“I received your letter and came with haste.”
Wakiza’s concerned and frightened eyes glanced from the dark confides on his old friend. “Dhanvatori, I am glad you came.” He shifted his eyes left and saw the traveling companion.
“This is Gideon,” Dhanvatori introduced. “I brought him to help.”
Gideon’s lips pressed in a smile, barely visible behind the thick red facial hair.
“Gideon’s an expert on certain,” he paused. “Paranormal elements.”
Wakiza’s heart fluttered. He swallowed.
“My apologies, please come in.”
The wood floorboards squeaked under their weighty feet, and Wakiza slammed the door. The chill left his face as he slid the deadbolt with a loud clang.
“Where is the child?” Dhanvatori wasted no time.
Wakiza led them through a narrow hall to a room where the glow from the fireplace spilled into the hall’s darkness. They entered and stood still. The child, a girl no older than nine years, lay on a low framed bed near the fireplace. “Here she is,” Wakazi announced. A blanket of sorrow weighed heavily on his sloping shoulders. He buried his face in hand and sniffed.
“I wish you had called me first,” Dhanvatori spoke and walked toward the child. “Instead of that, exorcist.” He reached for the crucifix nailed to the wall over the child’s head and removed it. “Where is your wife?”
“Away,” Wakiza checked that his face was clear of tears. “She’ll return in a fortnight.”
“Then we have little time,” he motioned to Gideon with a nod.
“We’ll need more blankets for the ride,” Gideon’s voice was gentle, and empathy dulled his eyes.
“Where are you taking her?”
“From what I read in your letter; the child’s soul is in grave danger.”
Dhanvatori tossed the crucifix into the flames and pushed his way into the hall. “I’ll find the blankets.”
“I’ll do my best to explain along the way, but if I must appease you for cooperation, I will say that the exorcist did not help.”
Wakiza shifted his eyes to his daughter. “She’s been like this for two days.”
“I suspect that her ability to read thoughts was not a curse or a demonic possession. It was a gabamnoteh.”
Wakiza’s eyes widened, and the lines across his forehead became thick.
“A gabamnoteh is a fragment of some ancient soul that travels from one to another. It cannot be exorcised. Think of it as a cyst on the soul.”
Dhanvatori scampered into the room, returning with blankets. With quivering hands, he covered the child from head to foot.
Gideon helped. He stood at the child’s head.
“Are you saying that my daughter’s soul is diseased?”
“He’s saying that something is attached to it.” They lifted the child, holding on to the blanket ends. “When the priest tried to exorcise the demon, he subjected her to something deadly. He believes it took your daughter’s soul.” He paused and his eyes glowed with trepidation. “If we delay, we may miss the chance to free her soul.”
They exited the bedroom.
“I don’t understand.” Wakiza’s voice shook. They reached the exit, and he opened the door. The cold air chilled his face.
Dhanvatori tried to explain. “The spirit, Hafta’el often comes at the summoning of an exorcism. He captures and binds the wicked spirits in the pit of sorrows.”
“In this case,” Gideon added as they approached the waiting carriage. “There was no soul to capture aside from your daughter’s.”
They placed the daughter inside the carriage, and Dhanvatori climbed in after.
Gideon raced to the front to take the bridles. “Come,” Dhanvatori called. “We haven’t much time.”
“Let’s hope he waits for us if we’re late,” Gideon called for the horses to pull.
They trotted, and the carriage bounced over the uneven ground. “Where are you taking us?” Wakiza asked. He bit his knuckles.
“There is a pub, a little more than half a day’s journey from here. Inside of it waits a chair.” He paused and shifted his eyes ahead. Gideon looked back and gave an approving nod. “It’s called the Devil’s armchair.”
“Are you insane?” Wakazi screamed and tightened his arms around the child. His heart raced, and his skin crawled. “Turn us around. I’ll have no parts of this.”
Dhanvatori took his friend by the shoulder and peered into his eyes. “My friend.” His pled like a beggar. “You tried the priest already. You exorcised your daughter’s soul. We are here to help recover it before it’s too late.”
Wakazi lowered his eyes. Desperation over-rode his morality.
“What people name this chair is irrelevant to what it can do for us.” He released the shoulder. “It has a direct connection to a world, parallel to ours. In that world is another chair.”
His hand moved to the child’s head and stroked the auburn strands. “If we sit her in the first chair, and her soul sits in the second, the link between chairs can unite the two.”
Gideon made a grunt that suggested doubt. He glanced back, and Wakazi’s frightened eyes peered at him. “Provided Kabeir is successful.”
Wakazi turned to Dhanvatori for an explanation.
“Kabeir is a spirit,” he paused, then swallowed and took a deep breath. “As I said. Gideon specializes in more than normal science.”
“Once there were twin spirits, Idoth and Kabeir,” Gideon yelled. The sound of the carriage wheels tumbling over the gravel path made it difficult to hear. His voice shook. “They were part of a satanic ritual. During which, their spiritual bodies were separated into these gabamnoteh.” He looked back to catch Wakazi’s glare. “Idoth was clairvoyant.”
Wakazi shook his head and started to rock his daughter.
“Judging from everything you put in your letter, a piece of her spirit is part of your little girl.”
Dhanvatori injected. “The spirits summoned in the exorcism would not differentiate from the gabamnoteh or your daughter’s soul.”
“This is all my doing,” Wakazi whispered. “I suggested the priest.”
“Don’t worry, my friend,” Gideon yelled. “He will find her.”