CHAPTER III

PLEASE EXCUSE GRAMMATICAL ERRORS!


Awkward. Awkward. Awkward.

That's the only word that I could use to describe this situation.

I sighed loudly and gave up on trying to talk my way out of this one. The jig was up, and I had virtually no way to put it back down. Of course, there was that old saying…

Dead men tell no tales… Or women in this case.

That was totally out of the question though, I'm a servant of God for Pete's sake! My purpose was to exorcise demons and the like, not people. And Sabrina was much too kind for me to even dream about killing.

Forget getting God's forgiveness, I wouldn't be able to give myself.

The dry grass crunched beneath the both of our feet as we navigated through the maze. I still had to get to the old tree, and I wasn't willing to leave Sabrina behind. Just in case she was attacked again.

"You have to be one of the most unlucky people I've ever met Sabrina. Start the day off cursed, and finish it off being attacked…" I tried my damndest to fill the silence.

Sabrina kept her distance, a reserved and defensive posture to her as she walked a few steps behind me.

Maybe my sword was intimidating? Or the fact that it set a scarecrow on fire, or that I clearly wasn't the helpless dweeb she thought I was.

Finally coming to the end of the hellish maze, a massive tree sat in the middle of a large clearing. Something definitely felt strange here. The tree itself gave of little wisps of evil power, proving that my info had been at least somewhat accurate.

Whereas I stopped and observed the tree, Sabrina walked right past me. "H-Hey, wait!" I placed a hand on her shoulder, stopping her. "It's dangerous."

She spoke for the first time, "...It's a tree."

I responded with a bland stare, "You just got attacked by a scarecrow." I returned.

"Touché…"

"If you really have to get up close, at least let me do what I came here for first." stepping in front of the impatient teen, I pulled out a small pouch of holy water and poured it at the base of the tree.

"I ask Jesus to seal this place in His most precious blood." I began a short prayer of binding, hoping to contain (if not outright dispel) the evil energies I felt emanating from the cursed tree. "Against any and all incursions of evil. Against the clinging, familial, familiar and retaliating spirits of night." I brought my hand up, dragging my finger across the bark in a cross formation.

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." The cross I traced seared itself into the tree bark, "Amen." I stepped back, the energies here were potent. Very potent.

But at the very least I had bound them to the tree. Nothing from here would be able to make its way to Greendale.

"What are you?"

I turned my attention back to Sabrina, she still looked guarded. I must have ruined her impression of me.

"Long story short, I'm an exorcist." I admitted. She was a smart girl, so once she calmed down I was sure she'd be able to figure it out. I barely noticed the widening of her eyes and the spark of fear that flashed in them. "Listen, I'm sure you've got a ton of questions and I'm willing to answer them. You deserve that much, but I don't have the time to talk about all of it here… If you stop by Dr. Cee's tomorrow morning, I'll tell you everything."

She still looked suspicious.

I closed the distance between us, "I'm not your enemy Sabrina, I promise. I'm sti-!" A chill went down my spine as a hand roughly grabbed my shoulder.

"Hey! What are- Damien? What are you doing with Sabrina?" Thank God, it was only Harvey. His tone was understandably defensive.

"O-Oh, hey Harvey."

"You don't seem like a bad kid, but if you're bothering Sabrina then you'll have to leave." Wow, he looked about ready to fight me. I've never seen Harvey act so aggressive before, the guy could be kind of a badass when he wanted to be.

I liked my bottom lip, tracing the still bruised flesh, "Uhh, sorry! I wasn't trying to be a bother or a third wheel," I said as I backed off a bit, "I got lost in the maze and found Sabrina by pure coincidence."

Harvey narrowed his eyes, that sounded believable… Only problem was I literally had a sword in my hand. I just couldn't get it right, could I?

Don't bring the sword, I fight a strong opponent. Do bring the sword, I'm caught in the act by a friend and then her boyfriend swoops in at just the worst moment.

"It was just a coincidence Harvey, neither of us could make it through the maze so we decided to try together." Sabrina threw a smile on and hugged her boyfriend around the waist.

"If you say so…" He didn't seem convinced, "Well, pumpkins are in the truck, let's get out of here."

Sabrina nodded, "Sure, just give me a second. I wanted to pick an apple from the tree! I'll be right there!" Harvey relented and took the short trail back to the parking lot.

Once he was clearly out of ear shot, I looked back at Sabrina. She gained a more confident and determined look than she had before. One that was much more like her than the timid suspicious person I saw before.

"So… Tomorrow?" I asked.

She nodded, "But you answer everything."


An exorcist…

Sabrina thought back to the events that had transpired at the apple orchard/pumpkin patch. And each time she was just as shocked to find out the little freshman she wanted to help out was AN EXORCIST.

Was he looking for witches? Was the coven based here exposed? Did he suspect her?

