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Fiction Suspense Thriller

 At the hospital, Ina and Delilah are being attended to in private rooms. Ezra is talking to the doctors while Saxon and Martin, his security officer friend, sit in the waiting room discussing events that have transpired.

“Saxon, it's hard for me to wrap my head around all of this. Ina and Delilah became delusional and dangerous toward you and the priest? How do an eighty-four year old man and a fifty-two year old woman become a threat?”

“C'mon Saxon, you're better than this. I trusted you; gave you access to my client and now I'm culpable in an apparent assault on them and you expect me to sweep this under the rug like it was an accident of some sort?”

“You saw that vault room, the walls with words and symbols written in blood, they were possessed, Martin. As hard as that is to believe, it's the truth. I have never lied to you in all our years of friendship, have I?”

“I promise to get the answers, which you may find difficult or near impossible to believe, but they are the truth.”

“Possession, really!? I know you deal in the occult and the supernatural but I never expected you to bring it to my doorstep. Look, I'm gonna trust you for now. I will speak to all the necessary law enforcement and mansion personnel letting them know you and the priest thwarted an attempt on Ina and Delilah's life.”

“Thank you, Martin. I promise to get you answers no matter how hard the reality may be to accept.”

“Excuse me while I go and talk to the doctors, contact me when you get any answers, Saxon. Here are two security keys to the mansion so you can have full access to the grounds. Restore my faith in you my friend, solve this peculiar mystery. I don't want to regret this but if any legalities occur, I will not lie, understand?”

“I do, Martin and thanks for having faith in me.” They shake hands and head back to toward the rooms of Ina and Delilah. The doctor is in the hallway speaking to Ezra about the condition of both patients.

“...it is strange, nothing I've encountered in my twenty plus years in the medical field, Father, but I'm gonna trust and put faith in what you're telling me about these two and keep a close watch on them.”

“Thank you, doctor.” he leaves crossing paths with Saxon and Martin.

“What did he say, Father Apochs?” inquires Martin.

“Their wounds are not life threatening and amazingly, Delilah seems to be healing at an extraordinary rate, nothing like the doctor has ever seen.”

“It's a miracle you two did not kill them.” whispers Martin.

“I agree.” Ezra whispers back. “God is on our side, trust and believe that Martin.”

“You two get back to doing whatever it is that you do, I'll handle things from here.”

Saxon hands Ezra a security pass as they leave the hospital.

********************

The essence of the death shepherd hungrily searches for a worthy body to possess within the mansion passing from mirror to mirror desperately. Settling for the head butler, the evil spirit directs him to the security station where he acquires information on the status of Ina. Spending the rest of the day possessing various bodies of the mansion workers, he has several standing mirrors placed in the vault room and conjures, skab demons, to inhabit employees and gain control of mansion operations.

********************

“What's next, Saxon? You know the demon is free and roaming looking for another host so it can continue its plan.”

“Deciphering some of the blood writings on the walls of the vault room, I know the demon is bound to the mansion, it's an architectural hive for evil conjuration. Ina and...or his ancestors must've made a soul binding contract to amass their fortunes while using the grounds as a summoning conduit or gateway to hell.”

Ezra exhales dejectedly. “It always shocks and saddens me how some people deal their souls willy-nilly for material fortune or fame not realizing they're buying into an infinity of torture.”

Back at his office, Saxon shows Ezra the Sumerian mirror he purchased and asks him to perform an exorcism on it. As the priest prepares, Saxon takes out his arsenal of blessed items to combat whatever happens when Ezra purges the item.

“Rub this anointed oil over exposed parts of your body, Saxon. I expect trapped souls, evil spirits and demons will attempt to make their way through the mirror and into us as a means of escape from the plane they reside in.”

Prepared, both men stand before the mirror as Ezra begins reading Old Testament scripture in Aramaic. The room darkens...unnaturally.

Low tones of growling, snapping, snarling and screams of torture begin to resound from the mirror as a milk-white mist forms about it. The temp drops to near freezing in the room as the windows frost over. Saxon has his hands wrapped in the holy cloths of Pope John Paul the Second while holding a cross from the Crusades that is also a silver bladed poniard.

In a near trance, Ezra's voice raises, the words he speaks resound with force coursing through everything in Saxon's office.

“Shut your foul mouth, priest, your damned words aren't wanted here!” growls a demonic voice from the mirror.

Ezra continues. Saxon strikes the mirror, the blade draws a brackish ichor which sizzles and smells of brimstone; an unearthly howl shrieks then dissipates from the blow.

A black and purple whirling flame erupts from the mirror hurtling towards Ezra, but Saxon steps in front of it bracing for impact while parrying with the poniard. The unnatural fire deflects hitting the entry door to the office leaving a burn mark which oozes a black fluid.

Ezra continues.

A female demonic voice shrills. “What!?...What!?...What is it you want me to reveal priest!?” asks the mirror.

Ezra poses his questions in Aramaic chant.

