Voices: The Unusual Case of Eliza James–Part II
Author’s Note: If you haven’t read Part I of Eliza’s tale, be sure to scroll back to the prior entry.
The floor of her closet was strewn with an assortment of toys. Legos. American Girls. A Game Boy. It was just how Eliza liked it. Everything was in plain view. No need to sort through the clear plastic boxes her mother always insisted she pile them in. Order was over-rated and almost an impossible achievement for her eight-year-old mind to accomplish. Why have to put them away when you just wanted to let them inspire you to mix and match them in unexpected ways? That was the best.
Eliza was sitting in the floor when she heard her mother calling. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew it was nearing time to get ready for school, but she could pretend she hadn’t heard her. She estimated she could play another five minutes without invoking her mother’s disapproval
“Eliza,” her mother called again.
Eliza decided she decided she’d better see what her mother wanted. She put down the doll and wandered into her mother’s room.
“What is it, Eliza?” her mother asked impatiently.
“What do you want?”
The blank expression on her mother’s face surprised Eliza. She’d seen the look before. Experience had taught her not to decided not to challenge her mother. Later, when everyone else called her Liza, she would remember this as the first time it had happened—hearing something that wasn’t really there. “I didn’t call you Eliza. But it’s time to get ready. I’ll make you some oatmeal. Now, hurry. Get dressed.”
After Eliza swallowed the capsule her mother handed her every morning, medicine that helped Eliza sit through seven hours of school, not interrupt her teachers, and pay attention. The same medicine that also made her feel oddly detached from the world—the medicine that everything she saw seem gray and everything she heard sound hollow. She plodded to the car waiting on its effect. She would need to hurry if she was going to talk to her mother before the medicine took hold of her.
“Are you okay, Mom?” she asked, watching her mother’s futile attempts to will the car in front of them to pull into traffic.
“Why do you ask, Eliza?”
“When I came to your room this morning and asked why you called me, you just kinda looked at me. Like maybe you forgot you had called me.”
Her mother made it clear she hadn’t called Eliza and that she must have been hearing things. Maybe it was the radio or the television, she said. Eliza winced. Like so many other conversations with her mother, both before and after that morning, Eliza knew her mother wouldn’t be convinced.
But neither the radio or the television had been on that morning. Eliza was certain of it.
The table of contents read almost like her biography.
Chapter One—A World We do not Understand
Chapter Three—Physiological Disorders
Chapter Four—Footsteps in the Hallway, Bumps in the Night: Physical Causes
Chapter Five—Dreams, Visions, Angels, Demons: Is that you, God?
Liza thumbed to Chapter Five. She had grown up believing in the gifts of The Spirit. The interpretation of dreams. Healing. Speaking in tongues. Prophecy. She had known them to be true as surely as she knew the sun rose in the east and set in the west. And she had understood spiritual warfare too—that angels and demons fought for the circumstance and souls of men, women, and children. Before she reached the age of five, Liza had seen into the spiritual realms and had been a witness to the deeds of spiritual beings.
Thinking back, Liza remembered she had decided the voices—especially that one voice—it must have been God himself, calling her. After all, there was nothing really menacing about them. They didn’t make threats. They didn’t tempt her. But there had been nothing comforting about them either. There had been no instruction. Why would God call to her like that? At some point, she had begun to wonder if the voices were evil.
In many spiritual traditions evil is manifest in a being or beings. The Vedic tradtions, while having no specific incarnation of evil, have their asuras. Buddhists see Mara as the tempter, the incarnation of evil. And, of course, in Judeo-Christianity a fallen angel, Satan, is the one who disguises himself as an Angel of Light. In short, these traditions teach that spiritual creatures are capable of deceitful deeds intended to distract the faithful from the proper path. While Hollywood has made millions with frightening tales of possession, such examples of the occupation of a human body by some outside force appears rather infrequently, particularly in the Western world. Yet plaguing the faithful with frightful dreams and physical disturbances—strange sounds and peculiar voices among them—are far more commonplace.
Liza snapped the book shut and shivered.