This is a sample chapter from the novel Exorcism of the Species
Father Jacob Arindosa had just left the shop, Crystal Clear, with a perfect crystal sphere and began walking back to his little church, which wasn’t far away. The sphere was still very hot to the touch and he could sense the creature trapped inside. It made him edgy, and he didn’t want to hold this thing any longer than necessary. He had to get it back to the church and inform his superiors that the creature had been captured and was ready to be picked up. He quickened his pace in anticipation of disposing of this thing and finally being done with it all.
Taking the sphere out of his pocket, he brought it up to his face to see if he could see inside. Peering intently at the perfectly round, clear quartz crystal sphere, he could see smoky colours swirling around inside, but nothing discernible was apparent. Glad of this, he replaced it back into his pocket and quickly continued walking to St Mary’s Church in Hulme, Manchester, speeding up the closer he got.
Nearing the church, he felt the sphere in his pocket begin to vibrate. He paused, wondering what was happening, and took it out of his pocket again. It was almost too hot to touch now, and he had to hold it in the cuff of his coat sleeve. He looked down at it and saw that it was now glowing; first a strange orange colour, then changing to green and then back to orange again. Each colour change was accompanied by a pulse, or throb from the sphere. This change in the behaviour of the sphere caused Father Jacob to take in a sharp, frightened, breath. His forehead now had a slight sheen to it, and his fear of the thing he held was clear in the shake of his fingers and the staccato beating of his heart.
He had witnessed tonight just how vicious and deadly this trapped being can be. He had lost an old friend, Father Thomas, in the fight to dispose of the creature. But a mistaken calculation on their part ensured that all they could do was contain it, and then only temporarily. He was sure that the creature would find a way out this sphere. After all, it managed to find a way out of its own realm, and wreak havoc in this one. Father Thomas wasn’t its only victim either. A secretary who worked for Gareth in the building where they had captured the creature, was brutally murdered by it for no reason only days ago. And Stella, Gareth’s wife, is in the hospital with broken bones and a concussion. “What a complete mess this all is,” He thought to himself, worriedly, increasing his speed so much he was practically running.
Hurriedly replacing the sphere back into his coat pocket, Father Jacob took a deep breath, and wondered if the decision to capture this creature was a sane one. The whole brotherhood and the hierarchy of the church know of the dangers should one of these creatures ever be captured, but they blindly ignored everything they knew in their quest to learn more about them. “Asking me to capture it if I could was a folly that we’ll all have to pay for.” Father Jacob muttered to himself as he quickened his pace to the safety and sanctity of his church. He was looking forward to handing this thing over and then taking a nice, long, hot bath to rid himself of the blood and the stench of death that he knew covered him from head to toe; remnants from the battle earlier that night to capture the creature. His grief for the victims would have to wait until at least then, as thinking about what had happened was too difficult right now, and would sway his resolve and ability to deal with the handover of this creature.
He was getting worried about the intensity of the sphere’s throbbing and the heat it was generating, as he wasn’t sure what it meant. In any case, it couldn’t be good, so getting rid of it can’t come soon enough.
Finally reaching the doors of the church, he pushed his way inside and was, for once, grateful that he was the only occupant. Turning around, he closed and locked the door, then leaned against it with relief, his chest heaving with the exertion to get here. This relief was short lived, because the sphere in his pocket was vibrating at such an intense frequency that it was almost jumping out of his pocket. Taking it out, Father Jacob peered closely at it again, and reeled back in shock. He could see the creature inside, and it seemed to be concentrating intensely, whilst staring straight at him. The sphere pulsed once more and then became so hot that Father Jacob was forced to release it from his hand and it fell to the floor and rolled away, coming to a stop only a few feet away.
Backing up as far away as he was able, Father Jacob could only stare in terror at what was happening. The sphere had unsteadily risen from the floor to some three feet in the air, and was growing at a rapid pace, throbbing and changing colour faster and faster. He only had time to notice that the colours and the light from them never extended beyond the sphere, and that the rest of the church was still in darkness, when a breeze started in the room and was quickly getting stronger and louder, whipping Father Jacob’s coat up and over his head. He managed to remove the coat from over his head just as a flash of bright white light filled the area accompanied by a boom of noise, like a bomb going off, throwing him in the air, where he landed ten feet away from where he started, in a tangled heap on the floor.
