Smashwords Edition, License Notes




НазваниеSmashwords Edition, License Notes
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Epilogue


For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind


Hosea 8:7


Donnie followed Jerry down the steps of the legal office, heading for the parking garage across the street. All charges against Jerry had been dropped, and a plea bargain had reduced Donnie’s to a short laundry list of misdemeanors like trespassing, disturbing the peace and unlawful assembly, that would likely lead to no jail time. In exchange, he would testify against Mac for murder and arson. He was back in business, if he wanted to be.

Mac was both lucky and not so lucky. He was alive, that was the lucky part, but he had one less kidney and several feet less colon than before. He was also facing likely murder and arson convictions once he healed.

But the incident had only galvanized his congregation. So in that way, he was lucky. How many potential martyrs survived to reap the fruits of their martyrdom?

Donnie paused on the sidewalk to admire the warm November afternoon that the Lord had seen fit to bless them with. “I wanted to tell you, Jerry. I’ve been having some long talks with God throughout this whole ordeal, and I’ve decided—”

Did you tell him I said hi?”

Donnie frowned. “Please Jer, there’s no reason to blaspheme.”

Just joking.”

Anyhow ….” He regathered his thoughts. “I’ve been thinking of reorganizing the Ministry. I don’t have the strength or the will anymore to handle these hard-core Deliverance cases. It’s time for the young guns to take over some of the nitty gritty. Folks like Rand, once he gets through Divinity School. So I’ve been thinking of splitting our operations into two distinct divisions separating spirit counseling from the actual exorcism of souls.”

Spirit counseling? Don’t you mean spiritual?”

No. I mean spirit. The idea being that we counsel the invading entity, as well as the host. It’s the Jewish way. I’ve been researching the Kabbalah. It makes a lot of sense to me, and it’s still in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The souls that invade are people, too. They need help as much as the victims. In some cases perhaps a less invasive, more nurturing approach would prove more fruitful that a brute force approach.”

Kabbalah, huh? I don’t know Donnie. That sounds kind of weird.”

Weird? But don’t you see how that would apply to some of our more intractable cases? We get spirits healed from both ends—victim and victimizer. That way we unleash synergies that lubricate both souls and allow them to let go of each other.”

Whatever you say, Donnie. I just wonder how these Ministers you deal with will reach once you tell them you’re reading from the Kabbalah. I mean, what next, the Koran?”

The Bible, Jer, is not a comprehensive document. I see it more as a beginner’s guide to the universe. You can’t expect to fit everything there is to know about souls in a single volume.”

That’s fine, Donnie. But I think you’re going to need more than two divisions.”

Donnie smiled. “Ah! Of course. You’re lobbying for your pet interest – cryptozoology. Something that better exploits your particular talent. Am I right? Do I know you or what?”

Well, I don’t know about the zoology part,” said Jerry. “I mean, not all these things are animals.”

I cede your point. Maybe something like exo- or xeno-demonology would be more accurate.”

I’m not so sure we’re even talking about demons, in some of these cases.”

If they’re not demons or ghosts then I’m not interested,” said Donnie. “Then it becomes animal control, not a matter for clergy.”

But Donnie how would you know the difference? Don’t demons run free sometimes?”

Hmm, I see what you mean. In certain cases the distinction might be hard to divine.” Donnie rubbed his chin. “How about if we called them cryptic entities or simply cryptics?” Donnie slapped Jerry’s shoulder. “How does VP, Last Hope Ministry Division of Cryptics sound to you, Jer? Wouldn’t that look good on a business card?”

You know, I do kind of like the sound of that,” said Jerry.

Ah, I can’t wait to get back to Athens,” said Donnie. “See what Beryl’s got cooking for us on the backburner. Come on, I’ll buy you lunch. We don’t have to be at the airport till four. What are you in the mood for?”

I don’t know. I always go for barbecue, if there’s any chance it might be good.”

Nuh-uh. No barbecue. No chicken. Nothing like that. Not till we get back home. This is Ithaca, New York we’re talking about. When in Rome, do as the Romans.” He looked across the street. “How does vegetarian sound to you, Jer? I’ve heard good things about this Moosewood place.”

Not exactly my style,” said Jerry. “But I’ll try anything once.”

Good. Because … I don’t think there’s a demon yet that’s been able to possess a broccoli stalk.”

You might be surprised.”

As Donnie stepped off the curb, Jerry barred him with his arm. He looked both ways, but could see no cars coming.

What’s wrong, Jer?”

And then he saw the dust devil come spinning down the street, persisting far too long for a simple twist and convection of wind. It scooped a potato chip bag and a Styrofoam cup off the street and whipped them into the sky.


*****


THE END
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