The two men watched her as she hugged her knees, rocking back and forth. She held a hand to her temple, looking past them as if they weren’t even there, but she listened to everything they said.
“Do you really think this is still worth it?” The fat one wrung his pudgy hands, beads of sweat dripped off his nose.
The thin one sneered, “Of course it is. She does all the work; we reap all the profit. It’s fool proof.” He pulled her to her feet, “Com’on. It’s time to go.”
She looked around, her hand still on her temple. She moaned, “The voice is stronger today, master.”
He smiled and whispered, “Good, good. Keep listening. We will be there soon.”
As they walked, she’d stagger as someone walked up to them, the voice overpowering her. One of her companions would take some coins and send the people to her. She would speak the words that she heard, but she couldn’t remember what she had told them. It was all a blur.
Would the voice ever stop? she wondered. Would anything ever still the voice? She felt ill, but had no choice but to continue working. Not doing what was told was worse in some ways than the voice.
The harsh voice snapped her from her thoughts. She looked around, and didn’t recognize anything. Where were they now? She managed to get to her feet, but she felt unsteady.
“Here, lean on me.” The pudgy one stood near her, offering his arm.
“Leave her alone. She can manage. She has work to do yet today.”
They walked. She heard coins dropping in the bag. She heard her voice, words pouring from her mouth. Her masters stood behind her, looking for the next mark. The crowd was growing denser around her. It was hard to breath. The voice seemed different today, almost afraid. But of what?
She felt even sicker than before. She saw some men nearby that her masters were avoiding. She felt drawn to them and she heard herself say, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation."
Before she could understand the meaning of what she said, her masters grabbed her and took her from the men, without taking any coin. They found a place to sleep for the night. She didn’t sleep, she never did. She only waited for the voice to not be as loud and tried to rest.
The next morning, she felt drawn to the men again, and heard herself repeating the phrase she heard in her mind. She still felt ill, but made herself say it.
After a few more days of this, one of the men approached her. He looked at her and said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her."
When he spoke the name, suddenly the voice was gone. She felt at peace for the first time. It was quiet, but only for a moment. She heard an angry voice, but it was behind her, instead of in her head. Her masters rushed forward and grabbed the man and his companion. They drug them before the magistrate to bring charges against them. She followed from a distance, not wanting to anger her masters.
She heard the sentence, and heard the crack of the whips. She cringed at each one. She saw them being lead to the prison. She didn’t know why they had done what they had for her, but she knew she needed to learn about the name that stilled the voice.
* Based on Acts 16:16-24 NJKV
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