Sister Lois Otwell stepped off the coach, assisted by a stocky, older gentleman with a mustache. The man wore a fine suit, far too fine for a town like this. He didn’t even flinch when he paid the coachman the ridiculous ten-dollar fee for the ride from Sacramento to Gomorra.
The man turned his attention to Sister Otwell, extending a hand. “Androcles Brocklehurst, Esquire. I’ll have you know there’ll be no converting me. If I could sue God for what he did to our poor granddaughter Emily, then I would certainly be due damages. My wife believes your voodoo magic might be helpful, which is the only reason I humor this visit.”
Sister Otwell had been on enough missions to know Brocklehurst’s type. That sort of man prodded with words like needles until a person acquiesced to his will. Christ taught to turn the other cheek. She smiled in return. “I would be honored to pray for your granddaughter. Where is she?”
Mr. Brocklehurst led Sister Otwell up the stairs of their residence. The house had fine brass fixtures, mahogany furniture, and a Persian rug. She could never imagine living in such splendor.
They arrived at a room with wooden double-doors. Inside was a massive bed with over a dozen pillows and silk draperies hanging from tall posts. Mr. Brocklehurst stood behind her, close enough to cause her shoulders to tense. An older woman, who must have been Mrs. Brocklehurst, sat on a chair by the bed.
Sister Otwell stepped forward and saw a child, ten years old at the most. The girl had an innocent face that matched her grandmother’s, but thin and sallow in comparison. “What a beautiful child,” Lois said.
“Only half as beautiful as she was before this illness struck her. She hasn’t awakened in weeks and suffers from fevers and convulsions,” Mr. Brocklehurst said.
“I see,” Sister Otwell said. She placed one hand on the girl’s shoulder and one on her forehead. The girl was hot to the touch.
“What are you doing?”
“Praying, if you could be silent for a few moments in respect, Mr. Brocklehurst,” Sister Otwell said.
She could hear his teeth grind and breath draw in frustration. Lois stayed on task, focusing on her prayer. “Lord, I ask but to be your servant through this illness. Send your healing power through me to this girl. Drive out sickness and infirmity, in the name of Jesus Christ.”
The house shook. A blinding light flashed in the room for a split second and diminished as quickly as it had come. When the light subsided, the girl sat upright, staring down at Mr. Brocklehurst and saying, “Grandpa, why are you on your knees like that?”