Valiant: Knock Knock…The Sandman…The Gift…Part 16…

He dwelt in the dreams of night…lost
In thoughts, overwhelmed by what had
Happened and by what he sensed was
Yet to come. And dreams gave him
Glimpses, just brief visions that his
Mind’s eye caught when his feelings
Went numb. It seemed like it would
Never end, only continue until the
Mystery could find the one who could
Chase it the way it had to be.

Jon woke in the morning recalling
Hazy images of faces and places…
With a strong pull to the west. But he
Had no time to think it through right
Away, he had to get moving. There
Were chores to do, there were always
Chores to do. He went to breakfast
And ate quietly, no one said anything
About the night before. His family
Had short memories at times, especially
When eating. Only the coming day’s
Plans were discussed quickly, then
Everyone left the table one by one…
And Jon went off to do his work alone.

Jon took care of the animals while
His father and grandfather tended to
Plantings for crops they needed. It was
A typical day, nothing unusual. By
Mid-day he took the goats out for grazing
With the horses this time. And while he sat
And rested beneath a fir tree he found
The time to think things over once again.

The visits, the dreams…they were
Building more and more. But to what
End? He thought of Mira and Baja’s
Words…about the dark winning so
Much, and good winning in the end.
It was a lot to think about. And still
He fought his place in that. It made
No sense, he was no one…just some
Village farm boy with simple wishes.
If only those simple wishes could come

But he resisted dwelling on things too
Much. It was far more peaceful fussing
Over the animals. They were innocent
And kind, they never hurt anyone. His
Geese however could be very loud and
Protective, he always laughed at that. A
Goose and a goat were his favorite friends.
And the horses…animals sure knew people
Better than anything.

Time flew fairly fast, and as he
Watched the sun he knew the time…
Then brought the animals back home
To the barn before dinner. They ate
Early then, so that by dark everyone was
Ready for bed…to be up by dawn for
The next new day, and the whole process
Would repeat all over again.

Days passed this way. And then yet again,
An odd feeling filled the air. It was a foggy,
Dismal Friday night that started with a
Slow sprinkling rain…then thunder, then
Finally, a light steady soaking rain.
Everything just felt wet and soggy.

The family had eaten dinner and went to
Bed…. And as Jon lay in his own bed,
All that he could do was lay there quietly
Listening to the rain…and the loud
Snarling sounds of his grandfather snoring
From his room across the house. How
Could anyone sleep with that awful
Noise? He was surprised a man of
His age could even produce such a
Sound…the crackles of the thunder
Earlier were more welcoming. And their
Dogs slept in his grandparents’ room…
The poor animals must either think
Some giant bear had entered the house,
Or the man was deathly ill or something.

And finally, after what seemed like
Forever…his grandfather’s snoring
Ended…along with the rain outside,
Maybe it was nature’s way of demanding
Silence, enough already. Jon was about to
Pass out when his ear caught a new sound
Somewhere near. Very slight at first, then
Building…it sounded like tree branches
Bending or being moved just outside…
And then came a pause of absolute silence….
A sense of something knowing that it
Was heard, a presence. Jon’s eyes flew
Open, they twitched darted back and forth
Thinking, feeling, noting every little thing.
He waited but did not move. No, nothing
Was IN his room…he knew that much.

Then slowly, there was the sound of
Something scraping across his bedroom
Window outside…like a branch almost.
But there was no tree close enough
To his window to strike it in such a way.
And then his mind thought, ‘claws?’
No…. he had to or wanted to dismiss
That idea. He sat up fast and stared at
The window. And there it was again,
The scratching and scraping, only more
Pronounced. He struggled to see in the
Dark but it was pointless. So, he rose
And went to the window and looked out
Blackness…There was NOTHING.

He stood there for a few minutes
Watching, waiting to see something…
But all that he could see was the
Emptiness of the dark night through
The glass. His mind struggled to
Tell him to simply go back to sleep
And ignore it, but his legs wouldn’t
Move. All that he could do was stand
There and look out staring in a daze.

