Friday, July 27, 2007


One last Case Study,
one last Homework assignment,
the final submission of a Term Paper,

and 2 Final examinations.

I will resume my life after Sunday.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reditio Soteri -11-

The watcher returned to the city and again found himself across the street from Bruce’s apartment. Once he returned to a physical form, the pains returned, a reminder of the power of his enemies. The watcher had been careful to avoid churches as he came back; he could not be sure where more of the hounds might be, and as much as he hated the hounds, he had no desire to meet them on their turf and terms.

At least the killing was easy and fast in this place, thought the watcher to himself. Strange, how so often those who thought themselves strong and fearsome, were never ready to face something stronger and more fierce than themselves. The watcher prided himself, that at the least he knew his limitations and watched his course when in his enemies’ place of power. It some ways, it was his own fault, watching for pretty sights and hoping for the old blessing – the watcher knew well those days were long gone, as far lost as his old allotted place at the beginning.

The watcher sighed to himself wistfully, then shook off his despair. What’s done is done after all, he told himself, and anyway there’s work here to do. The watcher licked blood of his forepaws and focused on the apartment across the street, determined and calm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reditio Soteri -10-

At the apartment that evening, Bruce and Stevie were preparing for the next day. In Stevie’s case, that meant a book report for reading, and rehearsal of basic multiplication. For Bruce, that meant Algebra homework and Literature. This would not be bad on a normal night, but Bruce’s mom was determined to have Bruce memorize the Bible, apparently by the end of this week. As he plowed through the riveting plot in the book of ‘Numbers’, Bruce also wondered how he would face the bullies who had locked him up on Friday. Bruce was sure they would not be pleased he had gotten free and spent the weekend at home.

After finishing his assigned reading, Bruce again was allowed to read a part of the Bible of his own choice, and again he let the book open itself, hoping for a nice Psalm or Proverb, but instead the book fell open to an early part, to Genesis 14:10 –

Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.

This passage did nothing for Bruce, so he again set the book on its spine and let it fall open. Again, the Bible most unnaturally ignored the middle sections, and fell open to Deuteronomy 7:10 –

those who hate Him He will repay to their face by destruction; He will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate Him.

A bit vengeful, that seemed, though Bruce felt he could identify with that up to a point. Once again, Bruce set up the Bible, and this time it fell open to Psalms 55:13 –

But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend,

An odd verse thought Bruce, especially in the context of betrayal by a friend – one nice thing about not having any real friends, was that the friends you did not have, would not desert you.

Bruce put away the Bible, kissed his mom goodnight, and went to sleep. He did not sleep well, but dreamed of violence and pain.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reditio Soteri -9-

The hounds landed immediately, flanking the watcher like a pair of police officers. They could be taken for collies, if it weren’t for their exceptional size, obvious intelligence, and a most-uncollie-like aggressiveness and predatorial inclinations. They took up positions to either side of the watcher, close enough for him to see the size of their clean, white, sharp teeth. For a moment, the watcher was struck with the sense that these hounds must floss – their teeth were perfect. Without thinking, the words came out:

“Wow, nice work. Who’s your orthodontist?”

Compliments about dental hygiene, it turned out, did not improve the mood. The one to the watcher’s left stepped forward, pushing the watcher back a step as he demanded,

“You were at the church. You. What were your intentions, imp?”

“Hey, the sign said ‘all are welcome’ “ replied the watcher, “Perhaps they should be more specific in – oof!”

The second hound had kicked the watcher hard in the chest. He glared down at the supine watcher, who knew he had to be silent and still.

“You,” began the hound, “You are not welcome. You know this. What were you planning?”

The watcher remained silent.

“Answer me!” demanded the second hound, while the first peered intently at the watcher, as if he was trying to read his mind.

“Say ‘please’, first” replied the watcher. For this, he was punched hard in the flank, and as he skidded across the grass and careened off one tree into the trunk of another one, the watcher wondered just how a dog, even one from Heaven, could throw a punch. The watcher never saw it coming.

“Ow” said the watcher.

“Again, vermin” said the second dog, as the first hung back, “what are your intentions?”

“You’d better answer,” said the first hound, “I think he’s enjoying this, and we’ve got all day.”

Swell, thought the watcher to himself, I’ve got hounds from heaven playing out a bad scene from ‘Starsky & Hutch’. Good dog,/bad dog, even. For crying out loud, where’s Lassie to show these guys some manners?

“Uhhhh, they had free chicken?” suggested the watcher. He expected the kick that came, but it still hurt a lot more than he expected.

Things went that way for a long time, the watcher lost track of just how long, and somewhere along the way he lost consciousness. He came to some time after sundown, sore all over and with nothing for his pains but a warning that he would get more if he was seen around a church again.

