The Exorcist Chronicles pt. 9

“Thank you so much for your cooperation. It wasn’t easy, but we did it.” Lucy said, standing in the front doorway of the hotel.

“That sounds like a cheesy tag line.” Lizzy chided.

“You’re acting was impeccable by dear,” Lucy applauded.

“Thank you.” She beamed.

Mr Pringleberry stepped forward and shook her hand. “I cannot tell you what it means to me. Imagine, my humble abode having a reputation of possession. Ha!”

“I still don’t see why I couldn’t be there.” Timmothy sulked.

“My dear, we were performing an exorcism,” Lucy reasoned. “We needed to convince the demon we really meant him harm. We couldn’t have done that if you were right there asking him if he wanted a sandwich.”

“Maybe someday you can sit in on a demon ousting. Someday.” Mr Greensly appeared alongside the others, followed by Miss Brown.

Noticing her, Lucy smiled. “Hello Miss Brown.”

“It’s Trudy,” she said, reaching out to take Lucy’s hand. “Just Trudy.”

“Trudy,” Lucy said. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” she said, her broken arm already in a cast and sling (what a hospital visit that was). “Thank you for helping me. I don’t really remember what happened, but everyone here seems to agree you are the hero.”

Lucy laughed nonchalantly. “I was just telling everyone I couldn’t have done it alone. Honestly, demons don’t have backbones so it wasn’t difficult to scare the one inside you to death. Then our little Timmothy brought in my defibrillator to bring you back, not the demon crowding you out.”

“Such a strange method for a priest.” Mr Greensly snidely remarked, folding his arms with an air of good-humor.

“Thus why I am not a real priest, only a consultant. Because I have my own methods…” Putting on her sunglasses Lucy raised her keys and unlocked her car with a beep. “And now I must be going, as I am sure you all have to, sooner or later.” All the others nodded and mumbled about places to go and things to do. “Then I shall be off. It was fun.” With that she turned on her heels and left the porch.

Watching the black car barrel down the dirt driveway the others felt varying degrees of melancholy. Gradually everyone left the entranceway, leaving only Mr Pringleberry to cast a glance one last time before closing the door.

Advertisements

Thanksgiving

Hey ya’ll,

There won’t be an update this Thursday as it is Thanksgiving! You should spend your time with loved ones and food instead of the internet :p The conclusion to The Exorcist Chronicles will be up next week.

As always thanks for the attention and time you give to the things I write. This year I’m thankful for that!

From me to you,

April Schomberg

Divine Justice

“I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go.”

“I’m sorry?” Pat leaned forward in her seat, not quite sure if she’d heard her boss correctly. The past month had been a stressful one, constant rumors concerning layoffs within the company she’d worked five years for running the circuit. Pat had held out hope history still meant something when it came to big companies and budgetary cuts, but…

“Yeah,” her boss said, scrunching his eyebrows together uncomfortably. “The economy being what it is, plus with the new healthcare and all, we really just can’t afford it.”

“Workers or healthcare?” Pat asked.

“Both. But look on the bright side,” he swung from side to side in his chair. “You have that other job at your church.”

“I’m a deacon.” Pat said slowly, hoping he would understand.

“That’s right,” he nodded. “At least you’ll still have income from that.” Her boss smiled brightly. Pat stared across the desk at him. She opened her mouth and then closed it. She didn’t have the fight left in her to correct him that no, the church did not pay her for anything. “You have until closing today to clean out your office. We wish you the best of luck.”

Pat sat the rest of the day staring blankly at her computer screen. The usual questions and scenarios fluttered through her mind. This was not the first time she had been let go, not the first time she’d suddenly found herself without a job or income. Straightening in her chair she dashed all dark thoughts from her mind. She was too old for such drama. Picking up her phone she dialed the unemployment office and waited. The quicker she began the process, the less time she would have to live in it.

Later that night found Pat at her church; it felt right finding solace in her fellow man during difficult times.

“And I said, retire at 65? Why do I have to wait so long? Other people are retiring at 60!”

Pat looked at Mr. Pink, a man part of her congregation for the better part of ten years, with barely controlled contempt. The man across from her continued his rant, twenty minutes deep, of having to wait for his celebratory trip to the Bahamas to “finally start living.” As a deacon, Pat was instructed in kindness and forgiveness in all ways. As a deacon, she thought she was prepared for any vile, foul thing a person could say to cross her path with little to no affect. But even God had a temper.

Raising her hand she brought it down across Mr. Pink’s face, leaving a red mark of bitter indignation in its wake. Looking at her, he fought to keep tears from moistening the corners of his eyes. Suited him right, Pat thought. No one was going to tell her about retiring to the beach until she could do it herself.

To Be Married

Last weekend my Grandma, a woman very dear to my heart, passed away at the age of 88. Her funeral was that Thursday, so I of course didn’t update as per schedule. Though it’s without a doubt the saddest thing to ever happen in my life, I want to remember the good times rather than the last moments. The following story is true!! My grandma and grandpa were married nearly 60 years and it’s a miracle nobody died of natural selection. Though there are many tales I could tell, this is probably my favorite.

