This story is a part of the writer’s Father Cooke collection of interrelated tales. When you take pleasure in it, the writer invitations you to click on right here to learn the opposite tales within the collection.
“If you are going to keep me tied to this chair, at least give me the dignity of letting me wear my hat,” my spouse hissed at me whereas she nodded to the inexperienced stocking cap at her ft. The one formed like a Christmas tree.
I picked up the hat and positioned it gently on her head. Then I positioned it simply how she favored it, barely to the left aspect with the highest folded neatly so the enormous golden bell rested towards her shoulder.
“Thank you,” she stated as I adjusted the strings of sunshine that sure her to the eating room chair.
“Are they too tight?” I requested. I felt dangerous that I needed to tie her up. “I can go out to the garage and get that nylon cord we use to tie the tarps down.”
“I’m fine, but I’d feel much better if you’d just untie me. I’m not going to hurt anyone. I just want to spread a little Yuletide cheer.”
“I love you, but you know I can’t do that. You can’t leave the house since you decided to sneak into the Johnson’s home and redecorate their tree.”
“Have you seen their tree? It was hideous!”
“What about the Greenberg’s house?”
“They didn’t have a tree at all, so I gave them one.”
“They are Jewish.”
“Jewish people don’t like trees?”
I couldn’t inform if that was alleged to be a joke or not. I might have continued to record the neighbors she had scared or irritated, however there wasn’t any level. She felt justified in all the things she had carried out.
“We are lucky everyone declined to press charges as long as you agreed to stay under voluntary house arrest until Christmas was over,” I reminded her.
“I didn’t agree to that, you did,” she spat the phrases at me. “I would never agree to something that would prevent me from enjoying the holidays.”
“I didn’t have a choice. Your version of enjoying the holidays involved breaking and entering our neighbors’ homes.”
She turned her head away from me, clearly irritated that I had sided towards her.
“If you won’t untie me, could you at least plug these in?” she requested and indicated the strings of lights I used to tie her up. A number of seconds later she added, “…please.”
“If it will make you happy, then I will gladly plug them in for you,” I stated as I grabbed an extension twine from the closest.
“Let me know if they get too hot,” I stated as soon as the lights have been plugged in. I waited a couple of minutes to ensure she was okay then went into the kitchen to pour myself a drink. As I walked away I might hear her begin to hum O Christmas Tree.
I poured a shot of whiskey and downed it in a single gulp. I used to be about to pour one other once I heard the doorbell ring out the tune “Carol of the Bells”. My spouse changed the previous bell shortly after she turned obsessive about adorning for the vacations.
I opened the door to seek out two gents standing on my porch, each dusted with a wonderful layer of snow. Considered one of them was a priest, the opposite, a tall skinny man dressed completely in black clutching a leather-based satchel to his aspect.
I had determined to contact them after I learn an article on the web a few lady whose son was possessed by an angel. I’ve tried all the things else, so why not an exorcism? I can’t consider some other rationalization for why she began appearing the best way she had. She all the time liked Christmas, however not as obsessively as she had that week. It was like she was possessed by Santa Clause.
“Mr. Hudson?” The tall man requested whereas he reached out together with his left hand, “I’m Theodore Alexander and this is Father Cooke,” he stated and nodded in the direction of the priest beside him.
“Please call me Ben,” I stated and shook Mr. Alexander’s hand then provided my hand to Father Cooke. “Come on in.”
“Should I call you Magister?” I requested Mr. Alexander after I shut the door, “I’m a little confused on the protocol here. I didn’t know Satanic priests like you existed until I read that article about you.”
He laughed, “Mr. Alexander is fine if that makes you more comfortable.”
“Wow, you weren’t kidding,” Mr. Alexander gazed across the room at all the Christmas decorations. Each out there area appeared to be crammed with quite a lot of vacation ornaments. “Is every room decorated like this?”
“Yep…even the bathrooms,” I stated. “She also tried to decorate several of the neighbors’ houses.” I added, considering it’d assist shed some mild on what could be fallacious together with her.
