The Bishop and the Mother Superior instantly nodded when Father Daniels informed them to leave. They were an understanding pair, but they would have preferred to watch the famous priest in action. It was more of their curiosity why they wanted to witness it, not because of the concern for the girl. They knew that Father Azrael would handle it perfectly, so to worry about her wasn’t necessary.
The two priests remained inside the room with the door locked and the only window above the headboard closed. If anything comes out of her body, Father Azrael wanted to make sure that it will not jump out from one host to another.
He took a long, deep sigh, and then uttered merely to himself, “Here it goes.”
He placed his bag down the floor and proceeded to stand on the side of the bed where the nun sat earlier.
“Uh, Father? Aren’t you going to use something from your bag?” Father Daniels asked all of a sudden, looking at his counterpart holding nothing.
“No,” was Father Azrael’s quick reply, “There is nothing in there except for a pen and a pad of paper.”
Father Daniels raised his brows in surprise. He unconsciously questioned himself how was he going to do the rite without a bible and a crucifix in hand?
Well, Father Azrael is wearing a pectoral cross though, he might use it later, it was the priest’s first thought, but as he continued to observe, Father Azrael only pulled up his sleeves to the elbows and did nothing more.
“Ah, Father Azrael?” he abruptly called once again. “What am I to do?”
Father Azrael simply closed his eyes and answered, “Silence, Father. I just need you to be silent. You don’t need to do anything other than to hold the girl when the demon is out.”
Father Daniels wanted to suggest something, but decided to stay silent anyway. This would be the first time he would witness this young exorcist do his rite. Considering he was ten years older, he might pick up a few updated ways here and there while watching him.
Father Azrael continued to close his eyes for a whole minute and when he did open them again, it was a different color entirely; from cold cerulean irises to a golden one with streaks of red.
A gasp escaped from Father Daniels mouth but he contained it quickly, continuing to watch the unfolding jaw-dropping scenes.
“You. Get out!”
He almost thought that the order was addressed to him, but seeing Father Azrael’s eyes look straight at the girl, he realized it was directed to the demon inside.
Father Azrael pressed his right hand in her chest and instantly, electric currents flowed from his arm to her chest, creating a blast of light upon contact. This left the entire room bathing in white light and then the furniture shook wildly.
Father Daniels heard an eerie screeching sound almost in an instant, followed by bones crushing near him. He took a hold of the girl’s left hand and watched in horror as her face suddenly twisted a hundred and eighty degrees. Her long hair tossed in the air creating a black thick wall in between them.
Her hands were cold, icily cold as he continued to hold it, never having a tiny intention of letting it go. He grabbed his own crucifix necklace in his chest and then started praying the Lord’s Prayer only he could hear.
Father Azrael enforced a more powerful joule of electricity to bring out the demon. It was only a mere amount though as compared to the electricity he released in Maryland that brought about an unsavory blackout for four days.
It was a success. As rapidly as he injected the current inside the girl’s body, so was the reaction of the demon that writhed in pain when it finally emerged.
It was a banshee, with black hair as long as a fishing pole twice its length. It screamed a deafening decibel that Father Daniels had to glue his free arm over his head to cover both of his ears.
Father Azrael didn’t as much as flinch however. He continued forcing in more current until the banshee’s clinging life-force left Jessa’s body. As soon as the demon was brought out, her face returned to its human anatomical position and her hair, a short bob.
Now, Father Azrael glared at the banshee suspended in midair. It stared back at him and before he could finally give the final blow of current, the banshee suddenly morphed into something more ancient-looking.
It had no eyes, but Father Azrael felt that it stared back at him. It had no nose but it had two sharp teeth that housed a snake-like tongue, slithering out as if it was saying ′hello’. It also had a pair of pointed ram-like horns instead of ears and had a slimy body that was skin and bones.
The foul stench surrounding the room turned bolder and bolder causing Father Daniels to vomit on the spot.
A growl suddenly broke from its alien mouth and then an archaic word that Father Azrael knows very much.
“So you talk,” Father Azrael commented sharply, glaring at the demon with rage.
The nameless entity just cocked its head to the side.
“Samael, you make a good priest,” it commented with disgust, but before it could say another word, an exploding current surrounded its entire lithe body. It rotated into a weird crouching position and opened its mouth in a speechless scream. Within seconds, the solid form began to dissolve into thick ash until it disappeared in the air.
“That damn demon.” Father Azrael gritted his teeth when it finally ended. His eye color returned to normal and the current in his hand disappeared.
He eyed the other priest and saw his legs spread unceremoniously on the floor with his garb smeared with vomit. It was surprising to see the sight considering he was a fellow exorcist priest, but Father Azrael had to commend him for not ever letting go of the girl’s hand the entire ordeal.
“Father Daniels, you should get that cleaned before I open the door,” he suggested with utmost concern.
The latter looked up and batted his eyelashes a couple of times before realizing that it was over.
“Oh, okay,” he replied and then stood up and marched towards the bathroom.
Jessa looked much at peace now. Her color was returning to normal while her eyelids finally stopped its quivering.
Human-looking - that was the right word.
