THREE weeks later…
THEY MOVED INTO a new, discrete property in the outskirts of Tempest.
They were going to leave the pain and horror behind, and start a new life where no one knew anything about them. Hopefully, things would be alright from that time on. Alan would start a new school and hopefully make new friends. Although he had not fully recovered from the ordeal of his encounter, he was well underway.
He still seemed withdrawn, keeping indoors mostly and shunning society altogether. Something had left his spirit; that much was obvious. He seemed grave and uncertain, and even when he smiled, which was rare in the days following the successful exorcism, it was a thin, crooked expression on his pale face.
But, as the doctors and psycho-therapists had assured Samantha, he was going to be fine.
“He’ll come back,” Davies had also said. “If I went through half of what Alan suffered, I’d lose my sanity completely, be confined to a mental institution for sure.”
Samantha herself needed a new lease; she would take up a new job; she’d always wanted to go into private business, perhaps now was the time. In time, she would leave the past behind completely, meet new people as well and, if the heavens were in her favor, she would find love again.
Already, Lee Davies had earned her trust and confidence. He helped them in moving, gave his time and his service, even his money to help them get to a new start. She was hugely indebted to him, but she didn’t want to let herself go just yet.
The future would tell if they would become a couple or stay as just friends. She was holding her breath, fingers crossed. Anything could happen in the weeks to come.
When they finally moved into the new house and were settled in, Davies came over the next day wearing running clothes and carrying a large grocery bag. It was only 7 am in the morning, and Samantha and her son were still in bed.
Samantha was surprised when she came to get the door and found him there.
“Davies? Why, is everything alright?” she asked, smiling uncertainly as she let him in.
Davies smiled broadly. “Everything is ok, Sam,” he replied. “I came to make you breakfast. I have everything I need right here, see?” He lifted the grocery bag gingerly. “How’s Alan?”
She smiled, following him to the kitchen.
Of course, she thought to herself, smiling subtly; anything could happen even now.
SISTER AGATHA TRONNEL was just getting out of bed at about the same time that Detective Davies and Samantha were stepping into the kitchen.
She knew in her heart that something wasn’t right. She was feeling unwell in her body, with her head pounding severely like the early onset of migraine. Her migraine used to be frequent and excruciating, but she hadn’t had any incidence for over a year. Perhaps she was coming down with fever.
She’d been under pressure lately, and maybe this was her body screaming for her to get a break, go on vacation to some remote place. She decided she’d give the notion a thought later, when she’d taken her bath and had breakfast.
The damn headache!
It hit her again suddenly with an intense force that caused her to wince slightly. Then she went to the drawer in her room, opened it and brought out her meds. She uncapped the bottle, popped out two capsules and downed them with a mouthful of water from the table-top fridge in her room. As she drank the pills, it occurred to her that medicines were not to be taken on empty stomachs.
She grinned slyly. “Yeah, yeah,” she said to herself, half aloud.
That was when she recollected that she’d had a weird dream that night, and a series of images flooded her mind instantly. She paused, puzzled.
Yes, it was a most bizarre, unnatural dream.
She was falling through a dark hole filled with horrible creatures. Not that she saw these creatures; she was only conscious that they were there all around her as she fell, snarling, hissing and spewing slimy stuff on her.
Screaming terribly, she kept falling, surrounded by palpable darkness and vicious beasts. She fell for maybe an hour or more! It was an unbelievably long fall, and she screamed all the way down. The impact when she landed on the ground knocked the wind out of her lungs for a minute or more. Then she coughed in agony, propped herself up and glared around at where she was.
The place was still dark, with no signs of anyone around. It was like a prison dug into the ground. A dungeon underground; yes, that was what it was, and suddenly, she was in chains! Her legs and hands chained to the floor almost in the same way that they’d chained that boy during the exorcism rites.
As she sat there wondering, she heard a sound; someone coming. She looked, afraid and anxious, wondering what next.
A little child came through the darkness and walked towards her. The child had blood stains all over her mouth, hands and on her little white dress, as though she’d just finished feasting on raw flesh. The sight was horrible, and Agatha turned her face away in irritation and dismay.
The little girl reminded her of the Mother Divine. Only that it wasn’t the Holy Mother; it was someone else.
Someone different but very familiar.
It suddenly dawned on Agatha Tronnel and she gasped, caught her breath and craned her eyes to get a better view of the child in the dark dungeon with her. Partly concealed in the shadows, the bloody girl was glaring evilly at her with her face lowered. Her lips were slightly parted, her nose drawn back irritably.
Agatha shivered down to her spin.
It was her! She was staring at herself as a child! But, how was that even possible?
That was when the horrible, taunting cackle of the girl filled the dungeon like a blanket of gloom. Her laughter resonated loudly, bouncing off the unseen walls and amplified in the darkness like the voices of many deranged children laughing together.
Agatha cried dreadfully and opened her eyes in bed.
She thought about the dream for a moment, contemplating what it could possibly portend. Then she shook her head quietly, deciding she would share it with the Mother Divine later that day when she went to the Temple to pray.
A few minutes later when, refreshed and ready to whip together a quick meal, she came to the living room, she froze in consternation, shaken to her bones. She gasped and stared in horror, her eyes wide with alarm at the chaos she’d walked into.
The living room was a mess! Everything out of place, scattered, crashed and ripped through! The first realistic thought might be to wonder if a cyclone had struck overnight (but that wasn’t the case, because the rest of the house was in perfect condition), and the next thought would be to consider if it was the handiwork of burglars. But that was also unlikely, because the doors were still secured, and there were no signs of entry or of anyone being in the house, except for the upturned furniture.
Sister Agatha stared in disbelief, standing transfixed for a long time. And her hands began to tremble visibly.
Behind her, a door slammed shut and she started, letting out a hair-raising shriek.
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