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Rain No Evil Chapter 19

Jolly Father Nick

The aroma of hazelnut coffee wafts to my bedroom, enticing me to dress quicker. Wish I had Dad’s punctuality gene. I join him downstairs, relishing

the thought of a bicker-free breakfast since Alex left for work hours ago.

 

“Mornin, Dad,” I say, tucking my arm under his. “They look scrumptious.” I snag a raspberry-flled donut from the variety pack he’s placed on the counter. “Should be an interesting morning.”
Dad’s spoon clinks on his mug as he stirs in creamer. “Excitement follows you, my dear. Always has. When you were still in diapers, you ran around the house like a leprechaun looking for that pot of gold.”
“Still looking.” I say, smiling and propping my elbows onto the counter. “Only now I know peace is the only gold I need. I’d trade all the coins in my pot for a taste of it.”
Dad strokes my head with his free hand. “There’s a season for everything, dear, and your season of peace has to be next on your wheel of fortune.”
The boys pile down wearing their jammies and chomp into chocolate cream-flled bliss before attempting to teach Dad to manipulate the X-box controls so he can make a touchdown on Madden.

 

I hear gravel crunching in the driveway and peek out the kitchen door to see a hefty man reaching across the front seat of an older model Chevy sedan.

 

“Boys, get your clothes on pronto!” I say to the virtual football team sprawled out on the couch.
I open the door as a man dressed in black from the tips of his toes to the top of his head is preparing to rap. He removes his black ivy cap, revealing a shiny, smooth head and with a nod, extends his hand. Like the white color around his neck, an air of authority surrounds him.

 

“Hello,” I say, stepping back to let him enter. “It’s nice to meet you, uh, Father.” I feel awkward—haven’t addressed anyone as Father before—not even my dad. “Alex is at work. He would have liked to have met you.”
Damn. Not three sentences in and I’m lying to the priest.
“This is my dad, Cal,” I say as Dad steps forward and clasps our visitor’s hand. “A pleasure,” Dad says.
Releasing the handshake, Father smooths his long fngers over his bare head. “We’ll manage just fne without Alex. God doesn’t need the help.”

 

Seems a no-nonsense sort of fellow with a queer sense of humor; I like him already.
Father graciously accepts coffee and a glazed pastry, and plops into the recliner in the corner. “So, what’s this about a spirit in your house?” he says, looking toward my plastic–covered treasures. “I see you have made good use of your table.”

 

Dad sits on the sofa opposite me and nods for me to do the honors of initiating our holy guest.
“It started over a week ago with one drop of water in the hall upstairs. Ever since then, it’s been spraying all over the house. None of the repairmen—and we’ve had tons of them—can fnd a leak. So, I was praying and God told me it’s a spirit. At frst we thought water was spraying out from the ceiling, but yesterday

I saw it splatter from the air—like an invisible water balloon. And Isaac’s seen freaky things like a girl foat through the room, handprints in his wall . . .”

 

Dad’s eyes look like full moons over his coffee cup, and I realize I may have forgotten to share a few of the goblin tales with him, but I continue. “A demon with horns, a foating eyeball, and a black fgure Isaac says I walked through—even our tires are being busted by a man dressed in black.”

 

Father Nick stops me with a wave of his hand. “Tires? On your vehicles?”

 

After everything I’ve told him, he’s asking about tires?
“Yes, tires, oh and every time Ben fushes the commode down here,” I say pointing toward the half-bath, water from it hits the ceiling like a gusher.” I need to slow down and let Father process the details I’m lobbing at him, but my mind’s in the last lap of the Kentucky derby. No bridle can slow it down.

 

“I even saw a demon in my mirror!” If that doesn’t persuade him that there’s evil in this house, I don’t know what will.
Father swallows hard on the donut and studies his long fngers that are rubbing the leather arm of the recliner as if massaging it helps him understand our predicament. His face is stoic.
Good. He’s not dismissing the possibility of an evil presence.

 

“Sounds like you may have more than one visitor here. Like I told you on the phone, often a restless spirit is responsible for paranormal activity like what you have described with the water, but these other apparitions, well, I haven’t had experience with, you say, a foating eyeball.” Father chuckles like jolly Saint Nick. “That worse than seeing the whole creature?”

 

“Exactly what I thought when Isaac told me!” I say. We both have an odd sense of humor. Maybe it’s a sign he’s divinely appointed to liberate my house.
“What’s the difference between a restless spirit and a ghost?”

 

“There’s not,” Father says. “They’re both the manifestation of a dead person’s spirit into the physical realm. The restless spirit or ghost refuses to transition to the afterlife. A house blessing instructing the person to move into the light usually alleviates any further disturbances.”
“Wow—that’s just like the movie Poltergeist,” I say.