I hope it amuses you at much as it does me.

 

It was a bright day without a cloud in the sky. Donald walked outside into the back lawn with his morning coffee and surveyed his land. His wife, Leona, walked past him dressed for a relaxing morning hanging laundry, basket and pins in hand.

“Are you going to paint that chair you’ve been talking about for the past week?” She smiled up at him.

“You bet,” he said, sipping his coffee with a determined look. “I’m going to use up the rest of that old paint. You’ll be knitting in that chair by tomorrow, mark my words.”

“Have fun.” Leona waved over her shoulder as she headed to the clothes line.

Finishing his coffee Donald stepped back into the house. A month ago he bought a nice old rocker from a friend; a new coat of paint and it would be good as new. Dressed in his oldest pair of overalls he walked back to the shed where the chair waited. Pulling from one of the many overflowing, but neatly organized, shelves a can of black spray paint he gave it a few good shakes. Pulling off the cap he held it a few inches away from the wood and pressed down on the nozzle. Nothing happened. He pressed down harder and nothing happened. He shook the can a few more than a few more times and pressed again, yet still nothing.

Examining the can he found the nozzle caked with hard paint from inactivity. “Hmm,” thinking up a simple solution to a simple problem he headed back to the house with the spray can, waving to his wife as he passed. Walking into the kitchen he headed to the stove and turned it on to a mild 350 degrees. When the preheat light dimmed he opened the door and quickly placed the spray can on the top rack. Figuring ten minutes would be more than enough to re-liquefy the hardened paint he set the timer and stepped outside onto the front porch, the day’s sun far too nice to miss out on.

Leona hummed quietly to herself, focused entirely on hanging her wears here and there until an explosion from the kitchen that rattled the windows set her flat on her feet and running into the house. “Don?” She called out, the usually calm woman letting panic slip into her voice. Her eyes landed on his figure standing just inside the frame leading into the living room. Relieved her husband seemed fine Leona’s eyes gradually took in the rest of the room.

Black paint covered everything. Her refrigerator, her cabinets, the table, the windows; black splatters of paint lent a macabre feeling to the once cheery room. Her stove’s door lay broken off its hinges in the middle of the floor where a small scrap of metal that once was a spray can lay dead.

Her expression said it all. Looking at her husband Leona struggled to utter an appropriate sentence through her rage. “You will buy me a new refrigerator.” She said through gritted teeth and turned away, stomping out the back door.

Donald looked around the once clean, yellow tinted kitchen and sighed deeply. Gingerly he stepped forward just enough to reach his car keys from the wall-peg they hung on. To the hardware store it was. Tomorrow would have to wait it’s turn.      

Forest of Sleeping Beauty

She is quiet and peaceful

Watched over, sleeping, by only the stars

 

The whiteness of her landscape

Shines true to the pureness of her nature 

 

The blackness of her bark

Strikes strong contrast down to her roots

 

The redness of her berries

Pecks at the sky with delicate

Notes of promise and pleading

 

Silently waiting for a

Traveler to disturb her slumber

The Five Trials of Peru: Trial 5 Part 3

The next day marked the wedding. Festivities began with the rising sun and continued until the noontide meal. Peru expected to see Florette during the celebrations; after all they were for him just as much as for her. But she remained absent, instead to his right sat Lothar and to the left the mistress. She abounded in talk and laughter, seemingly the happiest of all, while his captain remained silent.

The ceremony followed the meal and proceeded without a hitch. Soft music played and the living proof of all his dreams appeared before Peru’s eyes. At long last the prince stood across from Florette, concealed by a veil and a long dress so that nothing of her skin showed. “I have dreamed of this day for many years,” he whispered, wanting nothing more than to hear her voice in response. The figure simply nodded and spoke not.  

The leader of the church stood at the head of the alter, a steady stream of chants and blessings issuing from his lips until the final moments. Just as the prince reached out to his moments-away wife to seal the ring around her finger he felt a strong pair of hands pull him away.

Stepping forward Lothar spoke to the prince but loud enough for the whole of the room to hear. “This wedding is a miserable scheme. This woman is Florette, but she is not the one you seek.” Pulling the veil from the bride’s head a hideously deformed face revealed itself. The figure fell back in shame and fear as a gasp issued from the very room they stood in. “The drawing you fell in love with is of another,” Lothar looked to the side of the room. Following his gaze Peru turned to see the girl, the slave, he had so easily dismissed, standing calmly a few feet away with an air of certainty he had never seen in another and a smile to calm even the sun’s flames. It was then he saw her for who she really was and not who others pretended her to be.   

Silence settled over the room. Prince Peru slowly approached the woman, whom he once believed to be nothing to him, and wept. Throwing himself to his knees he raised his face to hers. “I am sorry. I was a fool to believe lies when truth stood obviously before me. I am unworthy to stand by your side.”

