Possession Chapter 4 – Everything Burns

June 25, 2013 in itchysocks, Possession by itchysocks

Possession

Reader Discretion: Possession will contain violence, profanity, gore, sexual themes and coarse language.

Tiffany had spent the night restless as Jessica slept over. The girl cuddled her like a pillow as she snoozed. Her heart was pumping away voraciously under her embrace, and she had never felt so conflicted. She knew she liked Jessica, but would she ever reciprocate it? Jessica was a devout Christian – an innocent church girl that Tiffany knew was untouchable. Homosexuality was out of the question for her, but Tiffany knew she had to do something about her feelings for Jessica. Maybe, just maybe, she would feel the same for her.

No one had ever made her feel like this before and she would kick herself if she just let Jessica slip by without at least trying.

A roar of thunder blared in the air, and Jessica released Tiffany from her tight hold in surprise. She rolled over to face the wall by the bed. Tiffany sighed with relief. She could escape from the Jessica problem for another night. She couldn’t sleep anyways – not like this.

Still, their first night together was just as she imagined it. They talked for hours until they were both too tired to keep up a decent conversation.

Tiffany remembered how Jessica slept with ease in her bed, shutting her eyes to the sounds of the pouring rain. She had dreamed of this very scenario, but it hadn’t played out like it did in her head.

The attic was cold, so Tiffany had pulled out an extra set of blankets to keep them both warm. As she stared at Jessica, the girl looked completely at peace wrapped in a cocoon of cotton. With light steps, Tiffany carefully made her way over to her desk, using her cellphone as a flashlight She grabbed her archaic book from the table and decided to do some late night pleasure reading. She quietly slipped downstairs and headed to the living room, taking her demons away from Jessica.

However Tiffany wasn’t the only one up late at night.

Tom – with his head of blonde hair and bright blue eyes – sat there on the living room sofa watching the news with only the lamp on. He hadn’t heard Tiffany’s light steps, so he was completely caught off guard when she decided to scare him. She grabbed his shoulders and gave a ghostly low groan.

“uuurrrrggghhhhhh.”

Tom squirmed like a little girl, and had eyes full of fear as he turned to see a girl with a ghostly complexion. He would have let out a scream if it wasn’t for the fact that he quickly realized that it was Tiffany, his crush.

“Don’t surprise me like that,” he grunted with anger. He leaned back onto the sofa and straightened his shoulders to try to hide the fact that he was spooked. For a guy who was nearly six-two Tiffany had hoped that he would be a little more daring.

Tiffany stared at the television screen with interest. “What are you watching?”

Tom was normally the flirtatious type, but he seemed stoic tonight. “I’m watching the madness that’s going on outside. It’s hell out there.”

The media had been trying to downplay the storm for days, telling folks that they would not need to worry about any powerful winds blowing the roofs off of their houses or turning over cars, and they were right. Wind wasn’t the problem. The rain was. The storm brought much more than anyone could have ever expected.

As a result, the footage that they aired on the news was all doom and gloom, but people like Tom were suckers for this type of sensationalism. He had watched the news since the morning and followed it even now, late into the evening.

“I seriously hope it doesn’t keep going on like this,” said Tom with desperation. The television flashed to an image of a massive sink-hole several miles from their neighbourhood; search and rescue teams were crowding around it. Tom was afraid, but Tiffany thought it was nature being its wrathful self. Tom pointed at the television. “There are people down in that sink-hole. It poured two metres of rain today – that’s enough to drown someone.”

The raven-haired girl didn’t like the thought of innocents getting hurt, but it was probably a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Tiffany tried to comfort him. “I’m sure everything will be fine, Tom.”

Tom let out a big gulp. “The rain just doesn’t stop. The clouds don’t even move in the sky. It’s like the Twilight Zone or something.”

Tiffany noticed the same thing earlier as she looked out her window. Maybe Tom wasn’t all that crazy. Why did the storm just settle over Turlock?

Either way, she gave Tom a friendly pat on the head and went to the kitchen to read. She flicked on the lights and sat at the table, excited to think about less depressing things. Tom continued to watch television, glancing over at Tiffany when the commercials came on. He loved Tiffany for her wiccan-like look, smoky make-up and dark clothes, but seeing her without makeup and in her pyjamas was earth-shattering stuff for him.

He liked it.

But Tiffany ignored his glances and was too busy flipping through her pages to notice Tom’s drooling.

She looked over at the header of her page and knew she had arrived at the right place. Mephisto: The Demon Lord of Wrath.

