Richard resides in Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada. He obtained a BA. Honors in English and a B. Ed. He taught high school for thirty years. He has published poems, short stories and a novel, "Hooked on Fish Tales".
“Father O’Leary! Not even guzzling red wine or doctor’s prescribed tranquilizers stop my nightmares of vicious wolves trying to kill me or end their horrendous howls!”
“Cum in; sit douwn Lad! Calm yerself now! I reserved a whole hour ta hear youu. As a guid Christian should, let’s begin by youu tellin’ all yer sins ta our Merciful God!”
“But Father I came for your counseling - not confession! … I’m totally desperate!” “Counsellin’ is guid only fer yer mind so that youu caun deal with the ways of the werld but confession is better 'cause it caun treat yer spirit, soul, aund yer mind! That’s quite a guid bargain! Fine then, say yer act of contrition aund we’ll be under way!”
“Hmmm! … Very well Sir since you insist!
‘I confess to Almighty God, … that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask the blessed Virgin Mary, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. – Amen’ ”
“Well done Paddy! … What’s upsettin’ youu so? … Take a deep breathe! … Will get ta yer wolves in a wee bit! … Start at the beginnin’ befer yer nightmares began; I want youu ta leave har totally healed by God Himself or all is fer nothin’!
“Father, I don’t really see the point! … Oh all right then! … I’m ashamed to admit that when golfing with certain buddies, who started mocking Christ, I did the same so I could maintain my friendship with them! … Yes, I was foolish and I am truly sorry!”
“Lissen Pat, God is a lovin’ God, aund He is slow ta anger! ... He fergives youu fer yer momentary weakness! He even says so in Scripture. However as a Christian, youu caun not do this anymore! ’T is forbidden ta curse the Holy Spirit in any fashion!”“I understand Father and I promise you and Jesus I ‘ll never do so anymore!!”
“Glad ta hear that Paddy or God’s werk in youu will be in vain! … Earthly life is only a temporary passage me Son! In a blink of an eye, youu‘ll no longer be here!
Our body is nothin’ but a mere handful of dust! The Holy Bible informs us:
‘Men’s days are like those of grass, like a flower of the field he blooms, the wind sweeps over him and he is gone and his place knows him no more!’
Poof! … As Saint Paul would say, ‘… absent in the body aund present with the Lord in Paradise ready fer yer judgement aund yer just reward!’”
“Father I know the Scriptures are the truth!! … But won’t I go to purgatory first?”
“Does not exist! … Ne’er did! … Not one of the Apostles, or Jesus Christ Himself, ever mentioned such a place! … ’T was only a lucrative invention by the Medieval Catholic Church ta make a profit by sellin’ indulgences ta the wealthy!
When Christ died on the cross, God, our Father, was satisfied that His only begotten Son, Jesus had paid the price fer our sins by sheddin’ His own bloud!
Jesus gained us our Salvation, Eternal life, aund the Resurrection of our body! He’ll clean our soul as He did the lepers’ bodies by His touch and His lovin’ compassion! Otherwise, what is Easter all about? Only the non-believers go ta Hell fer their sins!”
“Then Father, darn it all, why do I feel so confined and miserable? … I want to feel more alive! ... Freer! … Happier! ... Fulfilled! ... It is true sometimes I’m selfish, self-righteous, and I have a stubborn pride! ... I want to surrender my will to Jesus but I don’t know how! … I feel like I am two persons in one body! … What’s wrong with me?”
“Well Lad, we all feel like youu! … Satan, the tempter and liar, is at werk within youu Youu caun’t serve God aund embrace all the degraded ways of this werld which will only enslave youu in sin aund its consequences! This is what youu ar’ really doin’! Ta rid yerself of these painful shackles, youu must learn ta obey God’s Ten Commandments, most importantly the First which is:
‘Ta stop lustin’ after the werld’s idols, then luve God with all yer heart, with all yer mind, with all yer soul aund all yer strength … aund ta luve yer neighbour as yerself.’
Materialism will bring youu spiritual death aund sadness! Christ tried ta warn the young wealthy maun, Nicodemus but he wouldn't lissen like most heathens in this werld! Yer disobedience ta God’s ways is what’s makin’ youu feel so guilt-ridden!
Youu believe that youu alone caun fix what’s broken in youu! … Only Jesus’s Holy Spirit werkin’ within yer soul caun bring the real joy and permanent peace that youu crave!”
“Okay! … Okay I know Father! … I am a nervous wreck! … I’m haunted day and night by those horrid wolves! … Please, I need solutions fast or I’ll go completely nuts!” “Ah Paddy, youu ar’ like all impetuous youth! … Don’t think youu’ve understood one single werd I’ve just said! … So me Boy, all in guid time aund in God’s proper order! Youu must learn ta enjoy the Father by placin’ yer faith in Him ta solve yer problems! Do youu not realize all yer sins buggin’ youu ar’ in realty the Devil’s wolves?
These predators do not have fur, teeth, or sharp claws, but yer trespasses will eat youu up from the inside out unless youu find fergiveness aund change yer ways fer God! … So, slow douwn, reflect upon what I’m sayin’! … Okay Paddy? … If this is clear, let’s get on with yer heart-felt reconciliation with the Lord. … He knows yer heart!” “Father, my soul is soiled because of my ingratitude toward God! … He has been so good in helping me to achieve my dream of becoming a high school teacher!
Sir, I had not foreseen how awfully exhausting this job would be! ... People think that my career is a real breeze! … How awfully ignorant and malicious they truly are!
I hate them profoundly for their envy of my good salary, a secure pension plan, summers off, as well as government-paid holidays including March Break, Easter, and Christmas! … So yes, I ‘ve definitely sinned against my neighbours countless times!”
“Paddy, do youu not remember that Jesus commanded us ta luve our enemies! What Jesus was expressin’ is that such painful irritants, ar’ actually a blessin’ ta us! They ar’ remindin’ youu aund me of our own inadequacies! We must focus on doin’ guid - not usin’ the werld’s evil ways fer revenge aund overcumin’ our trepidations!
If we really adore God, we do what He has missioned us ta do with luve in our heart fer Him! Then, aund only then, will we experience true happiness! … This is our present vocation! Stop yer complainin’ aund tryin’ ta escape from yer responsibilities!
Paddy, youu ar’ afraid! Ask Jesus Christ ta make youu brave! … Our Lord will strengthen youu! … The devil luves ta use human fear as one of his major weapons!”
“But Father, you don’t understand what I’m presently going through! Actually, I invite you, and all the envious, to quit their present jobs and try my daily challenges!
For heaven’s sakes! We teachers have to pay for our university education, upgrade our qualifications every few years at our own expense! Do you think this is fair?
We act like parents for our students; we are their psychologist, social worker, and babysitter, just in order to maintain discipline in the classroom, and to correct endless assignments after school hours! What other job demands that? … If not, we’ll be fired!
Son of a gun Father! ... We’re controlled by the Principal of the school, the Board of Education, the Department of Education that sets the curriculum and evaluation! We are criticized publicly with negative judgments by disgruntled journalists who are always on the prowl for some smell of a wrongdoing so they can be justified in saving their job!
And Sir as a grand-finisher, we teachers must put up with constant obnoxious whining parents, many who couldn’t care less about our personal hardship, as long as their dear kids appear to be lawfully right, which believe me, their naughty angels rarely are, and who are ready to sue us at the first chance they get! … Now that … is sinful!
Yet their sweet little darlings can swear at us, or punch us, and tell lies about us! … Ironically, we are ones who are the condemned and sentenced! … Sir, is this just?
Research statistics prove teachers burn out at the same high rate as air traffic controllers! … The Board of Education has rights, the parents have rights, and the students have rights! ... But, where in blazes are our rights written down as educators?”
