Poisonous turned away from VD, and walked away, not wanting to be seen as soft or weak. She couldn’t let any of her colleagues see her like this. It would be her ruin as a demon. In some strange way, she almost didn’t care. However, her demon-sense kicked in, and she decided that if she didn’t hide soon, she might start crying right then and there. She held her feelings at bay for as long as she could; but the sadness wouldn’t leave, her, and she had to hide. In fact, she found such a place, looked around to be sure no other demons were watching, her and went in. She stumbled into a corner, sank down the edge of the wall to a crouching position and broke into deep, anguished, heart-broken sobs. A short while later, her tears spent, she held herself tightly, trying to find comfort any way she could. She forced herself to be calm, berating herself for exhibiting such un-demon like behavior; but the sadness still remained deep in that small corner of her heart and would not let go. “Oh curses! Why do I feel this way? In all my years as a dark spirit, I’ve never thought or cared about my ultimate end. Why do I care so, now?”
Knowing her emotional state bordered precariously on tears, she decided she’d better stay in the cave for a while. “At least until these strange emotions leave me.” A day or so later, she finally calmed down, and went back to find VD. She figured she’d tell her partner that she needed time to think...which was half true, anyway. As long as she didn’t tell her how she felt.
The Lamb watched as Poisonous and VD walked away from trying to torment Evie again, only to have to excuse themselves to go off and cry. “Yes, my dark-spirited ones. You have hearts, and I’m going to keep reminding you of it.” He turned his attention to Poisonous. “And mark my words, Poisonous: your partner is going to help you find your heart...and she will find hers as well.” He smiled with satisfaction as he returned to New Jerusalem.
Evie ran in the door, and answered the house phone, which had been ringing insistently since she walked toward the condo door.
“Oh, hi, daddy. How are you?”
“I’m fine, honey. How is Gracie these days?”
“Who is it?” Gracie asked.
“It’s daddy,” she answered. “She’s okay, but I’m still a little concerned about her seeing Shane. She needs prayer to deal with him in the wisest manner possible.”
“I know. I remember that painful time with Brian like it was yesterday. As a parent, I’m concerned about this Shane character as well.”
“Can I speak to Daddy?” Gracie asked.
“Sure,” she said, and handed her the phone.
“Hi, Daddy,” said Gracie. “Could you pray for me, please? I know Shane Logan is a womanizer, but the Lord told me to be a friend to him.”
“I will honey. I’ll talk to you later. I love you.”
“Love you too. Bye daddy.”
Tuesday, January 22st
The day was just another at the institute: the classes had all gone well, the lesson plans for the next day had been written, materials had been photocopied, and quitting time approached. As Evie closed the file drawer and locked it, a figure darkened her doorway. Looking up, she recognized Agent Farooqi. “What can I do for you, Agent Farooqi?”
“We’ve done some looking into your background, and as I suspected, there is no documentation verifying your being in this country legally.”
“But Gracie has filed all those with Citizenship and Immigration Services. You should be able to find all my information there.”
“We have contacted them, and they have no records for you. I’m afraid you’ll have to come with me.”
“But I know we filed the papers there…”
“Just come with me, Ms. Chen. Don’t make me force the issue…”
Perplexed, Evie just stared at him. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Let’s go. It’s late, and I want to go home, and forget about this day.”
Reluctant, she got up and followed him out of the office, and into his car, a typical Government Issue black sedan. A few minutes later, they arrived at the The Department of Corrections building on 14th Street. Farooqi lead her into the main door, walked her to the in-processing desk and told the clerk, “This person is being held without bond until further investigation is done into her background. If you want more information, contact me.” He gave the clerk his card.
“This is all a big mistake,” she said, on the verge of tears. “May I at least make a call before you lock me up?”
“You’re allowed one call,” came his curt reply.
The number dialed, the voice on the other end soon answered. “Evie? What’s going on?”
“I’m being held in the D.C. jail on 14th street; seems that Farooqi and the C.I.A. have not gotten the paperwork proving that I’m a legal U.S. Citizen.”
