This is the third in a series. If you’ve not yet read The Demise of the Interloper, please travel here for Part One and here for Part Two to be brought up to date.
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It was one of those autumn days in Florida. The kind where you walk outside and instead of being hit with the usual warm, wet washrag of humidity; you come instantly to a standstill noticing the change. The air is drier and the temperature reduced a few degrees. A day that instantly puts a smile on your face and changes your outlook.
Standing in the middle of the driveway I took a deep breath of the crisp air before walking gleefully to the mailbox at the end of the drive. There was a spring in my step and a large smile plastered across my face. I had every right to feel a sense of bliss as the seasons changed. I’d been free of the Interloper for six months and had re-discovered independence inside my own home.
I found my friend Herman at the mailbox. A little lizard who enjoyed sunning himself on the black metal. “Isn’t this a glorious day, Herman?” I sang out. He scampered, as he always did, to the very back of the box as if I was going to hurt him. We’d only been performing this ritual for months. I laughed and pulled down the door grabbing at the bills and circulars that threatened to fall out of the open box. Closing the door I looked for Herman to say good-bye but he’d already moved off and onto some other adventure. Turning on my heel I headed back to the house but stopped quickly. What was that? I thought I heard something in the bushes behind me and it was much too big to be Herman. At once the hackles on the back of my neck stood up as I turned slowly, needing to see what was there but not really wanting face what it might be.
The sound seemed slightly familiar. Like a noise you heard once, years ago, and swore you’d never forget it … but now maybe you had forgotten and my mind raced … trying to recall. I sucked in my breath, at once very afraid, turned and walked quickly toward the safety of my home. My fear grew quickly in intensity as I all but expected to be jumped from behind by some wild animal or deranged person with mayhem on their mind. Inside the house I slammed shut the door, locked it, and leaned against it trying to calm my shaking.
Safe now with my anxiety diminishing, I walked into the living room, kicked off my shoes, and settled into a soft couch to read the mail. A matter of minutes passed as I flipped through junk and bills when I suddenly sat bolt upright.
“The Interloper!” I practically shouted into the empty house. My mind reeled. Could it be? Hadn’t we gotten rid of him six months ago? Sweat broke out on my forehead and the mail in my lap slid to the floor as I rushed over to the window and peered down to the foliage at the bottom of the drive. The leaves moved silently as if blown by wind but I could see nothing else out of order.
Immediately we pulled in the professionals to conference and they put my home through a battery of tests. While waiting for results I laid silently in bed each night straining to hear any evidence of the Interloper’s evil presence. I’d already dealt with his malevolence once and truly had no wish to be involved with him again. I sought out my Guardian but He didn’t speak … or I couldn’t hear Him. Perhaps my inner turmoil simply drowned out His voice, but the silence was unnerving.
I met with the cutter first. He was my go-to guy with the ready smile and quirky bounce. Except this time he wasn’t quite so jovial. “It’s here,” he said solemnly. “You may have to live with him for the rest of your life.”
“What?” I asked quickly, even though I knew I’d heard him the first time.
“This type is hard to completely eradicate.”
I immediately thought about a time in the Bible when the disciples were trying to remove a demon from a young boy but were unable. After Jesus had removed the demon the disciples asked Him why they hadn’t been able to do the job. Jesus said, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29 HCSB) I was already praying but I wondered if I needed to start fasting.
The cutter suggested that I meet with the Brazilian next. He, with his toxic lotions and potions, almost immediately told me that there was little he could do. Through testing, part of my home had been found to be lacking suitable internal structure. The toxins he had to use to eradicate the beast required my home to be stronger than it was. He looked at me solemnly while taking a bite of his turkey sandwich as if contemplating what he could say. Clearing his throat, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and suggested I meet with the genius … the Mastermind. My options were running out.
Approaching the Mastermind’s office I prayed that he would be able to help me. If not … if not … I couldn’t speak the words. The alternative was not something I wanted to have to face.
Where was my Guardian? I knew He hadn’t left me, wouldn’t ever leave me, but why wasn’t He talking? Why couldn’t I hear Him? He so readily spoke peace into me the first time I’d encountered this evil presence. Why not now? I stopped asking knowing that sometimes we just didn’t get answers. Feeling resigned, but with a touch of contentment, “Thy will be done,” I whispered.
The Mastermind greeted me warmly. I’d spent so much time with him and his machines that I’d grown fond of this man. Aristotle is quoted as having said, “There is no great genius without some touch of madness.” I’m not sure I could call him ‘mad’ but certainly I enjoy the touch of weirdness that seems to skirt around the edges of his brilliant mind.
I left his office with hope and determination that we were going to be able to exterminate the Interloper once again. They would build me my special bed the following week and begin shooting the photon torpedoes into my home directly after.
Then, on a Saturday evening before we’d even started the process, a friend said, “You’re the most courageous person I know.”
I sighed. “If I’m courageous, it’s only because I know the Creator is with me, goes before me, and stands behind me.”
She smiled knowing that what I said was true but still shook her head. “It helps that He’s working with gold.”
I blushed, “You’re a good friend.”
The next day as I listened to my pastor in church, he seemed to stare directly at me when he uttered the word, “Courage.” I shivered in my seat thinking about my friend’s comment the day before.
I only had to wait one more day before a family friend met up with me in the grocery and said, “Have courage.” I could hardly contain my delight realizing that I’d just heard from my Savior. In the matter of three small days He was successful in getting His message through.
Instantly peace settled into my dry bones and filled my heart.
“Thank you,” I whisper into the air, knowing He hears me.
And now. Now I lay in my special bed while the Mastermind and his minions shoot photons around my house targeting the intruder. Each strike sends the enemy screeching and running for cover. I pray that God keeps this professional’s aim true and that every blast weakens the Interloper further. I imagine he will be reduced to ruins and cease to live no more – and pray the same. But I draw on the courage given to me by my Maker and smile. I will be courageous.
Thy will be done.