them could go back into Nick's mind, and hopefully reach him with the love of God. Her mother could only subtly manage the environment of Nick's mind though. Nick would still ultimately have greater control over what happened, but Valerie was sure she could exert enough influence to prevent Nick from overpowering Stephanie to the same degree he had last time.

Stephanie remembered how full of hate Nick had been in their last encounter, how she could feel it, and how it made him powerful enough that he could toss her around like a rag doll. He was brazen and totally unafraid of God, but he was somehow able to make her afraid of her Savior. But deep down, she knew he was afraid, since he considered himself a demon.

"If that's true," her dad had said concerning Nick's belief that he had lived before as a fallen angel, "then the Balazons spoke some truth that day many years ago when I came home and challenged them." Stephanie recalled the day the whole family had sat around the conference room simulation in the VRT room and heard the "Balazons" say how humans were actually demons, metaphorically speaking, as Acin-om had put it.

Stephanie remembered how the "aliens" had implied all humans were "devils", citing the scriptures comparing Judas to a devil, and Jesus rebuking Peter by calling him the arch demon, Satan. Even if there were some truth to it all, she had no doubt Peter had finished his journey in life well and was now in heaven. She had to somehow get through to Nick that such an ending could be written for his life as well.

She had to find a way to break through Nick's fear. Even James 2:19 said that demons believe there is one God and tremble at His power, constantly aware of their impending judgment forever in hellfire, but they still don't obey the Lord. Nick had become just as intransigent as demons, but Stro-kar had taught him how to channel that fear into hate and pure evil, which gave him a sort of perverted strength. She had always had success before in other people's minds because the people themselves were resisting too on some level, but Nick's mind and will were totally committed to resisting Stephanie and so could overpower her with guilt, fear, condemnation, twisting even her own thoughts to believe God didn't love her and that she was going to hell.

"What's happening, mom?" Stephanie said. "Where am I? Where is Nick?"

I can feel him approaching. Be strong. I sense the Lord wants you to kneel by the rock and pray.

She did as her mother asked, comforting to "feel" her mom talking to her in her spirit, but still adjusting to this odd form of communication. She wondered if she could communicate with her mom without words and decided to try it.

As she knelt beside the rock and began to pray, she thought a request to her mom, asking her to create a stream by the rock if she could hear Stephanie's thoughts. Almost immediately, a small stream appeared at the base of the rock and flowed down the garden path.

Stephanie felt comforted to know how close her mom was, and to have confirmation that her mother could indeed affect the surroundings. She hoped the two of them together would be enough to make some sort of difference with Nick, but neither of them had clear direction from the Lord as to what to do or what would transpire, other than to enter Nick's mind in childlike faith and trust the Lord's leading. However, God had told Stephanie to expect the toughest battle she had ever faced to date, warning her that she would have to become a stronger warrior than ever before.

As Stephanie knelt by the rock and began to pray, she started to quake and shudder, as a feeling of terror formed in the pit of her stomach and blasted up her esophagus. She coughed and spat up a brownish-yellow liquid. "Father," she prayed, shivering from fear, sensing Nick's quick approach and not knowing what to expect. "If there is any other way to help Nick, please do so and don't let me have to continue in this place. Nevertheless, I will stay here if it is Your will."

Being in agony, she prayed more earnestly, and drops of sweat mixed with blood fell from her face. A man appeared beside her wearing a white rob, and he had great white wings on his back like an angel. "Be strong, Stephanie," the man said and rested a hand on her shoulder. "Love Nick like the Lord loves him, and you may win his soul." Then the man faded and disappeared.

"Are you doing this, mom?" Stephanie asked. "What's happening to me?"

Trust in the Lord, Stephanie. I'm refocusing Nick's environment as the Lord directs. It's going to get worse before it gets better. Go talk to your sleeping friends.

Stephanie noticed three slumbering women about a stone's throw away and walked over to them. She roused them awake. "Could you not stay awake with me for just a little while?" she found herself saying, almost involuntarily. "Pray, or you might enter into temptation." She shook her head, slightly dazed and confused, feeling like she was an actress playing a familiar role, but not sure of her next line. She was losing herself in the scene, becoming a character, forgetting that it was all a mind projected illusion.

