The following contains potentially disturbing content.
It is with a heavy heart I find my faith tested and found wanting. All that needs be known is that I have always walked beside my god. My father was a bishop and I, an orphan, raised by the Catholic Church followed the righteous path.
Two months ago I witnessed what should have been the exorcism of a family in Kent, England. A mother and daughter had been under the sway of a malicious spirit and their father; an atheistic carpenter had turned to the church for help. I received the phone call early that morning from father Michael, a colleague at St Thomas’s church, the panic in his voice made my anxiety level rise instantly. It was minutes of blubbering before I managed to calm the poor man down enough for him to speak. He told me of a family with an evil spirit attached to them. Before hearing the fabled word – “exorcism” – I cut him off.
The Vatican had long ago banned any of their ministers from performing such practices unless under strict authority, and I admonished him against such action. I felt the color drained from my face when he told me he had already tried and failed. My heart grew cold when he said to me the situation had gotten much, much worse.
I left my cottage in Canterbury and drove to St Thomas’s church in search of the archbishop and head of my order. Luckily I found Bishop Davids in conversation with a young clerk. As he looked up from a small man, he raised an eyebrow at my eagerness to speak with him. He apologized to the clerk and directed his attention to a tapestry of Paul, the apostle. Our whispered conversation soon drew his head as Bishop Davids sucked in a breath through his teeth.
He sanctioned me to go and resolve the situation – off the record – before any news outlets could use the event to damage the Vatican’s name further. The consequences for the Catholic Church could prove devastating. Before I left, he pulled at my arm and raised an eyebrow again.
“If your faith fails you. Be the bullet of God.”
With a healthy fear resting on my heart – for my colleague and the Church – I left for the address father Michael had given me. The small two bedroom house nestled in the corner of a small Col de sac of a typical Kentish housing system. As I pulled up, I noticed a lot of people milling about the property. I knew then the word had got around and I thought it best I take off my clerical collar to disguise myself as an ordinary person. As I walked through the crowd, the neighbors spoke openly about hearing banging and strange noises coming from the house. None had ventured near the home as they believed the sounds were demonic and didn’t want to be contaminated.
I knocked on the polished wooden door and father Michael’s flustered face appeared around the edge instantly. I could still see the relief in his eyes even though he had a hand clasped to his nose. It was akin to the faces that emerge from the water once a baptism is complete. As I placed a foot beyond the threshold, a sound stopped me dead. One foot outside and one foot on the carpet. I had to fight my instincts there and then not to flee, such was the noise.
The voices – yes there were many – were disembodied and came from the very walls. I couldn’t tell you who or what many belonged to. The most disturbing of all, a child’s high pitch wobble with the underlying sound of something ancient and evil. I’m only a simple man of God, but even I knew that voice didn’t belong in a family home. The reason for father Michael’s nose gag became apparent as I stepped fully inside, the smell within was appalling, like rotten flesh and excrement. I placed my coat on the coat hook behind the door, and it bounced right off again. When I bent to pick it up, but father Michael stopped me with a hand and a shake of the head.
“It would be back on the floor the second you turn your back father.”
My colleague guided me down the cutely decorated hall. The happy smiling faces of the family glowed from their glassy prisons. Their happiness was infectious, and I grinned as I entered the galley kitchen. The countertops were awash with various sets of glass vials; I assumed they held holy water, but I had all I needed in the case banging against my knee. It struck me the kitchen looked more like an apothecary than the hub of a family home. I nodded to father Michael.
“Where is the husband?”
I reached into my pocket and returned my collar to its rightful place. A series of loud bangs echoed down the hall, and the voices came back with a vengeance, the kitchen cupboards opened of their own accord and dispensed their contents over our heads. I shielded my face with my case and waited for the last object to hit the floor.
“Cunt, filthy cunts. Get out cunt priests.”
I let my case fall and looked about wide-eyed, this thing was proving to be very volatile, and I felt my bile rising. My colleague screwed up his face to hide his fear.
“He is upstairs with the child, he can’t bear to look at his wife, her transformation is….harsh.” He whimpered.
I felt troubled by his lack of description. Father Michael hurried to equipped himself with holy water. I placed the case I was carrying on the worktop and clicked the locks. Inside were the tools of the necromancer, devices that have aided the church in older times and still today, abet in secret. The Vatican had branded these tools – the tools of the devil – and as such in years gone by, burnt people at the stake for practicing witchcraft. The clergy knew the truth, and as such a case can be found in every church, worldwide.
I looked upon my arsenal – Sprigs of cedar and lavender, burnt as incense. Small vials of Thyme. Aconite – better known as Wolfsbane. A clump of twigs from a Yew tree to be placed around the home. Tobacco, Cypress oil, and three beeswax candles for fighting the spirits to name a few. I lifted the false floor and underneath pulled forth my Stoll, Rosary beads, my bible, and a wooden cross with an inlaid of glass that followed its curved. The water inside, drawn from a pool under the Vatican blessed by Saint Peter. I opened the false floor again, looking at the final item that laid within its shadows, and quickly snapped it shut in case father Michael caught a glimpse, it was a last resort, and I hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
“Lead the way.” Father Michael swallowed and nodded his head; I could see the effort it was taking him to go back upstairs.
The journey up those steps was an arduous adventure. The spirits displeasure of me coming closer to it had made it incredibly angry. Doors shook, and lights flickered, but I made it to the landing as the bedroom door opened and a pale looking man came out. The husband looked worn; It wasn’t the baggy joggers and gym top but the tracks of tears that transversed his face. I grasped his shoulder and forced him to look at me.
“Be still my child. They are in good hands now, but I must ask that you stay. The more present to believe in God, the more power we will wield.”
The young man came out of his trance with my words and shook my hand venomously.
“Please father, you must save them, my daughter, my wife.”
He broke down to a blubbering mess, and I lent him the strength of father Michael’s arm as I pushed open the bedroom door. The door to a daughter’s bedroom was heavy although it was an eggshell door, and the smell hits me once again, excrement, heat and something unknown. The door creaked open to a bleak interior. I didn’t see the daughter immediately because the destruction was so vast. The child size metal bed had been mangled and bent out of shape. The mattress shredded and scattered across the floor. What furniture she had before I could only guess at, and the daughter – she was sat quite peacefully playing with a doll – on the ceiling.
I reeled and for a brief second couldn’t find the words to speak. Finally, I found my nerve to call her name in a faint hope that she could be coached down. The door behind me, however, slammed shut, and I momentarily gasped from the shock.
“Lacy, child. won’t you come down and speak with me?”
The sight of her blonde hair dangling down to the floor and the red scratches I saw on her neck and arms will chill my nights for many years. A small cute childish sing-song voice answered me back.
“No thank you, father.”
I almost believed that the girl had performed some magical feat to stay upside down until the voice changed as the demon spoke through her.
“And take your filthy fucking collar with you.”
The laugh came from everywhere, the child, the walls, outside the door. It was as if each room in the house had been set up with a speaker system. Lacy turned her face down and round to behold me, and I have, and never will be, as terrified as I was at that moment. The innocence of the child’s face ripped away, and a grotesques imitation rendered me to a six-inch spot on the burgundy carpet. The pictures on the wall of the hallway showed a bright seven-year-old girl in various acrobatic poses, and her rosy cheeks and sun-colored hair brightened up the drab corridor. Now the evil within warped her face into a bleeding death mask and my soul died.
Lacy stood up, or down from the ceiling and turned toward me. She crouched down and twisted her head to the side. Pulling her pink Barbie pajama bottoms down, she defecated into her hand and threw her shit at me. I raised my case to block it. It wasn’t a great shield. She laughed like scratching glass and floated down from the ceiling. I have heard of many things that couldn’t be explained but seeing one, it was a pivotal moment for me. The Lord shows his glory in many ways, but even Jesus didn’t fly.
I called to Lacy once more hoping that her innocence would break through the hellacious spirit, but alas when she screeched and made a grab for me, – I shudder to think what I would have done with the fear running through me. The husband had broken through the door and intercepted her flailing arms and pushed mine back. I stumbled from the room, and father Michael caught me bodily.
I was thankful for his frightened face, only for it not to have been a dream and I, not gone mad. I adjusted my Stool and wiped off the shit from the front of the case before nodding to father Michael. The walls shook again, and an unearthly moan rolled around us.
I glanced in a mirror resting at the top of the staircase, and it showed, me, father Michael and the entity. I don’t know when or where she was from, or whose appearance she showed me, but the malice in her steel grey eyes was enough to tell me that no one would leave alive if she could help it. I quickly turned tried to catch the apparition, but like the fleeting shadows, she had gone. Father Michael looked at me with concern, but I waved it away.
“Where is the mother?”
He pointed to the next door, a traditional white-painted door. Nothing about that door would have given me evidence of what it held inside. The room was dark even though light poured in through the window. The sunlight seemed to hit a barrier and was allowed no further. It was a lovely bedroom given the circumstances. The mother’s skills – I guessed – were apparently in interior design although I could not claim to any such thing. My room – alas – my home was bare in comparison and lacked the female touch.
The bed was empty, the sheets and pillows laid bunched beside a large wooden wardrobe. The bedside tables had been turned over, and their content strewed across the grey carpet. In the corner where an elegant vanity sat, I found the mother strapped to its high back chair. Glass from the mirror laid scattered around her and pieces protruded from her face. The face that looked at me was not the bright, happy one I had seen in the hall pictures; neither was it recognizable as her face at all. Twisted and cruel, evil and ancient, these are the words I would use to describe best what I saw.