“Paddy, now youu hear me! … We all carry our own crosses! … Would youu listen ta yerself! … Youu ar’ caterwauling in yer own self-pity! … We all feel like youu from time to time includin’ meself! … Take off the thick blinders from yer calloused eyes! I too aum subject ta scrutiny from the Parish Counsel, our so-called dearly lovin’ parishioners, some of whom aren’t as Christian as they should be, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, aund as youu say, the media! … Every professional is being policed! I aum frequently called at the wee hours of the mornin’, especially ta give the last rites ta the dyin’, or ta go pray daily fer the sick in the hospital, or invalids at home!
Do youu think youu have been the only one this week who has cum fer counsel aund confession on off-hours? … Not ta mention the baptisms, marriages, and funerals!
Take yer mind off yer selfish-self fer two minutes aund help God’s children! … As fer these bad parents, they too often suffer like youu! ... As youu said, their own kids ar’ no angels even at home! Believe me I know! Some sue their parents or cause divorces!
Me Boy! …When Jesus got tired of the maddenin' crowd aund the Pharisees’ searin’ scorn, He sought refuge ta pray ta His Father up on the Mount of Olives.
Me-e-e! … I go fishin’ aund hikin’ ta get away! … Youu too need a guid rest! … That’s all! … Aye Paddy, Son, back in me homelaund, Dublin, Ireland, we often say: ‘A guid laugh with some Irish whiskey aund a long sleep ar’ the two best cures!’ ‘Ne’er mix strong Irish whiskey with yer fervent prayers fer ’t is a grave sin’!”
“Heck Father, you know life isn’t that simple over here in the West! … Yet, like you, and for the sake of my sanity, I had no option but to get away from it all during the March Break, or I’d end up taking a long-term sick-leave! ... Or perhaps, even resign!
So, I decided to go ice fishing alone up at North Lake Mountain where my parent’s cottage lies nestled and unspoiled from this lousy vengeful world of ours! However my fiancée, Gail O’ Neil, passionately disagreed! … You know Gail Father! Love her with all my heart! Instead of sympathy, she nearly nagged me to death!
‘Pat, youu promised youu would stay here aund we’d plan our future dreams! ... Did youu not? ... Ar’ youu lyin’ ta yer Darlin’? ... ’T is not a guid way to begin our June weddin'! ... Even yer Mum aund Da’ told youu the same! ... Far too dangerous at this time of the year ta go up thar by yerself it is! Me Heart, do youu luve me enuf not ta go?’
And forgive me Father, just in case you’re wondering! No-o-o! Gail and I don’t live together, or have had sex, which seems to be today’s acceptable social norm!”
“Guid fer youu me Lad! … As fer her chidin’ youu, she feared losin’ youu! … She luves youu so much that she wanted ta protect youu! … Ah-h-h! … Lost yer temper youu did … aund now youu feel ashamed of that too! I see yer full guilty face I do! O-o-o-o! Such feverish fleshly-heated Irish luve! …Pat she fergives youu! … Me Almighty Mother of God! … Aye! Angels in Heaven ar’ dancing’ all around youu fer joy!”
No-o-o Father! … No-o-o! … I don’t deserve your compliment! … I can’t forgive myself! … I was wrong! … Her woman’s intuition sensed my almost fatal ordeal! … I should have known better! … Sir, I should have respected my Beloved’s wise warning! What kind of a husband will I be for her, or father of our children? ... She’s more mature than I am! … I acted like an adolescent by not reasoning things out properly!”
“Leapin’ leprechauns Paddy! Youu ar’ still as green as Ireland’s meadows in spring! Youu’ll learn as time goes by as we all do! The Holy Bible tells us that even a Jewish rabbi had ta be at least thirty years of age befer he could teach! … Jesus too! Pat our true wisdom cums with experience. Youu ar’ learnin’ this all the time! Sadly, youth rebels against their elders’ proven ways! … Son, youu ar’ no exception!
Thar’s not a maun alive who can match a womaun’s mind or the smart of her wise waggin’ tongue! … Aye, youu ar’ in luve o’er head aund have lost yer senses!”
“Yes Sir that I am and I did! ... Deeply in love we are! … I’m proud of my smart sweetheart! She has her own successful veterinarian clinic on a five-acre farm that she has named ‘All Animals Are Welcome’! A woman, intelligent and independent she is! Father, I purposely disrespected her! And was stupidly glad of it too because I felt in charge as a real man should! ... Ugh! Such senseless pride! Forgive me Jesus! Broke the fourth Commandment I did! … I manipulated and dishonored Mum and Dad who loaned me the cottage and piper aircraft to get there! Sir, I seriously sinned! Wow! ... Off I flew imagining the great rainbow trout I’d haul in and the peace I needed badly! ... Was the daring devil himself who tempted me and led me there!”
“Son, yes youu know the Gospel teaches us that Jesus commanded us ta honour our parents! Saints of Heaven! … Do youu love them or not? … Did youu apologize?”
“Please Father! Don’t you rebuke me too! My conscience made me own up to it!”
Paddie, Youu did well but ar’ regretful still! Please don’t! … Fer if youu do, then yer parents will feel you’d been dishonest! … If youu had been honest, feel fergiven! Excuse me morbid curiosity, how did yer parents acquire such a grand piece of prime real estate? … I know them personally aund frankly they ar’ not all that wealthy!”
“Well Father, my great grandfather Christopher Bennett from Killarney, Ireland, came over to this country as a pioneer. What a brave man and hard worker he was! Taking nearly eighteen years of arduous manual labour, he acquired the whole twelve hundred acres of land and forest surrounding the lake and it became his too. Raised his family on hunting, fishing, and farming! Eventually, we’d inherited his land.
A true Irishman! Bold! Quick-tempered! Visitors rarely came! As for trespassers, or poachers, they thought twice before getting their derrieres loaded with buckshot!” see young fella! Very interestin’ indeed! … Tell me more about these wolves of yers. I don’t know much about these tauntin’ crafty ’carnivores!”
“Father, I’d learned much from his son, my Grandfather David Bennett, how to howl like a wolf and actually call them to me. He had also mated his male husky named Woof with a timber wolf, and then Nico was born. I'd pick him up and play with him as if he were a dog. Soon, Nico grew to trust me, but his cousins refused to accept me!
Every wolf has its own particular colour markings and his specific personality. Adults weigh from one hundred twenty to one hundred forty pounds with very long legs and a jaw pressure of 1500 pounds per square inch! … No dog can match that force! These animals can go a whole week without food and are unyielding in their hunt! Only the alpha-male has the absolute right to eat to his fill before sharing the kill with the others who know their rank. Unfortunately, some may not even eat that day!
“Ah Pat, I knew David Bennett aund I knew Woof! When Sean, me brother, aund I were young teenagers, yer grand-da’ had invited us up ta his cottage a few times.
On our last visit, Sean got so mad that he gave me big black eye ‘cause Woof would only cum ta me! Oh-h-h! How I wanted ta revenge meself! … I did not dare tell me parents! Told them I’d fallen on a stone! … I asked yer wise grand-da’ what ta do. What he told me, he’d learned from a First-Nation’s Chief, aund I’m sharin’ his story with youu, so that youu can learn a very guid practical lesson regardin’ life’s wisdom: ‘Inside every person thar lives two wolves: a guid wolf who wants ta protect aund guide his pack; secondly, thar lives an evil wolf who seeks ta destroy aund kill all who wrong him! … Michel O’Leary, which wolf do youu choose ta feed and ta prosper?’ Yer Grand-Da’David fixes his kind blue eyes upon mine aund replied: ‘No need ta answer me Lad, yer soul shines through yer eyes! … Y ’er not only goin’ feed the guid wolf, but youu will also help all the poor hungry wolves that will cum ta youu!’’
