Graeme knelt awkwardly in his bathtub. He could not let himself focus on the things he was about to do. Fear was a real beast that lurked inside of his ribs like a cancer, but hungrier. Trembles shook through his flesh with the reverberations of the creature’s footsteps. The sound of his breathing was unbearably loud. His pulse was a weight on his tongue, metallic and hot and acidic with panic.
There was no going back, not if he wanted to win this. Not if he wanted to never wake up with blood on his hands, with someone’s throat crushed beneath his thumbs, with the ghost of someone he loved haunting his every thought and action and idle moment. There could be no more uncertainty, he had to know down to his bones that he was doing what needed to be done. Without realizing it, he’d begun the chant.
Obumbrata unum vocavi te in lucem.
Shadowed one, I call you into the light.
Ostende te, Dyabolum!
Show yourself, fiend!
Sit velatos moneantur,
Let the wearer be warned.
Mitto ego te ad sanguinem,
With blood I send thee back,
eieici te in sanguinem.
with blood I cast thee out.
A fire sprung up within his chest and swallowed up the hound of terror that had been circling his heart. No trace survived, all that remained were the ashes of a long-forgotten nightmare. The dual-control system that had kicked in where his body was concerned was a new level of unsettling. He could feel himself, could think, could move his eyes and felt the coolness of the metal he grasped in his hands, but he could feel something else, too. Something that moved just on the outskirts of his vision, something that felt like a phantom limb he didn’t remember having. He knew he was not the only one that felt the hilt of the knife, that felt the prick of the tip of the blade as it pressed into his stomach. Based on the nearly electric wave of fright that pulsed out from the second consciousness hovering in his head, they both felt the slow sizzle of the holy water the knife had been soaked in.
Graeme could not spare his decision an extra thought. Not now that he’d seen how closely his parasite was, how strong the connection had become. With one last clear breath, he thrust the knife into his intestines.