"I have to tell my aunties." She crushed that thought immediately after she thought it. No, they'd most certainly go out of their way to find Damien and do who knows what to him. Zelda specifically, could be a cruel and merciless woman when it came to such serious matters (Even trivial ones).

I'm not your enemy Sabrina, I promise.

Damien seemed sincere when he said that. An exorcist didn't exactly equate to a witch hunter, so Sabrina gave the younger boy the benefit of the doubt. At the very least, she'd hear him out the following morning.

If, and only if, he proved to be a danger to the people she loved, then she'd report it to her aunties.

Sabrina bounced around in Harvey's truck, sunken in thought. The young man himself could see it, "Hey, if Damien was bothering you, you can tell me. I'll have a talk with him and you won't have to see his yellow tinted glasses ever again."

Sabrina blinked once, and then twice before bursting into a fit of laughter, "Hahaha, my hero! But it was seriously the truth! We ran into each other by coincidence, Damiens not from here like we are, so that was his first time seeing the Old Tree."

Sabrina scooted over to Harvey, cuddling up to him. "I Love You." She contentedly rode out the rest of the trip in silence.


The night passed like clockwork, unhindered despite Sabrina's packed schedule. A lot had happened in the past 12 hours, too much even. One could only imagine this was the beginning to a long, dark… chilling adventure.

The half-witch had taken a hefty bite from her magical apple the moment she got home. The Malum Malus her dear cousin recommended showed her a future that wasn't sweet or sour, but terrifying. She couldn't begin to describe it.

After that, she'd been almost immediately introduced to none other than Faustus Blackwood, The High Priest. One of, If not the, highest ranking man in the entire Church of Night.

Sabrina couldn't put her finger on it, but something about him seemed off. She wasn't sure what to make of him quiet yet, so she heard him out and voiced her own concerns about her Dark Baptism.

And finally, something that seemed too coincidental to be mere coincidence had been confirmed. The body of a young man, recently passed, was confirmed to be a witch. Or warlock in this case.

Ambrose voiced his suspicions of a witch hunter lurking among them, Sabrina remained frozen and silent. Despite Father Blackwood's dismissal of the theory, her cousin's paranoia persisted. With what she knew and learned today, that theory was just as plausible as saying water was wet.

The chances of Damien being her enemy had just risen considerably. And despite the evidence that had lain before her, Sabrina thought back.

Call her soft, naive, or plain stupid. Whatever you wanted really, but the blond wanted to hear it from Damien himself. And the moment he revealed himself, she'd be ready.


So… Sabrina was a no show.

I'm not totally sure how I felt about that right now though. Actually, I'm not sure I had the time to think about it right now!

"Woah!" I dodged an old beat down washer that was hurled my way. It's true, that I was stronger than the average human and could do some pretty incredible things, but I was still just as fragile as a human. I could handle being tossed through some rotting drywall, but I don't think I'd be able to shrug off a massive cube of steel.

The washer practically exploded as it hit the floor, pieces scattering about the junkyard I sprinted through. My target was a huge dog spirit that thrashed and ran about the yard like a playground.

And for him it was.

Cases like this tugged at my heart strings. Despite what they taught us, not all spirits were inherently evil. Not at the start at least. But left unchecked, they stand to be corrupted.

This was one such instance. The guard dog that used to protect this area was sadly crushed by falling junk. Needless to say, he didn't survive. It wasn't a vindictive or even an evil spirit I was chasing, no the dog thought we were playing.

And for the time, I was happy to oblige that final wish.

Unfortunately, all things had to end.

Creating a shortcut for myself, I cut the car sized dog off and tackled him to the floor. The dog barked and rolled excitedly, but slowly settled down. I'd always felt like dogs were more intelligent than we gave them credit for, and I was only proven right in this instance.

I pat the dog on it's head, the stiff fur feeling so real that I doubted whether he actually was a spirit or not. I knew that was wrong though, my eyes never fooled me. They couldn't.

I said a small prayer and blessed the pup. As if the wind simply took him, he was gone.

"Rest in peace, Big Dog. All your doggy friends are waiting for you in heaven." I smiled to myself and brushed my dirty hands off on my pants. I looked up at the sky, noting the sun had long since set as the moon rose high.

*Ping!*

The familiar ping of my cell sounded and I fished my outdated phone from my pocket, the old ones were just so much more durable than the new ones. I flipped it open, surprised at who I got a message from.

Damien, It's Sabrina. Meet me Dr. Cee's.

I'm not quite sure how she got my number, but I didn't particularly mind. Actually, this was great. Now I didn't have to uncomfortably try and set up a new meeting. So I said the only thing that I could in this situation.

Omw


The door chimed and for the umpeenth time that night, Sabrina's eyes darted to the entrance. "Finally," she thought as Damien stepped through.