“Father, I know for a certainty Nico is a blessing to me too! He saved my life!”
“Glad ta har that! … So Paddy where is yer Grandfather David now?”
“When he retired from his copper mining job he decided to go back to Ireland with Grand Mum Charlotte. He died several years back from a heart attack.”
“I see, so that’s why yer parents have the cottage. Youu know Paddy … cum ta think of it, youu’ ar’ indeed a hungry wolf too! … Hmm, surely, youu must’ve done somethin’ awfully wrong ta them fer youu ta be in such turmoil, or youu wouldn’t be har confessin’! … Cum on now! … What mortal sins ar’ youu hidin’? ... Own up ta them!”
“I did a lot of wrong things Father! … Unfortunately, my pride got the best of me! I would not admit just how March weather could be so treacherous in the mountains!
By four o’clock I am flying near the cottage, a blinding snow squall comes out of the East nearly spinning me out of control! ... Scared beyond words, I grab the radio: ‘Mayday! ... Wings are icing up! ...Visibility is poor! ... Anyone hear me? ...Over!’ Father, nothing but static! ... Can barely see the frozen lake below! ...Try to climb once more to come in for a safer landing. Strong swirling winds stop me from getting the nose up enough! Must line the plane up for landing! … Stomach tightens! Might crash!
‘Mayday! ... Mayday! ... Can’t hold on! ... Going down on North Mountain Lake at Bennett’s cottage! ... Mayday-a-a-ay! … Send help-p-p-p! … SOS! … SOS! … SOS!’ Skis hit snowy ice! … Bump up! … Bump back down! … Spin about! … Hear: ‘Thwack, thwack! ... Clunk, clunk. clunk! … Thump, thump! … Swish! … Thud!’
Abruptly stop on several snow-covered rocks in front of a wide dense conifer tree forest guarding the eastern shore line! ... The blowing blizzard held me as its prisoner!
After a few choice curse words, I did thank the Lord! Was a miracle I survived! … Shut off the motor, wiper blades flip-flop a few times. Squint through my driver’s cracked side window pane. Snowy ghost-like gusts sing and swirl along the icy long lonely flake.
Had hit my damn head on the dashboard! Bright red blood drip drops down upon my right cheek! … Scared, shaky, I struggle out into the roaring gale; keeping bent over, I examine the plane. Lucky! I find no major damage!
Father, I feel so bad! I had little faith that Jesus would save me! … So sor-r-ry! … I’m a lousy … lousy Christian!”
“Easy Pat! … Calm yerself douwn! … Youu ar’ har with me now! … Take a few guid deep breaths ta recompose yerself! … Fine then! … Better? … Go on Son!”
"Thank you Father! … But I got to get rid myself of my aggravating guilt and nagging shame! I must feel right with God or I can’t marry Gail with this unbearable weight upon my shoulders! … Do you not understand how much I am suffering?”
“Then me Boy, maybe youu’d feel more comfortable talkin’ with a psychologist who is more qualified than I ’aum regardin’ yer tormentin’ emotional problems?”
“Father, come on! We both know that I have a chronic spiritual problem! … My soul is in agony! … I’m like a sheep that’s lyin’ on his back and can’t get up! … Are you not my good shepherd to put me back upright again or not?”
“O-o-o-o-o Paddy! …. God knows me soul! … I was only suggestin’ this ta make youu feel more at ease! Excuse me, if I‘ve added ta yer exasperatin’ stress! Carry on!”
“Very well Sir! … The nose of the aircraft tilted upwards while its skis still rested intact leaning upon two boulders. I could‘ve easily pushed the plane backwards but the terrible strong gale might’ve swept it away to the netherworld of hellish Gehenna!
Hear faint wolf howls a ways off; recall Grandfather’s words that such creatures have about two hundred scent cells and can detect its prey up to one mile away or more - especially when the wind is blowing in their direction which it did! … In panic, I cry out: ‘O-o-o-o! … God-d-d! … Hel-p-p-p! … The bloody beasts are coming for me!’
Alarmed, I crawl back into the cockpit. Like some foreign entity, my body shivers uncontrollably from fear! Shudder aloud: ‘I’ll be eaten alive! O’ my Gail! Love you-u-u!’ Compel myself to think positively. Frigging dread dries up my mouth! I whimper: ‘Have to use cold logic to get out of this damn mess! … Must get to the cottage on foot! ... Darkness will fall within hours! … Shit! … Can’t trek through the forest! … Where’s the wretched trail anyway? … Hah! Hades’ banshees are closing in on me!’
Father, I hoped frantically Nico might be running with them! ... Wonder if I should chance calling him? … But, what if he wasn’t? … Holy Mollie! … I had no damn gun!
In dire desperation, I rummage intently for anything to use as a weapon! … Being condemned to die, I’d take a few of those ravenous bastards with me!
Excuse my language Sir! … But I wanted to kill them all! … Chop them into tiny pieces! … And I’d enjoy every second of ripping the life out of their demonic bodies!”
Pat, ’t was not the Lord who’d put such malevolence in yer soul! Satan did it, just like he did right from Adam aund Eve’s temptation aund fall. Rebellion has continued all throughout the evolution until this now, aund will strive until we accept Jesus as Lord!
The Evil One had taken advantage of yer vulnerability! … Me Boy, God had placed a natural instinct in the wild wolf ta hunt down its prey fer his own survival!”
“Hold on a minute Father! … I had no time to think about your Catholic Church theology! It was my life or theirs! Darwin observed it was due to ‘survival of the fittest.
"Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but what could you’ve pbly known about my frayed emotional state? You were nicely safe and sound in your comfortable chapel! Hell’s hungry wolves don’t care about The Ten Commandments? … Well, do they?”
“Paddy, youu ar’ absolutely right! … In retrospect ta yer awful precarious life-threatening circumstances, I’m tryin’ me best ta get youu ta comprehend how yer very soul, not just yer body, was bein’ drawn towards Satan‘s trap at that time! … Hear me!”
“Thank you Father! … Frankly, I’m just beginning to realize it myself! … But not then! … And that’s why I’m here! … Father, I was completely out of control and still am!”
“Patrick Bennet! … I’m not negatively criticizin' youu! … Please, have confidence in me as yer Pastor! … Me sole intention is ta help youu spiritually! … Understaund?”
“Okay Father! … I do! … Forgive my disrespect! … So, let me go on! … I must!
Sir, I find nothing! ... I get this crazy idea! … Maybe it came from God or from my guardian angel! ... Anyhow, I wrench off the pointed chrome door handle on the passenger’s side! … Instantly Beelzebub called his hounds to come and chew me up! Ar-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! ... Ar-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! .... Ar-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!’
Through blustering snow come seven, ... no … eight dark greyish-black wolves running close together bounding from under wind-blown spreading spruce boughs!
Amazed I was at how their heavily padded toes acted like snowshoes while their long slender pumping legs propelled them towards the cockpit! … I was done for!
Lean back frozen in fright! Door handle firmly gripped in my left fist, I make ready to kill the crazed hyenas dancing about below me! ... O-o-o-o! … I mutter in fear: ‘Jesus! ... Jesus! ... Forgive me for not trusting in you! … I deeply regret for thinking I could do everything on my own! Need You! I made a complete ass of myself!’
Jumping onto the plane’s skis, the demented fiends stretch ever upwards!
‘Gr-r-r-r-r-r-r! ... Yelp-p-p-p! .... Ah-roo-o-o-o! ... Ah-h-h-h-h! .... Gr-r-r-r-r-r-r ... Ha-a-a-a-a-a! .... Ar-r-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! ... Snip-p-p-p! ... Snip-p-p-p! … Snap-p-p-p-p!’
“Savage shiny hazel-green eyes mesmerize me! ... Poised white fangs with slobbering crimson red tongues slip in and out, jaws strain wide open to tear me apart!
