SHADOW

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CHAPTER 58

“BUT FIRST,” SHE said, with a subtle and tired smile, “you can just call me Samantha; that’s what everybody calls me, you know?”

He said nothing.

“When my son jumped off that bridge,” she began in a gentle, melancholic voice, “his soul was forced from his body and it descended to a hellish abyss; a realm inhabited by accursed beings. It might have been better if he stayed dead, though,” she said, and paused to consider how the detective was taking the story. “But unfortunately, by an act of ill-providence, Alan found a way back, regained life even after he’d been dead for hours.”

“You say ‘unfortunately’?” said Davies, looking at her curiously.

“Yes, his resurrection was rather unfortunate,” she reiterated. “I was of course glad when I learnt that he wasn’t dead anymore, that there must’ve been a mistake or a glitch in the system as at the time he was pronounced dead. But now,” she sighed gravely, “I’m not so sure what I feel anymore.”

“Go on.”

Samantha looked at him solemnly. Then she turned her eyes away. “When Alan came back, his soul had no immediate access into his body. It had become a cursed soul possessed by a dark, foul and bloodthirsty spirit. And that is what we have on our hands now, Detective; a soul possessed and manipulated by evil.”

Davies was quiet for a moment, trying to internalize and make sense of what Samantha was saying. Then: “I don’t quite follow, Mrs. …Samantha.”

“What I’m saying, Detective,” she said, “is that these particular killings that have taken place in Tempest this past week may have had something to do with my son, Alan.”

Davies looked at her. “But your son is still in hospital.”

Samantha sighed again, lowered her face. “Yes, he’s still in coma. Like I told you, Alan’s body is just what it is right now – a body, a shell. His soul, and that is the essence of a person, is no longer his. The suicide gave him over to demonic possession.”

“Attempted suicide,” Davies pointed out.

She turned to look at him. “You need to understand, Detective Davies; as much as it pains me to say so, Alan actually died when he jumped into the river. His soul was forced out of his body and when it returned, it was something else.”

Detective Davies was shaking his head gently, unable to comprehend. “This is really sick.”

“Yes, it is.”

“So how is he alive still? And even more curiously; how can these vicious murders be attributed to him?”

Samantha hesitated. “Demon spirits cannot survive on the earth physically, without a human host to live in. A spirit requires a body to operate in the physical world. My son’s body, right now, is housing a terrible demon spirit that would otherwise have been powerless without him. His suicide made him a suitable host for them.”

Tensed silence.

Samantha continued: “Now, even though his body remains on sick bed, his soul, his mind is free. The mind cannot be confined or caged in a body, you must understand. People say that the mind is a powerful phenomenon, but I guess no one can fully understand how powerful it really is, what it’s really capable of especially if it is taken over by dark spirits.

“Alan’s mind has been separated from his unconscious body, and it can go anywhere and do anything. It cannot be stopped by physical means. But before he decided to take his life, there are those with whom he held grudges, people he blamed for all the tragedies that befell our family.” Samantha Prince paused again, her eyes intent on the cop. “Now he’s out to settle scores, to hurt those who hurt him before.”

Lee Davies stared, incredulous. “What are you saying?” he quipped.

“The dark figure I’ve seen stalking me, haunting me; that was actually Alan outside his body, I’m telling you, Detective.”

“But that’s absurd, Mrs. Prince.”

“I’ve thought about this seriously, Detective Davies,” she said quietly. “First was my former boss at work, Thomas, who met us in the restaurant the fateful night we were involved in the accident that claimed my young children’s lives. That’s when the nightmare really started. Somehow, Alan blamed Thomas for the disaster of that night; if he hadn’t chosen to stop over at the same time that my family was eating out there, perhaps the night might have ended well and we’d all still be alive and together.”

“What happened that night?” asked Detective Davies, finding the story compelling.

“My late husband was very jealous and insecure, so when my boss showed up at the restaurant, he thought we were having an affair, that Thomas’ presence wasn’t a coincident, which wasn’t true, of course. Jonathan got upset anyway, and on our way home we quarreled in the car and had that terrible accident.”