“This is outrageous,” Gracie said, her voice rising in volume. “I’ll get over to Citizenship and Immigration Services tomorrow, and get this matter taken care of.”
Choking back tears, she said, “Thank you, Gracie. Please hurry: this place gives me the creeps.”
Poisonous walked with VD towards their willing victim. As a demon who was good at her job, she was a powerful evil force – one best not taken lightly. “I cannot rest until I inflict my victims with all the wrong desires,” she always said. Shane Logan, a long time pawn of hers, sat on his bed, lost in thoughts that she and VD were planting there.
“Once his father opened the door to Shane’s heart to me as a young boy by allowing him to read that Girlie magazine, I never let him go.” She smiled fiendishly.
“Yes, and he is such a good tool in our hands. He does a lot to help our cause.” VD added.
“It doesn’t hurt to have members of the Unlovable Spirits, Anger, Resentment, Pride, and of course, Sexual Immorality squadrons assisting us in our mission.” Poisonous cackled with satisfaction. She took pride in her work. “The fool willingly lets me lead him by the nose, and even invites his victims to know the effects of my venom. I couldn’t have picked a more willing slave.”
“Ah, which brings us to this accursed Evie and her sister Gracie,” VD said.
“Yes. I’m looking forward to making Gracie become attracted to Shane, and making sure Evie’s relationship with Lord Jehovah is never restored.” A twisted smile appeared on her grey, death-shrouded face, as she moved in to investigate her next victim.
The Lamb of God and the Father discussed this current turn of events, as the Ruach Ha-Kodesh listened quietly. The Lamb recalled his fateful journey to the cross that started in the upper room, and continued with the painful discourse between him and the Father in the garden of Gethsemane that fateful afternoon.
“You know, Father, I knew what was ahead of me that day. I wasn’t afraid of the crucifixion, because I knew my ultimate destination, and that death was no obstacle, rather a doorway. The only thing that bothered me was the sin I was to inherit upon the cross.”
He paused, recalling the agony of that moment.
“I knew it was necessary, but I was not used to having my relationship with you severed. She cannot see beyond the immediate pain she feels. She will see the need for forgiveness soon when she realizes that her own will and her own actions will only bring her the very misery she is trying to avoid.”
The Father added, “Yes, ’if there is no pain, there is no gain.”
“Yes,” the Lamb answered. “I know very intimately the truth of those words.”
VD sighed, exasperated. Those accursed followers of The Lamb were praying for Evie, and against the bad intentions of Shane towards Gracie. “This is just never going to do,” she spat out angrily. “I’ve gotta get my boy here to apply some acceleration to the seduction of Gracie, and it’s gotta be quick. Gracie has been spurning his advances, and he is beginning to think of actually doing the right thing. That would be disastrous.”
Shane lay on his bed, deep in thought. “She’s nice, and her family is very nice. I would like to see her again, and I think I’m really beginning to like her. Maybe I ought to visit her family and her church sometime.”
VD took her cue, flitted within earshot of Shane, and started the suggestive lie, speaking in the first person to make the thoughts those of her charge. And man, she is hot! VD knew to appeal to men. It took the best of intentions and twisted them into a knot. I’ve got to step up the game with Gracie. I want her…a lot. I can just imagine us hooking up. I need to figure out a way to get her to my condo, so I can get her to like me. I want her to like me; badly. Oh yeah, that’s exactly what I need to do. Shane old boy, you are the smooth one, and soon you are going to be a boyfriend.
Shane, unaware of VD feeding him lies, smiled at the thoughts that paraded through his fertile imagination.
VD smirked, and then broke into a loud, long, raucous laugh. “Mission accomplished.” Her sinister cackle erupted as it did whenever she played another of the sons of men so skillfully. She sashayed off in her stiletto heels to report her progress to Politically Correct, and to unabashedly gloat about her accomplishment. “Men are so stupid: appeal to their sex drive, and they are suckers to be had!”
