Chapter Fifty: Anthony and the Demons Part One

Editor’s Note: The story of Vine cannot only be one of Elders vs. witches, Preachers explaining away monsters, and land itself performing magic. The story of Vine exists within its people. Sometimes, I like to go to Gentleman Jim’s and simply write down what people say.

Tony hadn’t hit anything since he had broken the chair. Hadn’t drank, either: the Bartender knew to have a glass of soda and lemon waiting when Tony walked into Gentleman Jim’s. It had been an accident: he had turned around swinging at nothing in particular and hadn’t realized how close he was to the sturdy, but old, wooden chair. It was part of a four-piece dinner table set, too, so he would’ve really been screwed if Sheila’s brother Paul hadn’t been able to fix it. 

It was Paul who convinced him to reach out to the preacher. Paul and the preacher knew it wasn’t Tony’s fault, but that he just had some demons. The preacher had warm hands and when he clapped your shoulder you could feel the fat tubed around his knuckle knots. It brought comfort to Tony and fear to the demons. 

He could still see them—possessing lions or forgetting to hide their shadows behind a threshold or a recliner. He could be ready, too. He could do about 50 pushups now and he could recite one or two of the Book of Vine prayers. Preacher’d taught him. Whether it got physical or spiritual, Tony could be prepared either way. 

Sheila had often tiptoed before, Tony remembered. But she could be bold now. Her husband was a warrior. The demons were nothing to be afraid of. 

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