With the three former football team mates in critical condition and my thinking that I had the power to hit back against those who had wronged me, a terrible guilt set in. Was I unconsciously wishing the demise of those who had hurt me? Now I was pretty much convinced that whether or not I was willingly seeking revenge was disturbing enough. I approached my mother again and I cited all of the incidents that had occurred over the years telling her I was convinced something maybe super natural was going on. This time she didn’t out rightly reject my questions as she could see I was really upset, but more telling was, there seemed to be something she knew that she was not telling me about.
My little brother was watching TV and Dad was still at work. “I wish your father was here,” she replied quietly. “When he gets home I think we both need to tell you something.”
That reaction left me not only mystified but concerned. “Mom, what’s going in? Is there something serious happening that I don’t know about?” I blurted out scared.
She gave me an embrace and with a somewhat worrisome expression she simply replied, “We’ll talk about this when your father gets home. Then we’ll discuss everything. Now, if you have any homework to get done, why don’t you do that while I finish up dinner. We’re having chicken noodle casserole and salad,” she smiled trying to distract me from the seriousness at hand. I shrugged my shoulders. It couldn’t be that serious anyway could it?
I had a few math exercises that I finished quickly then went into the den to watch TV with my little brother as Mom finished up dinner, but instead of setting the food on the table the casserole stayed on the stove and the salad sat in a big dish in the ridge. Obviously, we were going to have our discussion as soon as Dad walked in. Dad came in with an attaché looking tired when his gaze met Mom’s, “We need to discuss something with your son.”
“Why? What happened?” Dad frowned as if he was in no mood for this. “He didn’t get in trouble at school did he?”
“No, nothing like that, but I think this has to do with Samuel,” Mom sighed.
Dad just rolled his eyes upward and blew out a sigh of his own, “Not that!”
“You take your son into the living room. I’ll be there in a minute. I need to feed the little one real quick before he gets too sleepy, “Mom replied dutifully.
“Okay! Okay, son follow me,” he grimaced putting his brief case down next to the sofa.
“Samuel,” I said, “Didn’t you always say he was weird, Dad?”
“Son, he was my older brother and at one time I really looked up to him, but after he came back from the war he changed. Then he started getting into some weird things that I didn’t approve of. He insisted on being your God Father and allowed him to be because he cared about you very much.” About that time Mom came in and sat down next to Dad.
“What have you told him so far,” she asked impatiently.
“Nothing yet. I was just about to start.” It was as though both of my parents knew what all of this was about without even speaking about it. They sure hadn’t mentioned anything in front of me.
“Son, my older brother Samuel came back from the war with emotional problems they used to call “Shell shock” or “Battle Fatigue” nowadays they call it “PTSD” Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a result he began to get involved in some strange practices.”
“Like what?” I demanded when Dad paused as Mom held his arm and waited for him to answer.
With a deep breath Dad explained, “Apparently my brother Samuel got involved in black magic and devil worship. He just kept getting further into it. About the only thing that seemed to bring him any joy at all was in how much he seemed to care about you. He never married and had kids of his own so I was glad he showed some interest in family.”
“But, Dad, you always said Samuel was weird,” I responded.
“True son, but still, he was my older brother and I cared about him anyway.”
Mom with a grave look on her face said, “You already know how your father losing his younger brother due to a chronic illness, and he didn’t want to see that happen with Samuel.”
“Son, I really hate to tell you this. Honey, you want to check on the little one?” Mom got up quick to go the breakfast nook where we always ate.
“I know this is going to sound crazy, and the last time you complained about your experiences of people who have done you wrong experiencing some kind of revenge, but we kept quiet hoping this would just blow over, but it hasn’t.”
“What were you hoping would blow over?” I gasped afraid to hear the answer!
Mom came back in and announced, “The little one ate well. He’s finished. I set him in front of the TV.”
“Good!” Dad replied as he eyed my expression. By his own seriousness I was really worried now. “Son, we think that Samuel, perhaps out of noble intention, may have arranged for a spirit to be your guardian, not quite like a guardian angel, but more like an evil spirit! I was hoping this wasn’t the case, but my brother before he died hinted he would do something that would always keep you protected.”
