I didn’t see Miss Greyson at breakfast. But the girls murmured of her appearance to one another. They talked—rather nervously—about how tall and beautiful she was.
“I saw her, too,” Savannah said. “She looked so—so graceful!” She gave a giggle that was nearly hysterical in nature. “I wish that I could be that graceful!”
“Well, that will never happen, so you can stop wishing.” Carrie said around a bite of pancakes.
Savannah’s little smile dropped off of her face.
“Come, on Carrie. Give Savannah some slack,” Kelly said. “I wonder if Miss Greyson’s a model?”
Some of the other girls gave their opinions, each one a little more glamorous than the last.
“A movie star.”
“No, a movie director and a movie star!”
“Maybe she’s even a princess!”
They all liked that one.
I decided to set them straight. “She’s a lawyer.” I said, taking a bite of pancake.
“But that’s not romantic,” Kelly argued.
I shrugged. “That’s what she is. I heard her mother say something to that effect when she was on the phone with somebody once.”
Somebody groaned and the rest followed her lead.
I met Crystal’s gaze and rolled my eyes.
She shook her head, her eyes telling me more than the words she might have spoken.
You are no less romantic, Meredith Windsor.
“No. I guess I’m not.” I muttered.
Angels’ eyes were even more expressive than human eyes. I had found, the more I had learned of this unseen world of angels and demons that every emotion an angel had could not be masked.
Angels didn’t work that way.
The door of the dining room opened.
All of the girls quieted down. Even Kelly.
That’s what made me look up.
Kelly was never quiet for more than five seconds.
The figure that I saw was the one I had been expecting to see.
She certainly was dressed up for a day at the orphanage. She had a shiny silver jacket coordinated with a dressy white blouse and black slacks. Her platinum blonde hair was pulled back into a severe bun at the crown of her head. Diamond earrings winked at me from perfectly shaped shell ears. Ice blue eyes peered coldly across the room full of girls. Her trusty demon Contros peered over her shoulder, enjoying every moment of the control he exerted over her.
I guess we all knew who was boss around here.
I dropped my eyes back down to what I was eating. Might as well finish breakfast if she was just going to stand there staring at us. Some of the others noticed me and took courage to do so as well.
Then Miss Greyson walked to the head of the table, her heels tapping out a staccato rhythm.
All eyes turned toward her.
I didn’t even glance at her.
Let her change these lives as she would.
I would be the same wherever I went.
I finished the last of my pancake and grabbed my glass full of orange juice.
She began to speak.
I didn’t really listen, as I was planning the day out.
It was Saturday. Cleaning day. I knew what my chore was this week.
Taking the rugs outside, shaking them, sweeping the floors.
I sighed a little.
“…so I believe it is in your best interest, girls, that I select the right person for this job as I don’t believe I would exactly fit it.”
Hm. How was this person to be selected, then? I frowned then, chastising myself.
She was grieving. Or…at least as much as she could holding that demon as close as she was.
I set my glass on the table, standing up. “Miss Greyson,” I addressed her. “I was wondering when the funeral would be.”
She was slightly taken aback. I could see it around the edges of her eyes as the lines tightened slightly before relaxing once more. “Th—the funeral. Yes. I suppose you all are wondering. Forgive me for not speaking of it sooner. It’s to be at 11:00 on Tuesday. She’ll be buried right behind the orphanage. Beneath the willow tree.” She stopped, clenching her jaw, before continuing. “It was her final wish.”
Miss Greyson drifted off somewhere in her mind before reeling herself back in. “Well, then…I want all of you to carry on with your normal tasks. Which is cleaning the house from top to bottom since it’s Saturday. I will be in my—” She nearly choked on the word, but she got it out. “Mother’s office if anybody needs me.” She then whirled about and left the room.
I admired her strength. But I knew that it would run out all too soon.
For she would accept no strength other than her own.
I wondered what she would do when her strength ran out.
That afternoon, after the chores were complete, lunch was eaten, the dishes washed and put away, I sat on a swing that was part of the swing set on top of the hill overlooking the orphanage. I wrapped my hands around the chains that held the swing, holding on tightly.