The thing raised the mother’s head and wagged its tongue at me; It struggled against its bonds, and the furniture shook in hostility. I held out my cross to unnerve the thing, but more so to build my faith and courage. I heard father Michael’s soft tread behind me, and it lent me the extra courage I needed. I was indeed not alone.
“What is your name demon.”
The Mothers face softened, and in an instant, I saw the real lady beneath. But just a quickly the spirit took her over and shouted back with the voices.
“Getttt outttt, Cunt, filthy cunt.”
I heard the screams from the other room too, the daughter spoke with the same voices, and I knew now that it wasn’t one spirit here but multiple. My fortitude crumbled, I didn’t know if I alone – with father Michael and the depleted husband – could perform the necessary exorcism. I righted a nightstand and loaded my case on its glossy surface then told father Michael to bring in the girl and the father. We were going to need everyone in the same room to better tackle these spirits. A moment later they returned with a bundle struggling in their arms, words that should never be uttered by a child came spewing from her tiny mouth.
I confess I died a little more when seeing this innocent girl being used so grievously by these demons. The husband and my colleague strapped the girl to the bed and father Michael came to stand beside me. The father lingered by his wife, his shoulders slumped, and he looked at the ground with a sense of sadness I never hope to know. The demon twisted the mother’s head, and again the visage dropped allowing the wife to resurface. Her fear grew as she glanced at her bonds and her husband, and the two priests within her private chambers.
“Malcolm, whats going on?…please untie me. Malcolm? Please, untie me…Malcolm?”
Malcolm raised his downcast eyes and reached a hand toward her bound forearm, I lunged to intercept his hand and gently soothed him away. I tore a strip of bedding and wrapped it around his eyes.
“It would be best that you remember your loved ones face as they were and not the twisted versions caused by these demons.”
Next, I reached into the case and went about setting up the various incense and candles, finally returning to lift my bible and a vial of holy water. I crossed the heads of the husband, father Michael and myself before doing the same to the mother and daughter who tried to avoid contact and whimpered when the water ran down their faces. I knelt by the bedside between the two infected and started the Litany.
“Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Christ, hear us, God, the Father in heaven.”
Father Michael intoned after me: “Have mercy on us.”
“God, the Son, Redeemer of the world. God, the Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, one God.”
As father Michael said the atonement the demon sat the child up and her shoulders popped as they dislodged. The whites of her eyes had turned red, and blood wept from them like the blessed Mary. She turned to father Michael to continued with him.
“Holy Mary, pray for us – stick it up your cunt Gods man. He’s not welcome here.”
Together they laughed like nails dragged down a chalkboard. What little resolve I had left slowly dissolved, I swallowed the bile rising in my throat. I adjusted my hands, and the heaviness of the bible gave me the fortitude to carry on.
“God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
For haughty men have risen up against me,
and fierce men seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
See, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Turn back the evil upon my foes;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, Lord, for its goodness,
Because from all distress you have rescued me,
and my eyes look down upon my enemies.
Glory be to the Father.
As it was in the beginning.
I carried the ritual to completion with father Michael and the husband joining in when they knew the words, even when the doors and bed shook, and things flew and struck me from hidden locations. Eventually, with God at our side, we finished and looked at each other for any small signs that we had won the battle. I imagine the calm before the storm or more romantically the eye of a storm would have been like that moment when everything is gently swaying, and the noise is but an echo in your ears.
The spirits revolted.
The bed shook violently and broke, wood splinted and cracked. The candles blew out, and the windows exploded in a shower of glass. The father laughed behind his blindfold, the same demonic voices escaped his throat. Amidst all the commotion the mother and daughter smiled and tested their bonds I knew we lost. Everything the Vatican said to do had failed, and Bishop David’s last words rattled in my mind.
I saw the innocence of Lacy’s youth lost for all eternity. She would never run with her friends again, never know love. The demon had killed her in the possession, and I had reason to seek justice. I lifted the false floor and gripped the last item. The words of the Lord’s prayer thundered from my mouth as the barrel of the gun echoed each shot.
One for the mother, square in her temple. The second for young Lacy, in the chest.
I prayed that her soul went to the glory of God. The final bullet brought the husband to his knees, blood wept from his grey shirt, and his green-tinged face slowly returned to pink before his heart stopped. He fell to the floor dead.
Father Michael whimpered in the corner as I lowered the smoking gun. He stayed that way until the police came and still didn’t utter a word. I don’t know if the ritual took its toll on him, or if the ghosts haunt him still. However, he could not aid my defense in the courtrooms. I have damned myself no doubt, and retrospectively would do so again, if not only for the innocence of little Lacy.
Maybe the Lord God will hear my prays and show me favor when its time for judgment. I have to go now, the correctional officer is taking my journal for inspection. It seems puzzling that I’m currently in a place where the Lord’s word is needed the most. Maybe he has ordained I be here. For God works in mysterious ways after all.