THE SORCERER'S STONE!

CHAPTER FOURTEEN - CHET BEGINS A NEW LIFE

 

“Well, we really have news for you now!” said Peter. “I’ve learned that two ‘guest lecturers’—at least that is what Ms. Centaur calls them,—are now instructing the students at each of her classes!”

“Not really!” exclaimed Larry. “What are they teaching the students?”

“I’m not too sure since I’m no longer attending them,” Peter replied. “But I understand it’s supposed to be ‘advanced instruction in better living.’ ”

“Where do they live?”

“In the village somewhere. Someone learned that they live together, even though they’re not married.”

“Par for the course,” muttered Larry.

“What are their names?” was the next question.

“I knew you’d want to know that, so I wrote them on my clipboard. Here they are,” said Peter as he handed the sheet to Larry, who read it aloud.

It read: “The man is Draco Chaos and the woman is Cliodna Vetala.”

“Those are unusual names,” said Larry. They almost seem to mean something.”

Not long after, a boy began screaming in his room. His roommate ran to Larry. By the time he arrived, a crowd was beginning to gather.

The boy was sitting on the edge of his bed, horrified, staring at the corner of the room.

“He says he sees two snakes—over there—in the corner,” said his roommate excitedly.

“They keep coiling and uncoiling,” screamed the distraught youth.

“There’s no snakes there!” cried Larry. “What’s your name?”

“Chet Arnold,” the boy said between sobs.

“Listen, Chet, if you will pray with me just now to Jesus, He will deliver you from that sight. Will you believe? Will you pray with me?”

“Yes, yes, I believe,” he sobbed.

The two knelt down as Larry pled with God for help. Soon Chet was becoming calmer. The apparition in the corner was gone.

“Do you know why this happened?” asked Larry.

“Well, uh, I’m not sure.”

“You stepped onto the devil’s ground by dabbling with witchcraft. We have to stay totally away from that kind of thing.” explained Larry. “Don’t listen to it, don’t read any books that tell you that magic and witchcraft might be a good thing.”

That night, fearful that it might return, Chet prayed again on his own. That incident made an earnest Christian out of both him and his roommate. From then on, they both had daily worship and studied the Bible, first thing in the morning and again at night.

The next day Chet met Larry in the hallway. “Can I come to your room?”

“Sure,” said Larry. It was obvious he was worried about something.

When they were both seated, Chet was astonished to see birds flying in, one or two at a time. The black-capped chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches would land on the window sill, hop in, look to the left and right, grab a seed in their bills, then fly off to a twig and crack it open. Farther in the feeding station were two goldfinches, in their darker winter coats quietly looking down, picking up particles left by squirrels which had arrived earlier.

Larry’s voice saying, “How can I help you?” brought Chet back to what he wanted to say.

“Larry, I’m worried those snakes might come back.”

“Have you given your heart to Christ?” asked Larry.

“Yes, I have,” replied Chet.

“And you are reading in the Bible every day and praying to Him?”

“I am,” answered the boy quickly.

“Well, then, you are safe. But here is the danger: You might forget to stay with God in the future. And you don’t want to do that. As long as you stay close to Jesus, trust Him as your Saviour, and determine in His strength to obey what you read in the Bible, you will be safe.”

“Oh, thank you! That’s encouraging! I don’t ever want to see those snakes again!”

“It’s like this,” said Larry. “When people give themselves fully to God, He takes charge of their lives and guides them day by day,—but only to the degree that they continue leaning on Him for help. Fellowship with Christ is not an automatic button we push and it stays on from then on. The Apostle Paul said, ‘I die daily’ [1 Corinthians 15:31], and that’s what you and I have to do. Every morning we must fall on the Rock and be broken anew [Matthew 21:42-44]. Then we are with Him and God can use us to do the work He has assigned us. It is clinging to Christ that keeps us safe.”

“That’s what I want!” replied Chet. “That gives me a reason to live! To live my life for God!”

Chet thought about that for a moment and then said, “But I’ve heard somewhere that if we try to obey, its legalism.”

“If we try to obey God’s Word in our own strength, we will always fail,” explained Larry. “And, yes, that sure is legalism! But if we obey the ten commandments and other things in the Bible, through the enabling grace of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, we can do it. We can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us; that’s what the Bible says [Philippians 4:13]. Whatever is done out of love for God and in the strength of Christ is not legalism. We’re just living good, clean lives, and that is pleasing to God. That’s the way He wants us to live! There’s nothing wrong with that. But, apart from His help, we can’t do any good thing by ourselves, though we try as hard as we can.”

“I see,” said Chet thoughtfully. “You’ve really helped me. I was thinking that the one dedication yesterday might be enough.”

“Every morning run to Christ, and then remain with Him all day long. That is the way to have continual victory. It is the only way to maintain an ongoing experience, so you won’t drift away.”

