Colleen sat down in the chair to the control room and for the thousandth time resisted the urge to smoke. Tony kept a pack hid in his desk, she knew that, but she also knew he didn’t smoke very much, and for reasons unexplained, Toby smoked girlie cigarettes. She liked Cowboy Killers or Camels. The Poison Gas Threat seemed to be mythical in nature after the events of the last twenty-four hours so there was no reason to worry about that. She had sealed herself in, so if the weirdness was right she didn’t have to worry about it escaping. Whatever happened when the sun came up, would happen, and Colleen wasn’t worried, unless…
Colleen turned the microphone on, and said, “Good morning.” She reached over and flipped the lights on.
The man sat upright in his bed, rubbed his eyes and looked at the clock. He smiled, and turned his head towards her.
“Good morning.” He stood up and Colleen realized he was nude. “You’re a woman.”
“Yes, I am, and you seem to be male.” Colleen took a deep breath. “I turned the filter off, and this isn’t being recorded.”
“The security woman who rescued me?” The man asked.
“And now what?” The man slipped into the red jumpsuit that was his only article of clothing.
“You’re a demon?” Colleen asked.
“Yes, I am” the man replied. “Or at least the governing authority in the mind of the human you see before you is under my control.”
“He’s possessed?” Colleen urged.
“Absolutely so” the man replied. “For over five years now, “ the man began as he paced over to where the mirrored wall was, “I haven’t been allowed to ask questions and you have allowed me two. “ He smiled. “You’re operating against protocol, are you not?”
“My name is Colleen.” And as Colleen said the words aloud her heart rate picked up. “Should I address you by the name of the person you are…possessing, or..?”
“My name is the Demon Regal.” Regal told her. “Address me as Regal.”
“Regal?” Colleen allowed herself a small laugh. “That’s a little pompous, isn’t it?”
“Considering all things I find the name quite fitting, Colleen.” Regal replied. “Ask Bennett and Duggan what they think of me now.” He sat cross legged on the floor and raised his hands over his head in a stretch. “I trust my actions of the last day have caused quite a stir, and your friends in black have been banished from the facility.”
“How old are you?” Colleen asked suddenly.
“Total or linear?” Regal replied.
“What’s the difference?” Colleen asked. “Which is greater? What does one mean versus the other?”
“I want to see who I am speaking to, first” Regal said with a smile.
Colleen reached for the switch and then hesitated. “There isn’t any way for me to do that.”
“Odds of truth exceedingly low” mocked Regal. “But you didn’t come down here to ask me my age or the condition of the poor human I’ve enslaved.”
“Oh?’ Colleen held her breath. What if he could read minds? What if…?
“You are here to see if I will possess you.” Regal replied. “You’ve locked the door behind you, and now you’re waiting to see if any of this is real. You do not believe I’m a demon, and you do not believe in possession. You are trying to do exactly what Bennett did because nothing you’ve gained from me in the last year or so has made sense. All the questioning and cross questioning has yielded absolutely…” Regal stopped as the lab door slid open.
“Hello Regal.” Colleen said. She held up her Glock and slid a round into the chamber. “How old are you?”
“I am three thousand four hundred fifty years old, total, and nearly three hundred of that linear.” Regal said as he began to stand.
“Sit please.” Colleen said.
“You are not going to shoot me, Colleen.” Regal laughed. “You didn’t come here to kill me.”
Colleen took careful aim and fired the pistol. The round slammed into Regal’s left leg, just above the knee. She took a step back and he rose to his feet sweating in a language Colleen had never heard before.
“The protocol has changed, Regal, “ Colleen told him, “I’m tired of playing games with everyone I meet, so I’ll tell you what to do, and then you’ll do it, or I’ll put a hole in your head, and we’ll see if there is really a demon there.”
“You think so?” Regal staggered to his feet. “You think you’ll like it? You think you’re going to get rid of those thoughts in your head because you aren’t running the show, is that what you think? You have no idea, no idea at all what you’re going to find in there. You think murder is the worst you’ll relive? You think I can’t make you sit and watch the reruns of every mistake you have ever made until you beg me to control you?” Regal lurched towards her. “Right now the human inside has hope, real hope, actual joy in the feeling you might pull that trigger.”
“Well, I guess I’m going to find out what it’s like.” Colleen leveled the gun at Regal’s head and a sudden shock dropped her in her tracks.
“Goddam! What the hell are you doing?” It was the last words she heard before she passed out.
“Any reason in particular you went inside containment?” Colleen woke up to discover she was strapped to a bed in a room very much like the one Regal was being held. The voice was without gender or inflection.
“It was the best way to get some answers” Colleen replied.
“You will be quarantined for another month or so, or until we’re sure you haven’t been possessed or compromised in some way” the voice said.
“You’ll let me up before then or I won’t tell you what he said.” Colleen replied. “I think you have a demon in there, you know.”
“I already knew that” the voice said, and no one spoke to Colleen for another twenty-four hours.