Mom told me the woman who lived in that house had once met the devil. We were headed into town and had just passed a family home along the highway. I was quite young, and Mom was always too open with me.

She said the woman woke up from a short afternoon nap. The TV was on and her children were in school. Mr. Fallen Angel was standing in her living room looking out the window.Then he disappeared, or the woman woke up again.

I think that Mom’s friend was in her own personal “twilight zone.” I mean she dreamed she woke up. She experienced a dream inside a dream. You never know what will happen in there.

Because of Mom’s story and my occasional visits to Sunday School, I feared the devil during my early years. Once in a nightmare Satan tried to kidnap me while I was walking down the gravel road to my cousin’s house. I tricked him and got away.

I liked to dig holes for some reason when I was young. One beautiful summer day I had a nice one going behind our rundown dilapidated garage. The building was no longer used and sat on the far end of our yard.

The hole was two feet deep when I hit these old, burnt, charred boards with my shovel blade. After trying to break through, my wild imagination started fearing I had dug into the roof of hell.

I filled that hole back up fast and hid in the house for the rest of the afternoon.

That’s how I spent my childhood, two feet above the roof of hell.

When I jumped out of my swing, I was careful not to land too hard. I didn’t want to fall through the ground and break into the roof of hell.

For the record I don’t believe in the devil anymore, but I know evil exists. And be careful … because evil can grow like a plague.

The devil makes a brief appearance near the end of this month’s poem.

I heard Dad tell a skeleton of this story a few times while growing up. He was one of the teenagers. I took the theme and fleshed the plot out quite a bit.

I recite the lightning line real loud. It scares kids right out of their seats. They love it.

Poet Bard Terry Wooten has been performing and conducting writing workshops in schools for more than 30 years. He is also the creator of Stone Circle, a triple ring of boulders featuring poetry, storytelling and music on his property north of Elk Rapids. Learn more at www.terry-wooten.com.

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