Flash Fiction: The Exorcism of CJ

“The Exorcism of CJ” was written for last week’s Microcosms competition. The elements I had to work with, were: exorcist, rural town, sci-fi.

The Exorcism of CJ

The exorcist arrived two hours late.

“You know how they are,” Josephine said, wiping her hands on her apron. “And they don’t care about what happens in the small towns.”

Obadiah nodded and let out a deep sigh then got up from where he was reclining. He strode towards the exorcist, hat in hand, and greeted him.

Dressed in a t-shirt, loose pants, and flip-flops, he got his kit out of the transporter and slung the bag over his shoulder before shaking Obadiah’s hand.

“Where is she?” he asked.

“Over here,” Obadiah said, leading the Exorcist to a room at the back of the delivery centre.

“CJ usually does the mail packages,” Josephine explained, falling in beside them. “With the drought and people moving though, she started looking for a… hobby. She seemed to have stumbled on something while researching the town’s genealogy though.”

“Ah, of course. The witch scare of 2136 that turned out to be demons.”

“It seems she unlocked something she shouldn’t have. We only realised it once her programming was affected.”

The exorcist turned the door handle and entered the makeshift cell.

CJ was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the centre of the room. Her head swivelled back to the door as they entered.

“Oooh, a new playmate,” she said in a deep, otherworldly voice, and stood in one swift movement.

The exorcist sighed, scanning the body for signs of tampering.

“You were right not to do a factory reset. They love that. Gives them all the power they want. More than a human can offer.”

He opened his bag and she quailed when she saw the crucifix.

“Cruz sacra sit mihi lux,” the exorcist said and CJ’s body contorted, metal scraping and bending. Josephine looked away, tears in her eyes.


* Note: The quote in Latin means “Let the Holy Cross be my light” and is the beginning of the Vade retro satana, a Medieval Catholic formula for exorcism, recorded in 1415.

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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