Saturday September 30th 2023

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Returning: Chapter 32

Be Not Afraid


a photo of the author
Patrick Cabello Hansel

Mother Light followed Agnes or Agnes followed Mother Light, and Angel and Luz and Angelito followed them all. Instead of travelling through time, it felt like time was travelling through them. The winter dawn had begun to paint the sky a cacophony of colors: pink, red, purple, fuchsia, blood orange, red. As they walked, they heard the mating call of a cardinal—the first time one had been heard that early in February.
Agnes led them back to the senior apartment building; the same one where she had led them into the trap Brian Fleming had set. As they got closer, Luz and Angel could feel their bodies tighten.
“We’re not going back into that building,” they said, simultaneously.
“No,” Agnes said. “But I have to.”
That was all she said, and then quickly zipped in. Attafe (aka Mother Light), took their hands in hers and said, “Agnes will not tell you, but she was forced to help the man who is trying to destroy you. He has held one of her beloveds hostage, under threat of death or worse. She has chosen to risk everything in order to reunite you with little Lupe. It cost her terribly to betray you. It may yet cost her even more.”
Luz opened her mouth to speak, but Attafe cut her off: “I know you have a lot of questions,” she said. “You will learn much in the days ahead. But on this new day, the one thing you need to hear is this: Do not be afraid.”
As she finished these words, a van screeched around the corner and came to a stop in front of them. Luz and Angel must have jumped three feet. The passenger door flung open, and Agnes said, “Get in, quickly!”
They all climbed into the van and sped off.
“I’m Lefty,” the man driving the van said. He was a short stubby man, with one arm missing—his left.
“Where are we going?” Angel asked.
“Lefty’s brother is a retired FBI agent,” Agnes said. “He’s going to try and help us.”
“FBI?” Angel asked. “Shouldn’t we go to the police first?”
“The police are the last people you want to see,” Lefty said. “Didn’t you ever wonder why Brian Fleming has never been arrested, never even been charged, even though everyone knows he is the one whose hand is in drugs, in prostitution, in all kinds of stuff?”
“He’s bought off the police?” Luz asked.
“He didn’t need to,” Agnes said.
Angel and Luz both said, “But how…” before Attafe cut them off.
“We are not dealing with simple human powers,” she said. “There’s a lot more evil here than you can imagine. But as I said before, do not be afraid. It is fear that the enemy thrives on.”
When someone tells you to not be afraid, it’s because there’s something to be afraid of. When they tell you that your fear feeds the very thing that makes you afraid, what do you do? You breathe. You pray. You hang onto your loved ones. That’s what our little family did, as the van sped down 15th Avenue.
To be continued…

Patrick Cabello Hansel is a retired pastor, having served with his wife for 15 years at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Phillips. He spends his days writing poetry and fiction, gardening and yelling at the TV.

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