|by Sherri - CQZT07A@prodigy.com
Continued from the first
Philip held a
special place in his heart for Julia. She had a hard
edge to her that he admired. That, coupled with the
fact that she had the courage to get involved with
Nick, made her a very special person in his mind. So,
when Derek called him at the historical religion
class he had been taking in Paris to tell him that
Julia and her Aunt needed the Legacy -- and his --
help, he caught the first plane he could to San
flight, he recalled how close he and Julia use to be.
They had been best of friends until recently.
However, her involvement with Nick and his growing
tension with the young man, strained their friendship
considerably. Philip had been struggling more and
more during the past year over the decision of
whether to stay with the Legacy or stay with the
Priesthood and he found himself quite often
questioning God's judgment and decisions -- which was
not at all what he had been
raised and taught to do!
times, he wondered why God
allowed innocent people to be a target of the Devil
and his minions. At those times, he would remind
himself that questioning God was dangerous, yet he
found himself doing it all the more. Because of this
internal conflict, he found himself conflicting with everyone
fall from grace ... of falling to the temptation of a
woman -- the sensual Eileen from India when he was
stationed there -- and the fact that it had cost her
her life was never far from his
memory. 'Why wasn't it me,' he wondered for the
millionth time. Just as quickly his heart -- GOD --
answered him by stating that losing a loved one was far
greater punishment than losing one's own
life. 'So true,' Philip thought as he recalled
Eileen's death, Michael's death, and even the recent
death of his dear friend, Father Harrigan.
By the time
Philip arrived at the Legacy, he was out-of-sorts ...
with himself and with God.
Naturally, the next person he was to run into was
Nick! "What're you doin'
here," Nick asked as he opened the door to
Philip's knocking. "Decided to join us
called me," Philip replied as he brushed past --
and a little in to! -- Nick. "He said that Julia
and her Aunt needed m'help. I'm here for them, not
t'be startin' up somethin' with you, Nick."
could make one of his infamous sarcastic comebacks,
Derek called from the top of the stairs. "Goot,
you're here. Come on up; Julia, Alex and I will fill
you in." He paused and then asked, "Nick,
are you coming?"
Philip's bags. "I'll just toss these in the
guest room first." He turned to Philip and said,
"No tellin' how long you'll be here this time,
Philip replied with equal venom in his tone. He went
up the stairs and sat as Derek, Julia and Alex filled
him in on what had been happening at the new home
Julia's Aunt -- Ann Marie Chiles -- had just moved
into. Nick joined them just as Philip commented,
"Well, it sounds like the
problem has more t'do with the house itself than with
Julia or the Legacy."
kidding," Nick snapped.
Philip saw Derek
shoot Nick a warning look and he continued despite
wanting to reach out and strangle his younger
colleague. "I'm only sayin' that, if Ann Marie
isn't too committed into this new house, maybe she
ought t'think about leavin' it; goin' somewhere else.
The fact that there's a tie to the Legacy through
you, Julia, isn't goin' t'be helpin' the situation
greeted Philip warmly when he walked into the Control
Room. She backed him up now before Nick could make
the comment everyone knew he
would make. This, more than anything, seemed to increase
the ex-SEAL's temper; but he kept it in check.
"I agree with you, Philip," she stated,
"but, unfortunately, she's already poured a
great deal of money into the house -- most of what
she made on the sell of her previous one. So, she
can't just up and move again right now."
Derek continued, "the property itself would
still be experiencing a haunting; someone could
get hurt. Because we believe we're dealing with a
soul that hasn't passed over, I naturally thought
that you could be of some help, Philip."
Philip asked, "What can I do?"
He should have
seen it coming, but he hadn't. Nick sarcastically
replied, "Snap on a little Holy Water and go
sprinkle the ground for starters."
Derek reprimanded him. "Enough! We're all a team
here; whether Philip is here on every case or not,
we're still a team. I want you
to back him up on this one, Nick. Understood?"
Nick nodded as
he headed for the hologram entrance. He turned to
Philip and said, "I'll get the car and meet ya
in front when you're ready. We can head over to the
house and take a look." Philip watched as Nick
left the room and shook his head. He wished there
wasn't always this much tension between the two of
them. They had been so close a
few years ago. But, ever since Philip first mentioned
leaving the Legacy, he found it harder and harder to
The strain in
their friendship was hard on Philip. He had looked at
Nick as a younger brother and, because of his
thoughts about leaving the Legacy, that tender
relationship had been damaged. And, as he had
recalled earlier, this had also
taken a toll on his and Julia's friendship as well.
It felt like only Derek and Alex now treated him with
any warmth on his visits lately. He had this growing
distance between himself, Julia and Nick, but didn't
know quite what to do about it.
a look at the situation at Ann Marie's and let ya
know what I think when we get back," he said to
Derek as he started to follow Nick out of the room.
careful." Derek cautioned him. "Ann Marie
is staying with a friend of hers; Nick has a key to
the house." He paused and then added, "It could
get dangerous, Philip. All we know so far is that the
spirit has been violent --
throwing objects around the room and smashing
furniture. There's no telling what
It will do when you walk in the door."
The ride out to
the house felt long to Philip as he sat in silence
next to his "one-time" friend and brother.
His own pride so often prevented him from telling
Nick what was really in his heart. He wished he could
explain to Nick why he was so
torn between the Priesthood and the Legacy -- why he
felt he had to choose either one or the other -- but
he hadn't found a way to explain it to himself
Arriving at Ann
Marie's, Nick turned off the engine of the Mustang
and reluctantly said, "Look, Julia and her Aunt
are dependin' on us; so, let's just put our own
problems aside for now, OK?"
agree with ya more, Nick," Philip responded
happily. He truly hated the
tension between Nick and him and felt immediate
relief that they would work together
on this matter. Philip exited the car believing he
was ready to face whatever laid ahead.
there were many times in his
life that he had thought he was prepared for one
thing only to find that he wasn't. And this turned
out to be one of those times! Upon entering the
Chiles' house, a lamp flew through the air and it
missed Philip's head by inches -- and that was only
because Nick had pushed him out of the way. 'Thank
God for Nick's instincts,' his mind screamed at him.
he said to Nick as he picked himself off the floor.
"I didn't see that one comin'." Suddenly
two other objects flew towards them and shattered on
the wall over their heads.
problem," Nick replied as he slowly got up.
"Be careful, huh, Philip; looks to me like your
a little out of practice with this 'spirit'
stuff." He gave Philip a mischievous grin and
then headed into the Chiles' living room. A loud and
furious wind began to blow and Philip watched as Nick
struggled against it. "It's this way," Nick
shouted over the noise. "Aunt Ann first
encountered the spirit in the built-in back porch.
against the fierce wind until they reached the glass
doors that led to the built-in porch. No one needed
to tell either of these
experienced "ghosthunters" that this is
where the entity was originating from -- the glow in
the room was bright enough to nearly blind them. They
held their hands up trying to shield their eyes from
the light; trying to get a glimpse of the actual
shape that was causing such an inhuman force.
impatient, Nick reached out and began to try to pry
the glass doors apart so that he and Philip could
enter. Philip watched as Nick was obviously straining
-- using every inch of muscle he had developed during
his years in the Navy -- to open the doors. He stood
back, with the aspergill in his hand ready to banish
the entity inside.
wind and the light vanished; they didn't merely fade
out, but stopped abruptly all together. Nick, who had
been struggling on the doors, nearly went crashing
through them when the resistance he had been fighting
against disappeared. Philip had to catch his friend
and stop him before he could have been seriously
They looked at
each other, stunned by the sudden silence surrounding
them. "What the Hell just happened?" Nick
asked him. "What'd it stop for?"
idea," Philip answered cautiously. He supported
his friend until he was solidly on his feet and then,
together, they opened the back porch glass doors and
stepped inside. "Nothin' in here's been damaged,
d'ya see?" Philip pointed to the few knickknacks
Ann Marie had already placed around her new
"sunporch" (as she called it). They were
all standing upright and intact.
