Faith

Daniel had just settled down into his favorite armchair in the reading nook off the second story hallway when he saw the monster slip out from behind the queer little door to the crawl space. The monster was smallish and purplish, with bright orange spots—almost comical in appearance, save for its disproportionately large teeth and claws. It opened its jaws and said in an incongruously deep baritone, “I’m going to eat you all up.”

Daniel didn’t pay attention to it though. He’d just made up his mind to spend the year re-reading and meditating on the Gospel of Peter, and he didn’t have time for wicked illusions like this. It was all a matter of faith anyway, just like understanding the Gospel of Peter.

Sure, there were some who discredited the Gospel. Many called it apocryphal at best and more who claimed it was downright fraudulent, but Daniel was no apostate or Catholic cultist. And what did they know anyway? It Peter, after all, who described the perpetual virginity of Mary in the first place. That’s the thing—the difference between heretical belief and true faith is just about knowing what to accept and what to reject. It’s as simple as that.

Therefore, Daniel rejected the monster that couldn’t be there. He took not the least notice of it as it made menacing gestures, which grew decidedly less comical as the as the purple monster grew decidedly bigger. At once the creature was the size of a cat, then a dog, and then he stood a head and shoulders taller than the La-Z-Boy. But even as the tips of the monster’s horns brushed the ceiling, Daniel read on and hummed tunelessly to himself.

Yes, faith… faith was the key. You had to be a rock and have faith and get plenty of exercise and sleep. Had he been sleeping? He’d dreamt of a monster, but had he been asleep? That was always tricky this time of year, getting enough sleep. It had been a day or two, really, since he’d gotten any. What would Doc say about that?

There was something about sleep and medication. When was the last time Daniel took those silly pills? Oh well—a bit of missed sleep, a skipped pill or two, what difference could it make? Was that enough to shake a true believer’s faith? No, no it wasn’t, even if the paltry apparition grew until it filled the air above him, slathered hot spittle into his lap, and breathed the stench of rotting meat in his face.

So, as a lamb among wolves, Peter kept reading and the monster kept menaced him. Any moment now, and the silly, smelly, hair thing would disappear. The second to last thing that went through Danial’s head was the wisdom of Peter, which said that when the lamb is dead it need no longer fear the wolves. The last thing that went though Daniel’s head was a large, yellow tooth.