Later that night, Brielle and the girls returned home. Paul brought Raina over.
“Okay, girls, get showered and ready for bed, it’s late.” Brielle said softly.
After the girls went to their bedrooms to grab clean pajamas, Raina looked at Paul.
“Do you mind if I stay and talk to Brielle for a moment?” she asked her husband.
“Sure. What time do you want me to come back to pick you up?” Paul asked.
“You don’t have to do that. We only live a few houses down. I can walk,” Raina said, “Besides, I need a good walk and to breath some good night air.”
“It’s awful late, Raina.”
“It’s only a quarter ‘til nine.”
“Alright, be careful. I’ll see you when you get home.” Paul said before kissing his wife and leaving.
Brielle fixed two glasses of iced tea, then took the glasses into the living room. She and Raina sat down, and Raina took her glass and sipped.
“Mmm! Thank you,” Raina said before setting her glass down on the coffee table.
“You know? Dinner at Grandma Bennett’s was delicious. And I feel so much better after that powerful prayer tonight!” she went on.
“I do too, Raina. I feel…lighter! Like a heavy burden has been lifted! I can’t explain it any different,” Brielle replied, “I needed that prayer because I was feeling so afraid. But I’m not afraid anymore.”
“You know? Lately, I’ve often wondered how evil, demonic people manage to find us, Raina- people like Bobby, Rita, and Misty. How do they find people like you and me, who believe in fairness, kindness, and humanity? How do they find those of us, who don’t bother anyone, who don’t want anything from anyone, but only want to live and be left in peace?” Brielle asked.
“I don’t know, Brielle. I do know that evil can always sense when there’s good people around. Evil is always hungry for prey, and it usually finds it. It’s like a pack of vicious hounds that sniffs it out and hunts it until it attacks and devours it. Remember what the Good Book says, ‘The devil roams to and fro, seeking who he can devour. He seeks to steal, and to kill, and to destroy,’” Raina answered.
“That’s exactly right, Raina. I don’t know if it’s The Lord trying to warn me. But I sense that old scratch is hungry right now. I just sense an evil in this town. I can feel it in my bones. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the prayer did help me feel so much lighter. But, at the same time, I know something’s out there and it’s gunning for us,” Brielle continued.
“The Devil.” Raina answered.
“Yep. In the forms of Bobby, Ashton, Aaron, Sarah, Misty, Rita, and the rest of those demons.”
“But why do some of us still fight the urge to give in to such people?” Raina asked.
Brielle thought for a moment.
“I think it’s because, as children, we were often forced to say yes and go against our own rights and feelings, or risk being punished by adults, especially at school. We were taught to obey, to comply, or to acquiesce, ‘or else.’ Many of us were taught that as children while we were growing up. We were trained to believe that we automatically owed anyone over the age of eighteen respect and it didn’t matter if the adult in question was being fair or not. It didn’t matter if they were self-serving and out to harm us. Just by virtue of being adults, we ‘owed’ them respect simply because they’d lived on this good earth longer than us. We were made to believe we were obligated to give respect to any adult no matter how lowdown and creepy that adult may have been. Sadly, we get conditioned this way and grow into spineless, submissive adults who get used and abused by our partners, family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers because all our lives, we’ve been duped into believing that saying yes to everything everyone asks or demands of us means that we’re ‘good people’- that being agreeable one hundred percent of the time shows that we’re being ‘respectful’ and that we have ‘a good attitude.’ But back then, nobody knew where that ended. Nobody knew where to draw the line- where authority crossed over into abuse of power. So, we ended up learning the hard way that it’s the exact opposite- what it really means is that we become suck-ups, kiss-butts, and wusses. As a result, we get bullied all our lives, Raina. But the bright side is that we don’t have to keep being bullied. We don’t have to tolerate abuse. And I’m in that place, where I don’t have to put up with other people’s bullshit.” Brielle explained.
“I’m proud of you, Brielle. I just want you to know that. I’m so proud of the strong, independent lady you’ve become,” Raina said as they both rose from their seats and embraced each other in a hug.
Raina then started toward the door.
“It’s getting late and Paul’s waiting at home.”
“I understand. You be careful walking home, Raina. In fact, let me take you home in the Escalade. You don’t have to walk, sweetie. I don’t feel good about you walking home this late,” Brielle said, grabbing her purse and keys.
“You don’t have to, Brielle. I’d really rather walk. I just need a peaceful walk home.”
Brielle sat down her keys and purse.
“Please be careful. Text me when you get home.”