It was hard to go back there but I had to do it. Sinking into one of the church pews which looked still stable though it creaked loudly under me, I looked around. Surprisingly, the place wasn’t in bad shape for having been abandoned for forty-seven years. Yes, the roof had let water in so there was dampness and rot. People had taken a lot of things to salvage, but the colored glass windows with their biblical scenes were still intact.
Resting against my walking stick, I knew breathing the air in here would be bad but I had to stay as long as it took. Ignoring the shaking of my body, I cast my mind back and plunged myself into that first Sunday of July 1970.
My family had been coming to this little village church for generations and this seemed like any normal Sunday service. I had my wife with me and our two boys, who were longing to be playing about outside. Then the priest announced a special moment in the history of our church; the first exorcism to take place here! Everyone who had been dozing or daydream began to pay attention again.
A thirteen year old girl, wearing only a white dress, was dragged on by two burly men, I knew to be brothers. She was screaming and crying, her loose red hair flying everywhere. I didn’t recognise her and being a doctor I knew every child in the village. I frowned and half rose from my pew, my gut saying something wasn’t right.
‘This girl,’ the priest began having to yell over the child, ‘has been possessed by demons and I shall end her suffering by removing them from her body and mind!’
The congregation gasped and began muttering. I caught the glare of my wife but it was too late, I was on my feet and challenging.
‘Who is this girl?’ I cried out ‘and how do you know she is possessed? She seems nothing more then a frighted child to me!’
Eyes turned towards me and a few people joined my line of questioning.
‘This is beyond your medications, Doctor!’ the priest roared back at me.
I felt a tug on my sleeve and knew it was my wife, but I ignored her and carried on, ‘You know that for a fact do you? Let me see her!’
I stepped out of the pew and strolled up towards them. The girl was still screaming and crying, struggling to get away from the massive hands holding her down. The priest moved aside, hand gesturing me to inspect the child.
Reaching for her, she tried to bite me, but the brothers held her back. I felt her forehead, looked into her eyes and mouth as much as I could. She was drenched in sweat and looked very unwell now that she had fallen silent.
‘She is feverish,’ I declared, ‘she’s merely ill.’
‘No!’ the priest snapped.
He rushed at me, sweeping me aside and I tumbled to the floor. I heard him chanting loudly in Latin and the girl screaming. Looking up, I saw the girl fling her head back and open her mouth. A red mist poured out of her and forms seemed to take shape.
I scrambled up off the floor and back to my wife and boys. The congregation were crying and shouting things out, but no one could hear each other because the scream now coming from the girl was deafening. I tried to scoop up my family and get them out of the church but it was too late. The demons flew at us all, forcing their way inside of everyone and taking over.
I don’t remember much after that. Everyone was stumbling out of the church, feeling like they had to get far away from everything that was Holy. I walked my wife and boys back home, hoping the fresh air would help, but we all felt sick when we arrived. We spent days resting, whatever had happened seemed to become like a faded dream.
But we were cursed now. Everyone in the village had a demon inside of them and we found it harder to control ourselves and remain good. I moved my family away a year later, my wife was seriously ill and my boys were running wild. It helped a little, but it wasn’t enough and no one seemed able to heal us.
(Inspired from: https://thewriteedgewritingworkshop.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/writing-prompts-for-monday-july-10-2017/ with thanks)