“What?” Andrew asked incredulously.
“He’s dating Charlotte,” Selena said. “She talks the way Shadoe writes, and she looks just like Shadoe, but with brown hair and dark eyes, and olive skin. And there’s something about her, like this weird energy, like she’s a generator or something.”
“So your dad’s dating a skeleton who serves the Devil and has a book made out of human skin, and not just any human skin, but her lover’s human skin?”
Selena nodded slowly.
“Do you know how this happened?” he asked as he looked inside, as if Charlotte was still there.
Selena stepped back and let him inside. “I’m not sure, but he said that they met at his work.”
“Is she still here?”
Selena shook her head. “She left a little while before you came. This isn’t good, Andrew. My dad really likes her.”
“Maybe he really doesn’t,” Andrew said quickly. “Before the words started turning into pictures, I found this one spell, or at least I think it was, but it’s a love spell. The woman takes a drop of her blood, something from the woman the man is really in love with, and a blood-stained white rose, and turns it into a drink. The man then drinks it, and falls in love with the spell caster. Maybe that’s what Charlotte did.”
“But why is she targeting my dad?” Selena asked.
Andrew shrugged. “I’m not sure. I can’t read her book for more than a minute before it turns into those pictures. Why do you think Charlotte would target your dad?”
Selena closed her eyes for a moment to try and think. She reopened her eyes and shrugged. “I don’t…the golden moon!”
“Before my mom and dad got married, she was Wiccan.”
“Your mom was a witch?” Andrew asked.
Selena half nodded. “Something similar to that, but not exactly. They believe in the almighty power of the earth and the moon as the feminine goddess of the world. It’s complicated,” she added, seeing his confused look. “But even for a Wiccan, my mom was really into astrology, and a lot of the occult stuff. She did this one spell that was supposed to show her who she would marry, but instead it brought a bunch of demons to her. A few possessed her, but they were dormant for a really long time. Then a few months ago, there was this full moon, but it was a special one.”
“It was gold?” Andrew asked.
Selena nodded. “It’s caused by this rare phenomenon when certain gases in the atmosphere meet together in front of the moon, and that combined with the sun’s light and the light from the stars and other planets, makes the moon look gold. In my mom’s astrology stuff, the golden moon was supposed to be really potent for good luck and spells and all that stuff.”
“And so that was when the demons in her woke up?”
“I think so,” Selena answered with a nod. “That was when she really started acting weird. And after that, when she was making sense, she kept repeating this one phrase: long live the Dark King, may his kingdom forever reign, may the Imposter’s bane cause the fall of His heaven.”
“And that’s supposed to mean what?” Andrew asked, Selena’s fear and excitement beginning to get to him.
“It means that these demons are trying to pave a way for the Devil to come to earth and try to start an all-out angel versus demon warfare that people would be able to see.”
“And why would they do that?”
“The beast!” Selena almost yelled. “In the book of Revelation in the bible, it says that this creature, a great beast of fire with seven heads and ten horns will be thrown out of heaven. Everyone will love and worship the beast, and bare his mark.”
“Six-hundred sixty six,” Selena answered.
“And your mom and my great-great-great grandma were important to this how?” Andrew asked.
Selena shrugged. “That part I don’t know. But I know that we’ll have to figure out why.”
“And we do that how?”
“By praying and walking through this with God. Not by doing it on our own, but by doing it through Him and with His power.”
Andrew nodded slowly. “Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not a Christian like you are. I don’t think that your God would still protect me from this because I don’t serve him.”
Selena shook her head. “That’s not true. He’s always protected you, you just never knew it was Him. God’s been protecting you and He wants to show you the full extent of His love, but He can’t do that unless you let Him.”
“Not that I’m interested yet, but hypothetically, how would I do that?” Andrew asked. “What’s the catch?”
“There’s no catch. Love and protection from an eternal father who will always be there no matter what, and all he asks is that you die for him and be born again.”
“There is a catch. There’s always a catch if it’s that good,” Andrew scoffed. “My life in exchange for His love? No thanks. What if I don’t like it? What if He abandons me when He sees what a mess I am? What then?”
Selena reached out and put her hand on his shoulder. “He loves that you’re a mess. He doesn’t want you to change at all. He’ll take the mess that you are and start turning you into something great. That’s what he’s doing with me. And even if I make mistakes, I just have to ask for His forgiveness, and He completely forgets about it, like it never happened.”
“I still can’t try and wrap my head around it. That’s too good to be true. There’s no way that this is all actually real. You keep talking about this ‘spiritual warfare’ and how angels and demons are all around us, so how do you not know that it’s really a demon that’s making you think this?”
“Faith,” she answered softly. “It’s one of the best gifts from God. If you have faith like a child, then it’s easier to believe in Him. That’s why He’s always there to catch you when you fall and to rejoice with you when you’re happy. He carries you through the rough parts, and walks with you during the easy ones.”
Andrew shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe this stuff. How do you know that the bible isn’t just a made up story? What’s there to prove that it’s not just a fairytale?”
“Have you ever stopped and really looked at a flower petal?”
Selena smiled and walked to the vase by the couch, pulling a dark red petal from a tulip. “Look closely at this petal. See how complex it really is? It’s not just one big tissue, it’s filled with veins and tiny cells and pigment that make it this dark red. The colors fade into each other so perfectly, you can’t tell that the colors are changing unless you look at it as a whole. It’s so complex, that it couldn’t have just magically happened. Someone took the time to plan out every single detail of this entire petal, and didn’t miss out on anything. That Someone is God. If he took this much effort and detail in one single petal, imagine how much effort and detail He’s willing to put into you if you’ll let Him.”
“So you want me to become a Christian because of how complex a flower petal is?”
Selena shook her head. “No. I want you to become a Christian because God wants you to, and that way I know that you’ll always be safe, and that even when I can’t, there will always be someone to love you and pick you up when you’re down. That’s why I want you to be a Christian. But it’s not my choice for you, it’s yours. No one can make it for you. The choice is all yours.”
Andrew shrugged. “I’ll think about it. But can we go ahead and read more of these books so we can try and figure things out?”
“I guess so,” Selena answered. “My dad probably went to bed after we had our little ‘heart to heart,’ so I think we’ll be fine reading them down here.”
Andrew nodded and sat down on the couch and opened up Shadoe’s journal. “Ready?”
“Not really,” Selena said as she sat next to him. “But let’s go ahead anyway. Well, can I pray first?”
Andrew shrugged. “If it’ll help make you feel better about doing this.”
Selena grabbed his hand and closed her eyes. “Father, You already know what dark secrets and pathways lie in these books, but please give us the discernment to tell the difference between Your influence and that of the Devil’s, and please protect us while we’re doing this, even though it’s dangerous. Amen,” she finished.
Suddenly feeling uncomfortable about the prayer, Andrew moved his hand and opened up Shadoe’s journal.