Nick said semi-sarcastically, "maybe it saw you
comin' with that collar on and decided to get the
Hell outta here." He saw the angry look cross
Philip's face and immediately followed this statement
with, "Just kidding!"
They both walked
around the room for a few minutes, trying to
ascertain if the whole event might start again as
suddenly as it had just stopped. But after several
minutes, they decided to go back to Nick's Mustang
and get their equipment. Neither man noticed the
glass doors slide shut as they exited the house.
Nick strapped on
his own equipment -- all the
latest in technology that the Luna Foundation/Legacy
utilized in cases of hauntings and poltergeist
activities -- and they walked back into the house.
Philip found himself ducking just after stepping in
the door, anticipating an object flying at them.
Nick led the way
with the equipment held out in front of him. He
listened on the specially-equipped headphones for the
slightest change in pitch as the needle on the meter
he carried held steady. As they approached the back
porch, however, even Philip
could see that the needle was beginning to swing back
and forth. "I'm getting somethin'," Nick
the glass doors for Nick thinkin, 'I don't remember
us shuttin' these.' As Nick began to enter the porch
area, the needle swung wildly from left to right and
back again. Just as suddenly, Philip saw Nick drop
the meter and yank the headphones off his ears with a
cry of pain. He didn't need an explanation as he
heard the high-pitch sound emanating from them.
is definitely here," Nick
said needlessly. "The readings are off the
chart. Whatever it is, It's powerful."
tell if there's more than one entity?" Philip
asked, feeling a sense of dread rise in the pit of
his stomach. He had secretly hoped that he would come
to San Francisco, help Julia out (maybe that would
relieve some of the strained relationship he had with
her and Nick), spend a little time with Alex -- and
maybe even with Nick and Julia! -- and that he'd be
able to head back to Paris in a day or two to finish
his class. Now, that hope was waning.
Nick responded. "The reading's strong though.
It's got a real hold on this house -- or at least in
this part of the house -- that's
for sure." He bent to pick up the equipment he
had dropped and turned it off. He looked at Philip
for a few minutes and then asked, "So, what'd ya
want to do? Do you wanna try to 'exorcise' the house
Philip knew in
his heart that Nick wasn't trying to be sarcastic
this time, but he felt his pride rise up anyway and
he replied, "I'm not an
Exorcist, Nick ... I'm a Priest. An' I'm not sure
what the Hell we should do now. Yer
the one with all the answers all the time. You
Nick said trying very hard to control the anger in
his voice, "I'm not the one who understands all
this religious, 'spirit passing over' stuff; you
are. If ya don't want to help Julia and Aunt Ann,
FINE! Get the Hell outta here; I'll stay and try to
get rid of this thing myself."
immediately felt ashamed. He was several years older
than Nick and knew that comments
like the one he had just made to him would get the
response it did. "I'm here t'help," he
answered quietly. "An' I think we should call
Derek and see if they found out
anythin' about the property before we go on. While
we're here, maybe the spirit'll come back; if not,
maybe we can coax it back. What'd ya say?"
Nick answered curtly. He walked to the phone and
Philip listened as Nick spoke to Derek. He saw him
grab a pad of paper that was miraculously still
sitting on the end table in the living room beside
the phone and watched him as he wrote information
down at a furious pace. When he hung up, he turned to
Philip and said, "OK, here's what they got.
Apparently, this house was built over a piece of
property that was destroyed during the San Francisco
earthquake and fire of 1906. Developers have tried to
build on it in the past few decades, but something's
always prevented them from finishing; I'm sure you
can guess what -- strange occurrences and so on. But,
a builder finally did get this
house up and now it's Aunt Ann whose dealing with the
Nick paused to
look at his notes and then continued, stating,
"Alex came up with the names of two people -- a
man and woman -- who died in a house in this area
during the fire. My guess is, where the porch is
happened?" Philip asked intrigued. Although he
hated to learn of other people's misfortunes, he was
always fascinated with the historical research end of
the Legacy's job. "Did the people who died live
in the house?"
no," Nick answered. "Seems that the man
lived in it, but he was with a woman who wasn't his
wife. Apparently, when the fireman -- or whatever
they were called back then -- finally arrived, the
house was gone; totally destroyed in the fire. They
discovered two bodies and thought they were the
owners. Then the wife turns up from a trip at her
mothers. They investigate further and turns out the
guy was with his bookkeeper."
Philip jumped at
the sound of a loud bang that came from the direction
of the porch. "Seems like our spirit -- or
spirits -- might not be to happy with us knowin'
this; least ways not the way we
know it. What were their names?" he asked.
Spencer and Mary Mowery," answered Nick.
"Do you think that both of
'em are haunting this place? And why would they? I
mean, I realize they died here, but what's the point;
I thought spirits only stayed put when they had
unfinished business. What happened -- weren't they 'done'?!"
Philip said indignantly. "Try havin' just an
ounce o'respect fer their souls, would ya?! They
could be feelin' guilty about the affair ... I don't
know. But whatever the reason, it's clear that they
-- he or she or both -- aren't
gonna budge until we help 'em depart from this
objects began flying through the air at the two men.
Philip took a hard hit in the head by a book and Nick
was hit hard in the leg by a table that slid across
the floor into him. They looked at each other and
headed for the door. Even from the safety of the
roadside, they could hear objects crashing and
smashing with the Corrigan house.
after bandaging their wounds, Philip and Nick sat at
the library table with Alex, Julia and Derek to
discuss their next move. Philip felt angry at Nick
for his earlier comments and the tension in the air
between the two was so thick you could cut it with a
"I guess we
should try to figure out if it's one spirit or two
doing the haunting at Aunt Ann's," Julia said,
trying to defuse the tension she could sense around
the table. "We'd get alot farther, if we knew
exactly who we were dealing
her by stating, "I agree. We can't really focus
on the reason for the haunting
or visitation without knowing who's doing it. But,
the question is, how do we find out? Should we try to
hold a seance there or something?"
Derek responded authoritatively. "I think, given
the circumstances, the spirit -- or spirits -- are
too agitated for a seance. I think that would be
extremely dangerous. No, I think we need to research
the backgrounds of both the individuals. Try to come
up with a reason for their remaining at the
Alex said, sounding frustrated. "It's not like
there's going to be a wealth of information, you
know. We are talking the early
1900's. I'm afraid waiting until we have information
on the residences is going to be a waste of
"And do we have
the time to waste?" Julia interjected. "I
mean, Aunt Ann doesn't want to move in until
everything's alright, but if this spirit or whatever
it is knows we're 'on to it' so
to speak, it's probably gonna get a whole lot more
tell that Nick couldn't resist the temptation to get
in one of his infamous jabs and it didn't surprise
him when Nick responded, "Well, whoever it
is, it's a sure bet that now that 'a Priest'
has been there, he, she or they
aren't gonna be very calm."
Philip and Julia
both noticed the angry look that crossed Derek's face
and Julia rushed to defuse the situation by punching
Nick in the arm and saying, "Cool it, Hotshot.
Philip's here to help." Everyone took a deep
breath and she continued, asking, "So, how and
where do we start?"
know we're goin' on the assumption that it's either
the husband or the bookkeeper -- or both -- doing the
'haunting' since their the ones that died
there," Nick commented (much calmer now),
"but couldn't it be the wife? I mean, couldn't
her spirit've come back to haunt the place where her
husband had been unfaithful?"
point," Derek said, his previous anger
subsiding. "Alex, why don't you research both
George and, what was his wife's name?"
don't you research George and Leslie and, Julia, you
do the research on the bookkeeper." With the
assignments handed out, Derek, Philip and Nick headed
to bed while Julia and Alex headed to the Control
Philip rose in
the morning feeling very stiff and sore. The physical
part of working for the Legacy was never
the part of the job that he missed. He entered the
Control Room to see if any information had been found
on the Spencers or Miss Mowery. He found Alex with
her head lying beside her keyboard and Nick sitting
next to her reading whatever was on the screen.
goin'?" he asked Nick in a whisper, trying not
to wake Alex. "How long've ya been down
slightly and Nick nodded his head in the direction of
the hallway. Once there, he answered Philip. "I
came down here when Julia came upstairs and said that
Alex was still working. Julia didn't find much on
Mary Mowery, so when Alex conked out, I continued the
research on the Spencers. Again, information is very
scarce on Leslie Spencer ... only that her father was
a founding family sorta man; she married George
Spencer, an employee of her fathers; when her old man
died, he left the family business to both her and
George; George is found dead with a 'mistress'; and
Leslie sold the business to a competitor and moved in
with her mom."
