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THE SECOND SIGHT EPISODE 40
I paced restlessly.
Yes! I didn’t read her. I couldn’t read her. Why? Who’s she? Why was I so powerless in her arms? How was she able to transform herself so … so much that she was a lovely adorable young woman? What is going on here?
Bonner sighed, and his eyes were suddenly troubled as he looked at me.
The woman who seduced Paul Anderson and brought him down was an ordinary woman. Someone without much beauty. You remember I told you she had the Glow, what you call a force-field? And she was a good Christian. But what happened? Paul, a seasoned man of God, slept with her right here in this same office, and he defiled the house of God. Well, Paul claimed at the time that somehow when she touched him she changed suddenly. She became a woman of breath-taking beauty, filled with such wonderful promises – his words, not mine – that he could not believe he was with the same woman. I didn’t believe him then, but now you too have experienced the same thing. The truth is that I don’t know how these women are able to do it. It is something I simply do not comprehend. I have heard other Unblinds speaking of phenomena like that, but frankly I don’t know what it is.
If I’m an Unblind with multiple gifts as you claim, then why didn’t I sense her? Why didn’t I see something? Look I almost killed that widow, okay? I have to know the answers! What really happened? Why didn’t I glow in the presence of that woman? How is she, and of course that widow too, able to be in the house of God worshipping day in day out, and has the ability to somehow change into a most desirable voluptuous woman, and yet we can’t feel them, or see any demons in them? Even in the presence of the Legion I glowed, but how was it absent in that damned woman’s case?
I don’t know why you couldn’t read Shirley Okai, son. What I know is that you should have known about her! Your gift should’ve warned you or revealed her to you. I don’t know why you were not warned. Being who you are, I don’t expect anything in the spiritual realm to take you by surprise.
But I was taken by surprise! Secondly, when I hit the widow the first time she was still occupied by the Legion. When I grabbed her the second time, the Legion had vacated her body and occupied the crow on the window sill. I didn’t see it leaving the woman’s body. Under all other circumstances – like when it vacated Bruno’s body – I saw the whole process! But here I didn’t see anything! One moment it was in the woman, the next … kaboom, gone.
He tried to speak, but nothing came out. I walked quickly toward him and bent almost double so I could look into his eyes…and at that moment I saw my fear mirrored in his eyes.
Do you know the worst part, old man, the really juicy part? If the Legion had just decided to kill Paul Anderson outright and not bothered with frightening and degrading him, Anderson would have died long before I came in.
He was startled by that, and he shot forward, bringing his face even closer to mine.
That is scary, son. I think something is very wrong here. Terribly wrong, and we need to find out why. You know, I sensed it. I felt it somehow. It has to do with you, something you need to do, something you shouldn’t have done…
something . It is something basic, but I can’t put my finger on it. Listen, let’s go home and sleep over it. We are tired, and tired men make mistakes. Our kind of mistake always leads to death, so let’s relax. I just might be able to pinpoint what might be happening to you somehow. It is maddening because I know I know the reason, somehow, but I just can’t put my finger on it. We need to know. I have to pin it down!
As I looked at him I saw that for the very first time all his calm and charisma was gone. He was a scared old man grabbing for straws, painfully trying to stay afloat in turbulent waters that couldn’t be tamed.
He could not meet my eyes.
And that frightened me even more than the Legion did.
We got home late that evening.
Anderson came out of the car and walked by himself, his gait sure, his shoulders square, but we all knew that he was burning inside.
It was in his eyes; the eyes never lie, as Bob used to say, and in Anderson’s eyes was the thing . It had gone beyond mere terror. His encounter with the Legion had taken an awful lot of soul from him, and even as I sympathized with him and felt the guilt assaulting me each time I set eyes on him, I wondered if he would ever be the same man again.
It was a sombre meal that we had that evening. No one apart from Bonner and I knew what had really happened to Anderson, but somehow it had managed to affect everybody.
Anderson ate like an automaton; his head was bent over his plate, and I noticed that most of his food ended up in his laps because his mouth had somehow become a bit slack, and little drops of food fell out as he chewed.
He left the table quickly with his wife.
Bonner pecked at his food, and soon after he pushed his plate away and stood up.
I think I’ll retire early today, son.
I nodded at him.
Paul Anderson junior, I was told, was out camping in the woods with a few of his friends – a Boys’ Scout expedition – and wasn’t expected till the following evening.
That was fine, because the atmosphere in the house would’ve left him gasping for breath, and I felt it was good to spare him some of the crazy things going around.
