THE SECOND SIGHT EPISODE 35
He shuffled forward and stood at the side of the mahogany desk appraising me. His eyes were still a piercing grey as he gazed unblinkingly at me.
I felt uncomfortable, but I did not blink or look away, and returned his look.
Mrs. Anderson stood up approached the old man. He held unto her arm as he lowered himself gently into an armchair to the right of Anderson.
He leaned back with a contented sigh as the woman took his walking-stick and hooked it along the back of one of the high-backed chairs.
He spoke, holding out his right hand, and his voice was deep and soft .
Come, young man, come.
As I approached him I felt a sudden closeness, a blast of comfort that was as scary as it was nostalgic. I knew deep within me that I was going to like him profoundly. He reminded me so much of my father, somehow, and for a moment I felt a deep ache in my breast.
Anderson stood up as I shook the old man’s hand.
Yaw, meet Pastor Charles Bonner, retired, co-founder of our church. You already know all about Yaw, Charles.
Hmm, a fine grip you have, son. The grip of a man. But do sit down. We have so much to talk about. Feel at home, son. I am also a retired Unblind, for your information.
I looked at him as I sat, startled.
(with sudden interest)
Really? You lived the life of an Unblind?
Close to twenty years, son.
I noticed that he had most of his teeth and wondered idly if they were fake.
But don’t let us dwell so much on that now. Before you ask questions, and above all else, I want you to tell me everything you have been through, son. Begin from the moment Paul met you … and please, try not to leave anything out.
Coming from any other man I might have been offended to be commanded to lay my life on the table, but from him it sounded just right, and I wanted to do it.
I faced him, deliberately cutting off Anderson … and talked.
It poured out, and as my words fell and I re-lived the horrors I found my heart steadying, and warm peace began to wash over me.
It was a balm over the raw parts, the still hurting parts that I could not let go. At times they had to sit through lengthy pauses as I tried to overcome the pains that my story invoked in me, but no one tried to stop or interrupt me.
They sat and listened attentively, and for that I was grateful.
Finally, when it was done, I took a deep breath and covered my face with my hands.
I found moisture in my palms, and realized that I had shed a few tears.
For my parents, yes.
Especially for my unknown mother who had died so helplessly.
Anderson and his wife were still holding on to each other, but now with more intensity. Anderson had a lot of remorse on his face, and his wife wiped tears from her eyes.
Bonner seemed to have sunk deeper into his chair, his arms resting limply on the broad supports, but he had lost none of his alertness.
His gaze fixed me with more intensity, and behind that brow I seemed to hear an active brain working overtime.
When he spoke his voice was not quite steady as he too seemed affected by the extent of the horrors I had gone through.
You’ve been through real hell, Yaw, and for that I’m profoundly sorry. I never expected all that to happen to you under the circumstances.
And why not? You should have expected worse! You knew I wasn’t ready for it.
Settle down, boy. This is not the time to play the blaming game. What had to happen happened. That was how our great God, in all His infinite wisdom, wanted to happen.
And that really made me mad.
I spun on him, my voice low but filled with bitterness.
Now don’t give me that, sir, please! Why did Pastor Anderson here have to leave me alone? Sure, I didn’t believe the story he fed me at first, but who would have? It sounded like the drivel of a mad man, but he knew damn well it was going to happen! The least he could have done was to stick around and help me out! I could’ve died easily out there! And I lost my father, have you thought about that? If he had been around maybe my father could’ve been saved! Damn, he told me he was guided by his predecessor, and that even
seasoned pastors who had foreknowledge of the gift sometimes couldn’t handle it. I was an unbelieving pagan, and suddenly I was thrust into the horror of another world. He should’ve been there for me and seen me through, and that was the least he could’ve done!
Bonner lifted a placating hand.
There are a lot of things you don’t understand about the gift, and yourself, son. No human could’ve seen you through, as you put it. Paul here was specifically commanded by God to leave you alone, and he did just that. Now, let me ask you this, are you scared of the Legion?
I didn’t hesitate.
No. I wish more than anything to meet it again.
There was a pregnant silence in the room. I saw Anderson and his wife exchanging looks, but Bonner kept his icy gaze on me.
