“I’m Samuel,” said the dirty-blond man with the boyish face, standing at the front door of the bi-level house. “I got the note you left on my door. Can I assume your daughter is still alive?”
“Thank you for coming so quickly,” said the older gentleman from inside the house. “Please, come in.”
Samuel stepped out of the bright light of the nearby streetlamp, and into the warm light of the old Victorian house in Louisville, Kentucky. The older man’s wife stood a little further back, wringing her hands with a nervous anxiety.
“Yes, still alive,” said the man. “Why do you ask?”
“Because if she weren’t, you could call the coroner, and I could go home,” Samuel said. He noticed the perplexed expressions on the couple’s faces.
Samuel sighed. “Sorry.”
“I thought you’d be older,” said the man.
“You’ve seen too many movies about this stuff, old priests and all that. Look, I don’t handle things like this. I know someone else who does, so you should really call him. He is a priest, though he doesn’t look old, either. Let me give you his name and number.” He looked around for a piece of paper and a pen.
“We appreciate that,” said the man, “but we hope that won’t be necessary. We were told to find you.”
Samuel turned his attention back to the man in the white button shirt. “Who told you to find me? And how did you do that, anyway?”
“We were given your name and address.”
“I’ll have to remember to move, then. Again, who gave you my information?”
“It--,” began the father.
“She told us your name,” said the man’s wife. “And, your address.” She stepped forward from behind her husband, and turned to her him. “Whatever is in her, she is still our daughter up there.” The woman looked at Samuel, grabbing his hands and squeezing, as if she would die if she let go. “Please, she gave us your name and number for a reason. Help her if you can.”
Samuel sighed. “Well, like I said, this isn’t really what I do, but I’ll go take a look. How old is your daughter?”
“She’s twenty. If I may, what do you do?” asked the man.
“Anything that keeps me away from people,” Samuel said with a sarcastic tone.
“Hurry,” said the woman.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get out of here as I quick as I can.”
“No. That was her instruction to you. You are to hurry.”
Samuel gave her a perplexed look, and began ascending the staircase. He stopped and turned back. “By the way, what’s your daughter’s name?”
“Faith,” said the woman. “She’s our only child. We’d be lost if something happened to her.”
“Which room is hers?” Samuel asked continuing up the stairs.
“The last on the right,” the man said. “Though, you would have found it without asking. You don’t seem scared. I thought you said you hadn’t done this before.”
“I’m not scared. And, I said this isn’t my thing; I didn’t say I’ve never witnessed it. I’ve seen it lots of times.”
The upstairs hall light flickered as Samuel reached the top landing. Glancing three doors down the corridor, he saw what the father meant—a tell-tale sign that the last door on the right was the girl’s room. Blood dripped from the doorknob, forming a standing pool on the carpet below. The door itself seemed to heave slightly, as if the room on the other side were actually breathing. No noise came from the far end of the hall.
As Samuel took a step forward, the light above stopped flickering, stayed on for several seconds, then went out, the bulb making a popping sound. Reaching the room, the carpet squished under his weight, blood flooding up around his shoes. The sticky doorknob turned easily as the wooden boundary to the next room stopped heaving.
The hinges offered no resistance as the door swung open, revealing a dark room, and no sign of the young woman. The word ‘help’ was written in blood all over the walls, ceiling, and furniture. The room stunk of decayed flesh and urine.
“Faith?” Samuel called, crossing the threshold.
A sudden scratching came from a far corner, the closet door slowly opening.
“Who are you?” asked a demure, female voice.
“My name is Samuel. Will you come out and talk to me?”
The girl crawled out of the closet, her green, watery eyes darting back and forth between Samuel and her bed. Scratches and bite marks covered her body. Slinking over to the bed, the woman climbed on all fours on top of the mattress, and closed her eyes.
“I want to talk to whoever is inside Faith. Who are you? What is it you want? Why are you in this girl, and why was I summoned?”
