(Mid Sept) Found myself called to Caranty, a suburb of Darclann. Not sure what the Plan is, but am certain He will reveal it when it is time. Until then, will find home and begin my usual mission. Very quiet town, but proximity to a Council may mean higher than usual demon activity.
(Sept cont) Startling to discover how many hybrids in Darclann. Well over 300, without including “side kicks” and “unregs.” Found empty apt complex for sale, not in Caranty, but close enough. Belonged to bank and has been empty for years. Got it cheap. God provides. In very good shape. Several homeless inside. Those willing to help fix up building welcome to stay. Very good start.
(Sept cont) Brother of one of my “tenants” is in construction. Kind enough to donate raw supplies to aid in refurbishment. Even got some of his employees to volunteer for some of the more difficult work. Should have running water and electricity fixed by end of this week. Bottom floor is being converted into community center with lg kitchen. Very pleased. Still waiting for Word. Everything is going well, but this is not why I am here.
(Oct) It’s Joan. Saved her last night from Parasite. Met very interesting children. The girl is gifted and a Believer. I pray she accepts my offer for aid. Did not like leaving her without better protection, but she has strong faith. Joan is hunting Legion. Has been for months. This is why I am here. Legion is too strong, even for her.
(Oct cont) Apt building fully renovated. Community kitchen will start serving meals this week. Praise God for the generosity of this little town. Bernadette has called and agreed to visit the center on Thursday. Must do some research on her gift. Joan has been scarce. Hunting all the time and very quiet. She’s been apart for too long. Must get her to confide in me. Must convince her that she needs help.
(Oct cont) First lesson with B. successful. She Sees Truth. Very tricky, but I believe I can train her to understand what she Sees. She has agreed to continue our lessons on a weekly basis and volunteered to help on the weekends with the center. I am concerned about her brother. He is negative influence, might draw her away. I pray she draws him to the light. J. still having trouble with Legion. Can’t seem to find his trail. She is speaking more now. Says that he might be building a nest. Says Legion is the only demon who is contagious. Must pray on this.
(Oct cont) J. caught an extension of Legion. Locked it in apt basement. Do not like it here. Some tenants can sense it. Worried it might prey on their unstable minds. Told B. not to stop by this week. If she became a host, Legion would have her gift. Very dangerous. J. is using methods to gain info from parasite. I will oversee to keep her safe. Parasite cannot jump hosts right now. I can hold him. Pray God I don’t have to for long.
(Nov) Parasite terminated. Legion planning something big. Can’t be sure what. Wants to create more extensions very quickly. Needs big crowd and needs hybrid involvement. Not sure why. Legion very good at guarding secrets, even from his offspring. B. has resumed training. Showing much improvement, but still suffering. Brother is not supportive, even hostile. Afraid to tell parents. Praying for her daily. Apt bldg looking almost new. Begun work on grounds. Youth very interested in a sports field. Rooftop shows evidence of garden. Will make repairs and have ready for planting in spring. Tenants in much better health without Parasite.
“PETER!” Joan’s voice is unmistakable now. I am grateful for the progress she has made back to humanity. Despite the urgency of her call, or perhaps, because of it, I finish my prayers and place my worn Bible gingerly back on my bedside table. With an old man’s grunt and the creaking of aging joints, I rise from my kneeling position and wonder yet again why I don’t make a pillow for my worn out knees. Seconds later, the girl bursts through my apartment door and storms into my sparsely furnished bedroom. Her eyes are a startling green, growing paler by the second.
“What is it, dear girl?” I ask with genuine concern. Her stony expression is always difficult to read. Her eyebrows are always puckered low over her large, almond eyes. Her mouth is always a slight frown. The only things that ever seems to change are her luminous eyes. Brown indicates calm. Yellow-green means she is on the hunt. Her pupils are contracted into needle-thin slits, very like a cat’s eye. Even knowing her as long as I have, this alteration in her appearance still bothers me.
She does not deign to answer me immediately, but crosses the room to my little closet, pulls out my olive-green duffel bag and starts packing it with my tools. And by tools, I mean the tools used to dispatch parasitic demons from their hosts. There are no mystical runes etched on the blades of the daggers or enchantments on the battle-axe. I do not even own a single vial of Holy Water. However, they are all very sharp and all fell into my possession through divine providence. And since they belong to me and I Believe, I have no doubt whatever of their effectiveness. Joan’s efficiency in packing for me is only matched by her customary silence. When she is finished, she tosses the bag at me and storms out the way she came. She is under the assumption that I will automatically follow her. It is a correct assumption.
Most of the tenants of my little four-story apartment complex are not paying rent. They were squatting here when I bought the building, homeless for various reasons. Chief among those reasons was a penchant for unbalanced mental capacities. I have been working with them over the last couple of months, healing gradually what modern medicine would deem incurable. I am happy with the progress we have made, but I am also grateful that so few of them are fully healed because a perfectly sane person might question a teenage girl strolling through the lobby/community center of the building with a three-foot sword strapped to her belt, not to mention the three smaller throwing knives and the miniature crossbow on her wrist. I silently praise God when my tenants wave vaguely at us before turning back to the riveting game of hopscotch some of the small children have started. Please, God, if this is my time, do not let them fall. Lend them another of your servants.
The parking lot directly in front of the apartments was mostly a field of cracked pavement, weeds and rubbish surrounded a rusted, old fence. In my mind’s eye, I see my little community pulling up the weeds, repaving the asphalt, cleaning out the trash and putting up a new fence around a small children’s park right where the crack addicts used to pitch their tents. So many possibilities. The gate is off its hinges, which affects the security of the mostly downed fence not at all, and sitting alone in the parking lot is a rusty, beat-up two-door coupe. The car has had a long, eventful life and is now living out its retirement acting as the community transport. It is responsible for picking up groceries, attending doctor’s appointments, taking children to school, transporting tenants to jobs if they have them, and visiting nearby families. The keys always remain in the ignition and anyone can drive it provided they have a licence. Some might call this naive, trusting a bunch of strangers (poor, homeless strangers) with something that can easily be sold to help finance a bad habit. I suppose I simply have a great deal of faith and I am not overly concerned about a dumpy car on its last leg disappearing into the sunset. If it is stolen, I will simply acquire another. God always provides.
My duffel is dumped unceremoniously over the passenger seat into the back. The car, after a few very rough coughs, starts up with a very loud rumbling that probably means it is in dire need of attention. However, it is running, it has gas and there is even the possibility that the heater might start working any day now. Until that happy incidence, I will happily clutch the steering wheel with the thick gloves that Mrs. Prinn, (rm 27) knit for me.
“Well, we are bundled up, sitting in the car with an impressive selection of weaponry in the back seat and strapped about your person. Was there any place in particular you wanted to go or did you simply feel the urge to dress up?” Joan’s abilities allow her to absorb many things from people: gifts, memories, even language. As of yet, she has not been successful in absorbing a sense of humor.
“Hawthorne High School,” she replies without a trace of a smile. She glares into the dark afternoon as though the patches of snow on the hood have offended her. Knowing full well I will not receive any further information from her, I back out of the parking lot and set off for the school. There is only one thing this could be about. She has found Legion.