Here Comes Ugly

I had fun with this…


As soon as Mrs. Thurman moved towards them, Liesel moved between her and Meredith.  Frieda darted in with her pike, blocking the attack and shoving the older woman back with surprising force.

Liesel watched as Mrs. Thurman growled and tried to get around her sister.  However, Frieda wasn’t going to let that happen.  In fact, she went on the offensive, swinging her pike around in an attempt to strike the woman.

“Protect the Cross,” the wind whistled in Liesel’s ear.

Gasping, Liesel turned to her cousin.  “Go and get Markus,” she said.  “Tell Konrad that he needs to stay with Hansel.”  Meredith nodded once and then hurried away.

Growling, Mrs. Thurman moved to block the girl, but Liesel struck her arm with her hammer.  Then, she was working with Frieda to keep the woman back.  Liesel’s mind whirled as she fought.  Was Mrs. Thurman tainted with darkness?  Was she possessed?  Was there more going on than they realized?

“Focus,” the wind told her sharply.

Liesel slipped on the grass as Mrs. Thurman took a swipe at her with clawed fingers.  As she went down, Frieda blocked the attack.  She rolled out of the way and hopped to her feet once again.


Henry looked up when Meredith came careening out of the garden calling not for her mother, but for him.  “Meredith,” he said, moving to his feet.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” his sister asked at the same time.

“Uncle Henry,” Meredith said, “something’s wrong with Mrs. Thurman.”  As Mr. Thurman moved to his feet, she turned to Konrad.  “Liesel said to get Markus, but you have to stay with Hansel.”

Konrad gasped and moved to his feet.  At the same time, Mr. Thurman moved with surprising speed, running for Johannes.  There was the sound of a sword hissing against a scabbard and Konrad swung his weapon around, setting the flat of it against Mr. Thurman’s chest.

While several people gasped and Nancy called his name in a scolding tone, Konrad was quite calm as he said, “Hansel, get behind me.”

“Yes, Brother,” Johannes said.

Sophie caught Meredith and drew her back, so that she was in her arms.  “I think Konrad’s got this handled,” she said, meeting Henry’s eyes.  “Maybe you and Markus had better go and check on the girls?”

Henry nodded once and then beckoned to Markus.  “Let’s go,” he said, his tone brisk.  “Dad, explain what’s going on to Nance, before she has a heart attack.”

“I’ll explain, Tevas,” Konrad said, nodding.  He tapped Mr. Thurman lightly with the sword.  “Do sit down, please, or else… yeah, Hans will have to sing at you.”

The old man hissed and Nancy gasped softly.  “Did he just… hiss?” Andrew said.

Henry nodded and then he and Markus hurried away from the rest of the party to where Meredith had left Liesel and Frieda.  The garden was large enough that Henry wasn’t sure where to find them.  However, Markus seemed to know, so he followed the boy.

As they drew near the water feature in the garden, the sound of fighting reached his ears and Henry darted ahead of his son.  “Sing,” he said, as the girls came into view.

With that single word, all three of his children began singing the song that was repulsive to tainted spirits.  Henry had heard it all his life and knew it as “Donna Nobis Pacem.”  Until he’d adopted the Engel children, he’d never imagined the power in the simple repetitive melody.

As soon as Liesel and Frieda began singing, Mrs. Thurman fell back from them, hissing and growling.  After a moment, she spun away and fled back into the brush, leaping and bounding with surprising agility.

Liesel released a shuddering breath and, banishing her hammer, spun to face Henry.  “Is Johannes all right?” she asked, tears in her eyes.

“He’s fine,” Henry assured her.  He wasn’t surprised when she ran into his arms and hugged him.  Rubbing her shoulder, he repeated the words a few more times.  He looked over at Frieda.  “Are either of your girls hurt?”

“I think she scratched me,” Frieda said, looking at her arm.  Then, she grimaced and said, “Liesel fell down.  Did you bump your head?”

Shaking her head, Liesel pulled out of Henry’s embrace.  “Just my bottom,” she said, grimacing.  She rubbed at her eyes and looked up at Henry.  “Is everyone all right?”

“Aunt Nancy’s torn between horrified that Konrad drew a sword on Opa’s neighbor and freaked out that he hissed about it,” Markus said, smothering a laugh.

Henry heaved a sigh.  “She’ll get over it,” he said.  Then, he glanced towards the Thurman’s house.  “So… Dad’s neighbors are tainted then?  Are they… possessed or were they always evil and just really good at pretending?”

“Evil’s always good at pretending, Tevas,” Frieda said.  “That’s what makes it so dangerous.”  Then, she banished her pike and hurried back through the garden towards the patio.

Markus and Liesel exchanged a look and Henry shrugged at the pair.  Sometimes, there was no talking to Frieda.  She tended to work on instinct.  That was simply how Lances were.

When Henry returned to the party, it was obvious that Johannes had decided he was done hiding behind his elder brother.  He was singing the purification song at Mr. Thurman.  That was really the only way to describe it.  The boy was staring at Mr. Thurman and singing in a clear, sweet voice.  Most of the people gathered on the patio were actually enjoying the song, but it was obvious that Mr. Thurman was not enjoying it at all.

The older man was hiding his face and cringing away from the boy, as if hearing the song was actually painful for him.  Perhaps it was.  Henry heaved a sigh and looked over at Konrad.

Shrugging, his son said, “Mr. Thurman started trying to convince Opa’s guests he wasn’t evil.  This… was Johannes’s way of proving him wrong.”

“The hell, Henry,” Claire breathed.  She looked up at him.  “It’s so beautiful.  How… How is that painful for him?”

“He’s evil,” Henry said, shrugging.  There really wasn’t any other way to describe it.  He was singing about bread from heaven.  Only something or someone evil would find that distasteful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: