** Continuation of October 15th, 2010 post. Please click here for Chapter 1.
I never knew how many days I spent in that dank little cell. However many it
was, it was sufficient time to weaken me for what my captors had planned.
The dream started as it always did, flashing back to the day in Kindergarten when I’d been hiding under the hedge because a particularly nasty ghost refused to leave me alone. I’d made the mistake of looking at him and he’d latched on to my side, the unending barrage of pestering a constant until I’d yelled at him to go away. My usual gang of tormentors had noticed me flinching with each insult the spirit threw at me and, when I’d yelled, had begun adding their own brand of injurious comments to the mix.
Petite thing that I was, none of the other kids could fit into the tiny cubby hole I’d found for myself and I was left to cower in my leafy haven with the only one of them that could follow since he had no actual body to prohibit him from doing so. The hedge protected me from the physical assault but did nothing to deter the verbal onslaught that my tormentors, physical and non, continued to rain upon me.
Everything in the dream was much more vivid than it usually was when it came. I could smell the freshness of the earth under my feet, the crisp green smell of the hedge and the rotten garbage the other kids had thrown as I ran.
I waited – I knew what was coming next. Brody Callaghan, always my savior thereafter, would soon poke his head through the hedge and flash the most charming smile ever before pulling me out and offering to be my friend and bodyguard forever.
“Ardeur, wake up.” A bucket of water, colder than the dead of winter in Antarctica, was thrown over my prostrate form and again, the snickering drifted to my ears. “I said wake up you stupid little bitch.”
I came to sputtering and hissing a wildcat ready to defend its self. My shivering hands made a move to wipe the glacial water from my eyes only to stop short of their original positions. The discovery that I was strapped down to the frigid metal table by the wrists and ankles had me furiously blinking to clear my vision. “What’s going on? Why am I tied down?”
Boyd’s craggy face appeared above mine wearing a sneer and smelling of his usual, stale cigarettes. “You’ll find out soon enough sweetie. Now shut up and behave like a good little monster.”
He stepped back and my eyes took in the rings of black candles that glittered in a circle around the table and filled the air with the thick, heavy scent of beeswax. The sheer number of them should have been enough to warm my goose bump covered skin but the wintry temperature of the water had ensured that I was cold and would stay that way. An enormous mirror, half of which was painted black, hung from the ceiling above me and reflected my own terrified expression. I could make out the outline of a pentagram chalked into the floor and it was enough to tell me that something very, very bad was about to happen.
Hooded figures in black robes standing at my filthy, bare feet solidified that feeling as they began what my young mind recognized to be a summoning chant. I’d used them often enough in the last six years to recognize it for what it was and a mix of fear and adrenaline zinged through me. My legs kicked feebly at the thick leather shackles that held them by the ankles and my hands pulled with what strength I could muster at the restraints on my wrists.
“Oh no. Nononononono. Please don’t do this. Somebody help me. Please? Please don’t do this?” They had been smart in their handling of me since I’d been handed over to them. Had my captors tried this when I’d first been given to them I would have snapped the restraints in a matter of minutes and bolted for the door as fast as my legs could carry me. Keeping me malnourished sapped my strength, prevented me from the escape they had anticipated. As things stood, an IV of straight adrenaline wouldn’t have helped with the predicament I was in.
A malevolent feeling swept through the room and the chanting picked up in speed and cadence. My mind rebelled, my skin crawled with uneasiness and my empty stomach clenched as I felt whatever they were calling drawing nearer. Signals fired to my body urging it to fight, to run from what was coming but I’d been starved and cold for so long that any strength that may have been in me to obey was long gone.
A tall hooded figure reached out and traced a frigid finger over the hollow of my abdomen. I could feel the symbols being drawn slow and precise with something cold and viscous. It took a moment to recognize the symbols – but when I did the level of my terror ratcheted up to full and I began to scream in earnest. The hand pulled back and my eyes caught the glint of a reddish residue on the tip of a finger before it was wiped on the robe its owner was wearing. Blood. They were going to summon a demon. “No, not blood. Please no. You can’t do this. I’m a kid. I’m a kid.”
The chanting increased to a fever pitch. Another voice, deep and menacing overlaid them with the words of calling. “Shadekar, denizen of the underworld, demon of chaos and servant of the Morning Star, we summon you to possess this child and assist us with our mission. Come forth fiend and walk the world once more. Take this body that we offer you and make it your home. Feed from its strength and let it nourish you.”
Evil, stinking of sulfur and corruption, enveloped me in the next moment. It sank deep into my skin and burrowed inside like a parasite. I screamed and begged for mercy, for the pain to end. The hollow cavity of the warehouse echoed with the shrill sound of my voice bouncing off of the corrugated steel walls that had become my own personal hell.
