BULLY = intimidate, terrorize, persecute, torment, frighten, harass. . .
“Good night, dear. Don’t forget to say your prayers. I’ll be right down the hall if you need me.” Mom kissed my forehead before she walked out of my room, leaving only a dim slither of light as she nearly closed my door.
She said “Good night.” I remember good nights, but those were crushed underneath our station wagon months ago along with my dad. How could anyone in this house ever have a good night again?
And prayers? What good will those do me? Prayer didn’t keep all of us kids from seeing Dad killed in our own backyard. Prayer didn’t keep Mom from marrying Mr. See’n Dad’s Money, Mr. Gonna Take Care Of Ya’ll, Mr. . . aw, who cares! He’s moved in here now and Mom says I’m not the man of the house anymore. I’m fourteen. No one’s going to take MY Dad’s place and in a few years I’m out of here!
I just wish it weren’t so dark in here. This place has been giving me the creeps for weeks now. Night time is the worst. Seems like shadows move when they shouldn’t and strange noises drown out any hope of a “good night“. Last night I even felt something push down on the covers at the end of my bed. If something moves in here tonight, I’m going to pounce it like a mad mountain lion.
Anyway, Mom’s right down the hall.
Torment stood up from his crouched position beside the bed and scoffed at Persecute “Lot of good your little shadow tricks did tonight. He’s sound asleep.”
“Yea, but I shook him up. Did you see his head jerk around when I played with the curtains?”
Torment began to walk toward the end of the bed. “Maybe I should shake his bed really hard. I’ll bet he would wake up screaming like a baby!”
Persecute snorted, “You certainly spooked him last night when you tripped onto his feet! Wish I’d had a video camera!”
“Shut up, Persecute! You know I meant to do that.”
“Right. Sure. So are you going to shake him or just stand over him and hope his dreams involve you?”
“Enough persecution! Here goes nothing.” Torment violently grappled the end of the bed and shook with all his evil strength. . .
“John, honey, what’s going on in here!? Why are you screaming!?” Mom burst into my room to find me standing on my bed in a crazed Ninja fighting stance. “Honey, you are white as your sheets and I’m surprised you didn’t wake your brother and sisters with all that screaming. It sounded as though you were fighting for your life!”
“Mom, just go back to bed.” Can I fake bravery? “I had a bad dream, but I’m awake now. I can handle this.”
Mom looked skeptical as I stepped down from my warrior pose and tried to push her out the door. “Maybe I should stay a few minutes. We could pray together and ask God to help you dream good dreams.”
I took a step back. “Do you remember how, Mom? We haven’t done that since. . .”
“We’re long overdue then aren’t we?”
Torment cowered as Mom and John knelt at his bedside. “What do we do now?“
Persecute fell to the floor and began to back away as if in pain. “They are talking to HIM again. I don’t want to be here when HE shows up!”
As Persecute faded away, Torment gripped the floor rug and held on tight. “You can’t make me leave! I had him. I almost had him!”
Mom’s quiet voice was like a piercing sword and Torment vanished as she quoted 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.”