 

Father stands and brushes the crumbs from his rotund belly into his empty mug. “In the house I grew up in the whole family regularly heard chains dragging across the attic foor when no one was up there,” he says, pulling a plastic bottle from his shirt pocket. He displays a bottle that’s adorned with a gold Celtic cross, explaining that it contains holy water, which has been blessed by his superior, Monsignor somebody.

 

“We will start the blessing where the water frst fell,” Father says, tucking his worn Bible case under his arm.
I lead the way upstairs, my entourage following.

 

“There’s no getting around getting old. Knees are the frst to go,” Father says. The boys scamper from their bedrooms as Father’s booming voice flls the stairwell. “Nice looking lads,” Father says, extending his right hand to Ben.
“Now, what’s your name?”
Ben returns the hearty handshake. “Benjamin, Sir.”

 

Father looks like he’s going to blow out a candle. “Oh, looks and manners I see. Good job, Mom.” Father blinks approval my way. “And this young man is . . .”

 

“Isaac,” I say, Isaac inching closer to me and accepting Father’s hand.

“Hello, Isaac. You’re the one seeing apparitions?”
Isaac scrunches his eyebrows my way.

 

“An apparition is like the handprint in the wall,” I say. “It’s something you see that no one else does.”
“Oh, yeah,” Isaac says, nodding at Father.
Dad points to the ceiling where a circular stain pattern is displayed. “That’s where the frst drop came from.”

 

Father shakes his bald head, rubbing it like he’s trying to bore his head into his hand. “I see. Let’s get this shindig started.” He slides a printed copy of something out from between the pages in his Bible, unfolds it and hands it to me saying, “You read where the ‘R’ is.”

 

There’s a script to this house-blessing thing? Heck, I thought Father would sprinkle his water and say the magic words himself sort of like Shakespeare’s Puck.
Looking at the tiny print written in play form, I see the ‘R’s’ alternate with the ‘F’s’ which probably mean Father.
“What’s the ‘R’ stand for?” I ask.
Father says, “Response. Now, Isaac, son, do you read?”

 

Isaac’s got that puzzled look again. Father must not work with seven year olds much. The prayer I’m holding is written at adult level.
“He’s only in third grade,” I say, “but Ben can.”

 

“Ok, Ben share with your mom,” Father says, handing Dad a copy and pulling a pair of glasses from his pocket, letting them rest low on the ridge of his rather nubby nose. This guy’s face radiates so much goodness that he could power up a light bulb with his mouth like Uncle Fester.

 

Father dribbles sacred water from the bottle onto his fngertips then draws an invisible sign of the cross. In a robust baritone, the words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” ring throughout the enclosed hall.

 

I always wondered why Catholics draw the symbol in the air, but now doesn’t seem to be an appropriate time to ask.

 

Father continues, “Peace be with this house and with all who live here.” Doesn’t seem fair that Alex doesn’t have to be here to reap the peace. Following the prayer, Father recites something about Christ becoming man via a virgin birth and how God told the disciples to stay only in peaceful houses and eat what is given to them there.

 

Father clears his throat and fips his palm open like he’s receiving a gift. “Oh, sorry.” I say, searching my paper for the frst capital R. “Ok. Happy are those who fear the Lord.”

 

Father’s turn. “An evil report he shall not fear; his heart is from, trust in the Lord. His heart is steadfast; he looks down up on his foes.”
Our turn. I nudge Ben who nudges me back. “Happy are those who fear the Lord,” we all chant.
Turning his page, Father’s voice rises in progression with the invocation for God’s help. “In you every dwelling grows into a holy temple. Grant that those who live in this house may be built up together into the dwelling place of God in the Holy Spirit.”

 

Our turn: “Lord, hear our prayer.” We’re getting the hang of this mantra thing now. Father belts out an, “Amen,” and squeezes the bottle of holy water. Water dribbles onto the walls and floor. Father squirts his way through the upstairs and makes his way back to Isaac’s room where he says, “Ah, yes, we need to say an extra prayer here.”

I turn and make eye contact with the boys who are behind me and mime,“Close your eyes.”
Father signs and invokes the trinity. “Any person who is deceased and hanging around this house, know that this is someone else’s house and you may no longer stay here. Restless spirits abiding here move into the light, allow the light, God’s light, to surround you and be at peace. You are safe in the light.”

 

“Here,” Father says, placing the bottle into Isaac’s hand. “You try. Just aim and squeeze.”

