We’ve reached Part One. 4. of Soul Cages. It’s rather short, so I am going to add 5 in as well. When we last left off, Marian had found out about Sydney and was searching in the back yard for other marks by her. ( PG-13 )
Second edition copyright © 2014 by Lynn Kilmore
Published by Osuna Publishing
This story is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Part One. Dreams in the Desert
Henry and I lingered outside long after everyone else went in. I’d had no luck finding any other Sydney carvings. I took pictures with my cell phone of the house and sent them to Nicole.
Mom came outside to get us. “Rather rude to stay out here, Marian; you know Henry copies you.”
But I could tell Mom’s heart wasn’t in it. Mom’d been able to have a long talk with Gena and Andervender without Henry interrupting every five minutes.
Inside, the Andervenders stood in the front hall. Waiting to say good-bye. Thank God.
I covertly studied John. Whatever he felt at being in Sydney’s house had been shut down tight.
After the good-byes were finished, we had to gather in a prayer circle and hold hands (except for Henry, who couldn’t be coaxed into doing it) while Pastor Andervender said a quick prayer.
Matthew cleared his throat after the prayer was finished.
“The Youth Group meeting is Sunday at five,” Matthew said to me. “We order pizza, so you don’t have to worry about dinner. I’ll give you a ride since you can’t drive.”
My temper flared at the words can’t drive. “I have my license, I just need insurance.”
My parents shifted in discomfort, but nodded at Matthew.
Matthew said, “I’ll pick you up at four-thirty.”
How dare he just assume I’ll go.
I watched John try to subtly step on Matthew’s toes to let him know he’d screwed up—and then stop in mid-squeeze as he realized I’d caught him doing it.
As I opened my mouth to say No, Mom interjected with “That should be fine. I’m sure she’ll have a great time.”
No, no, no.
But if I go a few times, and then quit, Mom and Dad can’t accuse me of not giving Youth Group a fair shot.
Andervender filled the silence by saying, “The Youth Group is for ages thirteen and up. That is why your brother cannot go.”
If I refuse outright, I’ll never hear the end of it.
I said, “I’ll be ready.” My stomach sank as Matthew smirked at his brother.
I peered behind the living room curtains, and watched all the Andervenders, except John, climb into a SUV. John got into a battered blue truck.
Dad noticed me staring at the truck. “I don’t want to hear anything about insurance. It costs too much to insure you right now. John needs a truck to help his dad with the congregation.”
Mom gave Henry his backpack. She said to him, “Why don’t you watch a Scooby-Doo episode? We’re going to talk to Marian.”
My parents motioned for me to go toward the home office. I dragged my feet, trying to postpone the inevitable talk. The home office had two barred windows. There was no place to sit, so I leaned my back against a wall.
Mom and Dad waited for the other to start.
Finally Mom said to Dad, “Gena’s my friend, so I’ll explain the healings.” She said to me, “Things are going to be different out here. A fresh start, for all of us.”
Dad looked at Mom, who nodded encouragement. “Mom won’t be looking for a job.”
My mouth dropped open. “But Mom loves selling furniture. She’s great at it.” My mind raced for a good argument to change her mind. “And she’s always loved the Santa Fe style. Here she could travel all over New Mexico to find pieces to sell.”
I watched in shock as Mom clasped her hands together and bowed her head forward, in what looked to be contrition. Mom said, “Gena has shown me how critical it is for a mother to be with her children, to protect them and show them the right path, to teach them about God.”
Dad wrapped an arm around Mom. “That’s why we’re not going to be able to afford to put you on the insurance for the car.” He cleared his throat. “I was unable to get an increase in salary to join Nusystech, but we wanted to move now, not later, so I took the job anyway. I’ve sold my sports car. Money is going to be very tight for awhile.”
“Without access to a car,” I said, “it’ll be harder for me to find a job to save up tuition.”
Dad said, “We were thinking you could … postpone looking for part-time work, to help Mom out until Henry is older.”
No, I can’t be hearing this.
Mom said, “God willing, Henry will be cured, but he’ll still need guidance and supervision until he catches up with his peers. And you’ve always said working with Henry was good training for being an OT.”
My parents hadn’t dared to say it—yet—but they wanted me postpone college to take care of Henry. NO. “How am I supposed to pay for college if I don’t work?”
“Henry needs you,” Mom said. “You’re his sister.”
I felt guilt twist inside.
“Let me tell you the rest of it,” Mom said. She picked up my left hand and patted it. “I have to tell you a story. I didn’t tell you before, because I knew you’d think that Gena and Pastor Andervender were mistaken. But they aren’t.”
You held off because you both knew I’d ask Aunt Letty for advice. Now the move is a done deal, and Letty’s overseas teaching for summer break.
I tried to wriggle my hand out of Mom’s, but Mom held on tight. I couldn’t get my hand free without a scene. Mom kept patting it like I was an upset child.
Mom said, “About a year-and-a-half ago, Gena’s youngest son Luke got pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. No matter what the doctors tried, Luke kept getting sicker and sicker.”
I stepped sideways to try to get away from the patting hand. No such luck. Both Mom and Dad had a look of hope that made me cringe inside. What would they do if disappointed (again) in curing Henry? The last failure had been awful.
“Anyways,” Mom said, “Luke slipped into unconsciousness. So Pastor Andervender decided to do one last laying on of hands for healing. He gathered up the family at Luke’s bedside—himself, Gena, Matthew, and John. Mark was too young, so he was with Barbara. Pastor Andervender laid his hands on Luke that evening, and prayed. Luke was healed by morning!”
Mom waited for me to exclaim in amazement. When I didn’t, she frowned. Mom said, “It was Gena’s turn to stay overnight with Luke—John stayed with her to help—and around five a.m., while Gena was sleeping, Luke became conscious and asked for water. A miracle healing.”
I was less than impressed.
Mom dropped my hand. “Since then,” Mom added, “there have been two other unexplainable healings at First Beginnings. A remarkable recovery from a stroke by Mrs. Girady, and Mr. Rickmand’s lung cancer went into remission. Pastor Andervender has the spiritual gift of healing. We’ve asked him to heal Henry of his Asperger’s.”
I thought of how Henry loathed to be touched, even by those he was closest to. And Andervender had shown no patience with my brother’s quirks. If I argue, they’ll dig their heels in and do this for sure. Crap.
Dad said, “This is our chance to give Henry a normal life.”
Henry opened the office door to the front hall. “Want to go to the hotel to swim.”
Dad blinked. “You want to go already?”
“The air stinks.” Henry waved a hand before his nose.
The vent air did smell of soapy swamp.
“All right,” Mom said. She closed the office windows with a squeal of metal on metal. “We ought to rest anyways, tomorrow is going to be a very big day with all the movers and people from First Beginnings.” She nudged me in the ribs with her elbow. “Matthew is kinda cute.”
Blech. I said, “I don’t think we’re right for each other.”
“Don’t be so negative,” Mom said as we left the office and began to go through the house closing windows. “Once you two get to know each other better, you’ll be able to relax and be yourselves.”
************** End of Part One. 4 & 5. *****************
Have a joyful week, LM