The huge fearless lead-male leaps up higher than the others. His powerful front paws cling to the bottom of the window pane! Wills his hard head back smashing out the window pane with his snout! Shattered glass sprays forth! Cocks his head! Lunges!
The ugly brute’s spits his stinking slime into my face! His wide-open chops jolt their way into the cockpit! … Thrust myself over to the passenger’s side just in time to miss his razor-sharp incisors that plant firmly into the brown leather seat! I plunge the chrome door handle into the back of his head and shove it upwards piercing his primordial brain, hold the blunt dagger there while he wiggle-waggles convulsively!
The embedded evil in the furry monster shrieks its last demonic cry; dark red blood mixed with his brain tissue oozes out! Sickened to heart I vomit on its quivering dying body! Yet deliriously happy I was! … Forgive me Father! … I’d gravely sinned!
He lies morbidly still! Me too! … No sound from his cowardly companions below! We, both are abandoned in still silence. I dare not think nor even take a full breath!
His cousins let out a long rueful 'a-r-r-r-o-o-o-o’s' for their slain leader from the shoreline where their vile vengeance mounts to slaughter me – the human wolf-killer!
Want to rid myself of this … this repulsive reeking odious dead thing! … Then I realize that this metamorphosing carcass hanging by his head out the window would keep me from freezing tonight and also prevent from more of their vicious onslaughts!
How the ceaseless forlorn wind sapped me of all my strength like some Satanic Seraphim seducing me into a subterranean slumber from which I might never awake!
Nonetheless Father, God permitted me to live and to behold dawn’s bright sun revealing to me ‘the valley and the shadow of death’! I did not deserve His gift of life!”
“Aye me Boy, that’s exactly where yer soul was! … Remember though, Jesus came into this werld to take all of our sins upon Him at the cross! So, we are redeemed now aund that is why death is only a shadow! ... ‘O Death, where is yer sting?’
The fact that youu ar’ contrite is all that God desires! … He knows yer heart! Youu must fegrive yerself on how youu felt then aund how youu feel now! … If youu don’t, youu will offend God by refusin’ His gifts of Mercy, Grace, aund Fergiveness!”
“How can God forgive me-e-e? … Like I said Father, I became subhuman! … Wild! … This latent primitive instinct in my brain and soul frightened me the most!
“Do not be surprised Lad! … God isn’t! The darkness of our fallen nature is alive and strong in all maunkind even though we ar’ supposed ta have becum civilized aund since then been offered the choice of acceptin’ or rejectin’ the Holy Spirit from Jesus!
Now grasp this Paddy! We have a real fierce battle goin’ on in our mind daily where our will must either obey God’s laws or ta give inta burnin’ desires of the flesh!
This is where Lucifer tempts us, aund all too often, snares us in sin! … Youu caun be reassured Jesus will help youu ta cum ta terms with yer post traumatic shock!” “Father! Your encouraging words do help soothe my nerves1 … I will struggle on!
So then, cruel morning‘s light exposes the wolf’s frozen grimace, I shove his disgusting rigid remains to the hard-crusted snow below. Unwilling to hear the thud I block my ears but hear it anyway! …. Forgive me Father because I have sinned again!
Feel squeamish again! … Listen attentively! … Had I frightened off the pack for good by killing their admirable leader? … Most probably not! A glimmer of hope arises in my despondent spirit. Climb nervously out of the cockpit; fall clumsily upon the wolf’s frozen bulging stomach squishing out part of a half-digested jackrabbit’s thigh upon the sparkling snow! … ‘U-g-g-g-h!’
Stagger ahead with eyes alert to detect any wolves; explore anxiously to find traces of the trail to my parents’ cottage, memory gropes through past vague allusive memories; my weakened knees fumble in deep snowdrifts around thick Scotch pines.
Heart throbs! Could have a thrombosis heart attack! My back complains from aching bruises. I stop, look up into the heavens and realize: ‘I will not survive the day!’”
“Oh Paddy! … Youu had much courage indeed! … I do not want ta frustrate youu more, but as strange as it may seem, God also permits adversity so He caun humble us inta bein’ a better person ‘cause our nature is too arrogant aund blatantly stubborn!
Yet through His testing, God makes all things to werk fer the common good! True faith cums inta us from Him especially when we do not understaund His Will so ours will grow! It’s called Sanctification Lad! … Ah! Enuf fer now! … Please go on with yer story!”
I know that you are right Father! Confused and angry I was as to why God allowed this harrowing predicament! I was wedged between relying upon my own capabilities or to place my full trust completely in Him to help me to survive! … I did!
But in the meanwhile, gnawing dread increased and drove me pell-mell into harm’s way! … Overwhelmed with severe sorrow and irksome half-belief, I do pray:
‘Jesus, give me strength to go on and show me the way to my parent’s cottage!’ He must have heard me because I was so discouraged! Unexpectedly after a few steps, a spirit within me greater than my own, drives my unwilling legs ever forward!
I stumble over a mossy log, fall upon jagged rocks skinning my right kneecap, climb agonizingly up to a small ridge; then reach a familiar sight of a small cave where I used to play in as a boy. Now … I knew I was within a ten-minute walk to the cottage! Chilled to the bone, I creep into the cavernous cubbyhole. Try to fool myself into thinking I’d overcome this ordeal until shrilling sounds forced me to accept the truth!
‘A-r-o-o-o-o-o-o-o ! ... A-r-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! ... A-r-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!’
Discern three grayish-black wolves sniffing the air not too far off! … Whoa! ... Count nine more all sitting in a circle further back! … Without warning, a big female with swollen milking tits runs madly back and forth in front the cold cave’s entrance!
Father, four furry gremlins rub up against my right thigh! ... Wolf pups yelp, with innocent flashing bright eyes crawl up licking my face! … Her dang den! … Peeking in, she whimpers, snuffles, yaps knowing full well that her babies are in danger upon me!
Irrepressible apprehension gets the best of her, shoves her snout in, her throat growls deeply meaning: ‘Human invader, kill my little ones; I’ll rip your throat out!’
Panicked, she slides her head back out of sight and then quickly heaves her sturdy front paws in and out like a helpless mother pleading, praying for her young! Father, I instantly cast her pups outside between her legs where they helplessly tumble down the snowy hillside! … I didn’t want to hurt them! What else could I do?
Fleetingly our eyes meet; neither of us makes a move! Intuitively, she runs after her little ones moving them to safety! … Ah! …She’d take care of me later with the pack! However what happened to all the other wolves? ... Time myself, wait an hour! … Still no sight of them! … I am doomed! … Grumble in vain! ‘Blazes! … I know those heinous fiends are out there!’
Already afternoon has passed! Wishful thinking prompts me into believing I can outrun them! The cottage can’t be that far away! ... Yet those wolves high on adrenaline could run up to twenty miles an hour and I would be their long-awaited meal of the day!’
Damn it Father! I couldn’t stay there either! Their starving stomachs would spur them on into the cave if I didn’t die from hypothermia either! … Madly, my silly natural irrepressible idiocy screams out: ‘Demons from hell! … I’ll kill every last one of you!’
Forgive me Sir! … I … I honestly felt God had abandoned me and I deserved to get chomped up for all my lustful sins! … In wrathful anguish, I stupidly reprimand God: ‘Lord! … Where are You? ... You know I am in danger! ... If You really exist, then help me right now! ... Am I not one of yours too? ... O’ Lord! ... Do You not care? ... I’m going die-e-e-e … a horrible death! … Can this really be Your Will? Save me!’
Still no sign of God’s interest! … I dare holler again in heated justified defiance: ‘I would never allow such harm come to my future children or to Gail! … Are Your precious natural laws more important than me? … Do You love Your children or not?’”
