“But deliver us from evil……”
The trip in the ambulance was short. Almost on autopilot, Isabel began to pray. She was in shock, so she simply recited the familiar “Our Father” over and over. At that moment, Robyn roused and sped out of her flaming nest and found herself in Isabel’s ambulance.
“You’re very lucky.”, said the ER doc.
Isabel was lying on a gurney in the ice cold Emergency room. The seat belt had done it’s job. She was banged up and she had oxygen strapped to her face for smoke inhalation. Isabel’s husband was doing paperwork in admissions. Robyn stood through the center of the nearby sleeper chair. Parts of her spirit glowed like embers and ashes seemed to dust the floor.
“I’ll be back.” the doctor said as he moved off to have a conference with a nurse.
“You are very lucky.”
This, from a very fresh, very handsome nurse who came in. Can you call a nurse “dapper” when they wear those baggy scrubs? This one was.
“Very lucky. The question is, are you smart?”
A warning was laid on her heart.
“Mmmmm? Miss Smarty Pants? I see from your record that you have reported that you have been the victim of domestic abuse in the past. Always the victim, right little Miss Smarty Pants? You know, it can be a hard habit to break, the role of the victim. You can become so damaged in your mind, that you can actually begin staging accidents, so you can stay in your comfort zone, a comfort zone of chronic and never-ending pain. Imagine, until you die, a life of misery you can never escape. Did you know that?”
Isabel didn’t answer. The nurse strolled over and removed the oxygen mask from her face.
“Mmmmm? Was anyone ever prosecuted for any of those crimes against you? And what about all those other crimes? Where was the Justice? Where was God? What do you think? Was it God’s plan that you were bent over in pain, for what, 40 something years? Old Robyn, here, knew you wanted to be a somebody in this world. Remember what she told you on the big stairs at home? She said that, in order to be truly great, you had to suffer greatly. Starve. Live with rats. Suffer pain. Can you remember the pain, Isabel? Can you remember the hunger? How about the fear? Do you remember the times you were beaten to a pulp? Remember, Isabel, remember.”
Isabel’s mind could remember. Her body doubled over with the memory.The memory of the pain was increased with the memories of her own despair, her own anger and yes, her own hatred. Her memories were crushing her. The memory of the pain was crushing her sanity. Already breathless from the smoke inhalation, the pain made breathing even more difficult. Isabel tried to gasp for air and found that she couldn’t.
Then, Demon swept his arm in the direction of Robyn. He revealed Robyn to Isabel. Robyn was standing in her sleeper-chair prison, shivering ash. Isabel had loved this woman almost her entire life. Robyn did not look at her daughter. She could only look at the magnificent kaleidoscope that was the Demon in scrubs.
” Oh yeah, she sure did you a favor. Only, wait a moment! You’re not great. Not famous. You’re nothing and nobody. At the end of every day, your hands are so dirty, you can’t get the nails clean. And,… and you never got any justice! No justice. Don’t you deserve justice? You deserve justice!” The Demon paused for effect. ” And, your moth-ther deserves judgement. Everyone get judged, Isabel,everyone. I was judged. You were judged. Your moth-ther appointed herself judge, jury and executioner. And let’s not forget that you both judged and condemned yourselves. Yourselves! So what’s the deal here? You think you’re so special? You’re oh-so-holy? And you think you can change God’s Righteous judgement, after you’ve condemned yourselves? Fool! I’m smarter than you, I’m more talented, more powerful than you can even begin to imagine and I couldn’t change God’s judgement against me! How dare you! How dare you!”
Isabel could see only his eyes; he dazzled. She couldn’t breathe. Whether from smoke inhalation, pain or fear, she could no longer tell which.
“Jesus, save me!”
“JEEEESUSSS! Saaaave me!”, the Demon sing-songed, ” Okay,Isabel! Where is he? Where’s the help? That hag is mine! Mine! Look at her! Mine! And you will go crazy with pain, bitterness, regret and anything else I can throw at you! You were a bastard! A useless bastard! Thrown away by your own family! Unclean! You belong nowhere! Filth! Filthy bastard! You can’t cheat me, you stupid, stupid bitch!”
The air was starting to become a spinning darkness. Mercy. Infinite Mercy.Someone had taught Isabel about God’s mercy. Wasn’t that what her mother had told her when she was tiny? Hadn’t her mother been her first teacher about God? Hadn’t she given Isabel the gift of teaching her about faith? With strength neither of them possessed, Isabel and Robyn looked away from the Demon at the same time.
“Jesus,” whispered Isabel and Robyn together.
The room was still.