Chapter 21.

John Verdi rides again!



Detective Strong was in his office reviewing the case of Walter Horn. No new murders had been committed in more than two weeks and that was a good sign. All the previous murders had occurred in less than a month. Suddenly the phone rang.

“Can I speak with Detective Strong please,” said a masculine voice.

“Speaking. And who may you be?” said Strong.

“My name is John Verdi, and I am the priest at Hollytown church. Maybe you know that church, Detective Strong?”

“Well I know the church but that’s all I know about it. What can I do for you.”

“Well, it’s about the various murders that have occurred in town. I read in the papers that you spoke about a black smoke in the vicinity, isn’t that right?”

“Yes, I did speak to the press about that black smoke. What about it.” said Strong.

“Well, a certain Walter Horn came to see me a while back. I’m afraid that I didn’t take him seriously about his story. But now I do.”

“Tell me, he visited you and asked for advice and you brushed him off, right?” Strong was happy to see that he wasn’t the only one having a problem with Horn’s story.

“Well no, I didn’t brush him off as you say, I told him that in my opinion it was the devil. I told him that this tricky fellow can take various forms and that for him, what he thought was a shadow separating from him was really the devil.”

Strong said nothing for a few seconds, rolling his eyes and looking at the ceiling. A religious nut. That was to be expected of course and more of them along with perhaps other psychics might come out of the woodwork.

“Well I thank-you for your call Father Verdi, and have….”

“Wait. I am calling to offer you my help. This man must be exorcised, that is the only way to prevent more murders!”

“Please Father, none of that stuff. This is not a religious case but a murder investigation. Do not try to intervene, am I clear?”

“Very clear. But I still believe I am right.”

“Good day Father.” Strong hung up, happy to end this silly conversation.

Father John Verdi was not a man who would quit easily, especially if he believed strongly that he was right. He believed that Horn was facing the devil and that alone, the murders would continue. He had to help him even against his wishes.

He decided to find the address of Horn and to confront him again. He believed Horn was probably responsible for his so-called shadow separating from him and going on a killing spree. He needed help and help was what Verdi was offering. It was his duty to help a man like Horn, a man unarmed against stronger supernatural forces.

Verdi located the address of Horn and decided to pay him a visit. He arrived at the door, knocked and waited patiently for the door to open. It did open rapidly and Horn was in the door way, looking at Verdi in a strange way.

“Hello Mr. Horn, do you remember me? My name is…”

“John Verdi, the priest from Hollytown. I remember you. What can I do for you.” Horn said curtly.

“May I come in, I would love to talk to you as I believe I know what ails you.”

Horn was unsure what to do, but in the end he thought that giving Verdi his fifteen minutes would mollify him and that he would leave his house content.

“Of course, come in.” Horn said in a polite way. They both went in with Verdi sitting on the sofa while Horn sat in front of him in his chair.

“You know Mr.Horn that I have been obsessed by the discussion that we have had concerning that shadow of yours. And with the latest murder, I believe that something must be done to stop this thing from killing again, don’t you think?”

“Of course, but there is nothing that I can do, and even the police does not seem to know what to do. I believe that they still think that I am responsible.” said Horn.

“I know what to do, Mr. Horn and yes, you are responsible for those murders, albeit in an indirect way.”

“What! I am telling you that I killed no one, do you understand me? I am as much a victim as any of those people who have lost their lives.” said Horn defensively.

“Mr. Horn, the only way to help you is for you to confess that you must have sinned greatly to have been afflicted by this shadow. And as I told you, this shadow is nothing more than the devil. I can help you fight him and win.”

“How, tell me. How can my shadow be re-integrated with me. And no, it is not religious in nature, you are mistaken.” Horn was tired of this religious nonsense spouted by the priest. He was on the verge of asking him to leave as his fifteen minutes were up.

“Only an exorcism can save you Mr.Horn. By casting the evil spirits still in you it will make way for spirits who can help you. Please, let me perform the sacred rites now, I have everything.” said the priest. At those words he took out of his bag a bible and a large crucifix and stood up, preparing to speak some verses from the bible.

Horn was amused and then alarmed when he saw the priest take out his implements. He thought that this comedy had lasted enough and that now was the time for him to put his foot down. “Please, get out. I told you no, I want none of your help.” Horn stood up as the priest was still reciting some verses. Horn opened the door for the priest. “Get out now or I will call the police, do you understand?”

At these words the priest put his bible and the crucifix back into his bag and stormed out, but not before saying some parting words. “Mr. Horn, you are not out of the woods and the devil will come and claim you. Good day Mr.Horn.” said the priest as he left in a huff, frustrated that he was unable to save a soul.

Horn said nothing and closed the door amazed that the priest had come here, in his house, to save him through an exorcism. He was angry at the priest for this and this scared him. What if the black smoke attacked him? He tried to calm down but he was still upset. He kicked his chair violently and then suddenly felt nauseous once again. He knew that he was about to faint so he dropped to his knees and while he was there he saw the black smoke appear. It was very diffuse at first but then it became solid in front of him. He was still on his knees but barely conscious. Once again there was that awful acrid smell that permeated the room. He lifted his eyes and saw the black smoke assume a corporal shape except that It had no feet. Horn looked up at it as this being looked at him, smiled and then pointed at the door or the sky behind it, Horn was unsure. It then lifted up four fingers and that meant it was going to kill again, that much Horn understood.


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