His cheeks and nose were red from the cold, the hoodie, and windbreaker he wore over it loosely flapping in the wind.

Sabrina waved him over and let him take a seat. Damien raised an eyebrow as he slipped in the booth, "What's the get up? Halloween isn't till tomorrow." He lightly joked. Probably in hopes to kill any tension.

"... Harvey made the same joke." She commented, taking the time to examine the bespectacled exorcist before her.

A waitress came and asked if he wanted anything, he oddly ordered an ice cream Sundae. "She must think I'm strange for coming twice in one day." Sabrina heard him say to himself.

"If she did, it's probably because you ordered ice cream when it's 39 degrees outside. Sorry for no showing by the way, Harvey picked me up today and the Susie got in a fight. I didn't really have time to break away." Sabrina stirred around her steaming tea. Tea wasn't exactly popular, especially with younger people, but her Aunt Hilda made tea all the time. It was almost a comfort.

"Susie got in a fight?! With who?" He asked with what looked like real concern.

"Some football jerks. Billy, Ed, Seth, and Carl. All golden boy football players. They're probably the ones that beat you up…" Sabrina thought back to when Damien had burst through a stack of hay and tossed the scarecrow through another. The freshman was clearly strong and trained enough to defend himself.

So why not do just that?

"Not ringing any bells for me, I never really took the time to learn any of their names. Is Susie alright- well, maybe that's a bad question. How is she?"

The waitress came back with a little cup overflowing with ice cream and chocolate syrup. Damien enthusiastically began to shovel scoops of frosty goodness into his mouth before abruptly stopping. His face twisted in agony and he shook his head, "Ohhh, brain freeze! A hot brownie would just hit the spot."

He seemed so- so… so normal.

In her head, exorcists were old wrinkly men that carried around bibles and preached gospel. But he instantly broke that stereotype, being a grade below her and almost never bringing up religion. Aside from that one time he said that the football players would get what's coming to them, she wasn't even sure he believed in a god.

"Ahem." Damien cleared his throat, gaining Sabrina's attention, "I guess we should just get on with it. Before I start a lecture though, I'm sure you have your own questions. Ask away." He gave the green light and just like that the blond girl began a subtle game of verbal prodding.

Sabrina had prepared herself to play the part of the girl caught up in a bad situation. She had to come off as if she was completely ignorant of the supernatural. Normally that wasn't too hard, she'd done it for the past 15 (going on 16) years.

Even better, she was realizing she could use this to her advantage. The half-witch still had no clue who or what exactly had sent the scarecrow after her. This is what they called a golden opportunity.

"What was it that attacked me?"

Damien put his hand up to his chin in thought, Sabrina noted how grim he seemed to look. "It was a puppet. Someone or something, seems to have it out for you…"

She already knew that, and had a pretty good idea who, at that. The Weird Sisters were tier one succubitches, but Sabrina didn't need (or want) a witch hunter to deal with them.

"Do you have any ideas?"

"Well, to be frank… I'm not totally sure. But considering the fact that you had a curse on you the other day, I'm willing to bet it was a witch." He looked stressed just saying so.

This was perfect for Sabrina! So he knew there were witches- no- he suspected. She'd find out here and now if he was a witch hunter.

"Maybe I can convince him to leave? I don't have to report him to the coven… do I?" Sabrina felt hesitation for a moment. From the stories she heard, Witch Hunters were ruthless and brutal. Cruel inhuman beings that killed people in the name of 'god'.

But Damien had never seemed that way, not to her. Just an awkward, occasionally snippy, kid. He wasn't capable of killing people, not the kid she saved from being thrown in a locker.

Then again, he was never that kid to begin with.

"And what does that mean? Will you… kill them?" Sabrina sat with baited breath.

Damien was oblivious to her anxiety, and shook his head. "I hate to break it to you, but I'm not that kind of exorcist. There's people trained to deal with witches and the magic they can use. My only purpose is to protect the people from spirits and demons."

A bashful expression crossed his face as he scratched his head, "I hear that most witches look like normal humans," he rambled. "I don't have it in me to kill someone, even if they're a witch."

Sabrina had never felt more relieved. It was like she could fly, now that this enormous burden was off her shoulders. Now, all she had to do was make sure he didn't call the special forces, or whatever the church used to kill witches.

"You did say that you weren't sure, what are your other suspicions?" The blond reminded Damien that a witch wasn't the end all be all. There were still other possibilities, although unlikely.

"Hmm, it could just be that you have really bad luck and what happened to you were two separate incidents. There are two, technically three, other ways you could have been cursed. And only one other logical explanation that a puppet would try and attack you."

"... And they are?" Sabrina asked impatiently.

