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datatime: 2022-12-04 06:07:10 Author:hOwBQnJl

He stripped off his cloak, and his topcoat as well. The church was hot. The fire in the stove must have burned longer than he expected. Or maybe he felt the heat of shame.

She stepped back, surprised. "I was just--"

I do believe you, it just ain't like Pa--

Tell that to your pa

Thrower knelt at the altar and cried out the name of the Lord. "Forgive thou my unbelief" He recited a litany of self-excoriation, he rehearsed all his failures of the day, until at last he was exhausted.

Maybe she didn't mean to sound so contemptuous. It didn't matter. He knew what she meant. That him having no hidden power, there wasn't a thing he could do to help anybody. After years of being married, she still put her faith in witchery, just like her kin. He hadn't changed her a bit. "You're just the same," he said. "Evil's in you so deep that I can't pray it out of you, and I can't preach it out of you, and I can't love it out of you, and I can't yell it out of you" When he said "pray," he shoved her a little, just to make his point. When he said "preach," he shoved her harder, and she stumbled back. When he said "love," he took her by the shoulders and gave her such a shake her hair broke right out of the bun she'd made of it, and fluttered around her head. When he said "yell," he knocked her back so far she stumbled down on the floor.

You could catch your death--

I know what you 'was just.' Poor little Armor, you just pat him like a little boy and he'll feel better.

That was his thinking, and he was about to throw himself on his knees and bawl like a baby and beg forgiveness. He would've done it, too, except that when she saw the look on his face, all twisted up with shame and rage, she didn't know that he was angry at himself, she just knew that he was hurting her, and so she did what come natural to a woman who grew up like she did. She moved her fingers to make a fending, and whispered a word to hold him back.

I do believe you, it just ain't like Pa--

Trying to save your brother's life. He's no doubt dead by now.

Reverend Thrower opened the door of the church and walked slowly, fearfully inside. He could not bear to face the Visitor, knowing how he had failed. For it had been his own failure, he knew that now. Satan should have had no power over him, to drive him from the house that way. An ordained minister, acting as the emissary of the Lord, following instructions given to him by an angel -- Satan should not have been able to thrust him out of the house like that, before he even knew what was happening.

I said get your hands off me

Oh no she cried. "I can't believe Papa would--"

You could catch your death--

Tell that to your pa

He couldn't fall on his knees before her. He couldn't take one step toward her. He couldn't even think of taking a step toward her. Her fending was so strong he staggered back, he headed for the door, he opened it and ran outside in just his shirt. Everything he'd been afraid of came true today. He probably lost his future in politics, but that was nothing compared to this: his own wife did witchery in his own home, and she did it against him, and he had no defense against it. She was a witch. She was a witch. And his house was unclean.

I said get your hands off me

No ma'am, it's like the devil himself, that's what it's like The spirit of evil

She stepped back, surprised. "I was just--"

How could you save him?

What were you doing up at the house?

He couldn't fall on his knees before her. He couldn't take one step toward her. He couldn't even think of taking a step toward her. Her fending was so strong he staggered back, he headed for the door, he opened it and ran outside in just his shirt. Everything he'd been afraid of came true today. He probably lost his future in politics, but that was nothing compared to this: his own wife did witchery in his own home, and she did it against him, and he had no defense against it. She was a witch. She was a witch. And his house was unclean.

Tell that to your pa

You got to get that wet shirt off. How'd you get snow clear down your shirt?

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