Politically Correct agreed. “Yes…and that is why most of the politicians in D.C. are in my pocket: nothing like having a pretty little trophy to chase after, take your eyes off your scruples, and take you down the road to self serving. Don’t you just love it?”
“Oh, yes, P.C.; very much.”
Michael looked over the status report, and shook his head, then rubbed his temples with his fingers. “This seems like a never-ending battle. Well, Lord Jehovah and The Lamb are always victorious, no matter the outcome. Taking a break from his work, he called Cydnie into the Situation Room.
As she entered the room, he said, “Hi, Cyd. Have a seat, please.”
She sat down daintily across the table from him.
“You know, it never ceases to amaze me that such a skillful, high-ranking angel can be so very feminine.”
“Is there something wrong with that?”
He knew better than to try to win that argument. Cyd managed to win every time. “No; but I need to get to the matters at hand.” The papers on his desk reminded him of Evie’s progress; done reading them, he looked back up at Cyd. “Okay. Prayers have been going up for Evie, and Shane and Gracie’s situation,” he began. We can’t force an outcome, but we can certainly influence it. You need to step into Shane’s circumstances and talk some sense into him. He has been under the attack of two of the minions of Politically Correct, the Prince of D.C., and we must implement as much damage control as we can to deter to the wiles of our eternal enemies.”
“I’m on my way, Michael,” Cydnie said. “The prayers of those involved are many and in earnest, so I have been given more grace by Lord Jehovah and Ruach Ha-Kodesh, their names be praised forever!”
Wednesday, January 23rd
She took the door between New Jerusalem and the Earth and met up with Faroh O’Dell, who was sitting in Frank Chen’s Après Café, enjoying some coffee.
“Hey Faroh!” She paused, admiring his look, carefully sizing him up. “Ooh, I really like your outfit: jeans and a sporty t-shirt are always handsome in a low-key way.”
“Thanks, Cyd.” He grinned. “You and your eye for fashion blow me away. You should have been born a human fashion designer rather than an angel.”
She just smiled at his teasing. “I do like fashion, I must admit; followed it all my life.”
He motioned her to his table with a wave of his hands. She went over and sat down.
“So, what’s the plan for Shane?”
Faroh filled her in on the details, which he had gotten from Michael just before she had arrived. “Now Shane is a real lady’s man, and he would be more apt to listen to a woman telling him to grow up than a man. I’m going to return to invisible angel form and cause him to have to end up in here.” He pointed towards the table. “Intel from the team has indicated he is heading toward Gracie and Evie’s house, hoping to pick up Gracie and convince her to go out on a date. We’ll divert him so that he’ll decide to end up here. This is his favortie place to hang out.”
Shane drove down Wisconsin Avenue. Ample time remained before his afternoon appointment downtown to go to a coffee shop and strategize about his business and personal life. “Yep. It’s only 10:45. I should be able to stop by Gracie’s condominium, and score a date with her. Maybe tonight, if all works out well.”
He turned left on Van Ness, headed over to Connecticut and then turned right onto Connecticut heading south towards DuPont Circle. Unbeknownst to him, Faroh waited until the car was within striking distance, and thrust his sword in the engine, causing it to stall at about Connecticut and R Streets, just north of DuPont Circle.
“Oh man. Just my luck,” Shane groaned. “Guess I’m going to have to catch a TNC, and have my car towed.” After the towing service picked up his car, he realized he had lost about an hour, so he scrapped his plans to see Gracie, and jumped in the first cab he could hail.
The Après Café near Le Château Bleu appealed to him, because the chain coffee houses were not quite classy enough for his tastes. The TNC dropped him off in front of the Après Café, and he went in. He looked around to see if there were any interesting specimens, a subconscious habit. He spotted a flaming redhead with bright green eyes in the corner. “Oh my. Talent at eleven o’clock.”
1 Transportation Network Car. E.g. Uber, Lyft
He sighed in mock exasperation. “So many women, so little time.”