I was left with Nicole at the table, and although I felt her hot eyes on me on more than a few occasions I deliberately refused to look at her.
She had found me in the arms of her soon-to-be mother-in-law, and I had seen the expression of revulsion on her face. Every little nerve in me cried out for redemption, to put myself high in her special book of Esteemed People.
I wanted to fall at her feet and beg her, grovelling for mercy and for understanding; I wanted her to know everything that was going on, but somehow I felt her anger and distrust of me was the right thing.
The incident she had witnessed would kill whatever crazy emotions had begun to spring up between us.
I would always love her, of course, and there wouldn’t be a single moment in my life where I wouldn’t miss her, but some pains were worth bearing.
Yeah, I had read that one somewhere in one of those westerns I loved…yeah, it was the Pale Rider, where the gun-totting preacher had told the teenager who was besotted with him that it was good to set loved ones free, and if they came back then it was a sure sign of true love, or some damn sentimental yarn like that.
But it was most appropriate now, although I wasn’t sure there was any semblance of budding love between Nicole and me.
For all I knew it was just a one-way kind of thing, where I was crazy in love with her, and she was all for the Okai man.
But I loved her.
Lord, how much I loved this girl!
So why her?
I looked up, startled by both the sound of her voice and the question.
She had pushed her plate away and was sitting back primly – knees obviously together, fingers laced and resting on her laps.
There was nothing prim about her expression, however. She looked angry, but her eyes were hooded, and in their depths I saw something else.
She was hurting.
It turned my insides to see her like that. I wanted to race to her and sweep her into my arms. I wanted to assure her of the effect she had on me, and yet I knew deep inside that I could end up hurting her more if I stayed too long in her presence.
I laid down the cutlery carefully and picked up a glass of water. I sipped from the glass and then set it down just as carefully. I looked at her then.
I won’t pretend not to understand what you mean, Nicole. What happened was bad, and I apologize to you and Andrew. Let’s just leave it at that, okay?
Her hands came off her laps quickly.
She leaned forward, her hands pressing on the tables, elbows crooked outward.
She spoke, and I had never seen her so furious, and it sent waves of genuine blues smashing into my system with unrelenting fury.
Don’t tell me what happened was bad and I should leave it at that! Why her? She’s old enough to be your mother! You had absolutely no reason to go after her, or stoop to her level if she came after you! What you did was despicable, but tell me … why did you do it? Why?
I stood up from the table just as two servants entered, drawn by Nicole’s voice.
She glared at them and they mumbled their apologies but she was already on her feet, coming round the table toward me.
(in a fierce whispere)
In the garden, Yaw. Right now!
I followed her straight back out of the house and into the garden.
She walked on a few steps, and then she swirled round to face me.
Tell me now, were you the one trying to seduce her?
That, I think, is not necessary. Listen –
I sighed and rubbed unsteady fingers through my hair.
No, Nicole, I didn’t try to seduce her. I think the feeling was mutual. She craved a younger man, I’ve always fantasized about an older woman. It is as simple as that.
The lie felt like bitter gall in my mouth, and although I couldn’t look at her face I heard her sudden indrawn breath, and my heart went kicking up pure misery and agony into my system.
It was as if I had physically slammed a fist into her stomach.
She gasped, and for a moment she sagged at the shoulders, but her head came up, and she fixed me with a baleful look.
I see. Then, you and I have nothing more to say to each other. Do whatever you came here to do, Yaw Boat, and get the hell out of my life. I don’t ever want to breathe the same air as you, and heaven knows I don’t ever want to lay eyes on you again!
She gave me a wide berth as she passed, and if she had just hesitated a moment to look at me she would probably have seen her pain multiplied ten times in my eyes.
She would have seen my bleeding soul writhing in pain … and she would have broken down my resolve, and forced out the secrets of my heart. And she would have known just how much I loved her.
But she didn’t pause.
She broke into a run, leaving me behind.
The shock of the pain was so unexpected that I gasped. There was a feeling so hollow and deep in me that for a moment I could barely breathe. My head pounded, and a terrible ache rose up in my throat.
Just then I would have given anything to have her smile at me and tell me everything was okay. I would have given anything just to have her sitting beside me and holding my hand, our fingers intertwining in our secret moment of silence.
I had been so brave about all that crap about being able to live without her and wanting to give her a chance to enjoy her life, but what I felt now was different.
I was all alone.
And I loved her so!
But she was right.
It was time to do my bit and get the hell out of Portville.
Nicole, O Nicole!
