Wind buffeted the church campus. Leaves scraped along the ground. Rain pelted the wooden rooftops of several weather-beaten buildings as lightening struck the earth. I pressed against the storm toward the sanctuary. Shoving the doors open, I shook water from my hair. I entered, and glanced at the clock on the wall. 5:30, still half an hour until youth group started. Thunder boomed above me, a gust swept under the doors of the church. Shivering, I walked the length of the aisle way, uneasy. My eyes rested on the preacher’s pulpit. I stepped up to it.
The lights flickered.
Shuddering, I placed my Bible on the podium. Thunder shook the room, books fell, thudding heavily. I turned. My unease began to grow. I jerked backward. A water bottle near my feet tipped over. Fear gripped me. Rain traced translucent rivers over the windows, whispers echoing across the church. I twisted, glaring at the casement. Listening to the droplets ping against the glass. I cocked my head, my gaze resting on the carpet.
A flickering shadow twitched on the floor.
My breath rushed in. I shut my eyes. Seconds ticked by in my mind. Dread tasting bitter in my mouth. Slowly, I looked about.
Nothing, I was alone.
The hair on the nape of my neck prickled. My knuckles turned white as I gripped the pulpit. My skin tingled.
Something brushed my shoulder.
Panic shot up my spine. Sweat beaded my forehead. I spun, my back pressed against the pulpit. My pupils darted.
The lights went dead, leaving me in darkness.
I dropped to the floor, clutching the base of the pulpit. Another flash ignited the room. The light silhouetted a wavering shadow near the alter.
I was not alone.
My hands began to shake. I tried to convince myself that I must be seeing things. Whispers drifted around me, in tune with the pelting rain.
Footsteps, the swish of cloth, and breathing echoed in the pitch. A sudden stench of evil engulfed me. A wicked essence filled the sanctuary. A bolt turned the whole scene to white. I shrieked. Fear, electric in every pore.
My eyes locked on a translucent, misshapen figure; inhuman, foreboding before me.
I buried my face in my sleeves. Still screaming, I kicked out. I flattened my body against the pulpit, trying to become part of it. My lips moved in silent prayers. I had no doubt the presence in front of me was my enemy.
Terror clouded my mind. In the darkness I could just make out the form …
it beckoned to me.
I scrambled around the pulpit. My hands fumbling for anything I might use for protection. Something cold touched my finger.
The water bottle.
I grabbed the container and hurled it. Grasping the pulpit, I dragged myself to my feet. My fingers brushed across my Bible. A warmth spread over my body. Strengthened, I held the Bible out before me.
“Get out of here, in the name of Christ Jesus,” I shrieked, “I’m a child of God and you can’t harm me.”
In the distance, the thunder receded.
“Be gone,” I whispered, relaxing against the pulpit.
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