Once the dust had settled and the noise of the broken furniture falling and settling into its new position had ceased, a young woman slowly stood up from her crouched position on the floor and stretched out her arms. She raised and clasped them high above her head, pulling on the muscles in her back. “Ahh, this is much better. It’s nice to finally stand again.” She reached down to make sure the rest of her body was still intact. She felt a mass of long, curly black hair, which rested on her slim shoulders, and fell gently to cover her ample bosom. Touching her thin waist and flat stomach, then feeling down her long, nicely toned legs, she was satisfied that all was in order. Shrugging her shoulders swiftly to work out some tension, she took in a long deep breath. Noticing the coppery smell of fresh blood, and the dead silence in the room that was almost deafening, she raised her head and looked up to see where she was.
”Oh,” she muttered as she took in the scene before her. Looking around, she realised that she was in a small church, but everything, even the pews, were scattered and smashed into little pieces. The walls were covered in blood and bits of human body parts. She spotted a finger embedded in the wall to her left, grotesquely pointing straight at her. A grin split onto her face as she realised what must have happened. The priest had brought the sphere into his church, and within moments of entering, the sphere must have exploded, releasing her. Laughing with glee at her escape, she began looking around for the priest, or what may remain of him, until she spotted a bloody, largish mass across the way. Walking over, she bent down and recognised the form of Father Jacob. His upper body was the only part of him still in one piece. He was obviously dead though, as his arms and everything below the waist were scattered around the small area of the church.
Seeing that the main organs in the upper body were relatively intact, she bent down and reached up through the torso into the chest cavity of the dead priest. As her hand scraped across the ripped stomach, she felt some slimy bile force its way under her fingernails. Pulling her arm back, she raised her hand to her shapely lips and began sucking the bile from her fingers with groans of pleasure, smacking her lips together contentedly. When her fingers were sucked and licked clean, she reached back into the torso of the dead man, rummaged around for a moment, then moved aside the lungs and pulled out the still slightly warm heart. “Not as tasty when it’s already stopped beating, but it’ll do. I’m starving.” Squeezing the organ a little to ooze out some of the rapidly cooling blood, she saw that it wasn’t as congealed as she had assumed. “This must have happened only minutes ago then. Mmm, nice,” she muttered as she placed it to her mouth and sucked out some juices loudly. Opening her mouth wide, she clamped her jaws to the outside wall and tore out a huge chunk with her teeth. Looking around, her attention came to rest on Father Jacobs eyes, which were open and staring sightlessly.
Dropping the heart onto the floor at her side, she shuffled up to the head, and using one of her long nails, she pierced one eye and lifted it out of its socket, severing the optical nerve with a sharp tug. Coming back down to the torso, she dipped the eye in the stomach until it was fully coated in the bile and juices, and then popped it into her mouth, immediately biting down on it. She felt the eye burst, releasing the slightly thick yet sloppy vitreous fluid and swilling it around in her mouth, she groaned, “A rare delicacy, delicious!” She repeated the same process with the other eye, to several more groans of pleasure. Next came the lungs, but after inspecting them closely, she disregarded them as they were unsafe to eat, “Diseased lungs. Hmm, looks like he wasn’t long for this world anyway.” Rummaging around a little more inside the torso, she settled on the purple, fist-shaped spleen and removed it roughly. Tearing it in two, she popped each piece, one after the other into her mouth with a sigh.
Picking up the heart she had dropped earlier, she bit a piece off and began chewing slowly, then rose to look around the church again. Blood from the organ she was holding was slowly ‘plopping’ onto the floor as gravity forced it from the arteries still attached. She barely noticed as a realisation struck her. “I’m free, and no-one knows but me.” She laughed as she continued looking around and began searching the small enclosed area. Spotting what she wanted, she dropped the heart on the floor, and running over she bent down to pick it up. It was a crystal amulet. ‘So the sphere really is gone. It’s now back to being two amulets,’ she thought to herself as she looked around for the other one. Being unable to find it, she placed the one she had into the pocket of her coat, an item she had stolen only hours ago from the cloakroom of the office where the battle in which she had been trapped by that psychic had occurred. “I’ll deal with that later, right now I need to get the hell out of here and figure out what to do next.” Seeing the large doors at the other side of the room, she walked over and opened one, peeking outside to make sure the coast was clear for her to leave. She was half expecting that psychic bitch and her cronies to be waiting outside for her, but no, there was no-one around at all. Slipping through the crack in the door, she hastily walked out of the grounds onto Princess Road, and turned in the direction of the city centre.
