As I began to enter the house I was distinctly aware of something wrong but I was unable to voice what it was. The elderly lady at the door seemed nice enough but internally you just know something was amiss, perhaps it was the chilly air, or maybe the dark damp smell whatever it was you knew you didn't want to be there. "Father Michael?" a meek man said standing at the bottom of a staircase. "Yes my son" the man had to be 20 maybe 30 years my elder perhaps he was in his mid 50's. The man now very quizzical as they all are at my age no one expects a priest barely out of puberty with a baby face to be an exorcist but I have been at this longer than I care to recount. "How old are you Father" the man finally asks as they all do "twenty" I reply. "not even old enough to drink" he mumbles under his breath "I am sorry I didn't quite catch that", "nothing Father"
He smiles knowing I heard him and then precedes to lead me up the stairs.
as I take the first step my stomach quakes my breath grows short and I begin to get dizzy I grab onto the railing and steady myself "Father are you alright" the old woman asks with genuine concern in her voice "Yes ma'am if you wouldn't mind brining me a glass of water and 3 crucifixes" she knows something is wrong but a woman of her age still has the wits not to question the authority of a priest even a young priest. "Yes Father right away". 'Ave Maria...' I begin clutching my rosary blessed His Holiness Benedict the Great after he ordained me. As I recite the prayer from my childhood I begin to examine the pictures on the wall of a young healthy boy with each step I see the years in his life progress five six seven ten twelve. The weight on my chest is to heavy I must rest "Is this him?" I ask pointing to a ten year old soccer champion holding a trophy, "the man smiles for the first time the expression on his face is gentle yet hurt. "Yes Father that is Mathew"
"And how old is he now?"
"He will be fifteen next week"
"Yes I see" I say as the man again grows quizzical "nothing lets continue".
Atop the stairs my breathing becomes that of a mountain climber, as if I had just scaled Everest Mr. White begins "The Lord is my Shepard I shall not want" as he begins to recite the twenty-third psalm I can move freely again not much at first "sed et benignitas et misericordia subsequetur me omnibus diebus vitae meae et habitabo in domo Domini in longitudine dierum" I finish his prayer. As we walk down the hall to the boys room I take quick note of personal details lifestyles and habits trying to gain all the knowledge I can. Once at the door I take a deep breath as I prepare myself to enter into the dragons lair. opening the door I am horrified at what I find "Nice to see you again Michael... or should I call you Father now!?"