Another installment of A Ghost Story? Yes, please!!!
“You will soon regret your bravado,” the demon hissed.
Hearing a voice that evil coming from his mom was unsettling, especially when it was directed at him. Jake almost regretted his statement. The only reason he didn’t was because he hadn’t made it. Not consciously, at least. To be honest, he didn’t even know what was said. It was like the other words his father made him say.
Sharing a mind with his dead father was another thing that was unsettling him at the moment, especially after his father took control, mumbled a bunch of gibberish, and taunted a demon.
“Don’t worry,” a reassuring voice told him. “This isn’t the first time I’ve fought a demon.”
Flashes of a memory that wasn’t his played in his mind. Feelings of rage and terror flooded through him. Fire and darkness originally dominated the vision, but they were quickly replaced by peace and light. The last thing he saw before he returned to the present was the smiling face of his father.
As comforting as that should have been, Jake found it hard to hold onto that feeling when he saw that the fire and darkness wasn’t part of the memory. It was happening right now. He was surrounded by them. “Yes,” his father reminded him, “but they’re not touching you.”
His mom laughed once more and Jake’s father immediately warned, “You need to stop thinking of it as your mom. That’s just a shell. The beast inside is in control. Focus on the aspects of her body that will help you know it is no longer the person who raised you.”
Jake knew what he meant. He’d seen it in her eyes and the way she smiled. The thing controlling his mom was not of his world. Then again, with a quick glance beyond the flames, it didn’t look like Jake was in his world anymore.
“The demon has brought us to its plane. It thinks it cannot be defeated here.”
“Why does it think that?”
“Likely because it never has.”
Jake frowned and the demon laughed louder. Jake’s father had said it couldn’t hear the conversation they were having in his head, so it must have been reacting to his frown. His father agreed, “That’s right. And that’s good. Let it think we are worried.”
“I am worried,” Jake retorted.
“That’s okay, too. Just trust me, son. Together we’ll get you out of this mess and back home.”
“Okay, what do I need to do?”
“Nothing. We need it to attack you first.”
Jake’s frown deepened causing the demon’s laughter to amplify further. Jake could feel the laughter on his skin. It crawled and wormed and made him want to scratch himself clean.
“And why do I need it to attack first?”
“Because,” his father replied, “it’s a trap.”
“How do I get it to attack first? It seems content to stand there and laugh.”
“It’s a psychological trick. The demon does that to demoralize you, to get into your head.”
“I already have enough supernatural crap in my head. I don’t need any more.”
His father chortled. “I’ll forgive you for calling me ‘crap’ when we get out of this. Now, the first thing you need to do is make it think you’re attacking it.”
“I thought you said it had to attack me.”
“And it would be.”
“Yeah, but in self defense.”
“Yes, but if you’re not intending to attack it in the first place, it’s not self defense because you can’t defend yourself from someone who isn’t out to harm you.”
“What kind of bull…”
“It doesn’t matter. The older you get, the more you learn that magic, like everything else, has loopholes. You’ve just got to learn how to exploit them.”
Jake shook his head and pushed that stupidity out of his mind. He ignored the umbrage that came from his father at calling his plan stupid and moved his feet. As soon as they were under him, he slowly lifted himself off the ground with his leg screaming at him the whole way. Then, when he was fully upright, the pain went away.
“It’s still there,” his father warned. “All I’ve done is block it so that you can do what you need to do without it interfering.”
“I’m done listening to you laugh.”
Jake was surprised by how steady his voice was. His dad started to say something but Jake ignored him. He was focused on the demon in front of him. He trusted his dad to have set up whatever trap was going to catch the demon after it attacked but he needed to figure out how to make that happen. He needed to figure out what would piss off the demon enough to act, or what would scare it enough to act first.
The demon was still laughing but Jake could see it eyeing him with new interest. Slowly, he switched his feet into a fighting stance and raised his fists. He steadied his eyes on his mom and waited. He wasn’t sure what he was waiting for but the demon’s laughter was quieting.
“You know you can’t actually punch it, right?”
“I figured as much, because we need it to attack first.”
“Well, yes,” Jake’s father responded, “plus he’s a demon and your fists can’t hurt it.”
“Not even if you had put some magic in them?”
The demon had stopped laughing entirely and was studying Jake. He could feel its eyes on him as a physical presence. It made his skin crawl. He didn’t want to give it the satisfaction of seeing him twitch though so Jake held firm.
“I’m growing tired of this game, son. I’m sure my dear, sweet, husband thinks he has done something to help you but you’ll both soon learn how wrong he was,” Jake’s mom snarled. Then she flew at him faster than he could believe.
To his surprise, he stood firm. He may have flinched a little, but, for the most part, he didn’t move as the demon closed in on him. Jake could only assume that he had his dad to thank for this sudden burst of bravery. Then he remembered that he had bigger issues to worry about at the moment. Namely, the angry demon about to attack him. He silently said a prayer begging for his father’s trap to work.
His mother’s hands came within inches of grabbing onto his throat when a large concussive blast shot outward from Jake’s body. He rocked backward, but was able to maintain his balance. The demon, on the other hand, went sailing away. When it hit the ground, his mother split into two pieces. One was her normal form. The other was something straight out of a painting of Hell.
While his mother lay unmoving, the demon stood up. It was easily eight feet tall, with blood red skin and horns coming from its head. The demon wiped its mouth with the back of its hand, revealing a purple hued bit of blood. “Impressive,” it nodded. “This will be the first time that a host of Mocregork will die of something besides old age. Still, you made a mistake by separating me from my host. Now I’m not restrained by the frail human body.”
Jake found himself laughing again. “And now I can use the full extent of my power without fear of hurting my mother.”
“If you could give me some kind of warning before you take over my voice, that’d be great.”
Jake felt his dad smirk.
At the same time, the demon smiled. And now that it wasn’t constrained by his mother’s body, it could display it in all its toothy horror. Jake shuddered. He couldn’t help it. He’d never seen anything so disgustingly terrifying, not even in the horror movies he liked. Those were cinematic trickery. This was real.
“And I no longer have a need for your mother’s body.”
Before Jake could react, the demon lifted his mother’s body in its terrible clawed hands and bent her in half. Her spine cracked so loudly Jake could feel it in his own bones. He ground his teeth together. His breathing became ragged. He could feel three distinct emotions fighting for dominance: disbelief, sadness, and anger.
Once again, his father’s voice came in as a calming influence, “She was already lost. The demon is trying to make me lose focus and the only way that can happen now is if you fight against me. Trust me, son. I know I was never there for you before. But, I’m here fighting for you now.”
Still gritting his teeth and breathing heavily, Jake replied, “Destroy that thing.”