“Slow douwn me Paddy! … Not true-e-e! … God promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us in life or in death; or give us a burden more than we caun bear! Whether in bad times or guid, we’ ar ta seek His Holy presence aund not His presents! Satan was assaultin’ yer faith Son by injectin' doubt inta yer mind! He knew all too well that by affectin’ yer thoughts aund emotions he culd direct yer pathway ta Hell!”
“Father! … I had no faith! … I should have held onto God! … I betrayed Him! … I did Sir! I committed an awful sin! … Aund I did it repeatedly! … This is why now I need to know if God forgives me! … I can’t go back and undo my wrong-doings!”
“Our Lord fergives youu Paddy, aund He has saved yer soul from eternal death!”
“Father, I know youu mean well by reassuring me of Eternal Life with Jesus! … Yet at that terrifying moment, I heard nothing but cold reticence! … Why? … Why? And you know what, a long while slips by; again I didn’t hear His voice! I didn’t know what else to do! I repeat my heartfelt prayer with all the love I possessed for Him: ‘God! Get me safely to the cottage … I … I surrender my life entirely to You!’
Father, becoming strangely calm, I stand erect like a soldier finding his nerve to return to combat and meet his fate! … This inexplicable commitment defied all logic!”
“Aye Lad! …Youu were havin’ a terrific faith battle fer sure! … ’T was yer Holy Spirit that was sustainin’ youu aund guidin’ youu ta shelter! So how did youu escape?”
“Well Sir, off on the left a white-tailed doe comes into view! Before I take a second breathe, five wolves leap ferociously at her neck and hind legs! I shudder at the awful gruesome sight! Yet, her terrible misfortunate buys me the valuable time I needed!
I cautiously leave the cavern; steal stealthily to the top of the hill to look for the cottage. And there it was only a hundred yards away! Nevertheless, I made the mistake of standing up straight! Loud yelps and yowls signalled their chase was on for me! Misfortune! … Snow deepens, fall often, compel myself to keep going, glance quickly over my left shoulder. The lean young leap up the steep hill faster than I had expected pursuing me from both sides. Take note of the bigger older wolves well -trained by nature regrouping with the intention of lying in wait for me straight up front!
Ah-h-h Father, the ravenous pursuers sense my defencelessness! Closing in on me now, I imagine their curled-up lips exposing their long white teeth, black wet nostrils flaring; slim sinewy legs bounding towards me! My body strength weakens just like in the worst terrible nightmare imaginable! I deny raw reality, confusion controls me now!
“Aye Paddy! …’T was exactly what Satan wanted youu ta believe so he culd capture yer soul while youu were still in mortal sin! … O-o-o how sly the old fox is!
Me poor maun! Of course youu did not know it at the time but ’t was God’s very maneuvering of yer personal events that saved youu from the Evil One’s death-grip!”
“O’ Father … Father!’ … ‘Whap!’ .... “I fall face-down; I press against the soft crust as it gives way, my stiff arms sink up to my elbows! I stand up! … Cottage nearer, yet maybe too far! … My limp legs strain to reach the barn! Slouched, shoulders pull against the snow bank; struggle to open a front barn door! Inside, I lock the rusty latch!”
‘Snap-p-p-p! … Arrrr! … Yap … Yap … Snap-p-p-p… Gr-r-r-r! … Yelp-p-p-p!’
“A ruthless black with mouth wide open extends his head through a barn window beside me! I flounder about in darkness. Grab an armful of straw and fling it into his fierce face! Temporarily blinded, the beast drops down outside, sputters, snorts; takes his sinewy forepaws and frenziedly scratches his itchy eyes to remove the debris!
Enraged more than ever, the demon-driven critter jumps right back up! I grab hold of a loose broken floorboard; spitefully hit his unyielding forehead! Doesn’t fizz him a bit! Take the splintered pointed end; stab him in his left ear; break off the jagged end. Wounded mortally, he recoils in shrieks of searing pain, whimpers, faints, drops, dies! Meanwhile outside, several terrors run insanely around the barn looking to gain entry! Without warning, an eager brownish-beige head breaks through the window too! With the same floorboard; hit his calloused teeth as hard as my strength could muster! He falls; his hideous squeals could be heard from here to Kingdom come! Search madly for a bale of hay; found one, struggle strenuously put it the opening! I succeed!”
“Bless youu Paddy, youu were on the threshold of death! Youu had ta kill them fer yer survival! Do not feel upset! Any maun would’ve done the same! Continue Lad!”
“I wish I could believe that were true Father! But I did many worse acts of cruelty! By now the sun was setting! ... Accustomed to the lack of light, these incensed flesh-eaters persist ruthlessly in their onslaught! Had to get into to my parents’ cottage to use the CB radio! … Without outside help, my demise was a definite certainty!
Even if Nico might be alive, would he turn on his own kin to save me? ... Maybe he had a pack of his own! Or perhaps already dead from hunters or adversarial wolves!
I see soundless shadows slowly reappearing in a prepared plan creeping in from surrounding spruces. Their stiffened mange was an assured sign of attack! Perceive my death’s circle tightening in around me! Vicious eyes await the victory over their kill!
Father, I run, run, run! … Arrived at the cottage door, my hands began shaking uncontrollably! … Impossible to put the key into the snow-filled hole! … I howl for Nico!
‘A-r-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o -o-o-o-o-o!’ His devilish confused cousins stop dead in their tracks as if remembering a familiar call! … Wrestle again with the bloody key! … Lord! … Help me! … Lord!
Mystified, these cruel creatures turn around about searching for some controlling instinct to command them so they can mercilessly slaughter any who challenges them!
Ohh! … Key unlocks the door! … Somehow, a new lead-wolf had been chosen; he hypocritically edges within striking distance! … Shivering shock stops me in my tracks! … I wail for my very last time! … Thank you … Lord for your Grace!”
Make to a mad dash into the cabin; piercing fangs plunge into my right thigh; I drop instantly as he drags me down the three hard icy steps banging my head all the way! Letting go of his grip, I then smell the monster’s heated breathe as his slimy teeth seize me by the back of my neck poised to snap it in two! … Suddenly … I was freed!
‘Ar-r-r-r-r –r-r… yelp-p-p-p … gr-r-r-r-r … ah-h-h-h-h … ar-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!’
“Nico grabs the bewildered wolf by the side of its throat until dark red blood spurts out all over me! My adrenalin pumps to a frightening point, I rise to my knees, stagger back into the cabin. My Nico leaps up onto the verandah protecting my back!
A dark brown one enflames the pack to strike anew! Nico snatches the bridge of his nose, twists him over onto his back and finishes him off by severing his windpipe!
A sneaky black fiend blindsides him, bites his under left hind leg deeply, dark red blood squirts out! – A sign of sure death! ...The two entangle; swirl around and around! Nico cowers, cramps in agony! Yet sheer resolution pushes him on again and again for a fight to the end, his rivals sense his savage will and back off … but … not too far!
I see my friend’s wound losing much life blood! Eager young wolves know they can easily kill him and me too! Making his final assault, pulls out an assailant’s left eye!
Two vicious attackers approach quickly making ready to jump upon my wolf dog! With what strength remained, I pull Nico inside, slam the door shut and latch it! ... I listen in stark fright to their persevering body slams upon the soft pine door!
Lock all wooden window shutters, except for the smaller kitchen one! Grab my Dad’s 30-30 from above the fireplace, load it and start shooting!
‘Bo-o-om! … Bo-o-om! … Ha-a-a-a-a-a-a!’ … Kill a gray one! … Wound a black and white in the shoulder! … ‘Yeah-h-h-h-h-h!’
Outside, I hear only wailing and gnashing of teeth! My vengeful soul rejoices with every whine of their dreadful distress!
