How did Calista know that we needed her help? I don’t think I heard anybody mention it. Did she … but that would be … impossible.
“Anything is possible,” Calista responds, answering my unspoken question. “The lord Jesus once said, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to a mountain move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible to you.’”
Whoa! Oh My God! She can read my mind? Backup. What am I saying, mind reading? Bullshit! Mr. Utt is standing beside me. Maybe he asked a question. But that doesn’t explain how she knew we needed help.…
“Is it? Is it really bullshit? I’m surprised at you people. Especially you, Sage,” she says pointing her finger at me. How did she know my name? “With what all ya’ll been through, I thought you guys would be more open-minded. Mmm-mmm-mmm,” Calista says with a shake of her head in disappointment.
Calista looks back at Mar like she’s waiting for her to respond. “What’s wrong, honey, cat got your tongue? Now about George, he’s targeting you, correct?” Mar nods her head.
F**k me! She can read minds.
“And you want to know why?” Another nod.
“You have a special gift Marimar. You come from a family of spiritualist. Your great-grandmother, Tita, possessed the gift of mediumship. She was ‘A Daughter of Light’. She helped spirits to cross over. Your grandma and your mother both have always possessed the gift, but they denied it. Now you and your sister possess the gift, more so you.”
“Me,” she says.
Marimar looks over at Mrs. Utt for validation.
“She’s telling the truth, my Abuelita was said to be able to talk to the dead and she would help them cross over to the other-side, along with possessing some psychic abilities. But my mother took after her father and her father was a skeptic. My Mama said it was all nonsense and that I was to have nothing to do with it and she told my Abuelita that she was not to poison my mind with her lies.”
“See,” Calista says, “God has great things in store for you.”
Oh Lord, what am I getting into with this girl?
“Being ‘A Daughter of Light’ signifies that you are destined to be a light onto the world. Both the physical and spiritual. People and spirits will be attracted to you and ask for your help. Light also attracts darkness and positive attracts negative. That is why you may have noticed that you are always being followed by those who have a darker energy. You need to be careful around those people. They will continue to try and get closer and closer. They desire to extinguish your light.”
“Someone just shoot me now and get it over with,” Mar interjects in her normal sarcastic tone.
Calista gives her a look like a mother correcting her child. “Mar, you don’t have to worry about that. God is protecting you. You should know that. You saw the angel down in the basement protect you,” Calista says. What angel? Mar nods in answer. “All you have to do is ask for his help. ‘Ask and you will receive; seek you will find; knock and the door will be open to you.’ Got it?”
“Not really. I don’t get why George has a problem with me being whatever you just said?”
“You’re a ‘Daughter of Light’. He despises you because he knows that you can cross him over. Marisol is too little to be seen as a threat. In case you weren’t paying attention when I was answering questions, I’ll run through some things for you again.
“You see, some spirits won’t see a light because they don’t realize that they’re dead. Others feel guilt and shame because of the bad things they did in this world, so they won’t go into the light because they believe they are not worthy, and still others won’t go because they believe they will be eternally damned. Now I believe that George is the last one. Understand?”
“Good.” Calista heads over to Mrs. Utt, no, to Marisol holding her hand. She kneels down in front of her so that they’re at eye level, she grabs her free hand. “Hi,” Calista says.
“Hello,” Marisol says shyly.
“Did you make friends with George?” Marisol nods her head. Bashfully, she hides her face in her mom’s leg.
“He wasn’t a very nice friend, was he?” Marisol nods her head. “That wasn’t your fault. That wasn’t anybody’s fault but his, okay? He’s just a big meanie”
“Geowge is scawy.”
“I know. But you don’t have to worry about him anymore, baby. We’re going to make him go away. He’s not going to be able to hurt you or anybody else ever again. You are a good girl. Don’t ever let anybody tell you any different, especially George, promise?”
“So you’ll help us?” Mr. Utt asks.
“Of course. I’m going to have to talk to my team, but we will be at your home tomorrow around three p.m. That should give us enough time to set up before nightfall and get some rest. I’m going to go get a pen and paper so you can write down your address and we can exchange phone numbers.
“Don’t worry, honey,” Calista says turning to Mar, “we’re fixing to get that bad boy out of there in a blink of an eye.” She gives her a wink before turning to leave. I watch her in awe as she enters back into the conference room.
On the ride back to the motel I spend most of the drive talking to Mar’s dad. We finally seem to have hit it off. We found a common interest in self-defense philosophy. We’ve both studied the same style, although I’ve only studied the unarmed version. W e both researched what martial art would work for real world self defense and came up with World War Two style combatives. He’s continuing the lecture he started on the way up here on its history. He’s a big military history buff and so am I. Every now and then I glance over at Marimar who appears to be asleep.
Our stay at the motel passes uneventfully. We are spending another night at the hotel so that we won’t have to stay in the house.
The day is passing by without a hitch. I can’t believe I’m actually feeling comfortable around her family. We’re staying in our room and Mr. Utt rented a comedy on the TV. We’re all going to go to bed early because we’re still spent from Friday night.
The Next Morning ... we ate the continental breakfast provided by the motel and we plan on stopping for a long lunch. Good, I’m in no hurry to get back to their house. The Visionaries called during breakfast. Mr. Utt says their plan is to get a motel near Sam Valentin about noon and head over to the house to set up just before three in the afternoon. Calista told Mr. Utt that this is called the blessed hour, also known as the Hour of Divine Mercy, which is supposedly the hour in which Christ died. It is the opposite of the Witching Hour or three a.m., when ghosts are at their most powerful. They want to set up their equipment when they believe George will be the least active.
