Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Writer Wednesday

Deliver Us From Evil
Part 1
By: Theresa Oliver

“Where have you been, Cathy?” Roy asked. Rage boiled under the surface as he glared at me with cold, dead eyes.
“At work,” I answered nervously, carrying a bag of groceries into the house, then gingerly shut the door of our mobile home with a sigh. So, it was going to be one of those nights, I thought to myself.
Suddenly, Roy slammed his beer bottle down hard on the wooden coffee table so hard the trailer shook. I jumped, taking a step back. “I called and you weren’t there,” he replied angrily, watching me with his brown eyes, reflecting the fire burning brightly within the fireplace.
“After I left work, I went to the store,” I said, indicating the bag of groceries in my arms. I collected my courage, determined not to let fear show within my eyes. “I don’t have time for this. I’m cooking dinner.” I turned toward the kitchen, but in a flash, he was standing before me, planting his feet firmly. Then he leaned toward me, looking up and down my body as the stench of stale beer wafted to my nostrils. “You’ve been drinking,” I replied, squaring my shoulders, determined not to let him see the fear that filled my sky blue eyes. “Get out of my way.”
“Oh, I think dinner can wait,” he replied, lifting a lock of my long blonde hair to his face, inhaling deeply.
“Get away from me, Roy,” I said, brushing past him. “We’re not doing this anymore.”
But as I passed, he caught my arm, holding it much more tightly than necessary.
“Let go, Roy! You’re hurting me!” I yelled into his face, pushing hard onto his chest, but his chest was solid rock, not giving an inch. That was one of the things that attracted me to him when I first met him in high school. He was great to me then, always the gentleman, sexy, with a great body.  Roy didn’t start showing his true side until about a year after we were married. He started drinking heavily, then soon began pushing me around. And on more than one occasion, he came home late reeking of lady’s perfume.
Suddenly, Roy’s eyes narrowed. “I asked you a question.”
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about,” I replied, trying to brush past him again, but he pushed hard on my shoulders, sending me staggering backward.
“You know very well what I’m talking about!” Roy said, his eyes evil. Then he grabbed me hard by the throat and pushed me against the wall. “Where the hell have you been?”
“I told you!” I said as tears slowly trickled down my cheeks. “I went to the store when I got off work at the diner!”
“You liar!” Roy yelled into my face, gritting his teeth as his eyes flared. “Who were you with?”  Then he slammed my head hard against the dark wood paneled wall, shaking the whole trailer.
“Get off me!” I yelled into his face, barely squeaking out the words, trying to pull his strong hands away from my throat. “I’m not seeing anyone, you moron!”
“Moron? Moron?” he yelled as his face contorted with rage, animalistic. “You bitch!” Roy yelled into my face, then threw me hard onto the floor. He watched as I lay shaking upon the floor and replied with a smirk, “Now who’s the moron?” Then he took a step toward me as I lay writhing upon the floor.
“No, Roy!” I yelled, curling into a ball as he took off his belt, then brought it down hard across my shoulders, cutting into my flesh over and again.
In a flash, he was standing over me, kicking my stomach with his heavy work boot as I thought, God, someone, help me!
But it wasn’t God who came to my rescue.
Later that night, after Roy passed out on the couch, I peeled myself up from the floor with every inch of my body aching and shaking. I made it to the bedroom, pulled myself up to lock the door, and fell into the bed, pulling the covers around my face and neck. I tried to close my eyes, but images of Roy and what he’d done clouded my mind. Why didn’t you come for me? Why didn’t you help me? I asked God as tears slowly streaked down my face, falling onto the white pillowcase beside me. Then I silently prayed the Our Father, pausing at the phrase “Deliver us from evil.”
Yeah, I thought. Not tonight.
Then sleep finally found me, safe under the covers, but I made a vow that Roy would never do this to me again. I needed strength, and I found comfort in knowing I would find it, one way or another.
“Cathy …” a familiar voice yelled through pounding blasts upon the bedroom door as the faint streams of pale yellow sunlight filled the room. “Cathy, are you in there?”
It was my friend, Crystal. She was crazy, funny, and had been my best friend since grade school. And her long dark hair that flowed past her shoulders and pale white skin with deep green eyes added to her mystique. No one dared to mess with her.
