The old priest slept in a red chair in his little log cabin, he was dreaming of a long time ago.
Father Lawson was a war vet from Vietnam, a retired police chief for the city he lived in, and now an ordained pastor of the Catholic church. Nowadays didn’t do much but spend time at church during typical business hours, the average nine to five. He hoped that in these routine hours he would be able to help someone in need, the way he had much in his life, and to his surprise, not many people came. Instead, he spent many mornings working on funerals which were far more common than people who sought help. Lawson thought the other priests were too awkwardly cheery for funerals and decided, out of respect for the dead, that he would do it.
The old priest had been watching re-runs of the muppets before he drifted off. He used to love watching that show with his daughter Ilya. He hadn’t always been a pastor and in his old age of eighty-eight, there were many stories of Lawson’s life to be told. He had a wife once, and a daughter too. Ilya always laughed at Fozzie bears poor jokes and Lawson had even bought her a stuffed bear that she slept with every night. His favorite characters, however, were Statler and Waldorf.
Lawson dreamt of a Saturday morning many years ago where He and Ilya watched cartoons. He saw the back of his daughter’s head and her thick black hair that went down to her shoulders. He heard her laughs echo through the cabin. He remembered how sweet she was as a little child, such a dutiful, helpful girl.
His dream shifted. He was now on a beach with a man who seemed slightly younger than himself but he knew that to be untrue. The old man’s hair was dreaded and he wore a rasta hat. He was a stout man and wore a green shirt, brown shorts, and no shoes.
Lawson never judged his father for that. He was a true rasta-man. The old man gave Lawson the foundation of his belief system, from god to the afterlife.
Lawson had vivid dreams like this often, same beach, same man. They talked.
“De fire is coming.” his father said staring off towards the sunset.
“I feel it too.” It was hard for Lawson to admit this but he believed it to be true. He had grown a strong almost “sixth” sense for his environment around him. It wasn’t as if he could see ghosts, but he could sense events before they happened.
“You can’t trow wata on dis one my son.” His father turned to him.
“You ave one my bidding since de day you were born. You were a good soldier, a man of justice, but cha never saw notin like dis my son. Notin like dis at all. Look for the Rat. You’ll know what to do when he comes. Ilya loves you.”
The dogs started barking first. Snoopy and Yippie as they were named, a large mountain dog and a Yorkie, were howling at the glass window that faced the docks of the city.
The old man awoke from his slumber. He felt groggy, he almost always felt groggy. He pushed himself out of his chair and walked with great difficulty towards the glass window.
He could see the faintest of orange lights flickering over the docks, and in an instant that small orange flicker became a roaring mile high flame with a deafening sound to accompany it. He took a step back from the brightness and then went back to looking at the flame.
He stared at the fire knowingly, like he had accepted the imaginary quest of his father. He knew the boy would come to him but he didn’t know when, or who he was. Something told him he would come in due time. It was a sort of sixth sense Lawson had, his old friend and cities police chief called it so.
Lawson stared at the fire for a while before realizing he wouldn’t sleep tonight. Voices called out to him in the darkness of his home. He had been having hallucinations ever since his time in the war. It seemed like the dead wanted to live through him. Some life he thought.
“You’ll never get away with this.” A voice from a grumbling man said. It sounded like he was choking on a thick liquid as he spoke. Lawson knew who it was.
Lawson looked over to his bedroom which was cloaked in darkness. He began to turn everything off and prepare for the night. More voices were sure to follow and there were ones that would still get to him.
Instead of sitting in his bed he changed into a white tank top and old army cargo pants. He struggled to do this but he needed to put on the strong face he had as a young man. He sat in the chair in his bedroom. He made sure to lock the dogs outside.