The girl could have been pretty. Not in the way that one of her parents was attractive and she got hit by the recessive genes, more in the way that she didn't put any effort into being pretty.
Her hair was a flat mop of dull blonde which reached halfway down her back, the ends split and uneven. Her eyes were a dark blue, an oddity but one that her parents had been secretly proud of for being able to create. She had an almost perfect nose, but use of cheap soap and none of the acne products her peers used had spotted it up and left it red. Her lips were full and her teeth even, yet no one noticed because she never smiled. It wasn't that she was unhappy, or at least, she always said she wasn't, it was just that she never smiled.
The rest of her body was typical of one a year or so on the adult side of puberty. She had breasts that the boys in her class would give anything to see and even more to touch, yet she hid in shapeless shirts and “old woman” bras which did nothing to show off her best, or what her mother called best, features.
Along with the frumpy shirts, her wardrobe was almost entirely rounded out by non-tight jeans - boy jeans her friends had called them once.
Today none of that mattered. Today, her hair was twisted and matted together with what looked like thick tar, or black clay, she had thick black bags under deeply bloodshot eyes which were caked with rheum. Her nose ran with mucus and blood caked her lips, which she had bitten to the point of bleeding themselves. Three of her teeth had been knocked out.
A long, loose fitting white shirt which was ripped in several places and splattered with a number of stains was all she wore. All the way down her arms were thick red scratches, all of which were her own doing. Her bare legs were bruised and one had a large lump halfway down the shin; the tell tale sign of a break.
She was laying on a bed. It was a small single bed and her feet hung off the end. The mattress was thin and threadbare, a spring poked through the material just to the side of her knee. The bed was attached to the floor and the wall with large bolts.
Above the head of the bed was a small glass-less window, covered with thick steel bars, pitted with rust. The floor of the room was made from old timber slats, most of which didn't fit together properly and creaked loudly under the motion of the bed. A door-less doorway stood opposite the foot of the bed and opened into a corridor with similar rooms all the way down its length.
The girls arms were tied to the head of the bed above her head with hemp rope. The rope dug into her wrists as she pulled against them. Three men were standing around the foot of the bed attempting to tie her feet to the bed yet, because the bed was shorter than the girl, and because she was flailing her legs around wildly, it was difficult.
Standing in the doorway, a fourth man and a woman looked on this scene with deep worry etched on their faces. Behind them, explaining what was going to happen to the girl next was an old priest. He wore a worn black shirt with a tattered collar and old holey jeans. He, along with the three men in the room, wore no shoes.
The girls mouth was open as if in the middle of screaming, however no sound came out of it. She twisted her body from left to right violently on the bed, kicking at the men if they came close. The men spoke quickly to each other in a language the couple in the door way didn't understand and one of them leaped onto the girls abdomen, attempting to hold her down so her legs could be bound. The instant the man touched her, a ear splitting scream erupted from the girl and she arched her back further than should have been possible for someone her size. The scream grew higher and higher in pitch as the man clung to her desperately, yelling at the others and motioning them to grab her legs.
Then the scream stopped. The two men tying her legs up gasped and looked up at the third who had locked eyes with the girl. She was smiling at him and swaying her head slightly. He reached for her face, the other men yelling at him while finishing their knots and quickly rushing to pull him off her. It was too late. As the three bodies crashed to the floor, the man who had jumped on the girl crumpled to dust at the same time as the girls body slumped back to the mattress, the same smile painted on her face, cracking the dry blood and mucus that caked her cheeks. A soft purring sound could be heard coming out of her neck.
“What was that, Father?” the man asked, his face still pale and the scream still echoing in his ears.
“Whats wrong with her?” the woman asked almost hysterically.
“To answer your question first,” the priest said to the woman in a patient, yet tired voice, “she's under the influence of something. Something unpleasant.”
“Possessed?” the man asked.
“We don't like to use that word, but its how most people describe it, yes.”
“What happened when that man touched her?”
“The,” the priest paused, looking for the right words, “orderlies here are a particular race of Indians who are raised in seclusion somewhere in the mountains around the border with Nepal and Tibet. Before they are moved here, their entire lives are dedicated to protecting people and helping to remove unpleasant occurrences such as what is happening with your daughter currently. What you witnessed could best be described as an allergic reaction. The thing influencing your daughter could not stomach the touch of that man and instead of protecting itself against the other men, used its strength to remove the irritant.”
“And the man?”
“As well prepared as these people are and as wise, sometimes things don't go to plan. His death is regrettable, but they know the risks.”
“What happens now?”
“The girl is restrained. Tomorrow is the full moon. Tomorrow is the exorcism.”