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The Man Who Broke Free

Justin A. Colberg
Copyright © 2019 by Justin A. Colberg

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used
in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.

First Printing: 2019


Dedication
To those who are not yet spiritually woken and trying to make
sense of the crazy world we live in.

Thank you. You have given me the motivation to write this book.
I hope it brings you the knowledge and enlightenment you’ve been
searching for.
Contents

Preface ................................................................................................ 1
Chapter 1 ........................................................................................... 5
Chapter 2 ......................................................................................... 26
Chapter 3 ......................................................................................... 48
Chapter 4 ......................................................................................... 70
Preface

Some people go through life blindly accepting the world as it is


and never once questioning the nature of their reality. Most of us are
programmed from birth with these preconceived notions on how the
world works. You go to school, you graduate college, you get a job,
you pay your taxes, you get married, you buy a house, you have chil-
dren, you retire, and then you live out the rest of your life until you
die, hopefully peacefully in your sleep, sometime in your nineties.
That’s how the system’s designed to work if you’re fortunate enough,
right? Then your soul moves on to heaven where you reunite with
your loved ones and worship an all-loving God for all of eternity.
What if I told you the system was rigged? What if I told you that
everything was a lie? Religion. The media. The education system. Is it
possible that all of these are just tools which are being used as a form
of control for the purpose of manipulating the masses to believe cer-
tain ideologies? If so, who are the puppet masters that are pulling the
strings from behind the scenes? Is it a group of power-hungry indi-
viduals who are hell-bent on world domination? Would it be plausible
to consider that these same individuals are in turn being manipulated
themselves by someone or something else?
This book will explore these questions and much more. It is in-
tended to open people’s minds to new ways of thinking, as well as
expand people’s level of awareness to the point where the reader will
never be able to look at the world the same again. In order to accom-
plish this daunting task, the reader must be willing to set aside their
previous beliefs in order to comprehend some of the material that will
be discussed in this story.
We will take aim at some of life’s most philosophical mysteries,
such as what our purpose here is on Earth both as a collective species
and as an individual being. Are we really all connected as one? Is
separation merely an illusion? If so, who is creating this illusion? Is
the God of the Old Testament really Satan is disguise keeping our
souls trapped in third dimensional bodies like the Gnostics believed?
If so, then who is the God of the New Testament who ultimately de-
feats Satan and creates a new heaven and earth for his people to reign
1
in for all eternity? Is this the true all-loving God, or is this simply a
case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss?”
We will also explore the ancient astronaut theory which suggests
that we were visited in our ancient past by extraterrestrials sometimes
referred to as “gods.” Did these off-world beings really exist? If so,
did they have malicious intentions of enslaving us for a much larger
agenda, or were they a benevolent race who came here to help jump-
start human civilization?
I have chosen to incorporate these esoteric topics into this book
because I believe they are key to understanding who we really are and
what we must do to reclaim our sovereignty. I do not claim to have all
the answers, and therefore not everything you will read within these
pages should be taken as factual. If I wanted people to simply take my
word on everything I say, would I be any better than a preacher who
expects people to believe everything in the Bible to be truth and to
never question anything? I consider religion to be a form of slavery
for the mind, as it does not allow a person think outside of a particular
paradigm, and that is why I encourage those who read my book to do
outside research and form your own conclusions.
My own research was done through countless of hours of docu-
mentaries, books, research papers, and YouTube videos from various
sources. One source I would highly recommend is the Wes Penre Pa-
pers by Wes Penre. This is perhaps the most comprehensive source of
information you will find regarding everything that will be discussed
in this book. You can find them online for no cost. In fact, he also has
his own YouTube channel and discussion forum where he interacts
with people who are interested in his work.
I would also be remiss not to mention Wayne Bush’s website,
trickedbythelight.com. There is information plentiful on his page
ranging from the tunnel of light that people claim to see when passing
over being a death trap for the soul, to why the sun and the moon
aren’t actually what we’ve been led to believe they are.
Have I gotten your attention yet? If you’re new to this sort of ma-
terial, some of what you will read in my story will likely be
confusing, overwhelming, outrageous, and even blasphemous. How-
ever, for those who have some knowledge of the occult, or for those
who simply understand something is wrong with the world we live in,
some of what I say may actually make sense.

2
I began my spiritual journey during the summer of 2017 and ha-
ven’t looked back since. What really got it all started for me was
when I started contemplating why no one seemed to have the answers
to any of life’s biggest questions. Where did the human race come
from? Why is there so much evil in the world? What happens to us
when we die? What will the world look like in the future? I thought it
would be fascinating if I could one day find out the answers to these
important questions. Little did I know how much would change once I
began discovering the truth. The first major change that occurred was
that I no longer considered myself to be Catholic. Once I learned
about the astral realm and how it works, it became easy for me to de-
program myself from what religion teaches us about heaven and hell.
In an infinite universe, it now seems completely ridiculous to me that
a person only has two choices of where they can go after their lifetime
on Earth comes to an end.
The fact of the matter is that we are constantly being lied to by
our religions, our history books, our government, our media, and our
scientists. We’re living in a world where everything is inverted, and
the only way to break free from this matrix is to do your own research
and draw your own conclusions. Unfortunately, there is a lot of disin-
formation out there, but there is also plenty of good information if
you’re using the proper resources. Since we’re all living in the age of
technology, there’s no reason for anyone to be kept in the dark. Cross-
referencing ancient texts is a great way to research our true history.
For example, if you read the Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Enuma
Elis, Zoroastrian texts, and the Sumerian cuneiform writings, you will
notice that much of the Bible originated from these other sources.
I have chosen to incorporate what I consider to be truths juxta-
posed with a fictional narrative, so at the very least the reader will still
hopefully find the book to be entertaining, even if they take nothing
else from it. Much of our history is convoluted, and therefore, much is
open to interpretation. There is no one person or book that has all the
correct answers. One must connect the dots and find the missing piec-
es to the puzzle for themselves in order to make better sense of life.
For those who take the time to read my book from front to cover, I do
hope you learn something. However, if you ultimately decide to dis-
regard everything as nonsense, I commend you for at least
considering the other side of the spectrum. Either way, I hope you en-
joy my story, so buckle up and prepare yourself for a wild ride!
3
Chapter 1

It was a rainy Friday morning in New York City. Dean Gallagher


was fast asleep when the crackling sound of thunder woke him up
from his dream. He rolled over and checked his alarm clock. Just per-
fect, Dean thought. It was 9 o’clock and class started at 10:15. That
gave him about a half hour to leave the house.
Dean was not known for being much of a morning person, and
today was no different. He quickly jumped out of bed and started to
prepare for the day ahead. Perhaps it was Dean’s lack of motivation in
school that caused him to develop such bad habits. Even though he
was in the first semester of junior year in college, he had still not de-
clared his major. In fact, he had not put much thought into what he
would be doing with his life after he graduated Richmond University.
His motivation appeared to be lessened even more today given
the gloomy weather, and coupled with the fact that it was his birthday
weekend. All that was on his mind was how he was going to celebrate
his twenty-first birthday later that night with his friends. Now that he
was of legal drinking age, he was glad he would no longer need his
fake ID to get into bars. Nothing would be off limits for him now that
he was officially an adult.
But first thing’s first. Dean grabbed his jacket and car keys and
headed for the door.
“Good luck on your history test today, honey,” Dean’s mom
shouted. “I’m sure you’ll do great.”
Shit, Dean thought. He had forgotten that he had an exam today.
“Thanks mom,” Dean shouted back as he walked out of the
house.
He got into his car and pulled out of the driveway. As he began
driving to school, he started to think about the dream he had last
night. He dreamt he was being attacked by vampires. But these
weren’t the ordinary type that bite your neck and suck your blood.
These were energy-draining, parasitic vampires.
Dean recalled being in a dark alley and seeing three shadowy fig-
ures approach him. He could not see their faces, but the mere
presence of them was enough to intimidate him. He soon realized it
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Justin A. Colberg

was their intention to cause him fear, as this was their way of nourish-
ing themselves. The more fearful he was, the more powerful they
became. Dean looked for a way out, but he was too frozen with trepi-
dation to even move. One of the shadowy figures stepped forward and
told him there was no use trying to escape since they had him cor-
nered with nowhere to go.
Dean could feel the color flush from his face as his whole body
went numb. These ghastly beings were stealing his life force straight
from his soul.
Just as he felt like he was about to die, a hooded figure came
from seemingly out of nowhere and began speaking in a language
Dean had never heard of before. It was almost as if he was using some
sort of incantation to repel the monstrous creatures. They immediately
fled the ally and the unknown hero who came to Dean’s aid helped
him to his feet.
“Th-thank you,” Dean stuttered, still trying to process what had
just happened. “But, who are you?”
He handed Dean a crumbled up piece of paper. The words “lumi-
nous spirit” were all that was written on it. Just as the mystery man
was about to remove his hood to reveal himself, Dean was woken up
from the storm he was now driving in.
The rain was coming down hard, and with the immense traffic,
Dean knew there was no way he was making it on time to class this
morning. He dreaded having to walk in late to class on a normal day,
let alone on a day when he was scheduled to have an important exam-
ination in a subject that he was already doing poorly in. He knew his
professor wouldn’t cut him any slack either by giving him extra time
if he needed it. Mr. Jordan wasn’t known for being a very understand-
ing professor. One time Dean has asked if he could do an extra credit
assignment to help boost his grade. He responded with, “If you can’t
do the regular credit, why should you deserve to be given extra cred-
it?”
So much for willing to make the extra effort. It was almost as if
he couldn’t care less if his students failed his course.
Dean thought back to his dream. If those psychic vampires were
here right now, they would be having a feast on his stress and anxiety.
Of course, he didn’t actually believe in such fantasies. He realized his
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dream was most likely the product of his overactive imagination from
watching one too many horror movies.
Nonetheless, there was an unusual sense of uneasiness that Dean
was feeling this morning and he couldn’t help but wonder whose face
would’ve been hiding underneath that hood had he not been woken up
so unceremoniously. And what did the words “luminous spirit” mean?
The rain began to subside as Dean pulled into the parking lot on
campus. He was already ten minutes late and it would take him an
additional five minutes to walk to the building where his class was
located.
He entered the building, hurried up two flights of stairs, and en-
tered room 210. Fortunately for him, everyone seemed to be too
focused on filling in their Scantrons with their number two pencils to
notice anyone had walked into the room. He made the long stroll
across the lecture hall to Mr. Jordan’s desk in what felt like an eterni-
ty and picked up a copy of the exam. “Nice of you to join us Mr.
Gallagher,” said the white-haired, scruffy college professor. “Good
luck to you.” Dean gave a half-hearted smile as he took a seat at his
desk.
At least it’s a multiple choice test, Dean thought. How hard could
it be? Dean took a look at the first question and immediately knew he
was in trouble. Two out of the five choices read, “All of the above”
and “Only ‘A’ & ‘C’.” Dean hated trick questions like this. He looked
up at his professor and saw he was now sitting at his desk playing on
his phone. Dean had never cheated on a test before, but he could not
afford to fail another history test. He was already failing the course,
and another bad grade would surely doom him for the semester. His
mother was struggling to afford to put Dean through college. Ever
since his dad had passed away three years ago from a sudden heart
attack, money had been tight for the Gallaghers, and he did not want
to let his mom down. He was close enough to the girl sitting next to
him to see her answers. He tried his best to glance over without turn-
ing his head too much, as he did not want to make it obvious to
anyone what he was doing.
Dean was making good progress cheating his way through the
exam when his stomach made a loud growl. He was in such a rush to

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get to class that he did not have time to eat breakfast this morning,
and he was now feeling the repercussions of that poor decision.
Mr. Jordan looked up and noticed Dean’s wandering eyes.
“Mr. Gallagher, may I have a word with you please?” Mr. Jordan
shouted sternly.
Dean’s heart sunk in his chest. He knew he had been caught.
He walked slowly outside the room where he met his professor
privately in the hall.
“Now I hate to have to ask you this, but I couldn’t help but notice
you paying a lot of attention to Ms. Owens and I don’t get the feeling
it has anything to do with you having eyes for her,” the professor said
sarcastically.
Michelle Owens wasn’t exactly a looker, but Dean knew she was
an intellectual and it would’ve been highly likely he would’ve scored
quite well on the exam if he had been more careful. At this point,
Dean realized he had two options. He was either going to have to
come clean and admit he cheated, or he would have to deny every-
thing.
“Did you feel the need to cheat your way through my test because
you failed to put in the proper preparations, Mr. Gallagher?” Mr. Jor-
dan asked interrogatively.
“No, sir,” Dean replied without much thought. He had little time
to decide which way he wanted to play this out and decided he was
just going to roll with whatever came out of his mouth.
“That is most interesting. So you’re going to tell me that if I were
to call Ms. Owens out here with us to show us her answers, they
wouldn’t be exactly the same as yours?”
Dean felt like he was going to vomit as his stomach turned in
knots. He was certain the professor was toying with him at this point,
but he had already committed himself to the lie and felt he had no
choice but to keep going along with it.
“No, sir,” Dean reiterated in a much softer voice than before. His
only hope at this point was to pray that his classmate had gone back
and altered some of her answers. Dean was not a religious man, how-
ever, and he had no reason to believe today would be the day that a
God he did not believe in would grant him a miracle.
“Very well,” Mr. Jordan said somberly. “Wait here.”
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With that, the visibly agitated professor went back inside the
classroom and called Michelle Owens over to his desk. Dean watched
in angst as Mr. Jordan compared both Scantrons beside one another. It
felt like an eternity has passed by before he finally raised his head and
narrowed his eyes into a menacing stare aiming in Dean’s direction.
Dean could feel the sweat dripping from his forehead as his mind
began to race. His mom was going to kill him when she found out
what he had done. Wasting her money by failing the course would be
bad enough, but what if he got expelled on top of that? He doubted
he’d be allowed back in the house. He was planning out scenarios in
his head which the consequences of his actions would likely lead to
when he was brought back to reality by his professor.
“I’m very disappointed in you, Dean,” Mr. Jordan said as he
marched his way back to the hallway. Dean knew by the tone of his
voice and the fact he had called him by his first name that he was in
big trouble.
“Not only did you decide to cheat on my exam, but you lied
about it as well. I’m going to have no choice but to inform the head of
department about this very serious infraction and let them handle it
accordingly. Until then, I cannot welcome you back into my class.
Good day to you, Mr. Gallagher. I hope you use the rest of your time
wisely and think about you’ve done.”
Mr. Jordan closed the door and Dean stood frozen in disbelief at
how quickly everything had unraveled. He collected himself and
sulked into a nearby empty chair. He cupped his hands over his face
as he contemplated what he was going to do next. He had suddenly
become a man with no direction in life. Dean looked outside and saw
it had started raining again. This was not the way he intended on cele-
brating his birthday weekend. He no longer had any desire to go out
partying with his friends later in the evening. He just wanted to go
back home and lay in his bed. Maybe when he woke up, this whole
nightmare would be over.
Dean’s stomach growled again. It was getting close to noon and
he hadn’t eaten anything all day. He wanted to contact his friends to
let them know what happened and that he wouldn’t be able to go out
with them later, but first he decided it would be wise for him to go to
the cafeteria to grab some lunch. The school lunch room was located
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Justin A. Colberg

