Fr. Barnard stood outside of Karissa’s room, trying to guard it from some unseen force that seemed to shroud him in a deathly chill. Inside, the woman stretched out on the sofa in the warm blanket, feeling the dampness leave her from her ordeal in the murky waters. Suddenly, a huge black bird appeared and she screamed. The bird took on the eerie shape of a man hidden behind a dark cloak and hood. He stepped up to her, a hand reaching out but not touching.
“Ah,” he hissed. “You are the priest’s pet.”
The priest banged on the door, screaming. “Karissa! Open the door! Please! Now!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Karissa said to the beast. She darted off the sofa and ran to the door, throwing back the latch. The priest charged into the room and pulled her behind him for protection.
The room was suddenly empty. The woman cowered behind Fr. Barnard as he searched for danger and found none. Turning, he pulled the shivering woman into his arms.
“Why did you scream?” he asked.
Her face was pale. “A man. A creature.”
“Where? Where was he?” the priest asked.
“A figure. He just appeared.” Just as suddenly, she let out another shriek and the priest spun around to see the creature. Fr. Barnard quickly stepped between the two, facing the beast.
“Be gone!” the priest yelled.
The Devil walked over to the bed and caressed the sheets, then fondled one of the pillows. “Nice, priest,” he says.
The priest yelled again: “I told you to leave! In the name of God, be gone!”
Karissa trembled and hid behind the priest, peeking her head out from time to time as the Devil circled the room, touching the things she has touched, sniffing the air for her cologne, and smiling to himself.
Shaking, Fr. Barnard stretched out his arms to heaven and prayed harder than he had ever prayed before. His language switched from German to Latin and back. The sweat formed on his brow, and he kept her behind him, guarding her with his body.
The Devil spoke. “You know Priest, I had not really considered this one to be the price of our bargain, but she does look rather tasty.”
“What is he talking about? What bargain?” Karissa asked.
“What if you let me sample her? Then if she is not worthy, I will choose another…”
“Don’t go near him, Karissa. Don’t look at him. Don’t listen to him. He is pure evil. Cover your ears and turn your eyes away.”
“Don’t come near me?” the Devil asks. “Now that is not very friendly, after all we have been through together Priest?”
Karissa stepped back and turned her face to the corner, pressing her body against the cool stone wall. Fear gripped her as she asked, “He is here for me?”
“I won’t let him have you,” the priest said darkly, his eyes glaring.
“Look at me, girl,” the Devil said with his velvet voice. “Don’t listen to him. Look at my eyes. You will find them most appealing,” he cooed to the woman.
“Don’t look at him!” the priest yelled again.
“I’m scared,” she whimpered.
“Why, I would never harm her, at least not in the beginning, but the beginnings are always so, so sweet aren’t they Priest?”
I have beaten you before and I will beat you again,” Fr. Barnard hissed in hot rage.
“I think that was actually a retreat on your part Priest. How long have you had this parish? Not long at all, and yet here we are, again.” The Devil spoke to the woman, “He will give you to me you know. He must, he has no choice, but I do enjoy the struggle, don’t you?”
“Why do you torment me?”
“Because you are Cain.”
The priest glanced back at Karissa. “If you run, he will have you,” he told her. “Don’t move.”
He turned back to the creature. “I told you before, you cannot have her. “I WILL NOT ALLOW IT!”
As the argument raged, the Devil reached into Barnard’s mind, planting there the seed of his greatest fear, that Karissa will indeed be hurt, and that the priest will be the cause of it.
“Priest, she is trembling; comfort her. Go on, wipe away her tears,” the Devil coaxed.
“Priest look at her, so exposed, look at her soft skin like satin. Go on, comfort her, hold her.”
Barnard prayed harder.
“No! He doesn’t want me!” Karissa screamed at the Beast.
The Devil turned his words to her.”Girl, he is faltering. Take his hand. He needs your strength. The inner strength of a woman. Take his hand, before he fails, again.”
Barnard opened his eyes and stared at the creature. His voice boomed with the Latin incantations for exorcism. “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the blood of Jesus, I bind any demons in me in heaven and on Earth, in Jesus’ name and with his power and authority. Joel 2:32 says, ‘And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.’”
“He is not the man of God he would have you believe,” the Devil screamed, but Fr. Barnard pushed forward.
“It is not through my actions but through Jesus’ sacrifice as my personal savior and God’s grace that I have been saved. As a true Christian, I serve God completely to do His will. I renounce all pride. I confess and repent of all my sins before You, Lord, and ask Your forgiveness. I also confess these sins that I have never confessed before. I forgive everyone who has done wrong to me. I forget resentments and grudges against all people. I forgive these people that I have not forgiven before, since the Bible says that no one’s sins can be forgiven unless they forgive others.”
“He is a good man, a good man!” she screamed.
“I am impressed,” said the Devil.
As Fr. Barnard continued with the prayer, the Devil paced, unable to reach the girl, unable to move into Barnard’s mind. He was frustrated and growing angry.
Then the priest concluded, “Dear God, I am Your servant and want to be free from evil spirits. I want to serve you and beg you to drive out these evil ones from my body and keep them away. Please send an angel to fight for me and the Holy Spirit to fill me so that there is no stronghold left for any demons to enter me. Please Lord by your holy Name and authority and Jesus’ sacrifice and Name, expel these demons from me at once. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
The evil one faded into the night and the priest collapsed to the floor in exhaustion.