Sonja must be feeling better because she finally visited the library Sunday. Dr. Gabor started coming in almost everyday, so maybe whatever he’s doing is working. I like to imagine him putting on a freaky mask and dancing around her room half-naked while chanting ancient spells. But it’s probably just some head-shrinker stuff like “Tell me more about your mother.”
Eli made sure no one else was in the mansion before he left for work. He reminded me not to show or tell Sonja anything that could make her nightmares worse. I get it, I get it. Don’t show Sonja the Occult library.
When I came into Sonja’s room I noticed her vanity mirror was gone and the painting of ballerinas on the wall had been replaced with a hyper-realistic painting of a bowl of fruit. She was sitting in a new chair where the couch had been, looking at a window that was blocked with metal shutters. I asked her what she was doing. She didn’t turn to face me and just said, “Sometimes I like looking through a closed window and imagining what could be on the other side. Not what might be, but what could be.”
I looked too, but I didn’t see much. I guess I need practice. After a moment she looked up at me. “The shutter is broken. It’s supposed to come up automatically in the morning. Eli is having someone come fix it tomorrow.”
She braced herself on the top of the chair to stand up and I realized it was the first time I’d ever seen her standing. She was so tiny.
Sonja held my hand as we left her room and made our way downstairs to the library. She kept looking around so I reassured her that there was no one else here. When we walked into the library we came across that stupid-adorable impossible-to-catch cat. It freaked out and skittered away. Sonja gave her half-smile, “I love cats.”
I showed her the science and biology section, the area of the library decimated by the infestation, and the Science Fiction section that I hadn’t actually touched yet. I’d spent most of my time in the Occult library so I didn’t really have too much else to show her. Sonja glanced at the covers in the Science Fiction section, running her fingers along their dusty spines, feigning interest. “Could I see the Occult section?”
How did she know about that? “But Eli said it would make your nightmares worse.”
“Give me a break. I’m sick, Kendra, not a child. I watch horror films on my iPad all the time. Besides, Eli isn’t here. Are you going to show me or not?”
I helped her up the winding staircase, through the hidden passageway and back down into the secret Occult library within the library.
Sonja sat down at the desk and I showed her some of my favorite books from the collection. She looked at them intently while she played with the chain of a necklace that had been hidden under her shirt. The necklace had a small metal pendant engraved with a Star of David and some other symbols I didn’t recognize.
I asked her, “A Star of David? Are you Jewish?”
“Yes, it’s a Star of David, but it’s also a hexagram. And no, I’m not Jewish. My parents were half-assed Muslims and I quickly grew interested in a wide range of religions and spiritual practices. There’s a lot of wisdom beyond the religions of Abraham and other men.”
“It’s really cool.”
“I’m glad you think so, Eli gave it to me. I actually hate it but I wear it for him.”
She gazed at the pendant until she shook her head with a wrinkled nose, seemingly breaking out of some sort of trance.
“Did you ever find that name? The name of the demon?” she asked.
I guess she already knew everything so I just told her it’s name. “It’s Decabrael.”
“Decabrael?” she laughed to herself while covering her mouth, “Really? That’s so funny.”
“What’s so funny about it?”
“It’s just… they came up with such creative names back then.”