Angrily the voice answers. “The death shepherd was sent to your world to collect all the souls Ina Manhattan has procured over the decades of service to Malbolge.”

She continues. “Of course, the eradicator (a gnarled, leprous, hand juts out from the mirror and points at Saxon) would come across the channeling mirror we need to complete the conduit between our plane and this one.”

The sounds of a whip echoes from the mirror as the same female voice howls in pain at each lashing.

“You preach to me a salvation I don't want priest! Detach yourself from me before I decide to unleash hordes and packs of demonic creatures your world has only spoken of in sagas and fables!”

Saxon strikes at the hand as it goes to grab Ezra. The blow causes it to recoil back into the mirror quickly.

The priest face grows ashen from expelling so much energy as his eyes roll back into his head. Sensing he is about to collapse, Saxon grabs Ezra and lies him down on the desk.

The mirror fades back to its original state. The room brightens and slowly begins to warm.

Stammering with teeth chattering, Ezra whispers, “....s...s...so cccold.” Saxon gets warming packs and a mini-heater from his survival kit and tends to Ezra keeping a cautious eye on the mirror.

“I...I...I ssaw...saw Cocytus...S...Saxon.” whispers Ezra as he floats in and out of consciousness.

With an awed response, Saxon questions the priest. “From Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell, you saw into there Ezra, it's real?”

“V...very real S...SSSaxon. T..The Manhattan's ancestors...are in their ice tombed..t..tt.treachery...there. Lucifer's...w..wwings...beating...t..ttheir...c.cccold buffeted...ww..wind above...the..dd...damned.”

“Try to relax my friend, gather your strength; the world here still needs you, I need you.”

Ezra smiles wryly and rubs Saxon's arm gently before falling unconscious. Sitting in his chair, the P.I. stares at the mirror, his reflection staring back at him; the background still swirling its white mist. Taking out a bottle of his finest-aged cognac, Saxon sips the potent libation. 'Damn death shepard! Nothing more but a demonic sloth having others do its bidding to collect souls.' thinks Saxon as he continues to sip and brood. Suddenly, Ezra sits up, bible clutched at his heart. He is no longer pale and his breathing has returned to normal. The mirror's misting effect vanishes and reflections from the room and Saxon visible.

“Care for a sip, padre?” Saxon offers the flask.

Ezra takes it and has a hard swallow of the cognac. His face winces a bit. “Ahh...that's very good. A sacrament to say the least after what I saw.”

Saxon helps Ezra off the desk and into a chair, he can still feel the priest is trembling slightly and weak after his ordeal. “How long does it usually take you to recover from an exorcism?”

“There is no real timetable. Anywhere from minutes to months. In a few hours I should be my ole self again.” Ezra takes another long sip from the flask then hands it back to Saxon who follows suit.

While the priest is resting, Saxon makes a brief call to Martin and checks on Ina and Delilah. The security officer assures the P.I. both are recuperating comfortably and clergy from Ezra's parish are there, helping where needed.

Ending the call, Saxon addresses the priest, “Smart to have people from your church at the hospital, Ezra.”

“Thanks, Saxon. Following my consultation with the doctor I called and asked for our most experienced and faithful priests to “watch over” Mister Manhattan and Delilah. They are to report directly to me if there are any issues or matters pertaining to my area of expertise. I also performed a consecration ritual on the entire ward.”

“Very thorough. Once you are ready, we will take this mirror back to the mansion vault, consecrate the room and banish the death shepherd.”

Ezra wryly smiles. “Just like that, easy peasy?”

Saxon returns the smile. “Yeah, just like that.”

*******************

Entering the mansion through the loading dock with their security passes, Ezra and Saxon wheel the mirror to the vault room where two guards stand outside. Both of them are twitchy while scratching their hands and faces nervously.

“Possessed.” whispers Ezra. “Unconsciously, people under the influence of evil are tormented by its irritating and unwanted presence within them.”

“We may have some resistance, are you prepared to subdue them if necessary?” asks Saxon as he wraps the holy cloths around his hands like a boxer.

“I am prepared.” Ezra coils his prayer beads in hand, the large jeweled, silver cross swaying slowly from its end.

“Hold on! This hallway is off limits!” yells one of the guards as the two approach.

“We were told to make this delivery to the room without exception, here are our passes.” voices Saxon. They continue forward until they are outside of the opening to the vault room. A dull glow from tall candelabras within and the smell of brimstone permeate the hallway.

Showing his security credentials again, Saxon looks around for surveillance and notices it has been rendered in operable.

Ezra whispers a prayer while directing his cross toward the security guards. Light gleams off of it reflecting onto the men which wave at it while scratching more profusely.

“This itching is getting to be unbearable!” yells one of the guards as he jogs off toward the bathroom.

The guard hands the passes back to both men. “Excuse me.” Scratching, he runs to the bathroom.

“You do that with prayer, Ezra?”

