“Stay here,” the older woman ordered again. “I’m going to check out the front window. See if I can’t spot some of those unholy devils.”
“I doubt that you can. The priests can’t see them. I mean, if the demons want to be seen, you wouldn’t be able to tell they’re demons. You’d only see normal people.”
“Perhaps. I’ll be right back.”
A dark shadow moved against the paler curtains as the woman brushed them aside and exited the room. Casi strained her ears to detect the woman’s movements, but all she could hear was the wind blowing hard outside, and the icy rain and sleet striking the glass panes.
Without warning, the mobile home lifted, tilting nearly thirty degrees to one side. It hung there, suspended at an angle, as a cacophony of things falling and crashing echoed through the trailer. Casi lost her grip on the table as she began sliding backwards, flailing her arms to keep from hitting something. The chair went out from under her as the table scraped across the floor, and everything slid like one massive mountain of debris toward the other end of the trailer.
She hit the wall with her right side. A bolt of pain lanced through her, and she gasped at its sharp intensity. An instant later, the table slammed into her thigh before tumbling away from her. She heard a chair impact against the wall mere inches from her head, and instinctively she flung her arms up to protect herself.
More items pelted her as the sound of things thudding and banging around continued to resonate everywhere. Suddenly, the trailer dropped back to the ground, bounced slightly, and remained still.
Demons or no, Casi knew she couldn’t remain inside the mobile home. Those things were determined to get to her, but she couldn’t allow them to destroy the old woman and all her possessions in their pursuit of her.
Struggling to her feet, she waded through the items, favoring her bruised left leg, until she reached the door. It took a few hard tugs to open it, but she managed to make it to the hallway. From there, she limped into the living area that looked as though it had been hit by a tornado.
She found Maman Jeanette lying on her stomach in the middle of the kitchen. The woman was attempting to get up. A dark patch of what looked like blood ran from her forehead, down the side of her face. Kneeling, Casi grabbed the woman by the arm. “Can you stand?”
“I’m a bit woozy, but yes. Help me up, child.”
Gradually, she managed to get the woman to her feet. Maman Jeanette pointed to the front window. “I need to see them.”
“You’re hurt,” Casi argued. “You need medical attention.”
“I need to know what I’m facing,” Maman Jeanette firmly said. “I have to—”
A white glow filtered in through windows, brightening in intensity, until the entire mobile home was filled with its brilliance. The light continued to expand and grow stronger, forcing Casi and Maman Jeanette to cover their eyes to protect their sight. For several seconds, the radiance seemed to permeate every inch of the trailer, until it slowly receded.
Casi helped the woman over to the wide front window and stared outside. Nothing appeared to be different. Nothing had changed. The weather was still intolerable. The wind blew the trees around, and bits of ice were coming down, mixed in with the rain.
A lone man stood in the yard, just beyond the old Jeep. He stared back at them, his expression unreadable in the semi-darkness, but she recognized him.
“Coheed.” Letting go of the old woman, she started for the front door, when Maman Jeanette snagged her shirt.
“No, child! Stop!”
“But that’s Coheed!”
“How do you know, ma petite?”
Casi stared at her. “What? That’s my Coheed I told you about.”
“Or something you think is your Coheed,” the woman countered. “Remember, you were lured away from the church by one of those things impersonating him.”
Casi looked again at the man standing unruffled in the middle of the storm. The wind and rain didn’t affect him. It was as if he stood within an invisible pocket that protected him from nature. Silently, she called out to him, and lifted her hand in invitation.
Coheed, come to me, my love.
He began walking toward the mobile home. Maman Jeanette gasped and backed up, pulling on Casi’s shoulder. Casi threw a smile at her. “He’s the real Coheed. You’ll see.”
The woman released her, moving to the rear wall. Casi continued to watch him as he drew closer.
The trailer door flung open, letting the wind and rain inside. Coheed paused in the doorway but didn’t enter. Casi caught a movement in her peripheral vision just as Maman Jeanette yelled at him, “Be gone, foul demon! You have no power here!”
Tilting his head slightly, he smiled and raised his arms out to Casi, inviting her to embrace him. Casi gave a little cry of relief and ran to him, ready to receive his hug, when Coheed’s head unexpectedly snapped backwards. There was a flash of lightning, and what sounded like thunder, and Coheed vanished in a cloud of gray ashes.
Stunned, Casi stared at the remains until a second figure stepped inside the mobile home and shook himself. “Bloody impersonators! I detest the lot of them! Casi, luv, are you all right?”