Melba had thought she was too old to be possessed by a demon, that this sort of thing only happened to young people living in cobblestoned colonial neighborhoods, or new housing developments built over Native American burial grounds, not to retired persons living in modestly-priced retirement villages in Boca Raton.
Yet here she was, hair a mess, clothing shredded by her very own hand—pity, it was her favorite blouse, too—snarling and spitting into the face of a nice young priest from West Palm Beach. She couldn’t even tell him how mortified she was about the vomit she’d spewed all over his nice, tidy vestments.
Surely, he could see the apology somewhere in her eyes. She had no way of knowing, however, this being her very first possession. But somehow, as she reached out toward him, her spindly arms moving with the grace of younger years; hands firmly gripping his throat with no hint of palsy or twinge of arthritis; throttling him with—oh, my—with a strength she hadn’t felt since those halcyon days on the farm, working alongside the neighbor boy Robert, before they fell in love and grew up and grew old; admiring the cleric’s frantic, roving blue eyes, almost as lovely as Robert’s had been before they clouded with age and closed in death, leaving her lonely and purposeless, seeking fulfillment—somehow she had the feeling it wouldn’t be her last.
Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com) is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. In addition to Bending Genres, prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Monkeybicycle, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and Escape Pod/Artemis Rising. She’s the author of a novel, TreeVolution, a hybrid fiction/poetry collection, Circe’s Bicycle, and a short story collection, Midnight at the Organporium. She received her MFA from American University in 2019.