Bruce woke up with a strange buzzing sound in his ears, and a feeling of unexplained guilt. Over by the window, he saw Stevie drawing.
“Sup, little man?” he asked.
“K”, answered Stevie, his attention focused on the strange dog he was drawing. Well, a dog or a pig or a well-fed ferret, Bruce couldn’t tell, but Stevie was working hard at it. Seemed like it was laughing at something. Maybe that meant Stevie was happy.
Bruce went to the kitchen, where his mom had left a note. She’d gone off to work, but left breakfast in the oven for Bruce and Stevie, along with a list of chores for Bruce to do. Bruce sighed, and started on the laundry.
As the laundry was going in the washer, Bruce scrubbed at the kitchen floor, wondering – again – how the floor got scuffed and dirty when neither he nor Stevie did anything to mess it up. Strangely, Bruce hardly hurt from yesterday’s beatings; maybe that meant he was getting tougher. And if he got tougher, maybe those jerks would start to leave him alone. Yeah right, and the laundry would start doing itself …
That evening, after his mom got back from work, she set Bruce and Stevie to Bible Study. Tomorrow was Church, and that meant Sword Drills in Sunday School. More Deuteronomy, but after he got his passages memorized, Bruce was allowed to read another part on his own. For some reason, Bruce found himself in the book of Job, and his eyes fell on Chapter 2:1 -
On another day the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him.
Something about that passage bothered Bruce, and he quickly closed the Bible, almost slamming it shut.
Bruce felt silly about that, and opened up the Bible again. This time it fell open to Numbers 22:26 –
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left.
Again, Bruce felt a strange forboding and this time he did slam the Bible shut, earning a sharp look from his mother. Embarrassed, he opened the Bible yet again, and – as if someone else was turning the pages, it fell open to Exodus 23:20 –
See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared
This time, Bruce was strangely reassured, and he closed the Bible one last time for the evening, this time quietly and calmly.
Across the street, the watcher was annoyed. He felt prickly and itchy, as if he had touched something to which he was allergic.