I stand sometimes, just watching them. They don't see me. I look at them as they lift their hands, palms up to the sky. I am too far away to hear their words, but I know that they are praying. I can tell that the god they pray to gives them joy. I see it in their smiles. Sometimes their shoulders shake a little as they laugh. Other times, even from where I stand, I can see them cry. They embrace each other and take their leave with gentle kisses, and walk away.
These Christians stir in me such desire and I lower my head to hide my tears. I wish that I could be just like them. I long to be free to raise my palms and lift my face to a loving god. I yearn to pour out my words so freely, to laugh or to cry, to feel the touch of a friend. If only…
I am not free, but a slave owned by a man who doesn't care about me. I am the doorway to his riches. He thinks that the "gift" that I possess will make him rich. He doesn't see that I am a slave twice over. The other master lives inside. He is a black and evil presence, woven around my soul. He binds my spirit and crushes my heart. He is too strong for me to overcome. He grabs my tongue and forces his own words through my lips. With my voice he unlocks the secrets of the future, spilling enough truth to carry his lies.
Of my future, he doesn't speak, but floods my mind with dark, disturbing pictures.
He pulls my body, dragging me behind a stranger. I lurch and sway, like a puppet held by invisible strings.
"These men are servants of the Most High, who are telling you the way to be saved."
Demonic words spoken through me draw a crowd of onlookers. The stranger turns and looks at me. Too many times I have seen repulsion, sometimes derision. The demon inside sniggers at my pain. This man looks at me with compassion. He sees the monster that lives inside, but he also sees me, bound and helpless.
I have always known fear. It is in the air I breathe. This time it takes a while for me to realise that the fear I feel is not my own. The demon within is quaking, naked and exposed before the stranger's gaze.
"In the name of Jesus Christ…"
The monster inside me knows that name. Light penetrates the darkness of my prison. Pierced by that light, the demon twists and squirms and I twist with him, caught up in a grotesque dance.
"I command you to come out of her."
One last pirouette and we fall. An earthquake within dislodges the demon. The stronghold of fear that he has build is shaken and the chains he used to bind me are shattered. He turns to reclaim his home, my soul, and recoils at the sight of a bright sword of awesome power flashing before him. Reluctantly, fearfully he kneels and then is gone.
There is a moment of silence. On the street where I lie there is a hush, a breath held waiting. Suddenly it is engulfed by voices. I can hear my master shouting. He knows the "gift" has gone and I am useless to him.
Inside, the silence lasts. Absent are the cruel whispers, dark mutterings and vile images. Everything is still and yet I feel something new inside, clean and clear, full of hope and peace. There is another Spirit, the kindest and gentlest of beings. He is more than I can imagine. He overcomes me with love. I embrace the God I have long desired.
I open my eyes to see the stranger reaching out his hand towards me - the touch of a friend. Just for a moment, I glimpse the person the demon had seen, white and radiant with a flashing sword. Then he is just a man. They call him Paul. He and his friends are grabbed and tousled, pushed and prodded towards a prison. I remember my earthquake, see theirs and smile. It is my final glimpse into the future. My future I know well.
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