(Disclaimer: this series of stories is completely fictional and none of the persons, places or institutions in these stories are real, but figments of my imagination. Any similarity to any real person, place or institution is entirely coincidental.)
Doctor Frood had never seen anything like it before in his life. Every time he tried to speak to Catherine, he was not only verbally attacked by his patient, but physically attacked by plastic drink and pee-bottles, bed-pans and other equipment in the ward which seemed, of their own accord, to actually fly at him from all directions so that he was obliged to make a strategic withdrawal, exiting the ward with much less dignity than a psychiatrist should maintain if he wanted to retain credibility. It could only be some form of psychokinesis, he supposed, and quickly came to the conclusion that whatever it was that was in control of this woman, it was not herself; and it had extraordinary powers.
Of course, he’d heard of such cases, but they were extremely rare and the medical profession had no way of treating what he suspected was a genuine case of demon-possession or possession by some other spirit, whose purposes were unknown, but whose intentions could only be evil, he decided. He realised he was out of his depth; he really needed help from the professionals in the possession business; the Catholic Church. So he had sent an urgent email to the Vatican, who sent out a troubleshooter in the form of a papal nuncio, whose instructions were to deal with whatever it was that was possessing Catherine Swan.
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The most Reverend Bishop, Petros Batty, read through his check-list to make sure that he hadn’t forgotten anything important: plenty of crucifixes, check; at least a gallon of holy water he’d had blessed by the Pope himself, check; prayer book and bible (and at least two spares of each… just in case…) check; and a dozen wooden stakes, sharpened to a point at one end, check; a wooden mallet to hammer them home, should they prove necessary, check; and finally a Colt .45 revolver with a box of hollow-point, silver bullets, hand-made by the Sisters of Mercy, and again, specially blessed by the Pope himself, check. ‘It pays,’ he thought as he packed this last, ‘to be prepared for every eventuality’.
His flight was not on any scheduled aircraft, but in the Pope’s own Lear jet. Even so it would be three whole days before he would arrive in South Oz. As he climbed into the Pope’s own limousine, to be driven to the Pope’s own private airfield, he only hoped he would be in time… The souls of mortals could not withstand such forms of spiritual attack for long, he well knew, but he was thankful that from the reports he’d been given by Dr Frood, the subject had been a most devout believer right up until the moment of her psychic and spiritual invasion. With a little luck, he thought, that should buy him the time he would need for his journey and preparations. Even so, he prayed fervently for the protection of the saints and angels for his new client; from Dr Frood’s description this would not be an easy case.
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The Dog-Spirit, Mirriyuula, sensed trouble in the world of humans; there was a baby in mortal and spiritual danger, and he knew he would have to remove it from where it was currently to a place of safety. Perhaps the best thing to do, he thought, would be to take it to its brothers and sisters so that they could look after it. But then, he thought, I’ll have to take them ALL to a safe place… and somehow do it without letting them know that they were in any danger at all, and especially without them finding out exactly what was the nature of that danger; he didn’t want to worry them, because he know all too well that in cases like this one, where the Dark One was concerned, fear itself could destroy them. Fortunately it should, he thought, be a relatively easy matter for him to remove the baby from the hospital’s nursery, as, in his ‘dog’ form, he was totally invisible to all but the most psychically gifted humans.
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Though still in her alienated state, Catherine always seemed to enjoy her baby’s feeding times; these were the only times the doctors and nurses would ever let her see her child because they were all terrified she might harm it. Strangely enough, however, it seemed that the presence of the baby had a calming effect on the raving madwoman; and a blank but peaceful expression spread over her face as she breast-fed the infant.
Satisfied that her charge was comfortable and the baby was feeding happily and greedily, Nurse Paula thought she could easily duck out through the French windows to have a quick smoke; she’d be back before Catherine had finished feeding the bub, she thought… She did not see the invisible spirit of the ghost-dog as it brushed past her legs through the opened french windows and into the day-room.
The baby was extremely hungry today, for some reason, however, and had drained Catherine’s breasts in half the time it usually took. In her zombie-like state of somnolence, Catherine burped the child and put it down in the bassinet-trolley the nurses always used to bring the baby to her, so she could prepare a nappy for it. The doctors and nurses had initially been very surprised that she was able to do this in her alienated condition, but decided that her maternal functions were working perfectly, out of sheer instinct; after all, it was her eleventh child… now they took it for granted that she would feed the baby and change its nappy as if on some kind of maternal ‘auto-pilot’.
Taking advantage of Catherine’s turned back, Mirriyuula took the handle of the bassinet-trolley in his jaws and pushed it out through the ward’s swing-doors; as a spirit, Mirriyuula could sense that the corridor would be empty; and that he would be able to take it down in a service elevator to the ground floor and straight out into the car-park, where he would have to resume human form to be able to drive the vehicle he’d left there ready… But Catherine turned round again just in time to see a tawny, dog-like creature pushing the bassinet-trolley with her baby in it out through the swing-doors. Suddenly she spoke her first coherent sentence in months as she screamed out at the top of her lungs, “Help! Help! A dingo’s got my baby!”
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