“Thanks a lot, God.” Sister Alice huffs as she throws down her rosary. The letter by her bedside is blurred from all the times she has cried over it in the past few days. Her mother recently passed away from bone cancer. Alice rubs her bruised knees. God hasn’t been listening. And now she is alone.

Her church, St. Andrews, is expecting her for morning mass, but she can’t go. She can’t believe in a God that lets good people die horrible deaths. Bending over her bed, she bows her head, but doesn’t pray.

“Forgive me Father. For I have ssssssinned.” A voice hisses in Alice’s ear. Alice spins around staring up at a shadowy figure of her late mother. The figure is a parody of her mother with sagging skin and wispy hair that doesn’t quite conceal the bald patches. The figure’s mouth hangs open and the black empty sockets bore down on her.

“What are you?” Alice gasps.

“Sssssstupid girl, I’m your mother.” The creature’s mouth moves in wide circles like a broken puppet. Watching the grotesque display, a fire burns in Alice.

“Where have you been, Mother?”

The creature swoops over Alice and slaps her. “Do not question me!” The thing latches onto Alice’s throat. Black dots dance across Alice’s vision. Out of the corner of her eye, she spots her blue beaded rosary. She snatches it up.

“Forgive me, Father. Forgive my insolence. Forgive my selfish pride.” she sputters as the hands around her throat tighten.

The chaotic clamor that rises from the creature’s throat freezes Alice’s blood. “Your father cannot save you now. You abandoned him! You turned your back to him! He stole your mother from you! He snatched her from your loyal fingers! How far you will fall!”

“Forgive me, Father. For I have sinned.” She repeats in her mind as the air is squeezed from her throat. The world hazes as she slips. It’s too late. He won’t save her. She brought this upon herself.

A flash of lightening crashes down through the ceiling striking the demon and the demon explodes. The hand around Alice’s throat falls and air rushes back into her lungs. Clutching her rosary she falls to her knees sobbing. “Thank you! Thank you!”

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