Diary Entry 4 – Bernadette

So I haven’t written in this diary for about a week (don’t be jealous that I wrote in the other one, but Mom’s still checking it).  A lot has happened and I’ve been kind of freaking out.  But only a little bit.  And since I now have absolutely no one to confide in, you are my last hope.

Thursday, I was coming home from Philosophy club (which is totally lame and I can’t believe I let Tabitha convince me to join with her) when I got attacked.  I think.  I don’t actually remember much about that part of the evening.  Just that it was cold and dark (we got our first snow last week, too) and I saw this guy walking toward me (which is totally normal since it’s a free sidewalk and people are definitely allowed to walk in both directions on it).  Next thing I remember, I was on the ground with snow soaking through my jacket and my vision all blurry ‘cuz my glasses had mysteriously fallen off.  When I looked around, there was this filthy, hobo girl convulsing on my lawn and Ben was running up (I recognized him even without my glasses) in some kind of panic.  He’s all, “Get inside before someone sees you!” and I’m all, “This girl needs help.  We can’t just leave her out here.”  I’m pretty sure he scowled at me, but I was dead serious.  So we picked her up (thankfully, she’d stopped convulsing), brought her inside and dropped her on the couch.  It was pretty hard because she was heavier than I expect (and stinky, eew) and the ground was all slippery from the snow.  Still, we managed.  I stayed with her while Benji went to retrieve my backpack, not because she needed watching, really.  I just felt kind of weak, like I’d just escaped some big catastrophe.  Also, without my glasses, I was worse than useless.  I have really bad vision, so bad that it was pretty easy to blame it for what I thought I saw while we’d carried her in.

I was almost calm again when Benji came back in, freaking out.  He dropped my backpack by the door and brought me my glasses and another bag that I didn’t recognize.  I assumed it was the girl’s bag since it looked about as dirty and beat up as she did.  I swear I’ve never seen anyone that shaggy before.  She looked kind of Indian (dot, not feather), though she may have just been that filthy.  Still, she had the caramel skin and dark hair the history books talk about (‘cuz, you know, there aren’t that many Indians left over from the Himalayan Wars).  She was probably one of the many orphans sent here before the whole nation was practically nuked.  Anyway, she looked pretty rough.  She had scars all over her body, everything from knife wounds to animal bites as far as I could tell.  And her clothes (a dark t-shirt and some jean shorts) were in tatters.  She wasn’t even wearing shoes.  She must have been homeless or something.  Benji, rude as he is, wasted no time in dumping out her bag.  He said he was just looking for some ID.  Right.  Well, we didn’t find any.  There was a wide array of sharp, pointy objects (with carvings and things in them, very ritualistic) and a couple of really old-looking books, but no driver’s license or a note saying, “Hi, My Name is Not a Psychopath.”  Benji did find what looked like an address book and after flipping through it, raced off to the kitchen to make a phone call.  I still didn’t know what his deal was or why he needed her address book to call 9-1-1 (which is what I thought he was doing).  Turns out, he had a very good reason to freak out.

When he came back in the room, he looked calmer, but still on edge and he looked at the girl with deep distrust, which I totally didn’t get.  Then he’s all, “You didn’t see the body, did you?”  And I’m all, “What body?” now getting freaked in my turn.  So he tells me what he saw from the window.  There was a guy walking toward me, then I stopped, he attacked me (like, lunged for my throat, not hit me with anything) and homeless girl leapt out of the shadows and totally decapitated him.  That’s when I came to, I guess, because she fell down and started convulsing (her frantic movement is probably why I thought I saw what I most certainly didn’t see).  He was gonna leave her out there, with good reason.  She was not a super hero.  No mask, no cape, no membership card, nothing.  That made her a vigilante.  That made us accomplices to vigilantism and guilty of aiding and abeting and all sorts of other crimes punishable by the Council.  And the Council has no mercy for that kind of offense, not even for juveniles.  We were in deep trouble (that’s not how Benji put it, but I don’t feel I need to contaminate my diary with his foul language).  He said he called the girl’s dad (he was under Father in the address book).  He said if we could get her out of here before the police showed up, we’d be fine.  We could pretend it never happened.

We sat in abject fear and silence for what felt like forever but it must have only been a few minutes before the doorbell rang.  Benji answered it, letting in this short, old guy dressed in black (who looked absolutely nothing like the girl on the couch).  I mean, he had black hair and dark eyes, but he was really pale and definitely not Indian (which is not to say maybe her mother was where she got her looks, but I was instantly suspicious).  Yeah, Benji misread the address book.  This guy wasn’t her dad.  He was her Father, as in priest.  Which, understandably, sent us completely across the room.  He wasn’t wearing any priest clothes (probably because he’s not a total idiot and something like that would get him killed) and he said he was no longer a member of the clergy.  Still, you can’t be too careful.

Anyway, he said his name was Peter and her name was Joan and that they were old friends.  Then he went to check her over and he looked really concerned.  I told him what had happened and he kind of…looked at me.  Like he was looking through me and seeing that I was maybe holding something back (which I know you must be dying to know since I’ve been hinting at it this whole time).  I just didn’t want to say it in front of Benji and I really didn’t want to admit that…that I’d seen something crawl in her mouth.  I am really blind without my glasses so it might have been a trick of the light, but I swear I saw something.  Well, Peter nettled me and I finally admitted it and he sort of nodded like that’s what he thought it was.  Then he did something I really can’t forgive.  He asked me if I’m a Believer.

