Sorry I didn’t post a chapter yesterday. Time just got away from me. But to make up for it, I will post two chapters today — but in separate posts.


© 2009 Sandra Pavloff Conner


About fifteen minutes later her grandfather was at the door with dry clothes, and not five minutes behind him, Noah came in and threw himself into one of the kitchen chairs. He tossed the towel, now soaked, off of his shoulders onto the back of his chair and said, “Is that coffee I smell?”

“Sure is,” Serenity said, setting a big mug of the steaming liquid in front of him. “But you need to change clothes as soon as you can Noah,” she added. He looked up at her, and at Clint, who was standing with his hand still resting on the stack of dry clothes he had laid on the table.

“You go use the bedroom to change first, and get David into something more his size,” Noah said grinning a little at the boy, “and then I’ll change. Right now this coffee is the best sounding thing to my mind,” he added, taking a big gulp and then leaning over so that his elbows rested on the table, his hands wrapped around the mug. He had his head bent, way down, and he looked as if he were off in a world of his own thoughts all of a sudden.

Serenity took the clothes and slipped into the bedroom, returning just a couple of minutes later, dry and neat. Then she took David in and gave him an outfit of his own clothes to put on. She left him dressing, since she knew he always wanted to dress himself whenever possible. When she returned to the kitchen, she poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down at the table. “David will be right out, Noah, and then you must change your clothes.” She looked at his mug and saw that it was empty, but he hadn’t done anything about it. The poor man was probably too spent to even get up off of the chair, she thought, so she refilled his cup and added four spoons of sugar.

He looked up at her then. “I thought that coffee tasted different than usual, but I was too tired to figure out why. You should know by now that I don’t use sugar,” he said, with half of a grin.

“And you should know by now, after all your years dealing with crises of one sort or another, that sometimes a stimulant is called for. Right now all I have to offer in that line is coffee with sugar, so you’re going to drink it,” she said with a determined look on her face that, at least, caused his grin to widen. He drank his sugared coffee obediently.

After a couple more minutes, David came out of the bedroom and took his seat at the table where Serenity had put his mug of hot cocoa. Noah got up then and went to change clothes, and Clint refilled his cup and began to look in Noah’s refrigerator.

“I think it’s getting close enough to supper time that some bacon and eggs would go pretty good, don’t you?” he said, pulling out a carton of eggs and a package of bacon as he spoke.

“Well, I don’t know that we should stay that long, Gramps.”

He looked straight at her and spoke especially quietly, nodding toward the bedroom as he did so. “That man needs to talk to somebody, and it might as well be us.”

Serenity knew her grandfather was right, but she wasn’t sure Noah would agree. However, she yelled toward the bedroom. “Gramps is suggesting he fix all of us some bacon and eggs, Noah. Can you tolerate all of us long enough for that?”

“Sure. It sounds good if you don’t mind missing church to stay and do that.” Noah stepped through the bedroom door then, in a light yellow knit shirt and blue jeans.

“I think all three of you need to dry out and get some rest instead of trying to go to service tonight.” Gramps said. “Sometimes God has other things to do that are important too . . . and besides . . . I’m gettin’ hungry.”

“Then be my guests,” Noah said, chuckling and sitting back down at the table. “Did you find everything you need?” he asked Clint.

“Sure did. Now the rest of you just sit there and rest, and I’ll whip up one of my gourmet meals.”

David had kept looking at Noah in sideways glances repeatedly, but he hadn’t reached for his mug yet. Serenity noticed it was still untouched and she encouraged him, “David, you need to drink your cocoa, Honey.”

Suddenly, David burst into tears, covering his little face with his hands, and before Serenity could get to his side, Noah was squatting down beside his chair, cradling David to him. After a moment, David was finally able to get some words out through the tears, and he said, “I’m sorry, Noah. I’m sorry.”

Noah pulled back enough to look into David’s eyes. “Sorry about what, Dave?”

“I’m sorry I let that happen to Moondancer. Is he going to be all right?”

