The church service was long and dreary, but I endured it for my mum’s sake. The dark winged shape lurked above me, but I felt her power was waning in the house of God. After a final hymn, the church doors were opened and the Reverend Laybourn stood just outside, talking to the congregation as they left. My mum left the church, glancing my way as she walked out into the sunlight. I looked at Jeff.
“Go with your mum,” he said. “I’ll stop by tonight.”
“You don’t know where I live,”
“Yes I do, I’ll see you around seven,” he said, and then left the church through the back door. I walked to the front of the church, not wanting to be in there alone. I kept my eyes fixed straight ahead of me, not daring to look up, afraid to see what was following me.
The Reverend looked genuinely pleased to see me, “Ah, Lucy, so glad you came to church today.”
My mum stood next to him, her eyes brimming with tears. She looked haggard. I reached out and hugged her, feeling her tears soak into my blouse. “I’m sorry mum, I’m really sorry. I don’t know whats wrong with me. I think I have daemons.”
Reverend Laybourn frowned. “Lets not talk about daemons,” he said. “Will you join me for a cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits? I think it would be nice to talk for a while.”
I didn’t want to talk about the thing that followed me. What if the dark feathered creature that followed harmed those I talked to?
My mum was talking now. “Please, come and have tea at my house, I’m there alone so often, I’d love you to come. I baked a chocolate cake this morning, I’ll never eat it myself.”
That pleased the good Reverend, he did have a sweet tooth. I couldn’t argue.
Reverend Laybourn locked the church doors “I thought the church was always open,” I said to him.
“Yes in a perfect world,” he answered “but, we’ve had some problems recently, a crow, or some other big black bird got trapped in here, there was an awful mess. I didn’t think black birds were carnivores, but I was wrong. There were two dead rabbits on the floor and blood everywhere.”
“Oh that’s awful,” I said, alarm bells going off in my head, “Is the bird gone now.”
“I don’t know, we never saw it.”
“Then how do you know it was ever there?” I asked.
“Black feathers everywhere.”
I staggered backwards, almost falling over. The Reverend grabbed my arm and steadied me. “Are you alright?” he asked. He wasn’t looking at me as he spoke, his eyes focused just above my head again, the same as they did when I bumped into him a few days earlier.
He looked scared!
Dead of July