The Veil – Part 3

Hello, my Freaky Darlings!

I hope you enjoyed the previous 2 parts and are looking forward to reading the next bit. And here it is for you to read and comment on.

*

Michael almost jumped out of his skin when Carol slammed his office door. He stared at the spot at the window where Carol claimed to have seen Sarah and her so-called demon, Jack.

For the last two years, he’d tried to ignore the similarities between Sarah and Carol’s cases. He’d almost managed to convince himself that it was all some strange coincidence. The doctor and scientist in him would not admit that Jack could possibly exist. It had to be a shared psychotic event. A shared hysteria. They knew each other. It was possible. Kevin’s suicide had affected both of them. He tried to ignore the fact that Serah had been having those hallucinations before Kevin killed himself.

There were, of course, some therapists who believed that demonic possession was possible, but they were relegated to the fringes of psychotherapy and were mostly considered religious nuts and evangelists with psychology degrees. They were never taken seriously. And he was not a religious man. Religion had no place in his life or his office. But what if those religious fruitcakes were onto something? Could he afford to ignore the coincidence?

A coldness settled into his spine. It unnerved him. Concern for Sarah pulled at him. He realised that a lot of his worry for Sarah was generated by his feelings of guilt. He’d abandoned her to the care of that butcher, Dr Lynch. If it hadn’t been for what had happened to Sarah, he would probably have had Carol committed a long time ago. Her parents had tried to have her locked up, but as her psychiatrist, he’d managed to keep her out of an institution. Michael liked to think that it was that decision that prevented her from killing herself. He felt that putting her in a mental ward would only result in a faster spiral into depression and would result in her suicide.

Sarah and Carol were two very different women. Sarah was sensitive and caring, while Carol was a sociopath. Unfortunately, before her being institutionalised, Sarah had refused to take her medication. He couldn’t help but wonder if Sarah had taken her medication, would she still have ended up in a catatonic state and under Dr Lynch’s care. Carol, on the other hand, took her pills religiously and showed up for all her appointments, but she was still on a downward spiral, and it could soon be out of control. He just didn’t know what else he could do for her.

Sarah had come out of her horrific experience a stronger woman. He was proud and relieved that she hadn’t relapsed. She kept her weekly appointment and, even though in his opinion she didn’t need them any more, she insisted on keeping them. It was almost as though she hoped to keep the past at bay by seeing him every Friday. It was a relief that she didn’t blame him for what had happened, even though her mother did. Sarah even scheduled her holidays around her appointments with him. He’d become a type of rabbit’s foot for her, which also worried him. She needed to stand on her own two feet. There came a time in the doctor-patient relationship when you needed to let the patient go, cut the umbilical cord, and he and Sarah had reached that point. But cutting that cord was a complicated process.

For the first time in her life, she was able to love someone and be loved in return. Her relationship with Byron was healthy and a testament to how far she’d come in the last two years.

Carol’s vision of Jack with Sarah was upsetting, to say the least.

He fished his cell phone out of his right-hand pocket and using his thumb, punched in Sarah’s number.

“Hello,” she sounded out of breath.

“Are you okay?” His voice was serious.

“Are you psychic now?” The jovial tone didn’t cover the tightness in her voice.

“What’s going on?” Michael asked trying to keep his voice calm. He didn’t want her to know how worried he was.

“Nothing, except for a stupid idea. We’re going on a hike, and Byron’s picked this hectic trail that takes about three or four hours, and it’s been pissing with rain. He, being the genius that he is, doesn’t think that the rain and thick mist might make it a bad idea. He thinks the hike will be good for my physical therapy. I think he’s the one who needs your services.”

“Oh, come on. It’ll be fun.” Michael heard Byron shouting in the background.

“Are you sure there’s nothing you need to talk to me about?”

“What’s wrong, Mike?” Now it was her turn to sound worried.

“If you say there’s nothing wrong, then there’s nothing wrong. Have a good hike.” He put the phone down before she could ask him anything else. He wasn’t even sure why he’d phoned her in the first place. He couldn’t tell her about Carol and her visions of Jack or that she’d claimed to see Sarah in his office with him. There were times he really hated doctor-patient confidentiality.

Besides, he reasoned, Carol seeing Sarah probably only meant that she was now adding Sarah to her psychosis and didn’t mean that demons existed. The whole idea was preposterous.

*

The wind swept over the desolate landscape. An ancient temple carved out of the mountain face watched over the timeless land. The Council of nine were assembled for the first time in centuries within the hallowed halls. Their world was changing.

Rain continued to pour out of the black sky, causing rivers to start forming in the low-lying valleys. There had never been rivers or lakes in their world. It was ridiculous, water in the Shadow World. What next? Trees? He scoffed at the idea and slammed his glass down before refilling it. He intended getting thoroughly drunk. It wasn’t something he usually did but, he thought, considering what was happening, there wasn’t a better time to do it.

Everything on this side of the veil was looking to him for answers, and he didn’t have any, nor did any of the other members of the council. He’d requested an audience with The Most High One, but her damn flunkies, the Princes, had informed him she didn’t want to be bothered, that it was his and the councils’ job to take care of things. If he couldn’t do his job, she would find someone who could. Which meant ritual disembowelment, followed by one of his heads being chopped off. Not something he was particularly looking forward to experiencing again. He’d been through it once before, and it was not an experience he wanted to repeat. Highly unpleasant.

He made himself another Martini and sunk into his sofa. Alcohol and pacing didn’t go well together. Sitting and drinking was a better idea. Maybe he’d see things differently through the haze of alcohol-induced panic.

*

So …What did you think?

Remember to pop in next week for the next bit and feel free to share it with your friends and fellow readers.

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