on the other side of the campus, and with the rain falling again, he
would need to make a run for it. But first, he needed to use the bath-
room.
Dean entered the men’s room, and as he used the urinal, he no-
ticed an umbrella laying on the side of one of the stalls. There was
nobody else in the bathroom with him, so he assumed someone must
have forgotten it. He zipped up his pants and washed his hands. He
took another look around and saw there was no one in sight. He
grabbed the umbrella and decided he would use it to protect himself
from the storm. As he left the bathroom, he saw Mr. Jordan walking
in his direction. He put his head down as he passed by and hoped his
professor wouldn’t say anything to him.
“What is that you’re holding underneath your arm, Mr. Gal-
lagher?” Mr. Jordan shouted as his voice echoed throughout the hall.
“Is that my umbrella? I’ve been looking all over for that!”
Once again, Dean was forced to think on his feet and come up
with an answer that would not get him into more trouble than he was
already in. If it really was his professor’s umbrella, he couldn’t let
him think he was stealing it for himself.
“I don’t know, sir. I found it in the bathroom and was just going
to return it to the lost and found,” Dean said trying to sound as reas-
suring as he could.
“Oh, really? Is that way you’re walking in the direction of the ex-
it? The last time I checked, the lost and found was located that way.”
Mr. Jordan pointed in the opposite direction of where Dean was head-
ed.
Dean stared blankly at his professor. Every time he opened his
mouth, he got caught in a lie, so he figured it would be best to say
nothing at this point. Mr. Jordan extended his hand in a gesture that
would suggest he was waiting for Dean to hand the umbrella over to
him. Not wanting to stir the pot any further, Dean relinquished it.
“If you’re fortunate enough to be allowed back into my class, I’ll
be sure to keep a closer eye on my belongings,” Mr. Jordan said sar-
castically. “I do hope this is the last time we cross paths today, Mr.
Gallagher.” He shook his head as he walked away.
Dean stood in awe. His day couldn’t possibly get much worse. It
was bad enough that his professor caught him cheating, but now he
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thought he was a thief and a liar on top of that. Mr. Jordan already had
it out for him before all of this happened, and now it seemed inevita-
ble that his folly would lead to his collegiate doom.
He checked his cell phone for the time, and underneath it he no-
ticed today’s date was Friday the thirteenth. Dean was not a
superstitious man, but he couldn’t help but wonder if he had run him-
self into a stroke of bad luck. It all started, of course, with that strange
dream he had last night. Who was the man who came to his rescue?
And why did he hand him that piece of paper with the words “lumi-
nous spirit” written on it? Dean immediately felt foolish for
contemplating the significance of a meaningless dream. He had
enough on his plate to deal with.
Dean exited the building and walked as fast as he could to the
cafeteria. The cold rain fell on his head, and he appeared to be the on-
ly one on campus without an umbrella or some type of protective
head gear. He was soaked by the time he reached his destination, but
he was too hungry to even care about how wet he was. He got on line
and ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. He poured himself a
cup of soda, paid at the register, and found a seat in the middle of one
of the tables. He texted his friend John Newman to let him know that
he wouldn’t be able to go out later in the evening. Dean had known
John since high school, and they had always gone out on the week-
ends and partied together. Now that he was turning twenty-one, he
knew John wouldn’t be happy when he got his text. Sure enough, not
even five minutes after he sent the text, his phone rang. Dean took a
deep breath and accepted the call.
“Dude, what do you mean you’re not coming out tonight? We
had this whole weekend planned since last month!” John exclaimed.
“I know, man, I know. I just can’t do it right now. I have too
much going on. I think I might be getting expelled from school.”
“What? How? What did you do, beat someone up at recess?”
John laughed at his own bad joke.
John had been out of school for 3 years now, having never went
to college, so the idea of his best friend being kicked out of school
sounded childish to him.
“Not quite. I got caught cheating on a test by my professor and he
said he’s going to report it to the head of the department. He also
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caught me stealing from him and lying to him about it, so that’s not
likely going to help my case much either.”
“Wow, Dean. When did you become such a bad boy? You turn
twenty-one and all of a sudden you start living life on the edge?”
“I’m glad you can find humor in my misery,” Dean said morose-
ly. “I’m going to finish eating my food and head back home for the
rest of the day.”
“And do what? Be miserable for the rest of the weekend? You
don’t know for sure if you’re really getting expelled, and even if you
are, the best remedy for you would be to go out and get drunk to for-
get about all of this.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Dean confessed. “But right now I just need
some time alone. Let me go home and relax for a while and I’ll let
you know about later tonight.”
“Sounds good. You know me and the crew will be waiting for
you, Dean. Don’t let us down.”
Dean hung up the phone and threw out his garbage. He left the
cafeteria and raced towards the parking lot as the rain once again
poured down on him. As he began to drive, he wondered what he
would tell his mother when he walked through the door. She worked
from home on Fridays, and she would almost certainly greet him
when he arrived and ask how his exam was. He would have to lie to
her and say that it went well, although Dean knew he already proved
once today that lying wasn’t exactly his specialty.
“Hotel California” by the Eagles began playing on the radio and
Dean turned up the volume. It was one of his favorite songs and he
sang along to the words as he made his way home. The last verse of
the song played as he pulled into his driveway-- You can check out
any time you like, but you can never leave!
Dean thought about how appropriate the timing of this lyric was,
as he knew he very well may never be able to leave his house again if
his mom found out he had been expelled from college. He turned off
the radio and got out of his car. He got home much quicker than he
had anticipated. With it being early afternoon, there wasn’t much traf-
fic on the roads. That was unfortunate, as this was the one time he
wished there was some traffic, so he could drift away to the music and
get his mind off of the train wreck of a day he was having. Music al-
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Justin A. Colberg

ways seemed to take him to another place no matter what mood he


was in. Nonetheless, he reached the front door and turned his key,
bracing himself for the inevitable.
Surprisingly, he was able to open the door without making too
much noise. He was beginning to think he might be able to sneak up-
stairs to his room without his mother noticing. He quietly closed the
door and took off his shoes. Dean and his mom lived in an old house
and the stairs normally creaked when walking on them, so he didn’t
want to take any chances. He could hear his mom typing away on her
laptop in the kitchen. Dean knew she was likely too enthralled with
her work to care if he was home even if she did hear him. Neverthe-
less, he tip-toed his way carefully up the stairs. He was more than
halfway there when one of the stairs made a sudden high-pitched
squeak.
“Honey, is that you?” Dean’s mom shouted out. She got up and
walked over to the living room to see her son standing over the ban-
nister with his shoes in his hands.
“Why are you holding your shoes?” she asked. “You never take
off your shoes when you come in the house. I usually have to yell at
you to remove them.”
“Well, uh, it was raining outside and I didn’t want to get the
floors dirty. I know you just cleaned them yesterday,” Dean said ap-
prehensively. The only reason he knew this was because his mom had
yelled at him the day before for stepping on the wet floor with his
dirty shoes right after she had just finished mopping.
Dean’s mom looked at him and scoffed at the idea that Dean had
all of a sudden become concerned about coming into the house with
his shoes on. She was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt,
however.
“I’m glad to hear you’re finally starting to care about keeping the
house clean. Now tell me, how did that history test go today?”
Dean, again not having much time to think, rolled with whatever
came out of his mouth. “I thought it went well. There were some
questions I weren’t too sure about, but I took an educated guess on
them. I felt like I did the best I could.”
“That’s what I like to hear. Your father was always interested in
history, you know. Maybe you should consider taking it up as your
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Justin A. Colberg

major. You’re in your junior year now Dean and you still haven’t de-
cided yet on your career path. Don’t you think it’s time to seriously
think about your future? Or are you planning on living with your
mommy your whole life?”
Dean rolled his eyes. “I know, mom. I’m going to declare my
major soon, don’t worry. Now let me go to my room. I need to get
changed and relax.”
“Alright, just don’t forget to put out the trash later before you go
out tonight.”
Dean nodded and walked to his room. On a normal day, he had to
be reminded more than once by his mom to put out the trash. Now,
with all that he had on his mind, taking out a smelly bag of garbage
was the least of his concerns. He still wasn’t sure if he was going to
go out later. Right now he just wanted to lay in his bed and take a nap.
He got undressed, put on his pajamas, and crawled underneath the
blankets which were already pulled down and waiting for him. Dean’s
room was typically messy and he rarely bothered to make his bed. He
didn’t see the point of wasting time in the morning with that, especial-
ly when he was known for constantly being late.
Dean was a deep sleeper and it didn’t take long for him to fall in-
to a dream state. The last time he was asleep, he dreamt he was being
attacked by vampires. This time, he was even less prepared for what
he was about to encounter. He was having a lucid dream that he was
trapped in another realm. He did not know where he was, but he was
fully aware that it was all a product of his imagination. It had to be.
After all, dreams weren’t real, and so there was no way anything bad
could happen to him. And even if it did, the worst case scenario
would be that he would simply wake up. Dean had experienced dying
in dreams before and he always woke up whenever that occurred.
Just as he had set his mind at ease, he felt a presence near him.
He could not see or hear anything, but he could feel something lurk-
ing nearby. He immediately started to run in the opposite direction,
but he stumbled and fell face-first into the ground. Dean could feel the
shadowy figure moving closer towards him. He staggered to his feet
and reached out for something to grab onto, but realized there was a
brick wall blocking his path. It was a dead end. He looked for another
way to turn, but it was too dark for him to see. The entity was closing
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Justin A. Colberg

in on him. Dean anticipated this would be the part where he gets his
head decapitated by a machete and wakes up in his bed in a deep
sweat. Instead, he suddenly saw a bright light illuminate a new path
for him to run. There was a lady holding up a lantern waving her hand
frantically at him.
“This way, hurry!” the mysterious lady said as she implored
Dean to follow her.
Dean didn’t think twice about it as he let her lead the way. He
could sense they were losing whatever it was that was following them
as they turned down several long passages to what felt like an endless
maze. Dean was beginning to tire from running, but the lady refused
to let up. She had gone way out in front of him to the point where
Dean could no longer see the light from her lantern. Suddenly, he
heard a voice call out from the end of the corridor.
“Over here, Dean. You’ll be safe here,” the lady shouted reassur-
ingly.
Dean started to feel reluctant following the stranger. She had
such a specific purpose. He began to wonder if she was really trying
to help him or lead him further astray. He didn’t have much choice
though, since he didn’t know of any other way to go. He followed her
voice and soon caught up with her. She held up the lantern in front of
her. The white light shined so brightly in Dean’s face that it nearly
blinded him.
“Step into the light, Dean. Don’t be afraid.”
The lady lowered her lantern, and Dean was finally able to get a
good look at her face. Dean was surprised to see that she was an at-
tractive young woman, maybe in her mid-20s. She was grinning from
ear-to-ear, in what appeared to be a sinister gesture. He knew some-
thing didn’t seem right. He turned around and noticed there was a
light shimmering in the distance that appeared to be a doorway. Dean
pondered whether the portal was his way out of the maze. He turned
back around and noticed the lady holding the lantern was gone, alt-
hough he could still feel her presence.
If only I had a way of lighting up this place on my own, Dean
thought. And just like that, he felt something appear in his pocket. It
was a flashlight! He was astounded by the convenience of having his

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Justin A. Colberg

desires manifest instantaneously, but then he remembered that he was


still dreaming and nothing was real.
Dean whipped out the flashlight and switched it on. He immedi-
ately regretted doing so, as he was not prepared for what was there
staring back at him. It was a haggard old lady with black hollow eyes
and a twisted grin that made Dean’s blood curl. He turned his atten-
tion back to the doorway that would hopefully lead to his escape and
end this nightmare.
“Come on, Dean. Stay with me. It gets lonely down here and I
could use some company.” The old lady cackled as her flesh began to
rot off her face as she walked slowly towards a petrified Dean Gal-
lagher.
“Not a chance,” Dean muttered as he raced towards the exit. As
he passed through the light, he felt himself returning back to his body,
but something wasn’t quite right. He found himself unable to move
from the fetal positon he was laying in. Dean had a tendency of curl-
ing up into a ball while he slept, which he normally had no problem
unravelling from once he woke up. This time, however, he was ren-
dered paralyzed and didn’t know what to do.
As if his situation wasn’t already bad enough, he now saw a sil-
houette near his bed. He couldn’t turn his head to see who it was, but
he assumed it must be his mother since she was the only other person
in the house. Dean was hoping she would yell at him to wake up, as
she would sometimes do when he slept for too long. It seemed like
that would be the only way he would awaken from his immobile state.
Dean didn’t hear anything, however. Instead, he felt the silhouette
hover over him and he had an eerie feeling that he recognized it. It
definitely did not belong to his mother.
It was the same malevolent presence that was chasing him
through the labyrinth in his dream! It had almost a demonic feel to it,
as if it was either trying to possess Dean or kill him. Still unable to
move, he tried to force himself to go back to sleep. He didn’t know
how else to end this hellish experience he was having. Suddenly, he
heard Ozzy Osbourne’s voice sing, “I’m going off the rails on a crazy
train.” His phone was going off to his ringtone of the popular classic
rock song, “Crazy Train.” Dean never leapt so high out of bed in his
life. He also never felt so grateful to be awake. His phone stopped
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Justin A. Colberg

ringing as he reached across his nightstand to pick it up, and he saw


he had a missed call from John.
Dean looked at the time, which displayed 5:15 in bright red num-
bers on his alarm clock. About a minute later, he received a text
message from John asking if he was still planning on coming out lat-
er. After contemplating it for a moment, he decided it would probably
be best for him to go out and try to enjoy himself. Too many strange
occurrences were happening to him lately and he didn’t feel like being
stuck in his room by himself. He certainly wasn’t going back to sleep
anytime soon after what had just happened.
He texted his friend back letting him know he’ll be ready to be
picked up at his house in about an hour. For the first time all day,
Dean started to feel a sense of excitement about going out with his
friends. He made his way to the bathroom and jumped in the shower.
Dean was known for taking long showers, as he normally did most of
his thinking while he was scrubbing himself. He found himself re-
playing in his head all of the events that occurred from the morning.
Everything from the hooded man in his dream who rescued him from
those vampires, to having been caught cheating on his history exam,
to having a lucid dream about being chased by some evil entity who
seemingly made it through to the physical world.
Maybe it’s still here, Dean thought. What if I accidently sum-
moned a spirit from another realm and bounded it here for eternity?
Dean immediately dismissed the idea as outrageous. He didn’t believe
in the supernatural and some weird dream he had wasn’t going to
change his mind. He’d be lying to himself though if he said he
wouldn’t feel uneasy falling back asleep in his room tonight while
sober. He intended on consuming plenty of alcohol later on so that
when he did crash in his bed, he wouldn’t remember anything about
what happened to him earlier in the day.
Dean felt himself trailing off in his thoughts again as he sham-
pooed his hair. He was fairly certain he was clean by now and began
to feel like he had lost track of time. He turned off the water and
walked out of the shower. He wrapped himself in a towel and checked
the time on his phone. Approximately forty-five minutes had gone by.
He quickly got dressed and put on his Burberry cologne. It was one of
the strongest scents he owned, and he wanted to make sure he smelled
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Justin A. Colberg

particularly alluring tonight. He was a single guy celebrating his arri-


val into adulthood, so he was prepared for whatever the night might
bring. Even though he hardly considered himself to be a lady’s man,
Dean often ended up talking to girls while he was partying with his
friends. He always seemed to benefit from their jovial personalities
despite being more reserved himself.
Dean heard a car beeping outside his house and figured it had to
be John. He always honked his horn whenever he came to pick him
up. He hurried down the stairs and bolted towards the front door.
When he got outside, he saw his friend’s silver Honda Civic parked
across the street by a fire hydrant. John noticed the extra pep in
Dean’s step as he unlocked the passenger door for him.
“Someone seems anxious to get the party started tonight,” John
said. “What’s going on with you? I was getting worried at first that
you weren’t coming out and now you look like you have a firecracker
up your ass.”
“It’s a long story,” Dean admitted. “I’ll tell you about it on the
way. Why don’t we stop at Wendy’s first? I’m starving, and I don’t
want to be on an empty stomach with all the drinking I plan on doing
later on with you guys.”
“Speaking of which,” John said in a mellow tone. “It looks like
Rob isn’t going to make it tonight. He said something came up last
minute with his girlfriend, but he’ll make it up to you next time he
sees you.”
“What a surprise,” Dean said as he rolled his eyes. He had known
Rob even longer than he knew John, but he seemed to constantly
make excuses on not being able to hang out ever since he found a girl-
friend. As much as he was happy for his friend for finding love, he
couldn’t help but feel some resentment towards him for missing out
on such an important night of his life.
Dean finished telling John about his paranormal experience as
they pulled into the Wendy’s parking lot.
John studied Dean carefully. “You’re really spooked out by this
aren’t you?” he observed. “Dude, it sounds like you just had a bad
case of sleep paralysis. It’s happened to me several times throughout
my life. Don’t put too much stock into it. As for there being a demon
in your bedroom, I think it’s safe to say that was just a product of
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Justin A. Colberg

your subconscious projecting the fear of not being able to move out of
your sleep.”
“I don’t know, man. I just have the feeling there’s something
more to it. I normally don’t believe in any supernatural nonsense, but
this whole day has been too weird for me.”
Dean and John walked into Wendy’s and they each ordered a 4
for $4 meal. They grabbed a table in the corner by the front entrance
and sat down to eat. Dean removed the wrapping on his burger and
looked at it in disgust.
“Unbelievable,” Dean muttered. “I specifically asked for only let-
tuce and tomato and they included mayo.”
John chuckled. Dean had been a picky eater ever since he’d
known him, and he always got mad whenever someone messed up his
order. “Go bring it back,” he said. “Don’t take too long. I’ll probably
be done with my food by the time you return.”
Not a moment after Dean got up from his chair did his phone go
off. John, being the nosy-body that he is, glanced over and saw there
was a text message from Dean’s mom berating him for forgetting to
take out the garbage. When Dean came back with his new sandwich
in hand, John was ready to bust on him.
“You received a text message from your mommy.” John made a
gesture with his hands as he said the word “mommy” in a mocking
manner. “It looks like someone forgot to put out the trash before they
left the house.”
Dean’s face went red. “You weren’t supposed to see that,” he
said. “You have nothing better to do than to spy on my text messag-
es?”
“Relax, it’s not that big of a deal. Besides, you’re the one who
left your phone on the table for the world to see. Don’t blame me for
your absent mindedness. So tell me, does your mom give you an al-
lowance every time you do your chores? Because if she does, then I
expect you to pick up the tab the next time we go out for an expensive
meal like this,” John said sarcastically as he sipped the last few drops
of his Sprite.
“Very funny,” Dean retorted. “Speaking of allowances, I suppose
your mom doesn’t give you one otherwise you surely would’ve
bought me a gift for my birthday.”
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Justin A. Colberg

“I don’t need an allowance because I work for my own money.


Something you may have to start doing soon if you wind up getting
kicked out of college. Besides, we never buy each other gifts for our
birthdays and you know that. I will, however, buy you as many drinks
as it will take to get you drunk tonight.”
Dean received another text message.
“What happened now? Did you forget to feed the dog?” John
knew that Dean didn’t have any pets but sometimes it was just too
hard to resist teasing him.
“No, but it looks like Chris and Jeff are already at the bar.” Dean
showed John the text message of the picture Jeff sent of the two of
them holding a beer in their hands.
“They couldn’t wait, could they?” John mused. “Hurry up and
finish your meal and let’s get out of here before they start picking up
girls and forget about us.”
Dean shoved the last piece of his burger in his mouth and they
both headed back to John’s car. The bar they were going to was about
a thirty-minute drive from where they were. Although with the way
John drove, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they got there sooner.
John put on the sports talk station on the radio and cringed when
he heard the Mets had lost the first game of their doubleheader against
the Braves. “They suck,” he bemoaned.
Dean was also a Mets fan, but he was barely paying attention to
John. He couldn’t help but wonder how the night would turn out.
With the luck he was having, he was certain he would end up either
with alcohol poisoning or getting into a bar fight with someone. Pos-
sibly even both if he was drunk enough. John noticed Dean was
beginning to space out as he gazed at the full moon through the car
window.
“Looks like it’s a full moon tonight, huh?” John said as he tried
to bring his friend back from his hypnotic state.
“Yeah,” Dean replied absently.
“A full moon on Friday the thirteenth. What could possibly go
wrong?” John continued, trying to lighten up the mood. He saw Dean
wasn’t amused by his humor. “Dude, don’t worry. We’re all going to
have a great time tonight. Remember how much fun we had when it
was my twenty-first birthday?”
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Justin A. Colberg

“Yeah, I remember it quite clearly,” Dean reminisced. “You were


so drunk that you threw up all over my shirt and I got thrown out of
the bar because the bouncer thought I was the one who couldn’t hold
my liquor. You still owe me a new shirt you know.”
John smiled. He always had the best of times when he went out
with Dean and he knew tonight would be no different. They arrived at
their location and found a parking spot across the street from the bar.
“How beautiful is this?” John asked. Finding a parking spot in
New York on a Friday night normally proved to be difficult, but Dean
and John seemed to be in the right place at the right time as they
found a spot just as another car was pulling out.
“You see, Dean? Your luck is starting to change now that you’re
with me. Now if only some of that fortune would carry over to the
bedroom for you later,” John said as he watched a petite blonde girl
cross in front of his car.
They both got out of the car and walked towards the bar. They
took out their IDs as the bouncer greeted them outside the door. John
passed through without a problem. Dean, on the other hand, received
a long stare from the bouncer as his eyes glanced back and forth from
him to his driver’s license. He finally decided to let him though.
“Geez,” Dean griped. “And here I thought it would be easier to
get inside now that I don’t have to use a fake ID.”
“I’m telling you man, it’s the mustache,” John quipped. “You
wouldn’t have this problem if you never would’ve grown that dirty
looking beast back in high school.”
Dean grew a mustache back in his junior year of high school be-
cause he thought it would make him look manlier. He kept it until his
freshman year of college, when he decided he wanted to change his
look. Unfortunately, he still had the mustache when he received his
license and he had no intention of going back to the DMV to retake
his photo. This meant he would have to live with looking like Freddie
Mercury’s long lost son on his ID until it was time for him to renew
it.
They spotted Chris and Jeff at the bar with shots in their hands
ready to throw them down.
“Don’t tell me you guys are going to take those without us,”
Dean said as he and John snuck up on their two friends.
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Justin A. Colberg

“Hey, look who finally decided to show up,” Jeff said.


“It’s the birthday boy!” Chris interjected.as he ordered an addi-
tional two shots of patron for Dean and John. Tequila was Dean’s
favorite alcoholic drink. The four companions guzzled the shots, and
with that, Dean’s birthday celebration was officially underway.
“All right, boys,” Chris said. “Now that we all have alcohol in
our systems, let’s see if we can pick up some girls.”
The boys noticed two blonde ladies hanging out by themselves at
the bar. Jeff and Chris gave a nod of approval for Dean and John to go
try their luck. Dean, normally reluctant to talk to the opposite sex, felt
more comfortable with John leading the way. John always had a
knack for making a good first impression and his sense of humor al-
ways seemed to rub off well on women.
John stood next to his targets as he grabbed the attention of the
bartender. “I’ll take a Jack and Coke and vodka and orange juice for
my friend over here. And how about we get two Margaritas for these
two lovely ladies?” John requested smoothly as he gave a wink and a
smile to the two blondes. They both looked at each other and snick-
ered.
“Sorry boys but I’m taken,” the taller one of the two girls said.
“Stephanie is single though,” she added as she playfully grabbed her
friend by her shoulders. The girl’s face turned red as she looked shyly
at the two boys.
“Stephanie, huh?” Dean said. “That’s a pretty name. My name’s
Dean. You know, my parents were actually going to name me Steph-
anie if I would’ve been born a girl. Instead I wound up being named
me after an academic administrator,” Dean laughed as if he had just
told a really funny joke.
Stephanie let out an awkward laugh and John stared at Dean with
a blank expression. He knew he would have say something quick be-
fore his friend further embarrassed himself.
“But thankfully he was born a boy and the rest is history,” John
said as he saw a large, muscular man approach the taller blonde. The
bartender gave John the four drinks he requested.
“What’s going on, Sara?” the man asked. “I leave you alone for
two minutes to use the bathroom and I come back and you’re flirting
with another guy?”
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Justin A. Colberg

John laughed nervously. “Oh, don’t mind me. My friend Dean


was just introducing himself to Stephanie over here. I’ll leave you all
alone.” He took his drink and the extra margarita that was intended
for Sara and walked back to Jeff and Chris.
“I think Steve and I will leave you alone too,” Sara said as her
and her boyfriend walked away from the bar and began dancing to-
gether.
Dean smiled at Stephanie as he sat down on one of the barstools.
“So,” he said. “Tell me about yourself. Are you from around here?”
“No,” she replied. “I’m actually from Vermont but I moved to
New York over the summer so I could dorm at Richmond Universi-
ty.”
“No kidding?” Dean said as his eyes got wide. “I’m a junior at
Richmond University. I’m surprised I’ve never seen you around cam-
pus. I’m usually pretty observant.”
“I like to keep a low profile. Besides, I’m still getting adjusted to
life here in the big city. Sara’s really the only friend I’ve made here so
far. And as much as I love her, being the third wheel isn’t exactly ide-
al for me to be completely honest with you.”
“We should definitely meet up at school sometime,” Dean sug-
gested. “I can show you around and maybe we can even study
together if we have breaks around the same time.” He then realized
that might not have been the wisest comment to make given the un-
certainty surrounding his status as a student there.
“I would really like that,” Stephanie gushed. She looked over her
shoulder and saw Sara give her a thumbs up as she swayed in the
middle of the floor with Steve. Dean also looked behind him and no-
ticed John talking to Jeff and Chris with a bemused look on his face.
There was no doubt in Dean’s mind that his friends were laughing
behind his back at the idea of him being able to smooth talk his way
into this girl’s pants. Even though that wasn’t necessarily his inten-
tion, he was determined to leave the bar with her one way or another.
“Hey, what do you say we ditch this place and go somewhere
else?” Dean asked boldly. “Just me and you. It looks like our friends
are having their own fun; I doubt they’d even notice if we’re gone.”
“I’ve known you for about five minutes and you want me to just
leave with you by myself?” Stephanie asked as she gave Dean a
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Justin A. Colberg

looked as if he were crazy. “If I was drunk, that might happen, but
unfortunately for you I’m stone-cold sober.”
Dean smiled. He didn’t expect it to be that easy. He figured he’d
have to humor her more first before he earned her trust. If it’s one
thing he learned about women, they all seemed to love a man who can
make them laugh.
“Oh, come on. You don’t think I’m some kind of serial killer, do
you?” Dean teased. “You can check my pockets, I swear all I have on
me is my wallet and phone.”
Dean pulled them out of his pocket and held them up in each
hand to show her he was telling the truth. She looked at his phone and
noticed it was open to his Facebook page.
“Dean Gallagher, huh?” Stephanie said with a grin as she took
notice of his list of over two thousand friends. “You must be quite the
popular guy to know that many people.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Dean replied wryly. “I don’t even
know who half of them are. But that should be evidence in itself to
prove that I’m legit. I don’t think that many people would want to be
friends with a serial killer.”
Stephanie gave Dean a long look. He was beginning to think
maybe he was trying too hard to be affable. To his surprise, she
grabbed his hand and motioned for him to follow her. They passed by
Dean’s friends, who looked at him with a face of bewilderment. He
heard John shout, “Where are you going?” Dean just shrugged and
kept walking. They finally made it outside to where Stephanie
brought him in front of a white Nissan Sentra, which he assumed be-
longed to her. She opened the door for him, but Dean hesitated to get
inside.
“You said you wanted to leave and now you’re getting cold
feet?” she mocked. “Tell me where you want to go and I’ll take you
there.”
Dean was still shocked at how quickly everything had transpired.
He knew there was a bowling alley less than five miles from where
they were and figured it would be a good place to get to know her bet-
ter. She obliged and had him enter the address into the GPS on her
phone. They made small talk about music and sports as she merged
onto the highway. When she saw that the road was empty, she stepped
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Justin A. Colberg

on the pedal and increased her speed to nearly 100 MPH. Dean’s heart
raced as he got the sudden feeling that something bad was about to
happen.
Sure enough, Stephanie began to lose control of the wheel. The
car swerved to the right as Dean tried to help her regain charge of the
steering wheel. It was too late, however. They crashed into a nearby
truck, and just like that, Dean Gallagher was dead.

