For three nights in a row it had happened, and Dana was a bit scared. She wasn’t into superstition or anything like that. But she had to admit that for the past few nights she was starting to feel like she was in an episode of the Twilight Zone.
It would be one thing if she was used to waking up in the middle of the night. But she wasn’t. She was one of those people who fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, and she stayed asleep until her alarm went off at six the next morning.
But not this week. This week was altogether a different matter. She went to sleep right away as usual. But for the past three nights, she had awakened in the middle of the night. Even that was not so strange. But, each time she had awakened, she had glanced at her clock to see the time. And each time it was the same: 3:33 am.
The first night had been no big deal. The second night was a bit coincidental, but still not totally strange. The third night, she decided that God was trying to tell her something.
Now, here she was again, crawling into bed, hoping to sleep through the night. But somewhere, deep inside, she knew it was going to happen again. Perhaps by thinking it, however, she was willing it to happen. Dana sighed as she reached over to switch off the light. And she closed her eyes and soon fell sound asleep.
Dana slowly opened her eyes. The room was still dark. She was almost afraid to look at her clock, but felt compelled to do so. Slowly, she turned her head. And there it was. 3:33. Staring at her like red eyes in the dark, mocking her….laughing at her fear. Quickly she turned over in bed and hugged her pillow. Her heart was racing. Her hands felt clammy. Something was going on of which she was totally unaware. And she felt like a helpless child.
And it continued. Each night Dana woke up, looked at the clock, and saw 3:33. She now had no idea if it was some unknown force causing her to open her eyes, or if she was merely a product of her own obsession. In a way, she was now afraid she would wake up and the clock would read a different time. What would that mean? Would that mean that she had missed whatever message was trying to be sent to her?
It was the evening of the seventh day, and Dana woke with a start. It was different than before. Something had startled her, but she was unsure of what it was. She lay quietly, listening. And when she heard the footsteps stealing down the hallway, she froze. Her heart pounded in fear. She heard a door begin to open. She looked at her clock, as she reached for the gun.
Dana felt her heart begin to pound inside of her chest. She felt unable to breathe, afraid the intruder would hear her. Slowly, she rose from the bed without making a sound, gun in hand. God, how she prayed she wouldn’t have to use it. She wasn’t even sure she knew how to use it. She walked to her bedroom door and stood there, listening. Silence was all that she could hear. She listened for the sound of breathing, but all she could hear was her own heart pounding.
Then she heard it. Her front door was closing quietly. As much as she knew she should feel relieved, this only made her feel more scared. What had the intruder wanted?
She opened the door and turned on the lights to scare him in case he decided to come back. She ran to the front door and made sure it was locked. Then she scanned the room for a sign. Nothing seemed to be missing in the living room or kitchen. She walked into the guest room to see if anything was missing.
She gasped out loud and a chill ran throughout her body. Red markings were on the white wall….a contrast that looked like blood on snow. And in between the strange markings were the words…”Evil cometh. Beware the guest.”
Dana shuddered. And a fear so deep she could taste it enveloped her. What did this mean? What guest? And who was the intruder? Someone she knew? Was the intruder warning her of someone else? Or was the intruder himself the one he spoke of as “evil”?
Dana went into her room and picked up the phone. She knew she must call the police. As she went to pick up the phone, something very strange caught her eye. Her alarm clock. It was still showing the time as 3:33. Several moments had passed since she had awakened to look at the time. Figuring it just must be stuck or something, she unplugged it, deciding just to reset it. But when she unplugged it an even stranger thing happened. The clock continued to glow with the numbers 3:33. She plugged it back in, but it was impossible to set. It was stuck on 3:33.
Frustrated and confused, Dana gave up and dialed the police station.
After the police left, Dana still felt uneasy. They had filed a report, taken pictures of the wall, and looked for fingerprints. But so far, they had no idea what the entire thing could be about. They had said it was a warning of some kind, and just to be careful. They suggested dead-bolts on her door. And they told her to make sure her house was secure at night by installing some outdoor lights. The strange thing was that her front door showed no signs of forced entry. She was certain she had locked it, however. And nobody but her had a key.
So Dana spent the day securing her house and doing all that they had suggested. After everyone had left, she want and sat down in the kitchen with a cup of tea, needing to relax for awhile. This day had been stressful beyond belief. She glanced at the clock at the same time she was wondering what she should make for dinner.
She froze. The clock over her stove said 3:33. Panicked, she went into the living room and looked at the clock on her piano. 3:33. A chill ran down her spine and knowing what she would see, she glanced down at the watch on her arm. There it was. 3:33.
What did it all mean? This was more than a fluke. This was a message to her from some unknown force. But who? How could she ever begin to make sense of it all?
She then came to a realization. Perhaps the events of last night were somehow correlated with the time on her clocks. Perhaps it all tied together, for that is when her clocks all got stuck on 3:33.
She slowly entered the guest room and shuddered at the red markings still on the wall. For the first time, she tried to see past her fear and concentrate on all of the markings. Aside from the words there were tiny little markings and numbers…almost too difficult to decipher. She went and got her magnifying glass so that she could see. She began holding it up to the markings.