“I see that most of the decorations are of commercial characters. There are different versions of Santa, Frosty, the reindeer, and elves, but I don’t see any of the usual religious decorations. No manger, crosses, or angels,” Father Cooke famous whereas he surveyed the room.
“…And trees,” Mr. Alexander added, “There are a lot of Christmas trees.”
“Is that significant?” I requested
“Potentially,” Mr. Alexander replied, “The entities we deal with tend to surround themselves with religious symbols that can often be used to identify where they came from.”
I hung their coats on the rack and led them into the lounge the place my spouse was tied up. Once they noticed her sure to the chair, Christmas lights blinking throughout her, they checked out one another than over at me.
“She asked me to turn the lights on,” I stated whereas I took a detour to the kitchen to seize the whiskey and a few glasses. “When I got your message, I didn’t have much time to prepare and there were plenty of lights lying around, so…,” I shrugged; the remaining they might work out for themselves.
I returned to the lounge and set the whiskey and glasses down on the espresso desk. I sat within the recliner subsequent to the sofa and poured myself one other drink. Mr. Alexander and Father Cooke waved off my supply to pour one for them.
“I like the lights,” she stated to the lads as they sat on the sofa dealing with her. “They help illuminate all of the beautiful decorations and they make me feel festive.”
“They are quite lovely Mrs. Hudson,” Mr. Alexander stated, “I have to ask, why all of the trees?”
“Thank you,” She responded politely earlier than answering his query. “I figured two religious boys like you would already know the answer to that. It was after all your religion that appropriated the tree for yourselves.”
“Our religion?” Father Cooke requested earlier than glancing over at Mr. Alexander. The look they exchanged indicated a bit of the puzzle might have been handed to them.
“Don’t be coy Father, you know I am talking about Christianity,” She sounded slightly irritated. “You boys are different sides of the same coin as far as I’m concerned. Your patchwork religion was built out of the pieces of the ones you destroyed. That tree and its place in the home was a tradition long before your God showed up.”
I sat quietly in my chair and sipped my whiskey whereas I listened and questioned the place the dialog was headed. That was clearly not my spouse and it began to frighten me. I shared my mattress with no matter she had turn out to be. That gave me chills.
“Ben?” Mr. Alexander raised his voice to get my consideration once I had did not reply the query he’d simply requested me.
“What?” I stated as I returned from my muddled ideas. The alcohol had began to take impact.
“Is there someplace we can talk in private?” he repeated.
“Uh…yeah,” I assumed for a second, “How about the garage?” I prompt. Our home was small and the inside partitions didn’t block sound very properly.
“Bring the icicles when you come back inside,” my spouse stated as we filed previous her on our solution to the storage. “There should be a box of them in the trunk.”
As soon as we have been all within the storage I leaned towards the hood of the automotive, arms crossed, and waited for one among them to talk.
“This is much easier on the eyes,” Father Cooke remarked when he observed the storage was freed from Christmas decorations.
“I come out here sometimes to get away from all that,” I nodded in the direction of the home. “It’s the only place I could keep her from decorating.”
“I would spend a lot of time out here as well under the circumstances,” Father Cooke smiled.
“I know Christmas decorations are the last thing you want to talk about, but I do have to ask about them, specifically the bells. It didn’t occur to me until just now how many of your decorations have been enhanced with bells. Have bells always been a big part of her decorations?” Mr. Alexander requested.
“Not that I recall…I mean we always had a few decorations with bells, but nothing like what you see in there now.”
“The doorbell, I noticed it played the Carol of the Bells, how long have you had that?” Father Cooke requested.
“She bought that a couple of days ago?” I couldn’t hold my curiosity in verify and requested “What do the bells have to do with all of this?”
“Bells have been known to play a significant role in many ancient religions and they may be the religious symbol we overlooked when we walked in,” Mr. Alexander positioned his hand on his chin as a thought occurred to him. “When you called you mentioned that your wife was a music teacher, right?”