“She’s a witch!” one guy told everyone after their first date together. Later, Crystal told me that he had gotten fresh with her, and she decked him.
Just sour grapes, I thought to myself, but I always knew there was something different about her. That was one of the things I liked about Crystal. She was different.
Crystal called herself a psychic, using crystals and Tarot cards to give readings to help her tell the fortunes of people, but she could also read people. She knew what kind of person someone was and what they were up to within a few minutes of their first meeting. In fact, she tried to warn me about Roy years ago, but, being in love, I brushed it off.
“Cathy! Don’t you dare try to shut me out!” Crystal yelled through the door. “I know you’re in there! And if you don’t answer this door, I’m busting it down!”
“Crystal,” I choked out. Every bone and muscle in my body ached.
“Cathy?” My voice must have sounded off, because she practically screamed it through the door. “Don’t worry about Roy! He’s gone to work or wherever he goes, now open this door!”  
“Crystal, I’m coming …” I croaked, trying to sit up, but my sides ached. I wondered if he had broken some of my ribs this time.
“Cathy, stay right there,” Crystal replied, panicked. “I’m coming in.”
“Crystal, don’t break down the door. I’m coming,” I replied, trying to rise from the bed, but fell back onto it just as quickly.
A moment later, the door opened slowly with a long creak. When I looked over, Crystal’s hand was raised and pointed at the door.
“What the hell?” I asked, noticing she hadn’t even touched the door.
“A little trick I learned,” Crystal replied with a smirk, then saw my bruised face. “That son of a bitch! Did he do this to you?”
Immediately, I turned away, trying to hide my face.  
Crystal grabbed my chin firmly in her hand and turned it from side to side. “That’s it! He’s going down!”
“Crystal, you can’t kill him! I’ll call the police …”
“Yeah, right!”  Crystal said, sitting down hard onto the edge of the bed, jostling me.
“Ooowwww,” I said, pulling my face out of her hand. “What the hell?”
“Yeah, what the hell is right!” she replied, leaning back against the foot of my bed, taking a closer look at my face. “Cathy, you won’t call the police! You’ve had so many opportunities to call and you never do!” Crystal thought for a moment, then got up and grabbed a suitcase from the closet and threw it onto the floor, then pulled clothes from the closet and threw them into the black suitcase laying on the floor at super human speed.
“Crystal, no!” I yelled, forcing myself off the bed. “I can’t leave him! He’ll track me down and kill me next time!”
Crystal wheeled on me abruptly. “Listen to yourself, Cathy! But you know what? You’re right! That son of a bitch will kill you next time!” She turned to throw another outfit into the black suitcase laying on the floor, then another one onto the bed. “Here! Get dressed. You’re coming with me.”
“Crystal, he’ll kill you!” I said, panicked, stumbling out of bed. “I can’t go with you!”
Crystal stepped back to look directly into my eyes. Her bright green eyes flared. “Just answer me something, Cathy! Do you want to spend the rest of your life with this guy? Because believe me, it’ll be a short life.”
“I have no other choice …” I said, gingerly pulling my jeans over my curved legs and hips. Even that slight movement hurt.
Crystal suddenly grabbed my hands and looked directly into my eyes. “Yes, you have a choice. You always have a choice.”
My eyebrows pulled together, puzzled. “What are you saying?”
Suddenly, Crystal threw a shirt at me. “Here, put this on! You’re coming with me.”
I grabbed her arm as she passed, then asked, “What are you planning, Crystal?”
“Look, it’s better if you don’t know …”
“Crystal,” I replied, weakly stopping her with just a hand on her arm. “What are you planning on doing?”
“Not me, you.” And I knew from the look in her eyes she was dead serious.
“Crystal, no!” I said, trying to stop her long enough to get her attention. “I’m not strong enough!”
“Look!” Crystal began, “Do you want to be rid of this guy?”
Slowly, I closed my eyes and nodded my head. Yes, I wanted to be rid of him.
“No matter the price?” Crystal asked, looking into my eyes.
“What are you talking about?” I demanded as I slowly slipped into my sandals lying nearby.
Crystal took a step closer. “Oh, I think you do, Cathy.” Then she thought for a moment, obviously wondering how much to tell me. Then she added, “Did you say a prayer last night?
“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked, fearing where this was leading.
“Just answer the question, Cathy!” Crystal screamed, taking my hands into hers as she looked into my eyes. “Did you say a prayer, asking for help last night? For deliverance from evil?”
“How did you know …” I staggered back, shocked.
“That’s what I thought,” Crystal replied, then added. “Cathy, did He deliver you from evil?”
I took a deep breath, feeling it fill my lungs. “No.”
“That’s what I thought,” Crystal said with a smirk. “You know, if I were you, I would want that son of a bitch out of my life no matter what. Do you?”
I plopped down onto a nearby chair, defeated. “How did you get so strong, Crystal? I just wish I was a third as strong as you.”
Crystal grinned, incredulous, then grabbed my suitcase off the floor and propped it against the wall. “You are, Cathy. You just need a little help getting there.”
I slowly walked over to her, my eyebrows pulling together. “What kind of help, Crystal?”
“Well, you asked God for help, and he didn’t come, so why not ask Satan?” Crystal asked, raising an eyebrow over her flaring green eyes.
“Crystal, don’t say that …”
“Why not?” she asked, looking into my eyes. “If it were me, I would want him out at all costs. Including asking for the devil’s help.”
“No, it’s sacrilegious, Crystal!” I wheeled on her, not wanting to hear any of it. “How could you even say it?”
Crystal shrugged. “It’s up to you.”
“Okay, okay, what do I do?” I asked, playing along, not realizing the severity of what I was about to do.
“Say a prayer to him, to Satan, asking for his help,” Crystal said, her green eyes flaring.
I laughed without humor. “You’re serious?”
“Very, but it’s up to you,” Crystal said, then added, “free will and all.”
“Of course,” I laughed not taking her seriously, but something told me that she was. “Okay, Satan, please help me.”
A smirk appeared on Crystal’s face as she waited.
Immediately, I felt something leave my soul, a power, a presence that I never knew I had as my heart sank, turning to ice. “What did you do to me?”
“I didn’t do anything,” Crystal corrected. “You did, but you’re going to be able to take care of that creep now.”
And I knew she was right.  
“But how?” I asked, incredulous. “I feel weaker, not stronger.”
“No, you feel different,” Crystal corrected, then added, picking up the suitcase, “but soon, you’ll feel stronger. And right now, you’re coming with me.”
I nodded, still confused, but followed Crystal as she picked up my suitcase and headed out the door, and I vowed never to come back again. Crystal helped me out to her old Impala and into the passenger seat, then popped the trunk and plopped my suitcase inside.
I slid into the passenger seat and Crystal was there in a flash, closing my door. I leaned back against the head rest and closed my eyes. How could I have let this happen? How could it have come down to this? But I didn’t have control. Roy had taken that away from me long ago.
“You ready?” Crystal asked, clicking the seatbelt over her chest.
“Ready,” I nodded, closing my eyes, but I had no idea what was coming or what I was ready for. But Crystal was right. Something had to be done about Roy.
She turned the key and the engine roared to life, reflecting the storm that was brewing inside my soul. As I watched the scenery passing by, I knew my life had forever changed and would never be the same.
I didn’t really pay attention to where Crystal was taking me. At the moment, I didn’t care. But when the car pulled abruptly to a stop, I looked around and we were in the safety of the woods.
“Where are we?” I asked, looking over at Crystal.
One corner of her lips curled into a smile. “You’ll see.”
“Crystal,” I said, catching her arm. “You know I love you like a sister and I trust you, but what are you into?”
“Oh, I think you know,” Crystal said with a smile. “You’ve known for a long time.”
“Why are you doing this?” I asked, searching her eyes.
Crystal took a breath and looked out the car window, then turned to face me. “Cathy, you’re like a sister to me, too. And sisters protect each other.”
I nodded, understanding.
“Here’s to the sisterhood,” Crystal said, smirking, raising an imaginary glass to me.
“To the sisterhood,” I agreed, without smiling, knowing that wherever this led, I would see it through, for her, if not for me.

This is part one of the two-part short story, Deliver Us From Evil. Part two will appear next week. Theresa Oliver has two more books coming soon, Thou Shalt Not Kill a young adult novel, and her middle grades children's picture book Five Loaves, Two Fish, One Boy and Jesus. 

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