With everything seemingly accounted for, Eli placed his attention back on the woman and her boy. They were huddled now, facing each other, but still their eyes were closed. They continued on in muted utterances but something about them had changed. There was no longer a pleading tone in what they were saying. They seemed, instead, to have reached some sort of an understanding. The woman was smiling, though tears still lay on her cheeks, and the boy was not speaking so much as before. He seemed to be affirming the things being said by his mother. Occasionally he would smile and then nod his head in agreement, strangely at peace.
Eli wondered at them, listening, when suddenly he felt very small in their presence. It was something that he had just heard. It made him realize that they were not praying for themselves. They were not asking for deliverance from the evil man. But rather, they were asking deliverance ‘for’ … the evil man. They were praying for him.
Once again Eli’s heart fluttered and he had to quickly deride his self, to believe that none of this could possibly matter. In the morning, when the woman and her son were beginning their new day, with their praying done and their memories of his visit fading, he would still be who he was, with only the voice of his demon to abide with him. There was no hope for him here, and so no more sense in lingering.
From A Chain of Flames, by Tony Cleaver
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