I woke timid in the darkness
Room constricted in the starkness
Of an eerie autumn midnight
Like I’d never seen before.
Restless, scared, I had awaken
Out of breath and spirit shaken
As the screen of my computer
Flickered faintly by the door.
“Just a dream.” I softly muttered
As my heart so soundly fluttered
While my reason chased the specters
Persevering in my mind
Then a sound, an incarnation
Of an image I had shaken
Pricked the solitude of shadows
Twisting every nerve in kind.
I jumped up, afraid and craven
“It’s a mouse, a rat, a raven.”
But my words of reassurance
Made no impact on myself.
In the paltry light a vestige
Of a curtly worded message
From beyond my comprehension
On my screen the statement “Help.”
“What is this?” I asked believing
That a remnant or a leaving
Of an earlier conversation
Messaged to a friend of mine
Had returned again to shame me
O’re the death of dearest Jamie
Who, caught in a deep depression,
Left this earth while in her prime.
Soft a movement in the dimness,
A chilled whisper causing gooseflesh,
In my fractured recollections
I’d turned off the screen before.
Eyes peeled wide in fear and wonder
As my pulse swelled into thunder
I stepped through a deep foreboding
And rebooted it once more.
In the murk a restless whirring
Like a furtive soul was stirring.
As if some departed traveler
Sought their way out through the air.
Crept a carnivorous feeling
Something watching from the ceiling
And I stumbled to the mattress
Choking, “Jamie? Are you there?”
Pulled by death she had been falling
While the blessed discussed our calling
And we contemplated charters
For an outreach to the poor.
But our righteous work was dreary
And my vision had grown bleary.
So she shot herself on Wednesday
Waiting near my bolted door.
In the deep, my mind resurgent,
Realized it wasn’t urgent
To address imagined spirits
Wand’ring through immortal pain.
In my bed I pulled the covers
Quoted prayers as doubts were smothered
‘Till a static charged resurgence
Nearly froze my blood again.
By the door the screen was clashing
Just one word it screamed in flashing.
And I cried, “You evil messenger!”
My words clipped in a yelp.
“Is there nothing I can do to
Disavow this curse sent through you?”
But the screen just sat there silent
With the message reading “Help.”
“I’m a fool.” I wept deriding,
To the screen I was confiding,
“There’s no doubt this recitation
Is divinely for myself.
Word of God, for me, all mine,
Please allow me just a sign
Of how I may more fulfill you!”
But the screen repeated, “Help.”
I cried out, my heart betrayed me,
“Father God or dearest Jamie!
I know not which one of you this
Soulful lecture freely gives.
But I swear with deep conviction
That I’ve deeply learned the lesson.
So I’ll take this vast instruction
And apply it as I live!”
From the fading light a drying
Of the tears I had been crying
As a movement pushed the Bible
I had lost upon my shelf.
And with lifted voice I cited
That one word that I delighted
Taking to my congregation
The prophetic message, “Help.”
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