I tugged his hand. “Pa, please, may I speak with you?” What if the demon crawled clear inside him and took over? It shook its barbed tail at me and hissed. I bit back a scream.
Pa gave me a wary look. “Folks will be coming in any minute. Make it quick.”
My heart pounded so hard I thought anyone could see a lump every time it beat. I opened my mouth, but no words came out the first time. Finally, I pointed and squeaked, “Father, a demon is trying to hurt you. Please let me pray with you.”
Pa’s eyes blazed like the devil himself looking out at me. Shaking from head to toe, I brought my hands together, fingers pointing downward, charging them with power to send that demon on home. My golden bubble surrounded me, shining bright, protecting me.
Pa pointed a shaking finger at me. “Impudent child, how dare you enter a house of God and speak such evil!” The nasty creature inside him growled. Waved its tail like a mad cat. Pa raged. People started coming into church for services. Everything blurred together.
Stunned faces. The demon. Pa’s flaming eyes. Yelling. Screams.
Mama ran into the church and called my name.
Pa pointed at me and proclaimed, “This child has prayed with many of you under the guise of easing your suffering, but she has misled us all. We cannot allow such evil among us.”
He threw a Bible at my head. I dropped to the floor to avoid being hit. It wished past my hair and thudded into the pew behind me. I jumped to my feet, quaking head to toe.
More screams. One of them Mama’s.
Pa’s pronouncement shook me so hard my teeth clacked together. I tried to speak, but no words would come out of my mouth. I didn’t think anyone else could see the demon that had hold of him—the power of darkness he himself had invited. I looked at the horrified faces all around, some shaking their heads, some crying. None of them dared defy the preacher. Nobody came to help me, not even Mama.
Pa wrapped his hands around my throat, lifted me way off the ground and addressed his flock. “This demon-possessed child has no place in our church.” He looked straight into my eyes and decreed my doom. “You have forever fallen from grace. God cannot love one such as you. Now be gone! Let me never see your face again.”
He threw me to the ground. I clambered to my feet, turned to look at him in shock. Nobody spoke. My tears blurred the stunned faces of those who had been, until now, my church family.
Mama’s “No!” and her gasp echoed around the church.
I wanted to protest, but I could barely breathe, much less speak. Only a feeble squeak came out of my mouth. Why would nobody come help me? They all stood frozen.
I ran toward Mama. Surely she could talk sense into Pa, fix this horrible mess. She clutched at her chest and fell to the floor. I dropped at her side, calling to her, but she could not answer. Her face went white as snow. I yelled for someone to get help. As if glued in place, they stayed put. Not a single soul moved to help her.
Pa picked me up by my neck and tossed me toward the door. “I said be GONE, child of Satan!” The demon had hold of him clear to his soul.
The door flew open. For a terrifying moment I thought his fiend had done it, but two policemen ran into the church. I darted between them and fled into the morning.
No one followed. My world shattered, I ran all the way to the lake, about two miles. Silent tears poured down my face to join its waters. Waves lapped around my ankles, embracing me. My parents, my church and God abandoned me all at once, even though all I did was try to help.
The train lurched, pulling me back into my current surroundings. I shook my head to clear it and swiped away tears. I wished I could emerge from terror’s dark grip. I trembled but not from cold. Stop it, Kass. Get a hold of yourself.
The burden of this “gift” had brought me beating after beating, which was nothing compared to this ultimate act of betrayal. Power had worked through me to free people from evil, but I couldn’t help the person I feared for most.
God had surely abandoned me, my parents and the First Baptist Church. Betrayed by everyone I held dear, all because I had a special power that God had supposedly given me to help people. That’s how it felt to me. No evidence of any higher power or even a lesser one helping me. I don’t deserve God’s attention anyway. Besides, I prayed long and hard about it as a child. My reward? Only beatings. Betrayal. Banishment.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish