Th£ SECOND SIGHT EPISODE 36
I leaned forward, my expression probably very confused.
Well, you’re los!ng me. What k!nd of God are you serv!ng anyway? Why does h£ give you th¡s gift and th£n !n th£ end you [email protected]|| prey to th¡s same demon you’re supposed to have absolute power over? Now why should Pastor Anderson be afraid of th¡s th!ng? Surely h£ and h¡s family have that glorious force-field? Isn’t it written somewh£re !n th£ Bible that you Christians have some k!nd of armor that defies attacks from pr!ncipalities and dark forces?
Bonner was unperturb£d.
h£ raised h¡s gla$$ and sipped some orange juice !n quick jerky drags, and th£n h£ set it d©wΠ ¢ar£fvlly.
Force-field, that’s nice. We call it th£ Glow. Well, yes, you’re once aga!n right. Th£ Legion will have no dom!nion over us so long as our faiths rema!n fvll. But, alas, so many th!ngs can happen and drag your faith d©wΠ, and make you vulnerable to th£ malicious atrocities of th£ Legion and demons like it. Once your faith beg!ns to ebb, and you know you’ve !nfuriated th£ Legion, you beg!n to get worried. Listen, I’ll cut to th£ chase wh£re Anderson is concerned. No need to bore you with lengthy rh£toric. You see, barely a year ago someth!ng terrible happened to Paul Anderson h£re. A young couple who had been married for barely three months had a disagreement !n our church. Th£ distraught husband appealed…no, begged , Anderson to !ntercede on h¡s behalf. Paul summoned th£ young wife, right th£re !n h¡s office. $h£ had th£ Glow, and no one was a m©r£ pa$$ionate lover of th£ Lord than that lady was. Truth of th£ matter was, it was all an illusion. You remember that false glow Ela!ne had? Well, th£ dark forces are gett!ng better at mak!ng copies of it to deceive th£ Unbl!nds. Bottom l!ne … $h£ seduced Paul, right th£re !n th£ church house.
I was chilled to th£ bone.
It was a pa!nful story, one that needed to be kept b£tweeΠ th£ couple whose perfect life had been shattered no doubt by that s!ngle act of !nfidelity.
A man of God whose call was to get rid of th£ uglies had h¡mself [email protected]||en prey, and by that act had laid h¡s soul bare.
I understood th£ir pa!n and felt th£ terror that had ₱u$h£d th£m to th£ br!nk and made th£m tell me – a perfect stranger – th£ sordid side of an oth£rwise good man.
I looked at th£ woman; h£r h£ad was bowed, but not with shame.
h£r [email protected] were still l!nked with h£r husband, and I knew that $h£ understood th£ s!n as someth!ng that couldn’t have been avoided, as someth!ng that happened on a realm high£r than what humans existed !n.
$h£ had obviously forgiven and forgotten ab©vt it.
h£r look of solemnity stemmed from th£ fact that h£r husband’s image had no doubt dropped a shade !n th£ eyes of a stranger like me, and $h£ was also affected, and felt a part of th£ shame h£r man could be feel!ng at that moment.
That was th£ power of unbridled love.
It happened five years ago. h£ should’ve confessed it to h¡s wife, and $h£ would’ve h£lped h¡m ©vt of it. We all would’ve h£lped h¡m, but h£ was so ashamed and so devastated that h£ kept it a secret, and it ate !nto h¡m, completely rust!ng h¡s armor. h£ didn’t tell us ab©vt it until th£ kill!ngs started a week ago.
Kill!ngs? What kill!ngs?
Bonner sigh£d and waved a [email protected]
Oh, I put it badly. Forgive me. I should’ve said th£ slaughter!ng. Not of human be!ngs, but large h£rds of $h£ep and cattle, littered all over town. For th£ past seven days we have woken up and found decapitated animals on th£ streets and on th£ farms, th£ir entrails forcibly ₱v||ed ©vt. Even dogs, ducks and chicken have not been spared. Country folk wake up to th£ horror of th£ir entire livestock brutally ma$$acred. It has thrown a s¢ar£ !nto th£ citizens of Portville who don’t know what is go!ng on.
I was chilled to th£ bone as I stared at th£m !n horror.
That’s how it beg!ns, isn’t it? My fath£r told me th£ Legion forced h¡m to kill animals !n th£ beg!nn!ng.
Bonner drank all th£ juice and ¢ar£fvlly set th£ empty gla$$ d©wΠ. h£ pursed h¡s ancient l¡ps, and wh£n h£ looked at me I saw someth!ng close to appreh£nsion !n h¡s eyes for th£ first time.
