Chapter 9: Scars

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I don't know how long Steven had control of me, possessing my body, but it seemed like hours... days, even. It felt like every cell that he inhabited was about to explode, yet here I lay, still unable to do anything about it. I didn't deserve this; no one did.

I was torn between his feelings and mine—desire versus disgust—as his spirit floated around me like smoke. It was like being trapped in a car full of smokers, unable to roll the window down; I felt like I was choking.

As the smoke caressed my lower back, circling my hips, I wanted more, which made me hate myself. I don't know which one was worse, the pain that consumed me or the desire I knew wasn't my own, but felt so real. The only real desire I'd ever felt before now was for Brad. That was real, not this.

Brad. He seemed like a dream now, with his light green eyes that danced like summer grass blowing in the breeze when he smiled. It took me back to that day at the waterfall when we didn't have a care in the world and I was lying in his arms. That was the day we'd officially became a couple. But now....

Brad was gone. Will was gone. I was gone.

The heat that had spread through me like a wild fire started to subside, taking me away with it. I tried to keep Brad's face in my mind, but he was fading... everything was fading. Every thought that I tried to form dissolved into nothing.

This is it. Can you feel it? Steven's voice echoed through my mind.

No, I couldn't feel anything; not my feelings, not his, nothing. I was numb, like someone had highlighted my entire life and hit the delete button. He was right. This was it. This was the end.

Before I could even accept the fate I had so unwillingly been handed, the fire returned, but even more intense than before, which I didn't think possible. A scream pierced the silence, hurting my ears. When the screaming continued, I realized it was my own. A deeper, angrier, scream mingled with it, sounding like a ferocious wild animal being tortured.

"Nooo!"I heard Steven's voice with my ears, not inside my head, causing my eyes to fly open. I could open my eyes. I could move!

When the realization of what I was looking at sank in, the elation from being free of him was replaced by sheer terror—he was floating over me and I was still tied to the bed. He wasn't completely solid, but his features were still the same. The only thing that looked different was the look on his face, which was one I'd never seen, not on him, anyway. As his eyes tried to hold on to mine, fear reflected back at me. Whatever was happening, Steven was afraid.

He yelled again as he started to get pulled away, down into the bed. He clawed at me, at the bed, but his effort was futile. He was just a ghost, his hands going through my legs, unable to hold on.

"Goodbye, Steven," Connor's weak voice came from beside me. When Steven's eyes met his, he let out an inhuman growl, which echoed through the house long after he was gone.

"Is he gone? Make sure he's gone." The adrenaline that had filled me was replaced with panic, afraid he was just hiding under the bed. I looked down at my legs, afraid I was going to see him pop his head back up like one of those scary jack-in-the-box clowns.

"He's gone." Connor was still in the floor by the bed, sitting in a pool of blood. "I... I brought the board back. I... I...—" he swallowed hard and winced "—I closed it. The session... the session that unleashed him... it's closed." He took a deep, labored breath. "The planchette... it can't touch the board. Bury it. Bury them separately. They... they can't touch." He looked up at me, his eyes pleading. "Please... forgive me." I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything. "Please... I... I need to know you forgive me." He shut his eyes for a few seconds before opening them up again, letting them fall on me. "I'm sorry, Jailyn." His voice was just a whisper. "I'm sorry."

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