She gasped. The markings were tiny 333’s….followed by tiny 666’s. What could it mean? What message was someone trying to send to her?
Dana realized that the 333 was symbolic and directly tied to the time on her clocks. And the message on the guest room wall was a direct warning . “Evil Cometh. Beware the Guest.” But who would be warning her? Surely someone evil would not be warning her of impending harm. That made no sense. Only good would warn of evil. That was the only theory that made sense to her.
But now that she had been warned, what was she to do? She had no idea as to who the enemy was or what the enemy wanted. How could she possibly beware of something when she had no idea what it was?
For the next three evenings, nothing changed. She continued to wake up each night. And 3:33 remained unchangeable on all of her clocks. She became somewhat obsessed with figuring out the clue to these numbers. She opened the Bible, thinking the key might be found there. If she was being warned of coming evil, then it only made sense that perhaps God was the one doing the warning.
She scoured through it, chapter after chapter…verse after verse. And then she came upon a verse that caught her attention. “If anyone has wisdom, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is a man’s number. His number is 666.”
Dana had little knowledge of any of this stuff. Sure she had heard of the number 666 and how it was to be the number of the Antichrist who would come one day. But in her mind, it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. She was not a religious person, and tried to stay away from it all. She only found it to be confusing and speculation by fanatics.
Now, here she was…stuck in the middle of something strange and evil in nature. And she had no idea why. Could the numbers on her wall…666…be a warning of the coming Antichrist? Then what of the 333? What was that?
Then suddenly , a chill ran deep within her. And just like that, she knew. If 666 was representative of the Antichrist, could 333 be representative of Christ himself? The words “three persons in God” kept coming into her mind. She remembered that from going to church so many years ago. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Godhead. 333.
Dana went again into her guestroom and looked at the wall. And it became so clear to her. God was warning her of the Antichrist. But why her? That was the question. She was a nobody. She didn’t even go to church. What purpose was there in relaying such a message to someone who didn’t really care about such things?
Dana spent the next couple of days just trying to forget it all. She applied a coat of fresh white paint to the walls …something that had actually needed doing for quite some time. So whoever had marked up her wall had really done her a favor. She chuckled to herself at her dark humor, glad she was finally able to laugh about the situation.
Once the room was finished, she stood back and looked at her handiwork. It looked so good. She decided that she must buy new curtains and matching linens. And she spent the afternoon shopping and doing just that.
That evening after dinner, Dana relaxed for a bit with a book. She then took a long bubble bath, and hopped into bed. She lay down and it was staring right at her. The damned clock.
For as much as she had been able to get through the past couple of days without thinking of the entire incident, at bedtime it was impossible, because the horrid red numbers, 3:33, were always staring at her like a monster in the dark. Ominous. A warning from God.
Dana got up, trudged to the kitchen for a couple of sleeping pills. She needed to knock herself out. It was the only way that sleep would come. She downed the pills with a glass of water and hopped back into bed. This time she lay facing away from the clock.
Hours later, Dana woke up. It was still dark in the room. Instinctively, and half asleep, she turned to look at the clock, forgetting that it no longer worked.
She froze. The numbers had changed.
No longer 3:33. The numbers now said 6:66.
Dana’s heart began pounding and a chill ran throughout her body. Was it her imagination or did the entire room seem cold? She rose from her bed and walked down the hallway to see if her door was locked. And relief flooded through her when she found it to be secure.
She walked into the kitchen , needing to see the clock there. …needing to see if the hideous numbers were there as well. And there they were. 6:66. She looked at the clock in the living room, already knowing what she would find. 6:66.
Frantically, and almost insane with fear, she walked to the guest room and flipped on the light. Covering the walls in black, were the numbers 666. And in the middle of all of those numbers were the words, “Welcome the guest.” No longer “Beware the guest”.
What did it all mean. Was he here? Or did this only mean he was on his way? The only thing that she did know was that this message was from a dark place. For it was no longer a warning. It was a promise of arrival and an order to welcome.
Dana quickly dressed and got ready to go outside. She had to get out of the house. It felt different somehow. It felt cold. It felt evil.
The sun had risen and the day promised to be bright and beautiful. The air smelled fresh.
She went for a long walk around the block, and everything seemed completely normal. Mrs. Jenkins was watering her lawn. The Abbot kids were outside playing in the front yard. Mr. Dorsey was working on his car…the one that never seemed to run. Dana smiled, loving the feeling of belonging to this neighborhood. It gave her a sense of normalcy in her not so normal world. For so long she had wanted to be one of the normal ones. But ever since she was born, there was always something to deal with. Of course, she knew that she wasn’t aware of all that went on in the lives of her neighbors. Surely they had their difficulties too. For all she knew, they had numbers marked on their walls. Yet here they were, smiling and going about their day. Surely they were probably thinking many of the same thoughts that she was. Some days she wondered what was real in her life and what was illusion. Some days she got tired of fighting with herself in trying to decide. Some days she just wanted peace.
Dana went back into the house, feeling somewhat renewed. It was amazing how a bit of sunshine could make you feel more hopeful. She went back in, and looked at the bedroom once again. She fluffed the pillows. She hung her new curtains. She cleaned her house. And she waited.
The time? 6:66.
Her guest would soon arrive.