Leroy drew the leather-bound volume from his backpack. He glanced at Chevalier, and then handed the book to the dark-eyed sorceress.
She nodded and held it against her breast, closed her eyes, and breathed in slowly. We waited, watching for a reaction.
Maybe witches don’t need to read? Maybe they absorb information through their skin and nostrils.
There was an overwhelming sense of dark spirits swirling in the confines of the cabin. I could almost hear the triumphant shriek of demonic forces inside my head. Fingers of fear clutched my heart, and for a moment, I couldn’t catch my breath. It was a repeat of the same terror I’d experienced at that meeting with the mystic known as Count Ribaldo. The same evil presence I had experienced in “Madame’s” bayou cabin.
A still, small voice rose from deep within my spirit. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
The words brought calm and relief from the overwhelming fear, which I now recognized as natural anxiety. There had been an assault on my soul, and I had no way to combat it except by prayer.
After a long, silent moment—during which I sensed some form of information exchange—Darcantel opened her eyes with a look of exasperation.
“The spirit of dis book be bound.”
“Dis book be bound.” This time, there was accusation in her voice.
That’s when Madame-Monsieur Chevalier turned and pointed his stubby finger directly at me.
Everyone’s eyes turned toward my way. It was obvious they expected me to do something, but I didn’t know what to say.
Darcantel glided across the room, her movement fluid, sinuous. The thought of a serpent crossed my mind. She peered into my eyes with a penetrating look that might have stripped away my remaining confidence, but those words, “Greater is He that is within you,” rose up even stronger from within my spirit.
A moment later, Darcantel turned her attention toward Dax. She came close to his face and uttered some unintelligible words, ending with, “Him be dying, too.”
She swung back at to me. “What will you do to save him?”
She had perceived that I was the key.
Here it was. The moment of decision. They expected me to pray aloud that God would not bring any curses on the one who chose to practice the spells in the book. Chevalier would not dare take the antidote written there until he heard that prayer. As Sofronia had predicted, the vooduns feared the power of my faith.
Should I really ask God to unbind the curse? It was either that or let Dax die a horrible, agonizing death.
I could pray, but would God hear? How could I ask Him to unleash forbidden knowledge—a most evil sorcery—and then expect His blessings?
Help me, Lord, I prayed silently. I don’t know what to do.
The response was immediate, straight from my spirit.
He who confesses not that Jesus is Lord come in the flesh is under a curse already.
What a revelation!
I didn’t have to fear what would happen. The voodoo priest and priestess had already cursed themselves by their own choice to worship false gods. The evil they might do was already in the world—had been here since the most ancient time. And it, too, was already defeated.
Relief flooded my soul, followed by confidence and spiritual boldness.
“All right, everyone. Bow your heads and I’ll pray to the Lord to remove the curse.”
Leroy and Dax slowly bowed their heads. Onyx Chevalier did not. Darcantel stood with chin held high.
“Darcantel Cagliostro bows to no one.”
“You will bow your head or leave the room.” My voice was filled with sudden authority.
She blinked, then moved slowly across the room, pausing at the doorway. I sensed it galled her to give in to my demand.
Onyx Chevalier followed after her, muttering to Leroy as he went. “See that she reverses the curse on the book.”
They would not bow their heads to my Lord today, but one day they would kneel before Him, of that I was certain.
When they were both out the door, I looked at Leroy. For the first time, I saw him for what he was—a pathetic man with false hope. Perhaps he thought he was going to be cured of some illness. Maybe he believed in voodoo power, but more likely he believed in Chevalier’s promise to furnish him with the power of wealth. Perhaps he even believed, to some extent, in God, but if he did, it had little impact on his life. Leroy was far more passionate about serving himself than serving his Creator.
I looked at Dax. He was not yet a Christian, but he didn’t doubt the existence of a Supreme Being.
Leroy and Dax were hardly what I would call prayer warriors. Still, I knew they weren’t completely doubtful.
“Dax, will you believe with me?”
I needed the support of agreement in prayer. This was a dark battle I faced, and the Dark Side was more real than any Star Wars fan could possibly imagine. Once again, I sensed the presence of evil, less potent than before but still swirling like storm-tossed clouds casting dark shadows in the room.
Maybe he didn’t know what I was asking, but Dax nodded his head. He might have been willing to do whatever it took to save his life, but I hoped he had heard some of my words during our talks of spiritual matters. Those words were seeds filled with the power to take root in the good soil of his heart.
Okay. This was it. Jesus, I need you. Send your angels.
I began to pray out loud.
“Father, in the name of Jesus and by the power of His righteous blood, I come to You. I ask you to look upon that atoning blood and not my own unworthiness. In that name above all names, let the harm in the spell book be sent into outer darkness. Let the curses without cause be reversed and rendered harmless. I pray that blinders be removed from the eyes of those who are spiritually deceived and that they shall come to know the Truth that sets them free.”
I waited a moment. When no words rose up from within my spirit, I simply said, “Let the lies be reversed and the Truth be loosed. Amen.”
This was a prayer I believed God could honor. It was not exactly a freeing of the curse on evil, and it didn’t grant voodoo practitioners complete liberty without consequences, but Bad Leroy heard the word he wanted to hear—reversed. Evidently, he was satisfied because he nodded his head.
Instant relief? Light overcoming the darkness? Not immediately.
I had to believe without seeing. The flood of peace and joy was not the same as when I spoke the Lord’s name during Chevalier’s attempt to hypnotize me. The room did not instantly fill with spiritual light, but there was a definite shift in the atmosphere.
I remained aware of the hovering dark presence, but it lifted slightly. I silently offered thanks to God that Light would overcome the darkness. Slowly, peace beyond understanding began to fill my spirit, driving out all remaining fear.
Leroy went to the door to retrieve the beautiful witch and the odious wizard. He gave a brief nod, indicating their purpose had been accomplished.
Darcantel re-entered the mountain cabin with the grace of a panther, her proud head held high. She strode to the book and clutched it to her breast, eyes closed, she inhaled slowly, as though breathing in its very essence. Onyx Chevalier followed Darcantel inside, intently watching her every move.
When she finally exhaled, her eyes flew open with in an expression of glee. She opened the volume and rifled through its yellowed pages. Satisfaction settled on her exotic features.
Lifting Chevalier’s notepad with the list of ingredients, she nodded and said, “I will make the elixir to stop the poison.”