Born of Water, Part Fourteen
1 november 2004
I'd never actually bothered figuring out how to exorcise a ghost from a location before. As I flipped through the book I'd been compiling since high school, I ranted a bit to myself about the fact that it hadn't occurred to me to research what seemed now to be an obvious concern that would have come up eventually. At least I'd thought to bring my book at all, I figured, and maybe I could cobble something together from what notes I did have. Especially with the help of someone who actually understands magic.
Jackie and I were alone in the apartment, and she had agreed to see what we could work up after she had a bath. It had apparently been an exhausting few days for her, I was convinced she wasn't getting enough sleep and was concerned her mentor had something to do with it, but she wasn't telling me anything to confirm any of that. At any rate, she wasn't sure she'd be up for it after her bath, but she knew she wouldn't be able to focus before it, and off she went some time ago. I was trying to figure out what all was involved in the runic circle I did have in my book for exorcising a demon from a possessed person, something I hadn't encountered but had assumed I would some day, so I kept flipping back to that page and then over to others. I was hoping enough of the pieces were universal that we could extract a ritual for kicking a ghost out of a bathroom from it. So far, I'd been completely unsuccessful. The bathroom door opened and Jackie stepped out, and I glanced up to see her walking toward me in just her towel.
"Oh," I said, setting the book down on the floor and looking around. "Did you forget your clothes? I know you had them right over here somewhere before you went in-"
"I don't need them right now," she replied, continuing straight toward me. "I need your help, Matteson."
"You...with what? You have trouble getting some of the paint off or something? I thought it was water-based and would just come right off." She stopped about a foot away from me and dropped the towel. "I, uh...no, it looks like it all came off?"
"I see how the two of you are. I know you like what you see." She stepped closer, then slid down and sat on my lap. She pushed my chest until I was reclined to the back of the couch, and brought her face close to mine. "Will you help me?" She asked softly, bringing her mouth to my ear and then moving down to kiss my neck.
"Oh, well, with what, exactly?" She reached down and pulled my shirt up over my head and tossed it aside, then began exploring my chest and stomach with her hands and mouth.
"Don't play coy with me," she breathed out between kisses. She slid her body up mine until she was looking me in the eyes. "You know what was taken from me." She gently ran one hand down the side of my face and along my jaw. "I've known since I saw you that you could give it back." She kissed me deeply on the lips and began to grind herself against me. In the midst of everything, it took me a little longer than I'd expect to piece together what she was saying. I pulled away from the kiss and took a deep breath.
"Wait...Jackie?" She sat up and pushed me to the side as she turned, until I was flat on my back on the couch.
"She agreed to help me," she replied, rubbing her hands down my stomach until she reached my pants, which she slowly began to open. "Won't you?"
"You...oh God, you were pregnant when you died."
"Now you're getting it. It's time, Matteson. Don't worry, I know how to make sure you enjoy this."
"I don't...your experience wasn't...exactly healthy," I offered between breaths as she pulled my pants down and began to rub against my boxers.
"What's health? I'm dead. But it seems to have been effective so far."
"I'm not sure...that's better." She slid back up my body and kissed me again, grabbing my left hand and pulling it to her breast.
"You're trying too hard. I know how men are, and she gave me license. Just enjoy this. Her body is." I let my right arm dangle off the couch as she nibbled at my neck, and felt my hand brush against the book. The book! What page was I open to? Given the way I was going before she emerged, there was probably a 50/50 shot. I don't know what arrangements Alethea made with Jackie, but I knew she'd never bothered to tell me anything about it. That seemed like too much of an oversight to ignore.
I grabbed her by the waist and rolled us over so I was on top of her. She gasped, and smiled, and spread herself invitingly. I ran my right hand into her hair and glanced over. The book was on the right page. I leaned down and kissed her with as much passion as I could muster, and felt her fully embrace the moment. I slowly reached down and grabbed the book with my left hand. Once I had it, I lifted her head slightly with my right hand and moved my head to kiss her neck. She moaned, completely oblivious. Good. I quickly lifted the book and placed it under her head, then let go of her and sat up. I grabbed her jaw and looked into her suddenly wide-open eyes, and saw the runes on the page begin to glow.
"Leave her!" I shouted. "Come out of this body and leave this place!" She screamed and the air grew cold.
"Matteson!" Some of the runes began to blink. I remembered that the circle was specifically for casting out demons. Maybe it would still work, but it wasn't going to be easy. "I've waited fifty years for you!" she cried, Jackie's voice and her own in unison. She grabbed my boxers and tore them off me, ripping them in half. "Don't deny me now!"
"Not like this," I muttered, "I can't do this to her." The runes around the circle flickered wildly and a cold wind began to whip around us. I could feel her hands on me, working toward her goal.
"She promised to help! Please, Matteson, I need to finish this!" I leaned down and pressed my forehead against hers and closed my eyes. It would be so easy, and she did want to help...
"Jackie," I whispered, "I need your help. The runes are wrong."
"My child won't be taken from me! Not again!" She grabbed my hips and pulled me closer until I could feel her under me. She gasped, and her eyes began to glow. The two voices suddenly began speaking from her mouth again, but they were saying different things. I couldn't understand either of them, but when I lifted my head and looked, I saw that the runes on the page were changing. As they settled, they started to glow solid.
"You changed the ritual." I braced myself against the couch with my left arm to pull away and grabbed her face again with my right. "Alethea Bilson, I'm sorry for what you've lost. I'm so sorry, but not like this. Leave this body now!" There was a flash and a strong wind with a sound like a distant scream mixed with a train, and then the room went back to normal and the book stopped glowing.
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