Sarah sat in her tiny house, the small blanket crushed in her hands. It had been two days since Matthew disappeared and she hadn't seen her husband either. She was devastated. She was also completely alone. She knew no one in Littleton, having moved here from several hundred miles away with her new husband. She had no one to turn to and no one called to see how she was.
The house was completely silent. She hadn't slept for two days and had spent most of the time tramping the streets of Littleton looking for her husband and her son. No one had seen or heard anything, but then very few people knew Sarah and her small family. She had even stopped at the local church and spoke to the Pastor. He was sympathetic and supportive, but couldn't help with actual information.
A sudden knocking at the door broke the painful silence. Sarah jumped and then rushed to open the door.
It wasn't her husband or someone returning her baby, but a pastor. He was a young sweet-faced pastor with friendly eyes and an out-stretched hand. As if in a daze, Sarah took his hand, it was warm, strong and comforting.
'My name is Pastor Michael,' said the stranger, guiding Sarah back into the little house and shutting the door.
'My name is Sarah,' she whispered as she showed him the way into the parlour.
'I was visiting my friend Pastor John. I don't know if you know him?' Michael glanced at Sarah who numbly shook her head. 'Well, he's the pastor you met yesterday and he told me a terrible tale of baby stealing. Was it you he was talking about?'
Sarah burst into tears. She had not cried one teardrop since finding Matthew gone, but now this nice man was here and seemed to care, she finally allowed herself to give way. Pastor Michael held her hand and waited patiently for the storm to abate. Eventually, the grief-stricken weeping gave way to hitches and sniffs. And between gasping sobs, Sarah told Pastor Michael how Matthew had gone from his crib, and to add to her pain she hadn't seen her husband in two days either. Pastor Michael listened carefully and mulled over what she told him.
'Do you need to stay here?' he asked gently. 'Do you have family in the area?'
'No,' she replied hoarsely. 'I had nothing here except my son and my husband.'
'Why don't you come back to my town with me? It's not too far away, and there'll be company and comfort there for you. I can start helping to search for your baby - Pastors know a lot of people' he winked.
Sarah considered. She had not heard a murmur from anyone in two days, even Pastor John has not called around. Despite all her questioning no one had seen or heard anything - or if they did they weren't telling. Perhaps it would help to have this Pastor on side, and she could certainly do with some decent company, and some sympathy.
'I'll come to your town,' she decided. 'I'll pack a few things and be ready when you are.'
'Good,' said Pastor Michael. 'I need to go and talk to John; we'll make sure your little house is safe. Then I'll come back for you with my gig.'
Michael left. The house was silent once more. But Sarah now had a mission. To go to Smyth with this understanding priest and let him help her find her child. She packed a few things and walked into the parlour. She picked up Matthew's blanket and held it close to her face, feeling the softness and smelling the baby smell that still lingered. She folded it and put it in her case.
Pastor Michael sipped the hot refreshing cup of tea in the sunny study of Pastor John.
'Do you think they are back?' John asked.
'It's certainly an explanation for the abductions,' replied Michael thoughtfully. 'But surely, if Philip was a demon, there would have been clues? As far as I know, he was a clean-living, decent young man.'
'But there is definitely something black afoot,' John said with a solemn expression. 'Do you still keep in touch with the Hunters? Perhaps they can help?'
'No,' Michael shook his head and put the empty cup down. 'The Hunters have moved on. They are needed elsewhere. Just because we vanquished the demons does not mean they cease to exist - which is where my train of thought started!'
'What are you going to do now?' John was intrigued. Despite mentoring Michael for many years, he had claimed to stay well away from all things demonic; preferring to leave that to the younger clerics.
'Well, the book talks of a triumvirate being the weakness. I told you about Gloria and Lucy - perhaps Sarah will complete the triumvirate and force the demon to make itself known.'
'And if it doesn't?' John asked the question that Michael had been avoiding.
'Then at the very least, those three poor girls will have company and friends to help out.'
'Very noble,' smiled John. 'And while we're on the subject of women - any sign of a wife on the horizon for you?'
Michael sniggered embarrassedly. 'No, my flock keeps me very busy. And I don't need a wife - I have a more than competent housekeeper!'
The two men chuckled over the joke and eventually Michael rose to leave.
'Michael,' said John tentatively. 'I love you like my own son. Don't do anything foolish, and if you need help, I'll be there - just call.'
Overcome with emotion Michael hugged his old friend close, kissed the top of his bald pate and then shrugged on his coat.
Leaving the comfort of the vicarage, he picked up his gig and went to meet Sarah as he had promised.