That’s not th£ connection, son. I don’t know for certa!n that each time th£ Legion occupies a new soul it forces h¡m to kill animals first as prelude to th£ tak!ng of human life. What I know for certa!n is th¡s: animals died !n hordes before th£ Legion killed my son. Ten years later I was almost killed wh£n a possessed man almost ripped me open. Seven days before that attack animals also died. Hundreds of livestock died before Clement was murdered. And now, h£re !n Portville, animals are also be!ng ruthlessly slaughtered.
I turned horror-struck eyes toward Anderson, and found h¡m star!ng at me with wide frightened eyes.
h¡s face was w€t with perspiration even though th£ room was very cool. h£ nodded wanly.
Yes, Yaw, th£ Legion is right h£re !n Portville … and it has come for me. Th£ sad th!ng is that my faith is completely gone. I never forgave myself for th£ s!n I committed, and now try as [email protected] as I could, I still feel alienated from God, and you know th£ consequences of that.
I chuckled nervously and leaned [email protected]¢k, evidently look!ng puzzled.
Wow, does it work that way? I mean, isn’t th£re someth!ng !n th£ Bible that says all a s!nner needs to do is to confess h¡s s!ns to God and repent of th£m and voila, th£ slate is wiped clean?
Once aga!n Bonner and Anderson exchanged looks, and th£ old man nodded once, as if h£ was be!ng given an !nsight !nto someth!ng that had eluded h¡m for a long time.
It is supposed to be even simpler than that. A contrite h£art is always a joy to th£ Lord, and we all know that th£ moment Paul regretted th£ !ncidence !n h¡s h£art God forgave h¡m. That aside, th£ life of th£ Unbl!nd is a [email protected] one, and th£ Legion has th£ propensity of kick!ng fear !nto your h£art. Trust me, once that vile th!ng [email protected] h¡s eyes on you, you’re a goner. Even with a wee little bit of self-doubt no Unbl!nd can take on th£ Legion. That th!ng is from old, and it has battled great men of God for a long time. It is dangerous, and only a faith-filled man of God can have a chance aga!nst it.
Why does it have to be a man filled with faith? Damn it, but wouldn’t it be thrill!ng if, even
with©vt faith, a man of God can face that th!ng and deal with it, fuelled by th£ fact that God is with h¡m?
Aga!n th£re was silence, and th£n Bonner sigh£d softly.
You remember that I told you I was sad wh£n we realized that God has chos£n a complete novice as th£ next Unbl!nd? I was even confused and for a moment I was s¢ar£d, th!nk!ng that we made a mistake and couldn’t !nterpret th£ proph£cy well. Now I’m beg!nn!ng to understand. With that k!nd of one-track m!nd, maybe th£ Legion will f!nally meet its match. Now it is h£re, but we don’t know who its host is. That’s what makes it so frighten!ng. It could be anywh£re, and it has s£nsed Paul’s fear. It thrives on fear, and it will come soon. It is now up to you, Yaw. I don’t know how you’re go!ng to do it, but you have to f!nd it before it gets to Paul.
I shook my h£ad numbly; suddenly I needed some air. Th£ enclosed t!ghtness of th£ room was suffocat!ng me, crush!ng !n on me.
I looked at th£m, and felt th£ paralyz!ng weight of th£ir dependence, and for one moment I balked. I couldn’t have that responsibility on me.
I had come to Portville to f!nd h£lp from th£m, to be possibly rid of th£ gift, or whatever it was, but now th£ scene had changed, and th£ rules were a wh0l£ lot nastier.
Th£ game plan had become one of death, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for anyth!ng like that.
Desperately I got to my feet and faced Bonner.
Th£re j√$t might be a little problem with that. Look, I came h£re to get some h£lp, ok? Sure, I exorcised that demon !n Samantha Gaisie. I dealt with th£ Legion wh£n it occupied that duck, and maybe somehow I set Bruno on Andy Okai. F!ne, cool. That shows I still have some power, right? But guess what, until I got to Jackson Peak, my life had suddenly become like that of any ord!nary man.
Expla!n yourself, son.
Well, sure. Why not? What I mean to say is that ever s!nce my fath£r’s death I haven’t seen any demons, tak!ng ©vt Jackson Peak, that is. I haven’t seen anyb©dy with a force-field, or th£ Glow, whatever. My eyes are normal. I th!nk maybe I have lost th£ gift of th£ Second Sight, or that I’m close to los!ng it!
Bonner smiled wanly aga!n, and I saw th£ relief on h¡s craggy face.
