I stayed with my mum until I knew she was alright. She was clearly shaken by the lightning felled tree, but had forgotten about the dark feathered shape with wings. For that I was relieved. It was seven o clock when I finally left mum sitting in front of the television watching Songs of Praise and drinking tea. I stopped by to see the Reverend and asked him to keep an eye on her. He promised he would. “I’ll send Maggie round to see her,” he said, “Your mum and Maggie like to gossip.” Maggie was the Reverend’s housekeeper, and my mum did enjoy her company, although in this instance I think the Reverend was afraid to visit himself. He knew he wasn’t welcome.
When I got home my little flat was cold. I turned up the heating, but it didn’t warm the chill in my bones. I’d just poured myself a brandy when the doorbell rang. It was Jeff, I’d forgotten about him, but was pleased to see him.
“Can I pour you a brandy?” I asked as he came through the door.
“No thanks, not right now anyway.”
“Whats in the canvas bag?” I asked him, “More bones?”
Jeff laughed, “No, something to help rid us of your evil guest and keep you safe,” he said as he put the bag on the floor. I watched with interest as he pulled out bunches of dried herbs, shiny stones, powder, books, coins. It was an interesting combination. “Are you in some sort of cult?” I asked.
“Nothing like that. You could call me intuitive though. This is a concoction I put together myself. I haven’t really had chance to try it out yet.”
“Oh great, let me be your guinea pig. What are you planning to do?” I asked, shivering, it was getting colder by the minute.
He looked around the room. “Go and sit on the sofa,” he said, “tuck your feet under you and wrap yourself in that blanket.”
I did as I was told and watched as he sprinkled a fowl smelling brown power around me. He crumbled dried herbs into the powder, mumbling quietly all the time. It was freezing now. Finally he stood inside the oval he’d made around my old sofa and placed shiny pebbles around us. Then he sat next to me, very close, our bodies touching. He put his arm around me and held an old book in front
of us. The yellow pages contained characters I’d never seen before, they seemed to writhe before my eyes. Was I hallucinating. Jeff took something from his pocket. Was it a joint. Was he going to smoke weed in my livingroom?
He lit it and inhaled before passing it to me. “You need to share this with me,” he said.
“Is it cannabis?” I asked
“No,” he replied, “Come on we don’t have much time.”
I put it between my lips and inhaled deeply, closing my eyes. It wasn’t unpleasant, in fact I liked it. When I opened my eyes again I was shocked at what I saw.