Father Azrael untied the ropes that held her at bay, the whole time looking at the stem of freesias inside the crystal vase. The flowers were beautiful; vibrantly blooming, but still with innocent buds. This would be the kind of beauty that he could compare to the woman who picked similar-looking flowers in that empty lawn.
It was amazing how this plant played on his thoughts, but he dismissed them quickly when he untied the last of the ropes and turned to open the door.
“Oh my God!” A teary-eyed Sister Cene screamed in joy as she saw Jessa sleeping peacefully, quickly noticing her short bob. She entered the room and went to clasp the girl’s hand that hinted warm life circulating in her veins. She sniffed the room and found that the foul smell was no more. She couldn’t sense the evil aura too, much to her happiness.
“You know,” Bishop Elliot stated looking at Father Azrael who stood next to him in the doorway, “I have taken care of this house for twenty-two years and I have never encountered this kind of problem before. The townspeople are beginning to get frightened and they are looking onto me for answers which I don’t have, but now that you’re here, I’m sure I’ll be getting answers soon.”
Father Azrael slightly nodded at him and went back to watch Sister Cene in her tears of joy. The dumbfounded Father Daniels finally emerged from the bathroom and decided to comfort the Mother Superior with a hand on her back.
A soft woman’s voice suddenly called the Bishop’s attention.
He turned his head to see and smiled in appreciation then. “Ah! Aurora! You are just in time!” he remarked with eagerness.
“Bishop, what has happened?” she asked in sudden concern. Her eyes filled with deep worry.
“Come see! Jessa is already healed!”
Her wide eyes stared across the room and saw that it was indeed true. She quickly went inside managing the small space of the doorway, ultimately disregarding the black robed priest on her way.
Father Azrael noticed the woman coming in from the corridor. He didn’t see her face, but his heart spiked a beat when he noticed the mint green scarf around her neck and her chestnut brown hair falling in beautiful waves in her back.
It is she! A scream in his mind appeared in a lightning flash.
He continued to watch her as she went to sit at the edge of the bed and touched the cheeks of the sleeping girl tenderly. He didn’t see any happy tears in her eyes, but she looked as much overjoyed as the Mother Superior was.
So it seems, his head blurted out, eyeing the freesias near the window.
Bishop Elliot followed her inside leaving him all alone in the doorway.
For a moment, he watched them and thought that they almost looked like a happy family finally reunited.
“The girl needs to rest for a couple more days for her energy to come back. She is healthy, with no serious physical injuries except of course the bruises in her wrists and ankles,” Father Azrael stated while standing near the bathroom door. The crying of Sister Cene had finally ceased, so it was the right time to talk about the girl’s present condition.
Aurora still sat beside Jessa on the bed, but now faced him. Her hand stroked the girl’s hair back and forth as she listened intently on the priest.
“I see. It is good that we have a doctor priest in here now Sister Cene,” Aurora commented, looking at the old nun with a pleased expression.
Sister Cene fell bewildered at first. She glanced at Bishop Elliot because of this and then to Father Azrael with furrowed brows. Understanding dawned on her then and so she released an apologetic smile towards Aurora in reply.
The Bishop quickly made a loud clearing of his throat. “I’m sorry! My goodness! I haven’t actually introduced both of you!” he stepped in and dismissed the silence. “Well, Aurora, this is the new exorcist priest the Vatican had sent. Father Azrael Traugott. He is the one who exorcised the demon out of Jessa’s body.”
Aurora instantly formed an “oh” in her mouth and as if realization banged her head with a frying pan, she stood up in haste and apologized.
“I’m sorry! I ah—I didn’t know. I assumed that it was Father Daniels who—” She eyed the said priest who in turn beamed a smile and shook his head to say no. This produced a faint blush on her cheeks. “Oh, well, uhmm...” She cleared her throat and then straightened. “I am so sorry for the misunderstanding. I am pleased to meet you Father Azrael and thank you, for saving Jessa’s life.”
She offered a hand to him in which he kindly accepted. The contact of their skin suddenly electrified like a tree being hit by lightning. She released his hand and touched her fingers as if it was burned; surprise was immediate in her eyes.
“It’s not a problem at all, and you’re welcome,” he replied with much thoroughness as if nothing had happened.
This was her first impression on the priest - with raven black hair that was neatly cut, a clean shaven jawline, a finely-shaped nose, well-trimmed eyebrows and lips that was shaped into perfection. It wasn’t her first time seeing a man like him though for she had seen a handful of handsome priests who came in and out of the charity house. All of them exuded holiness and gentleness, and chastity that were untouchable. However, this one here had a different aura. She could sense it immediately by the look in his eyes — a cold cerulean — and the way he stood, proud and self-assured, roughly five inches taller than her.
Looking at his intimidating orbs up close gave her a much clearer view, and she noticed instantly that it had gold and red specks on it.
Weird eyes, she commented in her mind.
Although Father Azrael was cool and composed, he didn’t take that moment lightly. The electrifying feeling when their hands touched was akin to having a demon nearby. He feels a slight stinging electric sensation when he senses a demon’s presence, especially one that was high-class. Feeling this same current when their hands shook definitely sent his mind into confusion.