I am scared.
I am scared.
I am scared.
Regina drew a thick black mark through the third line of text. "I know you are. I've told you, it'll be okay. The exorcist isn't here for you."
She swiveled her head a hundred eighty degrees and looked out the window at the black Oldsmobile that just pulled up. "He's here for us." The chorus of voices whcih spilled from her mouth spoke with different timbres and in a handful of languages. "We are ready for him."
Regina walked to the front door of her modest house, revelling in the light streaming in from outside. She'd always appreciated the windows, giving her a fine view of the approach to her door and the woods in the distance off to the east side of her property. Now, all she could think about was how wonderful the old priest's body would look as it sailed through the plate glass. She opened the door, revealing the man she intended to kill before an hour passed.
Father Malcolm had removed his fedora, revealing a headful of white hair, brushed back from a formidable forehead. "Hello, Regina. It's a pleasure to see you." His black suit was a stark contrast to the small patch of white at his neck. A silver and turquoise rosary hung from his neck and disappeared under his jacket. The chill in the air made that necessary.
"A pleasure to see you too, Father." She looked over his shoulder and saw a younger priest coming up the walk from the black car they'd both gotten out of. "I didn't realize you'd be bringing a friend."
"More of a co-worker." Malcolm turned and gestured with the hat he still held in his right hand. "This is Father Kim."
The priest, who appeared to be of Asian descent, smiled. "I'm glad we could come and help you. It seems the matter is most urgent."
Regina did her level best not to let the anger boiling inside her to vent. One priest would be challenging enough, but two? She would have to be careful how she played this. "It certainly is. Do come in. I'll tell you about what's going on." She stepped aside to let the men in.
Malcolm turned and held out his hat for Kim to take the lead.
The younger man reached into his dark jacket and removed a small glass vial. He pulled the stopper from it and used it to sprinkle the clear contents on the door jamb. "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I bless this house and all who find refuge under his roof."
Thankful she missed being spattered with the holy water, Regina bowed her head in mock thanks. "Amen." She wanted to scream for the men to come in already.
Kim crossed the threshold and frowned. "I can sense it, Malcolm. You told me what to expect, but I didn't think it would be this palpable."
Malcolm came in behind him, using the cane in his left hand to aid a weakness in his leg. "I've done my research, young man. There's no substitute for preparation. This house is inhabited by a foul spirit indeed." His warm brown eyes smiled at Regina. "I'm glad we could come as soon as we did. Tell us all about it."
Regina closed the door behind the two men. "I will, of course. First, please have a seat. Can I get either of you refreshment. You've come a long way."
Kim shook his head. "I'm fine, thank you."
Malcolm shrugged. "We ate on the way in. We're in no rush, but we'd like to get straight to business."
Regina led them down two steps to the sunken living area. She gestured to the cream colored couch and loveseat. "Please, make yourselves comfortable. I have a lot to tell." No chance to poison either of them Well, perhaps they would get thirsty later. While she watched the men take their seats, one on each piece of furniture, she thought about carving Kim's eyes out with rusty nails. Instead of sitting beside either of them, she paced back and forth within the confines of the seating area. "I've lived here for a little over a year now. When I saw the place I couldn't imagine not buying it. My job as a researcher and writer practically begged for a place as remote as this. My nearest neighbor is more than a mile away. And it had space for a library, I live alone, so there was no need for more than one bedroom. My writing is my life as well as my career. Thanks to technology, I can literally do this from anywhere."
Kim held up a hand. "You'll forgive me, I hope, We know a little about you already from what you told Father Malcolm. I'm interested in when you first noticed something off about the house or its contents."
She covered her mouth. "Goodness, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to prattle on. I don't get very many visitors. When I first moved in here, it really did feel like this was the perfect spot. I'd heard and read in my research that there were questionable things in the property's history, but I wasn't worried about any of that. After all, who believes in ghosts and the like these days?" She giggled a little.
Malcolm held up a hand and smiled. "Guilty. While my charge here takes a more modern approach to the collar, having studied psychology and counselling before taking the vows, I'm a bit more old fashioned. We worship a god whom none of us will see in this lifetime and we're warned about evil spirits and demons. I firmly believe in these things as more than abstract concepts and metaphors." Thick eyebrows knitted in concern. "I also believe places can hold the echoes of events that happen on and around them. There are good and bad places as there are good and bad people."
She placed her hand against the pale silk blouse covering her bosom. "I confess until recently I had more in common with Father Kim. I viewed the world as a place filled with knowable facts and only those things which were measurable by science. It wasn't until the second month here I began to experience events for which I had no explanation. I saw things in the mirrors which weren't there. I heard noises and felt the air around me grow cold in places that shouldn't have been any different than any other part of the house. These were all things I found to be common to hauntings. Of course I denied to myself that this was possible. There was nothing rational about such beliefs." She wanted to bash the old man's face in with a meat tenderizer she had drying in the dish drainer.
"While Father Malcolm is right about my more modern approach to the faith and the mind as well as the soul, I can assure you I too have experienced things my rational mind can't explain." Kim extended his arm to take in the house around them. "For example, while I could offer explanations for the noises and cold spots, there's a malaise about this house that can't be explained. I believe you when you say there is a ghost or spirit of evil who’s taken up residence here."