 

Isaac raises his eyebrows, staring at the bottle as if he’s been asked to stick his hand in a rattlesnake hole.

portfolio > book

Rain No Evil Chapter 19

Jolly Father Nick

The aroma of hazelnut coffee wafts to my bedroom, enticing me to dress quicker. Wish I had Dad’s punctuality gene. I join him downstairs, relishing

the thought of a bicker-free breakfast since Alex left for work hours ago.

 

“Mornin, Dad,” I say, tucking my arm under his. “They look scrumptious.” I snag a raspberry-flled donut from the variety pack he’s placed on the counter. “Should be an interesting morning.”
Dad’s spoon clinks on his mug as he stirs in creamer. “Excitement follows you, my dear. Always has. When you were still in diapers, you ran around the house like a leprechaun looking for that pot of gold.”
“Still looking.” I say, smiling and propping my elbows onto the counter. “Only now I know peace is the only gold I need. I’d trade all the coins in my pot for a taste of it.”
Dad strokes my head with his free hand. “There’s a season for everything, dear, and your season of peace has to be next on your wheel of fortune.”
The boys pile down wearing their jammies and chomp into chocolate cream-flled bliss before attempting to teach Dad to manipulate the X-box controls so he can make a touchdown on Madden.

 

I hear gravel crunching in the driveway and peek out the kitchen door to see a hefty man reaching across the front seat of an older model Chevy sedan.

 

“Boys, get your clothes on pronto!” I say to the virtual football team sprawled out on the couch.
I open the door as a man dressed in black from the tips of his toes to the top of his head is preparing to rap. He removes his black ivy cap, revealing a shiny, smooth head and with a nod, extends his hand. Like the white color around his neck, an air of authority surrounds him.

 

“Hello,” I say, stepping back to let him enter. “It’s nice to meet you, uh, Father.” I feel awkward—haven’t addressed anyone as Father before—not even my dad. “Alex is at work. He would have liked to have met you.”
Damn. Not three sentences in and I’m lying to the priest.
“This is my dad, Cal,” I say as Dad steps forward and clasps our visitor’s hand. “A pleasure,” Dad says.
Releasing the handshake, Father smooths his long fngers over his bare head. “We’ll manage just fne without Alex. God doesn’t need the help.”

 

Seems a no-nonsense sort of fellow with a queer sense of humor; I like him already.
Father graciously accepts coffee and a glazed pastry, and plops into the recliner in the corner. “So, what’s this about a spirit in your house?” he says, looking toward my plastic–covered treasures. “I see you have made good use of your table.”

 

Dad sits on the sofa opposite me and nods for me to do the honors of initiating our holy guest.
“It started over a week ago with one drop of water in the hall upstairs. Ever since then, it’s been spraying all over the house. None of the repairmen—and we’ve had tons of them—can fnd a leak. So, I was praying and God told me it’s a spirit. At frst we thought water was spraying out from the ceiling, but yesterday

I saw it splatter from the air—like an invisible water balloon. And Isaac’s seen freaky things like a girl foat through the room, handprints in his wall . . .”

 

Dad’s eyes look like full moons over his coffee cup, and I realize I may have forgotten to share a few of the goblin tales with him, but I continue. “A demon with horns, a foating eyeball, and a black fgure Isaac says I walked through—even our tires are being busted by a man dressed in black.”

 

Father Nick stops me with a wave of his hand. “Tires? On your vehicles?”

 

After everything I’ve told him, he’s asking about tires?
“Yes, tires, oh and every time Ben fushes the commode down here,” I say pointing toward the half-bath, water from it hits the ceiling like a gusher.” I need to slow down and let Father process the details I’m lobbing at him, but my mind’s in the last lap of the Kentucky derby. No bridle can slow it down.

 

“I even saw a demon in my mirror!” If that doesn’t persuade him that there’s evil in this house, I don’t know what will.
Father swallows hard on the donut and studies his long fngers that are rubbing the leather arm of the recliner as if massaging it helps him understand our predicament. His face is stoic.
Good. He’s not dismissing the possibility of an evil presence.

 

“Sounds like you may have more than one visitor here. Like I told you on the phone, often a restless spirit is responsible for paranormal activity like what you have described with the water, but these other apparitions, well, I haven’t had experience with, you say, a foating eyeball.” Father chuckles like jolly Saint Nick. “That worse than seeing the whole creature?”

 

“Exactly what I thought when Isaac told me!” I say. We both have an odd sense of humor. Maybe it’s a sign he’s divinely appointed to liberate my house.
“What’s the difference between a restless spirit and a ghost?”

 

“There’s not,” Father says. “They’re both the manifestation of a dead person’s spirit into the physical realm. The restless spirit or ghost refuses to transition to the afterlife. A house blessing instructing the person to move into the light usually alleviates any further disturbances.”
“Wow—that’s just like the movie Poltergeist,” I say.