“You know who I am,” said a lower voice, sounding as if both human genders and all vocal ranges were talking at once. “Save the girl. Save us.”
Samuel stood there, leering at the possessed young woman, confused. “I don’t understand. Why are you in this girl’s body? What are you talking about?”
“We are not alone.” Faith’s eyes opened, glowing red. “There is another here.”
A sudden low growl resonated around the room as the air and walls that surrounded Samuel vibrated. His body slowly lifted from the floor, the door slamming shut behind him.
“Why are you here?” growled a voice from deep within the girl, and yet seemed to also come from every direction.
“I was out looking for kicks on a Friday night,” answered Samuel, floating halfway between the ceiling and the floor, “and you?” He stared at Faith’s sparkling red eyes. “You’re not the same one who was here before.” He squinted. “I don’t know you. Who are you?”
Samuel slowly spun upside down. Faith lifted off the bed, floating toward the man hanging in mid-air.
“These are all neat tricks, but I’ve seen this stuff before. This doesn’t impress me much.”
Samuel quickly dropped to the floor, his head cracking the wooden floorboards underneath the carpet, before being jerked back up, again upside down. Immediately, he was slammed back against the wall, shaking the entire the house.
“Okay,” Samuel said, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave now, before things really get rough.”
“You will die like the rest of your kind,” said the demonic voice. “All humans will soon die.”
“Now, see, that’s where you’re wrong. Maybe I’ll die, and maybe I won’t.” Samuel stared into the fiery eyes of Faith. “But, I’m not exactly human.”
He reached behind him, pressed his hands flat against the wall, and propelled himself forward, grabbing Faith and forcing her down onto the bed. The furniture frame broke under the pressure exerted by the landing.
Samuel jumped to the floor as the first demon regained its foothold within the girl, and sat up.
“Save the girl!” the voice of many voices said.
“What do you want me to do?” screamed Samuel.
“You know what you have to do.” Faith’s yellow eyes locked onto Samuel’s. “Do it. You can get her back. You know you’re the only one who can do it. Quickly. There’s no time.”
Samuel, straightened his posture, stood determined, and screamed, “Get out!”
Faith fell back on the bed as her eyes closed and reopened, exposing the glistening red irises of the second demon.
Samuel placed his hands on her back and chest, focusing on her lungs, and the various anatomical parts that comprised her respiratory system, including the bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, and capillaries, while holding Faith down. The body on the bed, whether under control of the girl, or the more powerful demon, gasped and struggled to break free. Samuel was increasing the carbon dioxide in the body, and removing all oxygen from the girl’s lungs, blood, and cells.
“Help me,” Faith suddenly said, in a choking, panicked voice, her green eyes staring into Samuel’s blues. “I can’t breathe. You’re killing me.”
He didn’t flinch.
The girl’s irises, without her eyelids closing, quickly jumped back to red. “We will find another!” the demon screamed. “You have no hope!”
Two screams came from downstairs as the house shook, then suddenly fell silent, calm. Faith collapsed, struggling no more. Samuel opened the girl’s eyes to see the color green again, surrounding black, dilated pupils. He put two fingers to her neck, checking her carotid artery, and felt no pulse.
Samuel placed one hand over the corpse’s chest, and the other on her head, leaving her eyelids open. “It’s time to come back, now,” he said. He closed his own eyes, and focused as a white light started to glow from each hand.
Several seconds passed, the light emanating from Samuel’s hands washing the bedroom in an ethereal glow, before he felt her heart begin to beat once more, the strong left ventricle now sending oxygen-filled blood throughout the body, and electrical impulses fire in the brain. Faith began to breathe again.
Weakened, he picked the unconscious girl up from the bed, and carried her downstairs, his legs nearly giving out, hoping to find her waiting parents, but instead found only their mutilated, dismembered bodies. The demon’s last act before it departed the house.
Loading Faith into his car, Samuel drove her to the nearest hospital where he placed her inside an empty ambulance outside the emergency department, and got back into his own vehicle and disappeared into the night.