Click Here to Read From Parham's Field
Lucas took a deep breath. Wading into Parham’s Field was the last thing he wanted to do, but this was a teachable moment. He wanted Jonathan to not be afraid of anything. That following the rules, even if they were stupid, was important. The kid might be a horse’s ass, but he might be less of one if he took these things to heart.
He stared at the wall of grass for a second, and was about to walk into it, when there was movement to his left. The grass didn’t just move. It shook and rattled, making the grasshoppers and crickets jump and chirp.
“What the hell was that?” Lucas muttered.
“Dad, come back!” Jonathan said, his voice quaking with worry.
“I’m sure it’s just a bird or something,” Lucas said. He raised his right foot and moved forward. Mid-stride, the field erupted into a flurry of movement. Lucas jerked backwards instinctively, settling in his own well-kept yard. There was a violence to the rattling in the field, but it wasn’t spastic, like a wounded animal. It was concentrated in one area.
“Dude, seriously,” Jonathan said. “Let it go.”
But Lucas was curious, and he crouched down in front of the patch of moving grass, trying to find the source of the ruckus. He cocked his head to the side, willing himself to see through the spaces between the blades. There was a strange noise coming from the field now, a moaning. Was that human? It certainly wasn’t a noise he had heard coming from any normal woodland creature.
More creeped out than afraid, Lucas stood back up. As he did, the grass rattled, like someone shaking a chain link fence. The volume of the moaning increased, the hollowness of it centering itself like a small vortex above the field. Lucas backed up involuntarily.
Then it stopped, and the silence was as shocking as the sound.
“Dad!” Jonathan said. Lucas turned to see Jonathan pointing towards the ground.
“What?” he said. “What is it?”
“Look down,” Jonathan said.
Lucas did, and at his feet was the baseball. A bite had been taken from it; Lucas could see the hard pink rubber core. It was like a half-eaten white apple. In the moment it took Lucas to process the scene, visually and logically, he pivoted, put his arm around Jonathan’s shoulder and began walking him towards the house. “Come on, my son,” Lucas said.
“Where are we going?” Jonathan asked.
“To sign you up for wrestling classes,” Lucas said. “Outdoor sports are stupid.”
Click Here to Read From Hunting Witches
Edward lowered his eyes to the floor, patted Penny on the leg and stood up.
“There’s only one kind of person who could engender feelings such as that into a sanctified daughter of Christ,” Edward said. “A witch.”
Penny tried to scoot further back into her pew to get away from the horrible truth. Rafferty buried his face in hands and started praying in tongues.
“She tried to place a curse on you, Sister Penny, oh, yes, she did. She wanted to drag you down to her level, make you perform unnatural acts and get you to believe in something you know in your heart is wrong! That is the modus operandi of a witch!”
The pastor’s eyes seemed to blaze with a holy fire as he begin to spin and dance, a crazy stumbling jig, all the while screaming, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live! Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live!” Rafferty and Penny howled in their seats, wailing their thanks and prayers to God for deliverance. The building echoed with the screams of the righteous.
To anyone who had passed by, it would have sounded like Hell.
“But there is good news, people, for deliverance is at hand,” Pastor Edward said. He stopped dancing, sweat dripping from the tip of his nose, and stood with his arms outspread, Bible clutched in his right hand like a stone.
He smiled, the love of God pouring out of his very being, and said, “The Lord has given me a plan.”