There, you have your answer.
You wanted to know why Paul didn’t stay with you. God wanted you to have the encounter with the Legion without the help of anybody. You see, that group of demons – the one we refer to as the Legion – was spawned centuries ago, and it has plagued the people of God since the death of Christ. Many Unblinds have faced it, but sadly it triumphed over every single one of them due to one factor … our fear of it! It is the most vicious evil entity ever known, and no Unblind has ever faced it alone. In your story you mentioned an old Unblind called Paul V. Clement…
Yes, he tried to exorcise the Legion from my father. He was killed by the Legion. It later turned out that he had been having an affair with a teenaged prostitute for a long time. My father told me that, anyway.
Yes, a sad and sordid affair. Clement was my student.
Bonner said and rubbed his pointed chin.
I exclaimed, shocked, and then shook my head in embarrassment.
Aw, sorry, Mrs. Andersons, sirs. My bad mouth. I’m extremely sorry!
Bonner waved the apology aside impatiently.
Yes, Clement succeeded me, and he was Paul Anderson’s teacher.
Then what happened? According to my father his death was nasty. Why? Surely he served God long and hard enough – even though he erred in the end – to deserve a more decent death?
Bonner nodded his great white head.
There are a lot of things you need to learn, son. With God there is no middle road. You’re either for Him, or not for Him. Sin is sin, no matter its shade or quantum, and sin puts a divide between us and God. It has been my hope that Clement, in his final hour, was able to find his way back to God. If that didn’t happen, then all his faithful years of service would not account to much. But that is the way it is. Let me tell you this. Years previously, when Clement was my student, we met the Legion. It had by then occupied a young man who was my son. We almost succeeded in casting him out.
Why ‘almost’? If you were men of God, and you were Unblinds, why didn’t you deal with that thing?
Again there was silence in the room. I saw that Bonner’s eyes had taken on a faraway look, obviously re-living a terrible past.
Faith, my son, faith. Being confronted with the true face of that thing, seeing its basic and raw evil, its terrible resolve to destroy … Clement lost faith and fled the room, I lost faith too, and the Legion murdered my son, the only child I ever had. Faith is the only weapon of any Unblind, and once it is gone, he’s next to useless.
KNOWING THE ENEMY
Charles Bonner still spoke in a rather sad, unsettling kind of way as his mind dwelt on the past.
Eventually it comes to each of us, though. Fighting those demons demands a daily devotion and total dedication to God, a building up of your faith to heights unimaginable, but the life of an Unblind is a hard one, and it slowly erodes one’s faith. And once faith wanes…
Finally it began to dawn on me, and my startled eyes turned slowly and fixed on Paul Anderson.
His face was awash with sweat, and his eyes seemed large and haunted.
Yes, I finally understood their irrational frenzy, the underlying terror that had virtually taken over the woman. It was like looking at a raw wound, and it turned my mind.
I shook my head numbly.
Now I understood clearly why the woman had put so much trust in me, a trust I wasn’t sure I could live up to.
The implication staggered me!
Anderson had seemed as solid as a rock when he was speaking to me in my car.
He had seemed the epitome of unshakeable faith.
But I could see clearly now that it is no longer the case.
The man has changed drastically.
You too, Pastor Anderson? Your faith is gone?
Anderson could not look at me.
He looked down quickly, but not before I glimpsed the sudden anguish in his eyes, the sudden blast of tears on his lashes.
Yes, Yaw. Paul’s faith is gone, and he’s scared of living the rest of his life cooped up like I was. He’s scared of living virtually in the house of God, wasting the rest of his life away, scared of the wonderful life outside. Living and yet dying … rotting away, each day more painful than the rest.
But why? I don’t understand it. Why does it have to be that?
Bonner stared at me for a long.
It has to be like that, son, because venturing outside the protected house of God, going out into the sin-filled world, is an invitation for death. The Legion is waiting out there. It never forgives, boy, and it never forgets. The moment it separates one of us, we will be dead men.
I looked from one man to the other. They made no attempt to hide the torture of their fears.
Suddenly I could feel the walls of the room closing in on me. I shivered hard … and it wasn’t because I was feeling cold.
It was fear.
