Excerpt from the Forthcoming Novel NIGHTWALKERS BOOK TWO: NIGHT LOVERS
The Suffering of Deacon Mosley
An instant before he heard the floor creak Deacon Mosley sensed that he was not alone. When he heard the creak he lowered his gaze from the ceiling toward the sound. A young woman barely more than a girl stood just inside the closed back door of his house. He had not heard the door open or close.
The deacon’s relief that it wasn’t Lucinda back home to torment him in some new way was overrun by the fact that he didn’t recognize this girl. Considering the horrors he had endured over recent weeks, he thought she might represent some new plight.
She was looking at him, and the light from the lamp caught her eyes and made them glimmer silver. His rising fear froze in place.
“Don’t cry out and don’t try to run,” the young woman said, and the deacon knew he wouldn’t attempt either. Though his fear was frozen in his breast, now that she had instructed him not to move, he couldn’t.
The girl stepped toward the table. Prepared for death, the deacon gripped his Bible.
She pulled out a chair and sat down across from him. “Tell me about your wife,” she said.
Untrusting, the deacon asked, “Are you with her?”
“I don’t know her.”
“Are you my prayer answered? Are you God’s angel?”
“Tell me about your wife. Now.”
“She is the work of Satan. She torments me, hurts me. I’m so afraid. Oh God…”
“Be calm, Deacon. Do as I say.”
The deacon felt his fear lessen. Maybe everything was all right. “All right. Can you help me?”
“Tell me about her.”
“She…she is a wicked woman. She hurts. She relishes pain and suffering. She told me so. She has hurt me in so many ways. She told me that she would torment me until I begged for death. Would you kill me?”
“Why would I kill you?”
“Because I can’t do it. Taking one’s own life is an unforgivable sin. But I can’t bear this suffering much longer. I swear before God I can’t.”
“You’re afraid you’ll burn in Hell if you take your own life?”
The deacon spit out a laugh at this girl’s ignorance. She didn’t understand. Over the last several weeks he had come to understand, oh yes he had. “Don’t you know, girl? There is no fire in Hell.”
“Hell is filled with shadows. Don’t you know that? And she’s one of them.”
“She’s not my wife. Not anymore. She’s something else.”
“Oh, oh God no.”
“What’s the matter?”
“My faith is insufficient. I do fear evil, I do. She’s got me. Can you please help me? You’re something else too, I can feel it. But you are not like her.”
“How do you know what I am or am not?”
“I see mercy in your eyes. She has no mercy. She has red eyes sometimes; red like hot coals. And she hurts me, oh sweet Jesus, she hurts me…” The deacon yanked up one shirt sleeve and displayed an arm disfigured by scratches, burns and bite marks.
Seeing his wounds, the girl muttered, “Oh my.”
Looking at his arm and blinking back fresh tears, the deacon said, “I cannot bear this anymore. I can’t. Please help me.”
“Where is your wife?”
“Down to Henry Johnson’s, sitting with his woman. She’ll be back soon. Please…”
“Look at me.”
The deacon looked across the table at the young woman. The silver light in her eyes pulled at him, seemed to lift him from his chair though he knew he was still sitting. “Your eyes…oh…”
“Listen to me, Deacon Mosley.”
“You’ve been sitting here at this table tonight, reading your Bible. You were alone all evening. No one came here. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand.”
An instant before he heard the floor creak Deacon Mosley sensed that he was not alone. He looked up from his Bible.
No one was there.
Lucinda wasn’t back home yet, thank God.