|Note: This story is a part of a larger series of short stories and flash fiction. You can find these stories on the Oubliette home page.|
Owen stood in the living room of the Wellington Farmhouse. He watched a car creep through the melting snow from the large window. The car stopped and an elderly gentleman in a black overcoat and wide-brimmed hat climbed out with a briefcase. If this gentleman had any emotion, Owen could not see it on his face. Owen watched him until he went out of sight and he walked into the kitchen.
Agent Rodriguez was at the back door as she waited for the gentleman. Although she smiled at the man, he only offered a firm handshake. When the gentleman entered the kitchen, he acknowledged Owen’s presence with a nod and sat his briefcase on the counter next to the discolored kitchen sink.
As the gentleman slid his overcoat off and placed it on the counter next to his briefcase, Owen saw the familiar white clerical collar of a Catholic priest. Mara walked from behind him and motioned towards Owen.
“Agent Holt, this is Father Gary Brown. He is one of our demonologists.”
As Gary offered his hand to Owen, Mara continued, “Father Brown, this is Agent Owen Holt that I told you about on the phone yesterday.”
Owen shook his hand. It was strong and firm which surprised Owen a little. Gary did not say anything and proceeded to open the briefcase. Inside, Owen saw a large silver crucifix and several translucent glass bottles of holy water. Gary pulled a white stole with gold trim from the briefcase and placed it on his shoulders.
“Do you believe in God, Agent Holt?”
Gary approached Owen and performed a rite on him and turned to do the same on Mara.
“Just a precaution.”
Owen watched as Father Brown walked from room to room. In each room, the priest recited a prayer and sprinkled holy water. Owen knew that he was performing a blessing on the house. When he was a child, a priest had come into his home and performed the same rite. He did not remember much about it except that his parents were arguing a lot.
The priest walked up the stairs to the second floor. He took a left and entered a room decorated with pink unicorns. The priest paused and looked about the room.
“This room is a center of activity… a child. She’s lost her way and she’s scared.”
The priest turned and looked at the agents, “She wants me to help… Griswold. Was that his name?”
Mara nodded at him.
“Let’s see if we can give her peace.”
Owen watched as the priest reassured the child spirit and tried to guide her to the other side. During the conversation, the priest promised that Owen and Mara would do their best to help Griswold. Owen could sense the spirit as the priest spoke with her. Her inner turmoil as she came to the realization that she was not where she belonged raced through Owen’s mind. The emotions swirled about the room. Mara glanced at him a couple times during the conversation. Finally, as the priest gave last rites, a sense of peace came to him and the room became still.
“She is home,” concluded the priest.
As the priest walked to the next room, Mara tugged at Owen’s jacket. He turned and she whispered, “Are you okay?”
“You looked like you were about to pass out.”
“I feel fine. That was intense.”
Owen joined the priest who was finishing up the next room and Mara followed. The priest finished blessing the rooms upstairs and went back down to the main level. They entered the kitchen and the priest stopped in front of the door to the basement. When he opened it, he stepped back and recited a prayer to Saint Michael.
“You two stay here… there is something unholy down there.”
After several long minutes, the priest entered the kitchen and leaned his body against a counter. With a shaking finger, he pointed to the door.
“Whatever was down there is gone but its influence lingers. Mara, you said there was a video?”
Pulling her laptop from her bag, Mara answered, “Yes.”
She opened the laptop and played the video. After watching it a third time, the priest spoke.
“Agent Holt, when a shadow has glowing eyes, what does that mean?”
“It means it killed someone.”
“Close, it means it has taken a soul. We need to find the remains of this shadow before it is too late for this Griswold.”