“I wonder where the book is now,” Andrew said as he looked up.
“Maybe it’s still in the manor. But I don’t want to go looking for it,” Selena said decisively.
Andrew looked out to the playground, now void of life. “I think Shadoe was into something much bigger than what we originally thought.”
Andrew shrugged and closed the journal. “I’m not sure. I want to do some research on the ‘Chorus of the Damned’ thing and try and figure out what that book was.” He stood, and something fell to the ground at his feet.
“What’s that?” Selena asked as he bent down to pick it up.
Andrew set the journal down on the bench and examined the small book in his hands. “Is this the book that Charlotte gave Shadoe?”
Selena looked at the small book, then flipped through the journal to Shadoe’s description of the book. “I can’t read this, Andrew.”
He grabbed the journal from her and silently read the page quickly, then looked back at the smaller book in his hand. “This is the book Charlotte gave Shadoe.”
Selena quickly stood up and took Charlotte’s book from him, flipping through the pages. “It’s still written in French,” she said softly.
But no sooner had the words left her lips did the letters in the book shift and change, before settling down a moment later. The book was now written in English.
“This book was given to Lady Charlotte of the night by Lucifer himself, bound in her beloved’s skin and written in blood,” Selena read aloud.
“Human skin?” Andrew asked.
Selena looked back down at the page, then dropped the book and took a few steps back. “That’s disgusting!”
Andrew leaned down and picked up the book, trying not to think too hard about what it was made from. “I think we need to read this book, too. Just to completely understand what all Shadoe was getting into.”
Selena shook her head. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea. If that book was given to Charlotte from the Devil, then we shouldn’t take a chance with it. This is really powerful stuff, Andrew.”
“I didn’t know you were into all this ‘good and evil’ and ‘the devil’s evil’ stuff, Selena.”
She shook her head. “Before my mom died, she was acting a lot like some of the stuff Shadoe was acting like and writing about. Every time I was with her, I kept feeling this evil presence watching me. After my mom died, I started going to this church near my house, and stuff started making sense. It’s not a trend, it’s a lifestyle. I’m a Christian now, and the Devil really is evil. If this is the kind of stuff that Shadoe Rose was getting into, then I know why no one else will talk about her. She was worse than a witch, if she served the Devil.”
“You never told me about any of this,” Andrew said, ignoring her accusation.
Selena looked down at the ground, developing a sudden interest in a red-orange leaf by her foot. “It just happened recently, and I wasn’t sure how to bring it up.”
“Were you planning on telling me this?”
She nodded. “Eventually. I wasn’t sure how to. But you’re acting like it’s this big thing, like I’m pregnant or something. It’s not a bad thing to be a Christian, Andrew.”
“Christians aren’t too different from ‘sinners’ like me,” Andrew said bitterly. “My dad was a Christian, and he cheated on my mom with someone in his church. You’re not as high and mighty as you seem.”
“That’s not how all Christians are, Andrew. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect, it just means that you’ll be forgiven for your sins and that you’ve got a better place waiting for you after you die.”
“So when you die, you’ll go up to heaven and be a pretty little angel with white wings and a gold halo, and fly around playing a golden harp? Sure sounds better than this life on earth.”
Selena took a deep breath, trying to control her temper. “It’s not like that at all, Andrew. Angels aren’t the cute Precious Moments things that everyone thinks of. They’re warriors. The small angel with big eyes and a golden harp wouldn’t have been able to protect anyone from anything. God’s angels are warriors, and so are the Devil’s. There’s a spiritual war going on between God and the Devil, and it’s going on all around us. If this book really is from the Devil, then I don’t want to have anything to do with it, unless it’s to destroy it. I don’t want to end up like my mom did before she died.”
“So you’re done trying to figure out what happened to Shadoe?” Andrew asked, anger slightly tinting his voice.
“There’s no harm in reading a journal from an old family member, Selena. It’s not like we’ll be trying any of the spells or anything else in here, and it’s not like we’ll be trying to be like her. We’re not doing anything wrong, just reading. What’s the harm in that?”
“The harm in that is that just reading it is like the hook,” Selena answered. “We’re like fish, and that book is like a hook. Reading it is the bait, and then once we read it, we’ll want to start trying some of the stuff in it that Shadoe did because we’ll want to know what she knew and she experienced. And then, that’s when Satan’s got us hooked. We’ll be worshipping him instead of God and we’ll be a slave to his bidding and his desires.”
Andrew slammed the journal shut, then shut the other book. “I’m just going to be reading it, I’m not stupid enough to start doing what Shadoe Rose did. I’m smarter than that.”
Selena shook her head, tears starting to form in her eyes. “That exactly what Satan wants you to think,” she said softly. “I really don’t want you to get hurt, Andrew, and that’s all that’ll going to happen if you go down this road. I’ll pray for you, but I can’t read anymore of either book with you. I’m sorry.”
“’I’ll pray for you,’” Andrew snorted. “Isn’t that just the Christian way to tell someone to f…”
“No!” Selena said forcefully, cutting him off. “It’s the Christian way to say I care about you, and I want God to be watching out for you. And I really do want Him to take care of you, Andrew.”
“I can take care of myself,” Andrew said angrily as he turned and walked away.
Selena stood there and watched him go. “Oh God, please, please take care of Andrew. Please place a hedge of protection around him and keep him safe. Let him know that You’re here for him and You won’t let him go. Amen,” she said as a tear slid down her cheek.