103 - Chicago
SEVERAL WEEKS AGO
Apparently Alex and Amanda had dated, back before he’d died. Mrs. Claire didn’t know how long before, if they’d broken up or not, and the way the two of them were glaring at each other and circling, I wasn’t particularly keen on breaking in to ask.
I had to wonder why Amanda was here. Was it just coincidence that both her and Alex had shown up here at the same time? I didn’t think that I believed that. There were forces more powerful than anything we could imagine at work here and I wanted to know more.
Now though Alex and Amanda had moved closer together and appeared to be having a whispered conversation, with occasional darting glances over at Mrs. Claire or myself. I had to smile at that though. Despite the complete strangeness of the situation, it was actually a bit cute to watch how they were interacting now.
I turned to Mrs. Claire. “Still want that exorcism?”
She wasn’t smiling though and took a moment before she responded. “I’m not sure.” I raised an eyebrow. She continued. “Something just doesn’t feel right about him.”
It was right at that moment and with perfect timing that Alex’s demeanor abruptly and radically changed. One moment, he was talking peacefully with Amanda, the next he was swinging at her, fists tight with fingers bent outward like claws. His face was twisted in a dark expression–in anger or in pain, I couldn’t be sure.
Amanda backed up, trying to get away from the flying fists that so far couldn’t do a thing to hurt here–yet nevertheless must have been disconcerting. “What…” she was saying. “What did I do?”
I reached forward and pulled her back, putting myself between her and Alex. I knew that I wouldn’t be any more protection against her than his seeming inability to affect the physical plane. Still, it felt like the right thing to do.
I heard Mrs. Claire whispering behind me–“Did you say anything?”–but I blocked her out. Alex was advancing on me now and I could see that his eyes had gone completely black. Pupil, iris, the whites… all pitch black.
Then, as suddenly as it had come, his dark alter ego vanished. The whites of his eyes almost seemed to flow back in from around the edges and he blinked, shaking his head as if to clear his thoughts. “What…”
He looked up and saw me standing there. I realized that I had my hands raised in a sort of boxer’s stance and let them fall to my sides. “Are you okay?” I could hear the concern in my own voice and hoped that Alex would take it for what it was–an honest question.
He just shook his head, looking down at the ground. “I can’t do this anymore.”
To my surprise, he started to fade, quite literally becoming translucent before my very eyes. It started at the edges, his form blurring and dissipating, but moved quickly inwards.
“Can’t do what?” I asked him, although.
At the question, for a moment the fading stopped. “I can’t take this half-life, this cursed form.” He looked up at me, barely meeting my gaze.
“Father, I need to ask you something.”
“Anything, child.” I replied, falling back on my training without giving it a second though. If only I had known what his request was going to be.
“I need you to… If you could figure out how to… end me.” And with that, he was gone.