Lee Davies gasped quietly, said nothing.

She went on: “Then that boy, Kamil Parker; he and Alan were in high school together. As I gather, they both had affection for the same girl. They were both in love with her.”

“Julie?”

Samantha nodded. “However, she chose Kamil over Alan, and that’s what got him into Alan’s bad book.”

“But we‘re not sure what really happened to Kamil yet; we’re still looking into it,” he said, even though everyone had sort of drawn the curtain on the case.

She looked at him, raised her brows and said cynically, “Good luck with that.”

There was a moment’s silence.

“What about the others?”

“Those alley kids were the same boys that beat up Alan once. They attacked him at a park and left him with a pretty neat gash, for no reasons, apparently. And as for your officers out there,” she said, “I guess being around me put them at a crossroad with Alan.”

Detective Davies said, “What about your late husband; what did he do to upset Alan?”

“A lot,” replied Samantha. “Alan also blames Jonathan for the death of his siblings, and for the way his life turned out generally, you know; the way our family fell apart. He always blamed him, even before the accident happened.”

He looked at her. “And what about you?”

She hesitated. “Maybe I’ve just been lucky,” she returned quietly. “Remember, I first began to have the bizarre experience and seeing the figure right after Alan’s suicide. He came to me then, perhaps to reach out to me.”

“Or perhaps to kill you.”

“Perhaps,” she said. “Perhaps he hasn’t made up his mind what to do about me.”

“Because you’re his mother?” asked Davies thoughtfully.

She paused again, thought about the notion for a moment. “Perhaps.”

Detective Lee Davies got up with a confounded look in his eyes, walked over to the window and watched quietly as the last set of onlookers at the murder scene began to trickle away. Then he said, without turning to look at her: “I’ve heard a lot of crazy stuff in my life, but this one’s way over my head. But with the way it’s going, I admit, I am inclined to believing your story.”

“It’s the truth.”

“That’s what they told you?”

“I saw it, with my own eyes, Detective.”

“Okay,” he said, “say you’re telling the truth about this soul thing; but the demons didn’t bring him back, did they?” he asked.

“No, they didn’t,” she answered. “I guess that’s just a freakish occurrence, an act of God, or perhaps Alan so badly wanted one last opportunity to come back and settle scores with everyone who helped to make his life miserable.”

“So what happens now?” Davies asked.

Samantha stared at him. “The Sisters insist he needs to undergo deliverance before all these can end. The demon controlling his mind has to be expelled forcibly.”

“You’re talking about exorcism?”

She nodded.

“Is that why you went to meet the Sisterhood?”

She nodded again, adding, “But it was they who first came to me, when my husband was still alive. If only we’d taken the warning to heart then, perhaps he’d still be alive.”

“It’s not your fault, Samantha,” he told her kindly. “I mean, no one would’ve taken them seriously.” He paused. “So, do you think they can?”

“Can what?”

“Can they really help to expel the dark spirit?”

Samantha pursed her lips tensely. “I don’t know. But with what has happened so far, with all those people dead, I think I’ll take my chance with them. Besides,” she said, looking at him, “I’m quite certain the police can’t help me. You can’t possibly stop a demon-spirit, can you?”

Detective Lee Davies shook his head slowly, sighed and then got up. “No, guess we can’t?”

When he was at the door, she got up and said, “They’ve asked me to bring him to the Sanctuary for the rites. If I don’t, people will keep dying. The circle of blood will only get wider, and the demon’s thirst for blood will never be appeased; more terrible things are about to hit this town.”

“When?”

“Noon today,” she answered plainly. “The actual cleansing will be done tonight, but we have to move Alan at a time when the sun is at its highest. Demon spirits abhor the light, and that’s our best chance, if we try to take him from the hospital after dark, we’re going to have more on our hands than we can handle. As the light recedes, so the powers of the demons grow more potent.”

“We?”

“Sister Agatha will join me in moving Alan from the hospital. I’m guessing you know her already.”

Davies nodded quietly. “You take care then, Samantha.”

“Thanks.”

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