Then it came, a low whisper. ‘Come
Outside. I wish to speak with you.’

Jon leaned back at the dull voice,
That only gently made itself audible
To hear. He was confused yet intrigued.
Someone WAS there…He turned fast
And went to the kitchen in his nightshirt.
Then he grabbed one of the stick candles
From the cupboard and lit the wick
In what embers still glowed in the
Stove by blowing and fanning a flame
To life on it. Then he held the candle
Up and went to the door and went outside.

He stood just a few steps from the
Doorway in the dark…holding the candle
Out before him looking every which
Way, but saw nothing. He didn’t have
To wait long before the whisper came

‘Over here…come over here, I wish
To speak to you…’

Jon’s eyes shot right to the sound and
Focused intensely on the barn. He
Cringed with hesitation. How could
It be in there? He fought to make
Sense of it. This did not feel like his
Familiar stranger, nor anyone else he
Knew or had ever met. No, this felt
Different, this felt new. And with each
New moment felt heavier. But he had
To know now…Who was it, who
Was it this time…in the middle of the

Slowly Jon took cautious footsteps
To the barn. He focused on every little
Thing that he could…the sounds, the
Movement. The animals gave no noise
Or commotion, that seemed important.
Why was everything so quiet with this
Following all the ruckus of the storm
Earlier…. Had the storm brought something,
Or it had it been a warning of something
To come?

He was about to open the barn door
When he slipped in the wet dirt beneath
His feet and fell face flat in the mud.
Yet somehow, he managed to hold his
Hand up and save the flame of the
Candle from going out. He groaned
With embarrassment. Yes, that just
Had to happen. Then he rose to his
Feet and tried to wipe the mud off…
A worthless attempt in the dark.

Then the whisper came again…’Just
Come inside…’

Jon’s eyes raised, his brow arching
To the voice. He had to know, so he
Went on…opened the barn door and
Went inside. He looked around, none
Of the animals moved or made a
Sound. But their eyes caught the
Light of the candle when they saw
Him…they bulged so wide, they
Were terrified. He moved farther
Inside slowly…. he was about to move
To pet one of the horses when his
Eyes caught the form of a figure
Standing in the far corner of the barn
Opposite him. He froze.

‘Hello Jon.’ The form said from the

Jon just stood frozen watching and
Said nothing.

Then the figure took a step closer,
Then another and another…until
Finally, it was close enough to reveal
Itself in the light. It was a man, he
Appeared middle-aged with yellowy-
Blond hair…well-built and proportioned.
He had almost a handsome face…had
It not been for the solid black eyes that
Blinked with blaring red pupils as he
Watched him.

Jon was taken back by what he saw
That he held his breath fast. Those
Eyes! The darkness that they held
Was beyond description.

‘I wanted to speak with you.’ The
Man said with a clearer tone now.

Jon just stood motionless saying
Nothing…an overwhelming instinct
Taking over telling him what to do.

‘Do you know who I am?’ The
Man said slowly smiling to
Reveal a chilling set of perfect
Teeth set on jet black gums. His
Features were just so menacing
That it was impossible to ignore.

Jon waited for the words to come…

And the man hid his teeth beneath
A casual smile, then looked around
At the barn and the animals. ‘Hmm…
A nice simple place you have here.’
He arched his head strangely upwards
Taking on an icy pose then he turned
And stared into Jon strongly. ‘I wanted
To see you…Ah well, it is pointless
To waste time. So, allow me to introduce
Myself…My name is *****…’

Jon’s eyes bulged when he heard it.

‘Ah, so you know the name? It’s not
What you expected…is it?’ The man
Said calmly as if it were nothing. ‘It’s
From Genesis…in the Bible…’ He
Sighed. ‘A Great BIG Tower was built
And named after me. Though no one
Pronounces it correctly…You have to
Know HOW to say it you see, But I’m
Telling you, so now…you know. You
Must never reveal this to anyone. Do
You understand? But I am telling you…
So you may call me…And I think you
Know why.’

