It was one of those Saturdays—you know the kind. You don’t wake up quite on time and from that point on everything is sort of disjointed and out of phase. And that’s how it was that she talked me into driving all the way to Kissimmee to attend this healing service at a friend’s house.

Before this I had never really understood the word ‘charismatic’, but I do now. Because that is what the preacher was, charismatic. From the moment he arrived, until he anointed my head with oil and told me he knew how I was suffering, he was the center of attention. With his hand on my head, he whispered in my ear about my sins and pain until I found myself repeating after him with a shout Help me, Jesus! and In the name of Jesus and Halleluiah!

And then he moved on to save someone else and I had to ask my wife what the hell just happened. That this little West Indian preacher could touch me on such a personal level was discomforting—and downright creepy. He and the others at the service were, in many ways, like characters from a Stephen King novel.

Would it be rude to say that while he was laying on hands I fully expected his head to split open and a serpent to pop out?


About Kevin_Fraleigh

I am a novelist, and much of my writing is predicated on the concept that within each of us is a hole. For some of us, the hole is a divot, shallow and insignificant. But for many of us the hole is a cavern, deep and expansive. We try to fill it with sex or drugs or religion, but the cavern has an insatiable appetite. This is where the dark things live―the things that fill our nightmares. The things that claw at our minds. The things that inspire the stories of horror, madness, and twisted realities. From the depths of that cavern come the seeds of my stories. Won’t you join me in the dark edges of reality? Learn more about me from my blog at You can find my novels at,, and most eBook retailers. You can also read some of my full length short stories at
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One Response to Charismatic

  1. ben says:

    In some traditions, the serpent represents Divine Wisdom, our supernal Mother.
    Regardless of what you believe about the historical life and story of the person named Jesus, there is an experience of liberation only God’s Wisdom can give us. The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘salvation.’
    The person, Jesus, personified salvation, or, liberation from the snares of the world.
    It is ego-pride that keeps a person from receiving God’s gifts.

    Blessings to you, Kevin!

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