The watcher shook himself, considered his position and options, and with a movement vaporized his material form and flew through the air back towards town. He needed to hunt, to take his mind off the way his day had gone. Something needed to die to make him feel better, and if he couldn’t kill something from Heaven, something on Earth would have to do.

Reditio Soteri -8-

The watcher raced through the city streets, but he already knew the run was hopeless; the Hounds always found their quarry. Even so, he needed time to think up something for his defense, because while they were relentless in their pursuit, the Hounds would always listen to a plea. The watcher wasn’t sure if they were pursuing him in the belief that he represented a threat, or whether it was just long habit. For now, it hardly mattered.

The watcher had initially tried to run with speed appropriate for the form he held, but as the hounds gained steadily he gave that up for something faster, and pelted off the side of a building into the air, shooting like a rocket. The hounds made a similar movement, yet managed to retain most of their form, which the watcher felt was just a bit unfair, but he was hardly able to argue the point to anyone.

The watcher gained speed, shooting skyward and desperate to put distance between him and his pursuers, as his mind raced to come up with something to keep him from suffering once the hounds caught up, as they inevitably must. Of its own whim, the watcher’s mind pondered whether the chase would show up on radar, and if so whether he was going to mess with someone’s flight patterns. Oh well, he thought, he wasn’t trying to cause trouble on that point, but there was nothing he could do if that was the case, and worrying about being taken for a UFO was not going to tell him how to keep from getting thrashed by those hounds.

The watcher dived suddenly down through a thunderhead, hoping the hounds were depending on sight and might lose him for a while in the cloud cover. As he saw them shoot away, ahead and above him, the watcher thrilled with delight, but when they banked around and came back down after him, he knew it was no use. The chase was just wearing him out, and he couldn’t think straight while flying, anyway. The watcher looked down and chose a remote wooded area for the meeting, wondering how bad he would get hurt.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Reditio Soteri -7-

Bruce had come to regard church-going as a waste of time, something he had in general commonality with his watcher across the street. His mother and brother, on the other hand, took strength from church, and their life energy was restored by the predictable traditions and doctrinal banality of the RBCR and Reverend Sheely.

Ezekiel Sheely was not your normal minister. His grasp of doctrine tended to suit his personal mood, but what made Sheely more unusual, was his sense of pastorship. Sheely considered himself very much the shepherd of his flock, and he took quite seriously his duty to meet their needs and concerns. And nowhere was this character more in evidence, than when Pastor Sheely convened the prayer circle after the mid-day meal on Sunday. Sheely passed around a list of the community members who had prayer needs, names a brief request for reference. There was a brief silence as everyone prepared their spirit for the prayer, and speaking for the group, Pastor Sheely opened the channel and prayed out loud to God:

”Holy Father, we come to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord in praise, in reverence, and in supplication, for these our brothers and sisters …”

Across the street, the watcher sensed the essence of the prayer going up, for it was strong. The watcher considered the prayer critically, and approved – it was a good prayer, strong and selfless. A nice mix of humility and love, adoration and confidence in the God to whom they prayed. The unity of spirit added to its strength and clarity, thought the watcher, this one was really quite unusual, not even a hint of a single selfish request in it from any of the supplicants; you didn’t see that very often, especially in these large American cities. Yes, the watcher was sure, this one would get a clear answer, and soon.

He was right; almost immediately the place began to change, the air becoming fresher and the mood subtly altered becoming, well, cleaner - the watcher was amused to notice that even those people driving cars through the area were suddenly more careful drivers and more courteous. The watcher waited with eager anticipation for the next part.

And it came directly, a strong atmosphere of love and joy and belonging, the very family of God affirming the authenticity of the believers’ identity as children of the Most High God. The watcher sensed this with a wistful awe; so long, it had been so very long since he had been privileged to experience the pleasure of God, even in this extended way, to sense the approval of the Lord and to know that you were wanted. It was something truly wonderful, and only the Lord’s children knew it regularly. Them and – the watcher suddenly froze, then ran from the church with all his speed. What a fool he was! Prayers were always heard by God, and always answered, but not only were such prayers as this answered quickly and boldly, the Lord tended to send ministering angels to carry out His Will. And that meant the possibility of other Guardians, as well, who would search out those like the watcher, and they would surely find him for hanging about the church, and might well consider him a threat. His only hope was that they would not see him, a desperate hope with no real chance.

The watcher was right. Even as he turned to flee there came from the clouds two Guardians, fierce and vigilant, who noted the watcher and set after him. The watcher was pursued from the church by two Hounds of Heaven.