“The power of the Lord works in mysterious ways, Saxon.”

Moving the mirror inside, the two men see the room has been prepared for a sacrificial ritual. Various standing mirrors are posed throughout the chamber. At its center is an iron table on a pivoting base with shackles at both ends. Carvings of degradation and evil adorn the entire surface of the slab. A bejeweled gold chalice of an upside-down crucifix with Jesus depicted as a fiendish jester rests on the center of the table.

Ezra busily begins consecrating the room placing silver crosses in each corner of the room before sprinkling holy water while in prayer. Saxon waits in the doorway on lookout, he can vaguely hear the two guards lamenting in agony from the bathroom.

As Ezra finishes, Saxon alerts him a small procession of people are coming, the chief butler is in the lead wearing demonic ceremonial robes; behind him, in a white gown is Mona, Ina's third daughter and heir to the Manhattan fortune. She appears to be in a drugged stupor. Trailing, are three, very large security guards vigorously scratching at their skin.

The candles dim as the procession gets closer. “Ezra, stand on the opposite side of the doorway from me and get ready, we will be in combat I assure you.” The priest nods and does as instructed.

The guards walk in carrying Mona and place her on the table. The butler, moves slowly in a trance, carrying two sacrificial jeweled daggers with bone-blade serrated edges. Dried blood is visible on them.

Ezra trips the butler to the floor, his knives clatter to the floor. The priest proceeds to place his knee on his neck to pin him down while tying his sleeves in a knot.

Saxon drops to one knee and takes out his .50cal Desert Eagle Enforcer, quickly exchanging magazines to one with non-lethal blessed bullets; he takes one shot at the bodyguards as they turn toward him. Each one is hit in the chest and sent reeling back over the sacrificial table caused from the magnum force of the weapon.

The butler begins cackling and rambling in an odd tone, a dark, vomitous mass expels from his mouth forming a fanged, demon-like humanoid. Ezra boldly presents his cross, “Back foul creature of Satan, I command thee to cower in the presence of God's divinity!” The priest chants in Aramaic, the demon stands, slightly stunned, before looking over at Saxon snarling.

“You looking for this, beastie?” Saxon discharges his weapon; the bullet strikes the demon in the mouth and its head explodes into a spray of ichor and maggots.

A howling wind rushes into the room from inside the chalice, the smell of sulfur and rot is immediate. A shadowy form of a cloaked demon appears scanning the room with smoking, feral green orbs.

“Death shepherd! Your time is at an end!” shouts Ezra. “You will not farm anymore souls on this earth henceforth!” Standing and boldly presenting the cross at the demon, Latin words of excommunication echo in the chamber. The death shepherd howls in pain and disgust.

Saxon dive rolls over to the table and reaches for the chalice but is parried by one of the possessed guards and grabbed in a bear hug. The P.I. delivers two knee strikes to the groin of his attacker while using the butt of his gun to strike and split the guard's face open. Blood sprays profusely, the bodyguard releases Saxon immediately while dropping to his knees holding his face together. Hitting the bodyguard in the back of the head, Saxon knocks him over into unconsciousness.

Grabbing the chalice, its dark magic causes flashes of hallucinatory horrors in the P.I.'s mind, but he resists. Fleeting moments of temptation, avarice and lust are offered to him like a genie offering wishes from a lamp. Saxon ignores them and tosses the chalice at the Sumerian mirror. It glows, white mist forms and engulfs the evil chalice. A vortex of brimstone and shadow form, the death shepherd howls as he is drawn into the mirror forcibly.

“A deal! A deal mortal!” cries out the death shepherd as he draws closer into the maelstrom.

Ezra marches forward presenting the cross while chanting Latin words of excommunication and abjuration which bind and force the demon into the mirror.

Pushing his way through the vortex forces, Saxon removes Mona from the table and places her along a side wall before taking aim at the mirror with his gun.

“Riches, power, influence, immortality can all be yours with my help!” howls the death shepherd as most of its shadow phases from the room.

“You can't barter your way out of destiny demon, there will be no extension for you this day. Banishment awaits you on the other side. Tell Malbolge, we will have none of his evil!” shouts Saxon as he fires his weapon. The powerful gun explodes a magnum projectile at the mirror shattering it as the death shepherd and the evil spirits of the mansion are all drawn in. A flash of brilliant white light absorbs all the darkness of the room consuming the maelstrom and its sulfurous, brimstone smoke.

Ezra walks over and tends to Mona while remaining vigilant in case there is more trouble.

“You okay, Ezra?”

“I'm good, Saxon, you?”

“I must say, that was dramatic. And yeah, I'm okay, even better given we dispatched the death shepherd and his minions.”

Ezra picks up Mona. “Let's get her to the hospital and check on the others.”

“After I sweep up these mirror shards, bag and tag them and you perform last rites over them. I want what's banished to stay that way.”

“I agree wholeheartedly, Saxon.”


December 02, 2023 03:03

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