His reading quickly became skimming, until he came across this paragraph, which gave him momentary pause: “And you must not think that this can be done otherwise, as certain Accursed Persons write; that is to say, by means of Seals, and Conjurations, and Superstitious Figures, and Pentacles, and other Abominations, written by Diabolical Enchanters; for this would be the coin wherewith the Hideous SATAN would buy you for his slave.”
Just a momentary pause. Then Rush forced himself to utter a haughty cackle and skim on, albeit a little less quickly.
He couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it. The Book said it would show him the way to “To know the Secrets of any person,” “To cause a Dead Body to revive, and perform all functions which a Living Person would do,” “To find and take possession of all kinds of Treasures,” “To walk upon, and operate under, Water,” “To have as much gold and silver as one may wish, both to provide for one’s necessities, and to live in opulence,” “To render oneself Invisible unto every person,” and the list went on. He should be able to fly, destroy buildings, to make an army appear around him, to turn men into animals, to cause people to hate one another as well as “for every description of Affection and Love.”
But try as he might he couldn’t find the words. The actual, ‘this is what you say right now’ dictation of summoning the demons. The Conjuring, Convoking, Summoning, or whatever the hell it was called. They just weren’t there. The text kept telling him that the Guardian Angel would have supplied him with the specifics but the GA was a no-show. The completeness of the book that the author was ensuring apparently was forgotten because Rush found himself at a loss on how to proceed. So he gave it up.
He tossed the book off his bed in the general direction of his backpack and settled in for a fitful night sleep.
She didn’t have that holier-than-thou look that most of the Little Sisters put on display after announcing they were going to join the Convent. Justina looked just like she always did: distant and perfect.
I wonder if she’s told her dad, Rush thought, as he dropped The Book of Abramelin into the slot marked “Returned Books.”
“Afternoon, Rush,” Mrs. Gillespie said. “Didn’t keep that one very long.”
“It was pretty useless.”
Mrs. Gillespie nodded but Rush could tell she was trying to figure out what that statement meant. A book useless?
Rush wanted to see a look of desperation in Justina’s eyes when they met his in first period. He wanted to see that damsel in distress, “only you can save me, Rush” look, but it wasn’t there. Just the wonderfully colored blue/green eyes that were so distant. Just the thought of the eyes gave Rush the shivers. Made the hairs on his arms stick up and his stomach knot.
Was this not a pure heart?
Why couldn’t he get through?
Rush resolved to give praying another shot for the sole fact that he couldn’t think of another way now that summoning the demons or his Guardian Angel were no longer options.
Rush knelt at his bedside, his elbows on the cotton sheets. He had his hands together in front of him in supplication. His eyes were closed. The only light in the room came from the low lying, pale moon.
God, if you’re listening, he started, then shook his head. That sounded pretentious. Lay it on him like you would if you really believed.
God, I am looking. I’ve been looking. I’m not sure if it’s You that I’m really looking for but I have to be honest I don’t think so. All my life I’ve always felt that there was something else just below the surface of nearly everything. That that something was reality. That what I’m seeing, doing, what’s around me is really just a secondary coat on it. Just a buffer.
I don’t know what telling You that means. I don’t know where that puts me in Your standing. If You’re real then I guess You are that reality. If You are real You could only be that reality and there could be nothing else.
Or maybe You’re just one in a series of knots. Maybe it’s all really just a tangle of crisscrossed lines, some pocket ball of lint and string stuffed in some universal jeans waiting to be washed.
Jesus, I’m getting so far off track.
Rush adjusted himself on his knees. Despite the carpet, the weight on his knees was uncomfortable. He opened his eyes, grabbed a pillow and put it under his knees then re-assumed the position.
They say honesty is the best policy. This is me coming clean. I don’t know what to believe but I think a lot of Christianity is bull.
He stopped himself from mentally saying “shit.”
I think it’s superstitious, flippant and often dangerous. I need You to prove me wrong. I need You to answer my prayer. I need You to stop Justina from joining the Convent. I know they say that You work in mysterious ways and You have a great plan that we can’t understand but I just think maybe they aren’t worthy of understanding it. Or maybe they’re too stupid.
I’m not stupid, God.
I don’t think it’s a part of Your plan for her to become a Sister of Our Lady of Eternal Light. And if it was…being omnipotent or whatever, You could certainly rearrange things for this one, small, insignificant (in the grand scheme of things, anyway) person to be given a different task. Like being my girlfriend, for example.
I need You to stop Justina Gretchen Perkins from joining the Convent and I need her to love me. That’s what I need from You. I hope You’re listening. Thank You for listening. Amen.
Rush opened his eyes and found he was smiling. It was not a smile of happiness or hope. It was a bitter smile. He felt he’d just wasted another fifteen minutes of his life. He tried to box that frustration up and put it somewhere away else it taint the prayer he just finished but he couldn’t shake it. Rush had spent the past few weeks doing nothing but wasting his time. Praying. Summoning. Reading holy books. Magick. Ugh.
And it was all probably for naught. He’d wake up tomorrow, get to first period and find Justina exactly as she was yesterday and the day before that, and the day before that and that and that, ad infinitum. And the ice queen would remain frozen. She would graduate from Hillcrest and move on to the stupid nunnery and Rush would never know. Her. Justina.
He clenched his hands into fists and found he was grinding his teeth. Angry. So very angry.