Chan found it impossible to believe that a girl four years old could be orchestrating all the horrors of this house. “But I heard her,” he muttered. “She must be insane!” He had to get help. He turned his head slowly away from under the axe and saw the girl. She was glaring into space and looked like she was yelling at someone, words, but there was nobody else there. “What the hell is going on,” Chan cried.
Suddenly he sensed something strange was happening to the girl. She was trembling, her fists clenched tight and her face twisted into an expression of terrible pain. It was as if something was tearing her up inside. “Help us,” he heard a man’s voice seeming to emerge from the child. “Help us?”
Chan stared in terror at the axe still suspended in the air. “I can’t. I can’t move. He’ll kill
“Mom,” the voice moaned. “Free the mother.”
“I can’t,” Chan said again. The axe…if he moved would the axe come crashing down? “Chan, free the mother,” Allen said, feeling the girl was losing her battle against the
demon even with his help. He had been weakened by his battle in the basement and was
struggling to contain the demon in the girl’s body where it was most vulnerable. “Chan, you must help us.”
“The axe,” Chan whimpered. “He’ll chop me in half.”
“Help us,” the man’s voice said and suddenly a child’s voice echoed weakly, “Help
“Oh God! It’s the girl! I hear her.” Chan sighed, his eyes riveted on the axe. I have no choice. If I don’t stop him we’re all dead anyway. He backed away slowly from the axe, his eyes never leaving the bloody blade.
Relieved the man still hadn’t moved, still was frozen, Chan took the long way around the yard and finally reached Mrs. Ross. She was alive. “You’ve got to wake up,” he hissed, untying the ropes that were tied around her wrists. “Your daughter needs you,” he said, as he freed her ankles. “She can’t do it without you.” He helped her up, letting her head rest on his shoulder.
“Who are you,” Mrs. Ross moaned, and then saw her daughter standing in front of what looked like an altar made of concrete patio blocks, writhing in pain. “What’s happening? My baby,” the mother asked, her eyes searching Chan’s face.
“You have to help her,” Chan said.
The girl let out a furious scream in the demon’s voice. “You will all die! Die all of you!”
“I don’t understand,” the mother gasped, staring in horror. “I thought it was John! I never suspected it was Carol! My sweet baby.” She looked like she was going to faint, but said, “What can we do? I can’t let him hurt my girl.”
Chan shouted, “It’s not her. It’s a demon and she’s fighting him off. I don’t know how she’s doing it, but you’ve got to help her.” He held her up and moved her behind her husband who still wasn’t moving.
“What can I do,” Mrs. Ross asked, horrified by the transformation of her daughter into some kind of wild-eyed fury. “I’ll do anything. Please?”
“I don’t know,” Chan said, afraid the daughter was lost already.
“Hug her daughter,” Allen said, his voice even weaker than before. “Hold her… do not
Chan wondered who the male voice was that seemed to be trying to help them. It didn’t matter for now. He sensed the girl had minutes left if she had any chance at all. He turned to Mrs. Ross and said, “You’ve got to hold her. Hold her now.” He wondered if she could summon the courage to do that.
The mother inside her was moving her closer, but the fear of the demon was holding her back. “I can’t,” she moaned. “I’m afraid.”
Chan had been standing to one side, terrified of moving toward the monster, but now he gripped her shoulders and steered her forward. “You don’t think I’m afraid?” Chan held her
tightly. “Now hold her and I’ll hold you. Just close your eyes and pray as you squeeze her with all the love you have for her.”
The mother’s arms cautiously wrapped around her daughter, Chan locked around them both. He felt the agony of the souls struggling inside the girl’s body and wondered how someone
so young and so frail could survive the horrible battering she was being forced to suffer by this heartless demon, ghost or whatever evil thing this was.
“I’ll kill you all,” the demon screamed in a terrible distortion of the girl’s voice. “You, Chinese boy, your mother died like a slit pig, her honey-tasting blood dripping all over you as you tried to save her, but I can bring her back to you. You can learn the truth from her own tender lips. Isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that peace what you have always wanted?”
Chan felt tears burning in his eyes. “No,” he screamed. “You can’t have her!”
“Your mother is waiting for you, Chan,” the demon taunted. “Your mother who was the only woman who loved you. She gave up her life for you…they didn’t want her…you’ve known all along, they wanted you.”
Chan held on. He had told no other person the truth, but this demon seemed to know it all. It wasn’t his mother the ghost had come for, it was Chan, the last male descendant of the soldier that had killed him in battle. His mother had committed suicide to keep the ghost from taking him to hell. She could not have known that the young boy would never get over his guilt for what she had done to save him. She could not have known that he would be punished as a criminal for telling the truth.
“Let your mother free you,” the demon urged. “No more guilt, no more pain…you can go home again, a free man.”
Chan was tempted, but he could not let this child be sacrificed for him. He had already enough guilt burdening his life from the sacrifice of his mother so many years ago. “You’re afraid,” he shouted at the monster. “We will beat you.”
“I don’t need you, Chinese bastard,” the demon said, “Not when I have another who will be all too glad to accept my gifts?”
Chan wondered who he meant as the demon seemed to be addressing someone else, someone Chan could not see, but whose voice seemed to be coming from the girl as well.
“And you, you poor, lost soul of a ghost,” the girl said in a syrupy voice, “I have a gift for you. I know what you want. I can tell you how you were murdered.”
Who is he talking to, Chan asked, struggling to hold on.
Allen tried not to listen, but he heard the demon continue, “You are of the spirit world.
You are like me. You should care nothing about this girl or the others, so leave them to me and I will give you what you want. Peace. I can set you free so you may have your rest at last?”
Allen knew these were the things he wanted most, but could not let this girl die and become a lost soul…and he could not abandon Shelly who he knew would be the demon’s next target. “Tell me first,” Allen said, his voice quivering with the struggle of remaining inside the girl’s body with this monster’s depraved soul fighting for control.
The demon’s voice was harsh. “Do you think I am a fool? I have been here far before the boy killed his parents. I have been here before the Indians were betrayed by the Europeans. And I will be here long after your little friends, these mere mortals which you and I should regard as fodder, are all dead. They will all be dust and I will still be here no matter what you do. But you, shall remain unfulfilled and desperately alone, a wandering soul for all eternity unless you accept my generous help. I am the truth you seek. Can you turn away from your one hope for answers, for your well-deserved rest?”
“You may survive, but not in this innocent girl’s body,” Allen said, forcing himself to focus all his energy, whatever was left, on merging the girl, mother, Chan and himself into one unified force against this monstrous creature who he had trapped in her body.
“Keep holding her,” Allen wheezed. “Don’t let go.”
Chan was exhausted. He had no idea who was speaking to him from the girl’s body, but sensed the being was trying to help the girl. The mother had passed out from her exertion, but Chan was holding her up. We can’t hold on much longer, he thought, wondering what the demon would do if he won. He caught sight of the father, the axe still held overhead. He had an idea. “Whoever you are inside helping us… the father…can you help me call the father to help us?”
Allen was afraid his strength was almost gone. The demon seemed weaker, not screaming any more, but they were weaker too. “Mr. Ross, he called, “John, your daughter loves you. She
loves you so much. Help her. You must help her.”
Chan echoed the ghost’s words. “Your daughter loves you. She loves you so much.” Together Allen and Chan repeated the words as if they were a magical chant.
Suddenly Chan heard the sound of the axe striking something on the ground. “Say it again! Again,” Chan shouted. “He’s chopping again!”