“Oh my God!” I cried out and buried my face in my hands. Mom came over and tried to comfort me. Dad was visibly upset but couldn’t bring himself to touch me. He was obviously feeling guilty.
“You can see why we have been hesitant, Son. This is not like something people deal with normally every day. Nor, is this anything we’d want to go to the police about either.”
“Great Dad!” I yelled out! “When were you going to let me know? How could you let this happen to me?”
“We never suspected anything could happen like this!” Mom said as tears rolled down her face. Your father would never have let something like this happen if he’d known!”
“Great! Now what?” I cried not believing what I’d just heard. All I could do was sit with my face in my hands too scared to anticipate what might happen next.
I didn’t eat dinner that night and Mom helped me to bed. She seemed very worried. Dad looked disgusted with himself as though it were all his fault. I eventually drifted off to a troubled sleep. In my dreams I was alone at home when out of the inky blackness a pair of glowing red eyes and hands with sharp talons chased me through the house! I woke up gasping for breath when I smelled something like a fire coming from the kitchen! I got out of bed and ran down the hallway and there were flames and smoke coming from the top of the stove. Thinking fast I grabbed my little brother’s blanket from in front of the TV and tried to smother the flames! About that time Dad and Mom raced into the kitchen as the smoke alarm buzzed loudly. We finally got the fire smothered, but strangely there had been no burner left on or hot grease in a pan that had ignited! We coughed from the smoke while dad opened the windows. We had narrowly escaped death. My little brother came in rubbing his eyes and crying and Mom swept him up in her arms and took him back to his room.
“What are we going to do, Dad?” I blurted out desperately.
“First thing in the morning I’ll call Father Epping. He’s been a friend of the family for a long time. Maybe he’ll know what to do, Son.” Dad began cleaning up the mess looking as if he were in shock and just trying to do something to deal with it.
In the morning we called the fire department to ask them to come out and inspect the house to see what could have caused the fire, but when the Fire Marshall arrived and did a full inspection of the kitchen, the stove, the fuse box, he said he could find nothing that could have caused the fire. He was as confused as we were. Outside of some smoke stains on the kitchen walls there was no further evidence of the fire. Dad took the day off from work and got on the phone with Father Epping, the local catholic priest.
When we arrived at the local Diocese Office, Father Epping greeted my father and I. Mom was home with my little brother. Dad explained thoroughly all that had led up to this moment. He wore a poker face as he listened until the part that led to the last night’s fire, and then he appeared worried. “I would suggest two things we do immediately. The church usually takes some time to respond to cases like this to do an investigation and many times the root cause is not determined to be super natural, but from what you’re telling me it seems that the family is in imminent danger. Number one: We need to bless the house and purge any demonic activity. Number two: We may need to perform an exorcism on your Son in order to get the evil spirit to let go of your soul, Son do you understand? Luckily, I have the seniority not to have to go through higher channels to get these measures approved,” Epping smiled guardedly.
“Is this going to be like those horror movies where green vomit goes flying through the air?” I gasped.
Father Epping smiles and held back a good natured laugh, “No, son, that’s Hollywood creating sensationalism for entertainment. I’ve performed these rights for years, and it never gets that scary.” He explained, but something in his eyes said something else.
Father Epping turned his gaze to my father, “Would it be possible for you and your family to get a hotel room for the next couple of days? Myself and two of my assistants will use Holy Water to bless the premises. Then you can return and we will see what happens then.”
Dad frowned, “Do you mean you don’t know?”
Father Epping sighed, “This is usually the first step we take to see if anything further needs to be done. Then if…….” His voice trailed off ominously.
When Dad and I got home after having lunch at a local cafeteria, Mom greeted us at the door with a mournful expression on her face. The YMCA football coach had called not to say that he had found replacements so that the football season would go on, but that one of the 16 year olds in the crash had died at the hospital. I immediately plunged into deep sadness. Dad consoled me saying it wasn’t my fault, but it made little difference. A shadow had descended upon me and now my family. I heard dad telling Mom that we’d be staying in a hotel for a couple of days until Father Epping had the house blessed and cleansed. She buried her face in his shoulder and wept.
Part Three will follow