Drawing of a jail cell, looking in from outside a barred window. Caption reads: "I locked her away."

Possession short story by Iris Carden

It was meant to be a simple job.

My instructions were to possess someone in this town and cause as much chaos as possible. Apparently the powers that be had a preferred candidate in the upcoming election, and needed as much distraction from actual issues as possible. This kind of thing happens more than you might expect.

Possession’s easy. I pick a human, kick them out of the body into the unconscious, and I take over.

I picked wrong. This woman didn’t fight being kicked out. What normally takes weeks or months was over in an instant. It should have been a warning. This body is terrible. All of the joints hurt. The bowel jumps back and forth between diarrhoea and constipation. The eyes are dry and scratchy like sandpaper. The skin’s always irritated. I have never felt pain or discomfort like this in all of my thousands of years.

There was no problem. I could exorcise myself. All I needed to do is to give the body back to its rightful owner.

I called on the human in the unconscious. I offered to give her body back. I did not like the answer.

“So you’re saying, you could kick me out and take my body without my consent, but you need me to agree to swap back?” she asked.

“That is correct. So if you will agree, I can…”

“And right now, you’ve got all my symptoms, while I’m actually pain free here?”

“Yes, but…”

“And while you’re stuck in my body, you can’t possess anyone else?”

“No, but…”

“You know what? I think we can stay like this for a while.”

“But surely you want your life back? Don’t you want to be free from the unconscious?”

“Nah. I’m good here. Any chance you could send me some books or movies? Maybe some popcorn? Popcorn would be good. Good luck with the whole possessing my body thing.”

“But what can I do with this diseased body?”

“Take the medications, all of them, on schedule. Eat well. Get some mild low-impact exercise, but be careful, too little or too much aggravates everything. Keep all my doctor’s appointments. Rest up. I don’t really need to tell you that. Fatigue will force you to do that. You’ve got about two useable hours in the day, push past that and the fatigue and brain fog will destroy you. Oh and stay out of the sun you’re photosensitive now, and don’t eat gluten or dairy, you really don’t want to know what those do to reflux and irritable bowel. Have some probiotics each day. They help. I can live an almost normal life-span, so you’ve got about twenty to thirty years to go. Have fun being human.”

“What if I don’t do all that?”

“You die, slowly, excruciatingly, in more pain than you can begin to imagine. I wasn’t even having a flare. The pain you’re feeling is my everyday level of pain. Go have fun with it. If you come back, definitely bring popcorn. Oh, bring chocolate and pizza as well. I can eat what I want and my body won’t react. Cream buns! You don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had a cream bun. Don’t forget the books and movies. In fact, if you don’t come back with treats and entertainment, don’t come back. I’m on holiday here.”

I didn’t tell her she could make all those things appear in the unconscious for herself, because I want her to get bored and reclaim her body. With the luck I’m having she’ll work it all out soon enough, or she already has and was just trying to annoy me.

I’m stuck. I can’t get out of this body, and I can’t fulfil my mission because this useless body won’t let me do anything.

Now, I’m doing what no demon in history has ever done. I’m looking for an exorcist to rescue me. So far I can’t find anyone to take me seriously.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


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