Arun Mali tries to save his sister from whatever is possessing her.
He swung the car into the field. The wind swirled and the metal gate bounced off the front of the car, smashing his left headlight and making the darkness that bit more oppressive. He didn’t stop. He couldn’t stop.
The ground beneath the car held, the shallow soil not deep enough to build up the kind of mud that would trap the car. As he bounced through the fields he tried to plan what he would do when he caught her, how he would get her back into the car. But that was a problem for another moment. First, he had to stop her from jumping.
Stop It making her jump.
She appeared ahead of him.
Judith Grant’s white pyjamas were stuck to her and her long blonde hair was clumped together by the rain into one long line down her back. She jerked as she ran as if she was trying to move her legs quicker than they were capable of. With each step, her hips twisted to the side as if the next movement might tear it from the joint. Her head was upright, not down to protect her face from the rain. He recognised this way of moving – the demon was forcing her to break her body, another way to torture her – and punish Arun.
Outside of the light cast by the headlights the night was all-consuming, anything either side of them could as well of not existed.
Arun dropped a gear and sped past Judith. As he did, she turned her head and screamed at him. Even with the rain, even with the noise of the car and the window between them, the sound cut through him. Her scream was at once agony, frustration and anger, as the two parts of her reacted to his presence in different ways.
Her eyes glowed as he passed her, a strange green luminosity that he had learned to fear. It meant that Judith wasn’t in control. Something else was.
Before he reached the edge of the cliff, he pulled up the handbrake hard. The car twisted to the left, the driver side facing the sea. He looked down as he stepped out. The storm whipped the waves up against the chalk cliffs below. The rain bit into his skin as he walked around the car. His grey coat, his only coat, was fabric, designed for cold nights, not wet ones. It soaked up the rain in an instant, weighing him down and dropping his shoulders.
He heard the scream again, and then, there she was, running from the dark. He pulled the crucifix out of the glove box, holding it out in front of him and stood between her and the car. Between her and the cliff.
From full speed, Judith stopped about six feet from him. He heard a crack and saw her sag to the left. The sudden deceleration had broken a bone. That worried him more than the run. It was finished with her physical form. There was no need for It to keep her in working condition.
She tilted her head back and looked to the sky.
“Won’t you ever give up?” she asked. It wasn’t her voice. The exertion had tired her out, and whatever was controlling her was doing the speaking. This had happened before, in the basement of their parent’s house, before they were interrupted and she’d accused him of the most horrific things. That night in the basement was the closest he’d come to forcing It to reveal itself, and it cost him his parents and his inheritance.
It was a good sign. It meant Arun had the demon on edge.
“Let my sister go,” Arun said. The wind surrounded him with such force he could barely hear himself. Yet Judith had no trouble.
“I could make her jump you, this car, the edge of the cliff. I could end her now,” she said. Judith took one, limping step toward him.
Arun gripped onto the crucifix.
“You are not welcome here, Demon,” Arun said.
“I know,” she replied.
Another fork of lightning flashed behind Judith. Tiredness, forced his eyes closed for a moment, and Judith was another step closer when he opened them. His arm wobbled. Pain crept across his face from his temples.
“Tell me, Arun,” she said, “have you been drinking?”
“You are not welcome here…” She waved him away.
“I wonder, how many people will believe you when you return,” she said. “after everything that’s happened, do you really think they’ll believe you?”
“I will tell them the truth.”
Thunder rumbled around them. The storm was getting closer. Arun took a step closer to Judith, the crucifix held out in front of him.
In a swift movement, she leaned forward and snatched it from him.
“This means nothing to me,” she said.
She dropped it to the floor. Arun started at it, distraught.
“It worked.” He said. “At the graveyard, it worked.”
“It worked because I wanted you to think it worked,” she said. She stepped closer and took his face in her hands. “I gave my enemy a shield that didn’t exist.”
With inhuman force, she threw him up and backwards. He flew over the car, landing at the edge of the cliff. The coat pulled him down, pinning him to the grass below. Judith climbed on top of the car and raised her hand to the sky.
“Can’t you feel it?” she said, “Can’t you feel that something different is happening? That something isn’t right?”
“Let her go!” Arun screamed. He pulled on an old fence post to get to his feet, but the rotten wood gave way under his weight, and he fell to the ground, now a little closer to the edge. Judith fixed her gaze on him. She tilted it to each side, as if weighing up the options, then with a smile, jumped down in front of him.
“They’ll blame you, you know,” she said. “This is how stories like yours always end. Tragedy. A man with nothing to lose, throwing himself off the cliff with his poor, ill sister.”
“God is my saviour,” Arun said. “He will destroy you and your kind. And the righteous will triumph.” Arun looked around him for something to use as a weapon, but there was nothing more than a couple of chalk rocks that would be useless.
“I pushed you too far,” she said and pulled him to his feet by the lapels on his coat. “You got too close to the truth.”
The cold wind burnt his face. She held him two inches away from her, the green glow in her eyes swirling.
“Someone will stop you, demon,” Arun said. “If not me, someone.”
She laughed at him. The green swirl leaked from her eyes, down from her nose and up from her mouth. Her voice changed again.
“Oh brother,” she said, “I’m not staying here any longer than I have to.”
There was another flash of lightning and an immediate roar of thunder. But this time the lightning didn’t recede. It stayed, the night sky turning to day.
As the thunder faded the wind stopped. The rain stopped. Everything was silent and still.
Judith reached around the back of his head and ran her fingers through his hair. She leaned in and kissed him, hard, on the mouth. He fought to push his head away, but she kept him close, forcing him to maintain the contact.
Then she pushed him backwards.
The last thing he remembered was falling. He saw the edge of the cliff above him, and the white cliffs as he fell.
Then a bright blue light consumed everything around him and the air around him was still.