Even though I was taking my medication as prescribed, I was still reading signs and otherwise dipping my toes in the supernatural. And Isabella, with her own skill-set in that domain, simply added fuel to the fire: a fire that eventually forged my will, but not before burning away nearly all my fear. Or, to use another metaphor, I stood on a precipice. If my footing remained firm, I’d still be me. You know, Dave. But if my footing faltered, if I heeded the demons tugging away inside of me, I’d fall, and become something truly hideous.
With signs pointing every which way, I was far from anchored. After all, I was living in a dilapidated house, in a small yet dangerous town, with a girlfriend who’s husband was plotting who knew what. Plus, my girlfriend suffered from a number of conditions, conditions she tried to self-medicate with alcohol. This didn’t make for a stable relationship. But I was determined to win this damsel in distress, so I took my meds and otherwise battened down my mental hatches. I would withstand whatever came my way.
The names of past lovers spelled out something strange. Can’t really explain it here, but the thrust was my donning “The Mantle of Christ”. Not that this makes sense in retrospect - especially to readers outside me head - but I began to believe if I had sex with (i.e. raped) any of Isabella’s alters (or lost souls or whatever), I’d turn evil.
First it was Courtney. We were walking back to my truck in a supermarket parking lot, when Isabella abruptly stopped and turned on me. “What - who are you?”
“What do you mean, who am I? I’m David. Who are you?”
“Did you, did you drug me? Where’re you planning on taking me in your car?”
“Home. You’re Isabella. I mean…” but I didn’t feel right saying, “you’re in someone else’s body,” so I didn’t.
“What have you been giving me?” She stepped back a few feet. She almost stumbled. “What’s wrong with my ankle?”
“Uh. I dunno. Isabella said she broke it when she was a kid. She has to be careful walking on it.”
“Well, I’m going home. My home. What city are we in?”
I told her.
“Well, I’m gonna find a bus stop.” Then she bolted. Not a full run, but fast enough.
I put the small bag of groceries I was carrying in the back of my pickup truck and then opened the door and just sat in the driver’s seat. Didn’t turn the ignition. With no idea what to do, I waited.
After maybe fifteen minutes, Isabella approached my open car door. Puzzled and sad, she asked me, “What happened?”
“You changed and took off.”
I got up and gave her a hug.
She explained to me how disorienting it was to come to on the street. The last thing she remembered was shopping at the grocery store and then following me to the car. Then - in a flash - she was on the sidewalk looking at the traffic whizzing through the intersection near the gas station in the southwest corner of the lot. Confused, she walked back to where she remembered we’d parked the car.
“Oh, God, David. I love you.” She returned my hug. Tenfold.
I didn’t know at the time it was Courtney who’d paid a visit. I learned her name later, when she showed at the house. Convinced I was a rapist keeping her in drugged captivity, she threatened to scream if I got too close. Had to manually cover her mouth to prevent her from alarming the neighbors, and even then she almost bit my hand.
This brought to mind my previous experience with Jess. Because it seemed to me Jess did her best to get me to rape her. I wrote about it in IB3, and only now do I understand its importance. While rape is legally perilous and morally reprehensible, I needed to engage that energy. I did not wish to be evil. Or at least, what I considered evil. But my spirit needed me to explore the possibility of rape for a multitude of reasons. At the top of the list were both a need for understanding and a need to define my own moral code. Both needs had to be addressed not just in general, but in specific terms. Which is why the theme of rape would sporadically recur throughout the course of my spiritual awakening. But I’ll speak more of this later, particularly in IB5 and IB7.
In that situation, Courtney knew I was no threat. Still, she feared my intentions. And, if she was a lost soul, she’d probably been drugged and raped and later died within the confines of an unknown city… at the hands of an unknown stranger… for unknown reasons.
I gave her the space she needed.
When she calmed down enough to hold a more sensible conversation, I asked her point blank how she’d get home if she didn’t know where she was. It was this question that snapped Bella’s body free of Courtney’s ghost.
So, with Isabella back in control, we spent another night in a house whose future was just as uncertain as our own.