He cleared his
throat continued, "Apparently, George was a
pretty successful businessman and the company grew
nearly 50% while he was running it. In fact, he was
on the verge of a 'corporate takeover' of one of his
competitors with the quake and fire hit. There's
really no other information available on 'em. Like
Alex said, trying to dig up specific information on
ordinary people from that time period isn't easy on
works hard durin' his marriage at makin' the company
grow," Philip reasoned out, "and then his
wife goes off an' sells it t'his competitor when he
like divine justice, if ya ask me." Nick stated.
"He cheats on her and she gets 'im back by
selling the company to someone he hated. Just might
make 'im think twice about his little infidelity now,
just be enough of a motive t'be haunting the place
where he was unfaithful now, isn't it?" Philip
mentioned. "Even though he lost his life, he
could still be feelin' the guilt about losin' his
you two," Derek called from the top of the
stairs. "That's how we should proceed; as though
the spirit we're dealing with is
George Spencer. Whenever you two are ready, why don't
you go over there and try to help the man find peace,
skeptically at Derek. "Yeah, but, just because
we think it's George Spencer
doin' the haunting and can guess
that the problem is probably due to the guilt he felt
about the affair, that still
doesn't tell us how we should get rid o'the
Philip agreed with Nick. "But maybe by just
confrontin' 'im with the facts ... lettin' 'im know
that his spirit needs to move on -- that nothing
is goin' t'be gettin' his business back fer 'im --
maybe that'd be enough t'help
'im let go and move on. He needs t'realize that
hauntin' this place isn't gonna change
agree," Derek stated. "Until now, his only
means of contact with the real world has been in
destroying things. Just knowing that someone is
trying to communicate may be all it takes. It's worth
a try, don't you think? If it doesn't work, then we
showers by both Nick and Philip, they were once again
headed to Ann Marie's new home. Philip noticed that
Nick was exceptionally quiet -- even for Nick!
-- and he questioned him on it, "Ya disagree
with Derek and I, don't ya?"
Nick stated simply. "I think we're rushing
things. I know Julia wants a resolution and all, but
I think if we took a little more time to get to know
more about this guy, his bookkeeper, his business and
his wife, we'd have better luck."
the one always rushin' into every new situation,
Nick?!" Philip joked playfully. "It doesn't
sound like you t'be wantin'
t'hold back an' be takin' yer time."
swerved the car for no apparent reason and they came
to a dead stop. Though they were nowhere near the
Chiles' house yet, Philip knew that this would
probably be the first of many
confrontations this night. "What'd ya come back
for?" Nick asked point-blank. "I know
you don't wanna be here; you're trying to rush this
case and get it over with so you can go back to
whatever you were doin'. So, why'd ya bother? What
Philip said as soothingly as he could, "I
wouldn't be here if I didn't want t'help. And yes, I would
like t'get back t'finish m'classes. But I'm not
tryin' to rush a resolution here; I really
think this'll work." He knew his friend well
enough to know that Nick was dealing with his own
personal feelings of pain, loss and abandonment; it
seemed to happen every time Philip arrived and left
again. But he couldn't find any words of comfort
within his heart at the moment and simply stated,
"For Julia and her Aunt's sake, don't ya think
we should at least try t'get
resumed driving to the Chiles' house. They parked in
front and began to walk up the front sidewalk to the
door. When they were within six feet of the door,
they saw a bright light shine out every window of the
residence. "So much for an unannounced
visit," Nick commented as he pulled out the key
and opened the door. "Let's get this over
observed that objects were flying about the living
room as they entered the house. A sudden and swift
wind pushed both men backward and it was the weight
of their bodies -- and not of the wind itself -- that
forced the door to slam shut behind them. Nick
instinctively reached out his hand to steady Philip
and Philip felt immediately ashamed. The
all-to-familiar guilt that constantly ate away at
Philip began again. His mind screamed at him, 'I
shouldn't've been so hard on 'im in the car. I
should've thought o'somethin' t'say.'
the way to the porch," Nick shouted in order to
be heard over the roaring noise of the wind.
"When we get there, then you can do your thing;
alright? Stay close!"
Philip followed Nick to the back porch. He had to
admire his friend as he took the brunt of the wind as
several things smashed into him. Twice Nick fell
backward into Philip and Philip began to wonder if
Nick hadn't been right after all; if they maybe
should have waited until they had a better
understanding of who they were
dealing with and why.
Upon arriving at
the back porch, both men noticed that the room had
been destroyed. Every object in it laid torn and
tattered on the floor. Nick once again struggled with
the doors and, using all his body weight and
strength, finally pried them open. "Get
in," he shouted over the wind. "I don't
know how long I can hold 'em open!"
into the room and the wind once again suddenly and
mysteriously stopped. This time, he was not fast
enough to catch Nick and he cringed as he heard his
friend fall sideways into and through
the glass doors. He bent to make sure that Nick was
alive, and thankfully, he was -- cut and bleeding
profusely, but alive! Philip had
been clutching his aspergill in one hand and the Word
of God in the other. He prepared to do battle with
He made the sign
of the cross and said a silent prayer to God asking
for strength, courage and success; he then shouted at
the top of his lungs, "George Spencer! Let yer
spirit depart from this place." As he said these
words, he shook the Holy Water about the room.
A blinding light
shone from the far left-hand corner of the room and
it rose and filled up approximately six feet of
space. Both Nick (who was sitting on the floor,
applying pressure to the worst of the cuts) and
Philip stared into the light. They watched as it took
the shape of a man ... tall, stocky and dressed in
made the sign of the cross. He could feel his heart
racing as he thought about all the things that could
go wrong in the next few minutes. He called out in as
calm a voice as he could muster, "George ...
George Spencer? Why're ya hauntin' this place?"
the spirit of George Spencer replied back, "My
business ... it's gone -- it's all
gone. That bitch stole it from
me, and I won't rest 'til I get
"Your wife sold
the business after finding out you
were cheatin' on her," Nick snapped back.
"She didn't steal anything;
it was her father's to begin with. You're
the one who blew it."
it was dangerous to aggravate an already-troubled
spirit -- and Nick should've known it too! But before
Philip could respond, he saw Nick suddenly hurled
through the air and crash into the wall. He watched
with dread as his friend laid still, not moving. He
took a step in Nick's direction and felt something
holding him back. He turned to face the spirit.
go," Philip demanded. "I want t'make sure
friend's got a big mouth," George Spencer
replied, as he released Philip from the hold he had
Philip rushed to
Nick's side to check for signs of breathing. When he
saw that Nick was unconscious but still alive, he
thought, 'Yes, he does have a
big mouth; but he doesn't deserve t'die fer it!"
Angrily, he turned toward the spirit once more and
commanded, "Begone from this place, George
Spencer. Yer life on Earth is done!"
The spirit of
George Spencer shook with what must have been
laughter. "I'm not going anywhere, Father, until
I get what rightfully belongs to me ... my
Philip began to
think (for the second time) that Nick had been right
-- they had rushed into this by coming over here to
soon and were not equipped with enough knowledge or
information to dispel this spirit. As he was trying
to think of a way to get both he and Nick out of this
situation alive, he heard a noise behind. Relief
flooded over him as he saw Derek in the doorway.
Derek had assessed the situation as he saw the blood
on the glass and Nick's still form against the wall.
The fact that Philip was standing calmly by Nick's
body assured Derek that Nick must still be alive and
so he entered the room with a show of confidence.