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Justin A. Colberg

Chapter 2

Dean did not know what had happened. His soul departed from
his body prior to the impact from the collision, so he felt no pain at
all. He figured this would be the part where he would cease to exist.
He realized, however, that this was not the case, as he retained his
awareness even after he was outside of his body. In fact, he could still
see his unconscious body lying in the passenger seat of the car. He
attempted to move towards the body in hopes of reentering it and re-
viving himself, but he instead felt himself being pulled away. At first,
he thought this was the part where he was going to ascend up into the
clouds and see the pearly gates of Heaven. Instead, he felt the physi-
cal world around him begin to disintegrate as a tunnel of light
emerged.
Dean’s soul gravitated towards it at a speed so rapid that it felt
like his life force was being sucked through a giant vacuum. He
turned away from it and saw Earth, the planet he once called home,
along with billions of stars beaming in the vast universe his earthly
incarnation had belonged to. He suddenly stopped moving through the
tunnel, but before he could even consider projecting himself back to
his previous reality, he heard a voice calling for him in the distance. It
was a familiar voice; one he had not heard in many years.
“DEAN,” the voice boomed. “Come this way.”
Dean realized the voice belong to his deceased father. He was
calling for his son to reunite. He looked straight ahead and began to
see the silhouette of a figure emerging from the light. As he moved
closer to it, he felt an immense amount of joy. He had never felt so
much love before, and it was all radiating from this bright light which
was glowing so vividly that it nearly cut through his soul. It was as if
the light was trying to comfort him and let him know he was where he
was supposed to be and everything was going to be just fine.
His father finally appeared in the form he last remembered seeing
him before his heart attack. He looked powerful, in a spiritual sense,
displaying angelic wings which he swooped Dean into. The peace and
love he felt was encompassing to the point where he actually didn’t
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Justin A. Colberg

mind if he became eternally engulfed in it. This outpour of love could


ostensibly only be felt on this plane of existence, as Dean had never
experienced anything like it during his human lifetime.
It was at this moment where Dean felt his life literally flash be-
fore his eyes. He relived every moment of his life from beginning to
end, starting with him being conceived from his mother’s womb in
the hospital room and finishing with his untimely death in the car ac-
cident that occurred after he left the bar on a late Friday night with
Stephanie. He felt every emotion from all different points of view of
every living being he ever came in contact with, including animals.
He felt the pain that he unknowingly caused when he didn’t take
proper care of his goldfish when he was younger and caused it to die.
He also felt the happiness he brought when he once gave five dollars
to a homeless man, which allowed him to buy food for himself. This
sequence of events culminated as a learning experience for Dean. He
knew this life review was necessary for his spiritual growth, and he
looked at his father after its conclusion with a feeling of gratitude.
Dean realized he didn’t need to speak for his father to understand
him. They were able to communicate telepathically and feel each oth-
er’s emotions. Dean let his father know how much he missed him and
how difficult it had been for both he and his mother living on Earth
without him. He responded by reassuring him he was in a place now
where he no longer had to worry about pain or sorrow, and that he
could now be a guardian angel for his mother just like he had been for
Dean.
“But why did this happen to me at such a young age?” Dean
asked. “If you were watching over me, why did you let me die in that
accident?”
“Because it was your destiny, my son. You decided before you
were even born how you were going to die and this is what you
chose.”
Dean didn’t understand. “What do you mean before I was born?
And why would I choose to die in such a violent manner? That
doesn’t make any sense.”
“To strengthen your soul, Dean. You’ve lived before in a differ-
ent incarnation, but did not accomplish the goals you had intended. In
fact, you made some big mistakes that hurt a lot of people. A young
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Justin A. Colberg

boy even lost their life because of you. To make up for it, you agreed
it would be best for you to experience the same result in a different
body. It was a way of balancing out your karmic debts.”
Dean was dumbfounded. He couldn’t recall living any past lives.
How was it that his father knew so much anyway? He began to won-
der what else he knew. Like the time when he told his dad he was
staying up late to work on a project for school when he was actually
looking at porn. His father smiled and nodded his head. Dean realized
he needed to be more careful with this thoughts, as it appeared that
nothing could be kept private anymore.
“So now what?” Dean asked. “Am I free to stay here forever
now? How exactly does it work? I never believed in Heaven before,
but now that I’m here I don’t ever want to leave.”
“You’ll find out in due time, Dean. Place your faith in God’s
hands and the rest will take care of itself.”
Dean’s father vanished before Dean could ask him what he meant
by that.
“Wait!” Dean shouted. “Where am I supposed to go now?”
Dean figured Heaven would be a place teeming with life. But so
far his father was the only one he’d seen.
“Dean Gallagher,” an unknown voice proclaimed.
Dean turned around and noticed three men sitting at a long rec-
tangular table. There was a chair in front of the table, which Dean
presumed was intended for him. He projected himself to the chair and
was instantly transported there. Dean was beginning to get used to the
feeling of traveling and communicating by thought rather by foot and
mouth.
The three men were unfamiliar to Dean, but he got the feeling
they were benevolent and were there to assist him on where to go
next. The man sitting in the middle, who had white hair and a long
beard resembling much like Merlin the Wizard, eyed Dean carefully.
“Welcome, Dean. I see that you’ve already had your life review
with your father. I do hope you were able to learn something from it.”
“I have. I learned that I made some mistakes in my previous life,
but I also made up for those misguided actions in my most recent one
and I’m now ready to spend eternity here in Heaven.”

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Justin A. Colberg

The bald man sitting on the far right had a concerned look on his
face. The bearded man spoke again.
“I’m sorry Dean, but that’s not how this works,” he said solemn-
ly. “You seem to be forgetting that you spent your whole life as an
atheist and outwardly rejecting the existence of God. And now you’re
expecting to just waltz into His Kingdom as a welcomed guest?”
Dean felt embarrassed. Clearly he had been wrong about ques-
tioning his faith in God. But if God was supposed to be a forgiving,
all-loving Father, surely he would grant him a pass. At least, he hoped
he would, or else he assumed he would be doomed to an eternity in
hell.
“I’m sorry for my transgressions,” Dean began to beg. “I know I
could’ve done better. I should’ve gone to church more, I should’ve
prayed more, and most importantly, I should’ve believed more. But I
can’t go back and change the past; I can only ask your forgiveness. If
you let me stay, I promise to serve the Lord for all eternity.”
“Dean,” the bald man said as he held up his hand to silence the
soul of the young boy. “We are the Council of Elders. We are here to
help guide you in your spiritual ascension, but we are not the final
authority. If you want to plead your case, you will need to speak per-
sonally with the most High.”
If Dean were still human, he probably would’ve wet his pants.
The thought of being face-to-face with God Himself was intimidating
considering the circumstances. Dean feared if the conversation didn’t
go well, his soul could be damned forever.
“So be it,” Dean professed. “Tell me how I can do so and I’ll be
happy to meet with Him.”
“You must travel to Him on your own,” the third elderly man
said. Remember Dean, you’re in Heaven now. You can travel any-
where you want by thought.”
Dean hesitated at first until he finally cleared his mind and imag-
ined himself in the presence of the Almighty. He was instantly in awe
by what he felt. It was a loving sensation similar to the one he felt ear-
lier when he first crossed over, but this was even more intense. When
he looked around him, he saw a light that was indescribable to him.
He was certain that if he were looking at this light from a human per-
spective, he would have went blind, as the brightness emanating from
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Justin A. Colberg

it would have made the sun pale in comparison. The light spoke to
him.
“Dean, you’re not supposed to be here. You have to return to
Earth and fulfill your mission. Your family and friends need you.”
Dean was taken aback. He wasn’t sure how to respond. They
hadn’t even exchanged proper introductions, but given the fact He
was the Creator, he realized that probably wasn’t necessary anyway.
“Lord, what do you mean?” Dean asked hesitantly. “How can I
possibly go back when I’ve already died?”
God lowered His head. It was at that moment when he was able
to Him in all of His glory. At first, Dean was surprised to see that His
face was like that of a lion. But then he remembered that lions were
king of the jungle just like God is the king of Heaven, so it seemed
fitting he supposed.
“You’re not dead, my child. You’re in a coma. You’ve been in
one for almost two weeks now. It’s now time for you to wake up.”
“Two weeks?” Dean contested. “But how? That’s impossible!”
He immediately realized he shouldn’t have used the word “impossi-
ble” in front of God, but it still didn’t make any sense to him. It felt
like maybe fifteen minutes at most had passed by since he had died,
so how was he to believe he had been in a coma for two weeks?
Before he could further protest the matter, God put His arm
around him and showed him a visual of Dean laying in a hospital bed
hooked up to a life support machine. His mother was standing over
him, weeping as she held his hand. Dean couldn’t believe his eyes.
How could he be there if he was here?
“It’s time for you to go back now, Dean.” God said semi-
authoritatively. “There is much work left for you to do.”
“What could there possibly be left for me to do, Lord?” Dean
asked. “If I went back into my body, I would probably never be the
same again considering all the trauma I would have endured. I would
also be in major trouble with my mom once she found out what hap-
pened to me in school. There’s no point in me going back to
experience more suffering when I’m now here with you.”
God held Dean tighter as another visual popped up. This one
showed Dean’s mother hysterically crying in her bed while looking at

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Justin A. Colberg

the baby photo of him that she had in a frame on her dresser. Dean
could feel her pain and sorrow.
“I can’t force you to go back, Dean. You can stay here if you
want, but understand that your loved ones will be in a great deal of
grief without you. Not only your mother, but your friends as well.
They will be guilt-stricken from allowing you to leave without them
that night at the bar. They will have a difficult time finding solace and
moving on without you. You’re still a young soul with a lot of grow-
ing left to do. The only way you can grow if by having these
experiences and learning from them. Yes, Dean, you made your mis-
takes. But now I’m giving you the opportunity to go back and redeem
yourself. If you go back, you’ll see that not only will you make a full
recovery, but you will also find your calling in life. After spending
most of your existence as a non-believer, you’ll now have the oppor-
tunity to tell your fellow humans about your experience in the afterlife
and spread the good word of my glory to the rest of the world.”
Dean wanted to tell God that despite all of that, he still wanted to
remain where he was. He knew, however, that it wouldn’t be wise to
object to His plan for him. It would also be selfish of him to want to
stay there knowing that his loved ones were struggling to cope with
his apparent death.
“I understand,” Dean replied. “As much as I would love to stay
here, I can see that there are people who need me back on Earth. I’ll
go back and try my best to be a better person and atone for some of
my past mistakes. And in addition to letting everyone know about my
stay in Heaven, I’ll praise you by going to church every week and
praying every night before I go to bed.”
Dean could feel a warm bust of energy surround him, which he
interpreted as God’s way of telling him He approved of his intentions.
A tunnel of light appeared before him, which seemed eerily similar to
the one he went into when he left his body.
“Step into the light, Dean,” God instructed. “Once you go
through, you’ll return back to your body on Earth. It’ll take some time
for you to get readjusted, but just remember that I’m always here
watching over you. You also have your father who’s designated him-
self to be your guardian angel. Whenever you’re in a time of need,

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Justin A. Colberg

just call on us and listen to your heart; for that is where you’ll hear us
speak to you.”
God disappeared and Dean was left alone to make his next
choice. He had already committed to his decision and wasn’t going to
allow himself to have second thoughts. Without hesitation, he stepped
forward into the light and felt himself being dragged back down to
Earth at lightning speed as if a magnet had attracted his soul back to
his body.
As soon as he was whole again, he opened his eyes wide as if he
were Frankenstein’s monster being brought to life for the first time.
He could feel his mother gripping his hand tight, which gave Dean a
titillating sensation like she was emotionally circulating the blood
back into his body. She had a look of astonishment on her face as
Dean turned his head to look at her.
“Dean? My God, Dean!” Darlene Gallagher shouted. “You’re
alive! My baby’s alive!” She could hardly believe it, but her prayers
appeared to have been answered. She began to cry as her son stared
into her eyes and smiled.
“You didn’t think you could get rid of me that easily, did you?”
Dean said groggily. “I’m back mom, and boy do I have a story to
tell.”
Dean’s mother hugged him. “You have no idea how much we all
missed you, Dean,” she said as tears ran down her face. “I was so
afraid you weren’t going to make it. I prayed to God every day for
you to come out of your coma. I knew it would take a miracle, but I
never stopped believing.” She kissed the statue of Jesus that was
placed near Dean’s bed and hugged him again as she continued to cry.
Before Dean could tell his story about what he had experienced,
he noticed a tall, dark-skinned man wearing a long white lab coat
walk into the room. This was presumably the doctor who had likely
convinced his mom that he had little chance of surviving the car
crash. Joke’s on him, Dean thought.
“Dean Gallagher,” the doctor said flabbergasted. “I don’t believe
my eyes. Welcome back, young man.” He almost got knocked over as
Dean’s mom ran up to give him a big hug. He comforted Ms. Gal-
lagher and began to tear up himself. The doctor went on to inform
them both that Dean’s friends were on their way to the room.
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Justin A. Colberg

“You’re very lucky to have such good friends,” the doctor told
Dean. “They’ve stopped by to visit you just about every day you’ve
been in here. They’re going to be in for a surprise when they see
you.”
Dean immediately had an idea. He remembered the time he had
John watch his pet hamster for a week when they were both kids. He
gave Dean a whole story about how he forgot to feed it and it died,
which turned out to be a lie. Dean vowed he would get him back one
day for scaring him like that; now was the perfect time. He closed his
eyes and assumed the position he was in while still in the coma.
John, Chris, and Jeff walked in together. The first thing they saw
was Dean’s mom crying on the doctor’s shoulder. It was a sight they
were used to seeing, as she had been in tears every day they had seen
her. This made them feel even more guilt over the incident.
John was the first to walk over to Dean. He made the sign of the
cross and said a quick prayer which Dean had never heard of before,
which was not that odd since religion was never exactly his forte. He
began to walk away until he felt a cold hand grab his arm. John turned
around in horror and saw Dean sitting up in bed staring at him wide-
eyed. He recoiled and ran behind Chris and Jeff, using them as a pro-
tective shield.
“ZOMBIE,” he shouted. “He’s a fucking zombie!”
Chris, being the next one closest to Dean at that point, turned pale
as a ghost and looked at the doctor as if he was expecting him to come
to his rescue. “Sedate him!” Chris cried out. “He’s going to infect all
of us!”
The doctor smiled. “I think you boys have been watching one too
many episodes of The Walking Dead. Your friend Dean here is no
zombie. He’s a normal human being who just came out of his coma.
You couldn’t have picked a better time to come visit.”
John peeked nervously over Jeff’s shoulder and saw Dean was
grinning back at him. He wasn’t sure if he should be angry, relieved,
or scared. “Dean?” he said in a shaky voice. “Are you really alive?”
Dean put his thumb on the vein of his wrist as if he was checking
his pulse. “My blood seems to be flowing pretty well,” he said sarcas-
tically. “You should have seen the looks on your faces. I wish
someone would’ve been here to record it and post it on YouTube.
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Justin A. Colberg

Your reactions were priceless! You’re lucky the doctor spilled the
beans or else I might’ve walked out of bed and chased you down the
hall.”
John ran over to Dean and hugged him. “Under any other circum-
stances, I would’ve punched you for scaring me like that you asshole.
I’m just happy to have you back. We all feared you weren’t going to
make it. I felt so guilty allowing you to leave the bar alone with that
girl. None of this would’ve happened if I would’ve stood with you.”
“Come on bro,” Dean said. “That’s nonsense and you know it.
Even if you never left my side that night, you think I would’ve al-
lowed you to be a third wheel? I would’ve told you to get lost. I’m the
only person responsible for my actions so stop beating yourself up for
no reason.”
“Stephanie is the one who’s really responsible for all of this,” Jeff
chimed in. “The way I look at it, everything is her fault.”
Dean looked down and shook his head. “Speaking of Stephanie,”
he said. “What ever happened to her? Did she survive the crash? I
forgot to ask God about that when I was in Heaven.”
John looked at Dean as if he had lost his mind. “No, she wasn’t
as fortunate as you were,” John said. “She was declared dead before
she even reached the hospital.”
“Damn,” Dean murmured. “That’s terrible. I find it ironic though
that you consider me the fortunate one considering I’ve been a coma
for two weeks. At least Stephanie’s in a better place now.”
John was convinced at this point that he was talking to a different
Dean Gallagher from an alternate universe. “Dude,” John said. “What
is with you and all this talk about God, Heaven, and a better place? I
thought you didn’t believe in any of that? And how did you know
how long you’ve been in a coma for?” John turned to Dean’s mom
and the doctor who both put their hands up, dismissing the notion that
they knew anything.
“It sounds like Dean may have a story to tell,” the doctor said. “I
need to go check on another patient. I’ll leave you all alone to listen to
what he has to say.” The doctor left and everyone else gathered
around Dean in anticipation for what he had to tell them.
Dean gestured for them to have a seat. “It’s a long story and I
think you’ll want to sit down for it. It all started when I first left my
34
Justin A. Colberg

