I should have known who Emmet was. The demon that possessed Hugo. The demon that has possessed my mother. The demon that clung to these halls, this lab, called back by his previous host and previous host’s daughter.
I should have known. Perhaps if I had, I would’ve been able to stop this before so many people died.
“Hello, Barbie. Hugo.”
“… Hello, Lois.”
Lois was sitting next to the plane. At least it was Lois’ body. It hadn’t been Lois’ for who knows how long. Ernie’s unconscious form slumped across the front seat. I had no way to know if he was alive or dead. But I did know who was dead.
Father Carter, hanging from the ceiling of the hanger. His intestines were slipping free of his belly, dripping blood onto the floor. I could hear the wind howling outside. The children all sat next to Lois, their eyes fastened on us. Burrowing through our minds like rats.
Emmet cocked her head to the side. “So, here we all are. The snow’s coming down quite heavy, did you honestly expect to be able to fly out of this?” She asked.
I looked outside. It was a white wall of ice.
“Probably not. But worth a shot,” Hugo answered, shrugging. “What now, Emmet? You’ll kill us?”
Emmet laughed. “Well, not you Hugo. I never wanted to kill you. I just want you back. You were such a dear, after all,” She stood up and started pacing around us, “And I dunno about Barbie yet. I liked her potential as a child. But then she grew up and got this thick shield of stupidity and denial. So I’ll probably kill her, just because she annoys me. But don’t worry Hugo. I won’t make her suffer as long as you listen to me.”
Hugo balled his fists up. “Fuck off.”
I gripped the cross on my neck as the room slowly grew darker. When there was no light left, I felt Emmet’s presence weighing on my chest. Gasping, I fell to my knees. Emmet wasn’t playing around this time. His static like voice tore at my ears.
“I can break your neck and make it quick. Just rip the necklaces from Hugo’s neck.”
I shook my head.
“Why? After all, I’m just a psychotic. You know I’m not a demon. I’m delusional, Barbie. I’m fucking crazy. Surrounded by nut cases for so long, a little cabin fever can go a long way.”
My hands slowly reached for my cross.
“That. Won’t. Save you. You don’t believe. Get up and rip the crosses from Hugo’s neck or I’ll start ripping out your eyes.”
I heard Hugo start to speak in Latin before he got kicked in the gut, by Chloe.
I almost got to my feet when I heard Ernie’s voice. The man’s voice was incredibly off tune, but it was like the darkness lifted off my chest.
“Great is Thy faithfulness… Great is Thy faithfulness, Morning by morning new mercies I see… All I have needed Thy hand hath provided… Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me…”
Emmet stopped focusing on me to turn her rage on Ernie.
“How about you shut the fuck up?!”
Ernie laughed. He sounded like he was in terrible pain, but he still laughed. “… I won’t. ‘But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.’ Is this why you can’t kill me? Because I believe?”
“I’ll show you ‘not kill you’, you bastard old man!”
The darkness began to fade when I heard Dr. Lewis.
“Chloe! Scotty! Graham! Come here right now!”
The light picked up enough for me to see the children running to their father’s side, grinning like hyenas. I could barely recognize Dr. Lewis. His face was swollen with dark bruising, eyes almost shut. Blood was stained down his chin as he rested against the wall. He spread open his arms to welcome his children, who loved and respected their father, into his embrace.
And in that embrace three children began to tear him apart with their bare hands. Dr. Lewis never even cried out once, never pushed back. I saw Chloe bite open his throat and grin, her teeth stained with blood.
There wasn’t doubt in my mind any longer.
“… I believe, Emmet. I believe.”
Emmet spun around from where she was throttling Ernie, her eyes bloodshot and her teeth bared like a wild beast’s.
“I believe in this.”
With that, I whipped off the cross on my neck and smacked her across the face.
December 13, 198X
I passed out before I got dragged into the plane. I don’t know how the hell we got out of that snowstorm without dying in several different ways.
But I do know I woke up in the hospital with second degree burns up the arm where I held the cross.
I visited Ernie in prison to get his story, who was more than overjoyed to see me.
After I gave him a hug, I sat down across from him. “What happened after you left?” I asked.
Ernie sighed. “We sent people to the place. Told them what happened. Once they came back we got a bunch of papers pushed in our faces, lots of ‘don’t tell anybody’ or ‘this is what really happened’. Told me that if I cooperated my sentence would be lightened. Found out yesterday that since I’ve been behaving I’ll probably get sent home in six months, prison overcrowding or some bullshit. Hell of a relief, considering I was probably gonna be in here the rest of my life for something I didn’t do.”
Ernie’s innocence didn’t come as a surprise to me. “And what’s the story?” I asked.
“Heh.” Ernie rolled his eyes. “Cabin fever, undiagnosed psychosis, crazy people going crazy. It’ll probably stick.”
“Is anyone else alive?”
Ernie shrugged. “Beats me. They didn’t tell us. I didn’t ask. Hugo went back home to England, he seemed to want to get the hell out of here. Think he’ll come and visit?”
I shook my head.
“I’m going to assume he’s going to do what I’m going to do. Pretend this never happened. Take a year off… go to a lot of therapy.”
May 10, 2017
I won’t be revealing my location. Initial dates have been obscured to protect my identity, even though I really don’t have much to lose anymore.
Hugo called me. After over thirty years, he called me. I picked up the phone to hear a familiar voice chime in my ear, “You know… it really was nice to have a lady doctor around.”
I nearly fainted. Instead, I just clung onto the silver cross on my neck. It slightly melted after I slapped a demon with it, but I haven’t taken it off since that night. I sat down and smiled.
“I suppose it was.”
He told me he was in the states, and really, he hasn’t changed much. Lost quite a bit of hair. Gained a few extra pounds around the middle. Still looks like a punk rocker, but less make up.
But what he told me is something I’m going to damn every NDA to hell for. Ernie has long since passed away from cancer, I was one of four people at his funeral, and one of those was the minister. I don’t have to worry about getting him in trouble.
Chloe Lewis is alive. Her new name is Cleo Dana. She is one of the few survivors left from the Legion Studies. At first glance, you’d assume she’s a normal woman. She’s functioned as a part of society well after the trauma she suffered.
She’s functioned too well.
She found Hugo on the bus a few weeks before I wrote this down. She struck up a friendly conversation before leaning in, her bloodshot eyes peering over her sunglasses.
“The Legion Studies have resumed. Emmet will see you in Alaska.”
They started again in January. The gain from having weaponized demons seems to outweigh the risks to the one pulling the strings.
And today I’ve received a letter from someone named Dr. Graham Lewis… asking me to once again, offer my expertise for the Legion Studies.