Fight or flight: the means to an end.
Passenger van after passenger van rolled to a gentle stop in the driveway of the Deut residence, some with rattling engines, some with squawking breaks but all were there with the same purpose. After a chorus of doors banging shut, a line of twenty five professionally dressed clergymen began the long but much anticipated fifteen foot walk to the porch of the mansion. A few of the various aged men wore simple formal-casual clothing, while other were dressed in black clothing with purple scarfs draped over their shoulders – the ends of the violet fabric adorned with white stitched crosses. Every single one of the men carried a bible in one hand, and either a blessed cross or a vial of holy water in the other hand.
Standing on the front porch with the Malcolm, Eli and Vincent, Ian and his team smiled seeing the approaching reinforcements. "Gentlemen." Ian held his hands out palms up still smiling. "I'm glad you could all be here today. I understand you all have had to put other obligations on hold for this, so we're glad you could come."
For a few brief moments a tense silence hung thick until one of the older priests to the far right of the group spoke up. "Mister Rhubarb; at first I was going to politely decline your seeking help on this matter, but when you spoke of the falam, I knew I had to drop what I was doing and start preparing for this." Following the aged mans voice, everyone in the group nodded in quiet agreement.
"All right." Ian chuckled bobbing his head up and down. "Here's the situation. We've already done our usual ritual to get the benign spirits to cross over to the other side. We are now left with two malicious entities; a poltergeist and the falam."
"This will not be easy." A younger man towards the center of the group in black clothing chirped. "A poltergeist is hard enough to handle by itself, as is the falam; but when the two of them are together..."
"I know." Ian frowned slightly. "If anyone of you feel you can't handle this and would like to leave, we'll understand." Following his thought, Ian glanced around seeing everyone staying in place. "Your determination is admirable. Let it be known that today, we came together not as men of cloth, paranormal investigators and a family in distress, but as men and women working together against a common enemy...to add another victorious notch in the battle of good versus evil!" Hearing Ian's speech a chorus of claps echoed out into the open air. "So lets do it; let's kick these evil beings back to hell where they belong!"
The ward was near silent. Roberts shoes scuffing along the polished linoleum floor was the only sound as he made his way from the West wing of the complex to the main station in the center of the building. Reaching a circular counter top, he lay a plastic clipboard down and grinned to the two nurses working the area. "Everyone accounted for."
"At first I was skeptical about all this." The shorter of the two nurses commented softly so as not to be overheard. "I thought Baker had lost his mind when he wanted to try out the idea of 'post lunch quiet time.' Yet so far it's working pretty good. Patient tension is lower than ever, every one of them seems to be that much more relaxed, and I could be wrong but I think they're opening up to us more."
"They may be growing up." Robert added. "But deep down they're still kids. Kids need their evolving freedoms and a sense of structure."
"Case of point." The third nurse – the taller of the two working the station – continued with her own track of thought. "Duncan. For as long as he's been here, he's been - for lack of a better term...'fussy' after lunch. We never did figure out why that is so we just presumed that's how he naturally is. Now that we've got one PM quiet time, Duncan isn't fussy any more."
Suddenly Robert chuckled. "That's because he's using this time to take a nap. Which, if you have kids, you know is a daily routine for a few years before they grow out it. It's just that some don't grow out of it. Poor 'ol Duncan is one of those that haven't outgrown that phase."
Laying stretched out in bed in the stillness of his room, Shane drew a deep breath while clearing his mind of any free-radical thoughts until he thought of nothing at all except for the void in his mind. Slowly his eyes closed as his body relaxed. Find your inner sanctuary, Shane. The one place nobody knows about but you. Nobody knows your here; this is your inner sanctum. Bakers voice echoed in Shane's mind as his breathing softened and his heart rate slowed.
Peaceful. No other word could describe the large park Shane envisioned in his mind. Open fields, concrete walkways, swings, climbing structures; he saw it all, in his relaxed state he could smell freshly cut grass, hear the swings squeaking ever so subtly when caressed with a gentle gust of wind. This was his mental escape where nothing could find him. Shuffling over to the long swing set, Shane sat down on a hard plastic seat, each link the chains connecting it to the frame drew minute amounts of tension against each other to support his weight. As he looked up he saw pure white puffy clouds moving silently across endless vibrant blue skies.
"Shane..." A soft female voice broke the songs of birds chirping in the distance. Looking around, he saw nobody within eyesight, yet, ten feet in front of him a blindingly bright white light appeared. At first it was no larger than a golf ball, and as time went on, it grew in size until it was large enough to match his fathers height. He sat staring at the light, unsure of what to make of it when movement from within caught his attention.