"Who are you?"
demanded the spirit. "What are you doing
to help send you wherever it is you belong,"
Derek replied. He turned to Philip and quickly said,
"I'm sorry. I should've had you two wait until
we finished checking the histories of all the parties
involved." They both looked at George Spencer
and Philip saw -- for the first time -- that the
apparition appeared nervous.
you think you know, little man?" George
Spencer's voice boomed, laced with hatred and false
bravado. "You think you or
this puny Priest can make me leave?! Nothing
can make me leave until I get my business back!"
"But this isn't
about the business," Derek countered, "is
it, George? You're hiding behind the loss of the
business ... blaming your wife for selling it to your
competitor ... when in truth it is the loss of your
wife and UNBORN CHILD that you are really
mourning, isn't it!? You're seeking forgiveness and
yet offer nothing but blame."
comprehended the situation now. George's spirit was
blaming his wife for never having told him that she
was pregnant before he died. Perhaps, had he known,
he might not have had his fateful dalliance with his
bookkeeper. The guilt of the affair and what his
child must have been raised knowing about him,
prevented his spirit from leaving. Now, Philip
realized how he could help him.
Philip said soothingly. "I can help ya t'find
peace. If ya only confess yer sin of adultery, God'll
forgive ya an' ya can pass on."
A wind began to
slowly pick up around the inhabitants of the porch,
but Philip sensed immediately that it wasn't being
caused by the spirit of George Spencer. In fact,
there was a look of sheer and utter terror on his
you doing to me?" the spirit cried. "What's
interjected, "Now that the truth is known,
you're hold on this place is fading. Pray for
absolution now before it's too
could begin the Prayer of Penitence, the room filled
with a thick, heavy smoke and the spirit of George
Spencer began to cry out in agony. "Help
me!" he begged, "For the love of God, help
me!" But before Philip could take another step,
the spirit of George Spencer burst into a fiery ball
of flame that disappeared as quickly as it had
and then half-carry Nick out of the house, both
Philip and Derek felt unsatisfied. They had hoped to
help George Spencer reach his afterlife, not condemn
the man to eternal Hell. But, they could not always
pick and choose the resolutions of Legacy cases;
years of experience had taught them both that fact.
Julia had been
grateful -- as had Nick for Philip's helping him
return home in one peace! -- and Philip left San
Francisco that same night with bittersweet feelings.
He felt that he had taken the first real steps to
repairing his damaged relationship with Nick and
Julia. And that knowledge made his burdened heart
feel at least a little lighter.
also felt a tremendous sense of loss ... particularly
as a Priest! ... in his role of sending the spirit of
George Spencer to Hell. But, before he could dwell on
this feeling, his heart (God?) quickly reminded him
that George Spencer was paying for his own
sin. That there were far worse
things a person could face other than losing their
life; there was the possibility/probability of Hell!
George Spencer had been judged
for his sin just as Philip knew he himself
would be someday.
Philip's mind raced and
reeled. The recollections he kept having were only making
the decision process harder, not easier!
What exactly was "the Voice" trying to
accomplish. Then a thought occurred to Philip, 'Maybe
it's not a Heavenly Voice I'm hearin', but a Voice
from Satan t'distract me! Oh dear God, tell me what
The Voice almost
chuckled as it replied, "My Brother, I am truly
a Heavenly 'voice'! Satan's temptation of you, Philip, is
in your doubt, not in your recollections. But, at last, I
can almost say that there is hope that you will
not fail God, for finally, my Brother, you are calling on
Him to help you instead of trying to do it all
This comment confused
Philip even more for he felt that he had always
looked to God for answers; that he had always
turned to God for guidance; and that he had always
tried to follow the path that God wanted him to take. He
simply didn't see the direction that he should take when
it came to the Priesthood vs. the Legacy. There seemed to
be no clear-cut path or answer to this decision. His
heart grew heavier as he felt no closer to a
"decision" ... and no closer to saving Nick!
Job 27:2-6 -
As God livith, who hath taken away my judgment;
and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; All the
while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God
is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak
wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit, God
forbid that I should justify you: til I die I
will not remove mine integrity from me. My
righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it
go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I
"Your friend is
still alive, my Brother," the Voice reassured Philip
gently. "I know your heart is weary and you feel
confused and lost. Again I say, you must turn to
Him if you wish to pass Satan's temptations and God's
test. It is no harder and no easier than that,
continued despair, the Voice confirmed, "You have
lived a Godly life, my Brother. You've sought many times
to do His perfect Will. You've recalled fighting evil as
a Priest and defeating it as a member of the Legacy;
remember now, Philip, how you dealt with it as a man who
turned to God for guidance."
it when Nick came to his bi-weekly soccer games. He
knew that Nick sometimes had trouble getting away
from whatever case the Legacy was working on, but he
always appreciated having his friend in the stands as
he mowed down the competition. He loved the way Nick
would tease him after the games about showing
'Priestly-compassion or the lack thereof' out on the
They had made it
a sort of "ritual" to go out after the
games to the nearest pub and have a few drinks, talk
sports, politics, life in general ... anything but
the Church or the Legacy ... and then they would go
their separate ways. Philip had come to enjoy those
moments even more than his "glorious" ones
out on the soccer field. He felt that he and Nick
were both finding their way back
to the friendship they both had held so dear.
remembered the first time their friendship had been
sorely strained and tested ... it was right after he
had told Nick he was thinking of leaving the Legacy.
He had expected that Nick would understand -- after
all, Nick himself had been a
member of the Navy SEALs and thought nothing of
leaving them! So, when Nick's temper exploded at
Philip, he hadn't been prepared for it and lashed
back. The tear in the relationship began at the
Then, as time
went on and Philip expressed the doubts he was having
about remaining a Priest, Nick seemed to get even angrier.
"First you wanna quit the Legacy," he had
yelled, "and now you want to quit the Church.
God, Philip, what the Hell do ya wanna do with your
life anyway?!" Those words had stung Philip to
the core for they had come from a young man he both
cared about and respected. But worse of all, the truth
behind the words stung even more.
But now, Nick
seemed to be making the effort to spend time with
Philip, and Philip was grateful for that. He had been
assigned a few months ago to a rather large Church in
the heart of San Francisco, and that gave him plenty
of time for both playing soccer and
socializing with his Legacy friends. Philip felt
happy -- genuinely happy -- for
the first time in a long time. Now, as he came out of
the locker room and saw Nick standing applauding him,
he couldn't help grinning from ear to ear.
bad," Nick said, sounding impressed. "I
think that's one of the toughest and best games I've
seen you play yet!"
you," Philip replied with pride. "It was
a tough team, but I really felt strong out there
have time to go for a drink?" Nick asked.
"I saw a pub about a half-mile down the road as
I drove up. First round's on me! It's the least
I can do for someone who practically won the game
at the comment, but a twinge of regret moved over
him. He hated that he was going to have to upset and
disappoint Nick, but he couldn't be helped. He took a
deep breath and said, "Well, I didn't exactly
know you were comin' t'today's game, Nick, so I
promised Father Lawrence I'd handle some matters up
at the Church fer him this afternoon." He
watched as Nick's eyelids shifted downward and his
face began to set in disappointment. "But,"
Philip continued, "I'm sure I've got enough time
for one drink, if yer still
Nick replied, clearly upset. "If your sure you
have time, that is." He followed Nick to the
Mustang and was careful to put on his seatbelt. He knew
that, when Nick was angry or upset, his driving
tended to be a little more reckless than usual and
Philip wasn't taking any chances. The drove in
silence to the pub Nick had mentioned, walked in and
sat at the bar to order their drinks.
whiskeys," Nick snapped at the approaching
bartender. "And hurry it up; the 'Father' here's
in a hurry."
Philip tried to say in a calm and soothing voice,
"I've gotta a little bit o'time. I was only
mentionin' the Church duty so that ya wouldn't be
expectin' me t'spend the whole day here ... that's all."
like I've got nothin' better to
do than sit around some bar all day? Is that
it?" Nick questioned. He took the shot placed in
front of him, downed it and motioned for a refill.
