An Old Recipe 6

“Mom, I’m sorry.” As he spoke, Butch focused on the bruise under her eye. “I shouldn’t have upset Father like that.”

He had never seen her stepmother look so uncertain. Finally, she shook her head — “Butch, you don’t need to apologize, you did nothing wrong.” She handed him the makeshift icepack. “Put this on your shoulder.”

The feel of the cool plastic surface made Butch realize how much pain he was suffering. He swung his legs over the bed, let them dangle next to his mother’s. “Thanks.”

“I thought he was cleansed.” Faith was looking down absently at the floor. “The demon inside him — the one that had been tormenting him since your mother — ” her head jerked up, face towards Butch — “Polly, ever since she was — ” she paused, a horrified look emerging on her face like an oil slick seeping on to a placid lake surface — “when she died. No man should suffer like your father did, no man. He’s a good man, Butch, and he’s prayed to the Lord for help, he wants to be whole again. He just needs . . . ” Her voice seemed to evaporate.

Butch shifted the ice pack, cragluh, from his shoulder to his chest. “Should we pray with him?”

“I have.” Her eyes resparkled. “I do pray with him, Butch. And the Lord is good, He will heal your father.” The teen noticed the bruise under her eye was darkening. “But your father is not a patient man. He wants to be healed now, and when he feels the demon’s torments again — ”

She sniffed, rubbed the back of her right hand under her slender nose, pushed a strand of her curly brown hair off her face. “I was wrong. The demon, is still too strong.”

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