“Though you yourself were raised to believe in demons, and in more recent years have been able to see and hear the spirits of the dead, you don’t entirely believe that demons exist, is that right?”
“I guess not,” Trace said slowly.
“And why is that?”
“I suppose because… all the things that demons are supposed to do, can be caused by somethin else. I’ve seen the causes.”
“Such as drugs, and madness, and war.”
“And you’ve never seen a demon.”
“Not that I know of.”
“Ah.” She looked approving. “Clever answer, Mr. Tracy. I suspect you have seen a good number of demons without knowing them. Unlike the spirits you see every day, which are pale fragments of living persons, demons are whole, sentient entities. There is a reason why the Judeo-Christian traditions portray them as evil tricksters. Many of them can assume the form of ordinary things in our world, either by possessing a living thing or mimicking its form. Many so-called mediums are unwittingly calling up demons in the guise of a customer’s loved ones.”
Trace was appalled. “I knew there was somethin fishy about that table-rappin.”
“Indeed. But let us refocus on our current problem. Something—we shall call it a demon, for the sake of simplicity—is precipitating the murders of innocents in the neighborhood. It seems to be connected in some way with a particular newspaper office, the Village Voice, and possibly this reporter, Mr. Reynolds.”
“But he doesn’t work for the Voice.”
“That may not be relevant,” Miss Fairweather said. “Demons have been known to migrate from one host to another, particularly as they become familiar with their surrounds and gain strength. And they tend to gravitate toward a particular type of host, a particular character, if you will.”
“So what do you want me to do when I find it?”
“Exorcise it, of course.” Miss Fairweather looked astonished that he should have to ask.