Philip watched Nick down the second, motion for the
third and then turn to him and say, "Look, I'm
sorry. We just came off a hard case, I've been
butting head's with Derek ...."
usual," Philip interjected with a smile. He
could tell that, although it took the whiskey
to do it, Nick was starting to
loosen up a bit.
well," Nick continued. "I just thought
you'd have some time to hang out today. I guess it
made me more upset than I thought it would that
you'll be 'playing Priest' instead."
knew that a comment like that was just Nick's way of
talking, it still upset him whenever he heard it; he
was not "playing"
Priest! He downed his whiskey and said briskly,
"Well, speakin' o'being a Priest, I better get
goin'. I've got duties waitin' fer me, Nick." He
immediately could tell his harsh tone had made an
impact on the younger man and regretted his rashness.
He said more gently, "Guess yer gonna b'headin'
back soon, right? I bet Derek'll b'glad t'see ya back
Nick picked up
his third shot of whiskey and started to nurse it.
"No," he answered softly, "I'm gonna
stay here for a while. You were right earlier ... I don't
have anything better to do." With that, he
downed the third whiskey and motioned for yet another
Philip was very
aware of the fact that he was going to have to leave
-- soon -- if he was going to make it back to his
Church in time to take over for Father Lawrence, but
he hated to leave Nick here like
this. "You gonna be OK?" he asked him as he
put his hand on his shoulder.
shrugged out from under Philip's hand and shook his
head. "Yep, I'll be fine. Go do what you have to
do," he said as he stared into his fourth
patted his friend on the arm and said as cheerily as
he could muster, "Well, thanks again fer the
drink and fer comin' to the game to cheer me on. I'll
see ya later." He then nodded to the bartender
to meet him at the end of the bar. "Make sure he
doesn't drive, if he has verra many more o'those,
will ya?" he whispered. The bartender nodded
agreement and Philip walked out the door and the
eight blocks it took to reach his Church.
knew that Father Lawrence really had had nothing
special planned for the afternoon, but he had agreed
to take over some of the man's duties unaware the
Nick was going to show up at his soccer game. Now, no
matter what function he performed, he felt he was
doing it half-hearted; his mind was on his friend
sitting alone at the bar.
ringing of the confessional bell would pull Philip
away from his thoughts and he would sit and listen to
other people's problems. He would ask the requisite
questions, give out the required penance, but he
never really paid attention to what anyone was saying
to him. Again, he began to wonder if being a Priest
was the right profession for him.
Lost in his own
thoughts, he was barely aware that someone had
entered the confessional room until he heard the
sound of the person bang into the bench -- followed
by a steady stream of profanity. He had not yet
opened the screened partition between the two rooms,
hoping to give the individual a chance to collect
their thoughts; besides, the stench of whiskey
permeating off the man was making Philip queasy and
he didn't want to open the partition any sooner than
he had to.
He heard the
person clear their throat and say, "Hello? Is
anyone in there?" The voice sounded heavy and
yet vaguely familiar. He opened the screened
partition between the two rooms and said, "I'm
screen allowed only the vaguest idea of an image of
the individual inside, Philip could tell that the
person seemed to be sitting or kneeling awkwardly on
the kneeler. Before he could comment on this, he
heard the voice say, "Forgive me, Father, for
I'm not Catholic." This was followed by a steady
stream of laughter.
'Oh dear God,'
Philip's mind screamed out. 'It can't be!'
But even as he thought it, he knew
that the voice of the individual belonged to the same
man he had worked with for the past several years; to
the same man he had once thought of as a younger
brother; to the same man he had just left drinking an
hour beforehand at the pub -- NICK!
thrown headfirst into a situation that he definitely did
not want to be in. It was obvious Nick was
drunk -- the mere fact that Nick was in a Church was
one of the first indications of that -- and so there
was no telling what he might
say. But, at the same time, Philip had taken a vow to
hear anyone's confession who
wished to make it and he wondered if it would be
right to turn his back on his friend when he so
obviously was seeking help.
stopped abruptly and he heard Nick say in a sluggish
voice, "Sorry about that. I gotta be honest with
ya ... I don't have a whole Helluva lot of respect
for you guys. Priests, I mean. I got a friend and he's
a Priest and he's the most screwed up guy I ever
the urge to laugh at that statement; he felt that
Nick had never been more right
in his entire life as he had been with that comment.
But he remained silent and listened to what else was
weighing on Nick's mind and heart. 'God forgive me,'
he prayed as he heard Nick sigh. 'Don't let me hear
anythin' ya don't want me t'hear, Lord. Give me yer
strength t'guide 'im.'
He tried to
continue staring straight ahead -- as he had been
taught to do when hearing confession -- but found it
difficult not to look over at the young man who was
suddenly so silent in the room next to him. He
noticed that Nick was shifting his body around;
probably trying to get comfortable on the kneeler. It
amazed him that, although Nick was clearly drunk, how
clear his speech was. But then, Philip remembered
Nick's discipline and military training and began to dread
what might be coming next. He waited in silence.
said, "Sometimes I hate my friend ... you know,
the Priest? See he use to be one of us -- he works
sometimes with this organization that I'm in -- but
now he's thinkin' of leaving it. I can't forgive 'im
for that. He was family -- like a brother -- and he's
willin' to throw it all away for this.
I don't get it, Father. What's so special about bein'
was tearing in two as he heard Nick's heartfelt words
and question, but he knew to answer him would give
himself away; there was just no
disguising his Irish accent -- no matter how
drunk Nick might be! So he simply sat quietly waiting
to see if there would be anything further from Nick
... and praying that there
probably don't know this about me, Father," Nick
continued (in a somewhat sarcastic tone) after a
moment, "but I don't trust people very easily.
Not at all, sometimes. So when I trusted my friend,
the Priest, I did it for life; and it's like he
doesn't give a damn."
'I do, Nick,'
Philip's mind and heart cried out. 'I'm just torn
between the best way t'be doin' God's work -- in the
Priesthood or in the Legacy -- but I'm not torn in
m'friendship with you!' He cleared his throat, hoping
against hope that the sound would shock Nick into
realizing where he was and what he was doing.
know," Nick continued, "our jobs aren't
that different, Father. We both fight the evil that's
in the world; just some of us do it more physically.
'And if you're gonna do a job, you better
do it right,' my old man use to say." Nick
became quiet and Philip could tell he was being very
heard Nick almost whisper, "My old man ... now there
was a real Sonofabitch.
Everybody always thought he was such a great guy -- a
hero, a good friend, a caring family man -- but he
wasn't! He was a drunken Bastard who would beat up my
mother and I just for walkin' in the room sometimes.
Some hero, huh, Father?"
stunned, as Nick continued, "Ya know, most
people enjoy birthdays. My friend -- the Priest --
goes all out makin' a big deal
about 'em. But I hate 'em. See,
to most people the day means cake and ice cream,
gettin' together with family and friends,
celebrations and surprises; but at my
house, it meant arguing over how much money was
spent, the smell of beer, brandy or whiskey, shouting
and screaming, bruises and broken bones ... and
always the inevitable apologies and tears."
Nick paused and
Philip prayed that he would stop; he didn't know how
much more he could stand to listen to. But Nick's
voice became stronger as he said, "But, it
wasn't really so bad. I mean, it made me who I am
today ... right? There's not a whole lot I can't
handle and I should be proud of that, right? Most
people like to try to live on the edge -- well, I am
the edge ... you know what I mean?! I don't know why
I'm telling you all of this except .... I feel really
bad about the way I treat my friend, the Priest,
sometimes. For some reason, I tend to expect more
from him than what I got from my old man -- crazy,
stunning and incomprehensible revelations made
Philip's head whirl. He felt as though the wind had
been knocked out of him. He knew that Jonathan Boyle
-- Nick's father -- had been a former member of the
Legacy and a friend of Derek's
and he was shocked beyond words to learn that Nick's
father was both a spouse and a
child abuser! 'Oh dear God,' Philip thought, 'that
explains so much about Nick's
behavior!' He felt he could no longer keep silent;
that the young man must by now
need some word of comfort, so he cleared his throat
and asked, "What can I do fer ya, my Son?"
was the simple answer he heard back. "Pray I
don't become the monster my old man was. Ya know, I
can feel it sometimes ... the rage to strike out for
no reason. In fact, on the way over here, I nearly
got into a fist fight with some guy over .... I don't
know what. And that's why I'm
here. Even though I hate your club for takin' my
friend away, you Priests are suppose
to be compassionate and forgiving of people. So all I
want from you is a prayer -- not your pity, just a
fer ya," Philip said as calmly as he could,
although he knew the compassion
in his heart could be heard in his voice. 'You can count
on it, Nick,' Philip's thoughts screamed out. 'You
can count on me!'
there was more that he could say to his friend, but
he knew that Nick would be horrified if he realized
that what he had just shared was with Philip
and not with some nameless,
faceless "Priest". He sat quietly waiting
to see what, if anything, Nick would add to his
previous statements. Finally, he heard Nick almost
whisper, "And pray for my friend, too, OK,
Father? You know -- the Priest?