body and saw this strange tunnel of light.” Dean went on to tell them
the rest of the story about what happened to him after that. Dean’s
mom began crying again.
“I can’t believe you actually saw your father,” she said. “You
have no idea how much I miss him. It doesn’t surprise me at all to
hear that he made himself your guardian angel, Dean. He loved you
so much, and he was obviously watching over you the night of your
accident. It’s nothing short of a miracle that you survived that crash.”
John was still in disbelief over what Dean had just told them. “So
you really mean to tell me God is real and you met Him?” he said.
“That’s pretty wild, Dean. Are you sure you weren’t having another
one of your crazy dreams?”
“This wasn’t a dream,” Dean said defiantly. “It was real. Besides,
I don’t think it’s even possible for someone to dream while they’re in
a coma. How could I be dreaming if I was unconscious?”
John shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know man,” he said.
“Maybe you really did have some sort of divine experience. For you
to be singing the praises of God, I have no doubt that you believe it
was real.”
“It’s nothing short of a miracle that I’m alive,” Dean said as he
reached for his phone which he saw laying on top of his mother’s
purse. “I’m alive and rejuvenated. I can’t wait to get home and begin
sharing my story with everyone. Maybe I’ll write a book and donate
the proceeds to charity. But most importantly, I want to start going to
church every Sunday and help others grow their faith in God.” Dean
looked at a calendar on the wall and saw that it was Saturday. “Perfect
timing”, he said. “Tomorrow’s Sunday. I’ll start my new routine first
thing in the morning.”
“Whoa, hold on a minute there my love,” Dean’s mother inter-
rupted. “You just came out of a coma and you’re acting like you’re
just going to waltz out of the hospital and go home like nothing hap-
pened. I’m sure it’s going to take time for you to learn how to walk
again.”
Dean laughed. “Mom, I’m telling you I’ve never felt better in my
life. Come to think of it, I need to use the bathroom. Let me show you
how well I can walk.” Dean sat up in bed and prepared himself to
plant his feet to the floor. He started first with his left foot. His leg felt
35
Justin A. Colberg

like rubber and he was certain he’d lose his balance if he started walk-
ing too quickly. He waited a moment before he put his right foot
down. He started moving slowly passed his friends when his mom put
her arm around him and offered to assist him to the bathroom. Dean
patted her on the shoulder letting her know it was okay to let him go.
“Do you think I should follow him?” Dean’s mom asked John as
she watched her son walk out of the room. “I don’t understand why he
has to be so stubborn. What if he falls and hurts himself?”
“Don’t worry, Mrs. Gallagher,” John said. “If he’s not back in ten
minutes, I’ll go in and check on him.”
Five minutes passed and Dean was still not back yet. An awk-
ward silence swept the air, as Dean’s mom and friends nervously
waited for Dean to return.
Ten minutes passed and there was still no sign of Dean. John de-
cided it was time for him to see what was going on. He figured Dean
had a lot of business to do in the bathroom after being in a coma for
so long, but he also knew it didn’t take more than ten minutes to take
a dump unless he was feeling sick. “I’ll be back,” John said as he
walked out of the room in search for his friend.
He made his way inside the bathroom and looked underneath the
stall. He saw a pair of feet dangling on the floor and heard some very
interesting noises coming from inside. “You okay in there, dude?”
John asked. “There’s other people who have to use the bathroom too
you know.” The only response John got back was a loud grunting
noise followed by a plop.
“That’s your answer?” John said amusingly. “Do you not have
any respect or consideration? I’m going to wait outside for you. Don’t
forget to wash your hands when you’re done.”
John waited outside the bathroom for about five minutes before
he finally heard the door open and the water running in the sink. The
fecal stench was becoming overbearing at this point, and he couldn’t
wait for Dean to come out to tease him about it. When he turned
around he saw a tall African-American man walk out with an angry
look on his face.
“It’s all yours punk,” he said to John. “Maybe try giving a brother
a little more privacy next time.”

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Justin A. Colberg

John felt his face turn red. But his embarrassment soon turned to
concern, because if that wasn’t Dean in the bathroom then where in
the world did he go? Before he had a chance to contemplate where he
possibly could’ve wandered off to, he felt a vibration coming from his
pocket. He reached for his phone frantically as he figured it could be
Dean calling him. Sure enough, that’s who it was, and John was be-
ginning to get the feeling he could be in danger. “Dean, where are
you? Are you okay?” he asked.
“Never felt better,” Dean answered. “Hey, when’s the last time
you went for a car wash? You have bird crap all over your wind-
shield.”
“What!” John exclaimed. “How did you know that? Don’t tell me
you went outside?”
“I’m standing outside your car and I’m waiting for you to drive
me home,” Dean said casually. “I already checked myself out of the
hospital, so let me know when you’re ready.”
“Are you crazy?” John yelled. “Dean, you just came out of a co-
ma. You’re in no condition to be leaving the hospital. Your mom is
going to have a panic attack if she hears about this. You need to get
your ass back inside now and let Dr. Pass examine you.”
“Pass?” Dean said befuddled. “His last name is Pass? As in pass
me your car keys in I’ll drive myself home?”
“More like Pass as in the lack of oxygen that’s currently passing
to your brain. I don’t know how you’re doing it Dean, but don’t push
your luck.”
“I’m doing it only by the good grace of God, my friend,” Dean
said. “I haven’t made the most of my time here on Earth and I don’t
want to waste another minute. So either you come drive me home or
I’ll walk home myself.” Dean hung up and opened up the Pokémon
Go app on his phone. He figured he’d kill some time and give John
the chance to come outside.
John made his way back to the hospital room where his friends
and Dean’s mom were impatiently waiting. “Dean is waiting for me
outside,” he said flatly. “He checked himself out and wants me to
drive him home.”
“Get the fuck out of here,” Dean’s mom said furiously. “I’ll kill
him. He’s in no condition to leave this hospital!”
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Justin A. Colberg

Dean’s friends looked at her with surprised expressions on their


faces. They had never seen Darlene Gallagher so angry before, and
they certainly never heard her use such colorful language. Given the
circumstances, however, it was understandable for her to feel so en-
raged.
Dr. Pass walked into the room and confirmed what John had just
told them. “I’m sorry Mrs. Gallagher but there’s nothing we can do,”
he said. “Dean is a grown adult and while I disagree with his decision
to check himself out without being examined, he legally has the right
to do so. Honestly, never in my professional career have I ever seen
someone come out of a coma and walk and talk as if nothing had hap-
pened to them. I’m not the most religious man in the word, but
perhaps we need to seriously consider that some kind of divine inter-
vention took place. It’s the only explanation I have.”
Tears began to run down the face of Dean’s mom, as she had
been an emotional roller coaster since her son’s accident and she
wasn’t sure how much more she could take. “Then I’ll drive him
home,” she said finally. “You all go home and let me have some alone
time with him. What time is it anyway? It feels like an eternity has
passed since I last saw Dean.”
Dr. Pass rolled up his sleeve to look at his watch. “Almost seven
o’clock,” he said. “Time always seems to fly by, doesn’t it?” Before
he rolled his sleeve back down, John noticed a tattoo that said “lumi-
nous spirit” in cursive on his arm. He found it curious that he would
have such a tattoo after he had just told them he was not religious. He
then had the feeling that he heard that phrase before, but he couldn’t
remember where.
The group said their goodbyes to the doctor and left the hospital.
As they walked outside, they could see Dean in distance playing on
his phone as he was leaning up against John’s car. “Unbelievable,”
John whispered under his breath. As much as he was happy to have
his friend back, his new attitude was beginning to annoy him.
Dean’s mom shouted out her son’s name as they walked closer to
him. “DEAN! Why the hell would you leave the hospital and not tell
anyone?” she asked. “Do you know how worried I was about you?”

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Justin A. Colberg

“Sorry mom but there’s no way I was going to spend another mi-
nute in that hospital,” Dean said. “I have too much to do. Besides, I
feel perfectly fine.”
“The only thing you’re doing now is coming home with me and
resting, Darlene replied firmly. “I don’t care how well you think you
feel. Please, stop being so stubborn.”
Dean could tell his mother was getting agitated and didn’t want
to upset her any further. “Maybe you’re right,” he confessed. “Maybe
I should go home and rest. It feels like an eternity ago since I’ve last
been inside my room.”
“I’m glad you’ve somewhat come to your senses,” John said. “If
you’re feeling up to it tomorrow, maybe I’ll join you in church. It’s
been a while since I’ve been to Sunday mass. You can talk to the
priest about your newfound beliefs and see what he has to say about
it.”
Dean smiled. “Sounds like a plan to me,” he said. He bid farewell
to his friends and followed his mom to her car where he sat in the pas-
senger seat. He made sure to buckle his seatbelt extra tight, as he was
beginning to have flashbacks of the night he almost died. He knew his
mom was a safe driver though, so there was no need for him to get too
paranoid.
“You know Dean, you never put out the garbage before you left
the house that night you went out,” Darlene said as she pulled out of
her parking spot. “I had to put the bag out myself and it was very
heavy. I trust you’ll be able to resume your house duties tonight since
you’re feeling like your old self again?”
“Smelly bag of garbage,” Dean said as he laughed out loud. “Of
course, mom. I’d be more than happy to help you however I can. I
know I’ve been so lazy in the past, but I promise from now on you
can rely on me to do my chores.”
Dean was hoping his mom had not found out about him cheating
on his history exam, but she removed any doubt of that before he
could even finish his thought.
“Music to my ears,” she said. “And I guess you’ll start applying
for jobs now that you’re no longer in school?”

39
Justin A. Colberg

Dean sulked in his seat. “Does that mean I got expelled?” he


asked. He was hoping maybe both his professor and the school had
forgiven him given his circumstance, but that clearly wasn’t the case.
“Mhm,” his mom replied. “And I wonder if you ever intended on
telling me, because you certainly didn’t mention anything when I
asked you how your history test was.”
Dean found it curious that has mother would bring this up now
after he just survived a near-death experience, but he didn’t want to
argue with her. It wasn’t like he had a good excuse anyway. “I know I
should’ve been honest with you about what happened,” Dean said
gloomily. “But I was scared of what you would do. I thought you
might throw me out of the house or something.”
Darlene sighed. “Oh, Dean. What am I going to do with you?
You’re my son. No matter how much I might get angry or yell at you,
I would never toss you out in the street. I can’t promise I wouldn’t
break your legs, but at least you’d still have a roof over your head.”
Dean smiled. He was glad his mom had retained her sense of
humor throughout all of this. He knew this whole ordeal must have
been very difficult for her to endure on her own. He wanted to tell her
about how he saw her crying in bed when he was in Heaven, but he
thought better of it. He didn’t see any reason to upset his mother any
further. Instead, he turned on the radio and rested his eyes as he lis-
tened to “Hold the Line” by Toto.
They pulled into their driveway just as Dean felt like he was
about to drift off to sleep. He took a long look at his house before he
got out of the car. It felt good for him to be back home again. He fol-
lowed his mom inside the house and went straight to the kitchen. He
was so hungry, he was ready to eat the first thing he saw when he
opened the cabinet. To Dean’s disappointment, the cupboard was
practically bare. He did, however, see an unopened box of Honey
Bunches of Oats. He grabbed it, sat down at the kitchen table, and be-
gan to munch on them.
“Sorry honey, I haven’t had time to go food shopping,” Darlene
said. “I do have turkey and bread. Do you want me to make you a
sandwich while you eat your cereal?”
Dean nodded his head in approval. Turkey was his favorite cold
cut; in fact, he was often made fun of in elementary school for always
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Justin A. Colberg

brining a turkey sandwich to lunch every day. “I’ll take a bag of chips
with that too if you have any,” Dean said as he stuffed his hand inside
the cereal box.
“What am I your slave?” Darlene said as she put her hands on her
hips in a mocking manner. She was happy to have her son back and
was more than happy to feed him whatever he wanted. “So you really
think you went to Heaven and saw your father, huh?” she asked as she
made Dean his sandwich. “Did he say anything about me?”
“No, he didn’t say anything,” Dean said. He saw his mom’s dis-
appointed face and clarified himself. “He didn’t have to say anything.
We communicated with our minds, not our mouths. He sent me a
thought of you which was filled with love and a longing for us to all
be a family together again. I know one day it’ll happen; we’ll all be
reunited together in a much better place than this one.”
A tear ran down the cheek of Darlene as she handed Dean his
sandwich and bag of Doritos. “I was praying to him when you were in
your coma,” she said as she fought back more tears. “I prayed every
night for him to give you the strength to pull through. I’m glad he was
listening. I miss him so much, Dean.”
Dean gave his mom a hug. “I know you do,” he said. “But to be
fair, God deserves the credit for brining me back here. It was after I
met with Him that I made the choice to come back. If it wasn’t for
Him, I would’ve chose to stay in Heaven. He reminded me that my
mission on Earth hasn’t been completed yet, and that’s why I was in
such a hurry to leave the hospital and get started on my new journey.”
“I must say, it’s good to finally see you taking your spirituality
more seriously,” Darlene said. “It’s unfortunate that you had to have a
near-death experience in order for you to grow your faith in God.”
She paused for a moment to reflect on the possibility that her son real-
ly did meet the Almighty. “What was it like meeting Him?” she
asked. “Did He look like the prototypical way people think of Him as
an old man with a white beard and robe?”
“Very far from it,” Dean said as he finished the last few bites of
his sandwich. “I wasn’t able to see Him in all of His glory, however, I
did see that he had the face of a lion. He was very mighty looking,
indeed. Maybe that’s why they call Him the Almighty Father.”