Stephanie heard marching feet and clanging metal near the entrance to the garden. She looked up and saw several dozen Nicks approaching. They all looked exactly the same, and they appeared as Nick normally did on the outside world, rather than the man-beast she had encountered last time. Some of the Nicks were dressed in soldiers' uniforms, wearing helmets, breastplates, and carrying shields and spears. One of the Nicks approached Stephanie and gave her a big hug and then kissed her on the cheek.

"Nick, do you betray the daughter of man with a kiss?" she said hazily, head in a fog.

One of her girlfriends, Petrella, leapt from her sleeping spot and swiped a sword at the Nick who had kissed Stephanie, chopping off his ear. Nick roared and covered his ear with his hand, which started to become a furry white claw, his body slowly changing into that of a lion.

Stephanie's fighting spirit was roused by Petrella's actions, and her mind cleared, fully brushing off the dampening effect of Nick's mind, resolving not to lose focus again. She instinctively reached out with her mind and formed fighters to help her. Legions of angels appeared with swords drawn, ready to fight at her command. Nick shook his head as though confused, then growled and slowly red fur began to appear on his body, and his head started forming into that of an eagle.

Stop what you are doing, Stephanie! This is not the kind of fight that is going to save Nick. I have him sedated. He's vaguely aware of what's happening, more like a dream state. If you wake him up, he'll become that beast thing again and you cannot defeat him in that form. You're going to have to fight God's way if you are to have any hope of reaching Nick.

"I've always fought God's way," Stephanie said. "I've always fought evil head-on with courage and honor, subduing evil in whatever form it manifests in one's mind."

Yes. But there is a higher way to fight. Turn the other cheek, let Nick hurt you.

"What?" Stephanie said, a bewildered look on her face. "That's never been my kind of calling, mom. Sometimes you have to fight. The Lord didn't sit still while the religious leaders of His day falsely accused Him of vile crap. He was a fighter, verbally lambasting His opponents. Revelations 12:7 says Michael and his angels fought against Satan. And the Holy angels fight at God's command! God's a fighter too, mom!" She started speaking more quickly, as her anger fueled her defensive rationalizations. "Sure we should turn the other cheek, but that just speaks to a restrained response to milder forms of evil, not an indication that Christians should never fight ever. Self-defense is justifiable. I'm not going to turn the other cheek if the violation is severe enough, like someone coming at me with a knife intent on killing me and--"

I agree sometimes it's necessary to fight, but you're only facing Nick this time, no demons. While in my trance, the Lord impressed upon me that the highest form of fighting is to suffer in love for those you love. When the time came to lay down His life, the Lord let the people kill Him. God tells me the only hope we have with Nick is for you to be willing to lay down your life for him. It's the only way we can help him.

"What exactly is going to happen to me in here?" Stephanie asked.

Nick's eyes started to glow red, eagle wings began to form on his back, and a scorpion tail began to protrude from his backside.

Trust in the Lord. All I know is you'll suffer greatly, but don't fear, your destiny in heaven is secure. In the end, you may die, and it might not make any difference anyway. Nick may be unreachable, but the Lord tells me the only hope we have is for you to demonstrate the highest form of love and pray that the love and grace of God will shine through you enough to reach him. He's never really known the love of God, but Nick knows you, Stephanie, and if he sees sacrificial love in you, a mere human, it might inspire him to believe in Jesus' love too.

Stephanie paused, considering her mom's words. She had always been a little afraid before any battle, but confident the Lord was with her, and confident in her abilities in a fight. This was totally different and she had no idea what to expect.

You can leave anytime but then Nick will be lost.

"I'm used to suffering in battles. He's my brother and I love him. We'll do this your way. Can you put him to sleep again?"

I think so, if you heal his pain.

Stephanie concentrated and all her protector angels disappeared. She reached over and touched Nick's ear that had been chopped off by Petrella and focused healing thoughts at the wound. The ear grew back. Nick's beast features soon melted and the human Nick stood before her once more.

The soldier Nicks handcuffed Stephanie and she didn't fight back. Then the scene around her changed to become a courtroom. Twelve Nicks, dressed in priestly uniforms, glared down at her from raised platforms that formed a semicircle around her. The high priest Nick, who sat in the center, wore a tall white hat, adorned with jewels and gold. "Do you claim to be a daughter of God?" he asked.

"It is as you say," Stephanie said.

"Blasphemer!" the high priest Nick said. "What need do we have of any further witnesses? We ourselves have heard the lies out of her own mouth."

Talk to him, Stephanie. You represent God to him and he wants to take revenge on you. I can only hold him back so long.