"What...the..." Shane mumbled to himself in whispering tones. No sooner had he muttered that than a silhouette walked care free from the whiteness. At first he could barely tell it was human but as the figure came closer and closer, he could make out long copper red hair resting gracefully on a white gown hanging loosely from a female body. "This is just a hallucination, nothing more. You're not really here, my minds playing tricks on me. That's all this is." Shane chuckled shaking his head. Still keeping silent, the woman slowly approached. Even though instinct barked at him to run away, there was something about the woman with green tinted irises that was calming, soothing, familiar.
"Look at you." The unidentified woman finally spoke; her tone soft and confident. "My baby is growing up."
"Look, lady; don't know who you are, but I know I'm not 'your baby.' You're a figment of my imagination. Nothing more." Shane smirked and leapt off the swing until he stood face to face with her. Ever so smoothly the woman reached out until her hands were carefully resting on the sides of Shane's face. Under her touch, Shane felt a warm glow of love flowing into his body, a wealth of information flooded into his mind until he suddenly pulled back. Tears formed in Shane's eyes as he huffed gasping for air to fill his lungs. "M-mom...?" he asked forcing his eyes shut, his body trembling from pain in his body coming from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
"Yes baby, it's me."
"Y-you can't be...y-y-you're..."
"Dead?" The woman asked. Hearing this, Shane nodded using his hands to cover his eyes. "Shane; sweetie, I know this is a lot to process right now but you have to understand I'm here for a reason." She kept speaking softly while pulling Shane into a loose but tight familial hug. "Your dad and your brothers are in grave danger, Shane. Something very – very bad is going to happen to them unless you're there to stop it from happening."
"W-what can I do!?" Shane drew a breath deep enough to belt out his words. "They're at home and I'm locked up on a two month hold at the nut house! I can't do anything!"
"Yes you can, honey. You can do more than you've ever imagined. Just let me show you the way. Let me be your light in the darkness..." Her words faded away seconds before everything around them faded from view.
Shane suddenly snapped awake with a full body jolt. He sat up, staring at everything around him a slight grin crested his lips. With urgency He rolled off his bed and stood up, his fingers curled slightly as he patted different parts of his body. Still maintaining the devious smirk Shane moved swiftly and quietly. After poking his head out of the room door to the hall, he moved again, this time though to the opposite end of the corridor and a large red metal door with a push bar with 'fire exit; alarm will sound' embossed in large black lettering. Without thought of doing so, he reached out, his hands resting on the cool metal of the push bar and gave a forceful shove causing the door to swing open. No alarms blared, no lights flashed, nobody came running to stop him. Under the warm glow of the early afternoon sunlight, Shane stepped out onto concrete walkways dividing expanses of neatly trimmed grass.
Seconds after drawing a deep breath smelling the fresh air Shane took off; his velcro shoes slapping hard against the concrete as he charged for the closest fence. In short time, the young teen scaled the tall metal rod iron fence and thrust himself over to the other side and climbed back down then kept running until the fence was out of sight. Faster. More agile. Shane laughed, his lips turning into a warm grin feeling more powerful than ever before.
So THIS is what being like Eli feels like... A small, timid voice rang out in the back of Shane's mind as he kept charging full force.
Malcolm instinctively used his body to cover Eli and Vincent as they huddled behind the couch in the living room. Using any means available, Ian and his paranormal investigation team took cover while documenting everything possible. Past the line of clergymen chanting prayers and bible versus all hell was breaking loose. Demonic growling filled the space; the walls, floor and ceiling shook violently. Objects flew about and furniture toppled. Everyone witnessing the spectacle, whether they admitted it or not, was honestly terrified of what was going to happen next.
"Everyone down!" A voice shouted out breaking the chanting and prayers of the clergymen, no sooner had everyone present ducked than a series of knives flew through the air, landing blade first into drywall and furniture.
"Men!" Another voice called out. "We must stand firm! We must not show this evil being any weakness! We MUST accomplish what we came here to do!" One by one the men of the cloth stood, some rising for the resentment of evil, some out of sheer willpower, but all stood together in determination. Again their chants and prayers filled the space drowning out the guttural growling, a renewed sense of hope driving them to raise their crosses and sprinkle holy water about in an act of defiance.