Bonner spoke, taking a sip of orange juice from a straw.
There had been a little break when Mrs. Anderson had brought us water, orange juice and a tray of home-baked apple pies.
The pies were delicious, but only I was eating
Fifty years ago it is, when I had the chance to banish the Legion. As I said I was with Clement. It had possessed my twenty-year old boy, Philip. I never knew where I went wrong with that boy. By the age of sixteen he was already doing drugs and … well, had also achieved a sort of a reputation as a pornographic star. He was starring in porn movies.
His old face was screwed up with pain now. Obviously he was muddying waters he would have preferred to stay settled. I understood his pain, and shared it.
Somehow, by laying our souls bare, that strange harmonious tie I had experienced with him was being strengthened.
That bond was stronger now, and although I felt sorry for him for the horrors he was again experiencing, on another level it exhilarated me, and drew me up to his platform where I could see everything through his eyes.
My dear wife was long dead by then – she had cancer when Philip was ten, and died a year later. I tried to be with him, but I guess he had always been more his Mother’s son than mine. I was filled with the zeal for the Lord’s work by then, and I guess I neglected him pretty much when he was a kid. By the time I realized there was a gulf between us, and tried to bridge it, it was too late. He came home one Christmas, when he was twenty-three and I had not seen him for six years. The Legion was living in him.
He gently patted his dry lips and leaned forward slightly.
Clement was filled with fire, but I guess the fact that my son whom I loved so much was the one possessed threw me hard from the onset. I had doubts, you know, and there had been times when I had wondered whether it would have been wise to let Clement perform the banishment all alone. I would never know, though. We were doing pretty well, and had it in a tight spot, when suddenly it manifested. My teacher had told me that from generation to generation men of God had panicked before the Legion, and fled before it. Well, Clement clean fled the room when it manifested, and my faith was pretty much gone by then. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that my son was in there. But the Legion knew I was operating on adrenaline alone, and it moved in with its lies and half-truths, confusing and torturing me until I felt completely alienated from God. I lost my nerve completely, and no amount of prayers could save me. I cowered and begged that vile heap of evil to leave my son. It laughed triumphantly and began to squeeze itself inward, and when I heard the screams I knew my son was being squeezed dry, was being cruelly murdered. The Legion left, and I still hear the echoes of its derisive laughter in my sleep. Philip was on the floor – dead, with blood oozing out of his nostrils, eyes, ears and mouth. That was the end for me as an Unblind. Clement took the mantle.
My word! What’s the meaning of all this? If your God is such a loving father why does He allow these terrible things to happen? Why doesn’t He just get rid of the Legion and get it over with? I mean, if the damn thing is killing you guys in such great numbers why doesn’t God simply quarantine it somewhere safe?
I’ve asked myself that question, son. I don’t know how to explain it, but suppose you have a kid, a son you loved very much, and that boy is always being bullied mercilessly, what would you do about it? You have two options: either take on the bully yourself, or teach your boy to stand up to him. Now, which would give your son more confidence in you … and in himself? I think the latter option, right?
That is different! Man, we’re talking about life and death here!
Bonner held up a finger.
It is not different, son. You just don’t understand the principle. No man of God is a weakling. The Legion has absolutely no power over any man of God. Even the newest believer – like a pagan who has been converted into Christ just for ten seconds – has been given the power to triumph over any demon. The trouble is with us, our imperfections, our doubts in ourselves, and our inability to cultivate our faith to a level where it becomes fixed and unshakeable. That alone has always been our undoing. . You understand that?
No, frankly I don’t. If it is that simple, why do you all suffer so?
I never said it is simple, son. Yes, it should be simple, but it isn’t. This is because we are human, made up of blood and flesh and emotions. We have fear and doubt in our system, because we were born into sin, and even though in Christ we are cleansed of all sins, the truth still remains that naturally the human heart freezes at the sight of latent evil, and that limits our ability to develop faith to that ultimate point where we could tell a mountain to move into the sea and it would obey.
Why should that be the case? Look at me; I don’t know half the things you know. Hell, I don’t even have a pea’s worth of your experience, but I was able to deal with that little demon at Jackson Peak, the one that possessed Samantha Gaisie. You should be able to deal with the Legion easily!