“You know,” said Chet slowly, “I like that. I want God to have me, the rest of my life. He can guide me all through it—and use me for whatever He wants me to do. That’s what I want for my life!

“In fact, as I think of it,” Chet added, “it’s more exciting than going to parties, running with a gang, or getting in trouble. Thank you, thank you, Larry, thank you so much. I had no purpose in life before, but now I have a special reason to live: to live for God!”

“Just make sure, you start every day anew with God—on your knees, as His little child, reading the Bible, asking Him to guide you that day.”

Later that afternoon, Larry left his room and went a short distance into the woods, on the north side of the dorm. Here, in a favorite spot, he knelt and cried to God for help. On campus, everyone looked up to Larry as a giant of strength. He generally seemed to know just what to do, with the courage to do it immediately. But his secret were those times alone when he prayed earnestly to God for help.

Larry is like all the rest of us, just a person who needs God’s help every day. But, like him, when we take time to get that help, we are better prepared for whatever each new day may bring.

And there is such a peace in knowing that you are going through the day with God. 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN - STARTING TO LEARN THE SECRET

 

Heading over to the library, Larry learned from a friend that a boy in woodshop class, after beginning to feel peculiar, started hallucinating. He was seeing objects flying around. When one flew toward him, he screamed. Then it all went away. Taken to his room in the dorm, he was resting when Larry stopped by his room.

“You were fortunate it went away. Dedicate your life to God or it could come back,” Larry warned. “Once you’ve had a spiritualist encounter, the problems could return.”

The boy told Larry that, the night before, he had been practicing some of what Ms. Centaur had been teaching. He said he thought it would help him become more important in the dorm. “But I’ve learned my lesson,” he said. “I don’t want any more of that!”

They prayed together; and the boy said, “I’m going to follow your advice. From now on, I’ll read the Bible and pray every day. I need God’s help, and I intend to have it.”

“Connecting with God is far better than connecting with the demons,” Larry replied.

Returning from campus, a couple days later, Larry had just arrived back at the dorm, when he was told there was a phone call for him. It was Mr. Oliver.

“Larry, could you stop by the carpenter’s shop this afternoon?”

Sensing a nervousness in his tone, Larry replied, “I’ll be right over.”

As he neared the shop, the door opened quickly and Mr. Oliver motioned him to come on in.

“Here, in here to my office, if you would.” Mr. Oliver seemed more anxious than his usual self.

“Sure,” replied Larry. Everywhere he looked were carpentry tools, including many he had never seen before. Larry could not help thinking how he would like to learn how to use them all.

But Mr. Oliver’s next words abruptly brought him back to the present.

“Larry, please be seated. No one knows you came, do they?”

“No one,” replied Larry.

“You need to know this,” and then a long pause. It seemed as if Mr. Oliver was trying to find the words. “You’ve probably heard about the two people living out in the village who are now so-called ‘guest teachers’ in Ms. Centaur’s class.

“Yes, I have. I’ve wondered about them. They seem to be taking the students deeper into black magic.”

“Larry, they are the real thing. The man is a wizard and the woman is a witch. They are from Salem, where Ms. Centaur is from.”

Larry gave a low whistle. “I had wondered about that.”

“You may have noticed that she does not seem to have the depth of experience in witchcraft that the other two have.”

“That is what I have heard,” said Larry.

“But there is more. Have you wondered why the administration puts up with this?”

“Yes, I have,” said Larry excitedly, sensing he was about to be told something big. “Why does President Vandersleeve allow this to continue? Why did he let these people teach this class in the first place?”

“Those two in the village are blackmailing him. That is why he dare not stop this class from continuing.”

“Larry sat there a minute in silence, taking it all in. “Can you tell me more?”

“I cannot tell you more at this time. Be patient. There are reasons. I have to wait.”

The next day, a girl was walking into the lobby of the girls’ dorm, when she began shaking all over and speaking gibberish. Nothing but nonsensical words came from her mouth. Then she fell to the floor.

Since Barbara had been warning the girls, they quickly ran to her room. By the time Barbara arrived, the girl was unconscious. The other girls had managed to carry her into a nearby dorm room and lay her on a bed.

But this was something new for Barbara. Kneeling down she prayed for the girl, but nothing happened.

“We’ve got to get Larry over here!” she announced. The girls’ dean, thoroughly frightened, said that was okay; and a quick phone call brought him on the run. When Larry arrived out of breath, he told the girls they must all kneel around the bed and pray silently as he prayed aloud. The girls’ dean agreed to this, and knelt with them.

It was a full forty-five minutes before the girl awoke. Sitting up, she asked where she was, for she had no memory of what had happened.

When Larry inquired, she said that she thought the new class would be a great way to become more popular. So ignoring Barbara’s warnings, she had been faithfully doing everything the teacher said. 

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN - LARRY GETS ANOTHER HELPER 

That afternoon, when Larry stopped by the library, to see if a couple more inter-library loan books had arrived, the librarian, Miss Stevenson, always a soft-spoken, but firm lady, said, “Larry, could I speak to you for a moment?”