Noah shifted enough to take hold of David’s shoulders and look him squarely in the face. “David, you didn’t do anything wrong. What happened to Moondancer was not your fault at all. And I mean that. You even tried to swim out and save him for me. Of course,” he added with a chuckle now, trying to get one out of David too, “that move on your part put a little scare into me, but it was a very unselfish thing to do.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t my fault?” he asked, his eyes serious, but less tearful now.

“Absolutely! It was nothing but an attack from our old enemy, the devil. He tried to harm Moondancer and you, but the Lord didn’t let him get away with it.”

David threw his arms around Noah’s neck then. “Thank you for coming for me, Noah. I couldn’t swim any more myself. I was just too tired to keep moving.”

Noah’s eyes filled with tears. “I’m just so grateful that you were able swim as long as you did, David. You’re a very brave boy, and I’m proud of you. But please, promise me that you won’t ever go that far out again . . . not for any reason.”

David nodded his head, and sniffed. “Okay,” he said. “I promise, Noah.” He sniffed again, and Noah handed him his handkerchief.

“Here. Blow and then drink your cocoa before it gets cold.”

So David blew his nose and laid the handkerchief on the table to pick up his mug.

“Is it still hot?” Serenity asked him.

“Yeah,” he said, nodding his head. “Mmmmm, it’s good!”

“Okay, bacon’s done,” Clint announced, setting the platter on the table. “Is scrambled all right for the eggs?”

“Sounds great,” Noah said, moving to the cabinet and taking out plates and silverware and carrying them to the table.

The eggs were done shortly, and they all ate like truly hungry people. Serenity was surprised that they had that much of an appetite after what they’d been through, but she didn’t question it. She knew that good, hot food was often as good a tranquilizer as anything else . . . at least in the right company, so she tried to just enjoy the meal. David hadn’t finished everything on his plate before his eyelids began to droop heavily, and by the third time he tried to blink them open, he had lost the battle. He fell sound asleep sitting in his chair. Noah got up and picked him up. “After that kind of experience, good hot food and warm clothes go a long way toward relaxing you,” He said, grinning. “I’ll lay him on my bed until you’re ready to head home after while.”

Those words made Serenity think that Noah did want to have their company for a while longer, so she hoped he would talk to them openly. When he sat back down, Clint handed him another piece of toast with jelly, and he ate it, still not saying a word. Serenity decided it was time to ask some questions.

“Noah, what made you think that everything happened because of a spell being put on Moondancer?”

“What’s this?” Clint asked.

“When we were praying for the Lord to somehow save Moondancer . . . after Noah had already rescued David . . . he jumped up and began to break a spell and take authority over demonic spirits.” She looked back at Noah. “How did you know?”

Noah looked away from her in thought, and it was then that he realized why he’d thought he should recognize Lacey Dillard. It wasn’t the girl’s eyes that he had seen before. It was the eyes of the demonic spirit that was inhabiting her. A chill ran through Noah, and Serenity laid her hand on his arm. “Are you cold, Noah?”

He refocused on her and shook his head. “No . . . just a little reaction. I’m fine.”

“Are you going to answer my question about how you knew what to do?” Serenity asked him, looking directly into his eyes. He looked away a little and shrugged his shoulders. “I guess the Lord just quickened it to me right then.”

“But . . . the . . . the way you took that authority, Noah . . . it seemed as if . . . as if you’d had a lot of experience doing that kind of thing. I mean . . . well . . . I’ve prayed against demonic power a few times . . . and I’ve heard one or two other people do so . . . and I know it’s necessary sometimes . . . but there was just something about the way you did it.”

“You’re letting your imagination run away with you,” he said, trying for a casual grin that just didn’t come off.

“Well . . . I suppose it could have been my imagination . . . but . . . I don’t think I really believe that, Noah. . . . I think it was the look on your face and the fierceness in your voice. It seemed as if you were dealing with forces that you recognized and understood . . . and —” she threw up her hands before she continued. “Oh, I don’t know . . . it just seemed as if you knew exactly who or what you were dealing with, and that this wasn’t anywhere near the first time you’d dealt with it.”