Nico lies shivering; he drags himself toward me, tugs at my elbow seemingly to beg me to lower my rifle and not to kill any more of his own! I relinquish and place a makeshift tourniquet on his leg, he looking remorsefully at me, collapses on his side!
Breathing shallowly now; I believe he’s dying! … At that point Father, I realized the penalty of my sin for having put Nico’s life in danger by calling my friend to rescue me! ... What a rotten human being I was! … I deserved to die - not him! … And, I will!
Rush to get Dad’s CB radio: ‘Mayday! ... Mayday! ... It’s Patrick Bennett calling! ... Stranded at Bennett’s cottage at North Lake Mountain! Plane crashed !Surrounded by wolves! ... Over!’ Hear a recurrent crackling sound! … Father O’Leary, God must have intervened! ‘Fleming’ O’Casey har! …Da youu read me?’ ‘Aye! ... That I do Fleming! … You are a God’s-Send from Heaven!’
‘We at Air-Rescue received yer distress call yesterday! … A helicopter will cum aund get youu tamorra’ mornin’ at daylight Is thar much room ta laund Lad? ... Over!’ ‘Fleming, about two hundred feet - but only in the front of the cottage!’ ‘Pat, how many wolves surroundin’ youu?’ ‘Fleming, there are at least over a dozen!’
‘Hang in thar Lad! ... It won’t be easy! … We’ll try aund shoot ‘em from the air with tranquilizers! … As fer yer Mum aund Da’, don’t youu fret a wee bit! ... I’ll contact them too-o-o-o! ... Is yer plane too damaged ta fly?’
‘It’s okay! … Lodged in a snowbank on the lake west of the cabin! ... Over!’
‘Okay! We’ll find it! ... I’ll ask Douglas Wallace, our master mechanic, ta cum along with one of our other pilots! … Anythin’ else Pat?’
‘Flemin’, contact my fiancée, Gail O’Neil, at All Animals Are Welcome! ... Bring her with you and tell her to fetch all she needs to sew up my wolf dog!’ ‘Wolf dog? Ar’ youu daft maun! Youu want us ta save a bloudy wolf in yer cabin!’
‘Fleming, Nico won’t bite you! ... Gail knows him! … Over and out!’
“Heavens forbid Father! I wasn’t even sure if I’d pass through the night! I couldn’t save myself! … Only God could! … And, I had disappointed Him miserably!
“Sweet smellin’ shamrock in spring Pat! … Youu did no such thing! … Youu had weak faith but God was gonna make yers stronger by this test! … God luves youu!’
Do youu recall when Jesus had named Peter ta be the leader of His church ta spread the Gospel ta the Jews and Gentiles in Asia also?
He gave him the keys ta Heaven aund had even told Peter that he’d deny knowing Him three times befer the cock crowed! …Yet, He had already fergiven Peter of his sin way befer he’d done it! … Maun, … ar’ youu actually worse than Saint Peter?
Lissen Son, yer physical life aund spiritual life were under assault! … What youu experienced was perfectly normal! … Don’t confuse human fear of dyin’ fer a lack of faith! … That’s exactly what Satan, the Accuser, wants youu ta believe! … God is happy with youu because youu had the spiritual strength ta hold on when all was bleak!”
“Well Father, then why am I still grieving? … My spirit feels just as black as the darkness that had enveloped the cottage at North Mountain on that wicked evening!”
“Ah-h! Pat! By facin’ yer fear again, youu’ll rid yerself of its troublesome torment!”
“Thank you Father I want to believe you! … Darn! … What do I have to lose? So, I knew that the next morning our lives would be changed for better or for worse! … All of a sudden, all nature was so strangely quiet as though Death entered in!
I panic! Stumble about the kitchen, fumble through the drawers, find three wax candles, light one for Gail, another for Nico, the last for me, a symbol of my frail hope!
Hmm! Father! … For a brief moment God’s Loving Spirit shines about the room coercing cruel Evil spirits to crawl cautiously back into Satan’s secret black sanctuary!
In the soft brilliance, I envision my great grandparents, who’d once lived here happily busying themselves with their daily chores! … I’d even imagined them enjoying their well-deserved peaceful reward of eternal happiness in Heaven!
My reverie soon fades away! … I too might pass from this world’s treacherous flimsy existence before the night would be over and be with them!
Spy two book shelves with a heap of old garden magazines, a wrinkled book on home wine-making, and my Grandfather’s family Holy Bible. Pick it up, gloss through some worn pages. A Saint Michael’s bookmarker brings me to James, c.4, verse, 8: ‘Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you; cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts ye doubleminded!’
“O-o-o-o-o Father! … Feeling judged guilty and sentenced, slam the book down!”
“Ah Patrick me Boy! … Youu are like many of the worldly-minded souls so ready to believe in the powers of Satan, his witches, and demons; yet you won’t acknowledge Christ who has saved us from eternal death and offers us salvation!”
“I don’t mean to Father! … Part of me believes in Him but another part of me believes in what I have experienced in this world! … But you are right! … My unbelief made me frightened stiff!” ‘Sniff! … Sniff! … Sniff! ... Pant, pant, pant! ... Scratch! ... Scratch! … Scratch!’
“A dreadful face with orangey fiery eyes glares back at me from the kitchen window. Quivering salivating lips, a pointed red tongue sliding in and out, horrendous bays escape from his pitiless throat while several ruthless hard heads still rammed against the door! … Clutch the friggin’ rifle tightly, dare to open the kitchen window ajar!” ‘Bo-omm! … Bo-omm!’
“A bleeding mass of fur flies into the air landing in a sprinkled-red snowdrift! … Reload the heated gun to kill as many bastards as I can before I’d be ripped apart!” ‘Cr-a-a-s-s-h!’
“A heavy black body jumps in sending me flying to the floor flowed by another and then another! … Candlelight blows out! … The crafty beasts crouch in the den of darkness! ... Flick lighter on, snarling snowy-white choppers shine forth! … I shoot!”
“One mean fiend from Hell lies dead at my feet! Nico growls deeply! Aim the rifle in his general direction! … Can’t see much! Cock! … Its hellish head, fangs, jaws spread wide open, he launches! ... My will aligned with God’s, I blast away!
“Dazed, my unsteady left hand gropes to re-open my lighter! A lifeless grey-black wolf lies across Nico’s body and me. My eyes strain nervously about, no other wolves in sight; drag his dying carcass off us! ... Jesus! Where is the damn devil’s third fiend?
I hunker near Nico on the pine floor, I face the front yard. Suddenly see a sneaky sneering face, fire off two rounds! … The miserable son-of- a bitch drops dead on me!
Heightened hush pervades once more; we trapped in our silent tomb, await the inevitable! Wanton wailing outside resumes! My back braced firmly up against the cold fieldstone fireplace; count six rounds of ammunition left between us and our final fate!
Lose all sense of time! What a terrible mess I’d made of Christ’s life given to me!
‘I ... I … who am supposed to be so intelligent and university-educated will die from sheer stupidity! … Ha! … Ha! … Ha-a-a-a! … What an awful dumb-head I am!’”
“Aye me Lad, the Tempter had convinced youu ta believe his lie that youu had failed God by yer actions aund that God had forsaken youu! … No! … No-o-o … me Boy! Doubt comes only from the Evil One! … Youu had been courageous through it all!”
“Father, but was I? … Jeez! ... My spirit relished in a grand fit of self-pity! … My cowardly contrite heart gushed out many unmanly tears! … I felt like a bloody Judas!
I … I cried for having robbed my darling Gail from the happiness of our future marriage and children! ... Let’s face it, she deserved better! ... A real good man! ... Not a whining thoughtless fool who had put his life in danger for some stupid lake trout!
Cried for Mom and Dads’ grief knowing that their son had been eaten alive by wolves in their treasured get-away place! … For them finding chunks of my mangled body strewn here and there! ... And … they had been such great parents!