Stephanie shuddered to think what she might have to endure next if she couldn't reach Nick. She had read her Bible many times and didn't relish how this narrative went. "Listen to me, Nick. You don't have to do this. I know you think you're a demon, and God will never forgive you. I know you think God wants to vindicate His justice by sending you to hell, as not even you argue now that you deserve to burn. But believe it or not, that is the best place to be! You have come to fully understand and agree with God that you deserve your fate! That's exactly why you can avoid it! God has a higher form of justice than hell. It's called mercy and forgiveness to those who know they don't deserve it. All you have to do is receive it, and try to honestly respond out of love to love the Lord back. Let's end this scenario and go home. Mom and dad are just waiting on the other side. I don't believe Stro-kar has corrupted your mind so much that you can't see how simple it all is. We don't have to do this anymore."

"Blasphemer!" the high priest Nick said again, louder this time. "Take her to Pilate!"

The scene around her dissolved and reformed into a king's palace. She stood before a Nick wearing a crown and kingly robes sitting on a throne. The chief priest Nicks were around about her. "They say you are a daughter of the King of the Jews," the king said. "Is this so?"

"Yes," Stephanie replied.

"I find no fault with this woman," Pilate-Nick said.

The chief priests became fiercer. "She thinks she's better than us," they said with one voice in unison. "She thinks she deserves to go to heaven but we don't!"

"I didn't say that," Stephanie said. "Nobody deserves to go to heaven, Nick. There are no good people in heaven, just forgiven people. Just receive and respond to the love. You're the one who is refusing to love, serve, and obey God. It's your choice."

"We will not submit to a cruel God!" the Nicks said in one loud voice. "God allowed me to be deceived, in the preexistence by Satan, and on earth by the Balazons. He let me be demon possessed. What kind of a loving Father is that? They tormented my mind, made me do horrible things, and now He blames me for it all! I have to admit I'm a sinner and repent? What about God? Why doesn't He admit to some wrongdoing? Make Him beg me for forgiveness first and then maybe I'll think about it!"

"God sets the standard, not us. God judges us We don't judge Him. We need God's forgiveness. He does not need ours. Stro-kar has twisted your mind."

The high priest Nick ran up to Stephanie and struck her on the face. "Fuck you, stupid bitch," he said, and his head momentarily started to take on the form of an eagle, but then subsided.

"We all make our own choices, Nick. I was deceived too by the Balazons, but it was my own fault. I wanted to believe nonsense about how we all evolved from primordial goop without God because I didn't want to have to answer to the God we all know deep down exists. I was demon possessed too, but I don't blame God for everything. I've suffered from poor choices in my own life, poor choices others have made that have hurt me. I've even suffered for good, as I try to help people like you. If we would all just learn to love and obey God, none of these things would happen. It's the pride and selfishness in all of us that has causes pain and suffering. You can repent and change. You don't have to live like that anymore."

At her words, even the Pilate-Nick seemed to lose sense of his role in the drama and started to scream for her to be scourged and crucified. In the gospel account, Pilate had put up more resistance before turning Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion.

The scene dissolved around her and reformatted to become an outdoor courtyard. She was chained to a pole and naked, surrounded by Nicks that were laughing and taunting her. She heard a cracking noise behind her and gasped in pain, as a whip slashed her back open, the barbed end wrapping around her front and lodging in the nipple of her right breast before being pulled away, tearing her nipple in the process. The whip cracked again, and again, tearing and ripping her flesh with each strike. She clenched her teeth and endured the agony, fighting the urge to break the bonds and turn and fight. It was all an illusion anyway, she thought in an effort to try and comfort herself.

I'm sorry, Stephanie. I can't stop him from lashing out, only funnel the rage into a scenario that might impact him for good in the end. It's really the God you represent that he is trying to hurt.

"I know, mom," Stephanie said, and relaxed her body, enduring blow after blow. Soon her flesh began to resemble bloody ground beef and she found the pain more tolerable, becoming numb to the brutality.

The Nicks eventually released her from the pole and placed a crown of thorns upon her head. They crushed the crown deeply into her skull, and she screamed in agony, as the sharp thorns bit into her scalp like knives. Then the scene dissolved around her and she found herself carrying a cross up a long hill.

Hang on, Stephanie. The Lord is proud of your endurance and He understands what you are going through. He says your sacrifice can produce a great harvest if you endure.

