"Forgive me Father, but I'm not here for the confession you expect and I'm not sure you can offer the answers that I seek." Lynn sat in the small wooden booth unsure of what to say next. Even in this holy place she felt it's presence. Dark and black like terrible storm on the horizon, lingering on the edge of her mind, coiled to strike at any sign of weakness. "I'm not catholic or very religious at all and maybe that's why I'm in this situation." She whispered the last sentence, but the middle aged priest heard it and slowly leaned closer to the dusty screen screen that separated them.
"What kind of situation are you in?"
Lynn wrung her scarf in her hands, nervous about this plan of hers. Why was this happening anyway? How had she attracted this silent hunter that plagued her shadow and threatened her very sanity? She wasn't sure if telling the priest about her 'stalker' would help. She wasn't sure if he'd even believe her enough to try. Hell, he might even have her committed, but she had to tell somebody.
"Is it okay if I speak to you in private, Pastor Jim?
At the sound of his name the man immediately recognized the voice. It was Lynn Marlin, a local young woman who worked at the hospital. She was the nurse who always called him when, on the rare occasion, a patient requested a priest when they were going to die. The priest had seen her at his mass on more than one occasion even though he knew she wasn't devout. Jim stood quickly and exited the small booth,. The door protested its movement with a loud creak that echoed throughout the empty church. Jim's eyes fell on the woman who looked as if she were a stranger before him. She came straight from work, for which her scrubs were evidence and her long golden hair was in a messy ponytail. She was obviously scared of something as she stood there trying to strangle her scarf and trying to watch for any movement around her. The dark bags under her eyes was all the proof that she was loosing sleep.
Lynn had come to this small town from another equally small town in Florida and even though she'd been here almost four years she still retained her natural tan and sun bleached hair which never ceased to shine. She was an over all happy person, always quick to joke which is why Pastor Jim knew something was wrong with Lynn as she stood in front of him, her eyes pleading with him to help her. She followed quietly as he turned and made his way to his office, his mind racing ahead of him to the possibilities that the following conversations was going to hold. What could really be bothering her this much? Did she kill someone or something? God help her if she did.
When they arrived at his small office he placed her in one the cheap chairs in front of his desk and took his own seat in the other k-mart chair next to her, moving it so that he faced her.
"Come on now Lynn, Tell me whats got you like this?"
"I'm not sure you'll believe me. I'm kinda afraid that you'll think I'm crazy." She whispered her words as if she was afraid someone would hear her.
"You might be surprised. I'm a very open minded person Lynn." He sent her a smile that she didn't return. If only she knew the things that he did believe in. She would find it much easier to tell him her problem. Lynn slowly surveyed the cramped office one more time before leaning in and once again whispering her words.
"I think I'm...I think I'm being..." She had to pause to take a breath and steady her shaking, "I think I'm being haunted." Even though she looked as if she had more to say, she paused to gauge his reaction. When he didn't look skeptical or surprised or even jump for his phone to dial 911 she continued.
"And this might sound even more crazy but I don't think its a ghost or anything like that. Its...evil."
That was all she was going to say until she got something out of him and try as she might she couldn't read his face. His expression was stony and his eyes were slightly glazed over as if he was thinking about something else entirely and she knew then that her attempt was futile. Pastor Jim didn't believe her and he sure as hell couldn't help her.
"Sorry I said anything. I knew it was no use." Lynn practically started sobbing as she stood from her crappy chair. She was terrified of what was waiting for her back at her apartment. Some other daytime hallucination that was as equally as horrifying as the last or another night of no sleep while her furniture rearranged itself.
"No! Lynn I believe you! In fact I think you've come to exactly the right place." Jim exclaimed as he jumped up and grabbed her shoulders to keep her from fleeing. "But I need the whole story." He added as he pushed her back into her chair, "I need every detail that is giving you this suspicion. Anything weird or unnatural happening, strange dreams, every-single-detail."
The intensity in his voice was scaring and relieving her at the same time. Lynn was now positive that he believed her, but he was taking this way more seriously than she expected. She stared him down for a second before she loosened the coils in her shoulders and placing her bag and scarf on the floor next to her. She took a deep, slow, steadying breath before beginning her story.
"Even though I didn't know that this certain event was connected it all started with my electricity. My lights would flicker all the time and when I called my landlord he said that he couldn't find a problem and that maybe I just needed new bulbs and all that. But I changed every bulb in that place and it didn't help. The next thing was my appliances. They would work when they wanted to and I was getting really frustrated. Then one morning, it was really early and still dark, I was going into work and I noticed someone watching me. He was leaning against the building where there wasn't any light so I couldn't really see him. I just thought it was some creeper so I just hurried in and told the security guards, but they never found anybody."
Lynn stopped all of a sudden and listened to the silence, like she might have heard something, but she quickly snapped back to reality, looking slightly panicked.
"But then I started seeing the same creeper everywhere I went. The library, the grocery store, hell I even saw him when I ran in the morning. I could never make out his face though. Then I started to dream about him and he would be talking to me, telling me things about heaven and hell and even though he never outright threatened me I know that he means me some kind of harm. I don't know how I know I just do. Like I can feel it in my soul or something." She picked her scarf up and began to fiddle with the frayed edge. "And things have started moving in my apartment. It wasn't much at first, but now they move a lot. I'll leave a room and my furniture with be different. I find my toothbrush in my kitchen sink. I even found my shoes on my fan blades once. And sometimes I see things out of the corner of my eye. Most of the time it looks like a dog, but when I turn to look its not there. This thing, this creeper that's following me...he's trying to get in my head or something. Its hard to explain, but it kinda feels like someone is poking my brain. Sometimes I can stop him if I think about it hard enough but it gives me a headache and he just keeps trying until I pass out. But when I wake up I know that he didn't get in. Don't ask how I just know." Lynn stopped again and closed her eyes, a wave of pain showing on her face. She clutched the arm of the chair while she took deep breaths to get the pain under control. When she regained control again, the pain and fear in her bloodshot eyes pierced Jim's soul.