“Many men have come seeking the nobleman’s daughter,” the girl said, kneeling next to the prince. “All these I have left to their own devices, caring for them not. But with you… I think there is hope.”

Rising to their feet the two embraced and felt true love before a rending screech ended the moment. The mistress, Florette’s mother, stood in the isle eyes ablaze. “How dare you!” She accused the girl still in Peru’s arms. “I should have killed you the moment that fool of a painter portrayed you on paper!”

A loud popping noise accompanied this curse. A woman screamed as the king of the jinn and all his men appeared at the head of the church, sending the clergyman stumbling out of the way in awkward fear. “Dear prince Peru,” the king spread his arms out wide, encompassing the whole assembly in warm benevolence. “I am pleased to see you overcome this puzzle. Ederin is the true one you seek, not Florette. The mistress, that wretch of a woman, cursed her daughter to be born undesirable by any man due to her wicked deeds throughout life. After the death of her husband she knew her extravagant lifestyle could only be maintained through the marriage of her only child to a prince. But none would consent to marry such a creature; seeing this she took the lovely Ederin and played her as heir. Once suitors came they could only see the supposed beauty they courted on the day of the wedding. But once seeing whom they truly married all called for divorce straight away. Sworn to secrecy concerning the truth word did not spread of the scheme.” The king smiled down fondly at Ederin. “Dear, sweet Ederin is a distant relative of mine who under unfortunate circumstances was kidnapped and sold, forced to serve the noble’s wife. When you landed on my island I knew you were seeking her, the picture in your pocket confirmed it. I decided to test you in worthiness to judge if you were even fit to stand before her, let alone marry. I was pleased then and I am all the more pleased now to see Ederin has decided she likes you as well. So what more is there to discuss? May the two of you find pleasure and happiness with each other as long as each shall live.” With that the Jinn king smote the mistress where she stood, riding the world of her. Peru and Ederin, along with the captain and the rest of his men, all rode on the backs of jinn to their island where a proper wedding took place without a hitch or lie.

The party flew back to Peru’s homeland, which he had not seen in over ten years. In an act of kindness the Prince and his new bride brought the poor Florette back as well. Shunned and locked in the attic since birth she was innocent in her mother’s schemes. She led the rest of her life happily, spending most of her time outside in the gardens making up for lost time.

True to his word Peru opened his treasury and served each family of the men lost on the journey with everything they would need to lead a comfortable life for many generations to come, hoping to make amends and receive a pardon from the surviving family members. Pleased with the act no one begrudged him.

The tale of Peru’s quest soon spread throughout the kingdom and he became a hero to the people. They also regarded Ederin fondly, her rise from slavery endearing her to their hearts.

With his heir back in the country safe and sound Peru’s father died a few months later, elevating the prince to king and Ederin to queen. Lothar, Peru’s truest and most reliable friend, stayed in the kingdom as the king’s advisor, serving faithfully all the years he ruled. They were visited often by the Jinn king, who loved to tell anyone who would listen the wild stories of a young boy beneath a pear tree who fell in love with a painting.

The Five Trials of Peru: Trial 5 Part 2

Peru felt foolish for his actions and bade many pardons from the mistress the very next morning, lest overnight she find herself so insulted she order the whole lot of he and his men thrown out onto the street. She was quick to dismiss the whole incident and drew him into the sitting area to discuss the wedding. Meeting his men that night Peru excitedly told them all that was to come. Rejoicing their journey would have a happy ending only Lothar sat in silence, seemingly sore troubled.

“My friend, what is the matter?” Peru threw an arm around his shoulder. “Do you not see everything has worked out? I will be married within the week and soon we will be on our way home.”

“Something is not right,” he said to Peru.

“How could you say that? Everything is right.” The prince assured. Still Lothar felt ill at ease and watched from afar as the wedding preparations buzzed around him.

Days later Lothar wandered into the kitchen in search of food to find the same servant girl the prince had mistaken for Florette preparing various dishes for the evening meal. Struck by her beauty he found it charming she wore a bell in her ear. Inviting him to sit at the table she served bread and cheese, discussing in small talk the recent events of the men’s arrival and engagement.

“The wedding is nearing and the prince couldn’t be happier.” Lothar sighed. “Why do I feel troubled?”

“Has the prince traveled far to find Florette?” The servant asked, busily kneading dough.  

He nodded. “Possibly halfway across the world, but I wouldn’t know. I did not meet him until after he was captured by the cyclops.”

“Cyclops?” The girl paused in her work. Lothar told all things to the young woman, from beginning to end. “He won my gratitude by saving my life, but won my devotion by displaying the purest heart. He was foolish in his quest, but perhaps that is his charm.” The captain shrugged. “I thought I would be happy having finally reached our goal, but…”

The girl thought deeply before speaking. “The mistress has a daughter, this is true,” she said in a hushed voice. “But the drawing the prince fell in love with is not of her.”