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EIGHT

The boy had no idea how it was possible for Beth’s reflection to come alive. All he knew was he had to stop it from choking her to death. Her face was red, but starting to pale. He pulled at the reflection’s hair, putting all of his weight into it. The reflection let go of Beth, falling down on the floor, the boy falling on top of it.

The customers were screaming, not sure what they were seeing exactly. Any doubt that this was really happening was gone now. The reflection struggled under the boy’s weight. He was trying to keep it pinned down. The reflection punched him in the nose, he felt blood run down his lips. The reflection tried to punch him again. The boy protected his face with his arms. Then he felt how the reflection’s body went slack, falling down on top of him again. Then, all of a sudden the weight of the reflection was gone. Removing his arms from his face he could see that indeed there was no evil reflection anymore. The real Beth was the only one there.

“I kind of just willed that monster away,” Beth told the boy.

The boy got back on his feet, brushing some dust off his shirt. “Lucky me. So you have some kind of control over these things?”

Beth shrugged. “Some it seems. I’m not sure how it works. Maybe the demon-part of me creates these things, but the part of me that is still just me can fight them. It’s crazy.”

“What the hell did we just see there,” Melanie asked, clearly very upset.

“The hell is right,” the boy admitted. “It’s an incredible story, Melanie. Best you just forget about it.”

“I think it will haunt me for some months to come,” Melanie said. “What was that thing that came out of that window?”

“Don’t worry. We will make sure it doesn’t come back,” Beth promised her.

The boy knew that was a hard promise to make. For Melanie’s safety it might not be a good idea to be in their company. “We’re just going to go home.”

“What about the clothes I promised you?” Melanie asked.

“I will pick them up later,” the boy said. “We have some business to attend to first.”

Beth put some money on the table to pay the bill and they left the diner. They got into Beth’s car. Beth started to breathe heavily, almost hyperventilating.

The boy put a hand on her shoulder. “Take it easy. You willed that monster away one time, you will be able to do it again. Let’s just get back home and take it easy until we go to Father Kerry. You’ll be okay.”

Beth tried to control her breaths, wheezing said, “I’m starting to feel more and more bad thoughts. I felt anger at Melanie for being able to hear. I felt anger about those people in the diner not having these crazy problems I have.”

“I guess that’s a bit natural. These past days have been pretty crazy. I can understand you feel some kind of anger about your situation.”

“It’s not just that, kid. I also feel an urge to rip out your throat with my teeth and drink your blood.”

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Jochem Vandersteen

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