“I’m leaving you James,” said Rachel. Her bags were at the door. Well, everything she could carry. I’d be damned if I was going to carry any of it. I was tempted to toss her stuff out the door or take her luggage out in an ironic manner.
But I had too much of a dry wit to do either.
“Are you still here?” I curtly asked.
“There’s no need to be---“
“Be what? A dick? An asshole? I’ve got every right to be any single one of those things right now and YOU FUCKING KNOW IT!”
She started to cry. Classic defense in the face of my rare moments of expressing myself. Ironically, she always wanted me to express myself in all situations except when we were fighting.
I took a breath.
“Just go”, I said.
She opened the door, went down the stairs, and got into Eric’s car as he loaded up her luggage, walked around to the driver’s seat, and drove off.
I shut the door and sat down on the couch. It was done. With that final act, our marriage was over.
Just as well. There were no children due to her miscarriages. There wasn’t much stuff to split between us due to my minimalist lifestyle.
I looked up at the wine on the countertop in the kitchen. May as well get started.
As I poured my glass, Eric suddenly appeared on the countertop surface. He was mouthing something. It looked like “ice cream”.
I looked up just in time to see a demonic face flash on the door of the cabinet. And I knew what was happening.
I had only heard of this from aged exorcists before. It was usually something that happens to the younger apprentices when dealing with a stronger than average demon. An experienced exorcist usually had the proper blocks in place to deal with this.
But this wasn’t a slightly above average demon. On the 10 point scale, the average demon was about a 4 with the above average a 6.
I was dealing with something that was at least an 8.
Right now, Eric was probably keeping the other demons and imps away from my body. How he managed to get that message to me while doing that was anyone’s guess.
I broke wine glass into a sharply pointed instrument. I then carved “IHC” into my left forearm. The world around me started to blur and instead of blood spelling out what I just carved, there was fire and light.
And then I was back in the girl’s room again.
I checked my left arm and there were cuts spelling “IHC” in blood.
“Ooh, that must have hurt,” it said.
I glanced around for Eric. He was pressed against the girl’s dresser struggling against an unseen foe. It looked like his hair was being pulled while engaged in a spiritual game of mercy with something taller than he was.
I lifted my right hand, palm open, in his direction.
“Demon in nomine Iesu eieci te de hoc mundo!” I shouted.
Immediately, a gust of wind flew out from where I was standing and hit Eric, knocking him over. But his struggle had stopped.
“One down,” I said.
Eric quickly got up.
“Where’s the other one?” I asked.
He darted glances around the room. His face stop to the left of the girl.
I looked over. I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Not even a smell.
“Show me,” I commanded to Eric.
“You sure?” he asked. His reluctance was understandable, but the situation called for it.
“Don’t question me!” I yelled at him, more out of the residual anger from my dream, than for his doubt.
Immediately he ran to me and touched my shoulder. The nausea started as the unnatural colors were revealed to me. Someone like me wasn’t meant to see what Eric could see, but the enemy I was fighting was hidden from natural vision.
Next to the archdemon, which I could now make out more clearly than the face of the girl, was a tall, brawny shadow-man with horns, red eyes, and a carnivorous goatish face.
It looked at me and started to move toward me with bloodthirsty eyes.
I quickly clapped my hands together and chanted, “Spiritum Sanctum nos protegat”.
Immediately a cool blue field rushed forth and from me and pinned the shadow-man to the wall. With a little effort of will, I pressed it further in and the shadow-man dissolved away.
Eric took his hand off of me and I stumbled a bit, dazed from both seeing the unnatural world and the toll that last maneuver took on me.
It took me a couple seconds to get my balance but I had more time now that the archdemon’s bodyguards were taken care of.
I looked up to it, now just the face of a sickly preteen girl.
“Your turn”, I said.
“Those weren’t my bodyguards,” it said, “They were just an amusement for me. You think I needed them since I have my anchor now.”
It thumps the girl’s chest.
Eric looks a little shocked when it said this.
