Elissa Longfeather wearily walked through the front door of her old but well-maintained home. The bold red and orange rays colored the sky from the late evening sun preparing to surrender itself again to the starry night. She had always welcomed the stars, but not tonight. The stars brought the nighttime, and the night brought the darkness. The darkness would only remind her of the recent horrors still fresh in her head. She felt her fear coil itself around her chest like a serpent, constricting her breathing into short gasps. She stared out into nothing for an undetermined amount of time; her mind preoccupied with things to come. It was a chain of events she was forced to set into motion. It was no surprise to her when low singing was heard from three small shapes appearing over the horizon in the distance. The sky darkened, and the silhouettes grew near.
“Damn!” She said, “Well, that didn’t take long.”
Elissa sighed and went into her cupboard and took out a single glass and a bottle of whiskey. She had considered trying to get some sleep but quickly decided she didn’t want to spend her last few hours in bed. When the sun set, they would come. Elissa recognized what approached. Her grandfather spoke of them often in her youth. They were called the Eh-Mojag-te-ha, “The Silent Eaters of Skin.” Elissa was so very young the first time she saw the spirits for herself. Like the wolf pup opening its eyes for the first time, forever would they be open. Never could they be closed to the world again.
Since she was a young girl, always had the Spirit World called out to her. The Great Sky Spirit had chosen her from an early age to become the spiritual guide to her tribe. When she came of age, her dream quest yielded a mighty medicine bag. Quickly her skills in the ways of the shaman grew, and her abilities far exceeded all who had come before her. Many songs and stories were written to honor and remember her great deeds. Throughout the reservation and across the land, her reputation grew. She was more than just a medicine woman; she was a spirit warrior. Many battles did she fight in her time. The shadow world waged a constant and relentless war against the spirit warrior. She confronted every vile entity with the strength of the bear, the speed of the wolf, and the power of the wind. All who challenged the Spirit Warrior found only defeat, yet the shadow world continued sending one enemy after the other, after the other. It was a useless endeavor, but triumph was not what they desired. No, it was deceit. They conspired to overcome the Spirit Warrior by another means.
When a shaman sets out to create their medicine bag, they know only once in their lifetime can they create such an object. The medicine bag acts as a vessel for their intent to enter the other-world and commune with the spirits and divine deities. The medicine bag, once completed, is essentially ‘alive’ with the energy force of the spirit world. It empowers them to seize those supernatural energies and command it to manifest their will in the physical realm.
The medicine bag is the source of the shaman’s power and strength. It is a powerful object; however, its power is not infinite. It has its limits and cannot store the sacred energies indefinitely. Once the last of its energy has been used, severed is the Shaman’s connection to the spirit realm. Past medicine men served their people well and lived their lives with their medicine bags more than sufficient to meet their needs. Elissa was like no other. Many great battles did she fight. The shadow world’s assaults were constant against her and her people. Through the years, her medicine bag exerted more and more of its energy until it barely had enough strength to protect her from the many dark spirits she had angered. Like vultures waiting for a dying animal take its last breath, they circled above. The shadow spirits were patient; they only needed to wait. They remained with incessant patience that held at bay an insatiable hunger for the day they would come for the Spirit Warrior. On that day, they would have their revenge.
Now a middle-aged woman, Elissa lived a solitary life. Her resolve had been broken a long time ago. Poverty and despair consumed her people since the arrival of the white man. The injustice inflicted on her people and inaction of the Sky Spirit eroded her faith. While she waged war against the dark spirits of the shadow world, there were none to fight for her people in the physical world. The suffering of her people had pierced her heart and made it bitter. Weary from battles fought both in the flesh and in the ethereal planes, Elissa renounced her faith and turned her back to the Great Spirit. Still, her deeds were remembered and honored across the reservation.
It was that notoriety that caught the priest’s attention.
It was a day, like any other when Father Gregory first appeared on Elissa’s front porch. He was a friendly young man, but his face was tired and had the look of someone who had seen far too much in his time. Now, three days later, Elissa Longfeather wore that same look upon her face.
The priest told Elissa of a young boy in grave need of help. A dark spirit has claimed the child’s soul for its own. It was too powerful for him alone, and the parish had refused to grant additional aid to the priest. The church was hesitant to the possibility of public embarrassment and ordained the matter at hand, not of a spiritual nature, but merely an extreme case of mental illness. It was disappointing to realize the church’s reputation now took precedence over the welfare of the children of God it swore to watch over.
It pained her, to hear of the suffering of an innocent, but quickly informed the priest she longer served as the reservation’s medicine woman. The truth of the matter was even if she had not left behind her mystical profession, Elissa had learned long ago to stay out of the affairs of the white man, a policy that had served her well. With sincere apologies, she respectfully declined the request, sending the priest into a frenzy of begging and pleading with the medicine woman. He spoke of horrifying torments the dark spirit was inflicting on the boy and his family. He cried he was losing the war, and she was his last resort. Elissa’s hand instinctively went to her medicine bag that hung around her neck. She rubbed its old leather strap between her fingers, a habit she developed in times of stress. Despite the desperation in the man’s pleading, Elissa held her ground and would not be swayed. Elissa turned to leave, and the man called out, “The demon has named itself! It called itself Cipelahq!”
Elissa Longfeather froze. Again, her hand went to the medicine bag and grasped it tightly. She slowly turned to face the priest and said, “What did you say?”
“Cipelahq. It’s a Wabanaki word, right? That’s how I knew to come to you.”
The old pickup truck sped along the road of a deserted highway. The view was stunning under the deep blue sky, puffy white clouds, and majestic rock formations. The stones held beautiful shades of red, orange, and gold stretching as far as the eyes could see. All this went ignored as Elissa stared absently out the window. The silence was becoming uncomfortable, and the priest cleared his throat and said, “I saw you speak at the Yo’Ta-Wey conference at the University a few years back. You were quite impressive. Your ability to address both the mystical attributes and the spiritual necessities of the…”
Elissa interrupted, “Excuse me, Father. I have agreed to see the boy and offer guidance if I can, but let me be clear so we can avoid any future “misunderstandings.” The person you are speaking of is dead. She is gone. Now I have no desire to speak ill of the dead, but the truth of the matter is she died a long time ago. She died in pain. She died alone, and she died a fool. Let the dead rest in peace.”
The priest considered this intently and finally said, “I look upon you, and I don’t see death. Yes, I see pain, but not death. Perhaps there will be two souls we can rescue tonight.”
Having no desire to engage in this topic, Elissa quickly changed the subject and said, “So what is the boy’s story?”
The priest’s disposition went grim as he spoke. “Adam is a seven-year-old boy. He comes from a typical family, with a mother, a father, an older sister, one dog, and two cats. At first glance, there was nothing to indicate there was anything out of the norm. Two months ago, the parents reported hearing a voice coming from the boy’s room. When peeking in, they would always find the boy alone. Soon they began to experience events one would associate with a demonic invasion. They reported cold spots within the home, a foul stench coming from the child, unexplained scratches on the boy’s body and violent mood swings. Recently, the girl suffered several brutal strikes from an invisible assailant. I witnessed this myself.”