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Justin A. Colberg

Darlene took Dean’s empty plate and kissed him on the head.
“You were very lucky to meet Him, Dean. I just hope it’ll be a very
long time until you meet Him again. I don’t think I could deal with
the agony of ever losing you again.”
“Don’t worry mom,” Dean said reassuringly. “I’m back for good
this time. I have a lot I want to do though tomorrow, so I think I’m
going to head off to sleep now. I’m getting kind of tired.”
“Tired?” Darlene questioned as she watched her son yawn. “Put
the tired face away. You can’t go to sleep after you just ate a meal. I
don’t understand, didn’t you get enough sleep while you were in your
coma?”
“Not really,” Dean said drowsily. “All that time spent in Heaven
must have drained me of my energy. Time works differently over
there apparently. You’re probably right though about not sleeping
right away. Maybe I’ll watch some TV first.”
Dean made his way up to his room and got changed. Being able
to sit on his bed again felt amazing until he suddenly remembered his
last experience he had there before the accident. He recalled his lucid
dream about being chased through a maze and then waking up only to
be paralyzed with fear as the entity had seemingly made it through to
his world.
Now that Dean had thought about it, he was no longer feeling so
tired. He grabbed the remote control and put on the television, which
was somehow left on CNN. He figured his mother must have been in
his room at some point while he was in the hospital, because that
wasn’t a channel he ever watched. Nonetheless, he decided to leave it
on to catch up on what’s been going on around the world while he’d
been away. He listened to a news reporter give an account of a series
of wildfires that had broken out in California. He watched in horror as
he saw the damage that was done across entire neighborhoods. Hous-
es were destroyed and people were shown crying in the aftermath.
Dean normally didn’t get emotional over world events that he had
no control over, but this one really seemed to bother him. Too much
evil in this world, he thought. How could God let this happen to so
many innocent people? He must have had a better plan in mind for
them in the long run. Dean knew he shouldn’t question God’s authori-
ty even if he didn’t fully understand the logic behind it.
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Justin A. Colberg

He decided he was too upset to continue watching anymore tele-


vision. It seemed like the mainstream media always made the news
depressing to watch. Why can’t they ever focus on the positive things
going on around the world? Did the negative outweigh the positive by
that much or does the bad stuff just sell more to the public? Dean was
beginning to get a headache pondering this conundrum. He got up
from his bed and walked over to his mom’s room. She was standing
by her bookshelf, contemplating which book she should read.
“Hey Dean, you want to help me choose a book?” she asked. “I
can’t seem to make up my mind on which one I should read next.
Now that I know you’re okay, I think I’m ready to engage myself in a
good novel.”
Darlene loved to read. She would buy books and not read them
until months later. Dean, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy reading as
much. Anything worth reading would be in the movies eventually an-
yway was what he always figured.
“I don’t know mom, you know I’m not an expert on books,” he
confessed. “Let me take a look and see what you have.”
Dean’s eyes wandered over the different genre of books on his
mother’s shelf. There was everything from mystery to horror to ro-
mance. He couldn’t make up his mind which one to choose for his
mom to read.
“Well?” Darlene asked as she tapped her foot. “Did you decide?
I’m growing gray hair over here waiting for you to pick something.”
“I like to take my time,” Dean responded. Suddenly his hand
hovered over a big, thick book. He pulled it out and saw that it was
the Bible. He kissed it and made the sign of the cross.
“Good choice,” Darlene said. “However, I’ve already read that
one. Maybe you’d be interested in it for yourself though. Since you’ve
been a non-believer most of your life, I think it would be very educa-
tional for you.”
Dean had never read the Bible before, nor did he previously have
any interest in doing so. Now, however, seemed like the perfect time
for him to familiarize himself with the Holy Book. He figured if he
was going to go to church in the morning and possibly speak to a
priest, it would be wise for him to have some background knowledge
on the religion he was born into.
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Justin A. Colberg

“Very well,” Dean said as he leafed through the pages. “I’m sure
it’ll take me some time to finish it since I’m a slow reader, but I’ll
start on it tonight.”
“There’s a lot of truth in that book,” Darlene said. “Sure it’s filled
with metaphors and parables, but ultimately it’s all God’s authority. I
think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you’ll learn from
it.”
“Thanks, mom. By the way, I think I’ll choose this book for you
to read the next.” Dean pointed at “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret
Mitchell. “I know it’s a classic and judging by the size of it, it may
take you longer to finish than for me to finish the Bible.”
Darlene smiled. “Don’t be so sure about that. Remember, I’m a
much faster reader than you are. I’ll probably be done with it while
you’re still reading about Moses and the burning bush.”
“Challenge accepted,” Dean said smugly. “Burning bush, huh? I
can’t wait to read about that one.” Dean tucked the Bible underneath
his arm and left his mother’s room. “Goodnight, mom. I love you,” he
whispered as he closed the door behind him. He couldn’t remember
the last time he told his mom he loved her, but it felt like an appropri-
ate time for him to say it. He made his way back to his bed and made
himself comfortable. Just as he was about to open up the Bible and
start reading, his phone began to ring. When he saw it was John who
was calling him, he picked it up immediately.
“Hey man, don’t you think it’s a little bit late to be calling?”
Dean asked. “You’re lucky I was still awake.”
“Oh, come on. Didn’t you get enough sleep while you were in
your coma?” John retorted. “I thought I’d be a good friend and give
you a call to see how you’re doing.”
“I appreciate that. I always knew you were a stand-up guy,” Dean
said flippantly. “Believe it or not, I was actually about to start reading
a book. And not just any ordinary book either.”
“Let me guess, the Bible? You’ve been so obsessed with God
since you’ve come back, that’s the only book I can think of that
would make sense for you to read. I highly doubt you suddenly be-
came motivated to pick up a Sherlock Holmes novel.”
“Bingo,” Dean said. “I’m going to get a head start before tomor-
row’s Sunday lecture. You’re still coming to church with me
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Justin A. Colberg

tomorrow, right? Remember, one of the commandments is to keep


holy the Sabbath day.”
“I’ll be there, don’t worry,” John said reassuringly. “Hey Dean,
didn’t you mention something about seeing a luminous spirit in one of
your dreams?”
“Yes, I was being attacked in a dream the night before the acci-
dent and then I was saved by someone who revealed himself to be a
luminous spirit. I’m surprised you remember that. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I saw there was a tattoo on the arm of Dr. Pass and the
words ‘luminous spirit’ were written in cursive. I thought it was kind
of weird that he would have that considering he had told us he wasn’t
religious. Then I remembered you telling me about your dream. What
an odd coincidence, huh?”
“You’re shitting me,” Dean said in bewilderment. “How can that
be? That’s way too much of a coincidence. Are you sure you didn’t
misread what it said?”
“I know what I saw, Dean. Maybe it was fate that he saved you in
your dream and then went on to save you in real life. Think about it.”
“First of all, that doctor didn’t save me from anything,” Dean
said earnestly. “God was the one who saved me and brought me back
to my body. And I highly doubt that someone I had never even met
would appear in my dream just to save me from a bunch of creatures
of my imagination. It’s pretty creepy that you would even suggest
that.”
“You’re probably right,” John conceded. “Anyway, I’ll let you
go. We’ll talk more tomorrow at church. I’ll meet you inside at ten
o’clock. Goodnight, Dean. It’s good to have you back.”
Dean said goodnight and hung up the phone. He turned it off for
the night so he wouldn’t have to worry about any further distractions.
He folded his hands in prayer and began to talk to God. He couldn’t
remember the words to any of the traditional Christian prayers, so he
decided to just speak from his heart. He thanked God for protecting
him from his accident and allowing him to recover so quickly after
returning to his body. He closed the prayer with an amen and the sign
of the cross.
Dean opened the Bible and began reading the first chapter of
Genesis. He learned about how God created the heavens and the earth
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Justin A. Colberg

and all of life in the first six days. He then turned to chapter two and
read that he rested on the seventh day after He was done with His
work. Dean found it odd that God would ever need to rest, but he
supposed creating an entire universe was a good enough excuse for
anyone to take a breather. He found it fascinating how God was able
to do so much in such a short amount of time. He was beginning to
have thoughts about what it would be like to be God and to have that
kind of power. He immediately rescinded those thoughts out of fear
that God might be listening and consider them to be blasphemous.
He felt his eyes begin to grow tired, but he was determined to get
through the next story about Adam and Eve. He read about their be-
trayal of God in the Garden of Eden and how the serpent deceived
them. It sounded somewhat unfair to Dean that humanity had to be
punished for eternity for the sins of two people, even if they did de-
liberately disobey God. Still, Dean knew that the Father was forgiving
of all sins regardless of the magnitude. This made him think of Jesus,
and he was anxious to read about His birth, death, and resurrection.
He knew, however, that this would have to wait. He closed the Bible
and shut the light off in his room. It took him a matter of minutes be-
fore he fell asleep.

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Justin A. Colberg

47
Justin A. Colberg

Chapter 3

Dean’s sleep was interrupted by a loud knocking on his door. He


turned over in bed to look at the time and saw it was 9:05 AM. He felt
exhausted and wanted to sleep more, but then he remembered his
plans for the day and forced himself out of bed. The knocking contin-
ued and he could hear his mom yelling his name outside the door.
“Well it’s about time you opened the door,” Darlene said as her
son greeted her with a yawn. “Are you planning on sleeping in or did
you still intend on attending church?”
“I’m definitely going,” Dean said firmly. “It won’t take me long
to get ready. John told me he’ll meet me there, so I guess that means
I’ll be driving for the first time since the accident.”
“Are you sure you’re feeling up to driving?” Darlene asked. “I
can drop you off if you need me to. I don’t think it’s such a good idea
for you to be driving by yourself so soon.”
It was typical for Dean’s mother to be overprotective of her only
child, but Dean felt fine and wasn’t going to allow himself to be ba-
bied around for no reason. “No, I can drive myself,” Dean insisted. “I
think being back behind the wheel again would be the best thing for
me. Besides, it’s not like the accident was my fault. You know I’m a
careful driver. It’s only a ten minute drive anyway, so there’s no point
of you coming unless you want to join us for Mass.”
“Not today, sweetie. I have too many chores I need to do. I was
such a wreck while you were in your coma that I haven’t been taking
care of the house. Maybe next week we can go together.”
“I look forward to it,” Dean said. “In the meantime, I’ll tell God
you said hello. Now that we have a special bond, just let me know
whatever message you want me to convey to him and I’ll make sure
he receives it.”
Darlene smiled. “Let him know how grateful I am to have you
back. By the way, you might want to put a little sweater on when you
go out. It’s a bit cool this morning.”
Dean took his mother’s advice and went to his closet as he began
to get ready. He was not familiar with how to dress for church, but he
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assumed he couldn’t go wrong with a white buttoned-down shirt and


dress pants. He went to the bathroom to wash up and get dressed. He
looked at himself in the mirror and wasn’t happy with how he looked
so he decided to put gel in his hair. Dean was beginning to feel like he
was preparing himself for a date instead of a religious ceremony, but
he didn’t care. Maybe he would meet a cute Christian girl at church
and he could tell her all about his near-death experience.
He grabbed a light sweater and headed out the door. His car was
waiting for him in the driveway, where he last left it. He opened the
door and got behind the wheel, feeling somewhat apprehensive at first
as he adjusted his mirrors and shifted into drive. Once Dean was on
the road, however, the nerves went away and driving became routine
as usual for him.
His phone vibrated and he saw he had a text message from John.
He normally would’ve glanced at it as he was driving, but he prom-
ised himself he wouldn’t look at his phone anymore while his car was
in motion. As much as he loved God, he wasn’t in a hurry to meet
Him again anytime soon. He waited until he was stopped at a red light
to see what the message said. He was relieved to read that John was
only texting to inform him that he was already at church awaiting his
arrival. Dean was beginning to think maybe his friend had overslept
like he almost did and decided to stay in bed.
Dean found a parking spot a block and a half away from the
church. He got out of his car and looked in awe as he walked towards
the House of God. He normally would’ve passed by the church with-
out giving it a second thought, but today was different. Today marked
a new chapter in his life; one which would be dedicated to serving the
Lord.
He pulled open the large wooden doors and stepped inside the
blessed place of worship. He looked around and saw the beautiful
mosaic stained glasses windows. There was one of Jesus that he found
particularly captivating. It depicted Him surrounded by angels as He
was shown nailed to the cross. A round halo-like disc encompassed
His head as a bright white light radiated from His body. Dean
couldn’t even begin to imagine the pain Jesus must have endured dur-
ing His crucifixion. The amount of courage it must have took to have

49
Justin A. Colberg

sacrificed Himself for the sins of others was unfathomable to compre-


hend.
John spotted Dean and waved at him to get his attention. Once
Dean noticed him sitting in one of the back pews, he walked over and
plopped himself next to him. “What are you doing sitting all the way
back here?” Dean asked. “There’s plenty of room in the front. Why
don’t we move down?”
“I figured you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself in front of the
priest,” John said. “I know you’re not too familiar with the customs of
the Christian tradition. Do you even know how to do the sign of the
cross? I’ve never seen you make a religious gesture in my life.”
“In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit,
Amen,” Dean said as he made the sign of the cross in front of John.
“Of course I know about the trinity. I’m not sure where ‘amen’ fits
into the equation, though. What does that word even mean anyway?”
“It’s said at the end of all prayers,” John explained. “It’s a decla-
ration of affirmation. In other words, let it be.”
“Let it be?” Dean asked inquisitively. “You mean like The Beat-
les song?” He began humming the chorus of the song to John.
“Yes, like The Beatles song,” John said as he rolled his eyes. “I
don’t know why you always have to bring classic rock into every-
thing. Stop your humming and pay attention; it looks like the priest is
about to begin the sermon.”
The priest started the Mass by leading everyone in prayer, as
Dean rose in accordance with John. He didn’t know all of the words
to the prayer, so instead of saying them out loud, he closed his eyes
and focused his intention on positive thoughts. John had to tap him on
the shoulder to open his eyes when it was time to sit back down. They
both opened a liturgical book and followed along with the priest’s
readings. Dean joined in chorus when everyone started singing the
day’s hymns. John was genuinely impressed with how fast Dean was
catching on.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the Mass came next for Dean
when the priest delivered his homily. He went through the story of
Job, and Dean learned about how God made a supposed deal with Sa-
tan to test Job’s faith in the Lord. Job was apparently a wealthy man
who had a large family and many livestock. God allowed Satan to
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Justin A. Colberg

punish Job and take everything he loved away from him in order to
prove that his faith would still be strong. This turned out not to be the
case, as Job eventually began questioning God after reaching his
breaking point. Dean was relieved to hear the story have a happy end-
ing when God intervenes and makes peace with Job, granting him
new children and an exceedingly long life. Still, he didn’t quite under-
stand why God would ever make a pact with the Devil to begin with.
When it was time to receive communion, Dean and John walked
up together to accept the Eucharist from the priest. “The body of
Christ,” the priest said as Dean opened his mouth and swallowed the
holy piece of bread. He walked forward and pressed the chalice of
wine against his lips, ingesting the blood of Christ. He went back to
the pew where he was sitting and genuflected on one knee, humbling
himself before God. He felt like a new man now that he had received
the blessed sacraments. He gave John a handshake as a sign of peace
and sat back down as the priest wrapped up with another prayer.
Mass concluded and Dean and John made their way out of
church. The priest followed them outside and said goodbye to every-
one as they exited. Dean waited for everyone else to leave before he
went up to the priest and introduced himself.
“How are you, father?” Dean asked. “My name’s Dean Gal-
lagher. I know you don’t know me since this is my first time here, but
I just wanted to let you know that was a very beautiful Mass.”
“Thank you my son,” the priest beamed. “I’m Father Paul. I’m
glad you and your friend were able to be here. If you don’t mind me
asking, what brought you to church today?”
Dean went on to tell Father Paul about his near-death experience
and his meeting with God. The priest was blown away by Dean’s sto-
ry. Between the miraculous recovery and divine encounter, he had
never heard of such a tale in his thirty years in the church.
“God must have a very special plan for you, Dean. He wouldn’t
have brought you back here if He didn’t have a mission for you to ac-
complish. Coming to church today was a step in the right direction for
you. I have no doubt you’re on the right path.”
“You’re right about that,” Dean said. “I already know what my
mission is and that’s to spread the good word of God. I’ve wasted a

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Justin A. Colberg

lot of time being a non-believer in religion, but now I’m ready to


make a change. Today marks a new beginning for me.”
“I’m happy to hear that,” Father Paul said. “God bless you.” He
paused and put his hand on Dean’s shoulder. “You should be on your
way now, Dean. Enjoy the rest of this beautiful day. I hope to see you
back here next week.”
“You can count on it, Father. My mother might join me next
week. She’s religious, but it’s been a while since she’s last been to
church. You’ll have to forgive her for that. I look forward to seeing
you then.”
Dean and John shook hands with the priest and walked back to
Dean’s car. Dean was starting to get hungry for lunch and there was a
Chili’s not too far from the church. John agreed that they should grab
something to eat, so they went in Dean’s car and drove to the restau-
rant. They entered inside and were seated immediately by the hostess
to Dean’s surprise. Normally, there was a wait around noontime. To-
day, however, didn’t seem so busy for some reason.
“What do you want to order?” John asked as he looked over the
menu. “It looks like they have a three for $10 deal. I don’t feel like
spending a lot of money on lunch, so we should probably just do
that.”
“I’m down for that,” Dean agreed. “Let’s see, I think I’ll get a
Coke, chips and salsa for the appetizer, and chicken fingers and fries
for the entrée.”
“Do you have to get the chicken fingers?” John bemoaned. “I feel
like that’s all you order every time we go out to eat. You should try
broadening your horizons, you know.”
Dean gave John a wave of the hand as the waiter walked by and
took their order. He took out his phone and checked the scores of the
baseball games from the previous weeks. “I see not much has changed
since I came out of my coma,” he said while frowning. “The Mets still
suck. Only four wins since the night of my accident? I swear I’ll nev-
er see this team win a World Series in my lifetime.”
“Now that you have it in with the guy upstairs, you should ask
Him to grant the Mets a championship sometime soon before they
have to start another rebuilding process. It might take a lot of Hail
Mary’s and Our Father’s, but I’m sure you can get it done.”
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Justin A. Colberg

