November 6, 198X
I lived in Building C, underground with the rest of the people involved in coordinating and conducting the Legion Study. Daily, for up to the middle of November, more planes would fly in and people would disembark. It became very clear that this experiment was much more than a passing fancy of the US government.
Scientists. Doctors of the mind and body. Experts in religion and religious studies.
However, we only had one priest that was signed onto the project… and only one person who claimed to have been possessed in the past.
Hugo. I’d asked questions as to why such an unprofessional person was allowed to be a part of this and got that as my answer during an interview I was allowed to sit in on with Father Carter and that was conducted by Dr. Lewis. Apparently at the age of twelve, Hugo was playing with an Oujia board with his friends when a spirit who called himself Emmet began to speak to them. Apparently ‘Emmet’ spoke kindly until his friends left. From here, I think it’s best to quote him word for word.
“Emmet began to taunt me, and I tried to say goodbye, but I passed out. The next day, I went to church with my grandma and when the priest began to quote scripture, I started to scream. Didn’t mean to, of course, it was Emmet’s fault. I ended up spitting at the Father’s face and told him that he was going to burn in hell for killing his wife and burying her underneath the church’s foundation. The things unknown, that’s what the devils can do to you, let you know things you can’t. It took three deacons and five other men in the congregation to drag me out. Once I was in the car, I became normal again… for a while.”
Hugo drew circular patterns on the table in front of him with his finger, seemingly lost in thought. Father Carter, an older, rather overweight priest with white hair and crow’s feet by his eyes, attempted to set a hand on Hugo’s shoulder but Hugo jerked away before he continued to speak, rapidly and nervous.
“I locked myself up in my bedroom most days. I ate mice that lived in the attic. I liked to break their necks and drip their blood into my mouth. I’d break all of my gran’s crosses and images of the Mother of God. I’d swear, growl like a cat and scratch the hell out of anyone that came too close when it was bad. But they weren’t trapped with that… that thing in their head. While it lived in my head, I learned a lot. Learned history. Other languages, like Mandarin Chinese and French. Fuck French, but the demon liked it. Even picked up Latin and Ancient Greek. It’s still in my head too.”
Dr. Lewis was hurriedly writing all of this down, clearly more fascinated than horrified by Hugo’s story. Hugo didn’t notice, or more likely, pretended not to notice.
“Finally an exorcism happened. Thirteen, actually, it took that many to get Emmet and his buddies out. When it was all done, I was normal, as much as I could be. I mean, I still got nightmares but I don’t throw people across the room anymore, at least!”
Hugo laughed before he got up and headed to the other end of the meeting room, where there was a fridge. Hugo grabbed a bottle of beer out of it, popped the top, and drained it in a single go. When the bottle lowered, he grinned.
“That good enough for you, Dr. Lewis?”
Lewis flipped his notebook shut. He looked overjoyed.
“Oh, Hugo, you’ve done more than enough for now. I’d like to see if you can assist us in an attempt to contact Emmet again.”
Hugo wagged a finger in Lewis’ direction. “Doctor, I’m gonna agree to a lot of things, but even if you tripled what you’re giving me, you couldn’t get me near a damn Ouija board ever again, or anything that lets something from the other side at me. Emmet’s still looking for me, mate. And I don’t want to know what he’ll do if he finds me.”
Once we exited the room, I pursued Hugo to speak with him. He was on his second bottle of beer but was nowhere near too tipsy to answer a single question. “Hugo, can I ask what brought you to this experiment, anyway?” I asked.
Hugo laughed and sipped his beer. “Well, the money, for one. And for two, this could help somehow, right?” He looked over at me and became slightly more serious. “If we learn how to handle demon possession, that means if what happened to me happens again to another kid, it can be helped. But then again, you don’t believe in demons, do you?”
I answered honestly. “I believe that the people funding this are wasting their time, at the very least, and that the funds could be going into someplace more useful.”
Something in Hugo’s expression went a bit wistful, but he surprisingly didn’t lose his temper at me.
He only responded with, “Wish I could have the luxury of that skepticism, love.”
November 8, 198X
I did make acquaintances and friends among the people participating in the experiment as well. Mostly as an excuse to get away from Hugo. He had the tendency to follow me around like a lost puppy dog, and the best way to shake him off was to act like I had someone else to interview or talk to.
Dr. Lois Thomas was a neurologist and one of few others who didn’t even attempt to go to the nightly mass that Father Carter held. When she saw me heading into my quarters for the night and asked me over for drinks, we struck up a fast friendship. A glass of wine and some good music on became our nightly tradition.
Lois was grounded in logic, like I was. She believed this whole study was a bunch of bunk and made sure I knew this.
“Daily scans of their brains. Their. Brains.” Lois finished off her glass and sneered. “It isn’t so bad with group B-2, they get in and get out pretty quick. Although I’d like to call Isaac and let him come up to deal with Ollie. If he questions my intelligence and asks what my husband thinks of all this one more time…” She ended off with a disgusted tone and reached for the bottle.
I did her a favor and poured her another glass.
One of the other psychiatrists onboard dealt mostly with the B-3 group. His name was Robert Leon. Robert was likely five to ten years older than I was but in very good shape, his slightly receding hairline the only part of him that gave away his age.
Robert was very gentle with the B-3 group, something I admired. He never tormented the mentally ill patients, even the schizophrenic patient Billy. I questioned the logic multiple times of letting someone with clear delusions into this project, but Dr. Lewis brushed me off each time.
The lack of respect from the person who ran this project was irritating in every sense of the term. Any time I questioned his decisions Dr. Lewis would come up with reasons that made clear that his ‘design’ for this project was not going to be changed. When a team leader cannot take advice or criticism, it’s a bad sign.
But I figured since I was still being paid quite a bit and there wasn’t any actual abuse of the subject happening to my knowledge, I decided just to follow the program of having the subjects attempt to contact ‘the other side’ and monitoring their brain activity.
Then someone in the B-2 group got murdered.