Noah got up from the table and walked over to the windows. He stood looking out, not saying anything. Serenity looked at her grandfather, and he just raised one finger as if to say that she should give Noah time. So she sat back in her chair and concentrated on keeping silent. As she watched him, she saw him raise his hand and finger the gold ring in his ear. He held onto it, gently fingering the gold hoop and then the tiny cross, as he still looked out the window. Then she heard him whisper, “Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for breaking my promise.”

Serenity could hear the anguish in the quiet words, and her heart ached for this man. She didn’t know yet what he was dealing with, but it must have been serious indeed to cause that kind of tone in his voice and his hesitancy to discuss it at all. After another moment or two, Clint spoke. “Anything you want to tell us won’t have to go any farther than this room, Son . . . if that’s what you want. But . . . I think you do need to talk, don’t you?”

Noah still didn’t turn around, but in a moment he spoke again, in a more normal volume. “I . . . I just can’t bear to think that I almost let another child die because of the witchcraft!”

Serenity opened her mouth to ask what he meant, but Clint put a restraining hand on her arm to stop her. Then he spoke. “Are you talking about David, Noah?”

Noah didn’t say any words. He nodded hid head in answer, at the same time leaning forward and bracing himself on the window ledge as a heavy sob escaped him, followed by another and another. Serenity’s tender heart just couldn’t take anymore. She jumped up and ran to him, throwing her arms around his shoulders as he leaned way over on the window ledge, his head supported on his closed fists now. She held him as closely as she could while he sobbed, and tears were streaming down her own cheeks, as she hurt for him and didn’t even understand why.

No one in the room could see the fourth occupant. Naam, the “beautiful, pleasant one,” stood faithfully on the other side of Noah, spreading his glorious wings over this weeping couple. He smiled now, knowing that it wasn’t really his presence that was giving his charge comfort right now; it was the presence of this woman of God whom the Eternal Father had chosen to be this man’s helpmate. They didn’t know that yet, of course, but they were learning — one day at a time — and that was enough for now.

But Naam also knew that his presence was for protection right now even more than for comfort. He had been charged with Noah Bennett the day he had been conceived, and he had faithfully executed his duties to guard and keep this man in all his ways. And many had been the times, especially this past year that he had also been his comforter, although Noah had yet to see him with his own eyes.

Naam knew, though, that Noah had felt his presence many times. And, of course, he had been aware that he had received supernatural protection a number of times in his life as a law enforcement officer. This past year had certainly been the most challenging. Naam had been forced to call in extra help from the Hosts of Heaven to cover Noah effectively during that time. And the battles with the demonic powers had been horribly intense on two different occasions. But the Hosts of Heaven had won! Naam smiled to himself now as he remembered. Yes — they had won.

But Jehovah had warned Naam that there would be more battles to come, and Naam had understood that some of those battles would be within Noah’s will. Naam couldn’t interfere with that, of course, but it was his job to make Noah able to find the right places in Jehovah’s Word that would give him direction, and to come into contact with the other members of the Body of Christ that the Lord had chosen to influence him. Those two accomplishments would help to keep Noah’s thinking clear and sound, and help keep his emotions shielded from the deceptive pressures of the enemy. That way, Noah could make his decisions on the basis of Jehovah’s truth alone.

So far, this man had been faithful at every turn in the road. This past two weeks had been a time of fierce struggle, though. Noah had wanted so badly to be allowed to turn his back on this terrible development here in Hamsted. But, finally, today, as Naam had stood beside his charge on the edge of the ocean, the Eternal Father had spoken to the angel and told him to speak to Noah the words that would open his eyes to the fact that he had no choice but to step out in faith and use the authority he had been trained by the Holy Spirit to use.

And then, just a few minutes ago, Naam had been given permission to speak to his charge again. Noah had been so troubled lately that he wasn’t really listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit as he needed to do. So Naam had received instructions to remind Noah about the promise he’d made to the Eternal Father when he had put that ring in his ear. And to Naam’s great delight, just the one little reminder was all that Noah needed to cause him to realize that he had come close to breaking that promise. In the next instant, he had committed himself to it anew.

Look for Chapter Twelve immediately following this one.


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