The first battle was over. I had defeated those creatures. I was the only one left standing. I knew another battle was coming. I knew the leader of those creatures would come to defend his followers. I knew I would have to face him. What I didn't realize was just how quickly that second battle would arrive.
After the battle, I sat down on the couch to catch my breath and try to calm my nerves. As I sat there, suddenly The Stranger was back. He just appeared on the couch next to me. It didn't shock me that he would be there. It was almost as though I was waiting for him. He seemed to appear when I was most vulnerable, when I needed someone most. I was almost excited to see him. I had been looking forward to him coming back so I could get to know him better.
"Are you okay?" he asked, concern filling his kind and compassionate voice.
"Just a little fatigued," I responded. "I just went through the hardest battle I've ever experienced."
He began asking questions about the battle and pacing through the house. I stayed on the couch, my head leaned back, my eyes closed while I answered his questions. As we talked his voice became deeper and more gravelly with every word he spoke. At first it was so subtle I almost missed it. I was just enjoying the conversation. The more we talked, the more obvious the changes in his voice became.
Suddenly, my eyes popped open, my head lifted off the back of the couch, and I looked behind me just in time to see him taking some of my things. Just as the creatures had done, he was putting things in his pockets and in his shirt.
Disappointment filled my heart and soul as I realized this handsome man was the leader of those creatures. He didn't tell me; I just knew it. Already exhausted from the previous battle, I was nearing the end of my limit. I knew though that I HAD to win this battle against him. I knew if I didn't muster up every last ounce of energy left in me and beat him at this game, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I would end up serving him until my dying day. This was no game.
I jumped up off the couch and pursued him with everything I had in me. I managed to get my things from him. As I did, his hand reached out and grabbed something else. We went round and round this way for several hours. Just when I thought I couldn't go on anymore and would have to give up, he seemed to realize he was no match for me. He relented. He surrendered. He gave up. He left.
And I woke up.