Not that he'd stay with our organization or anything
like that, but that he'd find peace; just that he'd
finally find some kinda peace in
The fact that
Nick was in a Church and
actually baring his soul to a Priest had stunned
Philip; the revelation that Nick's father had abused
him as a child had horrified
him; but the fact that Nick had asked someone to pray
for him ... for Philip! ... was
too much for Philip's heart and emotions to bare. He
could feel himself breaking; but, before he could
reach out to Nick to tell him how much
that had meant, he found a sudden strength and surety
well within his heart and soul. No, he could never
let Nick ... or anyone ... know
what was said here today.
fer ya both," Philip answered in a voice that
didn't sound like his own. "Go with God,
m'Son," he concluded as he closed the partition
between them. He felt a sureness in his heart that
Nick would be alright; in fact,
he doubted that Nick would ever remember
any of this once the whiskey wore off.
later, he heard Nick stumble out of the confessional.
It was obvious that the young man's legs must have
either fallen asleep or cramped up in the tiny space
because he let out another steady stream of profanity
as he left the Church. 'So like Nick's usual
"hot-headed" self,' Philip thought,
Yet he had found
out more today about Nick than anyone else would have
ever guessed. And that knowledge helped Philip find
within himself a greater compassion, patience and
understanding for his friend; and he would never
several minutes, making sure that Nick was good and
gone, before stepping out of the confessional
himself. He headed to the alter and knelt as he lit
two candles ... one for Nick and one for himself --
just as his friend had requested.
Philip had turned to
God that day for guidance; the memory of how sure
he had been that he needed to keep Nick's secret reminded
him of how God did talk to him. Slowly, it began
to dawn on Philip what the Voice was talking about -- in
all the instances he had recalled, he had turned to
and trusted God to give him
strength, wisdom and guidance. But, when it came to the
decision between remaining in the Priesthood, remaining
in the Legacy or continuing to do both he wasn't
listening for God's advice ... he was trying
to make the decision on his own!
Job 28:28 - And
unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that
is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.
understand, my Brother," the Voice said, no longer
sadly but now laced with admiration. "God has
allowed Satan to test you ... to see if you would turn to
Him ... for answers, and your failure in this test
had been in not making the choice He had placed in your
asked hopefully, "does this mean m'friend's gonna be
alright? That he'll live?" The exhaustion and
hopelessness he had felt when he first arrived on the
beach were beginning to fade away as he began to realize
that the choice -- the answer -- had been within
him all the time ... he merely had failed to listen to
it. "Please tell me, Spirit -- Lord -- if I choose
t'do what yer tellin' m'heart t'do, then Nick will
Brother, the answer to these questions are within you --
if you listen to Him," the Voice replied.
"Recall once more, Philip, what truly brought
you to this beach tonight ... for it wasn't connected to
the Priesthood and it had nothing to do with a Legacy
case. Your friend was injured ... by saving you!"
the time he spent with Kat and her mother, Rachel. He
often worried, however, about the young child being
exposed to the forces of evil the way she was.
Whenever he expressed these concerns to Derek or
Alex, they both commented that Kat had the "gift
of sight" and so she would be exposed to
different things her whole life whether she was
involved with the Legacy or not. He didn't care for
this "flippant" attitude on their parts and
found himself in a very rare position -- in agreement
Nick felt that
Kat and Rachel did belong in the
Legacy, but he was always worried about her. He would
be constantly caring for her during their cases by
playing games with her, protecting her or generally
being the person she could turn to. Philip admired
this ability to handle Kat so well; particularly
knowing how hard Nick's own
childhood had been.
So, when Philip
knew that he would be in the Sacramento area for a
few days attending a seminar, he contacted Rachel to
see if she and Kat could meet for lunch. Because he
was still so divided over his feelings of where
exactly he belonged, he didn't feel up to going out
to the Legacy House ... or up to seeing Derek or
Rachel mentioned that she and Kat had previous plans
of going to the zoo with Nick, Philip decided to
invite him along -- after all, with Katherine there,
he doubted Nick would be his usual
"sarcastic" self. He dressed in his
everyday street clothes and headed to the restaurant
they had agreed to meet at; it was only a short walk
from the hotel he was staying in.
He arrived at
the restaurant and immediately smiled. Seated at a
table in the corner, he saw Rachel (who waved when
she saw him walk in) as well as Nick and Kat who
seemed to be engrossed in a "tic-tac-toe"
game on the back of the restaurant's paper placemat.
winnin'?" he asked as he approached the table.
Nick looked up and gave a half grin as if to say,
'Who do you think?' and Philip leaned down to kiss
the top of Kat's head saying, "Hope yer beatin'
the pants off 'im, Kat!"
She laughed as
she stated that she was and from there the rest of
the luncheon was kept light and filled with laughter.
Kat monopolized much of the conversation by telling
Philip the latest events at school, the last case she
"helped" the Legacy with (and Philip didn't
miss the look Nick shot him over that one!) and all
about the animals they had seen at the zoo that
As they were
finishing, Rachel asked, "Philip, are you
staying in San Francisco for a few days or do you
have to head back soon?"
He dreaded what
he knew would be coming next ... the inevitable
confrontation with Nick over "how he treats
them" and "how he's deserted them".
But, with Katherine sitting at the table, he hoped most
of it would be curbed. He answered, "Well, I did
take a room fer the night, but I'm plannin' on
headin' back over to the Sacramento area first thing
in the mornin'."
Nick stated in his sarcastic tone, "if you
hadn't called Rachel and Kat for lunch, the rest of
us wouldn't've even seen you this trip, huh?!"
Philip could tell that Nick was getting upset, but
was a little surprised to hear him say, "Guess
I'm lucky you decided to tell Rach that I could come
along or it would've been 't'Hell with me' too,
intervened declaring, "OK, you two; remember, my
impressionable nine-year-old daughter is sitting
here. Let's not rehash this now, alright."
Neither man said anything -- pride and ego keeping
each silent -- and so finally, Rachel added,
"Well, it's been a pretty full day and Katherine
and I have a few more errands to run. I think we'll
just catch a cab and head to Neiman Marcus. Thanks
for lunch, Philip. It was great seeing you again; and
Nick, thanks for picking us up and taking us to the
zoo. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
With that, Kat
hugged both men and walked out the door waving behind
her. They both sat and stared at each other in
silence, each ashamed of their behavior. Philip
remembered is promise to God to be more
compassionate, patient and understanding with Nick
and realized that he had broken that vow. But, before
he could say anything, he heard Nick say, "Guess
I know how to clear a room, right."
Philip said in a friendly tone, "if it's any
comfort t'ya, ya weren't alone on this one; it took
both of us t'chase 'em away." With that, both
men smiled and decided to stay and have another cup
of coffee. The spoke of sports, politics and all the
old, "safe" subjects. But, as always, the
conversation couldn't remain "safe" between
Nick said hesitantly, "have you made any
decisions yet about what your gonna do ... stay with
the Legacy, etc.?" When Philip shifted
uncomfortably in his chair, Nick continued, a little
more forcefully, "'Cause I've gotta be honest
with you, Philip ... this decision thing is tearin'
you apart. Friend-to-friend, you need to just decide
this thing -- one way or another. And, if you choose
to leave the Legacy, we'll have to deal with it and
move on. It's that simple."