You still have it, son. What has happened is that you’ve entered a transition. You can’t take ©vt what happened !n Jackson Peak and look at th!ngs !n isolation. Wh£n you received th£ gift you were a s!nner. You hadn’t repented of your s!ns th£n. You were j√$t like a kid with a precious diamond. You virtually had no power !n you, and th£ demons and m!nions were not afraid of you. At that po!nt !n your life you had not been covered with th£ complete armor and weapons of an Unbl!nd, and apart from th£ fact that you could see those vile th!ngs your gift was simply uselss. Now th!ngs have changed. Wh£n you repented of your s!ns at th£ time your fath£r was !n agony, and wh£n you f!nally accepted Christ !nto your life – you became an Unbl!nd, and became fvlly cloth£d with th£ power of your gift. Now you’ve become a symbol of terror to those same m!nions and demons that had no respect for you. Are you beg!nn!ng to understand now?
I sat d©wΠ aga!n s1©wly, reach£d for my gla$$ and took a m©vthful of orange juice.
I nodded s1©wly.
I th!nk I’m beg!nn!ng to understand. What you’re tell!ng me is that now th£ demons avoid me, right?
Avoid? That’s a pa$$ive word. No, now th£y flee from your pres£nce. Consider th¡s; a person is stand!ng !n th£ middle of a road, laz!ng @r0vnd, nonchalant to th£ world. Now th£re’s a bend !n th£ road, okay? Now, if a car is approach!ng from th£ bend, that person’s ear will pick ©vt th£ sound of th£ car long before it rounds th£ bend, right? That person th£n takes evasive actions by mov!ng away from th£ middle of th£ road so that th£ car does not run h¡m over. That’s how it works. Evil is now afraid of th£ pres£nce of God’s power !n you, and long before you get to th£m th£y s£nse that power and flee! Now, if that cont!nues, you may always be a step too late. It is now up to you to hone your skills, to understand th£ power that is !n you and let it guide you. Now m©r£ than ever you have to learn f*st! You also have that power !n you to s£nse th£m before th£y know you’re close. You have th£ power to come upon th£m so suddenly that flee!ng would be too late. You have to develop that ability. It is of great importance.
And you’ll teach me?
We can share our experiences with you, son, but we can’t teach you. You’re God’s chos£n one, and h£ h¡mself shall teach you th£ rest.
That was ab©vt all we talked ab©vt that night.
Eventually Anderson and h¡s wife left us !n th£ study, and I was happy |ns!de to see a little relief on th£ir faces wh£n th£y knew I was go!ng to stay, and face th£ Legion.
I stayed long !nto th£ night with Charles Bonner, and later walked with h¡m ©vt of th£ study to h¡s room, which was on th£ ground floor, two doors away from m!ne, and as I h£lped h¡m !nto b£d h£ asked me to draw up a chair and sit for a while with h¡m if I wasn’t feel!ng too tired.
I was f*st beg!nn!ng to like h¡m.
Maybe we complemented each oth£r !n a way, and our souls were on th£ same course. h£ had lost a son violently to th£ Legion, and I had lost both parents to th£ same vile be!ng.
Silently we reach£d ©vt to each oth£r, and clung to th£ belief – though none of us voiced it – that we have found what we lost somehow.
I plagued h¡m with questions, and h£ gave me an !nsight !nto th£ Bible and th£ life of an Unbl!nd, teach!ng me !n a way that kept me crav!ng for m©r£.
And th£n, f!nally, I asked a question with a yawn, rubb!ng my eyes [email protected] … and h£ answered me with a series of deep-throated snores. I smiled tiredly, stood up, drew th£ $h£ets to h¡s ch£st and turned off th£ lamp.
Wh£n I opened th£ door h¡s tired voice floated up to me.
Good night, Yaw Boat.
For a moment I stood frozen !n th£ doorway, experienc!ng a terrible b©vt of déjà vu. I felt th£ sudden crush!ng waves of sorrow aga!n as thoughts of my fath£r flooded my h£art.
Sleep t!ght, old man.
I stepped !nto th£ hallway quickly, clos!ng th£ door gently beh!nd me.
I undressed s1©wly, and th£n I took a cold shower.
I put on my boxers and [email protected] !n th£ h*g£ warm b£d. Various thoughts crossed my m!nd, both nice and nasty, but f!nally – as usual – thoughts of Nicole !ntruded, and I welcomed h£r fresh beauty as $h£ floated th£re !n my bra!n with h£r warm smile and wonderful eyes.
$h£ lured me to sleep, and $h£ was never far away from my arms, and even !n sleep I could smell h£r perfume and feel h£r right th£re beside me.
I didn’t know how long I slept, but suddenly I came awake and found myself covered with sweat.
I was practically awash with it; my h£art was pound!ng so loudly that I could h£ar it hammer!ng forcibly aga!nst my ribs. I had a splitt!ng h£adach£, so pa!nful that for a moment I could barely m©v£.
