As of Nov 17
Total Word Count: 9659
Target Word Count: 28,333
So, I did not get caught up as I said I would. My birthday was Tuesday, and in celebration I decided to take most of the week off writing (Birth week, as my friends call it. As of right now, I don’t think I’ll make it to the 50,000 mark, but at the very least I can go for 25,000.
Disclaimer: The following excerpt is unedited. You will find spelling errors, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies. There is more telling than showing. I am well aware of the poor quality of the writing; however, fixing it is not the point of the exercise. The point is to get as much written as possible, and editing as I go will only slow me down. Know that I will take a month (or longer) to revise.
“Where is the exorcism occurring?” Sal asked as he slid into the driver’s seat.
“At the church,” Val replied, buckling herself in. She provided him with directions. Sal took off like he was a character in The Fast and the Furious film series. “Going a little fast, aren’t’ we?” Val said, clinging to the door handle and struggling to keep her balance.
“We must hurry, before it is too late,” Sal answered, running through a red light and drawing a chorus of horns behind them.
“Too late?” Val repeated, then lurched, throwing her hand up by instinct to keep her nose from smashing against the glove box. The seatbelt caught, and instead she rapped her knuckles against it. “You’re going to hit someone if you’re not careful.”
“Yes,” Sal answered, ignoring her criticism. “A Christian exorcism does not just remove an invading spirit – it destroys the spirit. If a person who is not possessed goes through with the ritual, he or she will-”
“Their soul will be destroyed,” Val finished. “Shit. Go faster, Sal.”
Sal obliged. What was normally a fifteen minute drive he managed in five minutes, though several traffic laws were violated in the process. Val didn’t know how they didn’t get pulled over, but she suspected Sal was exerting some sort of demonic influence to keep the cops away.
As soon as she got out of the car Val could feel the destructive magic in the air, and she was still just in the parking lot. She wasn’t even the target of the ritual, and she could feel the magic rubbing against her conscious like sandpaper. “Are you going to be okay?” she asked Sal. “That’s really uncomfortable to me. It must hurt you.”
Sal’s teeth were set in a grimace. “If we stop it before the ritual is finished, I should be okay,” he said through his gritted teeth. “But we must hurry.”
Val was hesitant, but they didn’t have time for it. “Fine,” she said. “Let’s go.”
Following the source of the magic, they found the ritual taking place in the sanctuary. Val pushed the doors open with a bang, pushing against the destructive magic with her own aura.
There were only three people involved in the ritual, which, according to Val’s limited knowledge of Christian exorcism, was unusual; there was the priest performing the ritual, Philip Rossi, and Nic. The only person who seemed to notice Val and Sal’s arrival was the priest himself, who shot them an unwelcoming glare, which Val was happy to ignore. Philip knelt praying before the altar, on top of which Nic was strapped down, which sparked Val’s rage. While Val was certain Nic wasn’t actually possessed – she didn’t sense any spirits that didn’t belong – but he was certainly acting like it. He roared wordlessly, his jaw extended further than was natural, leading Val to believe he’d likely dislocated it; he struggled against his bonds so hard his tendons popped, and his eyes rolled to the back of his head.
“He is under the influence of a spell,” Sal murmured in her ear. “We must break it in order to stop the ritual. If he is not acting possessed, surely his father will stop the ritual.”
Val nodded, already working on unraveling the spell. The magic was powerful, and somewhat familiar. She wanted to know where she’d encountered it before, but she couldn’t spare the brainpower to remember it for her concentration. She muttered under her breath, walking forward down the aisle and pushing her aura out to envelop Nic’s body and weaken the spell. His yells were suddenly muffled, and he stopped straining against his leather cuffs has hard.
At the slight change in Nic’s behavior, the priest paused his prayers to address them. “Sir? Ma’am?” he called “I’m going to have to ask that the two of you leave. We are in the middle of a very important cycle of prayers-”
Val glanced at Sal, and he immediately jumped into action, laying on his thick Arabic accent. “Excuse me, blease,” he said, striding forward to intercept the priest. “I am wondering if you can help me with a problem.” After that, Val tuned her Djinn companion’s conversation with the priest in favor of countering the spell on Nic. She briefly wondered if Philip was under one as well, but a quick prod at his aura with her own revealed that he was just in deep concentration. He flinched, but otherwise did not react.
Val continued with her counterspell. Nic continued to calm. The spell was almost lifted when she heard a shout from behind her, and Sal went flying over her head and crashed into a pew. Just like that, her concentration broke, and Nic started wailing again. Val whirled around to find the priest standing directly behind her, glaring dangerously at her. His eyes were sunken and bloodshot, and if Val didn’t know any better she would have thought he wasn’t quite human. Val took an involuntary step back. “I asked nicely for you to leave,” the priest said in a low, gravelly voice. “You refused, and insist on interfering with the salvation of this young man. I cannot allow you to continue to reap souls which rightfully belong to God.”