He was the first demon that Tiffany had started writing about for her paper. He was easy to understand. A former righteous soldier of heaven, turned into a wild and untameable force of destruction. Easy enough to write about and explain, yet hard to fathom as an entity.

She looked at the sketch of his symbol – a set of grim looking wings.

“Tiffany!” yelled Tom from the couch. “You have to come see this.”

Tiffany closed her book and headed to the living room.

“What is – ”

Tiffany’s eyes were instantly transfixed on the photo of Professor Ashby that was shown on the screen. She couldn’t believe her eyes as she read the headline.

‘University Professor Shot. No arrests made.’

She remembered what she had heard earlier in the night. Tiffany was starting to think that there was more than just Mother Nature at work.

∙∙∙

The media coined the term ‘Devil’s Rain’ to describe the downpour that enveloped the city. It seemed appropriate. However, the Devil’s Rain had slowed after a feverish day of downpour, and as a result, reporters were in a frenzy to cover the aftermath of the storm. CNN and other major broadcasters flooded the small town to cover the bizarre phenomenon on the California coast.

Turlock as a city was battered, but far from broken. Streets and neighbourhoods were still flooded, but firefighters and volunteers worked through the morning to help the most critically affected areas. Temporary housing was made available at public school gymnasiums to provide shelter for those that needed it. The mayor, Rose Wilshire, was leading by example. The fifty-two-year-old was out there digging in the trenches, going from house to house, wearing knee-high storm boots and a gentle smile. A truly powerful sight.

Outside of Turlock, state park rangers were thrilled to report that flash floods had not claimed any known victims.

However, tragedies under such extreme circumstances were unavoidable. The sink-hole – that ran a dozen meters wide and a few more meters deep – had consumed three cars in its wake. Search-and-rescue teams tried desperately to save the lives of those that were trapped deep in the earth. Unfortunately, fate seemed to be against them. The sink-hole was located at the bottom of a steep incline, which channelled hundreds of gallons of storm water into its opening as minutes passed. It was a race against time for the rescuers, and after some careful planning to avoid any mishaps, they managed to rescue a sole survivor – a young woman – who had managed to stay afloat as the others drowned around her. She had been sent to a nearby hospital in critical condition. The media called it a miracle, but it was her unbelievable will to stay afloat that helped her stay alive. The rest had given up.

Now there was another story developing, and it revolved around Seohyun.

“Are you okay?”

Seohyun turned off the television when she heard Yoona’s voice from the door of her bedroom. She could hear someone coming up the steps, but had no idea that it would be her of all people. The taller girl walked up to Seohyun and enveloped her in a tight hug as she sat there on her bed.

“They told me everything.”

Seohyun inhaled through her nose, and whiffed some of Yoona’s scent. There was something about it that caught her attention and shot her wide awake despite the fact that it was still horribly gloomy outside. It smelled sweet and floral, like a blooming rose. Why did she smell so irresistible? Was it a new shampoo? A soap? Seohyun ignored it, but she felt something different even when she looked at her. Something was off. Her body was reacting in a way that it never did before – she wasn’t sure of what to make of it. “What’s ‘everything,’ exactly?”

“You know, that you were there when Professor Ashby got shot. Taeyeon told me about the cops. I can’t believe it.”

Seohyun nodded her head. She couldn’t believe it either. She had been tracking the news since the morning and so far the reporters only remarked that there was a student who witnessed the shooting and nothing more. None of them had identified her by name, much to her relief. The officers that had questioned her earlier didn’t even know what to do with her. She had spent the morning trying to recollect the memories from last night’s events, but no matter how hard she tried, her mind’s eye wouldn’t let her see what had happened to her. Everything was all murky and cloudy whenever she tried to recall it. All she remembered was the sound of chanting, and crimson with some intersecting lines on a concrete floor. Her normally perfect memory had failed her.

“Don’t worry about me okay? I’m fine,” Seohyun reassured.

The taller girl freed her from the hug.

Seohyun felt a yearning to pull her in.

“But you’ve been through so much.” Yoona added, “You know you can always talk to me about anything.”

Seohyun remembered looking at her own body before her morning shower. Nothing seemed irregular and she couldn’t find a bruise or cut on her. In fact, she was completely free of any blemishes. “I appreciate it. But I feel great.”

Yoona looked at her with worry. “You’re not supposed to feel great after an ordeal like that.”

Seohyun knew that she was right, but wasn’t ignorance bliss?

