“So what do we know?” Emily asked the other two that evening. She had invited them over, ostensibly to study, although none of them brought any textbooks.
“I know now that Bud is not ready to listen to me,” Charlie said, still nursing his cheek with a cool washcloth where it had slammed into the lockers.
“We know that Principal Davis really likes his key ring,” Lu added. “And that a week’s detention is an unfair price to pay for turning in drug dealers at our school. I just don’t get no respect.” The last few words were done in Lu’s best impression of Rodney Dangerfield.
“We both know and appreciate the sacrifice you made for us and for the school, Louis,” Emily said. “But let’s keep this thing on track. Do we know anything new about these things?”
Charlie shook his head. “I don’t think they’re aliens or ghosts.”
“What makes you say that, Crash?” Emily said.
“Because aliens and ghosts aren’t worried about high schoolers getting into trouble. And don’t call me Crash.”
“How do we know that they aren’t?” Emily asked. “I mean really?”
Lu nodded. “Crash is right. Aliens are more likely to be concerned about world domination or getting back home to their spaceship than what goes on in a hallway.”
“Well, what about ghosts?” Emily asked.
“What has your scientific research told you about ghosts? Or aliens or even angels?” Charlie asked.
“There’s no scientific proof for or against any of them,” Emily said. “Because science is limited to the measurable, it assumes that anything in the spiritual realm either doesn’t exist, or can’t be proven through scientific means.”
“There’s that term again,” Charlie said. “Spiritual realm. What was it Grandma Watson said about it?”
“It was from Ephesians 6:12,” said Lu. He closed his eyes and recited from memory: “ ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’”
“OK, let’s look at that. First, they’re not flesh and blood. Second, they have a lot of power. Third, that they are wicked. Fourth, they are spiritual.” Emily sat back in her chair and wrote the four items on a sheet of paper.
“But what is spiritual?” Charlie repeated. “Where is the spiritual realm?”
The three of them looked at each other blankly. Finally, Lu raised his hand. Charlie frowned at him and nodded.
“Is it where you go when you die?” he asked.
Charlie shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess. Maybe it’s heaven. Maybe it is hell.”
Emily shook her head. “This is way, way out of my area, but it would see that if these things were attacking people here, then they are able to travel back and forth from our physical plane to their spiritual plane whenever they want to. That doesn’t seem like an eternal resting place.”
Lu raised his hand again. “Grandma talked about them traveling very, very fast. She said that’s why many people think they have wings. I looked up angels on the web and it said that the early artwork showing angels didn’t have wings on them.”
Emily nodded. “I just thought of something. Einstein believed in a curved universe. If you had the ability to step out of the universe and across the void to another point in it, it would seem like you were moving instantaneously for great distances.”
“Or at least very, very fast,” Charlie added.
“Ok, what do we know?” Emily said. “First, they appear and disappear at will, suggesting that they travel interdimensionally. Second, there are good and bad versions of these creatures.”
“Or at least that there are opposing forces,” Charlie corrected her. “One seems to be made of light, the other of darkness. The light has the ability to cancel out the darkness.”
“That sounds like something from the Bible,” Lu said. “Let me look that up.”
“Third, they may travel on a different plane—a spiritual plane—but they can affect our physical plane,” Emily said.
“Yeah, like cause power outages,” Charlie said.
“And they either cause or are attracted to bad things people do,” Lu said.
“Sounds like bad angels to me,” Emily said. Both boys raised their eyebrows at the comment from their otherwise totally scientific female friend.
“Well, if bad angels are somehow associated with bad things, we will probably see the opposite as well,” Charlie said.
“You mean, white light surrounding good people?” Lu asked.
“It’s logical,” Emily said, nodding. “Maybe intentions are somehow tied to this concept of a spiritual plane.”
“So how do we fight them?” Lu asked. “I mean there’s no machine gun in the world that’s going to kill these things.”
Charlie shrugged. “You guys did a pretty good job this morning. If we see these things swarming around someone, we know something bad is going down. We stop it.”
“Like you stopped Bud and his buddies this morning?” Emily asked, raising one edge of the cold compress on his cheek.
“Well, I don’t have everything worked out here,” Charlie said. “Do you?”
Emily shook her head. “We’re guessing a lot here. I suggest we make another visit to Grandma Watson. She seems to know a lot about this stuff.”
Lu nodded. “You guys are welcome anytime.”
“Well that leaves one unanswered question,” Charlie said. “What do we do about Bud?”
The other two looked at him. No one had an answer.