“I’m sorry, Jared,” I whispered with what breath I had left. The demon in front of me leaned forward, while the demon possessing Jared loosened his grip slightly.

“What—“ Jared asked and I used the last of my strength I stepped back around Jared’s legs so that my hips were behind his, then elbowed him as hard as I could in the gut, sending him tumbling back over my extended knee. He gasped, all of his breath being forced out, and I was free of his arm. I sprinted as fast as I could while hyperventilating and dodged around a false wall near the edge.

“Go after her!” the old man shouted. “Don’t let her get away!”

I leaned against the wall, sucking in deep, wonderful breaths of stale air. I looked down at my hands before remembering that I had dropped my gun. I groaned, weaponless, and peeked around the side of the wall to try and get a clear picture. I still needed to kill the demon, somehow.

The old man was still in the circle, and I was suddenly struck with an idea. I couldn’t see where Jared was, though, and that worried me. I quickly calculated the distance between where I was and the chalk near the circle. I clenched my jaw. It would be very close, and I wasn’t entirely sure I could pull it off, but it was all I could think of. I just hoped that it worked, because if it didn’t then I had killed one of the two closest to me.

I heard a footstep behind me and as I turned to see Jared coming around the wall on the other side, he fired my gun at me. I ducked instinctively, but the bullet grazed my arm. Left with no choice, I raced back around the wall and ran the thirty feet to the circle.

I skidded onto my knees when I got close enough, snatched the chalk, and with one swift movement I fixed the mar in the circle. The old man screeched at me angrily, but I ignored him as I began chanting. I clambered to my feet while I spoke, moving around to put the man between me and Jared as he chased after me and tried to shoot me more.

As I got close I grabbed the spike from where I had dropped it and held it at the ready. The moment the demon was safely encased in the man it was going to die.

Jared circled around, trying to get a clear shot at me, but I continued to move. I watched him carefully. The closer I got to finishing the spell the more he shook. I swallowed hard during a quick pause, then shouted the last three words of the spell.

Jared screamed, loud and long, as the darkness exploded out of his eyes and sped back into the old man’s body. He continued screaming, his body bent backwards, until the last shred of void was all the way into the man, then he collapsed onto the ground, unmoving.

Before the old man could move out of my range, I slammed the stake directly into his chest. The man screamed, and I pounded my fist against the end of the stake, forcing it in further. Blood went everywhere, getting all down my front, but all I could think about was killing the evil thing. I pounded it one last time, and the man’s scream choked off. He crumpled to the ground. I stepped on the spike, pushing it until it wouldn’t go any farther, just in case. Then I stumbled backwards and fell to the floor, exhausted.

Chest heaving, I wiped blood from my face and leaned my head against my knee. It was finished. The demon was done for.

When I had recovered my breath I shifted to my hands and knees and crawled to where Jared lay. I tried to prepare myself for the worse. I had hoped that since only a part of the demon had gotten into him, then when it was forced out he wouldn’t have died, but I didn’t know if it worked. His body didn’t stir and for one painful moment I thought he was dead. I felt panic building in my chest, creating a lump in my throat and bringing tears to my eyes.

Then I saw his chest move ever so slightly up and down with his shallow breath. I let out a harsh breath. He was alive. I looked him carefully up and down, checking for any damage. I knew that he would have a very sore stomach from the elbowing I had given him, since I had felt one like it before, but I couldn’t see anything.

I brushed his shoulder gently and tried to wake him up, but he didn’t respond. Worried, I moved to lift his head into my lap, where he would be more comfortable. To my horror the back of his head felt sticky and when I pulled my hand back out it was covered in hot blood.

I turned his head sideways to look and found the entire back of his head soaked in blood. I swore, something I don’t normally do, and realized that when he had collapsed he had smacked his head against the cement harder than the human head is built to withstand.

Panicking again, I raced out to my car, ignoring the white dodge parked next to it, and hurried back with the first aid kit I had tucked behind the driver’s seat. I quickly bound his head with an ace bandage.

After I had gathered up everything of mine and dumped it into the trunk of my car, I struggled to drag Jared’s limp, and heavy, body outside. Once I had gotten him into the passenger seat, with a lot of effort and elbow grease, I left the warehouse in the dust and drove back to the hospital.

The End

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