Reba shuddered as the emanation in the house prodded at her, a touch on her mind that echoed the cold and greasy feel of the ritual candle in her hand. In the corner of her vision, the home’s owners clung to each other at the open door, their eyes wide with horror. They were helpless bystanders in this mess and she would be better off to get them out before this went much further.
Closing her eyes, she visualised the symbols she’d been taught, keys to the walls around her mind’s senses, each one a powerful yet entirely imaginary defence. Mental tricks, Abraham had called them, laughing but deadly serious at the same time. What belief upheld was as strong on the astral plane as stone and steel here on the physical one. The walls were effective at keeping out inimical influences and took no concentration or energy from her. As she removed them, the prodding grew more agitated and her skin goosefleshed as cold swirled around the room.
She let it come closer, examining the emotions clumsily wielded against her. It held no malice, she realized. There was malice in the house, buried deep, seeping out somehow to kill the lawn outside, sicken the trees and soil, an evil concentrated like she’d never felt before, but this spirit wasn’t a part of that. Unhappiness, yearning and something like shame…or guilt…was what she could separate. Was it Tremalyn?
Taking her lighter from her coat pocket, she flicked the sparker and dipped the wick into the flame. Scent filled the room — oils and dried herbs and powdered bone and wood and stone suspended in the beeswax — along with a sigh of warmth.
Reba opened her eyes. The room was clean, the shade gone. For now, at least, she amended. She turned around.
“Pack up everything you have of value,” she told the frightened man and woman, her gaze on the woman’s face. “This is going to take some time and you and your children will be safer elsewhere.”
Hardwick opened his mouth. With the cessation of the cold spots and the tingling energy gone from the room, his fear seemed to dissipate more rapidly than his wife’s. Angela Hardwick shook her head before he could speak, her hand clamping around his arm as she pushed him out the door. The comment about her children would ensure they left.