"He is trying to get in now. He wants to know what I'm up to. Its getting harder and harder to keep him out though. I'm not getting sleep and I'm on edge all the time. The smallest things scare me and I have to struggle to keep from crying. My job is suffering too. If I don't pay attention to what I'm doing I could give the wrong medication and kill someone. I could loose my nursing license. I'm at my wit's end and I just don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I'm possessed or something."
Lynn sat there, the tattered pieces of her former self, weeping quietly in his chair while Pastor Jim went over what she had told him. He had been tracking some activity in the area and if what she was saying was true then he knew exactly what was plaguing her, but he hoped to God that he was wrong. Jim leaning forward and reached out, taking her shoulders once more and gave a light squeeze that got her to look up at him.
"I don't think that you're possessed Lynn, but I do think that something is trying to possess you." Any color that remained in her tired face drained as she heard her fears from someone else's lips.
"I believe that the thing that is after you is a demon and its doing all these things to try to weaken you. When you are in an unstable mental state you are more open to demonic possession so Lynn, I cannot stress to you enough that you cannot give up. You must stay strong."
"Well can't you exorcise it or something. Make it leave me alone." Lynn pleaded.
"Uh...no... Lynn. It's particularly difficult to exorcise a demon and I cannot, but I know who can. What I can do is help you hold it off until then." The older man jumped up from his seat and ran to a cabinet that he quickly unlocked and started rummaging through. Lynn watched curiously from her seat but she couldn't make out what he was grabbing until he turned around and she saw what he was carrying to her. He had four boxes of salt and something she couldn't make out, dangling from his wrist. She was flabbergasted. What on earth was she going to do with a bunch of salt? She just kept her mouth shut and waited for him to explain as he lay it all out on his desk.
"I'm about to give you some instructions that I need you to listen to them very carefully. It is very important that you do exactly as I say." He removed the thing from his wrist and Lynn noticed that it was a necklace, but she couldn't really tell what the amulet was with it dangling around. "The symbol on here is for protection from evil so put it on and keep it on. It's going to double your defenses against this demon. He won't be able to get into your head while you have it on." He handed it to her and turned away, giving her a chance to examine it. It was a simple thing made of threaded leather and an pentagram amulet that looked and felt as if it was made from iron.
"I thought that this was used by people who worshiped demons?" Lynn was unsure of it. What if it attracted the demon instead of protecting her from it?
"Common misconception, Lynn. Now put it on." His back was still turned as he spoke so she just resumed her examination until he turned to her with one of the boxes of salt in his grasp.
"This next part will sound even more strange. If this is in fact a demon, which I believe it is, there is a simple way to keep it out of your house. Put a line of salt on across every door and window. Even if you have a basement or attic put it there also, but you must make sure that the lines are solid. The demon won't be able to cross the salt line."
He was right, that did sound extremely strange to Lynn, but she needed all the help she could get.
"Hey I told you to put that on." Jim said as he pulled the necklace from her fingers and forced it over her head. She looked like she might protest but he cut her off. "No buts, Lynn. Keep it on." His voice was stern but gentle at the same time and she knew he only meant well. He began speaking again, listing more instructions more than likely, but Lynn was having a hard time concentrating on his words. Her mind was caught up in this new, unfamiliar feeling.
All the weight that had seemingly been placed on her shoulders seemed to lift into thin air. It felt as if steel walls had been erected around her mind as she could no longer feel the pressure of the demon trying to get in and even with her skepticism of the walls effectiveness she could feel her brain slowing down. She could feel it relaxing much like when you finally relaxed a tense muscle. The synapses in her brain slowed down and Lynn could feel the foggy cloud fall over her.
"Pastor Jim..." She mumbled, but he kept going on about the salt. "Pastor Jim..." He finally noticed her eyes drooping and how she almost couldn't sit up straight. He quickly grabbed her to keep her from falling out of the chair.
"Lynn whats wrong?"
"I dunno...I'm just so...tired...walls around my...mind..." Her words were slurred as if she was drunk, but Jim pretty much got the gist. Now that the necklace was guarding her mind from the demon her brain was finally relaxing. Her body quickly recognized that it no longer needed to stay so alert to protect itself and now Lynn's exhaustion was overtaking her. Thinking quickly Jim grabbed all the salt and shoved it into Lynn's messenger bag that still lay on the floor next to her chair, before slinging it over his shoulder and pulling Lynn from her chair.
"Come on. I'll take you home and lay the salt lines for you. I'll call the people who can help you."
Lynn swayed slightly but kept her footing as Pastor Jim led her to his car and buckled her in. She dosed while Pastor Jim drove, but she heard some of the conversation he was having on his cell phone. He was talking to someone named Dean about the supposed demon. Lynn was so relieved that this whole ordeal would be over soon. After a whole month of this hell she'd been in it was going to be fantastic to be able to sleep and do normal things again without a demon on her tail. Hopefully this Dean guy knew what he was doing.