This time Bonner and Anderson exchanged looks, and for a moment there was an awkward silence. I was aware that I had just rebuked them, touched a raw spot, and I was instantly embarrassed again.
Look, I’m sorry. It didn’t come out right. What I meant was –
Again Bonner held up a hand.
Don’t fret yourself, son. We understand what you meant. You’re right, we should be able to do more because we know more and have had more experience. In other words, we understand the turf as it is. But has it occurred to you yet, that maybe you’re able to do more because you don’t know more? What happened at Jackson Peak was extraordinary, but has it occurred to you that maybe it just didn’t happen out of the blue, that maybe it was all a part of your training?
I looked at him blankly.
You’ve lost me.
The old man nodded.
I know, but presently everything would be made clear to you. In Jackson Peak two things happened. First you were given what we call Death’s Eyes. No, don’t interrupt, let me finish. You saw the Shadow of Death the moment it began to follow that man – Ray Mensah, right? – yes. You saw that. I have heard of men of God with that gift, but I have never met one. Have you, Paul?
Anderson shook his head and stuffed a piece of pie into his mouth.
Now, secondly, you did something else I have never heard of. You had an out-of-body experience. When you were pursuing the Legion in the marshes, you soul left your body! Now, that is simply incredible, and I was really shook up by that. I have never heard, read or seen anything like that! That goes to prove what we were told all along and yet disputed. And then, thirdly, we come to the Bruno incident.
My heart missed a beat, and the Andersons sat up straighter.
Bruno? Are you talking about what happened this evening, Charles? What about Bruno? He went berserk for the first time since I have known him. I was worried. We all were, and I’ve instructed Junior to send him to the Vet tomorrow.
There’s nothing wrong with Bruno. It is Yaw Boat who set him on Andrew Okai in a moment of childish jealousy.
Bonner kept his eyes on me.
They were all looking at me now. I could feel the heat rising up around my neck. Twice I tried to speak, and failed.
Anderson and his wife seemed a trifle bewildered and doubtful. I could feel the guilt written all over my face, and I looked at Bonner with new eyes.
I didn’t set no dog on anybody. Well, at least not willingly. I just spoke out loud, innocently, and I didn’t know that was what was going to happen. And I definitely didn’t want that to happen! How the hell did you know anyway? Pardon my language, Ma’am.
(in a horrified whisper)
Dear Lord, is it really true?
If Charles Bonner said it then it is true, dear.
I am also a Seer, son. It is one of those divine gifts that God gives to some of his faithful servants. Let just say God still reveals things to me. You underestimate your power. God has given you multiple gifts… more than I have ever witnessed in any other Unblind. You’re destined for a greatness far higher than any of us ever imagined. You, young man, are destined to deal with the Legion once and for all … if you will only avail yourself.
I shook my head lamely.
I don’t want any of it, Mr. Bonner. Why can’t you understand that? Why can’t
your God understand that?
The old man leaned forward, his eyes seeming to drill a hole right through me.
Do you really mean that? I know for a fact that you set off here primarily to deal with the Legion. Your young heart was filled with vengeance, and nothing could have stopped you from that showdown you craved so much. What has changed now? Is it the fear of the unknown, or is it that you feel pressured by Paul here and his wife who, sadly, seemed to have placed you under undue stress in their moment of need?
Nothing escaped this man.
Looking at him I knew that I would never have my own way. He was there, as solid as a rock, picking thoughts and feelings off me as if I were an open book before him.
There was no need to fight him. He had to be reasoned with. His was an intellect I had never been exposed to.
After a moment I leaned back resignedly and looked at the old man.
Speak to me. Please make me understand.
