Chapter 8 - Like a Bad Dream

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Pete wails on the horn as we pull into the driveway at the boarding house.

Candy's first to the front door. "Who's that?"

I ignore her and head straight to the kitchen carrying Nina. Ulla and Inez direct me into the healing room. I place Nina on the metal table where they earlier helped me. Nina has stopped shaking, but my hands quiver while I hold tightly onto hers.

Pete and Candy join us. We hover over the table while the ladies remove my t-shirt bandage from Nina's leg. The bone is no longer visible, as if her flesh is regenerating, but she's still missing half her thigh.

Inez lifts Nina's eyelid and examines her purple iris. "Is she still possessed by a demon?"

"Yes," I reply. "Its name is Gita."

They all freeze, then the ladies slowly turn inward and look at each other.

"Kissamyass. Gita?" Candy clears her throat and backs out of the room.

"Yes, Gita." I fix my stare on the ladies while my temper flares, "What are you waiting for? Help her."

Ulla sighs and bites her lip.

Inez mumbles, "I thought we were rid of Gita forever." They waddle to a nearby drawer, pull out a white sheet, and shake it free of the folds. They spread the cover over Nina up to her neck and step back. "We should leave her alone to heal." The ladies head toward the kitchen. Pete and I follow.

"Is that all you're going to do for her?" I ask, not trusting she's doing everything she can for Nina.

"Gita's energy will heal the body," Inez says. "This isn't Gita's first time here. If she needs anything to heal, she knows where to find it." The ladies slide a pocket door closed and attach a padlock, leaving Nina alone in the room.

"She shouldn't be alone," I say.

Pete says, "Once she fully heals, and she realizes where she is, we will all be glad she's locked in there."

"What if she stops breathing? Let me stay with her." I reach to pull on the lock, but am distracted by a tickle that crawls along my sinuses. I hold my hand under my nostrils and sneeze. Ants shoot onto my fingers.

Inez grabs my wrist and examines the insects as they turn to ash. "While your friend will be fine, you are not. Your pancakes are working too fast. What did you do to cause this?"

"Nothing." I lie, even though I'm sure running at Mach speed is to blame.

The ladies purse their lips and cross their arms. Inez says, "You don't have to answer, but you will eat more pancakes."

I cringe. "Is that really necessary?"

"You will eat more pancakes," Inez repeats as they shuffle to the refrigerator.

Ulla looks back at me and smiles. "Best you leave while we cook them up."

The sensation of the gritty bugs and eyeballs replays in my mouth, making me gag. She's right. Seeing how the pancakes are made is more than I can take.

Pete laughs and steers me into the hallway. "I warned you to take it easy."

In the dining room, Candy wasted no time getting back to her reality TV show. As soon as she sees me, she asks, "Why did you bring her here?"

"She's my friend. It's not her fault. Margery turned her into a courier to control me. It's my fault she's possessed and lying on that table."

"Don't blame yourself," Pete says. "Margery can't make a courier unless the human is susceptible to a dark side."

I'm not buying his excuse. I could have stopped Margery if I had known. I ask, "How do you know Gita?"

"She has possessed other couriers that I've saved. Demons like her are stubborn and dangerous. The last time we tried to exorcise her, she went crazy and cut the head off my best friend. That's why no one around here is happy to see her." Pete pauses and glares at me. "Gita and Margery butt heads. I don't understand why she would possess Nina with Gita."

"It wasn't Margery. It was Oscar's doing. He said he wanted a rebellious demon in Nina."

"He what?" Pete's expression from confused turns angry. He puts his fingers in his pockets and starts to pace.

"I don't know why you trust him," I say.

"It's not that I trust him. He's willing to help me because he hates Margery. And he keeps his mouth shut."

Ulla and Inez interrupt carrying another short stack of pancakes.

I swallow hard and close my eyes. I can't do this again.

Candy laughs in the background.

Pete says, "You have ten minutes to eat up before we head to Sisters of the Diving Heart to meet with Father Timothy."

"You said our appointment is at one o'clock." I peer up at the clock on the wall. "It's only ten."

"I can't take another three hours of chasing you around town, so we're going early in hopes Father Timothy knows the magic formula to get you under control."

Ulla throws a blue t-shirt at me. "And while you're gone I'll have time to catch up on your laundry."

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