She carried her cross up the hill. Once at the top, she tried to reason with the Roman soldier Nicks but they were beyond thinking. They placed her on the cross and drilled nails in her hands and feet, laughing in glee, enjoying her suffering. The spikes were fire in her palms and feet, and she bit down so hard against the pain that she broke several teeth in her mouth.

They raised the cross high in the air and there she hung for hours between two thief Nicks on crosses beside her. "Forgive Nick, Father," she said. "For on some level he knows what he is doing."

The Nick soldiers at the foot of the cross mocked her. "Let's see you save yourself, if you think you are such a strong warrior, daughter of God." And a sign was written over the top of her cross that said, "This is a daughter of the King of the Jews."

The thief Nick on her left said, "If you're really a representative of Christ, save yourself and us."

But the other thief Nick rebuked him saying, "Don't you fear God? We are receiving the rewards for our deeds, but this woman has done nothing wrong."

Stephanie turned to the Nick on her right and said, "Yes, Nick. That's the closest you've come yet to admitting any wrongdoing. I'm doing this because I love you and don't want you to go to hell. I'm trying to demonstrate to you the love of God. Just fully repent, ask God's forgiveness, and change."

"But the Spirit of God has already told me I've revealed myself as a demon in the flesh," the thief Nick on her right side said, and hung his head low. "There's no forgiveness for me."

Stephanie prayed for the Lord's touch on Nick's heart. "Yes, there is, Nick. You just have to choose to believe it. You have to accept God's forgiveness and then forgive yourself. You're hell-bent on destroying yourself. Why?"

"You don't know the things I've done. I feel so guilty. How can God love me?"

Stephanie pushed against her legs to catch a breath, as she felt her lungs crushing and found it difficult to talk. "Your works have nothing to do with salvation, Nick. Stop resisting the Holy Spirit and embrace Him, and He will remove your heart of stone and give you a new heart that desires to love and obey Him. That's it. Forget the past. The whole world was deceived by the Balazons' evolutionary lies. We all wanted to believe we could just naturally and easily evolve into gods without learning obedience to the one true God. We denied our consciences. We all wanted to believe there was no God and therefore no accountability. The demons tricked you, possessed you, used you, but you have to let it go and come to God."

"I was a fallen angel before I came to earth, and I've proven my allegiance again to Satan through the human life I've lived. There can be no forgiveness for me anymore. I've committed high treason by betraying my Creator twice and committing spiritual adultery again with Satan in this life. That's why sexual immorality is so wrong. Sex sin is a physical type picturing the primary sin all humans have: lack of spiritual fidelity to God. I lost that intimacy, connection, and union with God by becoming disobedient and rebellious in the preexistence. And I did it again...I did it again."

The thief Nick hung his head low.

"We don't know that for sure," Stephanie gasped, finding it difficult to speak. "You can't believe everything Stro-kar says."

"No, Stro-kar may have initially revealed it, but I really feel like God confirmed to me that it's true."

She started feeling weak and her legs began to give out, lungs crushing again, and gasped for air. But she found the strength to push up again. "Well, even if that's true, whatever you might have been before you came to earth, as long as you are human and alive, you still have a chance to change your destiny."

The thief Nick hung his head low again.

"You can do it, Nick," Stephanie said. Her legs were burning, but she knew she had to keep pushing and continue the conversation. "This is the part where you're supposed to ask me to remember you when I come into God's kingdom. That's probably all you have to do and we can end this."

"I can't. I'm too much of a sinner. I'm too weak. God can't love me."

Stephanie felt her life ebbing away, and gasped out one last plea to Nick to repent and believe, her speech now broken and very labored. The sun faded and darkness descended around her.

It's almost over, Stephanie. This is the hardest part. The Lord asks you to trust Him. Hang on. Don't come down off that cross.

The darkness of the night invaded her soul, and she began to feel an intense spiritual agony. Body muscles she never knew she had began to contract and convulse violently, as she began to sense Nick's thoughts in a more powerful and intimate way than she had ever before experienced in any mind. His thoughts were becoming hers and her mind was becoming his. Memories began to flood over her, things Nick had done while demon possessed, vivid details of unimaginable things, rapes, murders, torture, and the pleasure of it all...and the pain. Then she lost any sense of connection with her mom, or even God's spirit.

Stephanie asked in her thoughts if her mom was still there, but received silence in response. She begged for a touch of God's spirit but likewise received nothing. "Mom, God?" she cried out. "Why have you both forsaken me?" She thought of ending it all and exiting Nick's mind, but steeled her will and tried to focus on thoughts of love, determined to stay for her brother's sake.