Cried because I should have taught my students about God’s wondrous love for humanity in my literature courses! … I’d failed my students for whom I’d really cared!
Oh no! … Me! … Me! … It was all about me being a popular teacher in the community! … Should have been more involved with some of those who were struggling from drug addiction and titter-totting on the brink suicide! Should have referred them to the school psychologist! … But I didn’t! … Why Father? … Why?
O-o-o—o … no-o-o-o! …Too damn afraid I’d lose my precious job for getting involved in their personal affairs! … Jesus would never have done this to His Own! Cried for Nico as he slid off into an edgy sleep while Death lurked patiently near!
Worse Father! … I cried in my wretchedness as I tried to bargain with the Lord:
‘Jesus, I promise that if I survive I’ll lead a better life for You! … I don’t want to die! ... Not now! ... Not like this! ... If so, let my demise be fast! ... Spare Nico - Amen!’”
“Aye Son, I fully understaund what youu ar’ tellin’ me! … We all beg God fer somethin’ at one time or another! … Me too! … Aund why… if we trust in Him? … God’s Word says that sin brings a curse making us suffer misery in our mind, soul aund spirit!
We caun not live without God or guilt, fear aund shame will be our constant accusin’ companions! ... Satan will see ta that! … We glorify God by trustin’ in Him!”
“That Satan did Father! But I’m so-o-o grateful for God’s Grace to have survived!”
“’T was ‘cause of yer confidence in the Lord me Paddy that He would perform this miracle fer youu even though yer faith was only big as a tiny mustard seed!
Youu passed God’s test aund youu had the guts ta confess all this! … Wonderful! … Youu’ve cum this far in yer faith, so please carry on to finish it up if youu caun!”
“Thank you Father, I really appreciate your moral support and I will need much more of your advice for what I should do when I leave here. Okay I’ll tell you the rest.
Well, the wind picks up and whines in the rafters. The storm lulls me into an outlandish sleep. I see a furious big black wolf chewing deeply into my neck ripping apart my jugulars! My heart pumps rapidly, hot red blood gushes out inciting a scrawny grey cub wolf to penetrate deep into my abdomen as he pulls out my intestines!
My horrible nightmarish premonition comes to an abrupt end when I awaken to alarming heavy snorting at the door! Shaking in an icy-cold sweat, I did manage to thank Christ’s for His mercy in getting Nico and me through the night!”
“Aye me Boy! … ’T is too bad indeed! … Youu would’ve had a much more peaceful sleep had youu recalled John 3:8:
‘The wind blows wherever it pleases, you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born in the spirit.’”
“Ah yes Father! I wish I knew the comforts of the Holy Bible like you do! Nevertheless, you’ve definitely encouraged me to make this a near future project!
To continue Sir, morning’s somber daylight streaks between cracks and bullet holes in the door. My watch indicates 6:10. Unnerving apprehension seizes my heart as I see those damn flaring nostrils muzzling through the broken kitchen window.
Self-preservation springs me back into action! ... Rifle to my shoulder, fire three times! … Instantly a dead clunk resounds on the icy-hard verandah!
Before I have time to blink, two more furious grimaces with drool-dripping jowls appear! … Reload! … The hungrier of the two charges and makes ready to jump in!
Father! I blast away, then hear his distressing death cries move away from the cottage! I was so glad that I’d killed him! You hear me! I destroyed the son-of-a gun!”
“In the name of the Father, the Son, aund the Holy Spirit! … Pat, youu ar’ talkin’ wildly again! … Killin’ in self-defence is one thing, but lovin’ ta kill animals in yer soul, is a mortal sin against God! … He made all creatures!”
“Father I know! And, I’ m guilty! … If Saint Francis d’ Assisi were here he would agree with you too! … Whether I was justified or not, neither of you had ever been faced with ferocious wolves that blindly obey their nature to tear you apart alive! … Sir, I’m sorry if I offend you! … I confess the truth as commanded by God who already knows!
In any event Sir, I rummage madly through the kitchen drawers for more bullets! ... None! ... Latch onto a steak knife ready to stab Nico in the heart, and with my last shot; I tell you frankly, I was going to kill myself if the pack had gained entry!
Don’t Father! … Don’t say anything! … I know … I know suicide is wrong in your eyes! ... You have no idea what lunacy I was going through! … Oh-h-h! … I’d even begged Jesus Christ to show me another way out! … Again … I heard nothing!”
“Pat did youu not understaund that Jesus was already cumin’ ta rescue youu? … Yer name had been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life aund sealed way befer youu were born! … He would ne’er forsake one of His own aund He won’t now either!
“Reverend, it certainly didn’t feel like that at the time! … I don’t mean any disrespect, but can you honestly sit there and tell me that all our soldiers who fought in so many wars to protect our country, didn’t cheer when our enemies were killed from the relief of allied forces? … Of course! … Glad their enemy was being massacred!
Were the millions of our boys overseas, who died such horrific deaths, not also ‘sealed as Lambs of God’? … Christian armies of God! … There isn’t any logic here!”
“Pat, God is all powerful, performs perfect justice, has the deepest luve fer us aund absolute understaundin’, unendin’ fergiveness aund mercy, is bountiful in grace aund favour! … We caun not know all about God or we would be like God! Satan tried!
Stop puttin’ the blame on God! … Humaunkind refuses ta luve his neighbour aund ta obey God’s Will! … Oh-h-h-h, it’s their ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn-attitude’ that causes all the turmoil in our werld aund in our personal life too! The idiots misuse their free will!
God didn’t start the wars and make the killin’ fields, holocausts, the miserable heartbreaks, widespread famines, multiple diseases, aund werldwide poverty that followed! … ’T is all due ta people with dead souls! Aund, Jesus died ta save them too!
’T was their greedy ambitions aund stiff-necked pride that fuelled their wills usin’ bullets aund bombs ta grab whatever their incensed hearts desired thus causin’ the countless millions of soldiers aund civilians ta die in such evil adverse circumstances!
In short, Satan had long since gained dominion o’er our planet earth aund he tries ta make us like yer fierce wolves! … Aund fer the present, he has succeeded!
Believe me Pat, chaotic rebellion will continue until Christ’s Second Cumin’! Then Jesus’ll reign as absolute king o’er the earth fer one thousand years! Read Revelations!
Again Father, I must apologize to you for my impulsive sarcasm! … And, I admit you are right!! … I lost it again didn’t I? … But, I’m all right now to go on! … I promise!
“Pat as yer priest, I ‘m askin’ youu Lad with all me Christian luve, from this day forward, youu must surrender all yer will aund all yer spirit ta Christ, ‘cause if youu don’t, yer soul will ne’er be healed! … Take a leap of faith, Jesus will catch youu! … Son, maybe … youu ar’ not even ready ta marry Gail in June! … What do youu think?”
“Not so Father! … I did surrender myself to Christ, yet I’m still hounded by those unrelenting wolves that strike at me every night in my sleep! … What must I do?”
“Nay Pat! … Youu’ d thought that youu’ d surrendered … but not in yer heart aund soul!! All youu did was ta escape from yer immediate physical peril! … Trust in Him only! … Our courage is based upon our personal intimate relationship with Him! Paddy, when youu leave me, go into the chapel aund mediate on Josuha:1–1-9! … This passage will instruct youu, how ta be strong aund courageous fer Jesus especially in times of Satin’s temptations ta lead youu astray.
Courage is Christ’s quality of our mind, that is His rod, aund His staff is His Holy Spirit, which enables God’s Will and His Word to be done through us daily! … He will ne’er forsake us nor fail us in any threatenin’ situation! … Aund, He most certainly got youu through yer close encounter with the fierce wolves!
