‘I have seen the monster sir!’ Sarah cried as she ran into Pastor Owens’s arms.
'Tell me what happened.’ The pastor said holding the girl close to him.
‘I did as you instructed Pastor Owen,’ Sarah said. ‘I went to the garden and read the bible you gave me. I was still reading when I caught the reflection of the monster on a page, just like with a mirror. It just stood behind me, glaring at me.’
‘What did it look like?’ asked the pastor.
‘It was so hideous…’ Sarah shut her eyes tight, her face scrunched in disgust. Then she suddenly turned aside and vomited, overcome with nausea.
‘Would you like to continue?’ Pastor Owen asked after she had ceased crying.
‘It was surprised I had seen it,’ Sarah continued. ‘It was about the height of a man but it had the form of a hydra, with tentacles protruding from the upper part of its body. It had no head, but it did have a most horrifying face. Its skin was slippery like that of a snake and along the length of its tentacles were hideous pores that oozed a greenish fluid.’
Sarah shuddered as she visualized the monster. While the kind pastor held her, shivers persisted in racing up and down her spine.
‘From the reflection,’ she continued, ‘I saw that the monster had one tentacle wrapped around my chest. I was utterly disgusted and sickened to my soul. I screamed at it to get its hideous tentacle off my chest, but it only tightened its grip. I also noticed that all the while, it kept giving the bible a hateful look. It was somewhere at this point I recalled you had told me that we overcome evil by the Word of God. So I forced myself to continue reading.
‘When the monster saw that I had resumed reading, it called my name in a sorrowful voice and began to sob. It told me that it had been with me since my birth and would make sure it stayed with me till my death. It reminded me of the fun we had in the past, when I had stolen my mom’s cup cakes and eaten them secretly in my room at night; when I had blamed all the broken china on my toddler sister that couldn’t talk; when I had gone to Juliet’s house and watched adult TV while my parents thought I was working on my assignments.
‘Then it told me that if I remained its friend it would reward me. Then I suddenly remembered that you had told me once that the wages of sin is death. So in a guarded tone I asked the monster its name. Thinking I was succumbing to its manipulations, it blurted out before thinking that its name was Sin.
‘Just to be sure, I asked it to spell its name. I didn’t want to confuse it with ‘seen’ or ‘scene’. I knew I had it and I knew it knew I had it when it refused to spell its name and began instead to tell me the amount of money Juliet had taken from her mother’s purse and the things she had bought. It then dawned on me that the monster wanted to reward me with death – it wanted me to die! It was then that I began running here and screaming your name.’
‘Sarah,’ the pastor said stroking her hair. ‘I apologize. I only told you the first part of that verse. Though it helped you see the monster, I am afraid it isn’t enough to get rid of it.’
‘Is the monster still here?’ Sarah asked, her hands flying to her chest. ‘Does it still have its tentacle wrapped around me?’
‘I am afraid so. It’s just behind us.’
At that moment the monster called to Sarah,
‘Don’t listen to him Sarah. If you do you know you’ll lose a lot of things. You’ll miss those sweet cakes; you’ll miss watching adult TV when you should be asleep; you’ll miss bullying Eunice for her morning cereal; Juliet won’t be friends again and you’ll miss her. You’ll miss me!’
Sarah began to sob as the monster pulled her away from Pastor Owen to itself. ‘I am sorry pastor,’ she said sadly, ‘I don’t think I can live without the monster.’
‘Have you stopped to think about what you’ll gain, Sarah?’ Pastor Owen asked her. The monster tried to slap Pastor Owen with one of its tentacles, but something slapped its tentacles away, and it fled behind a bench and cowered in fear.
‘Let me complete that verse of the scripture for you,’ Pastor Owen said. ‘It goes like this: `the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
‘You said I was to accept the gift,’ Sarah said becoming surprised. ‘Is the Lord the gift?’
‘How do I accept Him?’ sally asked.
‘Call upon Him. But first there are some things you should know. Are you aware that the monster paid the Lord for all of us?’ Sarah’s eyes widened in surprise. Pastor Owen continued, ‘The Lord saw that no matter what we did, the monster would eventually pay us at the end with his destructive wages. He saw that the only way to help us was for Him to accept the monster’s full wages for all of us put together. Believe me it was very costly, but He did it because He loves us. And I want you to know that the monster never laid a tentacle on Him all the while He was with us.’
‘Wow!’ sally exclaimed, trying to imagine the whole scenario.
‘So all you have to do,’ Pastor Owen continued, ‘is believe that he really accepted the monsters full wages for you, and that He is the Lord. And if you ask Him to, He will come and deliver you from the monster and bless you with gifts you have never – or can ever – imagine.’
So with Pastor Owen leading her, sally said her prayers. They looked up just in time to see the monster retracting the tentacle that had been round Sarah’s chest and raising a crooked sword to ward off a blow from an unseen adversary. It was obviously no match for its attacker for it suddenly vanished in a cloud of green smoke.