When we last left off in Soul Cages (PG-13), Marian had just fought with Matthew and her mom.
Second edition copyright © 2014 by Lynn Kilmore
Published by Osuna Publishing
This story is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogue, and locales are either drawn from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, and locales is entirely coincidental.
Part One. Dreams in the Desert
I kept picking up my cell phone to hit Aunt Letty’s number, and putting it down again. Once I called my aunt, I’d be crossing a line I couldn’t return from. Mom and Dad had been enraged when I called Letty about the liquid diet the quack healer put Henry on. The result of the call had been Aunt Letty showing up in person, and a screaming argument which left Dad and Letty barely speaking to each other. Letty had won the fight and the quack’s treatment regimen was dropped, but the price had been high.
If I called Letty in to deal with Andervender, this time the break between Letty and my parents would likely be permanent.
To keep my hands busy I ripped open a moving box crammed with winter clothes.
Dad pounded on the door. “Open up, now.”
I unlocked my door. “It’s open.”
Dad came in first, followed by Mom. They sat down on my bed and watched me unpack sweaters into a dresser.
Mom said, “You were rude to Pastor Andervender, and rude to Matthew.”
“I’m not going to any more Youth Group meetings,” I said.
Mom shook her head. “You’ll continue going, or you’ll find yourself grounded.”
I dropped a blue wool sweater and stood up. “I don’t belong there. I’m miserable at First Beginnings.”
Mom said, “You need to go for your spiritual growth.”
“I’d rather go to a church like Grannie’s. I’m sure there’s a Methodist church nearby I could go to instead.”
Both Dad and Mom were taken aback.
Finally Dad got out, “Ma took you to her church?”
“Of course she did,” I said. “She invited me to go, she didn’t force me to do so.”
Dad was clearly dumbfounded by this. Mom, on the other hand, looked annoyed that Grannie had been sneaking me off to church for years.
Mom patted the bedspread, inviting me to sit next to her, but I ignored her. Mom said, “You have to understand. Pastor Andervender has special gifts, powers given to him because he does God’s will instead of what is politically correct.”
I said the next words slowly, feeling my way forward. “So you guys think it’s okay for Pastor Andervender and his followers to pound on Jewish people’s doors at Hanukkah to harass them? Does that mean Dad will be harassing the Jews at his new workplace when he starts tomorrow?”
“Really, Marian,” Mom said, “don’t tell me you’ve been digging up lies. Who told you this?”
I thought of Ben, but said, “A neighbor told me. They’re not lies. The Jewish community really did file complaints against Pastor Andervender and First Beginnings last December for harassment.”
My words made Dad rub his bald spot.
Mom said, “There are a lot of people who are jealous of Pastor Andervender’s gifts, and they’ll say anything to ruin him. Gena told me about how miserable things got in Las Cruces before they abandoned the false church they were members of, and started their own independent church here in Albuquerque.”
I said, “I don’t care! I don’t want to be part of a tiny church full of Jew haters.”
Mom stormed out, while Dad blanched. He swallowed a couple of times and said, “Well, we’ve had a rough weekend. We’ll talk about this more later.”
He retreated out of my bedroom. I listened to his tread going down the hall, followed by the office door being firmly shut.
I stepped out into the hall to go listen at the office door, but Henry heard me. He ran out of his bedroom, waving a flashlight around like a trophy, and said, “Let’s hunt sewer roaches!”
Unfortunately, it was dark enough outside for the roaches to come out.
I shuddered at the thought of chasing huge roaches. I really ought to catch a few in a jar and dump them on John’s head for giving Henry this idea.
Henry and I went down the halls to the front door. I couldn’t make out the words being said from behind either office door. Too muffled.
As I was pulling open the front door, I realized that I had no way to lock it behind us. In fact, since the lock was a double-cylinder deadbolt, if our parents had locked it, Henry and I would have been stuck in the house.
None of the exits could be unlocked by hand to get outside—all needed keys. Not to mention the locked bars on the front and back doors.
We gotta get keys, or we’ll be pestering Mom and Dad every time we want to go outside. And what if there’s a fire? Need keys on a hook next to the front door just in case.
“Wait here,” I said to Henry. “I’ve got to get keys.”
I walked down the hall to the office door. Both Mom and Dad were in there, their voices muffled.
I rapped on the door. Dad opened it a crack.
I heard Mom say into her cell phone, “Wait a minute, Marian’s here.”
Let me guess. Mom called Gena.
Dad said to me, “What is it?”
“I need keys so I can take Henry out to look for roaches,” I said. “I promised.”
Dad dug into his pocket, and yanked out a ring of keys, holding them out to me through the crack. “Here. Don’t lose them.”
“Um, Dad.” I took the ring, warm from being in Dad’s pocket. “We need to plan on getting more keys made so Henry and I have our own copies, it—”
“Sure.” Dad nudged the door shut.
After a few seconds, I heard Mom talk softly into the cell phone.
************** End of Part One. 19. *****************
See you next week! L.M.