Truth be said, Paul V. Clement was the best Unblind I ever saw. I think he took Philip’s death personally; he never really stopped blaming himself for the death of my son. He pursued demons relentlessly. He searched for the Legion, and never stopped even when Paul Anderson became his protégé. The hour of truth came when they finally caught up with the Legion. He had possessed a mad self-styled archbishop in Italy. Quite a powerful man, revered by the church in that part of the world. Paul and Paul, as I used to call them, practically broke into the man’s room like thieves, and confronted the host of demons. Their faiths were strong, and they were vibrant. Their faith was fuelled by their wrath, and the Legion had no chance. It couldn’t manifest, and it fled with terrible screams. It was a moment of triumph and profound joy for all of us. For years – seven years, precisely – we never heard anything about it. And then, Clement’s wife died. No, don’t look like that. She died naturally, yes. No sickness, no prolonged fight for life. They had a normal evening, and went to bed quite happy. Next morning she was gone, just like that. Paul Clement had been devastated. He had no children, and she was virtually his angel. He turned away from our help, and refused to take solace in the arms of the Lord. He was very bitter, you know. He had dedicated his whole life to God, and felt that the least the Creator should’ve done was keep his wife alive.
I cant’ say I fault him on that. It would’ve been pretty hard for him.
I spoke sadly, my heart reaching out to a broken man whose source of joy had been snuffed out like a candle without warning.
It was hard for Clement, yes. His anger and bitterness against God grew, and he began to drink. His faith suffered, and tried as hard as we could we could not really bring him back into the barn. He was craving death, and day in day out he cursed God for what had happened to his wife. It was during that terrible time that he started visiting the teenaged prostitute, although he kept it a secret. In the midst of all that confusion your parents and your grandfather found him and asked him to exorcise the Legion, which by then had gained roots in your father’s body. It was suicide, and that terrible night your mother, grandfather and Clement lost their lives. The Legion was back, craving for revenge, and Clement was at an all-time low. I’m pretty sure he knew that he was not prepared for it, but deep down he didn’t really care. He wanted to die. The Legion tore him to pieces, yes.
This time the old man’s silence was longer, and as I slowly looked from one to the other I had the distinct feeling that his reluctance was not borne out of tiredness, as I had feared, but by the sheer unsavoury nature of what was to follow.
Anderson’s haunted face was tinged with a generous amount of guilt, his wife’s nervousness and fear, and the old man’s sudden aversion to looking directly at the pastor slowly told me that somehow Paul Anderson was in greater mud than I had presumed.
I cleared my throat and painfully broached the subject.
You told me Pastor Anderson was working with Pastor Paul Clement that time in Italy when the Legion fled from them. It has been more than twenty-five years since Pastor Clement died. Why didn’t Pastor Anderson go after my father, whose body was hosting the Legion?
You’re making hasty assumptions, son. Forgive me, boy. I didn’t mean to bark at you. Yes, you’re right, it has been a long time. But we didn’t know your father was the vessel. Remember he fled the scene before the cops arrived, and there wasn’t any evidence to show that your father had been present the day Clement, your grandfather and mother were killed. Remember that the official police record showed that it was a terrible case of robbery gone wrong, that was all. Of course we knew better after we saw Clement’s mutilated body. It never occurred to us that your father, a most renowned man of God, could be the vessel.
Still I figured he could easily have –
You figured wrong, boy. The Legion is not like your common friendly poltergeist. It keeps a permanent host, yes, but it leaves its host at regular intervals and occupies other hosts, especially when it wants to do something drastic. Pastor Anderson was full of power; quite frankly I thought he was also going to be the one to bring the Legion down. But as I told you, he didn’t have to go after the Legion. That host of demons never forgot that Paul and Clement exorcised it, and once it had dealt with Clement we all knew it was coming after Paul next, who had no fear of it. In fact Paul was eagerly awaiting the confrontation. However, one night both of us – that is, Paul Anderson and me – had the same dream. In it there was a war going on between you and the Legion, and the two of us were just spectators. In the dream you were wearing a series of halo-like rings from head to feet. Now, before you start shooting off your mouth again, I want you to know that it is the way God always reveals our successors to us. Now that you’re an Unblind, you shall one day have a dream and see the next Unblind wearing those halos. God showed us where to find you, and what message to give you. When Paul came back and told me that you were a complete novice who didn’t even believe in the existence of God I was so sad because it meant God had lost faith in us. We all knew that as soon as you became the next Unblind the Legion would move in on Paul and his family. Of course Paul Anderson isn’t so concerned for his safety, but he is scared, as we all are, for his family.
To be continued…
© – Agyeman
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