The priest continued, “The parents have been very open and forthcoming about their history. They told me the child was born prematurely and has always been sickly. Now, he has grown violent with displays of extraordinary feats of strength. At this point, the family fears for their safety and are preparing to commit the child to a psychiatric facility.”
The priest paused before continuing, “However, matters were revealed to be more than a psychological disturbance. The boy can now speak in foreign languages. At last count, he is fluent in eleven languages with one being of an unknown origin. But he prefers ancient Aramaic. However, when he speaks in the unknown tongue, it gives the semblance of three to four voices talking at once. He speaks with a voice unlike any produced by a normal child; it reverberates with evil. To speak with the boy is, for lack of better words, uncomfortable. His vocabulary is equivalent to any educated scholar and his deviance and manipulation exceed the most cunning of serial killers.”
The priest continued, “He has shown to have the gift of foresight and premonition. He rather enjoys getting into your head and finding your most personal secrets. The prophesies he has foretold were immediately confiscated by the Church and not revealed. Instead, they argue and debate with the Vatican on what to do. However, I do have a friend in the archive and he told me the boy’s prophetic messages were chilling. His predictions accurately describe events and places the child could not possibly know. Now he is beginning to show ‘other’ abilities.”
“What kind of abilities?” Elissa inquired.
The priest shifted uncomfortably in his seat and said, “He is beginning to display signs of psychokinesis and Psycho-coercion.”
Elissa looked incredulously at the priest. She had never heard of such a violation of the flesh by a spirit. She asked, “Is there anything unusual about the boy’s past? Can you think of anything, no matter how small or insignificant?”
The priest nervously swallowed and said, “Yes there is. When I said the boy was born prematurely; that may not be entirely accurate.”
“What do you mean, ‘not entirely accurate,’ Father?” Elissa asked sternly.
After a pause, the priest said, “In the mother’s third trimester, she miscarried, and her womb discharged the fetus. She almost died from the ordeal. The husband said he only left his wife’s side for a few moments, just enough time to call for an ambulance. He said he carried her into the hallway, away from the blood and underdeveloped infant lying dead on the bathroom floor. To his horror, he returned to find a bloody trail of afterbirth exiting the bathroom. It rounded the corner where his unconscious wife lay.”
Elissa gasped, and once again her hand went to her medicine bag hung around her neck. The priest struggled to find his words and finally spoke, “He found the infant, alive and well, suckling on the breasts of his half-dead wife.”
The sun was setting when the pair reached the home of Adam. Elissa stood before the large house and took in a deep breath. She softly spoke, “The ground is angry. It is offended by something that trespasses upon it.”
“Come,” said the priest, “Let me introduce you to the parents.”
For the next hour, Elissa and the priest spoke with the mother and father. The sallow looks of despair and hopelessness were very apparent in their eyes. Elissa sat silently and let them tell their story. There was such desperation in their voices as they relayed the torments and horrors experienced from the hands of their youngest son.
Once they had finished, Elissa asked, “The demon, it named itself?”
They nodded, and the mother stood and walked away. Moments later she returned and handed Elissa a picture. At first, she only saw the words; then she gasped at the realization of what she was seeing. The word “Cipelahq” protruded from large and round formations. Each letter consisted of weeping welts and sores arranged in a perfect formation upon the boy’s tongue.
Elissa excused herself from the group and went outside to think. She was at the crossroads everyone eventually stands before. She wanted nothing more than to live the remainder of her days in peace. Her medicine bag retained just enough mystical power to protect against most dark spirits. She desired only to forget about the ethereal beings who walked between the shadows. Yet a child was suffering at the hands of a servant of evil. She could not turn her back and allow an innocent soul to be sacrificed. She was filled with fear, for she knew the consequences. If she went through with the exorcism, it would deplete that last of her medicine bag’s energy leaving none for herself. When that happens, they would come for her. They would not forget their enemy. She inhaled the cold night air and bowed her head. She accepted the truth. There never was a choice in the matter despite her ambivalence. This was her path, and she must follow it. Elissa pushed away the sadness. There would be time for grieving later. She retrieved her medicine bundle from the pickup and walked into the house.
Elissa sat before the mother and took her hand. “You feel like a leaf that has fallen into a raging river, don’t you? You have no choice which way the water takes you. You are subjugated to the will of its currents. Though you may feel powerless from the strength of the river, never forget where you come from, little leaf. You are a daughter of the mighty tree. Your spirit is ancient and strong. Remember that, for you will need that strength in the coming days.”
“Now, listen carefully to what I say. Your son is under the influence of a demon of vast darkness and cruelty. It is a trespasser to our world. The entity denies this and believes that his world and ours are the same. When he was cast from the heavens and banished to the darkness, he vowed to make the children of the Sky Spirit suffer for they were the most favored in all of creation. He is called Cipelahq. In the land of the shadows, they exist without form and envied the beauty of the body of man. He coveted man’s flesh. He hated them for what they possessed, and for what he could never have. He was the first to tear his spirit from the shadowland. However, his torment did not end for only suffering will a spirit find in a world of touch and smell. It was while roaming bodiless that he discovered he could take over a man by force. He was the first of his kind to possess and defile the body. It is nearly impossible to survive a possession from Cipelahq. He is deviant and without mercy. He will not relent. He will desecrate all you hold as holy and pure. He will cause you pain; he will infect every part of your life. He will feast on your insanity. All this he will do, simply because it pleases him.”
Elissa held a bowl of burning of herbs and incense in one hand, and a bundle of braided dried sweetgrass and sage in the other. She spoke the prayers of protections softly while she used the bundle of grass to direct the billowing smoke and disperse it completely. As she followed the perimeter of the house in each room, she took notice of the three pairs of eyes watching her intently. They were mesmerized by her actions. Casually she said, “It is for cleansing, purification, and protection of physical and spiritual bodies. We must banish the negative energies and create a sacred space. The fire releases the smoke and the fragrance within the herbs. This will heal, cleanse and purify this place.”
Elissa and the Priest stood silently before the bedroom of the boy. It held the appearance of any other door. However, in the spiritual world, it was a torrent of chaotic energies free of the natural laws of nature that even the paranormal world must obey. Elissa turned to the priest and said, “I will go in first. I will attempt to contact the boy and confirm the demon’s identity. If it is Cipelahq, I will quickly know. He is ancient and powerful, but he is not invulnerable. He can be defeated. This is a crucial time and if we are to have any hope in the banishment of the spirit, follow my lead, Father. Do not interfere. Whatever you may think you hear, do not enter. I go in there now to reveal myself to the demon. In doing so, I declare myself its enemy and initiate the rite of banishment. This will be our declaration of war.”
Elissa stepped into the bedroom and quickly closed the door. She took in a deep breath before turning to face the boy. The air was muggy and felt as if it was saturated with something that was not quite water vapor. Elissa turned to face the boy. It was dark but her eyes adjusted quickly to her surroundings and saw the bed where the boy laid. She was hit by a wave of disorientation as the room appeared to stretch out into the distance. Elissa smiled to herself. She had lost count for how many times a demon had played this parlor trick. As if he could hear her thoughts, the boy sat up in bed with incredible speed. The unexpected motion startled Elissa, but she quickly regained her composure. A strange voice spoke to her. It was wet and sounded as if was created by something with lungs full of water and decay,
“Man hu hdha amra’atan?”
“Yes, she is different from the others.”
The child let out a long and low growl echoed with an inhuman guttural vocalization. Elissa couldn’t make out the features of the boy both due to the illusion of distance and the poor lighting. She saw him swing his legs over the side of the bed and with a long and gangly hand gestured to a chair. A small chair slowly turned from invisible hands. Its legs scratched loudly upon the floor. He said, “Come, sit with me. Come closer so that I may look upon you. Let us be friends. Tell me your story. I wish to know EVERYTHING about you.”
Elissa took a step forward. Slowly she narrowed the distance between her and the boy. The air in the room was oppressive. Whispers emerged from the darkness. They tickled her ears and slightly moved her hair with their breath. The tips of cold fingers gently brushed against her skin, barely making contact. She continued forward. The whispers grew in number and volume. Low moans emerged, and soon wails of agony screamed from everywhere and nowhere. Just as it was becoming unbearable, the room snapped back to its original size and all was silent. She was now standing once again in a normal room, with normal walls, and a normal bed. However, the child who occupied the bed was far from normal.
The boy was still concealed in shadows as Elissa took a seat in the chair. The two adversaries faced one another. The boy leaned back and said, “My, my, my; such pain and bloodshed I sense in your essence. It is like a beautiful torrent of swirling storm clouds, spinning tumultuously across the known dimensions. However, the violence permeating through you is not one begot by your hands. No, no, it is bred into your heritage from a great calamity inflicted upon your people. Yes, you are the calm within the storm. You are its center and its eye. Well, you are an interesting little morsel, are you not?”
Elissa maintained her calm and commanding demeanor and said, “You are a very well-spoken little boy. I am very impressed. Do you read a lot?” as she laid out the contents of her medicine bundle.
A second voice rose from behind the boy and growled, “Ruhunu bedeninden ve şölenden koparacağım.”
Elissa ignored the evil voice. Again, she recognized this frequently used tactic of posturing, but this was a good thing. She had caught the demon’s attention. The only thing a demon enjoys more than inflicting torments upon an innocent soul is to engage in a battle of wits with one it deems worthy. Now that she knew the dark spirit eagerly wanted to communicate with her, she could initiate the rites of banishment.
The boy amusingly watched as Elissa pulled out her burning bundle and lit the incense within a small bowel. She removed her sacred stone from her rawhide bundle and contemplated how she would safely place it on the boy’s skin long enough to attempt to identify the entity. She glanced up, and to her surprise, she found the boy already holding his hand out and offering it to her. He said, “Go on, let us be done with it. Let us get the boring necessities out of the way so we can get to the real fun.”
Elissa began her prayers and gently waved the plumes of incense toward the boy with her bundle of leaves. She was pleased to see the boy’s body appeared less tense and rigid. The burning herbs and oils were made of an ancient formula used by her ancestors to suppress a shadow spirit. It lowered their inhibitions just enough to see its true form. Only when she felt the entity was wholly subdued by the mystical smoke did she take his hand. Elissa placed her sacred stone on the back of his hand and took hold of her medicine bag. She laid the bag over the stone and gently pressed down between her and the boy’s hand. With almost no effort, Elissa once again stepped into the spirit world.
For one to extract knowledge from the spirit world, one must be strong of mind and will. They must be taught how to understand what one hears and sees. Those who exist on the other side do not think as a physical being. They do not experience or sense their surrounding in the same manner as a man. Elissa reached out into this realm. She searched for the knowledge she sought. It would not be a word or an image. It would be an acknowledgment of an affirmation. That was the only way she could describe it. It was merely a feeling. However, there was much insight and knowledge to be found within a feeling. It could hold the entire history of a race or only a brief and fleeting moment in time.
What should have been a violent and chaotic space in between the land of the living and dead was silent, dark, and still. The rampage of the demon should have been evident as it slowly devoured the soul of its victim. Elissa turned her inner eye and saw nothing but emptiness. She called out, hearing her voice echo and fade away, “Adam! Adam! Can you hear me?”
Elissa stood in the stillness and darkness. She tensed at the sound of cracking, like the limbs of dead trees, echoing around her. Suddenly she felt a ripple expand out of the nothingness. Terror began to build in her heart at seeing the darkness manifest in long ropy strands that reached out for her. She realized if she did not leave right now, she would remain here forever. Just before she willed herself back to reality, she heard a low whisper in the distance.
Elissa snapped back to reality to find a face only inches away from her own, and noses almost touching. She let out an involuntary stifled scream at seeing the boy’s face for the first time. He stared at the woman with an inquisitive look. She stared back into the creature’s eyes, refusing to relent. His eyes were a piercing white with prominent blood vessels bulging upon its surface. He looked at her with eyes covered with a bluish-white cataract-like film that appeared to glow. His face was smooth and white as porcelain. His nose and chin was thin and came to sharpened points, giving him the appearance of a witch. Instantly Elissa knew this was not right. This was no mere possession by a dark spirit. This was something else.
When a demon occupies a human’s body, it is an unnatural act. The body fights the violation in both the flesh and spirit. Possessions are an extremely violent act and quickly takes its toll on the body. The body becomes emaciated and weak. The victim will often be seen with self-inflicted wounds and body mutilation. Eventually, the internal organs begin to shut down from damage, and the skin and eye-color turn yellow from the toxins filling the blood. There was none of that here. The child wasn’t wasting away. He was changing. His bone structure was different, and his body shape was being altered. This was unlike any demonic possession she had encountered. She understood that now as they locked eyes with one another. She needed answers and there was only one way to get them. If it must be done, the time is now.
Without a second’s thought or a moment’s hesitation, Elissa grabbed the back of the boy’s head with one hand and slapped her medicine bag to his forehead with her other. The two fell back and over the edge of the bed. Using their momentum, Elissa maneuvered herself with skill and ended sitting on top of the child. The boy thrashed and convulsed with incredible strength. He spat and hissed vulgarities in multiple languages. Elissa held on as best as she could, never allowing the medicine bag to break contact with the boy’s skin. Out loud she spoke the sacred words of her tribe that gave her authority over the shadowland. She spoke the words of decretum. With a massive heave, the boy thrust the woman off him and continued to convulse on the floor.
The boy soon became calm and stood to his knees. Deep and contorted demonic wails came from the child as he hunched over with his arms wrapped around himself in a bear hug. From his back, blood began to soak his shirt. Elissa slowly crawled on her hands and knees and drew nearer to the sobbing shape. Her hand was trembling as she cautiously reached out and lifted the shirt off his bony back. Razor thin cuts were appearing on his skin. The slits were long and deep as if an invisible blade was slicing through the flesh. Each cut was sharp and precise as it formed the words, “SAVE ME.”
The boy suddenly spun around with lightning speed and screeched with a strange and unnatural voice distorted with both rage and fear, “WHAT ARE YOU?”
Backing away and still on the ground, Elissa scrambled away from the bed in an uncoordinated, wild crab-walk across the floor until she slammed hard into the door. Quickly getting to her feet, she fumbled for the doorknob, frantically opened the door and shoved her body through the opening. She closed the door which only slightly muffled the loud, wet voice screaming words from an unknown tongue.
“Kalbini yiyeceğim!” “Ölüm için yalvaracaksın, ama asla gelmeyecek!”
Elissa was bent over with her hands on her knees breathing hard. It took a moment for her to realized she was being watched. She looked up to see the familiar three pairs of eyes staring at her with the same look of bewilderment as before. Elissa stood up straight and regained her composure. She awkwardly fixed her hair and swept away the strands that fell over her face. She cleared her throat and said, “Well, that went better than expected.”
Elissa spent the next full day in meditation. She had put up a small tent behind the house to be as close to nature as possible. She reached out to the spirit world and sought guidance from the Great Sky Spirit. No answer, insight, or assurance did she find in her prayers. This greatly concerned the medicine woman. Was it because her medicine bag was so depleted that her connection to the spirit world was severed forever? Or was this something else; something outside the realm of what could be known? Something to fear, even by the spirits in the sky?
She recalled an ancient proverb that some believed once to be a prophecy of the end of days. As time passed, the proverb became more of a bedtime story used to scare children into staying in bed; not predictions of the apocalypse for future days to come. Her people had no desire or need to infuse dogma into their spiritual beliefs with tales that foretold the end of days. They left that to the white man.
The proverb spoke of the age of the gods and the creation of the spirit world. For the spirit world was not a land where the gods dwelt, but a bridge between the realm of the gods and man. In the beginning, the gods created the bridge and used it to cross over. Each went their own way and they created the many civilizations, races, and creeds. So, came into being all the different religions and beliefs. The story ends with a word of warning. As the gods became more jealous of one another, celestial war broke out, and man became pawns for them to use as they saw fit. With their attention and desires placed upon the Earth, the gods would not see the presence of something dark and sinister watching from the nothingness. It brings destruction with it. That is all that is known about it, except for one thing. It is not evil; it is far worse than that. It is what makes an evil thing……Evil. It is—Jóhonaa’éí daaztsą́ (The Slayer of Suns).
Elissa pondered why this old story came to her as she listened for the spirit world’s knowledge. She had not thought of this fable in many years, even though it was one of her favorites. She also suspected it was her grandfather’s favorite one to tell. Each time he retold the proverb, it would be more embellished and scarier than before. Upon reaching the end, they would end up in each other’s arms giggling from the fright they saw in each other’s eyes. It was a fond memory, but Elissa was sure there was no truth in those words. Given the fact that this story would change each time spoken, the original message could not be known. It had been lost through the ages. Besides, this was not about some imaginary dark force with power that rivals the gods. This was about Cipelahq! Somehow and some way, Cipelahq was the enemy here. Of this, she had no doubt. Elissa paused for a moment. It all made sense now. She realized this was the moment she’d been waiting for all her life. Like a door unlocking, the knowledge from the spirit world opened and flowed over her like a gust of wind.
Warmth radiated from Elissa’s chest, and light exploded before her eyes. The currents and flow of the spirit world ebbed and churned around her until it harmonized with her life force. It wasn’t a vision she experienced, but an affirmation of things to come. When sun next sets, she would face Cipelahq. She will defeat Cipelahq and avenge her grandfather. After that, nothing else mattered. Her enemies would come for her and extinguish her life. This did not sadden her for she would ascend into the heavens where she will see a great fire surrounded by her ancestors. She will stand before them as a Spirit Warrior and honor them with her tales of victory. She will kneel before her grandfather and offer him her only possession taken from the mortal world—the heart of Cipelahq. He will take it and pay tribute to the Great Sky Spirit by tossing it into the flames. The Sky Spirit will be pleased and tell her to take her place at her grandfather’s side where they will watch over her people till the end of time.
Elissa stood before the boy’s parents and the priest. She felt the spirit world all around her. It hummed with energies that interwove between the world of man and the realm of the gods. Never had she felt so in tune with that strange world. With power and authority, she spoke, “Tonight, we take back your son.”
She turned to the mother and father and handed each two leather straps padded with white fur. She spoke, “When we go in, quickly bind and restrain him. Do not make eye contact. Do not listen to anything he says. Only venom will you find from his words. He will try to deceive you with lies and trickery. This is a most dangerous time, for the spirit will be like a cornered animal, and it will lash out in desperation.”
She turned to the priest, “Father, you will begin your rites of exorcism along with me. Keep your mind focused and be one with your prayers. Your connection to your God must be strong and true.”
The priest looked into her eyes with concern, “Do we stand any chance of rescuing the boy from such a wicked beast?”
Elissa took hold of the priest’s arm and gave a reassuring squeeze and said, “Yes, there is always hope. Never forget that. There is great power in hope. Do not ever lose it. If you let it go, it will disperse in all directions like tufts of dandelions in the wind. Do not allow that to happen. You could spend a lifetime trying to find it again.”
The priest gave her a slight wink and said, “Well, who says miracles do not happen anymore? Welcome back to the land of the living.”
Elissa entered the dark room with her companions. The pressure in the air seemed to shift and retreat from their approach. They stood before the boy, who sat cross-legged and hovering about one foot in the air over his bed. The boy glanced at the straps his parents held and feigned a look of hurt and said, “Oh come now, is that really necessary? Very well, be done with it.”
Still suspended in the air, the child laid back and outstretched his arms and cocked his head to the side in a mocking imitation of a blasphemous crucifix. The boy looked over at the priest with a smile and said, “Does this please you? Does something familiar to your eyes make you feel more at ease, Father?” He let out an evil bellowing laugh.
The boy’s father nervously attempted to bind a wrist with shaking hands. With shocking speed, the boy snapped his head to the right, making eye contact with his father. Transfixed by the white eyes, the father froze. He heard his son whisper, “My servants are coming for you. They have a “talent” I’ve reserved especially for you, daddy. They will strip you naked and violate your body in ways you cannot possibly imagine. It is rumored, amongst the devils and demons that dwell in the underworld, they are the most envied. All stand in awe when they behold what is held between their legs. When aroused, barbed hooks emerge upon the shaft of their manhood. Imagine the large and throbbing piece of meat being inserted into your mouth or forced into you (giggle), “down there,” over and over again; in and out; in and out; slicing and cutting! Ha! Ha! Ha! Paddy cake! Paddy cake! Baker’s man! Bake me a cake as fast as you can!”
The father’s face widened in terror as the boy implanted images into his mind of demonic flesh and wet skin brutalizing him relentlessly. The o**y of bodies and shapes defiled him in every manner and inflicted both excruciating torments and unimaginable shame upon the man. Elissa moved between him and the boy, breaking eye contact between the two. She took the boy’s hand and finished restraining him. She said, “Go! You can no longer help us! Quickly, you bring great danger to yourself and us.”
The boy glared at the woman and begun to grunt and violently gyrate his body in obscene contortions. With loud cracks, he bent his joint in the most unnatural ways. Soon, he grew still and silent. His body rose higher in their air until the restraints tightened and anchored him in place. Without warning, his body slammed into the bed, splintering the wooden frame. A pointed, wet tongue emerged from the boy’s frothing mouth. He hissed with a low growl made up of four to five voices, “Elllisssssssa. Such loss and pain you carry. Do you know why there is only silence when you pray, hmmm? It is because no one is listening. No one is there. You stupid woman, you’ve known the truth. You’ve known it all along. Why did your gods allow the white man to take your land? Why did they allow your children to be murdered? Where was your great Sky Spirit when the white man defiled your women and soaked the ground with the blood of you men? WHERE WERE THEY?”
The boy hissed, “Abandoned. You were abandoned. That is why your people live in squalor and poverty, stripped of any hint of past greatness and majesty. You carry on that legacy of failure. There will be no songs sung about you. Your name will not be remembered. You will be forgotten, and your people will fade away in shame.”
Elissa leaned down and looked directly into those evil eyes and whispered, “Tell me Nukpana spirit. Is it true your abilities of foresight and premonitions stretch to both the past and present? Yet, you cannot see your own death? It is forbidden. No matter how hard you try, all you see is shadows. Is it true? Hear me now and listen to my words. I am Elissa Longfeather, daughter of Naalyehe ya sidahi, son of Niyol Nootau. I am the shadow you fear! I come with death in my hands and the name of Cipelahq upon my lips.”
Elissa stood and began her chants and incantations. The rite of banishment had begun.
The next seven hours, the battle raged in the spirit world. The demon was stubborn and refused to loosen its hold on the boy’s soul. The medicine woman and the priest suffered many hardships. The bedroom had turned cold and bitter. The air was wet and moist, drenching their clothes in a bone-chilling frigid bite. The priest stood his ground with rebukes powered by the name of Jesus. He bellowed prayers infused with the word of God and rained down showers of water, blessed by the holiest of spirits. Elissa chanted her songs of power with beauty and force. She waved bundles of burning sacred leaves in the air. The plumes of smoke moved as it were alive. It rose in the air and encircled the room with quick and sharp bursts of speed, like a serpent.
A cold and loud wind emerged in the bedroom battering the two with flying debris of papers, clothes, and toys filling the air in a cyclone of chaos. The boy assaulted them with grotesque and obscene vulgarities spoken with many voices and tongues. He projected violent images and emotions into their heads. He manipulated their thoughts and deceived them with visions of death and decay. He blocked the parts of their mind unique to man and made it so they could not remember what it was like to feel happiness, hope, and peace.
The spiritual warfare raged on and on, and for the first time, something changed in the boy. Instead of the malicious and evil look her wore, he now showed a look of desperation. He was nearing a point of exhaustion. He could not sustain such levels of psychic energy from his small body. Elissa saw this and smiled. She turned to the priest and shouted. “We are close! It is losing its hold. Be ready and follow my lead!”
Panic spread across the boy’s face as he started to pull at the straps holding him in place. He yanked and jerked his limbs in a wild frenzy of desperation. He looked at his adversaries, and for the first time, he felt fear. With no other choice, he used the last bit of energy he had within him and let out an immense wail. A ring of light radiated from the boy and shot outward. Elissa and the priest were knocked off their feet. Elissa sat up, trying to clear her head. She turned towards the bed, hoping she hadn’t been knocked out for too long. The boy sat there, frantically gnawing at the straps that restrained him. He had already freed one hand and one foot.
Elissa scrambled to her feet and yelled, “We can’t let him escape. This was our only chance to save the boy. If the boy leaves our sight, the demon will kill him the first chance it gets!”
Elissa and the priest sprinted towards the bed. The boy looked up and quickly stretched his hand outward. A toppled chair flew across the room and smashed into the priest’s face. He fell hard to the floor and did not move again. The boy gestured towards Elissa, and a flat-screened TV spiraled towards her head. She dropped to her knees, rolled to the ground, missing the object by centimeters. In one graceful movement, she leaped up to her feet and launched herself into the air. Just as the boy’s second hand broke free from the strap, Elissa slammed into him, and they both fell to the floor. Elissa pinned him down with her knees as he weakly thrashed and convulsed. She removed her medicine bag from around her neck and placed it hard on his chest.
She shouted, “I know your name! You are Cipelahq, the first one. You were the first to possess the flesh of man. You were the one who took my grandfather from me. Do you remember him, beast? He was the old man you killed on the Great Northern Prairies. He sacrificed his life to save those twins your stole.”
The boy took no notice of Elissa words and continued his desperate attempts to break free from woman’s hold. With one hand on her medicine bag and the other raised high, she shouted, “Spirit of the shadow, I take back the boy. My ancestors on high, I honor you, and I honor my people with the purging of this demon from our land. Great Sky Spirit, I honor you. Please bestow upon me your strength, and I will purge this unclean spirit from your sight.”
Pulses of energy radiated from Elissa’s hand. There was no heat coming from the medicine bag, only strands of energy she commanded from the Spirit world. The boy’s face was contorted in an expression of pure horror. He shouted, “No! No! I can’t lose it! I am too close!
The moment was growing close. Elissa could feel it. The demon was weakening and losing its grip on the boy. Soon she would be able to rip it free from the boy’s soul. She just needed a little more time. Just as she was about to completely cross over to the Spirit world to attack the demon from the other side, silence fell over the room. The darkness deepened and the foundation of the house groaned like an angry animal. The hum from her medicine bag was gone. It felt so flimsy and insignificant in her palm. The moment had finally arrived. Her medicine bag was depleted. It held no more power. The finality of this loss hit her hard; much harder than she thought it would be. She glanced down at the boy’s face and gone was the look of fear and defeat. In its place was evil and malicious joy, accompanied by a broad and toothy grin upon his lips.
The boy’s struggle became less frantic and more controlled. It was Elissa turn to begin panicking. She searched her mind in desperation trying to recall anything that might be of help. She fought to keep the boy pinned down, but he was quickly overpowering her. His screams grew louder and boomed overhead with wet grunts and growls. The sounds intermixed with each other into a disharmony of several separate voices, each vocalizing guttural and harsh words. Elissa prepared for the worst as she let go of the last of her hope and imagined it falling away and dispersing like the dandelion tuft caught in a gust of wind.
In her mind’s eye, Elissa could see the flower so clearly, with every detail possible. Time moved at a crawl at this moment. A ripple spread across the hundreds of tufts as an imaginary wind swept by. She could see individual tufts bend and sway and eventually break free from the flower. First, it was one, then two, then ten. More and more flew away into the black sky.
Then, it stopped.
Then, there was light.
A bright beam of light burst through the darkness. Out of the light, a hand emerged and took the dandelion. With the other hand, the delicate flower was protected with care. Elissa could not make out the owners of those powerful and tender hands. He stood directly in front of the brilliant light and Elissa could only make out the silhouette of a large and strong man. Elissa lifted her tear-streaked eyes as the man bent down and placed the dandelion in her hair. He caressed her cheek lovingly and gestured for her to look down. She followed those familiar hands to see her own firmly over her medicine bag pressed down on the boy’s chest. The man put his large hand over her’s and affectionately squeezed before pulling on the old medicine bag, gently loosening the strap used to bind the bag closed. Leaving one end wrapped around the bag to secure its contents, the man extended the old leather strap and wrapped it around Elissa’s fingers. He re-positioned her hand ever so slightly until her fingers wrapped with the strap was in direct contact with the boy. The man stood, crossed his arms and gave Elissa a proud nod. The bright light was directly behind the man, and she could only make out his shape. Regardless, Elissa could tell the man smiling as the world faded away.
Elissa came back to awareness at peace. There was a sense of calm she thought she would never find again. A pure sense of tranquility washed over her giving her a sense of closure and freeing her from her pain and guilt. She paused for a moment and wondered why it was so calm. At this very moment, was she not restraining the vessel of one of the most powerful and wicked demons to ever plague man? Was she not without weapons or protection? She slowly opened her eyes and looked down at the boy. The terror and dread reflected in his eyes had returned tenfold. Elissa’s gaze went lower, revealing a glow coming from the strap wrapped around her fingers. She took in the glow and once again was enveloped by the spirit world.
The memory that Elissa held closest to her heart was the day of her vision quest. Soon she would commune with the Sky Spirits, and they would reveal to her the contents of her medicine bag. The morning of the ritual, Elissa was caught removing a long leather strap from an old rawhide bundle belonging to her grandfather. He scolded her and asked, “Why would you do such a thing, little one?”
Looking down and not wanting to make eye contact she said, “I wanted something from you to go into my medicine bag. I wanted to honor you by making the strongest bag ever.”
The old man smiled. He could never stay angry at the little girl. He knelt beside her and said, “Foolish little girl, it is the mighty spirits that choose what goes into your medicine bag. You have no say in the matter.”
Elissa wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “Grandpa, I’m scared. I just wanted something from you so I won’t be alone. I wish you could go on the dream quest with me.”
He saw the fear in her eyes and smiled again. Taking the leather strap from her hand, he said, “Perhaps there is a way to grant your wish, my little star.”
With the long strap held in his hand, Elissa’s grandfather blessed the object and anointed it with rare sacred oils. Once he had completed an ancient prayer passed down from his ancestors, he handed it back to the little girl and said, “Take it, my child. Although the gods govern what goes into your medicine bag, everything else belongs to you. I give you this gift. Use it to hold and secure your most revered possession. As long as you live, I am with you. No battle, no enemy, or trial will you face alone. I am always with you. Always.”
Elissa felt a surge of energy course through her body. The child struggled underneath her weight, but the powerful magic held in her hand was like a large stone pressing down on his chest. Slowly, Elissa felt a sinking sensation. She could see the hands of her spiritual form disappear into the chest of the child as if it were quicksand. Further and further she sank until she had just about reached her shoulders. She stopped when she felt something cold, wet, and sticky. She dug her fingers into the mass, and it violently squirmed. Elissa pulled with all her strength. She could feel it tearing from where it had anchored itself in the boy’s spiritual body. Suddenly it ripped free causing Elissa to fall backward. In her grip, a black and fibrous mass, like a wet and oily rag emerged from the boy. It broke free from Elissa’s hold and hovered in the air. Black stands of thick, ropy mucous poured from its body. It shivered and weakly flapped like a rotting and decayed manta. Piercing wails of agony came from the creature and echoed throughout the house. It slowly began to break apart like sand in the wind.
Elissa slowly crawled on her hands and knees towards the boy laying on his side. She turned him over to get a look at him. She smiled when she saw an unconscious, slightly sickly looking, ordinary little boy.
The next few hours were a blur. Elissa sat outside enjoying the warm breeze. The priest came and sat next to her. He was wearing a rather nasty looking black eye on his beaten face. She considered for a moment to reveal to him the price she paid to free the boy but thought better of it. Knowing him, he would be overcome with guilt for bringing her into this matter. Truth be told, he had no reason to feel guilty. She had made peace with her fate. Besides, perhaps all hope was not lost. There were other options at her disposal.
The priest explained to Elissa the boy was still unconscious. After a revealing conversation with a very irate priest, the church agreed to offer aid. The church physician’s examination was inconclusive, but he was confident the boy was not in a coma. The boy was to be discreetly transported to a church-own medical facility and given any needed care until he has fully recovered.
The time had come for Elissa and the Priest to say their goodbyes. They humbly accepted the parent’s thanks and gratitude. Before climbing into the truck, Elissa paused. She knelt and touched the ground and listened. She said, “The ground is still very angry. It too was violated and will need time to heal from this trauma.”
Under the noon sky, the two began their long journey home. It was a beautiful day; not too hot or cold. They would cherish the light and warmth. They would laugh and enjoy each other’s company. They would talk about anything and everything to avoid the silence. They would try to ignore the fear of the coming nightmares that awaited them when they closed their eyes and surrendered to sleep.
Elissa stood in her kitchen under the glow of the yellowed light. The shadows in her kitchen were dark and long in the fading light. She placed her hand over her medicine bag and gently squeezed. There was nothing there, not even a hint of life. Sadness settled over her, but not regret. She had done a good thing last night. Her sacrifice was a great one and should catch the blind eyes and deaf ears of the Sky Spirits. The rescue of a soul, especially one so innocent, is something highly regarded and remembered for generations as songs and stories. She had saved the life of an innocent. Maybe the Sky Spirits would show mercy on her and protect her from the vengeful spirits coming for her. She bowed her head as the singing of children grew closer.
She had just reached for a glass to pour whiskey from the bottle she held when the emaciated and wet hand flopped to the ground from under the table. Elissa jumped back and slammed against the counter top, dropping both glass and bottle. The hand slowly slid back into the shadow under the table, leaving behind a trail of congealed black fluid. She cautiously knelt and could just barely make out the shape of a small body, curled in the fetal position. Elissa stepped sideways, inch by inch towards the back door. She kept her eyes fixed on the dark shape, trembling on the ground. When she judged there was enough distance between herself and the creature, she turned and clumsily fumbled with porch door’s deadbolt and doorknob. She looked up and froze. Elissa stared into the deformed face of the Eh-Mojag-te-ha pressed against the door’s window pane, licking its surface.
The shapes were blotches of the deepest black in the form of small children. It was an unnatural black, the kind that can only be produced by the complete and total absence of light. The silhouettes pressed themselves against the side of the house and laid over the small stairs of the wooden porch. They contorted their bodies into unnatural positions and bent their limbs in ways not possible by man. They stood on the porch completely motionless, except for brief intermittent bursts of tremors in their arms and face. They slightly tilted their heads to the side as they chanted their ancient song from old. White orbs from hidden faces studied her intently with lust. They longingly gazed upon her as one would do to displayed sweets through the window of a candy store.
Instinctively, she took hold of her medicine bag, hoping against all hope there was still something left to use as protection. It was nothing more than a small leather pouch with old and meaningless items held within. From behind her, a low and gurgling voice spoke, “Wait…no…leave. Don’t go.”
Elissa slowly turned to face the creature. Her terror slowly became a mixture of confusion and curiosity. For a moment, she forgot about the Eh-Mojag-te-ha scraping at the windows and screen door. She cautiously approached the creature, curled in a ball under the table. She tried to get a better view of it, but it seemed to draw the darkness unto it.
It murmured, “Cold……so cold in there…….dark…… empty……..pain, SUFFERING, AGONY, TORMENT!” It wheezed labored gasps of air and weakly raised its hand. Wet and dripping with its black body fluid, it took its finger and wrote two words on the linoleum floor, “SAVE ME.” It pointed at her and whispered, “You………Saved……. Me.”
Elissa stepped back and gasped. Those words had stirred her memories of the night before. The bloody gashes on the boy’s back flashed before her eyes. The slices and cuts appearing from out of nowhere forming the words on boy’s naked back, “SAVE ME.”
The creature watched her intently. It offered a weak smile when revelation spread across her face. Elissa clutched her useless medicine bag tightly and whispered, “It, was you?”
The entity did not respond. It only laid there, struggling to breathe. It weakly raised its head and spoke.
The creature stuttered, “The boy……….drew me to him………illuminated the other side……called out to me…….. something else….. not innocent…… not good.”
The dark shape started weeping, “It was… trap ……. tendrils…… hooks……teeth… wrapped around me…….entered me…..pulled me inside him….. cold.”
The demon suddenly started pounding his fists weakly and said with a raised voice, “He bound me……….fed off me……..grew. He fed off me! Me! The Great Cipelaqh.”
The beast slumped to the ground and looked up at Elissa. It said, “The boy…. not human…… Something else……. Not evil……. more….. much more…..it was… the lesions and boils….upon the skin…..the first gods…… abandoned…… and discarded into the emptiness…… between the celestial planes and creation.”
Understanding washed over Elissa. There never was a possession! This was something never before seen by the world of man. It was the boy, not the demon who was the master. It was the demon who cried out to be saved, not the boy! She had not witnessed the demon possession of a child. It was the boy who possessed the demon! It was the boy this entire time. Elissa could not recall anything in her studies that could do such a thing. Banishing a demon was difficult enough, but she couldn’t imagine anything with enough power to bind and contain a shadow spirit. Elissa suddenly froze when she remembered, “The Parents!” She frantically started checking her pockets, trying to remember where she put the priest’s number.
The demon lightly raised its hand dismissively and said, “Too late……….. dead…… already dead.”
It seemed to lose consciousness momentarily, then its black eyes opened wide and looked around as if it had forgotten where it was. The beast eyes rested on Elissa, and spoke with a whimper, “Near……..he’s near…… Here….. He is coming.
Elissa stood shocked at what she heard and yelled, “What do you mean he’s coming here? Why the hell is he coming here?”
The low, mournful voice sent chills down her spine, “Me……. He’s coming for me………..not finished………… not enough………needs more…….. grow…… .needs more to finish….. to grow.
A loud crash of glass rang out from the other room. Elissa turned to see a dark shape of an Eh-Mojag-te-ha disappear behind the sofa next to the broken window. She clenched her fist and vowed to give the unclean spirit a fight soon not to be forgotten. Turning back towards the pitiful creature, she was slammed against the wall by the impact of Cipelaqh. Elissa was caught off guard by the unexpected burst of speed from the half-dead creature. Cipelaqh pressed against her and the bat-like flaps on the side of his body wrapped around Elissa. She felt abscesses and boils burst and moisten her clothes as he tightened his hold. His cold and wet hands grabbed her by the head and throat, and he brought his lips to her ear and hissed, “I won’t go back! He cannot have me! You will save me, again!”
He reached into her shirt and took hold of her medicine bag. Elissa struggled and screamed, “No! Do not touch that! You defile it with your filth!”
The demon sneered and gripped tighter, squeezing the air from Elissa’s lungs and spoke.
“One final gift, I leave.”
It took a deep, labored breath and exhaled, expelling phlegm onto Elissa’s face.
“A gift I give to you.”
It wheezed and gasped for air. Strands of black mucous hung in sagging ropes from its nose and mouth over Elissa’s cheeks.
“A gift. Just for you.”
It lifted its head, placed its hand on Elissa’s forehead and closed its eyes. Images exploded into Elissa’s mind causing her to scream out in terror. In a brilliant flash, a blinding light consumed the creature. A torrent of wind arose, tossing furniture, dishes, and glasses in all directions. The wind whipped around Elissa, almost knocking her off her feet. As suddenly as it appeared, it was gone, leaving Elissa standing dazed in her destroyed kitchen alone. She opened her eyes, stunned and frozen in place. She slowly scanned her surroundings, looking for the demon. It was nowhere in sight. Her hand once again instinctively went to her medicine bag but flinched when she touched it. She looked down at the small sack incredulously. It vibrated in her hand and hummed in her ears. It was full and alive. It radiated power like never before, filling her entire being. She felt young and alive again. Once more, she was the wolf pup, and her eyes were open once again. She could see the spirit world through the physical world as if they were one. She watched the ethereal energies flow in, out and between the two planes of existence. She was mesmerized by the spectacle of harmony dancing before her eyes. She was held in a trance until the sharp tug on her pant leg brought her back to reality. She looked down as the Eh-Mojag-te-ha took hold of her leg, scurried up her body and went for her throat.
Throughout her people’s history, each knew their purpose, and for that, they were respected and honored. The warrior’s mandate was to guard the land and watch over the people, while the shaman protected their tribe in all matters concerning the spiritual and supernatural world. Their battles were fierce, however never one of touch or grasp, but of the mind. They fought with heart and soul against the dark spirits and practitioners of forbidden magic. So, it came as a complete surprise when Elissa frantically shook off the dark shape, and made physical contact with the entity. It fell to the ground, and she instinctively brought her heel down on its skull, crushing it into a black, gooey, mess.
