“During the exorcism he – it – showed me something. I saw the demon. Or, at least the form it was choosing to take. A form meant to shake my faith and my foundation. But, worse…worse was the vision of Ed’s death.”
The words on the window almost seemed to glow with their own eery light that had nothing to do with the sun beginning to set outside the house. The message quite obvious, even if they had no idea just what it meant:
While Ed frowned at the window, reaching for Lorraine once more because something told him it was her that was the real target here, not this family, Lorraine herself sidestepped his reach and moved forward instead. Her hand was outstretched toward the window and she moved as if being pulled toward it. Kneeling on the couch so that she could reach, she placed her hand opposite the red handprint already there. As soon as she touched it, she gasped, her body going rigid with an intense pain like nothing she had ever felt before.
There was a sound almost like a rock or something hitting the window, though nothing was anywhere near it and no one was in any kind of range to do so, and with a screech a crack split the glass, leaving a splinter in the middle where her hand rested, embedding itself in the flesh of her palm, but not registering in her mind at all.
Strong hands grasped her shoulders and wrenched her off the couch and away from the window, the lost contact seeming to jar her back into reality and lessen the pain that had been consuming her entire being. She recognized the feel of Ed’s arms around her as he steadied her to keep them both from falling from the momentum away from the couch, allowing him to turn her to face him. He had been speaking, but she hadn’t heard most of what he was saying.
“Are you hurt?” The demand came swift and low as he looked her over and gently grabbed the hand that had been on the window. A hand she was surprised to see welling blood that she stared at almost as if dazed by it as it dripped onto the floor. He didn’t wait for her obvious answer, pulling out the shard of glass and placing a handkerchief from his pocket over the wound, pressing in an attempt to stop the blood. “We need to get this cleaned up, see if it needs stitches.”
She didn’t argue, not sure she could even if she had wanted to. There were lingering traces of the other pain. The pain that hadn’t been hers, but had been at the same time and the shock of the assault hadn’t completely worn off. A simple nod was all she offered, glancing back toward the window. The message was gone along with the original bloody handprint that had been lingering. Another had taken it’s place however. Her own.
“I don’t think this…they mean to hurt me.” The words were said quietly as Lorraine sat with her husband at the kitchen table of the family who had requested their help. Actually, Janet had requested their help and somehow that seemed like an important factor – that it had been the teen and not her parents - though it was another thing that didn’t fit anywhere as of yet. There were too many puzzle pieces that just didn’t fit together.
Ed’s look of surprise and disbelief might have been funny if the whole situation wasn’t so very serious. “How can you say that?” He tried not to snap the words, more worried than he wanted to let on, even if she knew anyway. His gaze dropped briefly to her hands on the table, the injured one bandaged and not requiring stitches, but still painful. And that was just the obviously physical injury. There was also the mental agony this thing was causing her. So, saying what she had made no sense at all to him and his inability to figure out what was going on while she continued to be targeted made him more tense and unhappy than he would usually be.
Lorraine was quiet for a long moment, understanding his disbelief with the evidence as he saw it, but somehow she still stood firm in her belief. “I think this was a warning.” She briefly lifted her bandaged hand.
“That you should leave and let me handle this?” Ed was scowling slightly as he interrupted before she could continue. He had wanted her to get as far away from this as possible after the events upstairs, but hadn’t said so because he knew what her answer would be. But, this thing with the window had made him even more edgy and even more convinced that he didn’t want her anywhere near this.
The look she gave him was both understanding and easy to read. “I don’t think that would fix anything.” The first dream had happened before she had even met Janet, after all, and her vision upstairs had shown her that the two things were somehow connected. Leaving the house wasn’t going to stop whatever events were already in motion. “I think it’s a warning that we have to figure this out, or –“ She paused there, not wanting to finish the sentence because he was already worried enough. But, the symbolism of her own handprint replacing the other on the glass seemed to indicate that she was in danger here, but not from whatever ‘they’ had to show her. There was something else here.
“Or?” Ed was watching her with slightly narrowed eyes now, wanting to order her to leave, to hide away until he could finish this, whatever that meant. But, refraining from doing so because he knew it would drive her to do the opposite and he didn’t order her to do anything. Not even for her own safety. They just didn’t have that kind of relationship. He was afraid for her and angry that he couldn’t protect her. The very idea of this ‘or’ chilled his blood in his veins because he knew how that sentence ended without it needing to be spoken.
The thought flitted through his head that maybe Janet’s approach had only been intended to get them there and now that they were…other wheels were in motion. He liked this thought even less than the rest because that almost meant that whatever was going to happen was going to happen, no matter what they did about it. That was unacceptable. Things could always be changed. There was a reason Lorraine was shown the things she was. He truly believed that. He had to believe it.
“Or something very bad is going to happen.” Lorraine murmured, watching his thoughts flicker across his face as clearly as if she were reading an open book. She didn’t comment on what she read there, knowing she didn’t have to. “So, let’s figure this out.” Her tone was firm but not challenging. There was no other option and he knew it as well as she did. “You talk to the family more, see if you can get anything else from them.” He had already started to bond with them, so much as was possible in a situation like this, so it made sense for him to push on that.
“I’ll look into the history of the house and the property and we’ll get Drew and the team in here in case we need proof of what’s happening.” Sometimes that proof was necessary in order for the church to back them on things like exorcisms and the like. Sometimes it was just proof that these things did happen, things they could use in their lectures and attempts to show people what was really out there and the dangers of messing with things they didn’t understand and couldn’t control. They might need recorded proof because sometimes their word just wasn’t good enough.
Ed was quiet for so long that she started to think he might actually argue, despite knowing it would do no good. Finally, he nodded once, curtly. He was not happy with any of this, but what could he really do? “All right. Let’s figure this out.” Before it got worse.
I think this is a warning...
(Author's Note: This is part of a multi-part series.