She sipped on her coffee, and tried to warm herself up. The snow was falling, and the winds howled outside. The thermometer read seven degrees on the bank building across the street. She recognized him as soon as he came in the door: devastatingly handsome, always smiling like a Cheshire cat, and oh-so sure of himself. She looked up as he came to her table.
“Hi,” he said. “Are you here to grab a coffee and relax?”
She gave him a friendly smile. He starts right in on the charm; got to give him credit for his ambition. “Yes. It is a bit chilly outside, so I thought I’d grab a coffee. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to. You live near here?”
The thousand-watt smile almost blinded her. “Well, actually, I live in Chevy Chase, in the Chase Point Condos. It’s a real convenient location, not too far from the Friendship Heights Metro Station. How about you? Where do you live?”
“I live in Capital Hill, just south of Pennsylvania Avenue, near Seward Square. Not too far from where I work.”
“Oh, forgive my manners -- my name is Shane Logan.” He reached out his hand.
She took his – daintily as was her custom – hand and replied, “Mine’s Cydnie McGuire.”
The Apres Café: nice little place to get away to do some thinking. How did you find out about this place?”
“My family was invited to the grand opening of the restaurant next door. I met the owner and two of his daughters.”
Cydnie’s radar pinpointed her verbal missiles on Shane’s intensions, and focused her conversational sights on conviction, which, she figured, is that which reflects the truth; she intended to let them fly. “Oh, then you must know Gracie and Evie.”
Shane smiled nervously, caught off guard by her knowledge of his affairs. “Why yes, do you know them as well?”
Cydnie’s mind hummed, and with deadly accuracy that could slice a frog’s hair into four equal pieces, she asked, “Yes. They are both nice girls, and come from a family that believes in God, and has a good moral underpinning. Gracie in particular is a very nice girl. I know a lot about her.” She gauged his reaction at the mention of his current objective, and watched with amusement as Shane crossed his arms across his chest, subconsciously mounting his defenses.
“I go to a church: First United Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. In fact, I lead a small group there for young adults.”
“What do you discuss in your small groups?”
A trickle of perspiration formed on his forehead. “Oh, you know: how to make God relevant in modern times; reaching the seekers of spiritual truth with ways of helping them fulfill their potential.”
She returned his volley of meaningless avoidance with a direct question. “So what did Jesus mean when He was saying ’...anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it?” He didn’t say anything for a moment, and she smiled to herself. Finally, after letting Shane stew for a few moments, she said, “C’mon Shane. It wasn’t that hard a question.”
“Well, I guess it means that sometimes you’ve gotta make some sacrifices to get what you want, and be willing to take some losses along the way.”
“What if it means that you must be willing to humble yourself; do for those you don’t deem worthy of your attention? Or even more, maybe you should be willing to give up some of those goals in your life for a greater good?”
Shane sat there, stunned into momentary silence, smiled defiantly and said nothing.
The momentum she had gained with every question, continued to build. “Do you plan to date Gracie?”
“Umm, are you and Gracie friends, or something?”
“Yes, we are. We’ve met a couple of times, and I really like her. And you haven’t answered my question.” She waited for him to gamely put on his best ‘friendly’ face, and sidestep the issue.
He smiled again. “Well, I guess that since I am not ready to settle down any time real soon, I suppose I am more disposed to date more than one woman at this point. Just seems a shame to lead any woman on, when I am not ready to commit to any relationship on that level right now.”
She countered. “I’ll bet that’s true. No commitment except to get what you can out of the relationship, and move on. Don’t you think that using women like that will backfire on you one day?” Her eyes focused directly on his, unmoving, keeping him steadfastly in her crosshairs. “I’m surprised a smart man like you hasn’t figured out that a reputation has more power than all the charm and charisma in the world. Yours is obviously one that makes your intentions less than honorable. It’s a shame; you could do so much better.”
With that, while Shane was still recovering from a direct hit to his conscience from Cydnie’s verbal missiles, Cydnie got up and left. “Bye, Shane. Have a nice day.”