Little did we realize that the peace and quiet of our country afternoon picnic was soon to be rudely shattered. We’d spread a tablecloth on the ground, set our basket down, and made ourselves comfortable. Elizabeth took out our drinks, a Sprite for me, a Diet Lime Coke for her.
“It’s beautiful here,” she smiled.
The lakeside field was a popular picnic ground. Thomas and his wife were next to the old oak. Sally and her two daughters were beside the lake, feeding the ducks. Young Bobby and his girl friend, Mary, were off to the side, excitedly learning how to kiss.
Everything was good. Until that moment, when a strange man walked into the field. I’d never seen him. He wore a trench coat, which struck me as strange. He didn’t speak to anyone. Looked like he had earphones in his ears, and was listening to music. He was talking to himself, but too far away for me to hear him.
The strange man stopped in the middle of the field. He looked around like he was making sure he knew where we all were. He pulled out a silver cross, kissed it, and opened his trench coat.
I saw guns. I saw him pulling them out. I saw him point the guns at people. I saw him shoot. Sally fell face first into the lake. The ducks scattered, flapping their wings. I knew they were noisey, but somehow, my ears weren’t working. Instead, I studied the details of their flapping wings as they moved in slow motion.
Sally’s two daughters fell, in slow motion, joining their mother in the water at the edge of the lake.
Bobby stood up, Mary’s mouth opened in a scream I couldn’t hear, and Bobby’s chest started changing color, as he collapsed to his knees, and fell backwards. Mary’s face changed, and she fell, the back of her head an ugly mess.
Thomas threw himself at his wife, knocking her to the ground. The strange man stepped toward them as the gun he held made several sharp, sudden motions. Thomas and his wife stopped moving.
Elizabeth had found her feet, and started running toward the trees, as something struck her back, causing her to move with a jerk, and she pitched face forward into the grass.
I never heard a thing, as I wondered why I was standing next to myself, looking at my blood leak from my body, discolor the ground.
The man stopped shooting. He put his guns back, knelt, bowed his head, and prayed, of all things, to God, then kissed his silver cross once more, and walked away, as if he’d done nothing.
That’s when I saw the demon in the man’s shadow. I watched the demon whisper in the man’s ear. “You’ve done well, child of God. Now, you must carry on the work I’ve given you. Cleanse the evil from the world.”
The man whispered, “In God’s name.”
Then everything was gone.