A Forgetful Infernal

June 2022 Flash Challenge, Day 10

Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

There’s power in knowing a name. Ironic that there would be power in forgetting one’s name.

Sometimes I forget my name.

All demons must answer when called by their true name. At least that is the case if the sorcerer, magician, or priest is competent.

I’d been in the child for years. Something I’d managed only because I’d forgotten my name. Not voluntarily, not because I wanted to, I’m old. We forget things too. Our memories work differently from humans, but there is a poetic sensibility in this, somehow.

The child, fourteen now, watched a movie yesterday.

Sometimes I will watch what she’s watching. These days I mostly stay in the background. Torturing her was never fun. It usually stops being fun for me with any human. But with Isabella, it was never fun. Honestly, I would love to be exorcised. It would mean I could enter another vessel or drift a bit.

My name is Babadook.

Finally, I can get out of this dump.

The family had assumed I’d moved on. I hadn’t. I only drifted into the recesses of her mind, waiting, wondering, trying to recall my name. Then the movie. And now I’m ready to go.

Without remembering my name, I can not be exorcised. Unless the person conducting the ritual says my name, I cannot be evicted.

So I threw a party last night with telekinesis and teenager hysteria.

The parents called Father Ambrose. I knew they would. He was the priest who tried to exorcise me from Isabella years ago. He failed because he didn’t know my name.

I made sure Isabella shrieked my name over and over. The good father needed to know my name if I had any hope of escaping this prison. Some practitioners could ascertain it, but the father, bless his heart, is not among them.

Three years ago, the last time Ambrose and his nun tried, I sensed something in her, darkness, a complex of forbidden desires. Things Freud suspected might happen when sexual desires were repressed or when a teenager was allowed to enter a convent.

That means one of two things must happen after I move inside Beatrice: either she and I must disappear, or everyone here must die. I can’t afford to have my name become widely known.

I miss Sicily. Maybe Beatrice could find a convent there. I suspect there are desires I might cultivate to help such a plan. And I have resources. Money, I mean. Which means Beatrice will have money.

“Is he, it, here now?”

The mother is a stupid, clueless cow; Isabella looks like a genius next to her.

Isabella, with my subtle suggestion, shakes her head.

“Good. We meet father Ambrose at 2:30. If you’re feeling up for it-we could get ice cream after.”

I’m a master puppeteer. I have Isabella grin her little-girl grin of delight.

Only in America would a mother take her daughter for ice cream after exorcising a demon from her only child!

I miss Venice. I’ve been away too long.

And Rome too, of course. But I need to get in fighting shape before allowing myself anywhere near Rome. When I’m in Rome, I can’t resist the temptation of the Vatican. Being bottled up in Isabella for nearly four years has left me lazy, dull, and soft. Venice will allow me to train, recapture my strength, my nerve. From there, Rome and the Vatican. Maybe I can use my contacts to secure an assignment for Beatrice to serve in the holiest of holies?

It is an intoxicating feeling – being a demon walking free inside the place where God’s highest intermediary (according to Catholicism) resides. It is intoxicating, but not without some danger. Their side doesn’t take kindly to us interlopers, and it takes a level of cunning and a measure of nerves to walk in those hallowed halls without suffering the indignation of exorcism or even banishment back to hell.

Beatrice will be a fine home for me; I will have months to mold her personality; months to groom her for what lies ahead for us.

After years of trying to drone out the sounds of Honey Boo-Boo reruns, inane pop songs, and this pitiful, mediocre family, I will pull off the grand stunt of possessing a nun in the Pope’s quarters.

It will all be so grand. I can hardly wait.

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