Directing him into her office, Larry wondered if he had not returned all his books on time. He sure had quite a few by this time.

“Larry, please sit down.” She looked nervous.

“Larry, none of the teachers will speak to you about this, but they all know what is going on.”

“Oh, really?” said Larry.

“Yes, they do not want this new teacher and her class here either,” said Miss Stevenson. “Although not a Christian school, Badger Bay was always conservative. But something has changed, and now we have this situation.” Her voice trailed off. She was silent for a long moment. Larry knew he should be quiet till she spoke again.

“Larry, this may get me fired, but I don’t care. As you may know, the library has the second largest auditorium on campus. You are welcome to use it to hold meetings with the students any time you want.”

Larry was so surprised, he had to catch his breath before speaking. “You realize the implications?”

“Yes, I do, but we’ve got to fight this thing,” said the librarian. “I know you are trying to hold meetings in the dorms, but that is not good enough. You need an auditorium. Until I am discharged, you will have the use of our auditorium.”

As Larry headed to the dorm, he thought over Mrs. Stevenson’s final words: “None of the teachers want witchcraft taught on this campus. They are all supportive of what you are trying to do.”

“Why don’t they speak up?” he thought to himself. “I guess they’re afraid they might lose their jobs.” The situation was looking more serious all the time.

Larry decided he had better wait for the right time to begin using that auditorium. As soon as he did, other things might start happening. 

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: DEMON POSSESSION 

Entering the dorm, Larry went up to the second floor to check on a boy who had experienced a demonic attack a few days before. The two prayed together.

As Larry left the room and started down the hall toward the stairway in the center of the building, he saw a boy who had never spoken to him before heading straight toward him. It was Jed Corvor.

“Why don’t you get out of here! Entirely! Get out of this school!” yelled Jed. Larry was shocked, but before he could say a word.

“You’re the problem here!” Jed screamed. “We hate you; we all hate you!”

Larry noticed that he had a very strange look on his face, and was trembling slightly. Frankly, he looked possessed.

“Really now, the situation isn’t that bad,” Larry said, “Could we pray together?”

When Larry said that, a bomb seemed to go off in the boy’s brain. Jed began swearing and cursing Larry as they stood there in the hallway. Up and down the entire hall, boys were tumbling out of their rooms, watching to see what would happen next.

Suddenly, the boy shot out his fist to smash Larry. But when it got to one inch—one inch—from Larry’s face, it suddenly stopped and could go no farther.

Jed was as startled at this as was Larry.

Slowly taking his hand down, the boy put it by his side. It seemed all the energy had suddenly drained from his body. Jed now looked like a tired old man. Slowly, without saying another word, he turned and walked back to his room. Then, still in slow motion, he opened and shut the door behind him quietly.

That evening, about 7 p.m., a strong knocking on Larry’s door; and it burst open. “You’ve got to come quick, Larry!” a boy said breathlessly.

“What’s happened?” asked Larry.

The words tumbled out. “That guy, Corvor, that tried to hit you this afternoon. You know, up on second floor. He’s unconscious in his room. Out like a light. Nothing we do arouses him. You gotta come. Now! Dean Adams said to get you!”

Yes, it was the same boy that tried to hit Larry that afternoon. But now he was lying flat on the floor in a total coma.

“We don’t know what to do,” said Mr. Adams. He was frightened, as were the others who crowded into the room or stood outside peering in.

“Well, first, we’ve got to make sure he has enough air. Open the window,” said Larry. As that was being done, Larry added, “We’re going to really have to pray hard over this one. He’s deeper into this thing than most anyone I’ve met here. I could see it on his face this afternoon.”

“What’s wrong with him?” asked Mr. Adams. He already knew, but wanted to hear Larry say it.

“He is demon possessed,” replied Larry, “and only God can expel it.”

Kneeling down, eight boys plus the dean silently prayed as Larry earnestly asked God to cast out the evil spirit. In the hallway more boys were on their knees.

Hours passed and nothing happened. It was not until 12:30 a.m., a little past midnight, that the boy was released.

Sitting up, Jed looked around and wondered why everyone was there. His entire attitude had changed. Calm, self-possessed, he asked what had happened.

When he learned the details, he could not thank Larry enough. From then on, Larry would not have a better friend on campus.

Before leaving, Larry said this, “That was a close call, and here are the facts: Just as in the parable [Matthew 12:43-45], the devils are now gone from you, Jed, and your house is empty, swept clean; but they could return unless you really begin praying to God on your own and studying the Bible every day. Jesus said, ‘Go and sin no more.’ That’s what you’re going to have to do—or you may get right back in the hole you just got out of.”

Jed took Larry’s advice. He later told Larry that Ms. Centaur had told him after class one day that, if he would study extremely hard, he could later become a wizard. It was in following her advice that the devils captured him so fully.

GO TO CHAPTER 18

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