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Light. For days or weeks or months or possibly years of darkness I finally saw the light.
I repeatedly blinked my eyes and through the blurriness I noticed a bright white florescent light hanging above me.
I had zero recollection of where I was, how I ended up there and briefly who I was. My mind was jumbled as I tried to get my bearings. But I could barely stay awake because moments after noticing the light I felt myself slip away to unconsciousness again.
When I woke up the second time, the blurriness had faded. The florescent light above me was clearer. I could hear a beeping sound next to me. Muttered voices and distant footsteps were other distinct noises I could pick up.
I could smell a familiar scent. That smell of pills or medicine which most hospitals have became more pronounced for my nose.
Memories began flooding back to my conscious. My family, my childhood, my job, getting pricked by a strange rose and fighting a demon, were all recollections that my mind regained.
I felt a shiver in my bones as I recalled Bathym and how I had agreed for him to possess my body. I wondered if the demon was able to bring back my brother or he endeavored in his own malevolent selfish tasks.
I was lying on my back on a bed with a few sheets over my body. I tried sitting up but I couldn’t. My back felt stiff, my body was numb and all of a sudden I felt this unbearable agony. My chest had a shooting pain, my head was aching so bad I thought a volcano was erupting in my skull and I couldn’t move so much as a finger. My mouth was dry as a bone, my throat was sore and after several attempts I realized I couldn’t speak.
My heart began hammering in my chest as I became more concerned with what Bathym did with my body.
A figure came into view on the left side of my bed. The person probably heard me squirming and trying to speak.
“He is awake,” a female voice said.
Another person also stepped up next to my bed. Turning my head to look in the people’s direction was an excruciating task. I could hear my bones snapping as my head averted in their direction.
My heart stopped.
Rebecca and Joseph were looking down at me. The memories of when I last saw them flashed in my mind. Tears welled up in my eyes. I wanted to apologize to them. I wanted to beg for their forgiveness. I had been selfish and inconsiderate but all my mouth could do was let out an inaudible gasp.
Rebecca placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “Take it easy, Stan. You haven’t fully recovered. You don’t have to say anything. I am glad you are awake because all you have to do is listen.”
She removed her hand from my shoulder and her face fell. “Stan, you have been possessed by Bathym for the past week. I am sure you already know that because you allowed the demon to possess you.”
I felt hot under my skin. How did she know that? Then I remembered what Bathym said, my skin probably didn’t turn black after I was possessed because I stupidly let him in.
Rebecca continued, “Stan, I don’t know what you were thinking but you really hurt me. You left me, Joseph and my uncle in that basement and ran off with the demon that killed your parents and my father.”
Rebecca paused as she wiped the tears that had gleaned in her eyes. I felt horrible. This was possibly worse than the dark void I had been trapped in.
“Bathym did terrible things with your body, Stan. I don’t know if you are aware of this but he opened a portal to hell and released two really powerful demons.” Rebecca paused again and stared at me with tearful eyes.
“The demon killed two families to open that portal. Ten people lost their lives for Bathym’s cause.”
My stomach flipped like a dolphin when I heard this. Bathym never mentioned anything about killing people to open the portal. Rebecca didn’t tell me the names of the demons Bathym released but I had a feeling none of them were my brother.
“Thankfully my uncle had another Egyptian dagger that helped us fight the demon but… he didn’t make it. My uncle is dead. That’s someone else from my family that has been taken away from me by Bathym. My uncle’s guts were ripped open like…” Rebecca looked away as the tears began flowing down her cheeks.
Even if I could speak I wouldn’t have known what to say.
“Anyway, we fought the demon for a whole day. He escaped your body just before we could dagger him. He is still out there. Bathym is still on earth and we intend to kill him.”
I became optimistic that at least when I recover I can correct the wrong I did by helping them hunt down and kill this demon.
But Rebecca put a hand on my shoulder again and said, “Stan, this is something Joseph and I will do. We hope for your speedy recovery. But we don’t need your help. You have done enough. I would also appreciate it if you find another place to stay when you get out of the hospital. I am sorry Stan but you really hurt me and I am finding it hard to forgive you. You turned out not being the man I thought you were. I had hoped things would have gone differently for us but this is goodbye.”
She leaned in, kissed my cheek, turned her heels and headed for the door. Joseph then moved closer to where I laid my head. Believe it or not but he still had that dirty white cloth wrapped around his head. It’s either he had forgotten that he had it on or maybe it was his new thing.