“Kelly’s incessant chatter and Carrie’s bullying got to me more than usual today.” I said aloud, leaning back in the swing. I set myself in motion with a push of my bare foot upon the hard-packed earth.
“Change effects all humans in some form or another when it comes.” Crystal said.
“Yes, I know you’re right. It’s just sometimes—”I felt a shiver fly down my spine. A breath of wind flew past my cheek. “Oh no…” I moaned, deep and low.
“Crystal, why does he always come at times like this?”
“You should ask yourself that, oh-all-seeing human.”
I heard a whirring sound that physical hearing would not be able to hear.
But since I had been given this gift I found I could not only see all the unseen things happening around me. I could also hear them.
I think that disturbed most people. That I could hear and see things. Not just one or the other.
“What are you doing here, Poke?” Crystal asked.
He pretended to be surprised, his milk-white face twisting up into a malicious sneer more evil than any human could conjure. “Is the angel of goodness herself speaking to me?” He laughed, the sound like the scream of a dying thing. “I’m here to do what I always do.”
He turned to me, evil eyes focusing in on my soul. “Test Meredith Windsor. Find a…weakness if you will.”
My hands clenched the swing’s chains. My emotions began to boil within me.
“And what I’ve seen some very interesting…things, Meredith.”
I stopped myself from moving by placing my bare feet side by side on the ground.
I tried to breathe. Tried to remember what Crystal had told me about Poke.
He was a demon in the lower ranks. Had been trying for centuries to be promoted.
To be noticed by Satan.
His specialty was finding the weakness of people.
Tiny weaknesses so that superior demons could reveal them and grow those weaknesses into great seething masses of destruction.
I had learned that was why it was so important to bring every thought under subjection to Christ.
It was so easy to sin. The fallen nature of man was the springboard of sin.
But every man had different faults.
And it was the responsibility of demons like Poke to find those faults—however miniscule they seemed to be.
Because any advantage—however small—they could find was one more advantage they had over that soul. One more angle to come at in order to try to condemn that soul for eternity.
These thoughts calmed me.
I would not let Poke discover any more of my faults.
The thing was the demon could be invisible when he wanted to be.
“Well then, Poke. I hope it was enough to tell Rancid about. Because I really don’t want your influence here anymore.”
“And what can you do about it?” Poke sneered. “I have permission this time.”
I clenched my jaw.
“That’s right,” He sneered. “The Almighty’s permission.”
I shot up, the full force of my emotions finally boiling over. “Don’t you think just because you have permission this time that you can get the best of me! Don’t you dare assume my faith is so weak that an insignificant menace like you would ever shake it! I am a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Prince of the World may be on your side but I have Jesus Christ—the maker of the universe—on mine!”
The anger died away in my chest, clearing my vision. Poke had a glimmer of fear in his eyes now.
Though he quickly hid it, I saw it.
I looked down at my clenched hands, unclenching them slowly.
“Do your best, Poke. It will make no difference in the end what you report. My soul is sealed. And I will never belong to Satan.”
Poke stood, his glare beginning to fade as the rest of him did. “We shall see, child. We. Shall. See.”
Then he was gone.
I looked up at the sky and sighed. “I don’t like it sometimes.” I said. My unimaginations could be a burden. I didn’t like to see demons. The unsaved were in constant danger.
Demons like Poke only reminded me of it.
“See! I told you she was crazy. Didn’t I, Miss Greyson? You heard her screaming, didn’t you?”
I whirled around to find Carrie and Miss Greyson standing there, staring at me.
Miss Greyson opened her mouth. She closed it, seemed to consider something. “Carrie has been…informing me of your…unique characteristics, Meredith.”
Oh, I’m sure she has.
“From what I just observed I conclude that much of what she said was true. Perhaps…” She stopped, as if struggling with something. “Perhaps losing your parents did something to your mind. And you are mixing—shall we say—your religion with fantasy.”
I reached up to rub my neck. “That’s what the psychiatrists have said.” I told her. I looked up into her eyes and forced a small smile, brave enough to try to infiltrate the icy shield she covered herself with. “Whether I agree with them or not is another matter entirely.” I looked at Carrie, feeling sorry for her as much as I was feeling annoyed with her. She was so bitter. So very, very bitter. “Carrie can say all she wants. As I told you before I would rather you not judge me until you have seen enough of me to do so.”