“Very funny,” Dean said. The waiter brought the appetizers and
he instantly began devouring the chips. “He’s pretty good at deliver-
ing miracles though, so I just might give it a try.”
“I still can’t believe you met God,” John said expressing skepti-
cism. “Tell me the story again. I know you already told me, but I want
to hear from you verbally every last detail you can remember.”
Dean started from the beginning from the moment he felt his soul
depart from his body. He told John everything he could remember. He
was actually surprised at how much of the experience he had retained,
given the fact that he could barely recall the details of most of his
dreams. Perhaps this was further evidence that this was a truly divine
encounter and not some fabrication of his subconscious.
“And that’s what happened,” Dean finished. “The most shocking
part to me was seeing God’s face. I wasn’t expecting to see the face of
a lion. I was thinking more in the realm of your stereotypical white
hair and beard. I guess we were all wrong about that one.”
“Did you see the body?” the waiter asked as he brought their
food. Dean was curious just how much of his story the waiter had
overheard. He found his eavesdropping to be somewhat intrusive,
quite frankly. “The body,” the waiter repeated. “Did you see it? Was
it in the shape of a serpent?”
“No,” Dean replied coldly. “I didn’t see His body. Why does it
matter? I’m not sure why you were even listening to our conversation.
Don’t you have people’s orders to take?”
“I’m sorry, but that entity that you saw was not God,” the waiter
proclaimed. “That entity that you saw was the demiurge, Yal-
dabaoth!” The waiter stormed off before Dean could respond to him.
John stared blankly at Dean.
“What the hell was that about?” he asked. “What a weirdo. We
should ask to speak to a manager. Who was he even talking about?
I’ve never heard of that name in my life.”
“I have no idea but I know one thing’s for sure,” Dean said.
“He’s not getting a tip from us after that behavior.” Dean was notori-
ously a bad tipper anyway, so he wasn’t going to feel any shame
about leaving nothing for the waiter.
As Dean and John ate their meal, they noticed their waiter was
nowhere to be found. Dean needed a refill on his Coke, but the waiter
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Justin A. Colberg

never came back to check on them. Dean figured he must have been
embarrassed by the way he acted, as he should be. He had never seen
an outburst like that before.
Finally, after they were finished with their meal for about ten
minutes, the waiter showed up with the bill. He placed it gently on the
table as he cleared his throat. “I would like to apologize for my unpro-
fessionalism earlier,” the waiter said quaintly. “My reaction was
inappropriate and I hope you can forgive me. I didn’t mean any
harm.”
Under normal circumstances, Dean would’ve went off on the
waiter and gave him a piece of his mind. He decided, however, to ac-
cept his apology and forgive him. That’s what Jesus would’ve done
and Dean wanted to practice what he preached, especially having just
left church. “I’ll be honest with you,” Dean said. “I wasn’t going to
give you a tip. But since you did the right thing and said you were
sorry, I’ll give you something just for that.” Dean proceeded to put a
$10 bill on the table to the waiter’s surprise.
John looked at Dean as if he had lost his mind. He couldn’t recall
his friend ever leaving such a large percentage of a tip. It was at that
point that he realized Dean really was a changed man. His near-death
experience was truly bringing out the best in him.
“Thank you so much my friend,” the waiter said jubilantly.
“That’s very generous of you. I hope you two have a great day, and
again, I’m sorry about what happened.”
John excused himself to go use the bathroom. Dean thought for a
moment as the waiter was about to walk away and then called for him
to come back. “Hey,” Dean said. “Let me ask you something. That
name that you mentioned earlier. What was that?”
“Yaldabaoth?” the waiter asked. “That’s the name the Gnostics
used for Yahweh, the false god of the physical universe. He’s the
demiurge and chief archon who keeps the balance between darkness
and light. You’ve probably never heard of any of this because the
Gnostics were declared heretics and much of their information was
suppressed.”
Dean looked at the waiter confused, but curious. “This is all very
interesting to me,” Dean said. “I’d love to hear more about your be-
liefs. I don’t want to keep you from doing your job though.”
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Justin A. Colberg

“No worries,” the waiter responded. “You can add me on Face-


book if you’d like and we can talk more on there. My name is Simon
Pluriutis. It’s a unique name so you shouldn’t have trouble finding me
on the search page.”
Simon left as John made his way back from the bathroom. John
noticed Dean was doing something on his phone and looked to see
what it was. He saw the waiter’s Facebook profile picture pop up on
Dean’s phone as he clicked the request button.
“What are you doing?” John asked. “Are you really adding him
on Facebook? You can’t be serious, Dean. I go use the bathroom for
five minutes and this is what you do?”
“I don’t know, I’m just curious to learn more about this Gnostic
stuff and who this demiurge character is. He sounds a lot like the
Devil to me. It’s always good to know more about the enemy, so I
figured we could talk more about it on messenger.”
“Dean, that guy was a nut,” John insisted. “Why would you care
to know anything about what he believes? He could’ve been making it
up for all you know. Don’t be so gullible.”
“Something’s telling me I should at least hear him out. Now that
I’ve developed a connection with God, I’m starting to trust my intui-
tion. Besides, I already ran a Google search on Gnosticism and
Yaldabaoth and it’s definitely all real.”
“Whatever man,” John conceded. “I feel like you’re in your own
world sometimes. I’m tired of arguing with you though. Let’s get out
of here and head back home.”
The two friends left Chili’s and Dean drove John back to his car.
They said their goodbyes and headed their separate ways. As Dean
drove back home, he couldn’t help but think of Simon and what had
happened back in the restaurant. Something was pulling at him and
giving him the feeling that he should contact him to find out more in-
formation.
As soon as Dean arrived home, he went upstairs to his room and
put on his laptop. He opened his Facebook page and sent Simon a
message asking when it would be a good time for them to talk. Since
he knew Simon was still on duty, he wasn’t expecting him to respond
right away. To his surprise, it took only 15 minutes for him to write
back. He said he would be off work within the hour and that it would
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Justin A. Colberg

be much easier if they met up in person. Dean felt a bit queer meeting
up with a strange man he barely knew, but he accepted his request and
suggested that they meet at a nearby Starbucks. Simon agreed to the
location and said he would meet him there in two hours.
Dean began researching more on his own about Gnosticism and
became genuinely intrigued by what the Gnostics believed even
though it contradicted his own faith. He then came across a picture
that depicted the demiurge as a lion-faced serpent with a sun over his
head and moon and star on opposite sides of him. He was blown away
by the image. The face was exactly how he saw God during his near-
death experience. How could this be? The Gnostics believed this dem-
iurge was a false god. Certainly, the God he had met was no false god.
Something didn’t feel right to Dean, and he was beginning to get a
sour stomach. He closed his laptop, not wanting to read anymore be-
fore he met with Simon.
Dean’s mom walked into his room as he was zipping up the bag
for his laptop. “Hey honey, how was church?” Darlene asked. “You
got back so late, what happened?”
“Church was good mom,” Dean replied. “I went to Chili’s with
John afterwards, which is why I got home late.” Dean typically didn’t
like to report to his mom about his whereabouts, as it made him feel
childish. He understood the circumstances though, and realized he
should’ve let her know where he was going so she wouldn’t have to
worry about him.
Dean stood up and held his laptop case. “Well, I wish you
would’ve told me,” Darlene said. “I figured you would be eating
lunch at home. Where are you going with that?” She pointed at
Dean’s laptop case which he now had strapped over him.
“I’m meeting up with a friend at Starbucks. I should be home in
time for dinner.” Dean hoped his mother wouldn’t question who he
was meeting up with. He didn’t feel like explaining the situation to
her. He knew she wouldn’t understand and would only tell him to stay
away from crazy nut jobs.
“Okay, I hope so,” Darlene said. “I’m making your favorite meal
tonight. I know you don’t want to miss out on your mother’s fried
chicken and mashed potatoes.”

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Justin A. Colberg

“You’re right about that, mom. I’ve actually been craving that for
a while now. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had one of your
home-cooked meals.” Darlene followed her son down the stairs and
watched him as he left the house. “See you later,” Dean said. “I’ll
bring some coffee back for you.”
Dean knew he had plenty of time before Simon would meet him
at Starbucks, so he decided to take a drive to the park. When he got
there, he took a walk around, taking in the serene nature of his envi-
ronment. He observed a young couple sitting on a nearby bench,
talking to each other as they held hands. He also took notice of each
dog that walked by him, as their owners brought them out for their
daily exercise. He then turned his attention to a group of teenagers
playing a friendly game of pick-up basketball. They were laughing
and seemed like they were genuinely enjoying themselves, not taking
their recreation too seriously.
Dean walked over to the baseball field. He sat down on the grass,
closed his eyes, and prayed. He had never felt such an intimate con-
nection with God before. Perhaps, because he was one with the Earth,
he had reached a meditative state of being that was new to him. His
mind and body felt relaxed, and an inner peace washed over him like
a wave washing over a beach. He reached a point of stillness where
his mind was cleared of all his thoughts. He felt divine, and it was a
better feeling than what he had experienced when he was in Heaven.
But how could this be? Dean didn’t think it was conceivable to reach
a place higher than that of the Almighty Father’s.
He opened his eyes. He felt disoriented at first, unsure of how
much time had passed. It had felt like only about ten minutes, but he
noticed it was much longer than that when he checked his phone.
Nearly forty-five minutes had elapsed. He wasn’t sure how that was
possible, but he didn’t have time to think about it. He gathered him-
self and made his way back to his car. He didn’t want to be late for his
meetup with Simon.
As he pulled into the Starbucks parking lot, he noticed Simon
walking from his car towards the entrance of the coffeehouse. He
called out for him to wait up, but he kept walking, apparently not
hearing him. The two of them met up inside and greeted each other

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before ordering their coffee. They found a table in the corner which
looked like a private spot to sit and talk.
“So it sounds like you had a really interesting near-death experi-
ence,” Simon said. “I’m sorry for eavesdropping on your conversation
earlier, but I take it that you’re not too mad at me being that you
agreed to this meetup.”
“Not at all,” Dean said as he scrolled though his Facebook page
on his phone. He was only half listening to what the Chili’s waiter
had just said to him.
Simon rolled his eyes. “This is the problem with society nowa-
days. You can’t even have a conversation with someone anymore
without them getting distracted with their phone.”
Dean laughed. “Sorry about that. I was just reading this conversa-
tion between two people I went to high school with. One is a
republican and the other is a democrat. They’re arguing about Donald
Trump and it’s pretty entertaining. I feel like so much of social media
is dominated by politics these days. It makes me miss back when peo-
ple used to use Facebook to catch up with old friends and post
pictures of their food.”
“I know what you mean,” Simon concurred. “It’s all being done
intentionally too. There are people in power who are controlling this
behind the scenes. They want to keep our nation divided by having us
believe that one political party is better than the other. Most people
vote for someone based on the party they belong to, rather than who
would actually be more qualified for the job. The political system
provides us with the illusion that there’s only two options, democrat
or republican. Similarly, religion indoctrinates most people into be-
lieving that there’s only two options you can go to after you die,
heaven or hell. You see, it’s all part of the programming within this
matrix we’re living in.”
“Wow,” Dean said flabbergasted. “That was a mouthful. I wasn’t
expecting you to go off on a tangent like that. You sound like you’re
really passionate about this stuff.”
“Yes, passionate is a good word but I’m more concerned than an-
ything else. Social media and the mainstream media in general has
manipulated the masses to the point where the lines between truth and
fiction become blurred. It was Malcolm X who said the media’s the
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most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the inno-
cent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because
they control the minds of the masses.”
“You remember that quote verbatim?” Dean asked. “That’s pretty
impressive. You must be one of those people that have a photographic
memory.”
“I remember it because there’s so much truth behind it,” Simon
said firmly. “The media can be a very powerful tool, Dean. Powerful
to the point where it can be considered a form of mind control. It can
control both your thoughts and emotions, therefore shaping the nature
of your reality. Did you know that there are six corporations who con-
trol 90% of the media in America? It’s quite scary when you think
about it. How as American do we allow these bigwigs to control the
flow of information we receive on a daily basis when we know they
have their own agenda?”
“Simon, I hope you don’t take offense to this, but what the hell
are you doing working as a waiter in Chili’s when you’re so freaking
smart? You seem to know a lot more than the average person. I’m in-
terested to hear what else you have to say.”
“It helps pay the bills,” Simon said. “I’m still in college so I
needed to find a job at night and on the weekends to make some mon-
ey. I’m glad you’re enjoying this conversation. I don’t really have
anyone else I can talk to about these things. Most people think I’m
crazy so I usually just keep it to myself.”
“I don’t think you’re crazy,” Dean said. “Now that I think about
it, Jim Morrison had a good quote about the media as well. He said
whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”
Simon smiled. “I guess I’m not the only one with a photographic
memory.”
“Who me?” Dean asked. “No, the only reason I remember that
one is because The Doors are one of my favorite bands and I know
almost everything about Jim Morrison. Besides, that quote’s much
shorter than the one by Malcolm X. It is a bit funny how they both
viewed the media in the same light. I guess great minds think alike.”
“Yes, they were both great minds in their own way. Perhaps it
was no coincidence that they both died young. Malcolm X wasn’t the
only human rights activist who was assassinated, you know. Martin
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Justin A. Colberg