Her pace slowed down as she walked up Princess Road. It was a very long road and her human body was getting a little tired. Finally she came to the end, and was passing under a bridge on Mancunian Way, when she stopped and sniffed the air suspiciously. Raising her head and concentrating, she felt her stomach give a sudden lurch, and instantly knew. Something was going on, something big, and the air was practically vibrating with it. “What the hell..?” Warily stepping behind one of the bridge’s supporting pillars, she hunched down and concentrated. It was definitely there, and getting stronger rather than weaker. The resonance of magic in the air tends to lessen in strength over time, but this... this is fresh and constant and strong. Shifting her position so she could see round the pillar, she scanned the area, her eyes darting in all directions worriedly. Seeing no-one, she looked up at the bridge, and realised that it was actually a traffic flyover, and that she herself was on a major roundabout. ‘I’m going to have to move to somewhere else if I want to know what’s going on,’ and with that thought, she looked around to get her bearings and then set off walking, again in the direction of the city centre.
She didn’t get far. Just across the roundabout, and down the street, she saw some humans walking in her direction. They were shimmering in the evening light, and the magic oozing from them was more than recognisable. “Fuck... they’re here. How..?” Not stopping to ponder any further, she quickly walked away in the opposite direction. Having no intended location, she wandered around for a short while, heading for the city centre. As she neared the centre itself, and the gardens with the fountain and statues, she again spotted some people walking and they too were shimmering. Deciding not to panic, and to head for Gareth’s office so she could hide, as that is the closest place to here that she knew, she carried on walking.
As she passed the shimmering people, they sniffed and turned. “You! Stop!” One of them said gruffly, but instead of stopping, she ran as fast as she could away from them. They gave chase, and she ran faster than she ever had; she couldn’t allow them to catch her. Spotting a large textile factory that was no longer in use, she ripped the boards off one of the windows and climbed in just as they rounded the corner and ran on, passing the opened window without thinking that she might have climbed inside. Racing around the dark building in a blind panic, she finally settled herself into a corner on the top floor and huddled there, waiting for them to find her.
After many hours of waiting, hunched on the dark dusty floor, she realised that they weren’t coming after all. With dawn on the horizon, she lay down where she was and fell into a fitful sleep, only to awaken to the noise of heavy traffic passing the building.
Sitting up, she stretched and looked around her. The building was totally empty and obviously hadn’t been used in a long time. Standing up and walking a little to stretch her legs, she stopped and concentrated hard for that resonance of magic she had felt last night. It was definitely still there. “Okay, think.” she muttered to herself, running her hands through her hair agitatedly. “I’ll hide in here for a few days, until I know what’s going on. Maybe they weren’t Xarthean; maybe they were just humans who know a new type of magic.” She placed her hands in her pocket and frowned, “No, I know a damn Xarthean when I come across one. I just hope those from last night were the only ones.” Pacing, she took the amulet out of her pocket and looked at it closely. “In the meantime, I need to destroy this. It was horrible inside that sphere, and no-one is ever going to put me inside it again.”
Placing the crystal amulet on the floor in front of her, she stepped back, raised her arms and then brought them down to shoulder height with her hands pointing at the crystal, fingers splayed wide. An arc of electricity shot from the end of her fingers and flew through the air, hitting the crystal, which itself flew several feet away, landing with a strange dull thud onto the dusty concrete floor. Walking over she picked up the crystal and examined it; nothing, not even a scratch. Undeterred, she again placed it on the floor and concentrated. She focussed all her energy into heating the crystal, so it was hot enough to split in two from the pressure. With a scream of frustration, she realised that not only was she not even scratching the damned thing, but it seemed to be collecting the energy somehow. All it did in response to the heat she directed at it, was glow.
“One more time…” She muttered between clenched teeth. The heat this time became so intense that after a moment, fire surrounded the crystal and crackled fiercely, its orange and blue flame licking every edge, and totally surrounding the amulet. Dousing the flames after a few minutes, she again walked over to examine the damage; nothing. The crystal amulet was as perfect now as it had always been. “Fuck! Damn it to hell!” She cursed, picked it up and threw it across the room viciously. Immediately regretting this decision, as she knew it simply had to be destroyed somehow, she ran after it and almost caught it in mid-air until she tripped over a wooden pallet that was lying on the floor. Now both her and the crystal were flying through the air, and they both landed with a thud.
The woman picked herself up and looked around, trying to find where the crystal had landed. Spotting it, she went over and bent down to retrieve it, then spun around on her heel as she heard a noise coming from outside the room. Clutching the amulet tightly, she backed up until a wall stopped her retreat, all senses on alert. Within moments, a shimmering human swung around the doorframe, scanned the room for a moment until pinpointing the exact position of the woman and her crystal, and said, “Well, well, if it isn’t Thanatos. We’ve been looking all over for you.” And she advanced, walking slowly towards the trapped woman.
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