Carrie crossed her arms, narrowed her eyes. “After that display do you truly think that Miss Greyson will believe that you’re not crazy?”
I broke into a smile. “Well, I don’t know, Carrie. That’s up to Miss Greyson.”
I think that smile took them both aback. I walked by them and down the hill.
They didn’t need to know everything about me. If I tried to explain it they would never understand. Their unbelief would block out all understanding. I looked across the back yard of the orphanage. A couple teens sat talking in the shade of the porch. Kelly was playing Frisbee with a few other girls.
The little ones—Nora, Ava, Grace, and Lily— were playing ring-around-the-rosie. They suddenly stopped, and broke the circle. They began to look in my direction. Five-year-old Ava broke away from them and came running toward me at top speed. “Meredith! Meredith!”
I crouched down to look her in her pretty blue eyes as she approached me. “What! What!” I said, touching her nose.
She scrunched it up and let out a giggle. “We’re gonna play Mother, May I? and want you to be our mother. Will you? Oh, please, oh, please?” She pressed her hands together in front of her face in a gesture of begging.
She was so cute she nearly broke my heart. Especially since she didn’t have a mother to be her mother for the game.
“Will you remember to say Mother, may I?” I asked her, lowering my voice to a whisper.
She jumped up and down once. “Yes! I will! I will! Will you come and be our mother now? Last time we played we had so much fun!”
She took me by the hand, staring up into my face. Her blue, blue eyes widened in expectation. I reached out to muss her white-blonde hair.
How could I resist?
“Yes, Ava. I’ll be your mother.”
She squealed and pulled me by the hand, running toward her little friends.
For a moment I could play pretend with them.
For a moment I could be what they wanted more than anything else in the world.
What they so desperately needed.
“Oh, God…” I breathed. But I couldn’t finish that prayer.
It was too sad. And I had enough tears to last me my entire life.
And I was only fourteen.
“M—Meredith? Could I speak with you?”
I looked up from the book I was reading. “Of course, Savannah.”
She was clutching the Bible I had given her—my Bible—to her chest.
She tentatively came over and sat down by me on the porch step.
She placed the book in her lap and smoothed the leather cover. “So I um…read John. And the chapters in Romans you recommended to me.” She bowed her head, took in a shuddering breath. Then she looked up at me, dark brown eyes almost desperate and full of silvery tears. “I want it.” She whispered. “What you have. I want it a lot.”
I reached out and took her hand. “’If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in tine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved’.”
A tear spilled down her cheek, dropped off her chin, onto our clasped hands.
“All you have to do is ask.” I said. “So ask. I’m right here with you.”
I bowed my head, closed my eyes, knowing she would do the same.
Her words were sincere though she faltered.
Her desire to seek the things of God was pure, though new.
“Well…uh…Jesus I’ve been reading about You. And I know now what You did for me. I didn’t before. I just want to say that…” She stopped as her voice choked up. “I’m sorry for all the wrong I’ve done. And that I do believe in You. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins. And that You rose again. I believe with all my heart. Thank You so much, Jesus.” She let out a little laugh of relief. “Thank You so much.”
I looked up into her overflowing eyes, my own reflecting hers. I reached out to hug her. “Do you know that all the angels in heaven are throwing a party because of your decision today?”
She pulled back, eyes wide. “Really?”
I nodded. “The Bible says it. And it’s the only thing in the world that you can know for sure will always tell you the truth. Today, Savannah, thousands upon thousands of angels are rejoicing at your decision. And Jesus is in the midst of them, the most joyful of all. ”
Savannah’s face glowed with joy and new-found wonder. Then she laughed.
And I couldn’t help but laugh with her.
Next week's chapter will prove to be perhaps the most enthralling chapter as Meredith will find herself panicking. Why, you ask? Well...subscribe to my blog and next Saturday you'll be e-mailed Chapter Five of The Unimaginations of Meredith Windsor.