Terror grips Marcos just as it did years before when Reverend Father Alexis shouted at him in Greek demanding a demon leave the boy’s body. Only this time it is Reverend Father Dimitrous.
A few days before the boy’s was in police custody after his failed attempt to subdue Gavril and do another “miracle in the deep woods far from the orphanage. However, the smaller Gavril proved a stubborn fighter and soon the two became intertwined in a struggle then another orphanage boy, Fotis unexpectedly came upon them.
It gave Gavril the advantage he needed to grab a rock and knock Marcos out at the temple. When he came to, it was dark, and his prey had escaped. While Marcos got up unsteadily from the ground, he came face to face with a few police constables, who took him into their custody.
Marcos kept silent admitting nothing under harsh questioning of Sergeant Areleous . After a few hours, a constable broke in and whispered something to the sergeant. Soon after the constable left, he tried to use this new information on Marcos to get the boy to talk. He revealed Gavril had been found and he claims Marcos tried to kill him and demanded the boy speak up or he would find himself facing death.
Marcos just managed to hide his irritation from the sergeant, and within seconds forced tears from his eyes. He then revealed to Areleous the animosity between him and Gavril. It started he said when Gavril turned friends against him. To add further insult to Marcos, he started to cheat during instruction by copying his answers. He complained to the nuns but they did not believe him.
The tensions soon escalated to taunting between the two boys and it was not long before it boiled over. He, Marcos demanded they settle things once and for all and Gavril agreed, he demanded they fight. Word spread quickly through the orphanage of the fight to come which unsurprisingly reached the ear of a nun, who put a stop to it.
Marcos thought that was the end of that except Gavril pressed him soon after to go ahead with the fight. He initially refused then Gavril humiliated Marcos in their religious class, it was when he agreed to sneak out with Gavril and have their fight.
The sergeant seemed skeptical of Marcos’ claim but said he would check it out. In the meantime, he would be held in a cell. Several hours went by before he got the good news of his release. The Sergeant told him several boys confirmed his feud with Gavril and the boy himself when confronted admitted he exaggerated to the police that Marcos wanted to murder him. That it really was just a feud between them.
After his release Marcos foolishly believed he would be given a quick whipping once he returned to the orphanage and that would be that before a return to normal. But within five minutes of his return, two nuns apprehended him and took him to the basement. After being tied to the chair the Reverend Father began the exorcism. He no longer saw the kindly holy father who befriended him but in his place a furious man.
Tears wet the cheeks of the boy and his nose runs just like it had when he was much younger. The mucus dribbling down his lips and chin to land on his dress shirt. Despite being terrified Marcos refuses to plead his case. Instead he hopes by keeping silent that eventually the Reverend Father will see he is wasting his time doing an exorcism. All he has to do is outlast it and this is proving the challenge. Every fiber of his being wants to fight back but if Marcos does, the Reverend Father will take it as a sign of demon possession.
“Stop this nonsense at once Reverend Father! How dare you do an exorcism on an innocent child.”
Marcos cannot believe his ears and yet before him stands the bishop of the Orthodox Church for the region, a holy man he sees only on significant church holidays, demanding, he be released.
“But Bishop a demon is inside the boy,” says Reverend Father Dimitrous in a horse voice.
Without a word the bishop steps aside and two constables in uniform come toward the Reverend Father to take him forcefully from the room.
Two days later Marcos is in a carriage with Mr. Bennett, whom he has not seen in years, taking him away from the orphanage for good. A second miracle! The boy cannot help but pinch himself not hard but enough to confirm this is no dream.
Mr. Bennett sees what he has done and laughs then says, “I told you I would watch you from afar.”
“Yes, I know…it is just I thought it would have been sooner that you could have talked my parents to take me back or at least get my Uncle to raise me over being turned to the care of the orphanage.”
“It would not have been possible for me to intervene you had your uncle on your side than and he did what was best for you. But now it was different your life was clearly in danger and I could act. I know what it is like being under suspicion of demonic possession, it happened to me too.”
“Unfortunately yes. When I was a bit older than you are now I contracted typhus. I living with my family in housing that was overly crowded and very poor. Practicing good hygiene was difficult at best and I contracted lice. Unbeknownst to me when I scratched their bites I was contaminating myself with the typhus virus. I did not at first nor did my parents realize just how sick I was. A medicine made with Willow bark reduced my fever, camphor soothed the rash that developed, and eating very mild foods like barely eased my troubled stomach and prevented me from vomiting a lot.”
“In the end magic saved you not medicine.”
“Yes, but it was not long before my whole family came under a terrible, life threatening threat. My family and I barely escaped our communities deadly wrath. That is why I make sure to watch out for those I have helped including you Marcos. I refuse to have another child face what I did and barely make it out alive.”
Defying Nature: Gavril