“Hi Stanford,” he began. That was the first time he used my name. I took that as a sign that he was also disengaging from me. “I don’t know why you did what you did but it wasn’t cool. You completely violated the roommate code, man.”
He shook his head as he looked up at the white ceiling of my room. “I don’t know what that demon promised you but you should have known that demons lie all the time. I mean they are demons man, it’s in their nature. Anyway, there are a couple of things I thought you should know. We spoke with captain Ledger and you have nothing to worry about. He knows you were possessed when you killed those people. I guess your only punishment will be carrying the guilt of knowing that you killed innocent people. We also spoke with the medical staff about how you had a strange sickness because you looked weird when we brought you in. They quarantined you for a while but they eventually moved you here when you were getting better. Remember don’t tell anyone about demons and all. You will only spook people out and gain yourself a ticket to the loony bin. The last thing is… Craig didn’t make it, man. I am sorry. He was in a critical condition when we found him and he died a few days ago.”
With that, Joseph placed a hand on my shoulder and stared down at me. I thought he was going to kiss me as well but fortunately he just turned away and walked out without even a goodbye.
Tears began dripping out of my eyes as I looked at the pristine white walls of the hospital room. I had a lengthy stare at a single painting of violets in a vase hanging up on the wall as I thought of Craig and all the memories we had.
I noticed my room had two grey plastic chairs which were lined up against the wall. One of the chairs had my clothes, slim fit dark blue jeans, a checked black and white shirt, a plain white t-shirt, light brown boots and my lucky trucker cap. Staring at my clothes made me wonder what I was wearing. I hoped I wasn’t naked.
Once again it took great effort to turn my head to face the ceiling and think about all that Joseph and Rebecca had said. I couldn’t believe I had killed more innocent people. In a way I had killed Craig as well. If I had exorcised Bathym in time and got him to a hospital, my best friend would probably be still alive.
A doctor and nurse interrupted my guilt tripping session as they briskly walked in. “Well well, look who is finally awake,” the nurse said. She was a mildly chubby woman with blonde hair tied into a pony tail and had bangs covering her forehead. She was wearing pink scrubs and had a huge smile showing her perfect row of white teeth.
“How are you feeling… Mr Black,” the doctor asked me as he looked at a clip board the nurse handed him. I wanted to tell him I have seen better days but still no words came out of my mouth.
“I don’t think his vocal cords have kicked in yet…” the nurse said as she proceeded to say a litany of medical terms my hazy mind was too weak to grasp.
The doctor’s blue eyes looked up from the clip board and focused on me as the nurse continued her blabbering. The doctor’s well shaven face smiled at me. When the nurse was done, he scratched the back of his head which had black hair cropped into an English cut. He gave the nurse orders of the pills and injections to give me. He handed her back the clip board and walked out after assuring me that I will be fine.
The nurse smiled down at me and began fiddling with a tray filled with syringes and pill bottles. “You became quite the popular patient when you arrived. The ‘green man’ is what most people called you,” the nurse said.
I was surprised by this remark until I remembered what Joseph said. I guess when Bathym evacuated from my body he left me with some of his power again. I must have looked like the Green Lantern when I arrived at the hospital. No wonder they quarantined me. I became curious if I still looked like that.
“That is why the legendary doctor Davidson took you as his patient. He is always up for a challenge and as always he did his magic and look at you now. You look normal again and you are rapidly getting better,” continued the nurse.
I guess from her words the doctor had done some operations or whatever on me and I no longer looked like I had put on that Jim Carry mask. The nurse opened my mouth and popped in two pills. She then gently poured water down my throat and it helped eradicate the dryness on my esophagus.
“Let’s see how you will be feeling after this, huh?” the nurse said as she injected a syringe with a colorless liquid into my IV bag. From then, my vision became blurry again. My eyelids felt heavy and eventually they closed shut.
The first thing I noticed when I woke up was someone standing on my bed side. The person was to my right side. I felt no pain when I turned to face him. I was shell shocked to see who it was.
Daniel stood by my bedside. He looked different. His skin was black and filled with red cracks. Bathym’s sign was on his eyes. He smiled at me.
“Hello brother. Long time no see,” he said. “Thanks for ruining my life by the way. Let me return the favor.” He raised his hand and a bolt of red electricity coiled its way around his fingers.
