A young priest and a nun join forces to rescue a young boy.
| I was being half-dragged, stumbling across the stone floor in the basement of the basilica. Sister Mary Agnes was pulling my arm, hauling me across the room. She seemed as scared as I was.
"Hurry, Father, we don't have much time."
The blood was thundering in my ears. I could hear the click of her heels on the stone floor and rustle of her nun's habit. I was a young priest, fresh out of seminary in my first year tending my own flock. Two desperate parents called me. They feared their son, Calvin, had been possessed by a demonic entity. I tried to help, and it went disastrously awry. In my ignorance and naivete, I had made a bad situation infinitely worse. Sister Mary Agnes was coming to the rescue.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"If I tell you, I'm afraid you won't come," She replied over her shoulder as she continued. How big was this basilica? My little parish church could fit in one of the alcoves.
"I'm both curious and terrified."
"Good answer, but we must hurry. This is no joking matter."
I had known Sister Mary Agnes since I was a child. She had been my math teacher at the St. Mary, Queen of Heaven Convent School where I was a student. She could be stern, but she was also the kindest, most intelligent person I knew.
We arrived at a dark, wooden door. She shouldered her way through. Inside, was an old workbench covered with detritus, various books, glass beakers, religious icons, etc. I swear it looked like a medieval alchemy lab.
She grabbed a leather messenger bag and threw back the flap. She pulled out a clear, glass ball about eight inches in diameter.
"What is that?" I asked.
"Calvin had to have invited the demon in. Once it's in, yes, we can do an exorcism, but that's messy and a lot of work."
"As I found out, yes, it is."
"So, this is a workaround when the exorcism fails." Sister Mary Agnes explained, "Or prophylaxis if I know ahead of time what is happening."
"What is it?"
"It's a crystal ball. We must go back in time and stop Calvin from inviting the demon in."
"We're going to do what now?" My eyebrows shot up to my hairline.
"You heard me." She put the ball in a small divot in the table that kept it from rolling away, "Now, Father, touch the crystal ball."
"Time travel? Crystal balls? Do you really believe in this mumbo jumbo?" I asked.
"Our entire religious tradition is based on the merits of human sacrifice and the ceremonial eating of human flesh and drinking of human blood and this is where you draw the line?"
"Christopher David McKelvey, touch the crystal ball, now!"
Whoa she meant business. She hadn't called me that since I was in her catechism class, and she caught me letting a cute boy cheat off my quiz. Since my ordination, all she'd called me was "Father McKelvey."
I touched the crystal ball. I'm not entirely sure what happened next, but I awoke on the floor in a carpeted hallway with Sister Mary Agnes looking down at me with a mix of worry and exasperation. She reached out her hand and helped me off the floor.
I looked around, "This is the Wilson residence. That's Calvin's bedroom."
"What are we going to do?"
"We are going to go in there and stop him," Sister Mary Agnes replied.
"I'm a Catholic priest, I can't go barging into a 12-year-old boy's bedroom."
"No, but I'm a nun. I can do whatever is needed to get the job done."
"How are we going to stop him?"
"We're in the spirit realm. We're going to give him a good scare, so he doesn't go through with it."
My jaw slackened, "We're going to be poltergeists?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes, but it's for a good cause."
She gathered the hem of her habit around her and marched off to prevent a demonic possession. She threw open the door. Calvin and his friends were gathered in a circle on the floor. They had a Ouija board and candles around them with the heavy curtains closed. The room had the right ambiance for what was about to happen. They looked up, bewildered that the door seemingly opened of its own accord.
Sister Mary Agnes got down on her knees and came up behind one of the boys. She gently blew on the back of his ear. He swatted at her. She sat back. She repeated that.
"Who's there?" The boy's shaking voice asked.
I stood agape.
"Get to it. Blow out a candle or something," she said.
I walked over and used Calvin's desk chair to lower myself to the floor. The wheels moved and the chair rolled across the room and bumped the nightstand. All five boys watched in horror-stricken fear.
"Nice touch," Sister Mary Agnes whispered with a grin.
She grabbed the indicator for the Ouija board and spelled out, "Stop."
Calvin's eyes widened and he nodded yes.
She whispered loudly, "CAAAALLLVVVVIIINN."
I thought that poor boy was going to wet himself. I was pretty sure this was not Sister Mary Agnes' first time doing this. How many exorcisms had been avoided by a resourceful, time-traveling nun pretending to be a poltergeist?
I took one of the candles and picked it up. They were mesmerized. I blew the candle out and threw it against the wall. They screamed and ran from the room.
"Good job." Sister Mary Agnes said.
"How do we get back?"
She snapped her fingers, and we were back in the basement of the basilica.
Sister Mary Agnes and I shared relieved expressions when, the following Sunday, Calvin and his family came through the doors of the church and took their customary pew as though nothing had happened. I suppose, in a way, nothing had.