“Why am I here?” He asked, using Allie’s voice.
“You’ve proven resilient against medical treatment,” the Doctor said without introduction. He looked at his clipboard and pulled a pen from his pocket to begin jotting down notes. “You’re friends described an activity that is… troubling. You’re currently in a Catholic hospital.”
“Why are you keeping me here? I’m healthy, aren’t I?” Peter asked, trying to force a smile.
One of the Priests, a man with graying sideburns and a thinning hairline, answered her. “You’ve shown signs of Possession Allie. Your body rejects holy water, acts as if being burned when touched by a cross, and has shown remarkable strength. We’ve kept you medicated to where you couldn’t operate with higher brain function, just triggered bodily responses.”
The other Priest, a shorter fat man, stepped forward. “Now we know that this is upsetting, but we‘re certain this is all for the best.” The Priest looked over at the doctor and nodded.
“Relax,” the demon whispered in his ear while Allie’s soul whimpered. “Nothing can shake us loose unless you allow it to happen.”
“Good,” Peter replied, thinking back on his time in Hell. He had no plans to return anytime soon.
It’d been eight days since the exorcism had begun before they’d made Peter’s visage emerge from Allies frame, strained veins and a full body sweat that soaked the sheets. The two priests took turns reading scripture, which made the demon binding Allie’s soul… uncomfortable. When splashed with holy water it burned like the boiling sea Peter had emerged from. The demon had unleashed its arsenal to Peter: telekinesis, mind-reading, supernatural strength… the works.
They’d bound Allie’s body to the bed with reinforced Kevlar, as she’d nearly taken the eye off a nurse when she was changing IV bags, Peter growing her nails and making them preternaturally sharp. It’d taken three burly orderlies to wrestle Allie’s petite frame into the bed, strapping her in so that she wouldn’t be able to cause any more harm.
Peter had grown bored with the constant recitations of the holy book and looked forward to the visits from Allie’s friends. Aubrey and Stephanie stopped by each day and spoke with her for an hour, a time in which Peter just laid back and listened, the exorcism put on hold. The balding Priest had said that perhaps the love of her friends would aid her in this dark hour. And indeed, it had, in a way.
“I want out!” Allie cried from within the tentacles coils, the demon’s shapeless body looming behind her glowing soul. “Please, just let me die!”
“No,” Peter said. “If you die I return to Hell. And I guarantee you I’ll drag you down with me!”
“Please! Just stop this! I-It hurts so much!” She cried. Peter had learned that the demon, who had refused to offer a name, was sapping her spiritual energy from her in order to maintain Peter’s hold over the body.
It was apparently a painful process.
What also hurt her, much to Peter’s pleasure, was opening her mind so that he could pull memories out like books from a shelf. When bored (which was often) he pulled up memories of pain, sadness, and terror and flashed them before Allie in an endless cycle of misery and torment. Peter enjoyed listening to her screams, at least, more than he enjoyed listening to the prayers.
But on the eighth day, at five thirteen in the evening, Peter had been drawn out partially. He was amazed at the feeling, his soul being yanked on while being tethered within the fleshy vessel. But everyone in the room had gasped when Peter’s gaunt frame had emerged from Allie’s upper body, his empty eyes and long-fingered hands twisted into gnarled claws. He’d spun his head to stare at the balding Priest, who seemed shocked. The fat Priest continued his prayers while Allie herself merely convulsed.
“So,” Peter said in a voice both hollow and airy, “you’ve seen me. Shall you let the girl suffer some more?”
“Why do you have hold of her demon?” The fat Priest bellowed, holding up a crucifix to Peter’s face. It made him uncomfortable but didn’t cause any pain. Peter merely smiled.
“I do what all who are in my position do: I find a way out, if only for a while,” Peter said. “Allie and her friends were playing with a spirit board and called me forth from the bowels of Hell. She was the suitable host… it was as simple as that.”
“What will it take to make you leave this child of God?” The balding Priest asked in a low growl.
Peter spread his arms wide and laughed a wicked laugh. “I’ll never leave! I know how this world once worked; you can’t keep her here forever, and sooner or later the authorities will take her from your care. I’ll recede enough to maintain control and do what I must do.”
“We won’t let that happen, demon!” The balding Priest said, looking to his partner, who began chanting in Latin once more.
Peter merely shrugged, the tugging on his soul having weakened during their conversation. He allowed himself to pool back into Allie’s body, his spirit seeping through her pores. He opened her eyes just in time to see a doctor and a few nurses come in to check on Allie, her convulsions having set off some alarms.
Peter rounded on the demon, the creature more smoke and shadow than a physical being. “We need to get them to stop this.”
The demon’s skull-like visage nodded. “The girl’s soul is weakening; she has maybe another week before she withers on the vine.”
“And then what?” Peter asked.
The demon shrugged. “I drag her to Hell of course. I kill the host and she, as well as you, slip into the Pit.”
“No!” Peter shouted, pulling forth a reel of nightmares for Allie to watch, her screams echoing within the mindscape. He looked at the demon. “There has to be a way to keep me from Hell’s grasp! I’ve suffered enough!”
The demon scoffed. “You know so little of suffering child… but it matters not. They will not cease their prattling and you seem determined not to willingly leave. That spells death for this young maiden.”
The demon shifted away to peer over Allie’s shoulder, eye sockets taking in the images pulled forth from Peter’s time as a murderer. Peter stamped back and forth… he needed more time! The demon needed sustenance, namely a soul to feed upon, and his supply was running low. Peter had a week to figure something out, a way for him to escape Hell’s fury. He receded deeper into Allie’s mind, pouring over her memories for anything that could spark inspiration.
It took him hours of boring reviews of her life, but one memory struck a chord with Peter. Immersing himself in the memory and replaying it multiple times, he nearly cackled in glee. He might have found something!