“Yes…well she is currently on a leave of absence,” I waved my hand within the air, “for obvious reasons.”
“Has your wife come into contact with any strange instruments recently?”
“Strange? No…I don’t think so.”
“Strange might not be the right word, it could be something simple like an antique,” Father Cooke elaborated. “A better question might be has she brought home any new instruments?”
“No…” I began to say, however all the speak concerning the bells triggered my reminiscence. She did convey house some bells. I didn’t actually consider them as musical devices, however technically they have been.
“Actually, the day she started acting weird she brought home this little wooden box with three bells in it…the kind that have the handles on them.” I attempted to pantomime what I used to be speaking about. “There was also a little piece of sheet music tucked to the side. I remember her showing it to me. She picked it up at the thrift store.”
I rushed again into the home which left the 2 males with puzzled expressions on their faces. I bumped into the entrance room and grabbed the field the place my spouse left it sitting on the desk within the lobby. Once I returned I held it out to Mr. Alexander with two arms. “This is it.”
In my pleasure to point out them the field I by chance left the door open which prompted my spouse to yell out, “What about the icicles?”.
I went and closed the door as Mr. Alexander inspected the surface of the field. “It appears to be hand carved and these patterns along the outside appear to be Germanic or possibly Norse. If this is authentic, it is very old and very valuable. I’m surprised someone would donate this to a thrift store.”
He rigorously opened the lid to disclose the three ornate bronze bells nestled inside. As an alternative of eradicating a bell, he slid the piece of parchment out and handed the field to Father Cooke.
He began to smile as he appeared over the only piece of sheet music. I might inform he discovered the reply he was in search of. When he completed together with his examination he retrieved the field from Father Cooke and handed him the piece of paper.
“These are summoning bells,” Mr. Alexander indicated the field that held the devices, “and that,” he pointed on the sheet of music, “works as the incantation. Your wife must have used the bells to play the song. That is what allowed the solstice spirit to possess her.”
“The what?” I inquired.
“Old nature spirits,” Father Cooke defined. “Thousands of years before God came to Earth, humans worshiped various nature deities. Solstice spirits were the emissaries for many of those old Gods.”
“But our God is a jealous God,” Mr. Alexander minimize in. “When He arrived He demanded loyalty from everyone, including those entities. Most of them were powerless to resist Him and were forced to join his cause. Today we call some of those spirits angels. Those that opposed him joined the ranks of The Serpent’s demon horde or were driven into the deepest and darkest crevices between heaven and hell, rarely to be seen.”
“Oookkkaaayyy…” I stated drawing out the phrase. “But what does that have to do with Christmas and all of these damn decorations?”
“Solstice spirits are not normally malevolent. In fact, many of them were summoned to help in times of need, or to give thanks, or to just celebrate the changing of the seasons,” Father Cooke defined.
“The problem with this spirit,” Mr. Alexander continued the place Father Cooke left off, “is that it has probably been thousands of years since it has seen the world and now it is like a kid in a candy store. It thinks it was summoned to celebrate the winter solstice. That is why it is focusing on the non-religious symbols of Christmas and that is also why it has been trying to force those things on your neighbors as well.”
“Let me stop you right there,” I stated earlier than he might proceed. “Assuming everything you just told me is true…can you save my wife?”
“I’ve never encountered a solstice spirit before, but I do believe we can save her,” Mr. Alexander answered.
“So, if this isn’t an angel or a demon which one of you is going to perform the exorcism?” I requested.
“An exorcism won’t work on your wife. Solstice spirits aren’t bound by the same laws of order that govern angels and demons,” Father Cooke answered.
“Then how are you going to save her?”
Mr. Alexander smiled.
“I hate when you smile like that,” Father Cooke stated.
“If the lore is correct, solstice spirits are essentially bullies. They don’t like to be told what to do, they want to be able to do what they want whenever they want and they will do everything in their power to make sure they get their way. So, if you are faced with a bully, what’s the best way to make that bully stop?” Mr. Alexander’s smile grew, “You get a bigger bully.”