"Oh, sorry! I was thinking… I guess I can give you the rundown, I'll try to keep it simple so bear with me. Aside from being a witch there's two ways humans can curse each other." Damien threw up the number two with his fingers, "The first, if there's a ton of people that really don't like you they can basically will it into existence. Second, if there's a single person or even a small group that really just hates your guts. One and two are basically the same, and there's no real way to prevent it other than being generally likeable or unknown."

"I can definitely think of a few people that don't like me all that much." Although the people she thought about were in fact witches, and did place the curse on her.

"And finally, you went somewhere that a demon or strong spirit was and they cursed you there. That's pretty concerning in itself, but I've fought my share of demons and cursed spirits. That would be our best case scenario."

That was interesting, there was apparently a whole nother side to the supernatural that she was totally unaware and uneducated about.

"As for the puppet incident. If it wasn't a witch, then it had to have been the work of a vengeful spirit. It's not in any history books here, but that tree was the sight of many hangings. Women that were accused of being witches way back when were sentenced to death there. The wrongly accused, or even the rightly, I'm sure they would haunt that area."

Sabrina did know that, it was the entire reason she went after all. "So why would it attack me and no one else? I wasn't the first person to go through that day." She asked to both sate her curiosity and play her part.

Damien smiled shyly, "Umm well, that might kinda be my fault. When I saw that you were cursed that morning I blessed you and dispelled the curse. It was probably the residual holy energy that drew it to you. Holy energy is death for them, so it could have just auto triggered or something."

The wheels seemed to be turning in her juniors head, at this rate he was convincing himself that it wasn't witches. The way he explained things almost convinced her, but she knew the truth.

"I'm not sure if I should thank you or be angry…" Sabrina joked. Now that she knew he wasn't her direct enemy, she was much more at ease.

"I'd prefer a thank you, but I'll take what I can get."

"Let me think it over…"

The two sat comfortably quiet, well Sabrina did. Damien seemed to be thinking up a storm, likely planning how to proceed. Each second, a well of curiosity built up in her belly. They were two sides of the same coin really.

Natural enemies, because of their beliefs but not true enemies. Why did they even have to be enemies when they could sit and talk like this?

"I never really took you for someone religious…" Sabrina spoke, "What was it that made you become an exorcist?"

Damien blinked himself back to reality, an unreadable expression on his face.

"You don't have to answer if you don't want to! Sorry, if that was insensitive." The blond immediately backed off, though still curios.

The exorcist waved her concern off, "Doesn't bother me to share, actually, it's kinda nice now that you know all this. To be honest, I felt incredibly lonely for the year and change I've been here. Everyone thought I was stuck up and I gained a bad reputation for seeming so sketchy. But now I feel like I actually have someone to talk to, someone that isn't evaluating my words."

Sabrina stayed silent, partially out of guilt and partially out of respect. She felt guilty because she was evaluating his words and she was lying directly to his face.

"I'm an exorcist because I simply didn't have much choice in the matter. My eyes are special." He took his glasses off and set them neatly on the table. His eyes certainly were special, a glacier blue so piercing it felt like he saw her on a fourth dimension. "I'm not the only one to be born with blessed properties, far from it. There are countless, all exorcists have some special trait given to them by God himself. I guess you could say that it's my fate. I was born to be exactly what I am."

The teen smiled kindly at a passing waitress, "Do you think I can get another of these?" He pointed at the empty glass of ice cream. The girl, probably a little older than them seemed hypnotized by his eyes before she nodded and scampered away.

"... Is that what you want?" Sabrina questioned.

"What I want? Hmm, I don't think that matters at this point. I'm no one without the church, it's even half of my name. Damien De Marco means Damien of Marco. That's the name of the orphanage that raised me, consequently it was also the place that taught me everything I know. The church made me." He seemed unhappy saying that.

He'd lost his freedom. The will to simply be.

Damien leaned forward, resting his chin in the palm of his hand. "Despite that, I wouldn't really say I'm a religious guy. I don't believe in God or have faith in him, but I do know he exists. I follow his teachings, fight on his behalf, and am ultimately a servant of god."

That didn't sound right. Weren't you supposed to love your god? Praise them, worship them? Why. Why did this sound so familiar?

"Then why?"

"Because I fear Him."

"Oh." That's right, it was because he was just like her.


Sooo… I might've kinda messed up. Already. I liked the aesthetic of blue flames, but watching ahead in Sabrina and thinking back on Blue Exorcist blue flames are a sign of the devil.

Not ganna change it, but there's a specific moment I'll address it in the story because the oversight bothers me.

Anyway, originally there was a lot more I wanted to include here but it was starting to feel like an infodump rather than tactful exposition. I wanna try to explain things on an as needed basis. Otherwise it'll just come out looking like a wiki page or sum.

I'm already kinda bothered by the structure of Sabrina and Damien's dialogue but I wanted to set up some backstory and draw some parallels between the characters.

I'm super excited to get into the story so I'm ganna try and keep as much motivation as I can.

Thx :)