Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Outside the Door

Mrs. Stella Smyth met the three men out at the gate.  The unaffected children had been placed in the care of her sister's family due to the unsettling commotion that her husband and sons relentlessly made throughout the nights.

As they drew nearer the root cellar in which they had been led, Murdock said, "The reek in the air is of death, not of mere possession."  John looked to Westbrook with grim expression upon his face.  They confided nothing else while in Tom Campbell's presence.  They had the countenance of professionals who had dealt with such matters on a regular basis.

Tom Campbell quickly dismounted and neared the root cellar door to unlatch it.  John politely but firmly instructed Mr. Campbell to not do so.  "We must have permission to enter this property Mr. Campbell.  We do not have authority here until we have been given that permission.

 Mr. Campbell replied, "Ms. Stella sent for you, I know that it is alright with her."

"It is perilous to assume such things.  We must be assured of our authority to operate here."  Tom shook his head and looked to his friend's wife.  "Ms. Stella, I think you better talk to these two men personally.  I am at a loss as to what they are saying - what these gentlemen are asking."  It was not the Scottish brogue of John and Murdock's dialect, but the rather the meaning of what they were saying.

Stella then looked toward the two strangers standing before her.  "What is it of me that you need to help my family?" Whatever you need, I will give you gentlemen gladly.  My husband and I have little saved, but I will give you what little money I have; food, animals, whatever we have that you require of us."

John smiled as he approached Mrs. Smyth.  He took off his hat and spoke softly. "I do not come asking for anything from you other than to be welcome in this place and to release you of this burden..."

"That I freely give you sir."

"...but know madam, that this is not going to be easy for you.  If you allow my brother and myself the authority here, this day will be a dreadful day for you.  If you allow the presence of God here, no matter the pain and loss you suffer this day, you and your children will be free of this curse.  You must do this of your own free will, not of mine or of any other."

"I do not understand Reverend, but I give you whatever permission you ask."

John kept his eyes fixed on Stella during their conversation.  His eyes remained on her as a brief silence followed.  He was thinking - he knew - this woman - like so many people before her, in like occasions before, that she had not an inkling as to the situation, the cost of what would need to transpire.

"Very well, thank you Mrs. Smyth.

Mr Campbell asked, "Is there anything I can do?"

Murdock asked Tom, "Are you saved?"

Tom, "Saved?"

"Sir, if you wish to help, you must be saved.  If you don't want harm to come to you, you must be born again," Murdock replied.  "If you don't comprehend what I am asking of you ~ you must not tarry here."

"I don't understand anything you are saying.  I know you two are here to do good and convinced you can help, but I do not understand.  Can you just go in there and help them?"

Murdock understood that he and his brother were peculiar in the eyes of many people.  They had long been accustomed to it.  He frequently prayed that he could speak not just boldly, but clearly and with appropriate compassion. He was at a loss on how to relay to this man the danger at hand.

"A doctor has knowledge as to what is going on beneath the skin of the illness festering within his patient. It would be difficult to explain to a loved one what would appear a cruel invasion a surgery upon the body.  Often to save the body, one must lose an appendage.  It is like this with God.  His concern for us isn't just the external and temporary, but more importantly, the inner part of our being that is unseen and eternal."  Murdock pointed to the door, "We did not come here to wrestle with flesh and blood, but principalities and darkness."

Tom looked down at the ground and then back toward the cellar door. "If you can't use my help, just say it."

Murdock continued, "If we spill out the demonic spirits in this place, they will find the next available vessel to inhabit...and it that vessel might be you!"

"Please help me, just help us,"
pleaded Mrs. Smyth.

John affirmed, "Mrs. Smyth, we have come to help save your family, your children and children's children from a curse.  We have also come to help to save you too Mr. Campbell."  Tom maintained a look of bewilderment.

John and Murdock walked their horses a short distance to a watering troth.  They stood in the the shade and shadow of an ancient oak tree - seemingly to confer with one another.  Mrs. Smyth and Mr. Campbell stood near the root cellar quietly waiting for the two men to do something.  Both men stood at a distance for a while, Stella nor Campbell could not tell which silhouette belonged to who.  They could tell that one of the men was laying hands onto the shoulder of the other.  The other silhouette had a hand raised up toward heaven with what seemed to be a book in it. Tom and Stella strained their eyes on the peculiar scene transpiring beneath the tree.  After thirty minutes or so the two men walked back to the troth to retrieve their horses.  They then led the horses back to where they had been standing and tied the beasts to a low hanging branch of the oak where  it was cool and plenty of shade.

John tucked his Bible back into his saddle bag and retrieved his sawed-off shotgun.
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