“Perhaps you have a point Father! … I have much to learn in life! … I’ll try harder! … But don’t stop me now! I’ll never be able to live with myself if I don’t finish … Okay?
Sir, a snow squall soon moves in quickly from the south upon the cottage! … Sounds of the Beelzebub’s beasts’ rapid running on the verandah become even more rampant! … Spot sixt of the leaner ones trotting back and forth on the left!
Starving savage eyes catch a glimpse of my livid face; their growling, horrid howling, and flinging and spraying snow about with their hind paws in pride, while some race towards me, pouncing upon the door repeatedly to gain entry to chew me up!
Then … I hear Death itself Father! … Using the extra high snowbanks, a few of the slyer fiends jump up and smash through a bedroom window! … Father, I was next!”
‘Thump! Thump! Thump! … Thump! Thump! … Thump! Thump! … “Drag Nico’s bleeding body to the downstairs’ clothes closet, run quickly to retrieve Dad’s 30-30, suddenly shocked to spot shiny piercing eyeballs at the top of the stairway, I hurry inside with Nico, tie the door handle with a scarf!!”
‘Scratch-h-h-h! … Scratch-h-h-h! … Scratch-h-h-h! ... Hah-h-h-h, hah-h-h-h, hah-h-h-h! … Crunch-h-h-h! … Crunch-h-h-h … Crunch-h-h-h … Gr-r-r-r!’
“Satan sends his horrid hounds to fill their starving guts with our flesh! I know these terrors could chomp off the wooden knob! … Door bends inward! ... A wet black snout wedges through ... then a paw ... two paws, feeble hinges creak, crack, crunch!
A blackish-grey face pushes through with grinning jaws agape! … My hideous spinelessness recoils me to a far corner distancing myself from Nico! … I had sinned!”
Helicopter propeller buzzes overhead, Fleming is landing in the front yard, motor revs to a halt, cunning wolves run upstairs; all is quiet! ... A microphone voice echoes: ‘Hey Pat-t-t-t! ... It’s Flemin’ O’ Casey-y-y-y! ... Ar’ youu in thar me boy-y-y-y?’ ‘I’m here-e-e-e! ... Hiding in the clothes-s-s-s closet-t-t-t! … Hur-r-r-ry Guys!’ “I hear my loving sweetheart Gail screaming in pitched panic!”
‘Flemin’! ... Youu heard me Patty! … He’s in big trouble! … Aund so are we! … Look at all the bloudy wolves! … Youu did not tranquilize all of them befer laundin’!’
‘Don’t worry Girl! I brought more than enuf tranquilizers ta take care of the rest! … Give me that green box in the back! … Hurry!’
‘Hey Flemin! … Gail! … Speed it up-p-p-p! A starving bastard is coming for me!’ ‘Aye Pat! … It’s Flemin’ har! … Hold on! … We’re cumin’ in now!
Lass, I’d better go get Pat meself! … Youu’ll be safer here! … He would ne’er fergive me if any harm would cum ta youu!’
‘Flemin no-o-o … wa-a-ay! … Youu take yer pistol aund I’m grabbin’ yer rifle!’
“As I slowly slide the panel open, long sharp fangs lunge for my right hand!”
‘Grrrrrr! … Snap! ... Snap! ... Snap … Ar-r-r-r-r-r! …Gr-r-r-r-r! … Ah-h-h-h!’
“I jump back! … Place my weight against what was left of the door! … Holy Saints in Heaven Father! ... Their hot Irish blood got the best of them, it did! They run straight in shooting off front door latch! … The surprised wolf cornering me turned to pounce upon his intruders as a last endeavour to save his own life!” ‘Pow! ... Pow!’ “Fleming nailed him right in its left temple! … What a grand sight to behold! … Through the crushed door, I see the brute fall lifeless to the floor as his dark red blood oozes under the crease! … I thanked God for its demise as you would have done!”
‘Patrick me Heart! … Ar’ youu okay?’ ‘Yes Luve! … Over here Gail!’
“I lean hard up against the closet door pushing the dead carcass to the aside; meet Gail’s happy face, she embraces me with all the ardent love she has to offer!
Fleming greatly alarmed pushes Gail behind him, raises his pistol to shoot! I take hold of the gun barrel; push it forcefully toward the kitchen as it immediately goes off!” 'Fleming, this is Nico my tame wolf dog! ... My friend, who saved my life!’ ‘What cock-eyed story is this? ... Youu caun’t tame a bloudy wild wolf!’
‘Flemin, Nico is a giant husky mixed with a timber wolf just like the one you shot!’ ‘ Aye Flemin’, Paddy tells youu the truth!’
‘Now womaun, don’t youu get mixed up in this bizarre foolishness too!’ ‘Fleming, …Gail, we've got to save Nico’s life! He’s wounded and so am I!’ ‘O’ me God Paddy! Me Luve! Silly blind I aum! Did not see yer bloudy clothes!’
‘Flemin’, carry Nico ta the helicopter while I’ll take care of me Pat!’
‘Gail, youu must be outta of yer mind! ... Caun’t bring a dyin’ wolfdog back ta civilization! ... Probably rabid too! Besides, ’tis merciful ta put him outta of his misery!’
‘Youu’ll do no such thing Flemin’! … Have youu fergotten already, we’ve gotta get outta of here before the rest of the wolves wake up!’ ‘Lass, I gotta follow regulations! I could lose me job fer doin’ what youu ask!’ ‘Mistar Flemin’ O Casey! Youu can either stuff yer regulations where the sun doesn’t shine aund get this animal aboard, or when I get back I’ll see ta it that the news media will make youu look like a pretty bad fellow indeed! ... Now pick Nico up aund become a hero in my rapport! ... Unless, a maun as big as youu, ar’ too darn afraid!’ ‘Very well! … But I sure don’t like yer cocky attitude or youu blackmailin’ me!’
“Father, we fly off to safety! On arrival, greet Mum and Dad all worried to death and rush me off immediately to City General Hospital. I was released after three days with stapled lacerations and a rabies shot and some pills for my nervous condition. Douglas Wallace had repaired the airplane and returned it.
A week later my parents, with Gail and me, brought Nico back to the cottage to set him free. We spent the whole day making repairs and getting rid of the frozen wolf bodies. On our return, my Uncle Stanley told the family that all our beloved neighbors were busy gossiping about us!”
“Well Paddy in yer daily prayers, keep in mind a guid ole Irish expression:
‘May neighbours respect youu, trouble neglect youu, the angels ta bless youu, aund Heaven ta accept youu!’ So Lad, now youu have confessed, what life-lessons have youu learned? … Hey thar, why ar’ youu teary-eyed aund tremblin’ like a limp leaf in in a brisk breeze?”
“Father, I finally feel forgiven by Christ! … Relieved of my daily dread! … Of my burdensome self-pity! … Not afraid of having any more nagging nightmares about the bloody wolves! … Nor am I afraid of my job! … Or, even of getting married soon!”
“Then Paddy, fer yer sake aund fer Gail’s, give yerself sincerely ta our God Almighty Father in a heart-felt prayer of gratitude fer His Grace!” “Yes Father, I will do so gladly: ‘My dear Jesus, I accept You as the Son of God! You chose the most horrible and shameful death on the cross to save us from our sins! You died and rose from death in the tomb and promised us a resurrection on the last day with a glorified body! … I thank You for cleansing my soul of all my trespasses! - Amen!”
“Well Son in yer future walk with God, youu’ll have the toughest battle of yer life! The more youu’ll know how lovin’ He is, the more His light will reveal yer hidden vices.
As youu grow in spiritual maturity in God, the more Lucifer will tempt youu!
Remember especially, ‘We reap what we sow!” … Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Patrick Bennet, youu ar’ absolved of yer sins!”
(© 2017 Richard David Briggs – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)