The Mysterious Ones

subwayIt was August when I started seeing them. At first it scared the living daylights out of me. I thought I was losing my mind. I told my friends about it. They thought so too. So I stopped telling them about it.


The first time I saw one was just after midnight, three weeks ago Friday.


I was in bed reading Tolkien on my Kindle when a movement in my periphery drew my attention.


I glanced to the right. My heart rammed into the walls of my chest and tingles shot through my body. There it was—or he—or she—I don’t know, but there it was, standing by my dresser.


The shape of a human masked in translucent light, flickering like a candle.


I clamped my eyelids shut and, when I opened them again, it was gone.


My first thought was, “Great Scott, I’ve just seen a ghost!”


The second, “I’ve got to start getting more sleep.”


The third, “I wonder if you can tell when you’re going crazy.”


I set the Kindle on the nightstand and flipped the light off.


I got in bed and told myself there was no such thing as a ghost. Within ten minutes I was on the couch with my pillow and a sheet pulled up over my head like a frightened child.


No apparitions appeared for the next three days and I began to put it behind me.


Then Tuesday morning as I brushed my teeth, there it was again. I saw the reflection in the mirror. It was standing behind me to the right. I nearly swallowed my toothpaste. I closed my eyes and took long deep breaths. When I finally got up enough courage, I turned around to look, but it was gone.


I spent the next three days in a cycle of paranoia and sleeping on the couch with the lights and TV on.


By Friday afternoon, nothing had happened and I hoped that I was free of the apparitions. I took the subway home after work and settled into my seat with a newspaper, the rumble of the subway and the din of voices vaguely registering in my mind. Then I felt a presence to my right, saw the light falling on the newspaper. I was afraid to look, but I did and there it was, sitting right next to me, looking at me—at least I think it was looking at me.


I glanced around at the other passengers. No one seemed to be aware of this strange being except for me. When I looked back, it was still there.


And then it spoke in a voice like a solar flare.


“Do not be afraid. Do not doubt the Lord or falter in your faith as you have been.”


Falter? As I have been? But—how did he know?


Was he a—


“I am an angel of the Lord,” he said, “Sent to serve as the protector of your being. As the final days come to a close, the Lord’s people will be tested. The Fallen One will seek to capture your souls with all the might of his dark forces. God has sent us to help His people withstand these attacks. Only His people can see or hear us. To all others we are unknown, unseen, a mystery they cannot comprehend. Go on with your life. Tell no one about us. Tell everyone you meet about The Truth for their time is short. Most will not understand, but some will hear and listen. Never doubt the Lord or falter in your faith. He is with you. He will never forsake you. He will be with you until The End of Days and forevermore.”


The subway lights flickered and he was gone. The train stopped, the doors opened, passengers disembarked. I scarcely realized in time that it was my stop. I exited the subway and stepped out onto the platform.


I saw an angel on a bench beside a hobo, one crouching down beside a child, another standing near a young woman as she boarded the subway.


A man behind me cursed as someone bumped into him.


I whirled around, stared him full in the face, and asked him point-blank, “Do you know the One whose name you just took in vain?”


© Whitney L. Schwartz

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