It wasn’t, because there was something that still nagged at her – her perfect vision. Normally, Seohyun would need her contacts or glasses because she was far-sighted, but now she could see things in front of her with perfect clarity. She knew that this was related to what had happened last night. She knew she had to force herself to remember what it was, but it seemed a total blur to her.

“Oh yeah, I have a surprise for you,” Yoona said with a grin, “Something that will cheer you up.” Yoona reached into her pocket and pulled out a necklace with a golden cross and handed it to its rightful owner.

Seohyun marvelled at her. “Where did you find this?”

Yoona snickered. “It was stuck between some pillows in the back-seat of my car. I decided to do a quick search.”

Seohyun was happy to have her old charm back. She smiled as she put the cross safely around her neck. “Thanks Yoona. You’re a life saver.”

The girl with the doe eyes simply smiled at her. “Are you hungry?”

Seohyun didn’t really have an appetite, but she knew Yoona was probably had one. “A little. Why?”

Yoona showed her dimples. “I’m going to make you some of my special ramen of course.”

Seohyun laughed. “You mean normal ramen.”

“It’s special because I make it. I don’t make food for everyone.”

Seohyun nodded her head and followed Yoona out of her room.

As they walked downstairs, Seohyun found her eyes wandering around the beautiful silhouette of Yoona’s body. It was like she was really looking at Yoona for the first time. Seohyun didn’t know what to make of it. Yoona was dripping wet and naked in front of her a few days ago, and she found the girl attractive, but this was different. Why did she have these feelings now?

Seohyun followed Yoona into the kitchen and watched as she leaned casually against the marble counter-top by the sink. Their kitchen was cramped, but it had its own quaint charm.

Seohyun noticed Yoona gazing at her.

“Are you wearing new contacts?”

“No, why?”

“Your eyes look different.”

Seohyun was glad she wasn’t the only one that noticed it. “In a good way or a bad way?”

Yoona walked up to get a better look. “They’re really pretty. I like it.”

“What’s different about them?”

Yoona tried to think of a way to say it eloquently. Her eyes looked the same colour, but they had an abnormal shine that made them stand out from her surroundings. “They’re just really captivating.”

Yoona couldn’t break her stare, so Seohyun turned away to break it for her.

Yoona blushed. She had been staring for too long. Distracting herself with the task at hand, she went to round up ingredients for the ramen from the fridge and the pantry. Seohyun’s kitchen cabinets were filled with dishes and bowls, except for one which had a whole bunch of canned goods and snacks. Yoona took a package of dried seaweed and headed for the fridge. She grabbed some eggs and green onions, which were more than enough toppings for a simple broth, but she was missing one important ingredient.

“Where’s your ramen?”

“Wait, you didn’t bring your own ramen?”

“Well this was sort of a spur of the moment thing.”

Seohyun sighed and grabbed a short stool from the corner of the kitchen, which had been collecting dust for a couple of weeks, and placed it in front of the pantry. She looked up at the cardboard box on top of it that read, ‘Shin Ramyun,’ and carefully took her first step onto the wooden stool to grab it. She felt it wobble under her weight, but she managed to maintain her balance. Yoona noticed the stool shaking and quickly ran to her side. “Careful,” she lectured, “Why don’t you just use a chair next time?”

Seohyun nodded her head. She took the box down and placed a few of the ramen packs on the pantry, to avoid another trip in the near future. She gave Yoona two. “Good enough?”

“Perfect.” Yoona started boiling a pot of water on their gas stove and took out the seasoning mix and the noodles from the packages. “Do you like it spicy?”

Seohyun shook her head. “Not too spicy. If it’s too hot it’s painful.”

Yoona rolled her eyes. “You’re no fun.”

The pot of water started to boil and Yoona busied herself with cooking the eggs and the ramen.

In the meantime, Seohyun looked at the stool as it sat there in front of the pantry. She pushed on each of its four legs and found the weak leg that caused it to wobble. Standing up and looking at the scene before her, Seohyun imagined what it would have been like if the leg had collapsed under her weight. It was obvious that she had avoided an incredibly dangerous situation. Had she fallen, she would have hit her head on the marble kitchen counter. She thanked her lucky stars that the stool managed to hold her up for as long as it did.

Seohyun excused herself from the kitchen and went outside to toss the stool away. The skies were still dark, but the rain had subsided for the most part. She came back into the house to see Yoona looking victorious over a boiling pot of red liquid. “It’s finished,” she said, turning off the stove.

