CHAPTER 14 – Daughter of Cain
All but blinded by tears, Matti almost ran up the backs of two invaders walking down the middle of the street toward their base. She didn’t know it they were the same two from the church; they all looked alike with their red sashes. She swerved and ducked into a recess between two blackened buildings when the creatures turned to look back at her. Gripped in terror that the killers would turn back and root her out of her hiding place, she burrowed back into the darkness. But they never came. Surrendering once more to overwhelming misery, she sobbed in silence.
Stirring from her wretchedness an hour or so later, she heard voices approaching. At first, they were too faint to make out enough words in a row to understand the message.
“… up from … unholy master.”
“But, what if … consume ….”
“… en’s wrath. Even … of … the rest.”
“As long … follow Brother Mor … as surely as ….”
But as they drew closer, Matti could connect their words.
“… over across the river. Right there in the middle of the parking lot.”
“Yeah? Well they’ll soon be right back in the middle of hades.”
“But, what if they don’t go? They might put up a fight.”
“You saw what they did when Brother Morgan commanded they leave, didn’t you? They went, and no questions asked.”
“But, that was only two. They might feel braver with more of ’em together.”
“They might feel braver, but only ’til they taste God’s fury. Ain’t that right, Brother Morgan?”
Matti tensed when she heard the deep baritone of Ellie’s husband. “The Lord will drive the devils from His lands, and He has deigned to allow me, as his faithful servant, to wield the power of His might. They shall truly feel my wrath.”
When the group passed the entrance to her hiding place, Matti counted eight men and four women striding behind Brother Morgan. When their voices began to fade out again, she crawled back out into the daylight.
Peering out, she saw them almost half a block away. As she had picked up in their words, they were headed towards the invaders’ base with the strange dome.
With a mixture of fear and fascination, she followed them, keeping pace with them into the devastation of the downtown area. She was close enough to hear Morgan’s sudden painful cry and watch the towering man fall to the ground. She slipped into the shadows of a nearby doorway and waited, listening.
Peering around the corner, Matti watched as one of the men pulled a board away from Morgan’s foot. After a few minutes, Morgan lurched back to his feet with the assistance of a couple of the men. From the debris nearby, one of the others picked up a pole that trailed a foot long, flexible, tie-down strap from one end. He handed it to his fallen but re-arisen leader. Leaning on the pole with each step, the metal strap flapping like a banner from the upper end, Morgan once again led them onward.
Matti crept from hiding and followed. When she got to where Morgan had fallen, she saw a board on the ground with a blood-smeared nail sticking up. Apparently, he had been so intent on where he was going that he didn’t pay attention to where he was. Looking around, she could see countless other boards, many with nails sticking out at every angle. It was a miracle he hadn’t stepped on more than one, or that no one else did.
Was it? Nerves along her spine tingled as she pondered the idea of yet, another miracle.
Crouching behind a brick planter across the street side of the shopping center parking lot, Matti stared in disbelief at the group of humans with Ned Morgan hobbling in the lead walk right up to within a hundred feet of the invaders’ dome. Two of the creatures stood near the entrance to the odd structure, but they merely gazed at the humans.
Morgan stepped forward a couple of feet, raised his arms out and above his head with his makeshift crutch in one of them, its banner flapping, and raised his voice, “In the name of the Lord God, I command these creatures of Satan to depart this place! Hear me and quake. Tarry not, foul beasts, for my wrath grows. I cast thee out!”
Matti caught her breath as she watched the two door guards turn and look into the dark portal of the dome entrance, then they entered that unholy place. Her entire back tingled as she watched Morgan lower his crutch back to the ground and limp forward. It took him nearly a minute to reach the side of the dome. But as soon as he was within five feet or so, he stopped, raised his crutch and slammed it against the sloping wall.
“Be gone, I say! Devils of blackest Hell, I command you to flee this blessed realm!”
Then, catching her breath, Matti watched the thing rise into the air. It was as silent as when it had come down, and there was no fire or exhaust like a normal space ship would have. But, of course, she now realized, this thing was not a normal space ship. Not if it was crewed by demons that could be compelled to return to their hellish pits by Brother Morgan’s command from God.
And he had, indeed, cast out them out. She had seen it with her own eyes. He was a man of God, after all. And, not just inspired, he was actually empowered. Could such a thing be? Were biblical-type miracles possible in modern times? Well, why not? If they were possible in olden times … where was it written that a time limit had passed? When she thought of how her world had been destroyed in the past few days, she realized that anything was possible.
Then it hit her. He had called her evil, claimed that she was not only a daughter of the murderer, Cain, marked as such by her own dark skin, but also a follower of Satan. But that would also mean that Momma and Dad and all her relatives and black friends were the same, and she knew they were not evil. Certainly not her Dad, and there was not a less evil person in the entire world than Momma. How could Brother Morgan say such a thing? Could he be wrong if he spoke for God? Was he speaking for God? But she had seen the power that God had given him … he said God gave him the power. Was that the truth, or was he lying? He sure looked like he believed it. But, she just didn’t feel evil.
So, then how could she have talked to that dog that led her to safety? Maybe she was one of Satan’s minions after all, and he saved her from the fires his other minions were setting. That big black dog with its glowing orange eyes sure looked demonic when she first scrambled into the tunnel. And the next morning it was gone, like it had just vanished in a puff of smoke.
How could Woody have saved her from the lynchers at the river if not by some satanic power? And how could he have held up that truck? But she had known Woody for years, and he had never been evil. He had roving hands, sure, but he wasn’t evil. Had he been sent to save her like the dog? And when he sacrificed himself to save her by letting that creature chase him, what was that all about? Did he really sacrifice himself? She had no idea where he had gone or how far he had run. Was he caught and killed? Or did he and that thing chasing him get together once they were out of sight and have a good laugh?
If they were all on the same side, serving Satan, why was that even necessary? What was so special about her that the evil powers would go to all that trouble? Is this some kind of recruitment?
Are they trying to sucker me over to their side? But if I’m a daughter of Cain, I’m already on their side – right? I’m already … evil?