Jon said nothing, only listened.

‘I am known as The Great Conqueror
And Divider…That is what I do. I
Divide and conquer nations. And they
Serve me…whether they know it or
Not…. I have been to many places, I
Am here now. And soon, I will go to
A new land…flowing with milk and
Honey…to the west. And I will make
It my own…And then others, until
They are all MINE.’

Jon could say nothing.

‘Really, Jon, don’t look so surprised.
All stories come from somewhere…
Even those in the bible.’ The man
Paused watching Jon intensely. ‘You
Are VERY interesting Jon, very
Interesting…. Not many things interest

Jon could only listen.

‘I am going to make you an offer. You
Leave me alone…and I will leave you
Alone.’ The man told him in an
Eerily kind way. ‘Because I will have
Things my way Jon…OR, I will have
My servants make you miserable and
Attack you…Do you understand?’

Jon watched him with blank
Expression only.

The man eyed Jon up and down then
Met his eyes sharply. ‘Their souls are
Mine, they will be mine…That is what
I do…. I will divide and conquer them
One by one…They won’t even know
It’s happening…one land at a time, until
I have the whole world. Then I will
Divide it again and conquer it AGAIN…
And rebuild it as I want. It will happen,
Oh, it will happen.’ He stared harder
Into Jon. ‘Oh I have many forms…to
Each nation…Ah, but you sensed that

Their eyes met each other’s like walls
Of ice.

‘To the End….’ The man told him as he
Started walking out of the barn. ‘They
Will worship me in one way or another…
With some mysticism or promise made…
Some hope they made up…Right to the
End. They won’t know which way to
Turn, just as long as someone is promising
Them…something. I will push the very
Nature of them to their limits…. They
Will look for answers in the end…and
They won’t find them…The Great
Conqueror and Divider.’ He gave out
One loud laugh for himself, and was about
To leave the barn when he paused once
More and leaned back to say… ‘If they
Attack you, or when they do…That’s the
Sign The End is Coming, Jon. It’s coming.’
He held onto the barn door watching him.
‘You know…you and I should learn to be
Friends, Jon. Because I will do all that
I have told you…and you will watch it
Happen, you will. Just wait. But if you ever
Choose to surrender…You know my
Name…We really should learn to get
Along…’ Then he walked off and was

Jon let out a long deep breath and panted
For air. After everything, now THIS?
What was happening? He panicked
As his mind raced in every direction…
To form thoughts, to form ideas of
What to think…this BEING was REAL?
There were no doubts…his heart raced and
Felt like it would pound out of his chest.
Then some revelation struck him…a
Flash of Light, of lightning filled his

‘Wait,’ Jon thought to himself. ‘The Angel,
God…God is real, the Angel was real. This
Is real. Of course, the Dark would be real
Then too. This visit was for a reason…but
Why? What could he do?’ Only more senses
Filled his head…’There must be something
This being knew or wanted, something he
Was hiding…dividing to separate secrets
And sacred beliefs…A giant puzzle? Some
Must know this, but how many? Only a few?
There must be so much more.’

Jon patted the animals then and staggered
Back into the house and into his bed in
A daze. He didn’t even think of cleaning
Off the mud. Sleep came some time after
That…without the dreams or words…
And when he awoke in the morning the
Proof was in the dirt caked dry to his skin
And clothes. And when he saw that, again
There were no words to think.

And with the morning, breakfast came,
Jon said nothing. Everything was numb.
He moved onto the day finding the will to
Continue through habitual chores trying
To think as little as possible.

On and on this went, the afternoon and
Then the night. For days he managed by
Habit only, routine chores that kept
Things going. No one noticed much that
He didn’t speak, his family just
Assumed he had finally learned
To be quietly obedient and they
Were very content with that.

