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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 8: Hastings 3
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Previous chapter: Chapter 7, Kondor 3
With Big Bill slipping from her grip and help still too many steps away on the narrow beams, Lauren realized that there was only one thing that would save him. She'd used it before, practicing with small objects. She'd even used it on herself a few times. But she'd never used it on anything or anyone as large as Bill. Still, she remembered a movie in which it was said that size didn't matter, and she had learned that fiction was as likely to be true as history, so it was worth trying. If it failed, they were no worse for it, as she couldn't hold him long enough for the others to arrive; if it succeeded, she might have some explaining to do--but maybe she could make it look good.
Focusing her mind, she tried to lift him with her thoughts while at the same time pulling up with her arm. It was working; he was rising up, and it looked like she was pulling him. She shifted her weight back and dragged his arm back up across the beam. Then she reached down and grabbed the back of his shirt, and pulled that while continuing to raise him by thought. He pulled too, and in a moment was lying firmly across the beam. The others finally arrived, and helped get him to the platforms further back.
Lauren slid back and sat with her back against a beam, catching her breath for a moment. Then she calmly stood up, walked back to the other beam, and continued to her rivets. The sound of the machine startled the men, who turned in amazement and watched her finish the job.
She set the tool down, and met their stares. "Well," she said, "I wasn't going to let it be said that I couldn't do it. Now, what's next?"
After work, Lauren was tired. But she'd slept the day before work, and didn't want to throw off her schedule by sleeping the day after work. She returned to Father James to learn more about how he fought the vampires.
"Faith, child, is the most powerful tool we have against this breed of darkness. I could give you a crucifix or a bottle of holy water or a wafer, but in your hands they would be nothing unless you have faith. When I hold up my crucifix, vampires recoil in pain, not because of the emblem but because my faith calls upon the power of God. A crucifix is just a nice piece of jewelry, a bauble worth quite a bit of money perhaps, but nothing magical. But it serves as a focus for my faith and for the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Vampires can be killed with weapons; but it is not easy. They are dead already, and have little of what we would consider 'vital organs'. They are held together and kept from decay by a supernatural evil which makes them nearly invincible. Jake Williams has killed quite a few with what he calls 'offensive driving techniques', but I've seen them survive being run over by a car several times, absorb several clips of large-caliber bullets in the head and chest, and have body parts severed with seemingly no pain and no loss of strength. If you fight them that way, you will be dead before you have caused them much discomfort. You must use your faith, and you must find that which most helps your faith and focuses your belief."
Lauren sat quietly for a few minutes, considering this. Slowly she began to understand herself. "Father--gee I feel a little silly calling you 'Father'. I always said 'Pastor' back in church at home. That is the right title, isn't it?" Without waiting for a reply, she continued. "This may seem strange, but I think that the Bible is the best symbol of my faith--not the book itself, but the words it contains. My faith is uplifted and focused when I sing words of scripture or recite them. Perhaps were I to speak the words of scripture in faith believing--would that be what you mean?"
"I've never heard of anyone doing that." Father James reflected on it for a moment, and then smiled slowly. "But I don't see any reason why that should not work. In fact, I think that this could have some very surprising results."
Thus encouraged, Lauren returned to the house she was beginning to call home, and sat in the chapel with her Bible recalling and refreshing all the 'memory verses' she had learned over the years. She thought of them in a new way, considering again what each said and how it expressed her faith. In a way, using the words to fight demons was something she had always accepted but never done. The first time she did it would be an experiment; but an experiment is not an act of faith, and she knew she couldn't stand before a vampire shouting Bible verses to "see what happens" and call that an expression of her faith. No, she would have to first believe that God would act, that her words and her faith would release that power. Father James said it would; but the question was, what did she believe? She put the matter to prayer, and thought some more. Then, bidden perhaps by the Spirit within her, she spoke words she had read: "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief."
Abruptly it came back to her mind how she had saved Big Bill with her telekinesis. That, plus reading Gavin's mind and making telepathic contact with Father James, made three times she had used her mental powers since she arrived. It seemed a good world for these abilities, and they could prove very useful. It was a good time to run a few tests, determine in safety what seemed to work and what seemed useless. She tried extending her senses into the next room--clairaudience, clairvoyance, each sense in turn brought her information (the olfactory sense reminded her that she hadn't emptied the garbage before work, but she would get to that in a moment). Lifting Bill had worked; could she lift herself? Could she move herself through the air? It took two tries to actually fly, but she was never very good at that and would need practice. She tried a few of the psionic gadgets she had brought with her from that ancient dead city. The telekinetic rods worked, as did the sphere she had dubbed a "psionic vacation" which caused her mind to believe she was hiking through the mountains on a brisk autumn day, and the psionic computer she had yet to master. As to the weapons, it was likely that they worked; but they were too dangerous to fire in here, especially the disintegrating rod. Perhaps on her night off she could go out to the country and get in a bit of practice. And perhaps there were other things she could do with her mind. She had been taught a couple of these tricks by other versers who knew them, but most of them she had devised on her own. If this universe was psionics friendly, maybe she could create some new tricks which would be useful.
And then it hit her. God was faithful. He had already given her these amazing abilities to use in the present fight. He had sent her to help these people stop this evil. He would be faithful to give her the strength and the power she needed when she needed it.
But right now, all she needed was enough strength to go back to work. She ate a can of beef stew (Father James' kitchen was stocked with foods that were easy to keep and easy to make; she would buy some real groceries after she got paid), and packed a light lunch. Washing up and changing her clothes, she removed the trash from the kitchen on her way out.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with the first six chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #20: Becoming Novel. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: