Subcutaneous Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 47

She heard Amy’s angelic voice. “Mommy. Mommy, wake up.” Small arms wrapped around her, squeezing her tightly. Mary opened her eyes. She almost thought she was dead, then her pupils focused and she saw her little girl. It was Amy hugging her. “Amy. Is it really you?” “Yes, Mommy. Father Nicholas did it.” Laying together on the newly damaged bed, they grabbed hold of each other as if life depended on it. “Praise God,” Mary whispered, kissing Amy’s head. The good Father watched this touching scene with a hint of regret. It was a successful endeavor, but it was over. Business was business and it was time for him to move on. He grabbed his bag and left in silence. *** Strolling into the rectory, Father Nicholas played back the day’s events in his mind. The thought of Amy floundering about like a hyperventilating fish gave him a giggle. She played her part so well. He mulled over all the gibberish and nonsense he spoke. There was a time when he would’ve actually needed to know the Rite of Exorcism. The advent of technology eliminated that need. All he had to do now was keep up with the newest movie interpretations of an exorcism. He unloaded the contents of his bag onto his kitchen table. Shaking the flask, he heard a little holy water slosh around inside. He unscrewed the lid and gulped down what was left. “Burns so good,” he cracked before refilling it with his favorite vodka. There was a knock at the back door. He knew who it was. “Come in, Amy.” A humanoid of pure flame walked through the door. Old Nick produced two shot glasses to go with the bottle of vodka. “Have a seat.” he commanded. She sat at the rickety table and watched him pour. “I have questions,” she said trepidatiously. “I know you do. You will know what you need to know by the time I’m through,” he answered, sliding one of the drinks over to her. She knocked back the shot, the bright red of her throat radiating a deep blue as the libation went down. “Another?” Nick offered. Amy nodded, taking another shot. “You were called upon because you are adept at manipulation, my fiery one. The perfect demon to aid me in this little experiment.” Amy’s cheeks brightened in a blush as Old Nick took his seat across the table from her. “I discerned long ago that as time wore on, humans would eventually find their way away from us. When I expressed my disquiet, He dismissed my concerns out of hand citing ‘free will’. A narcissist, that one,” he laughed bitterly, taking a shot himself. “If His followers lost their way to Him then, by proxy, they would lose their way to me. There can be no belief in God’s fallen angel if there is no belief in the one true God,” He chuckled again. “That could not happen. It’s only natural that beliefs change, as such so shall we. Over the centuries, I have enlisted the help of your brothers and sisters to inhabit human bodies, as you well know. Tales recounting the power of almighty God and evil Lucifer spread across the lands, instilling fear and faith so needed for us to survive.” Amy exuded awe at the parable expanding before her. She poured herself another shot as Old Nick rolled on. “Human possessions, ‘deals with the Devil,’ temptation, all of it got easier through the years as they learned to value items over all else. But that has not stopped belief from dying away altogether in large swaths. I blame the damn churches; they are exactly perfect at mismanagement.” Amy thought back to the day Old Nick summoned her. She, Avnas, the most feared “President of Hell,” as the lesser demons called her, was the chosen one. She couldn’t help but feel pride. She did everything as instructed, no questions asked. She watched the child even in the womb, became her invisible friend as a toddler. When the tiny human outgrew the need to babble to thin air, Avnas assumed the mantle of guardian angel; whispering in her ear, meticulously massaging the adolescent’s psyche until the young human was open and ready. Together as one being, they burned the family’s bond from the inside out. The devastation they caused was so deep and catastrophic that she was unsure if the girl would be able to survive without the gentle embrace of Avnas in her cerebellum. The death of poor Joe was unfortunate. That wasn’t the plan, she regretted it the moment it occurred. “I know, kiddo,” Nick’s satiny voice extracted her from her musing. “‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’ You generated the intended outcome. Remorse is for the weak, never think on it again.” He traced a finger along the line of her lips, tiny sparks danced on his fingertips. “I set up the circumstances when they first me иѡȁаɕɥ)ЁٕѡЁ݅ͻeЁ՝aɕݥdݡЁ)̸Q5䁝ЁɕаЁ䁑)иQȁѥ͕хѡ)ɕиQ͍ɵձѕ͕ѕȁѡиQӊe)ݡɔԁt($)䁱ѕѕѱ䁅́͡ɕ͡ѡѥ͕ͅѥЁ݅́͡ѡɕͽѡ+q%$䁉ѡȸQ͕́́ɅѡȁɅєt($)=9ݕȁݽɑ̸qe)ɕeЁѕ䁽͔'eа$݅́ͅٽɥ)ѡɍյх̰хɔݽɬ )ѡЁ́Ёєѡɔ丁'e)ٕѥѡհ ɥѥ́Ѽͅѡ)ͅ٥'eɥѥѠݡɔѡɔ݅́ͽѕ䁹͡ɑѡݡѡɑ͵ݽeлt($)QՔɕٕѥɕѕɕ䁅́=9)͡qeԁՍ=9t($+q9܁ԁչхɕ́ٹ̸%ӊe)ݡЁѡ䁍ͅ䁕٥t($+q%Ё̳t͡ͅݽՍ䁡)ȸ($)!ɕѡȁɥȁѡѠq)ѽиQ ɱ́ Ցɔt($)Q䁍̸͕((0