The story so far:
I stared at Amos for several minutes, enough minutes that he began to look at me rather strangely and, as he opened his mouth to say something about it, I pre-empted him.
“Amos, did this…preacher talk to everyone at the community or just a select few?”
“Well, Peter, you know how it is when a stranger comes among us. Jeremiah left him standing at the well to fetch me and then, almost everyone was standing out there listening to him. We don’t often have visitors, you know.”I fidgeted a little in my chair. “Yes, I know Amos. I know how it is in the community and...” I stopped as a thought entered my mind. The connection is Mary, maybe her and the children. The preacher came to me and to Amos, or at least, the Amish community. What could the connection be?
“Tell me something, Amos. You said he mentioned ‘hollowing of the eve’, do you think he might have said hallows eve or maybe, all hallows eve?”
Amos rubbed his bearded face slowly, his face displaying that look of deep thought or concentration. A mimic I’m sure I had not had for a very long time, but still recognized.
“Well, you know Peter, it might have been that…hallows eve. Why? Do you have an idea of what that could mean?”
I stared stupidly at him for a moment and then it dawned on me that, of course, he doesn’t understand the term. The Amish didn’t celebrate Halloween, nor would most of them even know what it was all about. They lived in their communities without radio, TV or any other outside influence. When they did come into town it was only to purchase necessary supplies, they did not interact with the locals. I shook myself out of my reverie
“Uh, yeah…yeah, Amos I think he was referring to Halloween. Halloween is the night before the Catholic All Saints Day in which the spirits of the dead are honored. It dates back to a 2000 year old custom of the Celts, more specifically the Druids who considered October 31 as the end of the year as well as the day of the Samhain festival, in which Druidic priests would make magic and offer sacrifices to appease the wandering spirits.”
I paused, searching my nearly defunct memory banks for more information. My memory wasn’t what it used to be. Other than those parts of memory that concerned my family, the rest had atrophied to almost nothing. There was rust and cobwebs all over the place in there and I was having difficulty getting the motors to running. I simply couldn’t connect with anything else and went on to the next part of Amos’ retelling about the preachers words.
“He, this preacher fellow, also said something about ‘raising of the gods’, wasn’t that what you said, Amos?”
“Yep. He was talking about this…hallows eve and that a god would be raised.”
“A god would be raised,” I repeated. I rolled that around in my head for a moment before noticing that Amos seemed anxious to be on his way.
I noticed the shadows had grown longer and thicker and suggested to Amos that I wouldn’t be offended if he felt he needed to be getting back to his family.
His face lit up slightly and he said, “Well, I do indeed need to be getting back. I’d like to make it before dark, but that looks to be nigh to impossible now. Still, Peter, you seem to think that this preacher’s talk is important and if I can help you in any way, I will.”
“Thanks, Amos, thank you. I do think that there’s something very strange about this preacher, but it’s not something that you should trouble yourself about, or, for that matter worry about me.”
I stood. Amos stood and I walked him to the door. We exchanged farewells and I promised to come out to see the family in the very near future. From the porch I watched him climb into his buggy and turn his horse in the direction of home. I watched until I could no longer hear the clip-clop of hooves, nor see the broad back of Amos sitting on his springy buggy seat.
Darkness had fallen. I sat on the steps of the porch. I’d been sitting there since I could no longer see Amos. My mind had thawed and was racing through all the implications and ramifications of the preachers visit to me and to Amos. Nothing new about the all hallows eve comment to the Amish community. The preacher had said the same to me, basically. This thing about raising a god, though, that was different. The preacher had not mentioned anything like that to me.
I remembered some old books I had on gods and goddesses, magic, demonology and stuff and determined to read through them and see what I could find out. Putting action to thoughts, I jumped up and moved quickly back into the house.
What I found, two hours later, was a short article about the pagan god, Sa’Awen. Sa’Awen, as far as I could determine was more like a Christian demon than a Celtic god because he devoured and gained sustenance from eating the spirits of the dead. When a person dies, their spirit normally leaves this plane of existence for another. Some are unable to leave. There are many reasons why this could occur, but the main thing was that it could happen. Sa’Awen hunts these souls like a predator his prey and when he catches them…well, they become truly dead.
The catch with Sa’Awen was that he had to be summoned to this world and that summoning could only occur on Halloween.
I closed the books. I thought I had it figured out. Mary’s spirit was among those that were trapped in this world. The preacher was a, I didn’t know, descendant of Druidic priests? Something. The thing was he was the catalyst for summoning this demon god. That’s why he was here and that’s why he was asking me all of those questions about Mary.
I leaned back in my chair, not so much afraid, not so much worried about the preacher anymore. I was convinced that I would be able to find a way to stop him, now that I’d found out who he really was and why he was here.
The knock on the door rekindled my fear. The steady clomp, clomp, clomp sent adrenaline racing through my body and I began to shiver. It seems that knowing what causes your fear does not erase it. Slowly, I stood and slowly, I walked to the door.