My body tensed up before I heard a shout from the door. “Hey, leave him alone!”
Surprisingly I was able to sit up from my bed with no struggle. Standing by my room door were the five clowns from before. Red-wig was speaking, “step away from him you demon.”
Daniel laughed, “or else what?”
The clowns walked into the room and crossed their arms over their chest as if they were imitating the Wakanda greeting. They all shouted, “Ninja mode activate!”
Bright rainbow colors glowed from behind them and in an instant they had changed everything about themselves from their bodies to their clothes. They became thinner, fitter and well-built individuals. Their clothes were now tight, shiny and silky costumes which sort of made them look like the Power Rangers. And just like the Power Rangers each of their costumes were of different colors, red, green, yellow, blue and black. Motorcycle like helmets covered their heads, elbow length white gloves were on their hands and they also wore knee high white boots.
They sprinted towards Daniel and took turns round kicking the demon. When he had fallen to the floor, the transformed clowns took out balloon guns and sprayed the demon with holy water.
Daniel screamed until he was consumed by a red flame. I was about to celebrate when one of the walls in my room was knocked down and a huge yellow school bus rolled into my room. When the bus crashed into my room, it ran over and killed two of the Power Rangers, black and blue.
I could hear the whistling and laughing of the possessed nuns resounding from inside the bus. The doors of the bus swung open and the multi headed bear demon from the well climbed out. The remaining Power Rangers ran towards the beast but were torn to shreds by the creature. In an instant my whole room had turned red with the blood of the clowns.
The beast’s several heads looked at me and they screamed, “Round two!”
As the creature sped towards me, I woke up screaming and soaked with sweat all over my body. I had somehow managed to sit up on my bed. I should have known it was all a dream when the clowns turned to Power Rangers.
The florescent light above me began flickering and I noticed two people standing by the door. “I said no more human casualties, Stanford,” said the unmistakable voice of captain Ledger.
Once again I longed to speak but no words came out from my mouth.
“It’s okay. You just can’t help yourself, can you? I will help you.” He turned to the person next to him and said, “Kill him.”
Officer Richards stepped closer to my bed. In the inconsistent glow of the flickering light, I saw him pull out his pistol, aim it at me and pull the trigger.
Once again I woke up screaming. But this time I couldn’t sit up. Two people instantly ran up to my bedside.
“Stanford, are you okay?” Captain Ledger asked me.
“Please don’t shoot me,” I begged him.
“Relax son. We aren’t going to shoot you. He is in shock, get him water or something,” the captain ordered Richards.
The uniformed officer dashed out of the room.
“It’s okay son, it’s okay. You are safe. You are in a hospital,” the captain assured me in a soft soothing voice.
I felt calmer and was convinced my strange dreams were over. “You have been through quite a lot, huh?” the police captain asked.
“Yeah,” I replied. ‘Wait, I can now talk?’ I thought to myself in relief. I also realized my body felt less rigid.
“Your friends explained to me everything that happened to you. Once again I am sorry about your parents and your friend, Craig is it? You have my most sincere condolences. I- I have brought you something.” Captain Ledger reached down and showed me a fruit basket with a pink and white card embossed ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LITTLE GIRL’. “Sorry about the card, that was the only card left at the damn supermarket I bought it.”
“It’s okay. It’s the thought that counts, I guess,” I meekly replied.
He placed the basket on a small table to my right and officer Richards walked in with a glass of water.
I chugged the water as captain Ledger spoke, “you know this demon is causing a lot chaos that is putting me on the spot.”
“Don’t worry, Rebecca and Joseph are taking care of it,” I said.
“Yes I know. I realized I have been playing this all wrong. I should have helped you when you asked me for assistance. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I didn’t want my hands dirty or something but now I am committed to properly helping you guys which is why officer Richards will be with you during your stay in the hospital just to make sure the demon doesn’t get to you again. I also provided Rebecca and Joseph with a team of officers to help them find and kill this demon. Hopefully they will be successful.”
“Thank you,” I muttered out.
“Thank me when the demon is killed. And don’t worry about Richards he has received the 101 from Joseph on killing demons. You are in good hands. Get well soon,” with those words the police captain left.
“I hope you don’t mind but I will be holding on to this until you are better,” Officer Richards said as he waved my revolver diamondback.
