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It seems that events have conspired against me. I have decided to keep a record of what is happening, in the case I am injured, or worse. I know now that I need to ask for help, but I am unsure of what the Church’s reaction will be. I have already been chastised about my talk of demons.

A recap, then, in case I am not around to tell the story. A week before Christmas I was in my church and was visited by an unusual woman. She must have been in her seventies and looked as normal as you like. But the moment I saw her my entire being cried out a warning. It was like being submerged in ice water. My eyes were opened to the truth in front of me, and, by the grace of God, I could see the danger that I was in.

It looked like an old woman, this thing in front of me, and indeed part of it still was. But I could see the true face underneath the mask it was wearing. A demon had chosen to visit me! I could see the ugliness of its features behind the wrinkled skin. I could tell by the way it held itself it was not so used to controlling a human body. And I marvelled at how I could have ever thought this was a human woman, because of the eyes. Its eyes lacked any gleam of life. They were corpse eyes.

The demon staggered over towards me and stopped on the steps leading up to the chancel. I could see the woman up close now, and I felt for her. She looked bedraggled and exhausted. I wondered if there was anything I could do, but before I could act, the demon spoke.

“Priest, I have come for my prize!”

The voice sent chills through me. Again its otherness clanged in my mind, screaming at me that this thing was not human! She staggered towards me up the steps, and I asked, “What prize?” I have to admit that I felt pride that I had received such wisdom from above. Was I destined to do battle with this creature?

This notion vanished as she lunged at me. She caught me open-mouthed and pressed her own lips upon mine. I felt her tongue snaking around my own, and I tasted blood.

Once I realised what she was doing, I pushed her away, far harder than I meant to. She fell down the steps and landed in a heap. The emotionless laugh that issued from her mouth quelled my remorse. “I have what I want,” it said. It rose up and walked out of the church leaving me shaken, in both fear and shock.

I am not sure I processed what happened for days. Then I became gripped by the realisation that I had received a sign… a sign that all this is true. This blew away the fog of doubt that had encircled me for the past year. I had been struggling with my calling, and now, that struggle had vanished.

My Christmas Eve sermon certainly turned a few heads because of it. I have already received an email from the Archdeacon voicing his concern. It is not the opinions of my congregation, nor the hierarchy of the Church that concerns me now. My church has become infested, and I need help!

In the first week of January, the smells started. It wasn’t all the time, just any time there were people there. When I was on my own it faded away, I am sure of it.

Sometimes the smell of strong cabbage water. At others an effluent smell that made your eyes water. It soon had anyone in the church itself running for air.

By the third Sunday in January, the smell persisted all the way through the morning service. I had comments afterwards about seeing to the drains, but there were no drains. The staff toilet was across the graveyard next to the vicarage. There wasn’t even a sink in the vestry. I had been all around the building, inside and out, with my nose to any grate or opening I could find. There was nothing. Besides, the smell came and went. And changed in flavour!

No, I was convinced it wasn’t an Earthly smell. It had something to do with that damned woman!

Tonight, I heard it. I was conducting Evening Prayer, on my own as was usual. On my knees, facing the altar, I began to hear something moving in the main body of the church. Slow, deliberate footsteps, growing in volume as they went. I began to turn, to ask who was there. Perhaps one of my parishioners had decided to attend the service after all! I froze in place. A terror had control of me. In the same way that I knew that woman had been demonic, I now could feel the evil washing over me from behind.

With no other recourse, I began to pray. The Lord’s Prayer sprang to my lips. Again and again, I mumbled it out, and the footsteps receded until I could no longer hear them. I could not sleep after that, so I decided to write down all that was happening.

I will email the Archdeacon now. I need his help.

In Case I Die – Part I