chapter xxiiiMature

When Graeme opened his eyes again, Gabriel was the first and only thing he could see.  Everything else was white light.  For an instant, he thought he’d died but the look on Gabriel’s face was anything but serene.  As he watched her lips move, faint traces of her voice trickled into his sense of awareness, the light behind her dimmed and the luminescence in her hazel eyes faded.  Still, her plump lips moved, a chant falling from them like a common phrase.  She made the words sound beautiful, like a lullaby.

Relinque quae corporis tutatus sit
Nihil mihi ad te, resiliet lumen.
Relinque quae corporis tutatus sit
I eieci te ex.
Ego præcipio tibi: non revertentur.

Leave, the body is protected.
In my light you will shrink to nothing.
Leave, the body is protected.
I cast you out.
I command you: do not return.


Her hand on his chest caught ablaze with a light that shone brighter than the full moon, it flickered like a fire but felt cold on his skin.

He sat up, his eyes still fixed on her face, and she pulled away as he did so.  There was no fear on her face, only practiced reflex.  As the chant ended, Graeme became less tuned into the finer details of her face as everything else came back into focus.

“Do you feel all right?”  Her fingertips were cool against his forehead.  He thought of how familiar that touch was beginning to feel, how comforting.  He did not mind.

“Yes,” he said, his throat scratching around the word.  Had he been screaming?

“Appoloin tried again.  I pushed him out but I think he’ll be back, Graeme.  He’s fixated on you and I don’t know why.”

“What should we do?”  Already, his mind was racing.  He couldn’t lose himself again.  Sheer terror swallowed him and he drowned in it, gasping for air.  The pounding of his heart in his chest grew louder and louder with every heavy beat.  The world felt very small all at once and the pressure building within him felt very large.

“We need to find out how to keep him out and why he’s after you in the first place.”  Her palms grasped his face, forcing him to look at her.  Slowly, deliberately, she said, “Listen to me, Graeme, you need to slow yourself down; you’re going to be fine.  Breathe.”

(Slowly), he obeyed.  Inhale, exhale, repeat.  He began to feel calmer.

“I read about a scripture that is supposed to prevent possession by lower demons.  I haven’t found anything for one as strong as Appoloin but maybe it will make it harder for him.”

“I guess we’ll just have to trust in that for now.  In the meantime, I’m sure we can find a few other ways to keep him out long enough to figure out what’s going on.”  There was resolve in her tone, but her eyes gave away her anxiety.  She knew if there was a fool-proof way to keep out Appoloin she’d have already thought of it.

He thought it best not to mention his skepticism.  Instead, he said, “I’ll find the scripture.”

The End

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