My father used to tell me: there are places you should not go to.
There are black patches on every map, treacherous shoals on every sea, forsaken paths splitting from the main roads. These are dark, scary, evil places and should be avoided in all circumstances.
You do not go to a “NO GO” zone; it is as simple as that.
Probably every dad tells that to his kid, once a while. However, my father would not stop just there.
If you do, he would add, if you ever step into one of these places, remember this: You’d better have some proper arguments.
And by “arguments” my father didn’t mean any fancy rhetorical figures or a bunch of handful statistics from OECD that helps you win an academic debate on how to tackle a galloping inflation.
He was referring to a left jab, full force low kick and finishing right hook or any other combination of blows, punches and chokes that would effectively close the discussion in case it would shift from vocal to manual.
This was the usual procedure, in these places, he was always telling me about.
My father spent most of his late childhood and teenage years in workers district of post-industrial Bytom in Silesian region, southern Poland. In communist times, it was a grim, grey city, more like a bruise on a landscape, full of dead, empty buildings a graveyard of once thriving metallurgy and ironworks complex.
Its denizens consisted mostly of former labor force. Left without perspectives, consumed by their boredom and frustration, they would fill their time with only one source of adrenaline that seemed to be at hand.
Compared to that city of my fathers, famous, Thatcher-era Manchester suburbs looked like one of the landscapes from Teletubbies, where the sun never ceases to shine and they hand in candies for free.
Well, they didn’t give anything for free in Bytom. Maybe except a brutal face-lifting and head stomping if you took the wrong turn and met the wrong people. This for people like my dad, new arrivals, from the other part of Poland, could mean anytime.
Streets required not only specific survival skills but also a proper mindset.
One of the rules was never to back down and never show fear.
A predator doesn’t stop if he sees his prays weakness. He rather goes mental as his rage is fueled by the sense of boundless dominance. Once they see you afraid; they can do anything to you, my father used to say, and showed me the scar on his forearm.
It was three of them, that day, my father would boast, but I didn’t even flinch as they came up to me. I just needed to take care of the two, and the remaining one would ran away. One of them had a knife, and it could have become much messier than this tiny slit.
I found a solid, metal rod lying at my feet, you see. Praise Mary the Ever Virgin for that rod, which happened to appear there, just at the right time. Rods are perfect against knives, son, because their range is better. But don’t ever try to use them in bus or tram…
My father could go on like this for hours. The point he was trying to make was that not only dark, evil places exist, but that sooner or later you will find yourself in one. And then you d better be ready for what’s up ahead.
As I prepare my tools, I think of him and how often he was telling me these stories. As I finish anointing the crucifix with the blessed oil I come to a conclusion that my father must have known.
That somehow, subconsciously he knew who his son is going to become.
Previously on Digital Exorcist: Dreamscapes: Digital exorcist – Interview