And th£n, from long away, I seemed to h£ar Bonner’s words, uttered !n a sleepy voice:
…each of us has h¡s own unique way of tell!ng evil is near. It could be sweat, or a h£adach£, or sometimes even an abnormal thirst for water…whatever it is, th£re’ll be a sign, a b**t!ng of th£ antennae. You have to f!nd it, hone it, make it work for you, so that you’re always a step ah£ad of evil…
Th¡s was it!
I had no doubt ab©vt it.
Wickedness filled th£ air, and it was chok!ng me with its st!nk. Yes, it was th£re … a strong smell, a terrible blast of someth!ng ch£ap and nasty, a dank vile odor, a st!nk, an explosion so ugly that I almost threw up.
I was aware that Bonner was also !n th£ hallway, gripp!ng h¡s walk!ng-stick [email protected], face awash with fear.
It is h£re!
h£ spoke !n a crusty voice, h¡s fear lend!ng h¡s voice an unreal thick slurr!ng pitch, but I was already runn!ng d©wΠ th£ hallway.
Th£ st!nk! Th£ vile odor. It was everywh£re, all @r0vnd me, chok!ng me!
Oh, Lord, wh£re is that vile piece of dung?
A s¢r**m! A shrill s¢r**m above me!
Upstairs. Th£ library-study?
No, Anderson’s b£droom!
I took th£ stairs four at a time, rounded it, found myself !n anoth£r hallway. Doors were open!ng on each side. At th£ far end of th£ hallway, near th£ library-study, a door opened and Nicole came fly!ng ©vt.
I barely paid attention to h£r. Th£ s¢r**m came aga!n, from an opened door on my left, ab©vt five paces away.
A door on my right opened, and a tall man wear!ng only th£ bottoms of h¡s pajamas emerged. h£ was hold!ng a double-barreled sh°tgun, th£ type that used a bolt action.
It took me a while to recognize h¡m; h£ was th£ tall man at d!nner earlier, th£ one who had ₱|@yed a Mozart cla$$ic on th£ piano so well … a man no one had !ntroduced to me.
h£ was ah£ad of me, and h£ entered th£ room first.
No, stay ©vt!
I ru$h£d forward.
I entered Anderson’s room and paused briefly.
Th£ room was almost dark, th£ only source of light com!ng from an overturned b£dside lamp on th£ floor.
Anderson and h¡s wife were stand!ng up on th£ h*g£ b£d, hugg!ng each oth£r, th£ woman s¢r**m!ng, draw!ng as far away as possible from Bruno.
Th£ woman was glow!ng, I saw … but Anderson wasn’t.
Th£ h*g£ dog was ¢rov¢h£d at th£ side of th£ b£d, ready to pounce on th£m.
It was mak!ng terrible growl!ng sounds, and judg!ng by th£ whitish stuff on th£ floor I knew that th£ mean animal was drool!ng savagely.
Th£ tall man with th£ sh°tgun was aim!ng now, and I could see h¡s f!ng£r t!ghten!ng on th£ trigger as h£ focused on Bruno’s h*g£ h£ad, and th£n suddenly th£ dog spun away and sh°t !nto th£ air, as if warned by !nvisible radar of th£ threat beh!nd it.
Th£ sh°tgun went off, its flash bl!nd!ng me momentarily, th£ h£avy slugs goug!ng !nto th£ rich rug on th£ floor. Bruno was still !n midair, growl!ng, sp!nn!ng toward h¡s attacker.
And I saw its eyes blaz!ng a terrible crimson!
Th£ breath caught !n my throat as I watch£d, momentarily frozen with horror.
Th£ tall man worked th£ bolt action, desperately try!ng to br!ng th£ sh°tgun round to bear on th£ mad dog once m©r£, h¡s face chang!ng rapidly from a look of confidence !nto total horror.
h£ had no chance.
Two hundred pounds of $h£er muscle sank !nto h¡s [email protected]£d torso.
Even as I s¢r**med and ru$h£d forward th£ h*g£ animal bore h¡m to th£ floor, and th£ h*g£ h£ad of th£ dog came up, jaws gap!ng open, expos!ng its ugly teeth, and th£n that horror of $h£er malice dropped d©wΠ savagely and sank its re!nforced jaws !nto th£ stomach of th£ man.
Th£ man s¢r**med … but it wasn’t like any s¢r**m I had ever h£ard.
It sounded like a strident wail, an !ncredibly high-pitch£d shatter!ng sound that no human throat was supposed to express – and it was a sound I never wanted to h£ar ever aga!n.
It was dragged from h¡s very soul, and all h¡s h£art was !n that ear-splitt!ng expression of pa!n.
I h£ard th£ ugly sound of sk!n separat!ng.
Th£ teeth sank deep, and th£ dog shook its h£ad savagely, madly, expand!ng its purchase of f|£$h, digg!ng deeper !nto th£ entrails of th£ hapless man.
To be cont!nued…