“Y’all said this was one of them channeler road shows, like those medium shows, ya said. Y’all said jacque shitte about this being a traveling Christian prophet.”
“We did… we… just didn’t specify which religion was involved. But channelers are channelers, right? It’s all made up anyway!”
The two women giggled to each other while I bit my tongue and wondered if the gas money I was promised was worth the potential asswhipping waiting for me once the doors closed and the show began. I was driving the transportation challenged women to a traveling show, but I had been led to believe it was more fluffy than serious. Merely entertainment for bored housewives who thought feeling a head rush during yoga was a sign of enlightenment.
The banners and advertisements for the show were lacking in the usual heavy-handed symbolism declaring the star of the show to be God’s One True Prophet™. No doves, no sunbursts behind a perfectly clean cross, no White Jesus™ as a watermark on the page, no sponsoring church names rudely covering the small map showing the location and major off-ramps.
No warning that I was going to walk into a trap.
It was only after we were seated on the overflow cushions on the floor near the stage that I realized what kind of muffled prayers I had been overhearing.
I asked my cushion neighbor if the services was going to be in Latin. An intentionally loaded question. She recoiled and asked if I was… Catholic… because this here was a proper True Christian™ prophet of the Protestant and Independent Faith™.
I nodded in wide-eyed wonder and astonishment, which my cushion neighbor interpreted as yielding to her better opinion of the world. Behind my innocent mask, I was seething and pissed as hell.
I’m a prophet magnet. Before and after my apostasy I have been Target Number Fucking One for apostles, prophets, spirit-filled preachers, and elders all wanting to “speak the Word” to or about me regardless if for my benefit or theirs.
I am not consenting to this scene.
As I watched the attendants I realized there was more than the moving of spirit through the people as we waited for the prophet to appear. Agents moved through the crowd, supposedly muttering prayers asking for blessings and protections but actually speaking into hidden mics. They were noting who looked the most photogenic and who were most likely to follow the lead.
Gotta make sure you pick the best cows to milk.
The show starts and nothing surprises me. I play an internal game of “Plant or Pod?”, which is guessing if the person chosen to speak to the seated prophet on stage is a plant by the show to whip up a frenzy or a believer whose faith is to be harvested to keep the frenzy going. I study the prophet and note that the stage resembles what I would expect of a Buddhist guru than what usually makes the show circuit in the American Deep South.
I maintain a low profile and a covering of indifference. My seat neighbor asks innocently why I’m here and if I wanted to speak to the prophet. I replied I was only the driver for my friends and if they got what they wanted then that was good enough for me. My seat neighbor took slight offence at my lack of excitement and leaned away from me.
The environment felt tighter and tighter as the show continued. Three times the prophet announced that non-believers should leave or be ejected from the show. Each time my acquaintances would remained silently seated. After the third and final announcement, I looked at their faces. Their mouths said nothing but their facial expressions confirmed my fear. They are here to start shit.
The lead helper on stage raised her hands. “Silence, please. The Holy Spirit has come among us. Silence, for God is with us.”
I had faced forward and up to view the stance of the speaking helper. I was not surprised to see a magical pose. Unfortunately, I was also not surprised to hear a low mutter from one of my acquaintances. “God is a fart? This whole thing stinks. Someone light a match!”
They were suddenly surrounded by something like bright shining men in glowing robes. The bright shining men thrust their arms between the heckling acquaintance and everyone else to keep them in place as one of the prophet’s human helpers rushed over to confront the heckler.
The helper pointed at my acquaintance and spoke. But where everyone around me only heard the human voice, I heard the same words spoken by the bright shining men around the heckler. “You will be cast out into darkness, and though your body remains as flesh, your mind will wander through desolate wastes until you repent of your sin and acknowledge God.”
They dragged my acquaintance out of their chair and quickly ushered them out of the building while most of the crowd looked on silently in judgement. Neither I nor my other acquaintance said anything to each other or the staff. She had remained quiet because she was in shock that the event was being policed that tightly. I remained quiet because I knew the she had not seen the glowing people as I did.
I now took this prophet very fucking seriously. They have connections I’m not willing to test.
The show went on as if nothing unusual had happened. But then again, the ejection of a heckler is what would be expected with any other show, so all went as it should. As I had expected, the prophet made several gestures indicating they wanted me to be singled out. But each time, a glowing person would appear and direct the helper to someone else. If the prophet saw the glowing people, they made no noticeable indication of it.
After the show, the remaining acquaintance and I scoured the parking lot to find the ejected heckler so I could drive them both home. For such a packed show, the parking lot was absolutely empty by the time I was able to get outside. As such, we found them easily, huddled at the feet of a concrete ringed tree in the middle of the parking lot. The woman had somehow lost more than just their wits. I struggled to identify the person clawing at the thin bark of the tree as the same woman who walked in with me a few hours prior. Drool mixed with tree sap on her face and clothes as her eyes rolled and she gibbered wildly to herself.
“Shit. What the fuck, Keri. There was actual power in there? Can you help her? Restore her?”
I looked at the broken woman. She had no marks on her, visual or otherwise. I saw no means of leverage I could use to pull her mind back from where it had been sent. “If the attack had been without cause, I could. But we were under house rules in there. She broke said house rules, and in doing so, put herself under the rule of the lord of that house. I can’t break hospitality rules without cause, and this isn’t enough.”
The (relatively) saner acquaintance turned to me and upon me in preparation for hurling abuse at me for failing to protect them from themselves. She managed to take a deep breath when a bright glowing person appeared to all three of us. She looked up at the partycrasher. The gibbering woman stopped trying to eat tree sap and stared wide eyed and fearful at the interloper. I merely grunted a greeting, more amused that the other two women could see what I saw. The glowing person pointed at me.
“Because you have acknowledged God in His house, even after all you have done and have had done to you, [this person] will be forgiven and restored. Take [these two people] far from here lest this grace be forgotten.” The apparition disappeared after speaking.
“What the hell was that!” The restored woman stared at the space where the bright glowing person had been. “What the hell am I doing?!” She stared at her hands. “What the hell happened?”
Instead of answering her, I pulled her to her feet and half escorted, half dragged her and her friend into the car and left the parking lot quickly, refusing to answer any questions about “glowing people”, angels, or why I held my tongue.
I dropped them off at the curb before their apartment building. They wanted me to come inside and tell them all the things I was obviously keeping from them. “Y’all can get y’allselves into more shit without me. Old wounds are itching and I’m not about to get them ripped open tonight.”
I rolled up the window and drove away. I got as far as the exit of their complex when the car died and came to a complete stop. To see myself surrounded by a close wall of something like bright glowing people did not surprise me and I almost snarked that they were late.
In one voice they said, “We have unfinished business.”
“Take a ticket and get in line. There are at least two entities ahead of you with more pressing matters.” I became lucid at this point and was done with the dream. I called my sword to hand, cut a hole in spacetime, and exited the dream.
It was several hours after I woke up and reflected on the dream that I realized what was odd about the entire scenario and which “old wounds” were itching. It would take more than a neat two sentence soundbite to summarize as it involves possession, false gods, lying angels, and the changes I have made since the return of Angelus and the shenanigans I’ve been recently getting into.
So instead I’ll just fall back to what should be my new tagline: “Circles and Spirals. Turning in, turning out.”