Luther King Jr. was also assassinated, and they were both killed at the
age of 39 back in the 1960’s. As far as Jim Morrison is concerned,
since you say you’re a big fan of his, I’m sure you’re aware of the 27
club. He’s a part of that inauspicious club of celebrities who have died
at age 27, which includes prominent names such as Jimi Hendrix, Jan-
is Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, and others.”
“I was aware of the club,” Dean responded. “But I didn’t realize
how extensive it was. It sounds to me like you’re suggesting there’s
some grand conspiracy to all of this. I have to admit I’m not much of
a conspiracy theorist, but it is odd how they all died at the same age.
Maybe the media isn’t telling us everything.”
“That’s my point!” Simon exclaimed. “The media never tell us
the full story. They’ll give you half-truths, but the rest you have to
discern for yourself. Think about it for a minute. If you hear about a
celebrity death in the news, do you ever question it?”
Dean paused for a moment before answering. “No, not really.
With all the celebrity deaths that happens each year, it becomes kind
of ho-hum after a while. Especially when you hear about someone
dying from a drug overdose. It seems all too common in Hollywood
and the music industry. I don’t really give it a second thought any-
more.”
“Exactly,” Simon affirmed. “The media can say whatever they
want about how a celebrity died and the public believes it. Why? Be-
cause if people felt like they needed to start questioning the
information they’re receiving from the media, then they would also
have to consider questioning other major fields such a religion, sci-
ence, and politics. Not many people really want to do that. It’s much
more convenient for people to view the world as being black and
white as opposed to the seeing the reality of the control system we’re
actually living in. If a person starts to believe the media is lying to
them, then they’ll begin to wonder if other people and entities in pow-
er are doing the same. What if NASA is lying? What if my religious
leaders are lying? What if my government is lying? Do you see what
I’m getting at? Once you wake up to one illusion, the rest of the dom-
inoes start to fall.”
Dean’s mind began to wander. “You know, now that you mention
it, it was kind of suspicious the way Michael Jackson died. The media
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said he died from cardiac arrest after a drug overdose, but the whole
situation with his personal physician seemed strange. It makes me
wonder if it really was involuntary manslaughter. Didn’t he say at one
point that he was afraid he would end up like Elvis?”
“Yes, you’re right. He also supposedly said ‘they’re going to kill
me’ several times prior to his death. We don’t know for sure who he
was referring to, but I think I have a pretty good idea. And even more
profound, he had something very interesting to say in a speech several
years before his death. He said that they manipulate our history books.
The history books are not true, it’s a lie. The history books are lying,
you need to know that. You must know that. This is a true statement.
History, after all, is HIS-STORY. It’s a story from someone else’s
perspective. And you know what they say, history is written by the
victors.”
“Good point,” Dean said. “I also remember him claiming that the
media was intentionally trying to make him out to be a monster in or-
der to turn the public against him. Wasn’t his final concert in London
called ‘This is it’? Maybe he really did know his death was immi-
nent.”
“Indeed it was,” Simon confirmed. “Of course, that concert never
happened since he died just weeks before it was set to take place. I
must say, for someone who claims to be a classic rock fan, you sure
seem to know a lot about Michael Jackson.”
“I only know so much because he was my mom’s favorite artist.
She cried like a baby when she turned on the news that day and saw
that he had passed away. The only time I’ve seen her worse was when
we lost my father.”
“Do we even know for sure that he’s really dead though?” Simon
asked. “I mean, if we both agree that the media lies and is controlled
by powerful groups of people, then who’s to say that he can’t still be
alive somewhere out of the public spotlight?”
“Oh, come on,” Dean said as he rolled his eyes. “Don’t give me
that crap. Are you also going to try to convince me that the real Paul
McCartney died in the ‘60s and was replaced by a lookalike? Or bet-
ter yet, maybe he was cloned.”
“What’s so hard to believe about that? Cloning technology has
been around for a while now, and we know that there are people with
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bad intentions who are controlling our planet from behind the scenes.
Isn’t it plausible that these people could be using this technology for
nefarious purposes?”
“Theoretically, yes, I suppose so. Realistically? I don’t see how
that’s possible. Are you really going to sit there and tell me that we
have celebrity clones walking around and no one’s going to find out
about it? That would seem pretty difficult to keep secret, especially in
today’s age.”
“Perhaps,” Simon admitted. “But if you consider that the people
who may have their hands on this cloning technology may also be the
same people who control the media, then doesn’t it all of a sudden not
seem as far-fetched? Keep in mind, Lil Wayne had an album called I
Am Not a Human Being. Was he simply trying to be colorful when he
came up with this title, or was he covertly trying to tell us some-
thing?”
“So now you’re saying you think Lil Wayne is a clone just be-
cause of an album title he chose?” Dean asked sardonically. “Don’t
you think that’s a bit of a stretch? If this was really going on,
wouldn’t one of them speak out about it?”
“First of all, I’m not stating any of this as fact. I’m only giving
you something to consider. I believe it’s important to always keep an
open mind. And no, I don’t think they would speak about it because
they would almost certainly be programmed not to do so. Have you
ever heard of MKUltra mind control? The CIA used the MKUltra
mind control program to experiment on human subjects, illegally at
times, between 1953 and 1973. The purpose of the program was to
influence the mental states of these participants through the use of
drugs, hypnosis, and abuse. It’s essentially an advanced form of
brainwashing, and many people believe it’s still being used today on
Hollywood actors and high profile artists in the music industry. If this
is true, then it wouldn’t be so hard to believe that the victims wouldn’t
speak out against it. And for those who have tried, well, we’ve seen
what happens to them.”
“You mean like what happened to Michael Jackson?” Dean
asked. “Man, don’t let my mom hear that. It’ll break her heart. She
already can’t listen to Billie Jean without shedding a tear.”

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“It’s not just him, Dean. It’s believed to have happened to others
as well. Stanley Kubrick, the famous movie director, was another one
who knew too much and tried to reveal it to the public. Have you ever
seen the movie Eyes Wide Shut? Well, there’s a scene in that movie
which shows a group of powerful men engaging in rituals akin to
those you would see in secret societies. One might say it was this sce-
ne that led to the demise of Kubrick, but that doesn’t seem to be the
case. It’s believed that there were additional scenes in the movie
which didn’t make the final cut and were never released to the public.
It was these deleted scenes which may have irked Hollywood execu-
tives and other very powerful people. Kubrick’s official cause of
death was declared a heart attack, but some speculate he was mur-
dered. Keep in mind, he died only six days after screening what he
thought would be the finished product to family and the stars. Coinci-
dence? You be the judge.”
“It sounds to me like you’re insinuating the Illuminati may be
behind this,” Dean said. “Since we’re on the subject, what do you
think about Britney Spears? I remember when she had her infamous
mental breakdown back in the mid 2000’s and conspiracies were be-
ing thrown around about her being either a clone or a victim of mind
control.”
“It very well could’ve been a combination of both,” Simon sur-
mised. “I’m actually glad you mentioned her since she’s one of the
most obvious cases of this, at least in the music industry. There’s no
question that her erratic behavior during that time raised a lot of eye-
brows. Between her divorce to Kevin Federline, to losing custody of
her kids, to struggling with drugs, to shaving her head at a hair salon,
her life was spiraling out of control for sure. On the surface, this
would appear to be nothing more than the case of someone having a
mental breakdown. When you look closer at it, however, there seems
to be a lot more going on. Firstly, she had a song back in 2007 called
Break the Ice. What’s most interesting about this is that her official
music video to the song depicts her inside of a cloning center and
breaking free from her controllers. It’s easy to dismiss this simply as
creative art, but was there intended to be a hidden message? Quite
possibly, especially when you consider she’s mentioned cloning in
her lyrics before. If you go back to 2004 when she was working on an
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independent album called The Original Doll, she had a track called
Mona Lisa. The song contained lyrics which said ‘she’s been cloned’
repeatedly throughout the chorus. Once her management team found
out about this, they had her scrap the album entirely and claimed it
never existed. The song did get re-released later on, but the words in
the chorus were changed to ‘she’s been gone’. Eerie isn’t it?”
“Eerie, yes, but still not enough evidence to convince me she’s
really a clone,” Dean said. “I have to admit though, there does seem
to be something up with her. Remember that Austin Powers movie
where she appeared as a fembot?”
“Of course. And it wasn’t the only time it was suggested that
she’s an android, either. There was a skit on Nickelodeon which Brit-
ney Spears was a part of called ‘Know Your Stars’. In it, the narrator
calls her ‘half girl, half robot, half ravioli’. You have to understand
Dean, truths like this get put out subliminally to the masses all the
time in television shows and movies, because the powers that be
know that the majority of people will blow it off as entertainment. Do
you remember the infamous kiss between Madonna, Britney Spears,
and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 Video Music Awards? The sharing
of saliva was a ritual intended as a passing of the torch of Madonna’s
priestess status or ‘Illuminati Queenship’ to Britney and Christina.
Dean smiled. “You’ve really done your homework haven’t you?
Maybe the song I’m a Slave 4 U has more meaning to it than people
think. Who is she a slave for? Her Illuminati controllers who she’s a
puppet for? Maybe selling your soul to the devil really does occur in
the entertainment industry.”
“It’s good that you’re asking these questions, Dean. You’re be-
ginning to see how the dark side of the industry works. Supposedly,
when these clones die, their soul gets transferred to another clone in a
new body. If you’ve ever seen the show Dark Mirror, this might
sound familiar to you. The clones aren’t designed to last long, so mul-
tiple clones need to be created in order for the public deception to
work. Selling your soul to the devil isn’t just some off-hand supersti-
tion. Back to Britney Spears, have you seen the music video to her
song Slumber Party? It shows her being invited to an elite, insider
party reserved for the rich and famous, very similar to the secret soci-
ety party shown in Eyes Wide Shut. How appropriate is the name of
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that movie, by the way? The eyes of the masses are indeed wide shut
to what goes on behind closed doors when it comes to the ruling
elite.”
“This has become a very interesting conversation”, Dean admit-
ted. “But we still haven’t gotten to the purpose of me coming to meet
you in the first place. I wanted to learn more about Gnosticism from
you. I wouldn’t have rushed over here if I knew all you wanted to talk
about was conspiracy theories. I was enjoying a good mediation ses-
sion, you know.”
“You meditate?” Simon asked. “That’s great. I try to meditate for
at least fifteen minutes each day. I use binaural beats to help aid in my
sessions. It helps keep me relaxed, especially during some of those
stressful shifts at the restaurant.”
“It was my first time. I didn’t even know I was meditating. I was
sitting in the park by myself trying to pray and all of a sudden I felt
this inner peace that I never felt before. It was quite the experience.”
“It’s a great way to connect to your Higher Self,” Simon said.
“You’re a divine being, Dean. Don’t ever forget that. I know your re-
ligion teaches you that you’re a sinner, but that’s simply not true. Sin,
much like karma, only exists if you believe in it. Keep doing what
you’re doing, I promise you it’s worth it. It’s great that you were able
to find a quiet place in the park to practice your meditation. There’s
no better feeling than being one with Mother Nature. Next time, pick
up a rock while you meditate and try contemplating the divine. Then,
put the rock down and substitute it with a battery while doing the
same thing. Write down in a journal what differences you feel.”
“What are you giving me a homework assignment?” Dean chuck-
led. “I suppose I’ll give it a try, although I can’t promise you I’ll feel
any difference. I’m sure you must have a good reason for wanting me
to do that.”
“Yes, I do. I want you to feel the difference between nature and
technology. While technology itself isn’t evil, the powers that be are
trying to use it against us and most people don’t even realize it. Major
changes are coming to our planet very soon, Dean. 95% of the world
population is expected to be depopulated by the year 2030 according
to Agenda 21.”

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“WHAT?” Dean exclaimed. “Where did you hear that from?


That’s- that’s crazy. 95% of the world population would mean the
eradication of billions of people. That’s global genocide!”
“Precisely,” Simon said bluntly. “The powers that be have had
this planned for a very long time, Dean. They’ve just been waiting for
the right moment to fulfill the end-times prophecy and usher in the
new world order. Have you heard of the Georgia Guidestones? It’s a
monument located in Georgia which has been labeled as the ‘Ten
Commandments of the Antichrist’. One of the inscriptions contains
the message ‘maintain humanity under 500 million’. Something major
would obviously have to occur to reduce the world population by that
many people. Another world war would potentially be catastrophic
enough to do it, but it may not come to that. Let me ask you some-
thing, have you noticed lately how many television shows, movies,
video games, etc. have shown implications of there being either a rap-
ture occurring or a mass depopulation?”
Dean thought for a moment. “Now that you mention it, yeah I
have. There was that video game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
The movie This Is the End with Seth Rogan and James Franco also
comes to mind. And who can forget the blockbuster hit Avengers: In-
finity War which had that cliffhanger ending where half of all life in
the universe, including the superheroes, mysteriously disappeared.
“That was a very good movie. Allow me to let you in on a little
secret that most people don’t know about. There’s a hidden message
in the movie title that can be decoded using gematria.”
“Geometry?” Dean asked confused.
“No, Dean. Gematria. It’s a method of assigning a numerical val-
ue to letters of the alphabet and adding up the total sum. So for
example, for the word ‘and’, a = 1, n = 14, and d = 4. The total sum
adds up to 19. Now, if you take ‘Infinity War’ and use the same equa-
tion, the total sum adds up to 148. Why is that important? Because if
you take the word ‘depopulation’, which is Thanos’ endgame in the
movie, you also get the number 148. And for what it’s worth, ‘Donald
J. Trump’ also adds up to 148.”
Dean watched as Simon took out a pen and a piece of paper to
show him that his math was indeed correct. “That could just be coin-

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Justin A. Colberg

cidence though,” Dean said. “Besides, what does Donald Trump have
to do with it?”
“He has everything to do with it, Dean. The end of the Age is
near. We’re at the point where we’re going to be leaving the Age of
Pieces and enter into the Age of Aquarius. There’s as good a chance
as any that he will be still be in office once this cosmic shift takes
place.”
“Are you saying Donald Trump may be the end-times president?”
Dean asked. “That’s quite the bold proclamation you’re making there,
Simon. You do realize that the end-times have been prophesied for
thousands of years now and it still hasn’t happened, right? What
makes you so sure that this time it’s real?”
“Yes, I’m aware” Simon said as he tucked away his pen and
crumbled up the piece of paper he used to write on. “It’s not as crazy
as it sounds when you consider that Pope Francis has been prophesied
to be the last pope. Have you ever heard of the Malachy prophesy?
Saint Malachy predicted hundreds of years ago that the last pope
would be ‘Peter the Roman’. On first glance, you may say that name
has no association with Pope Francis. But consider this; his father’s
name was Pietro, which is the Italian form of Peter. Perhaps it’s just
another coincidence, but I have reason to believe otherwise.”
Dean noticed Simon playing with his crumbled up ball of paper.
He seemed to be getting fidgety. “You look like you have something
you want to tell me, Simon. What is it?”
“The end is near, Dean. World War 3 is on the horizon. Except,
it’s nothing like you could ever imagine. This won’t be any ordinary
war. There won’t be any nuclear bombs used, since this won’t be a
war fought on the battlefield. World War 3, Dean, will be a war on the
human mind. 5G technology, nanobots, smart cities, and a fake rap-
ture will play a large role in this war.”
“Hold on,” Dean said. “Did you just say there’s going to be a
fake rapture? First of all, how can you be sure such a thing is going to
occur? And if it did, what makes you think it will be fake?”
“Because a major world event has been planned by the gods for a
long time now. This fake rapture has been called many things by dif-
ferent people. Some call it ‘the harvest’, some call it ‘ascension’, and
others call it ‘the event’. No matter what name you use for it, it’s all
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describing the same thing. Even in gematria, ‘ascension’, ‘the event’,


and ‘rapture’, all add up to 99. As you can see, this world is run by
numbers and symbols. That’s why you have movies like Avengers:
Infinity War, which uses predictive programming to show the masses
what’s going to happen in the future. It enters into your subconscious
without you realizing it. Of course, many people who believe in the
rapture, view it as being something to look forward to. This is part of
the deception, and like I said, 5G technology will have a lot to do with
it. This tech is going to be used as a weapon against the human race to
control our thoughts and emotions. People will have a sense of eupho-
ria when this all occurs, making it likely they will fall for the trap.”
Dean stared at Simon blankly. “This is all so… confusing,” he
said as he was still trying to digest everything Simon had just told
him. “Who’s behind this?”
“Enki and Marduk. Otherwise known as Lucifer and Satan. There
are a lot of misconceptions about who these beings really are, so in
order for you to fully understand, I will need to tell you about their
origins, beginning with the truth about Lucifer’s Rebellion. You may
want to hold on to your coffee, Dean. You’re in for a big surprise.”

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Chapter 4

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