Philip wished he
could express to Nick how much those words of
compassion and understanding meant to him! He was
overwhelmed by the truth and emotion with which they
were delivered and found himself -- at least
momentarily -- unable to speak at all. Although he
had regretted Nick's joining Rachel, Kat and himself
for lunch about mid-way through the meal, he was now grateful
to God and His wisdom for
placing Nick there. He cleared his throat, pushed
down his welling emotions and stated, "No, I
haven't made any decisions, Nick. But, believe me,
m'friend, you'll be the first t'know when I do."
after these comments indicated to both
men that it was time to end the luncheon and they
rose to pay the check and leave. After a brief
argument -- which Nick won -- over who was going to
pay the tab, they exited the restaurant and stood
outside the restaurant for a few minutes, enjoying
the gentle breeze and each other's company.
Nick stated, "my car's around back. Why don't I
give you a lift to the hotel."
Philip replied, "it's such a beautiful day, I
think I'll walk. It's only a few blocks away ... and
I'd really like t'do some soul-searchin' -- if ya
know what I mean."
Nick replied. "Take care, huh. Keep in touch
next time ... even if it is
gonna be a short trip."
promise," Philip said. They shook hands and
Philip headed down the street, his mind occupied on
everything that had transpired at lunch. He was lost
in thought as he replayed in his mind everything Nick
had said; as he tried to decide where he felt he
could serve the Lord best. He never heard Nick cry
out to him; he never heard the screech of the car's
brakes; he only felt himself pushed through the air
and then heard the sickening thud of metal as it hit
seemed to move simultaneously in slow and fast
motion. He pushed himself up from the pavement
realizing that he hadn't been
hit by the car. But he was aware that a vehicle was
very close beside him. He could hear shrieks of
concern and agitation all around him and slowly
turned in the direction the voices were headed.
him in the pit of his stomach as he turned to
discover Nick lying on the pavement, bleeding
profusely from his head. As he rose and approached
his friend, he wasn't aware of whether or not the
young man was breathing; the only thing that struck
him was how awkward and still the figure on the
pavement was lying. He heard a voice say, "I
didn't mean to hit him ... I was trying
to stop!" Another voice screamed, "Someone
call an ambulance."
All these shouts
brought Philip's mind back in focus and he quickly
leaned over his friend's body and gently checked for
a pulse. Relief flooded over him as he felt the
gentle beat of Nick's heart. "Get some
help," he shouted. "He's alive but his
pulse is verra weak!"
After that, it
seemed that everything moved rapidly. An ambulance
came; he was pushed aside as the Paramedics began to
assess Nick's injuries; someone grabbed him and said,
in an accusing voice, "He was shouting at you to
watch out for the car! He saved your life,
you know!" Yes, Philip was very
aware of that ... very aware indeed!
And, the fact that it might cost Nick his life
was not lost on him either!
It was a
struggle to convince the Paramedics that he was with
Nick -- that they were friends who had just finished
having lunch together before the accident happened --
so that he could ride in the ambulance with him.
Finally, he resorted to shouting, "Look,
m'friend's not lookin' too good here. I'm his friend an'
I'm a Priest. Now let's get goin' ... fer
the love o'God!" The Paramedics
couldn't argue with Philip's assessment of the
situation and, within minutes, they were racing to
ride felt like it took an
eternity. But, once they had arrived at the hospital,
things once again moved at an increased rate of
speed. Nick was rushed into the closest E.R. area and
the curtain was pulled shut behind him; forms were
shoved into Philip's hand as Nurses began inquiring
about Nick's statistics -- name, age, allergies and
such; and he began to look around for the nearest pay
phone so that he could call Derek with the news of
Making the call
to Derek was one of the toughest things Philip ever
had to do. At first, Derek's tone was friendly and
warm (although a little shocked) as he said, "My
Gott, Philip ... are you in San Francisco?" But
as Philip quickly laid out the facts about the
accident, the tone changed dramatically as Derek
coldly replied, "Alex and I are on our way. Wait
there until we arrive."
mind wanted to scream to the dial tone he heard
buzzing in his ear after that statement, 'did ya
think I'd just leave 'im lyin' in there?' He tried to
rationalize the fact that Derek was speaking out of a
state of shock, but his feelings were hurt
nonetheless; how could he even imply
that Philip would just leave Nick in a hospital
alone! He paced the floor, praying to God for some
kind of news on Nick's condition; praying to God
that the doctors would discover that the injuries
weren't quite as serious as they looked; praying to
God for a miracle!
ran into Derek as he was pacing ... he hadn't heard
the Precept approach. He looked up and saw the
mixture of anger and concern on Derek's face. This
did nothing to ease Philip's
already-burdened heart. He had been feeling guilty
enough already for Nick's accident; but to look into
Derek's eyes and see blame there as well -- it was
happened?" Derek asked harshly. "Nick was suppose
to be with Rachel and Kat today. What was he doing
questions were not meant to be accusations, Philip
certainly felt like they were
and he answered defensively, "I'd called Rachel
and Kat t'invite 'em t'lunch today. I've a seminar in
Sacramento and thought I'd come t'the City fer the
day t'see 'em. Since they had plans with Nick, he
Rachel and Kat?" Alex asked, looking around.
"Are they with Nick?"
Philip answered. "Thankfully, they'd left before
the accident happened ... Kat didn't have'ta see it.
Nick and I had stayed behind t'talk and ...."
he?" Derek interrupted. "Can we see
Philip felt his
shoulders sag. He knew that
Derek must have been -- at least to some
degree -- be blaming him for the accident. He
probably thought that they had argued and Nick was
injured as a result of that argument. But, he calmly
responded, "The doctor's are still with 'im. He
was unconscious the whole time in the
ambulance." As the image of Nick's body lying so
still appeared in his mind, his voice faded as he
continued, "He looked so pale and ...."
Alex touched his
arm and motioned him toward the seating area in the
Visitor's Lounge. "Are you
alright?" she asked, warmly. "It must've
been some accident if he was
unconscious the whole time."
Derek had stayed
by the doorway of the E.R., straining to see around
the curtains. Philip looked up at him and said,
"Derek ... it's my
fault." Derek looked at him, waiting for him to
continue. "I had m'mind on other things and was
crossin' the road. I never saw the car ... I guess
Nick must've seen it an' he ran up an' pushed me
outta the way. It hit 'im head on." Philip's
voice was laced with shock by this time and it began
to fade in and out of coherence as he said,
"There was so much blood .... he wasn't movin'
.... I could barely tell if he was even breathin'
Philip saw Derek
(out of the corner of his eye) as he came toward him.
He sat beside Philip and reached out his hand,
squeezing Philip's arm reassuringly.
"Well," he said in his most authoritative
voice, "Nick's strong. I'm sure he'll be
alright. You shouldn't blame yourself, Philip; it was
At that moment,
all three of the Legacy members noticed a team of
doctors come out of the E.R. area. They approached
them, hoping for news on Nick's condition.
"Doctor," Derek said as he approached the
man who appeared to be in charge. "We're here
with Nick Boyle ... he was hit by a car. Can you tell
us how he is? Can we see him?"
sank as the doctor looked gravely at the three and
asked them to follow him to his office. He felt
Alex's hand on his arm as they walked down the hall
and, although she had obviously placed it there as a
sign of comfort to him, he could
feel her shaking. They each solemnly took a seat
around the doctor's desk and waited for what he had
Cole," he said. "I'm the doctor in charge
of your friend's case. I'm not going to beat around
the bush here ... Mr. Boyle is in serious
condition. To be perfectly honest, we nearly lost him
about 20 minutes ago; the only way we were able to
revive him was to put 'im on a ventilator."