The priest reached out and wrapped his hand around Val’s throat. Val yelped, but as the priest squeezed the sound choked off when her breath was restricted. Instead, she conserved her breath in order to kick out at the priests shins. Her combat boot clad foot connected, and though she wasn’t able to push him off her completely, he did loosen his grip enough for her to break free. “You don’t know what you’re doing,” she gasped, massaging her bruised throat. “Nic isn’t possessed. You’ll kill him if you continue!”
“That would be the point, Miss Morningstar,” the priest spat. Val frowned, unable to remember when she’d been introduced to this priest that he knew her name. “As you have taken it upon yourself to take a soul belonging to God, I have taken it upon myself to take a soul belonging to you.”
“Nic’s soul belongs to Nic, not to me,” Val retorted without thinking about it. Her brainpower was more focused on establishing how this priest knew her, and what he was talking about when he accused her of stealing souls. She decided to take a guess. “And the spirit taken from Nic’s friend Nadia was a rogue spirit who had been ejected from Yahweh’s presence,” she continued. “That puts it under my father’s purview. You should know that, Michael.”
The priest snarled, confirming Val’s suspicion that the priest was actually the Archangel. “That is not the way God sees it. The soul may have been ejected from His presence, however, it still belongs to Him. You were out of line, Miss Morningstar,” Michael said, “therefore, retribution is required. God has chosen this boy to replace the soul you stole from him. My function is to carry out His will, as you well know, Miss Morningstar.”
“Yeah, well, my function is to thwart his will,” Val retorted. “Sal,” she glanced toward the fallen pew where her friend had landed, “are you okay?”
Sal’s head popped up out of the ruins of the pew. His massive turban was askew, revealing the base of the horns atop his head, and tongues of smokeless flame licked his skin affectionately. He grinned, his teeth unusually sharp. “I am having an exorbitant amount of fun,” he answered. “May I fight him?”
“Sure,” Val answered. “Why not? Try not to burn the place down. We’re not a Norwegian metal band, and there are other people in the building.”
Almost as an answer, Nic wailed especially loudly. Val knew his screaming was wordless, but it almost sounded to her like he was crying for help. She turned her attention back to breaking the spell. “Keep him busy while I work on this,” she added. Sal answered by raising his thumb, his nails beginning to distend into claws, still grinning widely as he squared off with Michael. Val hoped they could keep the destruction to a minimum. Given her luck as of late, the church would blame any damages on her. After Nadia’s bruise, she couldn’t afford to pay for any real damages.
Again, Val enveloped Nic’s body with her aura, and muffled the sounds he was making. This did not actualy breakt he spell, but it was helpful for her to see what was actually going on. Carefully, avoiding the battle between the angel and ifrit behind her, she began untying the magic binding Nic. As she did so, she let her aura fill in where the Archangel’s magic disipated, so that he did not experience shock when the spell was gone.
Breaking the spell was much easier with Michael distracted fighting Sal. Before long, Nic had completely stopped screaming, and he was still except for the heaving of his chest as he breathed. Philip remained kneeling at the altar, caught up in his prayers. Val was once again concerned the father was as spellbound as the son, given the commotion around him, and prodded his aura again with her own. But once again, Val could detect no traces of outside magic in his aura. He was just very concentrated in his prayers. Val made her way down the aisle and began to untie Nic.
She began with his feet, and it was because of this that she didn’t realize he was conscious at first. When she moved up to unbind his wrists, she saw his eyes wide open and wet with tears. At her touch, he gasped and tried to withdraw. “Sorry,” Val mumbled. “I’m just going to untie you, okay?”
“Val?” His voice was hoarse and wavery, as though he’d been crying and still had plenty more tears to come before he was finished. “Is it really you?”
“Yeah, it’s me,” she said with a small smile. “You’ll be able to go home soon.”
“I don’t think I want to go home,” he answered in a small voice. “They said you were the one who did this to me. It’s not really true, is it?”
Val’s heart broke at that. “No, sweetie,” she said, her own voice cracking with tears as well. “It’s not. Your priest did this to you in order to get back at me.”
“I – I remember Father Miller… He pull\ed the screen back during confession. He’s not supposed to do that,” he explained. “He stared at me, and his eyes were like white fire. After that, I couldn’t talk. Like, I tried to, but it just came out as screams. I couldn’t control my body. They said I was possessed, and that it was your fault.”
“No, Nic,” Val, said, hleping him to sit up. “You weren’t possessed, but you were cursed.”
“Why would Father Miller curse me?” Nic asked, fresh tears spilling down his cheeks.
Val wasn’t sure how to comfort the boy. She awkwardly rubbing Nic’s back, hoping that might help. “It’s a little complicated,” she said quietly. “Your priest thinks I stole someone’s soul that belonged to his god, and in order to get back at me he thought he could take your soul by performing an exorcism on you.”
“But tht doesn’t make any sense.”
“No,” Val agreed. “But now that you’re awake, and lucid, there’s no need to finish the exorcism. Once you’re dad is finishe dp raying and sees that your okay, he can take you home. You’re safe now.”