We don’t need to be there, so Mr. Utt told them where a key is hidden. It will take them at least a couple of hours to set up all the equipment. With the severity of the haunting they will run all power back to their van and hook up to a generator. They will keep all their computers in the van and use it as the control center. They will meet us at dinner around six near our motels and explain to us the plan, what they expect, and what may happen. Then we will all return to our motels and rest up for a long night. We’ll meet at the house at eleven-thirty. We’re not to enter the house without them.
Up until the phone call the atmosphere was sort of peaceful, too peaceful. Like the calm before a storm. I think we can all feel it brewing. Everyone’s demeanor has changed. Especially Mr. Utt’s, he’s become very serious while briefing us on the phone call.
The sun is still high in the sky. In four and a half hours, give or take an hour depending on traffic, we should be back in town. We already located a pet friendly motel where Mrs. Utt, Marisol, and of course Trevor will being staying out of harms way. I was hoping that Marimar could stay with them and Mr. Utt and I could help get rid of the problem — I’m not leaving him to deal with the task on his own, I’m too invested in this family — but Calista said no. She said that since George wants Marimar, she has to be present for the cleansing ceremony and she has to be the one to send him into the light; no exceptions.
Mar said that she would have flat-out-refused if she had been told to stay away. Her reason was, “Everything that happened to you guys happened because of me. So it’s only fair that I’d be the one to get rid of it.” She seems to have forgotten how well that worked out last time.
The mood in the van is sort of somber now. The last time George found out that we were taking actions against him, he didn’t take it so well. Mar almost died. This time, I don’t even want to think about what he’s got in store for us. Whatever it is, it’s sure going to bring us hell.
Two hours pass quietly, the only thing breaking the barrier of silence is the radio.
“So, Sage,” Mr. Utt says, “we both know that it’s not going to be easy getting Casper out of the house.”
“Mmm-hmm, I was just thinking the same thing.” Mr. Utt positions the rearview mirror so that he can check the backseats. The girls are all crashed out, including Mrs. Utt. He repositions it and returns both hands to the wheel. Suspicion arises inside of me. What is he going to say that he doesn’t want the girls to hear?
“I just want to say that I’m thankful for your help. I really appreciate it.”
“I’m glad I can help sir.”
“I know. I know. But, that’s not what I wanted to say.” Of course there’s a, but. “I want you to know that I wouldn’t think any less of you if you want to back out. Wait, before you say anything, think about your folks and your little brother. What we’re dealing with is dangerous, that you already know, but what any of us don’t know is how much power this dead kid possesses. Let’s be realistic here, even with the “Oracle” and her guardians this isn’t going to be an easy task. This little ghost boy is like Casper from hell on steroids. If this goes south, all our lives might be at risk.”
I never did give it much thought about what would happen to Oscar. He poses food for thought. I’m basically, no, I am his only caretaker. What’s going to happen to him if something happens to me? I’m the only barrier between Bubba and him. I made it clear to Bubba that he could do whatever he wants to me but if he touches a hair on that kids’ head, there will be nothing stopping me from going ape-shit on his ass.
Why did he have to hang Oscar’s life over my head? What am I supposed to do? I’m invested in this family, in Mar. Even though I just met them I can’t help but feel like they are family. They’ve treated me like I’m one of them; like I’m a human being. The polar opposite of how I’m treated at home. They are what a real family should be. What my family used to be like. And I can’t help but want a part of that.
But … Oscar has only me. I can’t just abandon him. For years he was my only reason for living. I’m not going to kid myself, I’ve contemplated suicide many a day since my dad died, but when I thought of him … I knew I had to keep going. With me out of the equation, what will he do? If I’m no longer there Bubba would sure take full advantage and Mom … Mom would just stand back and watch, like always. The kid’s only six. He’d seriously hurt him for sure. I’m so confused. Damn it! What the f**k am I supposed to do? The Utt’s need me. Marimar needs me. Oscar. Marimar. Oscar. There’s only one thing I can do.…
“I understand where you’re coming from sir, and that is why I’m just going to have to make sure that I don’t die.” Death is not an option.
“It’s not that simple. I want you to think about it. You have at least two hours. Take your time and really think about it. Clear your head. Don’t go by blind love. I know that you want to be Marimar’s knight in shining armor, but you just met her. Sometimes playing hero ends in tragedy.”
His words make me doubt myself. Is that what I’m doing? I’ve never in my life felt this protective of any girl. There never was one that needed it. Is this really love? I’ve never really had much to compare it to. All the girls I ever dated pretty much asked me out, she was the first one I’ve ever pursued, the only one who I’ve ever felt drawn to. The other girls they were nice and all, but what were they really? Another excuse not to be home, another warm body, somebody to take my mind off of the problems at home. But she … she makes me feel different. She’s different.
“I get what you’re saying, but —”
“Just think about it. Don’t make a rash decision that you might regret. Can you do that for me?”
“Sure.” I know that he has my best interest at heart, but I also know that even he’s fully aware that his words will have no effect on me. Mar needs me and it’s my time to step up to the plate and this time, in her moment in need, I’m not going anywhere.
We check into the motel room about two-thirty. Mr. Utt rented a family movie that Marisol is totally engrossed in while the rest of us pretty much just sit and stare at the screen. On the bright side, I’m sitting on a bed next to Mar holding her hand and Mr. Utt hasn’t said a word or given me one dirty look. I’m in!