“What?” I ran my hand via my hair. “Maybe I’ve had too much to drink, but I’m not following you.”
“What he is saying,” Father Cooke stated, “Is that he wants to scare the spirit out of your wife.”
“How does that work?” I used to be extraordinarily skeptical. “It’s a spirit, what could possibly scare it off?”
“Christmas is all about celebrating, spreading joy to those around us, and forgiving the small trespasses of life. That is what the solstice spirit wants to embody in its twisted way. I plan to summon a spirit that is the opposite of that,” Mr. Alexander defined.
“I figured that is why you were smiling,” Father Cooke pointed his finger at Mr. Alexander. “If you are going to do what I think you are going to do, you need to warn him about the risks. Don’t forget about what happened the last time you summoned something outside our domain.”
“That was a fluke. I didn’t expect the boy to actually invite it in.” No matter they have been speaking about appeared to be an previous level of rivalry between the 2 of them. “I seriously doubt Mrs. Hudson would do something like that.”
“What are you talking about?” I used to be getting drained. I didn’t understand how rather more of this craziness I might take.
“There is only one spirit I know of capable of sending the solstice spirit running back to whatever dark cave it crawled out of…a spirit that embodies fear, death, and isolation. A spirit called a Samhain.”
I simply stared at Mr. Alexander till he defined.
“A Samhain is a type of harvest spirit…like the solstice spirit it is free from the rules of religion that govern us.” He pointed to Father Cooke than again to himself as he stated the final phrase.
“You would probably know it better as a Halloween spirit.” He appeared over on the priest when he spoke once more. “Father Cooke is concerned that we won’t be able to banish it before it tries to fill the vacancy left in your wife when the solstice spirit flees.”
“That sounds insane. Can’t we just bargain with it and get it to leave on its own? If it is a Christmas spirit won’t it just leave when Christmas is over?”
“It might. It might not. Think about it this way, if I gave you the keys to your favorite car and said ‘bring it back whenever’ how long would you drive it before giving it up?” Mr. Alexander had some extent. Plus, I didn’t assume I might deal with one other day of her vacation cheer.
“There is no telling how long that thing plans on staying. We can try and wait it out, or we can force it out tonight.”
I took a deep breath and exhaled. “Alright, let’s do it,” I stated. “If I were in her place, I’d want you to get it out of me as quickly as possible.” I couldn’t consider this was actually occurring.
“What next? Is there some sort of contract I have to sign?” I remembered studying that the lady who saved her son needed to signal a contract.
“No contract required.” The query clearly amused Mr. Alexander. “What we are about to do is not sanctioned by either of our churches so no payment is required.” He held up the field of bells, “but I will be taking these with me. You can think of that as payment if you like.”
“That is fine with me,” I stated, “When do we get started?”
“First we need to make sure the Samhain spirit feels welcome when it is summoned. That will help to ensure it remains tethered to the house long enough for it to become aware of the solstice spirit’s presence.”
“How do we do that?”
“First we need to clear the house of all the Christmas decorations,” Mr. Alexander defined. “Then we need to redecorate with those,” he pointed to the massive bins labeled HALLOWEEN stacked within the nook of the storage.
“…and just in case,” Mr. Alexander turned and checked out Father Cooke, indicating what he was about to say was for his profit. “…we need to lock up all of the knives,” he paused for a second earlier than including “…and the forks.”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Father Cooke checked out him with raised eyebrows.
“I was going to get to that…I just wanted to wait until everything else was ready,” Mr. Alexander appeared mildly irritated.
“What is he talking about?” I requested
“Summoning a Samhain spirit requires a certain type of investment,” Mr. Alexander defined, “It takes a little more incentive besides a few ancient phrases to get it to appear.”
“What kind of investment?” I used to be afraid to ask.
“Was that cat food in the bowl I saw sitting on the kitchen floor?”
Credit score: Ken Lewis (Fb • Reddit)
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