Despair flooded over her, and she felt as if hot irons were being pressed against her head. She screamed, as her mind seared, and the memory of the point at which Nick gave up fighting Stro-kar invaded her consciousness. When Nick had fully merged with Stro-kar, he broke a barrier whereby Nick believed he became privy to spirit "mysteries". Powerful memories of the demon, Stro-kar, began to merge with her mind too, memories of thousands of years of spiritually torturing and tormenting humans.

She deeply understood now why her words seemed unable to impact Nick, and why Nick was so sure he was doomed, a demon in the flesh. Mere words could never reach him, the depth of his pain and agony something that had to be experienced to be understood. But while Nick was too weak to believe on his own, she had the faith to believe there was no limit to the love and mercy of God, even for His enemies, even if the demonic theology was true. She understood now why she had to merge with Nick in this way, share part of his pain, so that he could share part of her faith, as the merging process went both ways and it was the only way she had any hope of impacting him.

Motivated now only by love, totally unafraid, and willing to endure any pain, she pushed further into Nick's mind, becoming evil incarnate, becoming a devil, feeling the burning of Nick's conscience, a sort of hell of its own. The fire in her mind intensified, but she threw herself fully into the flames, knowing with unshakeable faith that God would not leave her soul in hell forever, even though she was willfully turning herself into a demon, for love conquers all and love never fails.

She fully merged with her brother's thoughts in every way possible, becoming one with his evil nature, becoming one with his sin, becoming sin, losing perception of boundaries where she began and Nick ended. In the process, Nick took on the nature of Stephanie, faith, hope, and love building bridges to heaven that had long since been destroyed. She joyfully went to hell with him, confident that she could also bring him with her to heaven.

"It is finished!" she said, and pushed her legs up one last time to take a gasp of air and say the words that would end her journey. "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Then she died.

Stephanie slumped over in her wheelchair and the doctor's monitoring equipment started beeping. He had Stephanie hooked up with electrodes and wires to monitor her vital signs in case of emergency.

"I've lost contact!"Valerie said, as she dropped her hands that had been tightly pressed against Stephanie's head. The close contact had afforded her some sensation of what Stephanie had been enduring, but the full scope of it was beyond her.

"Move!" the doctor said rudely, and Valerie jumped aside, not at all annoyed at his tone. The doctor began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

"You have to bring her back," Valerie said. "I can sense Nick's suicidal despair. He needs his sister now more than ever. If he kills himself in his mind, he'll die here too!"

Judas-Nick fastened one end of the rope tightly to the bottom of the tree. The tall oak sat at the top of a hill overlooking a valley below. It had one high thick branch that stretched out over the side of the cliff. Perfect place to hang himself, Judas-Nick thought, and shook his head, trying to clear it of a deep feeling of haze. He wondered why the world looked so odd. The grass was a deep pink and the sky was purple.

Lord Stephanie had suffered and died for him, but he had betrayed her. His own sister had been the Messiah, and he had come to know that intimately over the more than three years he had walked with her during her ministry. She had been God in the flesh, and he had been her disciple, witnessing all of her miracles, but in the end he had betrayed her. It was time to end it all, face his Maker, and accept God's judgment, however severe it may be.

He just couldn't live with himself anymore, understanding something of the love of God now in a deeper way, witnessing his sister's sacrificial love for humanity, but knowing it didn't apply to him. They had fought often as kids, full of animosity and hatred at times, but she had been willing to go to any lengths for the sinners of the world. Lord Stephanie had died to bring salvation to the world. But he knew forgiveness didn't apply to him. Even Stephanie had called him the son of perdition. He was damned and he knew it. He deserved to die. And it was time to execute sentence.

Judas-Nick formed the other end of the rope into a noose and flung it over the branch overhanging the valley below, pausing only temporarily to fall to his knees and sob again at what he had done to his sister. He paused, confused, remembering how he had watched her from behind dozens of eyes, but knowing that was impossible, since he was only one person. He shook his head again, trying to shake off a dazed feeling, like he was in a dream world of some sorts. He had a duty to perform.

The doctor removed the defibrillator pads from Stephanie's chest and the heart monitor beeped to life again, steady and sure. Stephanie opened her eyes slowly.

"You have to go back in!" Valerie said. "When you died, Nick lost connection with your mind and faith. He doesn't know what he's doing. He won't last much longer."

"I wouldn't advise it," the doctor said. "She is weak and needs rest. If she goes back in you might lose them both."

"I don't care," Stephanie said weakly. "I know I'm going to heaven anyway. Nick is the one who still has a choice to make."

She immediately closed her eyes and Valerie pressed her hands against Stephanie's head.

Judas-Nick fit the noose snugly around his neck and prepared to hurl himself over the side of the cliff. Suddenly, his mood changed, and his faith surged somewhat. Judas-Nick began to realize how illogical it was that Lord Stephanie would want to damn him. She had died for all sinners, including him. Every person had their part in putting Stephanie on that cross. His sin had been so great, though, and he started to despair again.

It was then that he noticed Petrella, one of Lord Stephanie's closest disciples, standing beside the oak tree. "You have to face who you are and what you've done," she said. "Accept the Lord's forgiveness and be a changed person. It doesn't have to end this way."

Nick loosened the noose and removed it from his neck. He came close to her. "What do you know what I've done and how I feel?"

"I felt just as bad as you, in my own way. Lord Stephanie had said I would deny her three times before the cock crowed, and it happened just like she said. I was such a coward. I ran just like all the rest. But I've accepted her forgiveness and I'm ready to die. I know I'll go to heaven."

"She called me the son of perdition. My fate is sealed. Nothing can be done to change it. I might as well just kill myself and go to hell. The longer I live, the more sin and judgment I'll just be heaping on my head."

"No, I forgive you."

It was then that he noticed Petrella wasn't really Petrella, as though scales had been lifted from his eyes. Petrella was actually Lord Stephanie.

"You are risen!" Nick said and fell at her feet. "My Lord and my God."

"No, Nick. I'm just a human being, your sister... and I forgive you. Why do you think Jesus would be any different?"

It was then that more scales fell from his eyes, as memory and total awareness instantly flooded his mind. He remembered everything now, and realized he was really trapped in the hell of his own mind, about to send himself to a literal hell if he had killed himself.

"Steph!" he said as he stood up to face her. "You have all my memories now. I remember us merging."

"Yes, and while here, I can strengthen you a bit with our merged faith. That's why you came down off that tree. But it was all just a demonstration of the truth, Nick, a reflection of Jesus' experience to help you believe. I did it willingly in the hopes it would help you."

"I can't believe what you were willing to endure just to try and reach me, Steph. I can't believe what Jesus actually did do for me..."

"That's your whole problem, Nick. Believe it. Stop resisting the Holy Spirit. Surrender and receive Christ before it's too late. You've never really known Christ like I do, but you do know me. And if I forgive you and hold nothing against you, a mere sinful human being, you should be able to understand now how much Christ loves you even more. Whatever you think you know about mysteries of a time before you came to earth, the reality is you are human now, and as a human, you have a choice to make as to whether or not you will love your Creator back, as He has loved you. Obey Him, Nick. That's how you show your love for God. You gave up on Jesus but He hasn't given up on you. The Lord still loves you and He wants you to be with Him in heaven when you die."

Stephanie started to shimmer, and began disappearing from his world. Nick could feel fear and despair pushing into his mind, growing in intensity the more she faded. "I'm dying on the outside and soon my faith will no longer sustain you," she said. "I'm expending all my life energy to be with you now in these last minutes. But you have to make your own choice. My death means nothing. It is Christ's death for your sins that counts. You have to put all your faith and trust in Him to save you. And He will. He'll even give you supernatural desire and ability to love and serve Him, but like the old hymn says, you have to trust and obey, for there's no other way."

Nick fell to his knees and began sobbing uncontrollably. "I will," he mumbled and in his heart, he totally and unconditionally surrendered to the Creator of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, the Lord God Almighty.

"Lord, forgive me and remember me," was all Nick said, but immediately, joy and ecstasy swept his entire being.

He instantly transformed into a ball of pure light, and merged with Stephanie, who had also become a ball of light. "Let's go home," the ball of light said. "Our Father awaits."

"That's it," the doctor said, after having just tried every thing in his bag of tricks to revive both Stephanie and Nick. "They're both dead. There's nothing more I can do."

Valerie was hugging her husband, Jeff, and crying tears of joy. She wanted both her children back of course, but in the end, it didn't matter. She was deliriously satisfied with the outcome anyway. "It's ok, doctor. They've both gone home. It doesn't matter anymore."