“Not all. Do you happen to know where my crucifix is?” I asked him.
He reached out to his back pocket and brought out the crucifix which he placed on my chest. I reached for the cross and brought it closer to my face to examine it. I immediately thought of Rebecca. She had told me she made it herself when she was a child. One of the wooden pieces was at least 25 cm long and the crossing piece was about 10 cm. The well carved body of Jesus Christ on the front was made of what appeared to be brass and it gleamed under the florescent light.
I thanked officer Richards and he asked if there is anything else I want because he was about to run out and get a cup of coffee. I told him I was fine and he left.
I was left alone in my room and I thought of Rebecca and Joseph again. The shame I felt for knowing I had caused them so much pain filled my eyes with tears once more. I desperately wanted to turn back time.
I then heard footsteps walk up to my door and I slightly lifted my head despite the pain. At first I thought it was officer Richards but the man by the door looked nothing like the police officer. The light in the hallway was off for some reason so I couldn’t make out too much about the man. He wore a baggy grey jacket over a plain white t-shirt. He had equally baggy brown cargo pants. His shoulders were slumped down and he stared at me long enough to make me feel uneasy and clench my crucifix tighter.
The man stepped into my room and his face came into the light. My body shuddered at the man’s grim appearance. He had bags under his tear soaked red eyes, his curly black hair was bedraggled with bangs partly draping over his eyes, his chapped lips were white as chalk and his whole face was radiating a very hateful energy towards me.
I thought he was crazy and was about to scream but the man leaped at me with inhuman speed and cupped my mouth with his hands.
“No one is going to hear you, pal. The same way no one heard you murder my family,” the man said in a deep voice as his mouth ebbed a strong scent of cigarettes.
He moved his hands to my throat and hoarsely said, “I saw the police captain here. How many years are they giving you for what you did? No no no, jail is too good for you. Scumbags like you deserve to die.”
“Hold on man. Let me explain,” I tried to assuage the man but he slapped me so hard my cheek seared with pain.
“Explain what?! I saw you butcher my family you son of a b***h. You tore off my baby girls’ head like you were harvesting cotton balls!” the man screamed.
“No, that was not me. I was possessed by a demon.”
“Yeah, we all have our demons. It’s your fault you couldn’t control whatever drug you took for that super human strength you had. I see you holding a crucifix, good. Say your final prayer, a*****e.”
The man reached into the pockets of his baggy pants and brought out a switch blade which he pressed on my neck.
I wanted to say something but the man pressed the knife harder on throat, “I don’t want to hear it. This is the end of the road for-“
“Drop it!” came a shout from the door. The man was so startled he spun around and he carelessly dropped his knife.
Officer Richards was at the door with his pistol trained on the man.
“I am sorry. I am sorry,” the man cried out as he teared up.
Officer Richards looked at me and asked, “Is he a demon?”
I was still in shock so all I could do was shake my head.
The man continued apologizing, “I am sorry officer, I really am. He killed my family and I thought…” the man trailed off as he sobbed with his head hang down.
“You have the right to remain silent, sir. Anything you say shall be used against you in the court of law,” officer Richards said as he cuffed the man. “Are you okay? Should I get a nurse?” he asked me.
“Just shaken up but I am fine,” I muttered.
“I will radio for someone to come take this guy to the station. Will you be alright by yourself?”
“I will be fine.”
Officer Richards led the man out of my room and left me thinking about the people I killed when I was possessed. I still couldn’t believe I killed more innocent people. I had absolutely no recollection of that. Apparently I even ripped off a little girl’s head. I truly felt like I deserved to go to jail.
There was a thud from under my bed. Almost immediately after, a phone began ringing. It was a customary ring tone. I remembered I had thrown away my phone so it couldn’t be mine. Besides I didn’t have a phone that ring like that.
My eyes darted around the room and noticed the sound was coming from underneath my bed. My body was still partly sore so leaning over to stare below the bed was a painful process I managed to complete with sluggish slowness.
What I saw under my bed made my heart flutter. There was a long white box. It was a few inches away from a coffin classification. It was also quite narrow. I dragged the box from under the bed.
Attached with duct tape on top of the box was a phone. The screen displayed an unknown number was calling. I reaped off the tape and took the phone.
I answered the call and the voice that spoke up sent chills to the core of my soul. “Hello, dear.”