At 8.00pm Eddie and Stacey decided to leave the pub and head home. Stacey put her arm around Eddie.
“Granddad I think it’s best if you come home with me.”
Eddie looked relieved.
“Thanks love, I never thought I’d say this but I don’t feel safe in my own home anymore.”
Stacey took out her mobile and made a call. She tried to speak as naturally as possible.
“Hi Ray, it’s Stacey, Granddads going to stay with me tonight. We’ve just left mum at the hospital and it’s getting a bit late. I’ll take him home and give him some dinner, we’ll see you tomorrow. Big day tomorrow!”
There was silence on the other end for a few seconds then she heard Ray’s voice. It was deep and he spoke very slowly.
“Is everything….. okay.……. Stacey?”
Once again Stacey was calm.
“Yeh, everything’s fine Ray, he’s getting old and he gets a bit tired that’s all, so best he comes home with me.”
Stacey didn’t have a chance to say anything else, Ray put the phone down.
Spencer stood up and shook Eddie’s hand.
“I think it’s important that we all keep in touch over the next twenty four hours, I’ll call you in the morning.”
“Sure Inspector, thank you.”
Eddie and Stacey said goodbye to Spencer and James Conroy and left the pub. Spencer went to the bar and bought two more pints. When he returned he looked anxious, it was obvious to James that he wanted to ask more questions.
“Look James, you mentioned earlier about the exorcism you were involved in, now the other two have gone, can you tell me more about it?”
Conroy took a mouthful of his beer, sat back in his chair and began.
“It was a seventeen year old boy. I attended with a catholic priest and I was there simply to document what went on. I was convinced that the boy was in some way mentally disturbed, but then something happened that changed my mind. The priest was going through his ritual when the boy turned to me and asked me if I missed Stephanie. He laughed as he said it. Then he looked straight at me and said YOU WILL. Stephanie was a girl I went out with at University, we were together for about a year and then we broke up. I was devastated for a while because I really liked her. She moved away and I never heard from her again. I always wondered what happened to her. There was no way the boy could have possibly known that. I showed no emotion just let the priest get on with the ritual. The boy looked at me again and told me that my mother screamed in pain when she died and that she hated me because I wasn’t with her at the end. I lost my temper, jumped up and went for him, as I did so I knocked over a candle on the bedside table, the sheets caught fire and the demon, not the boy, started to scream, within a second the priest and I witnessed a ball of flame appear above the bed, then it simply vanished. We put out the fire and the boy was unmarked, not a burn on him. The possession was over and the boy was back to his normal self.”
Spencer couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“And was he right about your Mum?”
“Yes. I always regretted that I wasn’t there when she died, I got a call from the hospital saying she’d taken a turn for the worst, I was about thirty minutes away by car, but by the time I got there she’d already gone. It’s something that I’ll never forgive myself for, I should have been there.”
Spencer was intrigued.
“So you’re saying that the fire got rid of the demon, I don’t see how that helps us, I mean we can’t just go round there and set them all on fire, can we?”
“If I’m honest, I don’t know myself yet. This was a minor demon that had taken over a young boy. We’re dealing with much more powerful forces here. I’ll do some more research tonight and then we’ll meet again in the morning. Listen, I’d like to keep close by if that’s all right with you Inspector, I checked out of the Travel Lodge on the A40 earlier today, is there somewhere round here you could recommend?”
Spencer pointed in the direction of the town centre.
“The Coach House is just a five minute walk from here. I stay there a lot these days, just say you’re a friend of mine, they’ll sort you out a good room at a reasonable rate. I’ll meet you there in the morning for breakfast about 8.30?”
Conroy thanked him and they shook hands. Just as he was about to walk to his car Spencer spoke.
“Did you ever find out what happened to Stephanie?”
Conroy turned and nodded.
“Yes. She died in a car crash on the very day I was attending the exorcism.”
Spencer shook his head in disbelief.