“I’ve never seen a demon get this far in a possession,” he stammered.
“Don’t address it,” I said, “It lies all the time. When it isn’t lying, it’s exaggerating. Remember, there is nothing that our Holy Father cannot do.”
“I’m still here,” it said, “don’t you know it’s rude to talk about someone when they’re right in front of you.”
It fixed its gaze on Eric.
“Tell me young man, what was it like to fuck your best friend’s wife behind his back?” it asked adding, “Did you pull her hair? Did you-“
“Silence!” I shouted.
“Or what?” it retorted, “You’re going to evict me? Son, I’ve got this girl. She wanted me here anyway and you can’t subvert her free will. Besides, you’re impotent against something like me anyway. Especially if your wife left for that pathetic loser beside you.”
Something snapped. I know that cliché has been used before, but this time, I truly lost it. I raced up to the girl and jump on top of her. I grabbed her by the throat with my right hand and held up my left hand.
“Infernum Henrici gustui!” I shouted.
It was a forbidden technique, one that my order forbade not because of its effectiveness but because of the after effects. But in that moment I didn’t care. I just wanted the damned thing out as soon as possible.
The palm of my hand became like nothing with fire around the edges. I thrust it onto the chest of the girl.
It screamed. The scream was deafening hitting both ends of the musical spectrum.
“THIS IS WHAT HELL IS LIKE YOU FUCKING FIEND!!” I bellowed as I held my hand down.
The burning started as I did. But I held on. This girl had to be free. Lives beyond her own depended on it. With it using her flesh, it would grow up and become prominent figure in politics or business. We would see a fiend in the guise of a woman pervert and subvert the Father’s Will for us. I couldn’t let it happen.
The pain didn’t stop at my hand. My brain suddenly felt much larger than my skull could contain. My ears popped. My eyes went blind. My nose could no longer smell anything. And my body went numb.
My hearing was fine though. I could hear the screams. I guess this was part of the experience of Hell.
I had trouble thinking straight. I had to focus on the screaming. It would let me experience that. I couldn’t tell if it would stop or not. There was no inhalation, just exhales of noise.
Gradually, the screams turned to a whimper. Then a rush of wind passed out of the girl’s mouth. I lifted my hand from her chest. Sight returned, along with touch, taste, and smell. My hand became flesh again.
Only I couldn’t move my fingers. My hand was stiff now. There was no feeling in it either. The life had left it.
I turned my head toward the girl. She was lying on the bed motionless. Her eyes stared deep into nothing.
I crashed onto the ground next to the bed and banged my head against the wall. My hand was useless but the girl was even more so.
Eric gawked at me for a moment. Then he proceeded to sit down across from me leaning against the bed.
“You tortured it out of her,” he said. A small tear ran down his cheek. He knew what I had done and the potential cost to my body and my sanity.
“I didn’t come to fix her,” I said, “but to get it out of her, no matter the cost.”
He nodded in slight agreement. I knew better than he did what the Father’s Will was in all this. But to be honest, I didn’t see much more than he did.
“Is there anything else here?” I asked Eric.
He got up and glanced around the room. Then, he went to the door and opened it and looked down the hall. After a few seconds, he closed it and turned around.
“Nope, they all appear to have run off,” he said.
Now that my sense of smell was back, the overwhelming smell of burnt hair and cinnamon had vanished. I pulled myself up with my good arm.
“What do we do now?” Eric asked.
“We go out there and tell them the archdemon is gone,” I replied.
“And what about their daughter?” he asked.
“We’ll give them Cammy’s number,” I responded.
“I can call her myself right now,” said Eric, “You’ll need her services too. You aren’t going anywhere for the next few hours.”
“I doubt there is anything she can do for me,” I responded.
“It never hurts to try,” he said as he pulled out his cell phone.
Strange that it didn’t break during his struggles.
“Cammy, we need you now,” Eric said into the phone.
Then his voice started to get more muffled. My vision blurred.