Sudden silence. Everything ceased rattling and moving. Unsure of what was happening, everyone in the living room looked around during the sense of peace. "Somethings not right..." Ian muttered aloud while glancing around. "Keep going keep going!" He then shouted to the clergymen yet before they could continue, a deafening roar boomed as a blast of bitterly cold air snapped through the area forcing the group of religious figures to fly backwards until they landed hard on the wood floor. "Everyone out! It's getting too dangerous!" Ian shouted pointing to the door, he watched as his team safely retreated, while they did, he helped pull Malcolm to his feet and in turn helped pull Eli and Vincent upwards an backwards.
Just as they reached the door, a loud blast bellowed with the door nearly swinging off its hinges. "...The fuck!?" Eli shouted stepping back.
"What are you doing here Shane!" Malcolm ordered seeing neon green clothing.
"Everyone stay back!" Shane commanded, his tone low and seething, his glare cold and focused on the living room past the astonished clergymen.
"That's not Shane." Ian gasped staring blankly at the fourteen year old boy looking just like the other two boys at Malcolms side.
"Yeah it is!" Malcolm barked still in disbelief. "He's standing RIGHT THERE!"
"It's his body, but it's not HIM!"
"What!?" Malcolm shook his head while forcing his eyes shut.
With a sigh, Ian growled. "Try to open your ignorant little brain to this! It's his body! But it's not HIM! His physical presence is being used as a conduit by another force. He's become a vessel connecting our world to another plane of existence."
"Remember the orchids, Mally." Shane spoke, his tone of voice becoming softer. "Remember what happened with the orchids."
"Wait, how did you..." Malcolm stammered, years of long forgotten memories rushing back into his consciousness. "Tiff?" He asked, his mind giving up on trying to make sense of all of it.
"That's right Mally, it's me, Tiff. Get our babies Mally, get them to safety." Shane continued while looking between Eli and Vincent. Without another word spoken Shane turned and grinned at the open space. "Just get everyone out; it's not safe here."
"He...she...whatever 'it' is, is right; we're not safe in here!" Ian shouted again pointing to the door.
Now alone in the living room of the mansion, Shane trudged ahead using his foot to shove debris out of his way. "You and me. Just the two of us. We've got a score to settle." He trailed off, his body ready for anything. "You WILL leave this family alone! You WILL leave this place at once. You may NEVER come back; you're unwelcome here!" Movement from the corner of his eye caught his attention, moving swiftly, gracefully, Shane spun to his side and raised his arm blocking a book flying his way. "Is that all you've got!?" More movement, Shane turned and used both arms to shield his face from flying drinking glasses. "Oh what's the matter? Big bad evil falam having a tantrum? Three year old children are more destructive than you are!"
Even more movement. Everyone watched through the front windows and opened doorway to find Shane jumping up as a overturned wood chair scraped against the floor towards him. With precision timing and accuracy, Shane stopped the chair with one foot then kicked it away using the other foot. "You've met your match, falam, I'm not leaving, I'm not quitting, and I'm not going to run in fear. You screwed up, falam. You targeted the wrong family..." Shane tensed his jaw, his words coming out in low seething hisses. "...worst of all you attacked my baby!"
More growling. The house shook violently, objects flung about. In rapid flashes, the outline of a tall demonic figure appeared and disappeared in front of Shane. The entities movements stormed towards Shane. "Go back to hell where you belong and don't ever bother coming back again...unless you want me to kick your demon ass back to hell...again!" Deafening roaring forced everyone outside to cover their ears and turn away from the glass with visible cracks forming in the panes. Shattering windows accompanied a blast of cold air rushing outside. Risking the dare, Eli, Vincent, Malcolm and Ian forced themselves to watch as black mist filled the space in front of Shane. Arcs of blue energy danced around the thickening smoke; one by one the arcs combined into one powerful stream of energy aimed directly at the boy in neon green scrubs. In the time it took everyone to blink, the energy stream shot out hitting the boys chest square on then continued out through the open door taking everyone by surprise.
Slowly the dark fog lifted leaving only sunlight and a natural calmness. To the amazement of those cautiously re-entering the living room, Shane turned around, his body growing limp. They watched as his right hand raised clutching his chest, his eyes rolling up towards the back of his head, his stance faltering until he fell to the floor. "Shane!" Malcolm shouted running for his son, Eli and Vincent following until they knelt down at his side.
"Shit he's not breathing!" Vincent gasped, the hopes of victory instantly turning to fear.
"No pulse!" Eli shouted out pulling his hand from Shane's neck where he knew there should have been pulsations. "Cpr?"
"Ten to two?" Vincent stared Eli eye to eye.
"You read my mind. Someone call nine-one-one!" He called out but focused on Malcolm. "Damn it I said somebody call nine-one-one!" Acting on trained conditioning, Eli and Vincent crouched into position and started resuscitation.