 

Father stands and brushes the crumbs from his rotund belly into his empty mug. “In the house I grew up in the whole family regularly heard chains dragging across the attic foor when no one was up there,” he says, pulling a plastic bottle from his shirt pocket. He displays a bottle that’s adorned with a gold Celtic cross, explaining that it contains holy water, which has been blessed by his superior, Monsignor somebody.

 

“We will start the blessing where the water frst fell,” Father says, tucking his worn Bible case under his arm.
I lead the way upstairs, my entourage following.

 

“There’s no getting around getting old. Knees are the frst to go,” Father says. The boys scamper from their bedrooms as Father’s booming voice flls the stairwell. “Nice looking lads,” Father says, extending his right hand to Ben.
“Now, what’s your name?”
Ben returns the hearty handshake. “Benjamin, Sir.”

 

Father looks like he’s going to blow out a candle. “Oh, looks and manners I see. Good job, Mom.” Father blinks approval my way. “And this young man is . . .”

 

“Isaac,” I say, Isaac inching closer to me and accepting Father’s hand.

“Hello, Isaac. You’re the one seeing apparitions?”
Isaac scrunches his eyebrows my way.

 

“An apparition is like the handprint in the wall,” I say. “It’s something you see that no one else does.”
“Oh, yeah,” Isaac says, nodding at Father.
Dad points to the ceiling where a circular stain pattern is displayed. “That’s where the frst drop came from.”

 

Father shakes his bald head, rubbing it like he’s trying to bore his head into his hand. “I see. Let’s get this shindig started.” He slides a printed copy of something out from between the pages in his Bible, unfolds it and hands it to me saying, “You read where the ‘R’ is.”

 

There’s a script to this house-blessing thing? Heck, I thought Father would sprinkle his water and say the magic words himself sort of like Shakespeare’s Puck.
Looking at the tiny print written in play form, I see the ‘R’s’ alternate with the ‘F’s’ which probably mean Father.
“What’s the ‘R’ stand for?” I ask.
Father says, “Response. Now, Isaac, son, do you read?”

 

Isaac’s got that puzzled look again. Father must not work with seven year olds much. The prayer I’m holding is written at adult level.
“He’s only in third grade,” I say, “but Ben can.”

 

“Ok, Ben share with your mom,” Father says, handing Dad a copy and pulling a pair of glasses from his pocket, letting them rest low on the ridge of his rather nubby nose. This guy’s face radiates so much goodness that he could power up a light bulb with his mouth like Uncle Fester.

 

Father dribbles sacred water from the bottle onto his fngertips then draws an invisible sign of the cross. In a robust baritone, the words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” ring throughout the enclosed hall.

 

I always wondered why Catholics draw the symbol in the air, but now doesn’t seem to be an appropriate time to ask.

 

Father continues, “Peace be with this house and with all who live here.” Doesn’t seem fair that Alex doesn’t have to be here to reap the peace. Following the prayer, Father recites something about Christ becoming man via a virgin birth and how God told the disciples to stay only in peaceful houses and eat what is given to them there.

 

Father clears his throat and fips his palm open like he’s receiving a gift. “Oh, sorry.” I say, searching my paper for the frst capital R. “Ok. Happy are those who fear the Lord.”

 

Father’s turn. “An evil report he shall not fear; his heart is from, trust in the Lord. His heart is steadfast; he looks down up on his foes.”
Our turn. I nudge Ben who nudges me back. “Happy are those who fear the Lord,” we all chant.
Turning his page, Father’s voice rises in progression with the invocation for God’s help. “In you every dwelling grows into a holy temple. Grant that those who live in this house may be built up together into the dwelling place of God in the Holy Spirit.”

 

Our turn: “Lord, hear our prayer.” We’re getting the hang of this mantra thing now. Father belts out an, “Amen,” and squeezes the bottle of holy water. Water dribbles onto the walls and floor. Father squirts his way through the upstairs and makes his way back to Isaac’s room where he says, “Ah, yes, we need to say an extra prayer here.”

I turn and make eye contact with the boys who are behind me and mime,“Close your eyes.”
Father signs and invokes the trinity. “Any person who is deceased and hanging around this house, know that this is someone else’s house and you may no longer stay here. Restless spirits abiding here move into the light, allow the light, God’s light, to surround you and be at peace. You are safe in the light.”

 

“Here,” Father says, placing the bottle into Isaac’s hand. “You try. Just aim and squeeze.”

 

Isaac raises his eyebrows, staring at the bottle as if he’s been asked to stick his hand in a rattlesnake hole.