An excerpt from “Brownsville Gothic”
The hurricane lantern gave off a thin yellow light that was barely enough to hold the darkness at bay. Enoch had other more modern light sources at his disposal, but he chose the old oil lamp for a specific reason. It cumbersome and he did not like the smell of kerosene but the oil inside of it had been blessed and that made its light especially irritating to things unclean.
In the beginning, Pastor Clark Cates had some reservations about fulfilling Enoch’s strange late night requests. He had asked for church candles, articles of the Eucharist and recently he found himself actually blessing a mayonnaise jar filled with kerosene. Enoch asked for all those things politely enough but offered only vaguest of explanations. After some time had passed two things occurred, Pastor Cates began to believe that Enoch’s eccentricities were driven by the voice of God.
“There was a time when people thought that John the Baptist was a little strange too.” he thought.
Secondly, he came to realize that he did not want to know what Enoch was up to. Enoch was a pleasant enough man but he had the stony look of someone who had seen too much of the world. There was something about his eyes that told Cates that he was being kept in the dark for his own good.
Five years ago the Pastor Miles stood at the pulpit and lead the church. Pastor Edwin Miles was a young man, kind and thoughtful but he had too much confidence in his own abilities. Enoch took the young pastor into his confidence and told him more than he needed to know.
It was a mistake Enoch promised he would never make again. Over confidence took over and convinced Pastor Miles that he alone could take on the things that slithered and stalked in the dark. Armed with his holy water, blessed by his own hand, and a small bible, he waited until just before sunset and hurried out into the night.
Long before sunrise came the darkness took him.
Enoch never understood why the young pastor was so eager to place his head in the lion’s mouth, but he thought he knew what went wrong with the pastor’s plan. When Pastor Miles stepped into the haunted ruins of Livonia he thought he was protected by a his bottle of the Holy sacrament but all he had was ordinary tap water. He did not know that he could not bless water for his own purposes. He should have passed it along to Enoch. Enoch knew that we were not meant to take on the unholy all alone but as a community, even if it were only a community of two. God wanted us to rely on each other.
As Enoch moved deeper into the abandoned building he could sense something moving around in the darkness just outside of the circle of light. It was trying to find a way to get to him but the light, fuelled by the blessed oil, repelled it. After a while it called out to him in rage and frustration.
“Drop that fucking light you coward!” it nearly screamed in his ear. And Enoch was so frightened that he almost did drop the lantern. He recognized the voice the unclean spirit was using. It was the voice of Pastor Miles.