She lifted her foot and with a disgusted look, trying to shake off the gelatinous pieces of flesh hanging from her boot. It took a moment to realize and comprehend what she had done. The medicine bag in her hand vibrated with a surge of intensity, like an electrical shock without the pain. From the rear, Elissa turned to face the crash of broken glass and the loud crack of splintering wood. The Eh-Mojag-te-ha had grown frustrated and impatient. Their hands shattered through the glass, pulled at the wooden frame, and broke down the door. Elissa calmly walked into her living room and gently took a beautifully decorated and colorful tomahawk from off the wall. The two-foot shaft was colored red and white and adorned with beaded straps and a long hawk feather. Its hilt was made from hickory wood and engraved with symbols she did not know. The metal head had a cutting edge on one end and a short and thick spike on the other. The weapon was ancient but polished, shiny and sharp as the day it was forged. Its cutting-edge flared out like a crescent moon with the same foreign symbols etched into its surface.
The tomahawk was an antique and had been in her family for generations. It was a gift from her father, and next to her medicine bag, this was the thing she treasured the most. It felt sturdy in her grip and balanced naturally in her hand. She gripped the hilt firmly and felt her medicine bag surge with power once more. Elissa twirled the ax in her hand and with a mighty war cry, turned to face the Eh-Mojag-te-ha.
The first little beast lost its head before it could even react. Its body and head toppled to the ground spraying black fluid that billowed smoke from its wounds. She caught the next attacker in mid-air with one hand. Elissa slammed the little beast against the wall and tore out its throat with her bare hands. She turned her attention to her right at the sound of the pitter patter of feet. She swung around and threw the dripping wad of meat she held in her hand, striking the charging creature in the face. The smack of wet flesh caught the demon off guard, causing it to lose its footing. It fell hard and crashed to the ground. Elissa brought the blade around in a wide arc, disemboweling her enemy. With the grace of a skilled dancer, she spun on her heel, swung the tomahawk around and brought its glistening spike down hard into the head of the last Eh-Mojag-te-ha.
Even as Elissa stood over the smoking black corpses, frozen in shock. Her eyes darted from left to right, scanning the room covered with thick, black gore. She was still finding it difficult to accept what she saw. The black mucous from their wounds covered everything in a slick coat. She wondered how was this possible? Never has a child of man touched a spirit conceived from shadows. Elissa didn’t understand. Yes, from the beginning of time, her people had been at war with the shadow spirits, but it had always been battles of the spirit and soul, not one of flesh.
Elissa stared down and was transfixed by the massacre of bodies. She was dazed to her surroundings and did not notice the slight motion from behind. The last Eh-Mojag-te-ha silently emerged from the dark closet. It climbed up the frame of the door slowly, never breaking its stare on its prey. Unaware of the malicious little beast, Elissa continued to look upon the dark and oily gore absently. The Eh-Mojag-te-ha continued to inch up higher behind the unsuspecting woman. It reared back, pulled up its body until it hung just higher than the woman’s head. It pushed off the surface and launched itself into the air. Casually and without even looking up, Elissa swung her tomahawk in a mighty blow, burying the blade deep into the creature’s flesh. With her weapon still embedded in the monster’s body, she slammed both blade and enemy into the ground. Elissa pulled out her ax and brought it down again and again and again. She did not stop until the tears and muscle fatigue overcame her, and she collapsed to the ground.
Elissa could have slept the entire night on that very spot if the strange feeling hadn’t emerged. It was a feeling of anxiety coming from the pit of her stomach. Strange images flashed within her head. Scenes of death and violence filled her mind. Suddenly, it was all washed out by the approach of vast and cold darkness. Her medicine bag was lightly pulsing in her hand, and she understood — He was coming. He was near.
Elissa quickly gathered up her belongings, taking only what she thought she would need or refused to abandon. With her pack full of supplies and belongings, she burst through the porch door and ran into the night. Elissa knew there was little time. She didn’t know how, but she knew. Her thoughts turned to the West, towards her grandfather’s property. There was a broken-down truck she could get running without much effort.
The land was open and barren with rocky paths and tall hills. She had just reached the top of one the plateaus when the sky illuminated with a bright orange glow. She turned to see the silhouette of her distant, tiny house engulfed in flames. A shrill and inhuman scream pierced the night. It had been denied what it wanted; what it desired. Shrieks of rage and fury permeated the night. Elissa took hold of her medicine bag for comfort. She looked down at the small pouch in her hand and pondered the night’s events. She caressed the pouch tenderly with her thumb. It felt the same to her touch, but it was different. She was different. What had happened to her? Did Cipelaqh choose to infuse its essence into her medicine bag? Would he choose oblivion over enslavement and torment within that evil child? Was it a trick? Is he really gone or is he in there? Is he hiding? Is her medicine bag still bound to her or is it something not to be trusted? Will it betray her one day?
The sharp and piercing screams filled the air again. Elissa’s fingers tingled and felt as if flowing water rushed between them. Once again, she surprised herself and took hold of the air in each hand and wrapped it around her like an invisible cloak. She felt better now. Her intuition told her she was safe for the moment. Her presence was masked and well hidden from any prying eyes. The shrieks of enraged tantrums continued, and Elissa wondered how anyone could produce such a sound and not shred their vocal chords to ground meat.
Elissa looked up and smiled at the dull red moon peaking over the horizon. She wanted to put as much distance between herself and Adam. The sooner she reached her grandfather’s abandoned home, the better. She would need her rest, for tomorrow she begins her spirit quest. Her medicine bag would show her the way. The images were still a jumble of nonsense, but that would eventually change. For now, she needed to move quickly. She already knew enough to discern what she needed to do.
Although the images were not clear, she was able to make out a vague narrative of what “it’ was ,and what “it” wanted. Elissa knew it was once a part of the gods until it had been cast off like a diseased skin. It was banished to an unknown realm where it watched the gods and all they created with hate. Every once in a while, the seal would weaken, and it would thrust its seed out into the void. For centuries, its spores would trespass into the world of man. It would find a woman with child and consume the fetus and take its place. However, the impostor could only live to four to six years of age. The human body was incapable of sustaining the evil’s essence and the child died before it came of age. Still, they sent out their seed, hoping that one day, three of their spawn would live long enough to open the gate. Was it fate that allowed Adam to stumble upon the secret of life? It is not known, but on the day the child joins hands with his siblings, the sky will bleed, the stars will fall from the sky, the sun will be darkened and the rivers will turn bitter from wormwood.
In spite of the horrors that loomed over the horizon, Elissa did not fear the coming days. She had heard a voice in the chaos and confusion. It spoke with command and authority, yet it was gentle and soothing. It said, “I have put you on a path for a mighty spirit quest. Go, and bring your blade down on those three vessels before they can open the door for their dark god.”
“Go, my little Star.”
“Go, my Spirit Warrior.”