I remember Benji going really still next to me and then kind of scooting so he was just about between me and Peter, like he was going to protect me.  I knew what I should say, what I usually say on those rare occasions when someone gets suspicious of me.  I couldn’t seem to get the lie out and instead of no, I said yes.  And I can’t forgive Peter for putting me in that position because of how my own brother looked at me in disgust and stormed off to the kitchen.  It was about the worst pain I’ve ever felt.

That’s not the end of the story, though.  It got freakier.  So Peter, kneels next to Joan and beckons me over, which I do reluctantly.  He seems like an okay guy (gives me a major honesty vibe), but he was still a priest so I kept my distance.  He told me that Joan had saved me from a horrible monster and that it had attacked her instead.  Can you believe that?  I almost laughed but he was so uber-serious.  He said we had to exorcise the demon and all he wanted me to do for now was pray.  I kind of nodded and pulled out my fish necklace (which nobody knows about, not even Tabitha) and started praying for Joan.  It was kind of weird, since I didn’t really know who or what I was praying for, but I kept up a pretty solid strain while Peter did whatever prep he needed.  I was really getting scared because I’ve seen those old movies on exorcism (where everybody dies except the priest who turns out to be the one who sent the demon…that’s the plot for all of them, really).  Didn’t he need some sort of sacrifice to draw out the demon?  Some leeches or acid-laced holy water?  Maybe a giant Bible with which to beat the possessed person or even the whip needed to perform flagellation on the victim?  My imagination was distracting me from prayers, but Peter stopped me before it got too bad.

It appeared to me that he hadn’t changed a bit.  He hadn’t removed his shirt to save it from the inevitable gush of blood and pus (it happens like clockwork in the movies).  He hadn’t even anointed himself with holy oils and the blood of a virgin.  He just looked kind of grim.  So then he said that he needed to hold my hand so he could see the demon.  Yeah, I know.  Creepy.  I didn’t object, just held out my hand and clutched my little wooden fish with my other hand.  I wanted to close my eyes again, but I thought that maybe I had to watch the whole ordeal so he could “see the demon.”  He didn’t start, though.  He seemed to concentrate for a second, then he asked me if I could see anything and when I said no, he asked me to take off my glasses.  I did and then I closed my eyes again because I could see something wiggling in her mouth and I didn’t want to puke.  Peter didn’t say anything more.  I heard him humming something (it sounded kind of like a hymn which I definitely deny having a recording of) and then he let go of my hand so suddenly my eyes shot open in shock.  There he was, standing over Joan and pulling with all his might on a scaly, black tail.  I just stared as he heaved a great, reptilian creature backwards out of her mouth.  It was about a foot and a half long and all covered in bloody spikes and claws.  At last, the beast relinquished its host and Peter held it high, staring into its hideous (and freakishly human) face.

I won’t ever forget what he said then.  “Do you know me, Fallen One?”  He said it really softly and without any anger or malice.  He was just really calm, like he was talking to an old friend, or something.  The little creature’s blood-red eyes got really big and it seemed really scared (though I can’t imagine of what; like I said, Peter’s just a little guy, barely taller than me).  It started speaking, I think, though I couldn’t understand it.  It sound like it was begging.  Peter just nodded really slowly and said, “Go home and stay there.”  Then it disappeared (not, unfortunately, in a dramatic puff of smoke or anything).

So that was my first exorcism.  Peter gathered up Joan, who was still unconscious, but breathing better, and left out the back door with her stuff.  He gave me his card (which just has his name and the address of his church, not Exorcist Extraordinaire) and told me to call him if we needed him again.  Back in the living room, I could see the flashing lights of the cops and I knew that they’d be coming to ask us questions.  We did have a headless body in our yard.  When they did, I told them we’d been home from school for a while and we’d been watching T.V.  No, we hadn’t heard anything.  No, we hadn’t seen anything.  Of course, we would call them if we thought of anything.  Ben didn’t say anything at all.  When they left, I tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t even look at me.  He could barely stay in the room long enough to heat up some dinner and bolt for his room.  I’d never admit this to him, but it really hurt my feelings.  I know about the stigma surrounding Christians, especially since those priests killed all those kids, but shouldn’t he know that I’m not like that?  I’m not one of those psychos.  I’m his sister!

Well, Mom got home from her book club early and the first thing she says is, “Where are your glasses?”  Not, “Why is there crime tape all over my yard?” or anything.  She sure has her priorities in order, does my mom.  But she was right.  I’d completely forgotten about my glasses, still sitting on the floor next to the couch where I’d left them.  Why had I forgotten them?  Well, duh!  I didn’t need them.  My eyes were, are perfectly fine!  Somehow, I have 20/20 vision!  Whoo hoo!  Now all I need are boobs and I am on my way to getting a boyfriend!

Speaking of boyfriends, the best thing to happen since last week was that Tabitha broke up with Russell.  I guess he got a little too hands on after the football game last Friday.  I’m not sure exactly what that means, but she’s definitely not going to Homecoming now (especially since I told her about the “fund-raiser”).  Maybe we can get everyone to boycott it!

I think that’s it for now.  I have a lot more to tell you, since you are really the only thing I can confide in now.  I just need a little more time to, um, get a grip on this whole thing.  So, until next time.

P.S.  Ben isn’t speaking to me anymore.  I’m trying not to let it get to me (and show him that it’s getting to me).  He’s such a jerk, I don’t care what he thinks and I don’t need his approval for anything.  I just, I don’t know, wish maybe he wouldn’t avoid me like the plague.  I haven’t even told him about…nevermind.  Forget him.  I have other brothers.


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