My blurred vision told me that I was close to tears, and I turned my face upward, fighting it with all my strength. This was not the time to balk, or give in to the follies of the heart. This was the time to move and go hunting.
Hunting for a demon.
I couldn’t allow it any breathing space now. It was time to force it into the open where one of us would surely perish.
And there was just one place to hunt for the demon.
Or, rather, the host of the demons.
I put on black jeans, black soft-soled snickers and a black T-shirt.
I came out of my room at exactly twelve midnight. I closed the door quietly behind me and walked gently down the stairs.
I felt my way around corners, praying that I wouldn’t knock anything down to attract attention to myself.
When I entered the living-room a long shadow detached itself from one of the chairs and unfolded in front of me.
I stopped and glared at that outline, and for a wild moment my heart did a series of panicked flops before I recognized him.
Bonner said from the shadows, and I exhaled with relief.
Bonner spoke from the shadows, and I exhaled with relief.
I knew you would come.
Blast it, old man, you scared the … you really scared me!
Sorry about that, but enough of the jawing. I think we have to move quickly.
Whoa, hold it right there. What’re you talking about? You and I are not going anywhere.
He squinted at me in the inadequate lighting. I could see a slight frown on his face.
I presume you’re going after Shirley Okai.
I noticed that it wasn’t a question.
Damn it, must you always read my mind?
He was silent for a moment, and when he spoke his voice was annoyingly condescending.
You forget I’ve been where you are now. You know something, son? Now you have me really worried because of the way you’re dealing with the Legion. You have me really worried.
And what are you talking about now?
I asked, and I couldn’t hide the coldness in my tone because suddenly I felt a strong resentment toward him, and it terrified me.
He didn’t balk under my stare; his, in truth, was harsh enough for me, and it took all my willpower not to look away.
(in an unfriendly voice)
You’re slow, Yaw Boat, far too slow! You should have gone after Shirley Okai ages ago! You shouldn’t have waited this long! You’re dealing with the most vicious, most demented group of blood-thirsty demons mankind has ever had the unfortunate luck of being blessed with, and yet you behave as if it is some toy play.
Now hold on there! I’m here, aren’t I? You are the same person who told me – no,
ordered, actually – to stay with Pastor Anderson and nurse him! Now here you are, telling me I should have left his side and gone after a woman who, to all intents and purposes, is occupied by just a lustful demon!
He smiled, and his smile wasn’t nice at all for an old man, because in the shadows it was mostly a glint of white teeth, teeth I was yet to know was real or not, and in the darkness of his face and the luminescence of his teeth that smile looked all fangy and wrong.
He pointed a crooked finger at me.
Your game is slow, son. You are the Chosen One, the man God ordered us to obey, and thus you must learn the game on a crash program, buddy. It is just like an Indian reading the forest ground, or the predator stalking its prey. You must know the ground rules, the modus operandi of your foe. You must know when he’s scared enough to ran, and when he’s scared enough to attack. You must sense him, you must live him, you must be him! Damn it, boy, you’re now confusing us all! You should’ve known that once you scared off the demon it was not likely for it to come back for Paul. It would get far away for the time being, and you had all the time to go after it. If you are the One, act like the goddamn One!
I walked up to him and stopped inches from him. My fury was that strong, and I had to hold unto the little human strain in me to stop myself from hitting out at him.
Now I don’t know what the hell you’re rambling on about, old man. I never asked to play your God’s game. It was forced on me, and you’re supposed to guide me. So tell me in plain English what’s going on or stop pestering me! If you want to help, do it, otherwise just shut the **** up and give me space to breathe!
My voice was low, but it felt just as if I had screamed at him.
We stared at each other, and suddenly I saw that it was not all anger that had driven him. Fear was lurking in the inner depths of his faded eyes, and I began to understand why he was so fired up.
At last he stepped back and took a shuddering breath. He nodded, as if secretly coming to terms with something, and did a slow shuffle toward the main door.
I’m sorry, son. I shouldn’t have come on you like that. You know, the Legion gave Shirley an assignment to perform. She was supposed to keep you occupied long enough to allow it to kill Paul. She failed miserably, and you interrupted the Legion at its sweetest point of ecstasy when it had Paul down on his knees. Unfortunately you cut his climax short, and that meant Shirley didn’t do as she was instructed to do. She couldn’t walk the tightrope, and the only way the Legion rewards those who fall off the rope is death.
I stared at him, aghast.
Jesus! You mean Shirley would be killed?
To be continued…
© – Agyeman
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