Seohyun took two black bowls out from the cupboards and placed them onto the kitchen counter. Yoona divided the ramen noodles into each container, and added some freshly chopped green onions and dried seaweed on top of the noodles. She then gently poured the piping hot red liquid into the two bowls and added a lightly fried egg onto each to finish it off.

“Bon appetite,” Yoona declared.

Seohyun took the hot pan and pot to the sink and rinsed them. She heard them sizzle as the cold water touched their surfaces. The two of them waited for the bowls to cool.

Yoona licked her lips. “Doesn’t it smell good?”

“Yeah, it smells great.” She took in an exaggerated sniff, but found out that she could easily smell all the flavours of the bowl as it wafted in the air. Surprisingly, she could also make out Yoona’s scent from earlier. It was still intoxicating and even overpowered the strong smell of red pepper from the soup. So much for the power of MSG.

Seohyun eventually took the two hot bowls to the kitchen table, and sat themselves down for a small meal.

Yoona wanted to know more about yesterday’s events, but Seohyun told her what she told the officers. “All I can remember is the sound around me. Gregorian chanting, sort of like from one of those movies. Visually, there’s only one thing that my mind can seem to remember with clarity. Crimson.”

“Blood?” She asked the same question as the police officers.

“I think so.”

“That’s creepy.”

“Taeyeon said it was a nightmare.”

“She’s probably right.”

Seohyun looked down at the cross that sat on her chest and was reminded of something else. From her vantage point it didn’t look like a cross, but a sword – a dagger. An image of a ceremonial dagger flashed in her head, but it quickly grew cloudy. It was like her mind was hiding the image from her. She knew there was a knife involved, but decided to keep the detail a secret.

Once they finished, Seohyun cleared the dishes into the sink as Yoona headed for the living room.

“Aren’t you going to help me clean up?”

Yoona grinned as she stood by the kitchen doorway. “I cook, you clean. That’s the golden rule.”

Seohyun reluctantly agreed. She felt a little unhealthy after all that MSG and decided to make some tea. She called to Yoona in the living room. “Do you want some tea?”

“Yeah, that’d be nice,” she answered.

Seohyun filled her kettle with cold water and turned on the gas stove. She gazed at the blue flames which burned brighter as she set the heat to quick boil. She placed her kettle onto the stove and turned back to the dishes.

She carefully cleaned everything in the sink, including some dishes that weren’t from their impromptu lunch. Drying them all off with a clean towel, she placed them back into the cupboards one by one.

Seohyun wiped the kitchen counter and eventually made her way to the dirty stove top. She carefully cleaned around the kettle, avoiding the heat, and spotted a red soup stain on the wall behind the gas stove. Yoona was a messy cook. Seohyun reached over the kettle and tried to gently scrub the stain off the wall. As she continued to scrub, she heard the familiar whistle of her kettle, but ignored it. There was something warm breathing on her arm and when she glanced down at it, she stepped back in shock. The piping hot steam from the kettle’s valve had been breathing on her left arm as she cleaned. She stared at where the steam had supposedly scalded her, looking for a burn, but there was nothing there.

Seohyun looked at the kettle as it whistled away. Logic told her that the heat from the steam should have made her wince in pain at first contact and such prolonged exposure should have given her a burn. She ignored it. Another stroke of good luck.

She took the kettle off the stove and grabbed two cups from the cupboard. Taking out two tea bags, she put one into each cup and started to pour the boiling liquid into both glasses. When she finished serving the tea, she stared at her steaming glass with a growing curiosity.

She took her right index finger and placed it over the hot drink. She poked the tea with the tip of her finger and expected to feel a nasty sting, but she only felt warmth. Getting even braver, she dipped her finger into the hot liquid. There was a clock spinning inside of Seohyun’s head as she swirled her finger in the glass, knowing full well that she should have been feeling tremendous pain. She pulled out her finger, hearing Yoona call her from the living room.

“Seohyun? Is everything okay in there?”

Seohyun stared at the gas stove in front of her. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

She flicked on one of the gas burners to quick boil and stared at the blue flames which screamed danger. All logic told her that this was the dumbest idea she had ever conceived, but what had happened only moments ago told her otherwise. Fighting her instincts, she placed her hand over the flames and gradually moved lower and lower, but the heat on her hand didn’t intensify. Boldly, she submerged her hand into the flames and watched as the blue gas danced along her skin, as if it was tickling her.

Why didn’t she feel the intense heat?

Seohyun pulled her hand away from the flames, and could feel her mind slip into a state of shock. This defied logic.

She examined her hand and felt like she was looking at it for the very first time.

Not an inch of her skin had burned.