24 Beckenridge Drive – Six

Mitch arrived home about an hour or two after his family had left for the police headquarters in the next town over. He sat quietly in the family room, watching a video, trying to relax from the rather trying day he had. There was a shuffling at the door. Mitch looked up from the TV and saw a mist hovering near the door. He suddenly felt the hair on his neck and arms stand on end as a metaphysical force seemed to enter the room. A crazy laughter came on like someone turning up the volume of a stereo. The mist before the door thickened, slowly forming itself into a humanoid form. A grayish face with shock white hair appeared in the mist. There was a loud sucking sound and the mist compounded, forming a thin figure dressed in black robes, eyes wild, mouth open in a mad laugh. Mitch couldn’t help being scared. He pushed himself back into his seat, wishing it would swallow him up. The figure slowly began to move forward. As it passed the TV, the picture began to swim and fizz.

“Hello, Randy Mitchell,” came a scratchy voice. Mitch blinked. Had that thing talked ? The figure moved right in front of him staring him in the eye with a crazed vision.

“I thought maybe you would want to see me, since you have denied my existence so long.” The ghost, for it was none other, laughed madly. “I wish you could see the look on your face,” it said, it’s frail frame shaking with the insane laughter. “But now to you,” it said, abruptly becoming serious. “You know who I am.”

“J-Jacob Druin,” Mitch said in a shaky voice.

The ghost nodded. “I’ve come to give you an ultimatum. Many have lived here before, but many left quickly, because they refused my offer.” It leaned in toward Mitch and he could smell a sickly odor coming from the shade before him. “I will only offer this once,” it said. “There are many of my followers here, and I want you to join my group. If you don’t then you will never have peace, but if you do you will become rich, powerful and influential. Can your God do that?” The ghost cackled again. “I will return again, and then you will be mine, Randy Mitchell, mine, all mine!” the ghost screeched, laughed and disappeared.

• • •

The door opened, making Mitch jump. The TV was back to normal and the oppression had suddenly lifted from the room. Liz stood in the doorway, a worried look on her fair face.

“Are you okay, Randy?” Uh-oh, he thought, I must really look bad.

“I guess,” he said, voice shaking.

“You saw it didn’t you?” Liz asked coming over and seating herself next to him

“How did you tell?”

“I could feel it Mitch, the instant I entered the house.” Liz shook herself. “Every time the kids said it appeared I felt something stir inside me. I can’t explain it, but that’s what it felt like.”

“Yes,” he finally confessed, “it was here.” He shuddered. “It told me that I had to become part of it’s group and that I belonged to it.” He shook slightly as Liz put her arms around him.

“That can’t be true, Mitch,” she gently whispered in his ear. “Do you remember in our junior year in college, that crusade I took you to?” Mitch remembered. “Do you remember what happened?” He nodded. “Tell me,” she said.

Mitch closed his eyes for a long moment recalling the time, the great auditorium, the speaker, a small figure in the center of the stadium, calling, “I know God is speaking to many of you here. If He is, and you want to listen to him, then I want you, hundreds of you, to come down here and pray with me.” The man launched into a prayer, warm, loving, powerful.

Mitch’s eyes opened. “I gave my heart to Jesus that night.” Liz smiled warmly.

“You were one of the first to go when Mr. Graham made that invitation.” Mitch nodded, sadly.

“But I haven’t been keeping to that commitment, have I?”

“No, luv, but it’s never too late to come back,” she said with a smile. They bowed their heads together, praying quietly.

“I’ve been praying for you for years, Mitch,” Liz said when they were finished. “Even after you made that commitment, I knew you were having trouble.”

“Thank you, Liz,” he said, holding her tight, and then kissing her tenderly.