But a dismal oppressive feeling
Began to grow and spread, not just
In his house but in the entire village
As well. There was more talk of
Unrest, people were arguing more
And more…over the smallest
And most irrational things. Times
Were tough all over and everyone
Fought to compare who suffered
More…whose loss was greater, who
Hurt the most. It really just seemed
As though people just wanted to
Fight…as if something was dividing

And there were ACCIDENTS…
Lots of them…with everyone. Most
In the strangest ways, and some with
Tragic consequences or endings. From
The loss of livestock, to bizarre
Calamities that burned homes and
Barns…to illnesses that struck the
Young, the old and weak and took
Loved ones…It just kept happening.

Even at Jon’s home, in fact
Especially there…a series of accidents
Plagued the family. His father, in
A fit of rage, struggling with their wagon,
Fell and had his legs crushed
Beneath it…crippling him. His
Sister became seriously ill…predators
Ravaged their flocks, their herd and
Their crops. His grandmother suffered
A series of heart attacks mysteriously
In the night…The family just
Could not keep up, and this
Continued for months.

This meant more work, twice as much
For the able-bodied to do. There was
No choice, if you could stand then
You were fit to work. There was no
Time for anything else. Jon’s grandfather
Became a tyrant, full of rage with
The demand to do more…but at his
Age he was more of a burden than
Any help at all. With three seriously
Ill family members and a farm to
Care for…life became hell. Months
Went on this way…and there was
Nothing to do about it but accept
What it was.

The fall harvest came with
Pitiful results. With such small
Yields, they would be forced on tiny
Rations or starve in the coming
Winter. Life felt utterly conquered.

The Christmas Season came with no
Joy or enthusiasm. There were no
Sweets or songs…the family was
Thankful just to have bread, a
Slice of ham for breakfast…and
A potato a day. Tough times made
Them learn to be grateful for every
Small thing.

And then, on Christmas Eve…beneath
A bright starry sky, Jon’s Christmas
Visitor came again. She appeared as
Always bathed in a ring of white
Light, sitting on his bed, with a smile.
But this time when she saw him
The light of hope she had, turned
To horror. ‘Jon, what happened?’

He simply turned to look at her
With a half-smile and said
Nothing. He had no words to offer.

She sat there studying him, a
Beautiful vision…now so confused.
She thought she knew so well…
It was written all over her face,
That sense of knowing…it was
All gone. Somehow, a lot of fine
Details had been lost in how she
Monitored him, and this clearly
Frightened her a lot. Something was
Seriously wrong.

As he lay in bed watching her look
At him full of concern silently he
Suddenly heard voices outside of his
Bedroom door. The door was wide
Open. And then he wondered, ‘Wait,
How did she get in?’

But before he could ask aloud, he
Heard the voices outside more clearly…
‘Just wait, just listen.’ A man’s
Voice said – a voice he knew!
‘I have to hear this…’

‘Oh look, a mouse!’ A woman’s
Voice exclaimed outside the doorway.
‘Oh, how sweet! He is adorable.’

‘Ceres, will you please pay attention.’
The strange visitor instructed.

‘I was watching the mouse.’ This Ceres
Replied fast. ‘Why am I here? I
Want to go see the animals in the barn.
They have goats, geese, horses? I want
To see them.’

‘Ceres!’ The visitor he knew said.

‘Don’t tell me what to do.’ Ceres snapped,
Their silhouettes occasionally
Moving into view. ‘Look here, look there…
The mouse sees more. To gain an insight
Expand your views. If you want to see
Then see for yourself.’

‘Ceres!’ The familiar man said. ‘You
Know our time is limited. Please say
As little as possible so he won’t hear

There was a brief pause before she
Answered. ‘Shall I squeak then? Or
Hide until the time comes?’

It seemed as the familiar man was
Rolling his eyes with frustration. ‘Why
Is the timing always this way?’

Finally, Jon could not take it any
Longer. ‘Who is that? Are you ever
Going to tell me names?’

The lady smiled as she sat with Jon,
Then sighed as if to say it was time.
‘I’m Kyrie…And that is my sister, Ceres.
Ciri…as my father called her.’




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