My small body bucked off the table like an archer’s bow pulled taught before the discharge of an arrow. The muscles and tendons that held my body together strained under the stress of the convulsions. Each joint at shoulder and hip popped and threatened to dislocate. Release from the pain came in the form of darkness. I lost consciousness while my new companion took control of my body and locked me in the darkest corner of my mind.
A Nephilim. Of all the fucking luck. I get a new body and it belongs to a half breed Angel. The boys and girls upstairs are going to freak when they find out one of their precious little offspring is the skin suit for a demon. Poetic justice at its finest.
I woke up later and found that I’d been left strapped to the table once the ritual was completed. No longer in control of my own body, the demon was in the driver’s seat and watched my captors through my eyes. I cowered in the recesses of my mind and thought of the one good thing that had ever been in my life. I thought of Brody, the only real friend I’d ever had.
Shadekar left me to my musings while he used my lips to bark orders and demands in a voice that was not mine. His first demand, in the low, menacing growl that would be forever imprinted in my mind, was to be unshackled from the table. “Get me some clothes too. This fucking place is freezing and the kid’s teeth are chattering.”
The demon’s hold took and my captors began to feed me in small increments. They started with a thin, flavorless beef broth and worked with me until I was able to stomach small meals without vomiting the contents of my stomach all over them. Allowing me to wither away and die would have wasted all their work and they were determined to see that I thrived to fulfill the purpose they had set out for us to achieve. Any refusal to eat resulted in more pain and I gave in after the third beating nearly broke my back. I hated the beatings with a passion; but being alive, even possessed, was better than dead.
The torment was incessant as the demon continued to berate and belittled me inside my head. He was relentless in reminding that I was unloved, unwanted and unworthy. I was fortunate; he’d say, that I had been chosen to be his vessel while he carried out the task he’d been set.
Whenever I took out the memories of Brody to keep me company Shade, as the demon insisted he be called, would howl with laughter and taunt me until I learned to shield myself and my thoughts from him.
Days turned into weeks before I was finally allowed to see the light of day. A bath, fragrant with a delicate floral scent, had been provided to remove the weeks of filth and grime that coated my skin. The prettiest pink dress I’d ever seen was pulled over my new undergarments and black patent leather shoes were slipped on over pink ankle socks that matched my dress to perfection. My hair was washed and pulled back into a ponytail tied with a satin ribbon to match the rest. The broken and jagged ends of my nails were trimmed, cleaned and buffed into perfect pink ovals.
If ever there had been a more innocent looking child, I was it in that moment. No one would have ever expected the evil lurking beneath the surface of the pretty little package I presented in my frills, bows and freshly scrubbed wholesomeness.
An elderly couple who would become my frequent companions on the little outings Shade and I were sent on was waiting outside. They smiled vacantly and ushered me into the backseat of their sedan. The demon was in full control in this moment and my cries for help went unheard by anyone but Shade and he didn’t care how hard I screamed.
We drove around the city for hours until we stopped at a busy park and I was sent out to play with the other children. I was given a ball and shooed away. My child’s hand recognized that the soft red rubber was heavier than it should be but I was powerless to stop what came next. Shade forced my legs to walk out onto the grass that bordered the soccer field.
A large group of children were gathering to play soccer and the demon forced my hands to roll the ball out into the field. The shiny red rubber ball rolled right into the middle of a pack of the kids; I turned my back and calmly walked away. On the exterior I looked cool as a cucumber while I raged inside at what I knew was about to come. The demon turned us once we were safely back in the car and I watched in terrified horror while one of the bigger boys drew his sneaker clad foot back and walloped the ball with everything he had.
The explosion that followed blasted the entire park into an unrecognizable tangle of twisted metal, dirt, trees and, worst of all, bodies. The screaming in my head drowned out any other sound and I kept it up until the demon forced me back into oblivion.
What happened in the park that day was enough to convince me that whatever Shade and our handlers were up to was nothing I wanted to bear witness to again. That was the day I threw up the strongest shield I knew around myself and hid in the back of my mind, biding my time and enduring the bits that I couldn’t block out when Shade forced me to witness what he had done.
I hated my parents for what they had done to me but that emotion was tinged with the smallest bit of gratitude for having been forced to read all of the spells they had shoved at me. My photographic memory had stored all of it and I now had plenty of time on my hands to pull each of them out, one by one, and plot my escape.
Come back tomorrow, October 17th, 2010 for a look at Chapter 3 of Possession is Nine Tenths – Ardeur.
Copyright © 2010 Danielle Gavan
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.