God," Philip muttered as he made the sign of the
cross. Alex and Derek had also
expressed the same sentiments. They had had no idea how
seriously Nick had been injured; but Philip had been
with him, and he knew. 'Dear
God, NO!' his mind cried out.
sorry," Dr. Cole said breaking into their
thoughts. "Were going to be moving him up to CCU
in a few minutes and, if you're his family, you can
go in and see him after we have him settled."
closest thing he has to
family," Derek replied, sounding much less
authoritative than earlier. He paused and took a
deep, shaky breath. "Is he going to
survive?" he asked, point-blank.
seemed to appreciate the honesty of the question and
answered it the same, "I don't know. Time is
both our friend and enemy in head injury cases. If he
wakes up in the next 24-48 hours .... Well, he was in
excellent physical condition before the accident and
there's no reason not to assume that he'd make a full
recovery." He paused and then added, "If he
doesn't wake up in that
timeframe .... Well, it'll be a long
Rachel and left her the message about the accident.
Twenty minutes later, Rachel showed up at the
hospital, just as they were told they could go in to
see Nick. The sight was overwhelming! Nick, who
usually looked so strong and solid on any
occasion, now looked so helpless lying next to all
the machinery that was doing his breathing ... and
God knows what else ... for him.
Philip saw tears fill both in Alex and Rachel's eyes
as they approached Nick and he wished he could offer
them comfort; but it was the one thing that he
needed most at that same moment and had none to
He felt a surge
of unexplained anger ... not at Nick or anyone else
in the room, but at God! 'How
could ya do this,' his mind cried out. 'I've been a
faithful Servant t'ya. Ya took m'brother away all
those years ago; ya've taken so many
Godly friends from me; d'ya have
t'take Nick too?!' But as soon as he had thought
these words and raged at God, he felt ashamed. No, he
needed to make this right ... to "fix it"
somehow; he needed to confront God head-on.
t'go," he announced to the three people crowded
around Nick's bedside. "There's somethin' I need
t'do. Can I borrow one o'yer cars, please?"
Rachel handed her keys over to him and turned back to
Nick. Philip walked to the other side of his friend's
hospital bed and looked into the pale face.
"It's gonna be alright, Nick" he said as
surely as he could. "I swear it will!" With
that, he rushed out the door.
And, after the quick
stop he had made to pick up the bottle of whiskey (for
courage), Philip had ended up at this very spot on the
beach to confront God ... to beg for Nick's life
and offer his own! He vaguely remembered the cuts and
scrapes that plagued him on his trip down to the beach;
but those meant nothing in the grand scheme of
things. Only God and His Will mattered
--Philip saw that now.
Lord," Philip cried aloud. "Show me the answer
I've sought ... the choice between the Priesthood and the
Legacy. Ya've given me the answer ... I know that
now, Father. But now m'heart's listenin' and I'm
ready t'hear and obey."
Job 42:1-6 -
Then Job answered the Lord and said, I know that thou
canst do every thing and that no thought can be
withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel
without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I
understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I
knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I
will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have
heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine
eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent
in dust and ashes.
For the final time,
Philip heard the Voice call out to him, "Well done,
my Brother! You have turned to God and now know
the decision He wishes you to make. But, let me
caution you, Philip ... once you have made it, remember,
to question or doubt God's Will is a sin
Philip replied with confidence. "An' thank you ...
dear Spirit or Angel ... whoever -- whatever --
you are. Thank You! You helped me t'remember all
the important lessons in m'life; and those recollections
reminded me that, like Job from the Bible, all I ever had
t'do was listen and trust Him. Thank ya fer
showin' me the way."
"And now you know
what that decision is, my Brother?" the Voice
inquired. "What is God's Will for your
Philip smiled -- full
and broad -- as he answered confidently, "I'm t'stay
a Priest ... and t'continue m'work with the Legacy
whenever they need me! I know it now ... and I'll know it
forever." And this was true; in the deepest
reaches of his heart and soul, Philip knew God had been
speaking to him from the first moment he had begun to
have doubts about himself, his calling and his chosen
profession ... but he had failed to listen. Now, he
realized those doubts were really Satan's temptations!
He also realized that
his greatest service to God was both in administering to
mankind as a Priest and by fighting Satan head-on
with the Legacy. If only he had listened to God sooner
instead of trying to make the decision on his own!
The light around Philip
began to fade and he closed his eyes as it slowly washed
away. When he opened them again, he noticed that a new
day was about to dawn; and he also knew that he had to
head back to the hospital -- he had to be with
Nick now -- no matter what was to happen! But,
before leaving, while he was still in a kneeling and
penitent position, he asked God for one more favor ... he
asked Him to have mercy on Nick.
As he rose and started
up the steep hill to Rachel's car, he paused and looked
out across the ocean at the outstretched Heavens. The
awesome beauty and wonder of it struck Philip to the core
of his being; he felt blessed with the riches of memory
that God had shown him. "Thank you, Father. Thank ya
fer m'life and for every blessin' in it!"
Job 42:10; 12 -
And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he
prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice
as much as he had before.
... So the Lord
blessed the latter end of Job more than his
Philip was feeling so
uplifted after his "chat" with God that, when
he walked into the CCU area and found Alex in tears, it
confused and stunned him. He felt his heart sink in his
chest as he approached her. Frightened beyond words, but still
trusting in God's ultimate wisdom and judgment, he placed
his hand on her shoulder and simply asked,
Alex looked up through
tear-filled eyes and threw her arms around him. She cried
deep and heavy in his arms and, as Philip held her, he
thought his own heart was about to break. But still
he would not rage at God -- not this time! At last
her sobs subsided and she looked at Philip saying,
"We tried to reach you, Philip ... it's a miracle. It's
Realization began to
dawn on him and he headed into Nick's room. There he
found Rachel sitting beside Nick's bed and Derek standing
over him. He noticed (still with a little alarm in his
heart) that there was very little machinery in Nick's
room now. As he approached the bed, Derek turned and
looked at him. He placed his fingers to his lips and
walked over to Philip.
said, "he's asleep, but he keeps waking up. It's a
miracle, Philip! He woke up about 30 minutes ago. The
doctor took the ventilator out and he's been breathing on
his own just fine. He has a major concussion and some
slight internal injuries, but Dr. Cole said he should
make a full recovery."
Philip whispered with sheer joy and relief. He closed his
eyes momentarily as he made the sign of the cross and did
just that -- THANK GOD!
Derek turned to his
friend and placed his arm on his shoulder. "And
you?" he inquired, "how are you doing?
This had to've been rough on you. And I guess I didn't go
very easy on you earlier ... I'm sorry. But, where did
you go? We tried to reach you at the hotel and at the
Church you use to work in, but no one had seen you."
Philip smiled as he
remembered his encounter on the beach. "I went
somewhere t'have a little talk with God," he
answered. "An' he's listenin', Derek. I know
that now ... listen' and guidin' me -- guidin' all
Philip," Rachel softly called. They both approached
the bed a little apprehensively but, upon looking at the
patient lying before them, they realized that everything
was alright. In fact, they found Nick staring up at them
through bruised and swollen eyes.
said at such a soft whisper it was hard to comprehend.
The three individuals
gathered around the bed understood the gist of what Nick
was trying to ask -- whether or not Philip was
alright. Philip bent down to his friend's ear and gently
whispered, "Oh yes, m'friend ... thanks t'you!"
straightened up and looked Nick full in the face as he
said in a clear and loud voice, "An' you'll be happy
to know that I had a little 'chat' with God while you
were takin' a nap ... and I've finally come to a
decision. I've decided to remain in the
Priesthood." He watched as Nick's face remained
expressionless. "And," he continued, "I am
and always will be a member o'the Legacy as
Derek exclaimed, knowing that Nick would have if he could
have. "That's wonderful, Philip! You were always
going to be one of us, whether you wanted to or not ...
at least in our hearts."
Philip stated, "it seems it's what's in God's
Plan fer me as well." He looked back at Nick and
said, "Thank ya fer bein' so tough on me, Nick. It
was you who helped me come t'the decision, ya
Nick took a deep breath
and, before drifting off to sleep managed to say,
"Any time ... my Brother!"