Most people only see demons on TV. They are little red men with pointy horns and pitchforks. They talk of damning souls and bringing followers to a creature called Satan. They all seem to have the power of fire and be impervious to man's weapons. All in all, they are quite silly little things.

I, however, have had the pleasure of truly meeting these demons. They are not nearly as cute and cuddly as the red-horned, pitchfork wielding, Satan serving things on TV and in movies. They are, in truth, far worse than anything television could ever show. Even after first meeting them, I wasn't sure what they were. They almost appeared to be a shadow; a trick of the light. But when you realize what you're looking at and what is looking at you, it is rather overwhelming.

Of course, I've never really expected people to understand this sort of thing. Even my own wife doesn't understand all the time. Nor does she really believe me. In fact, I don't really believe myself some days. When someone says that they see what I claim to see, the immediate response is that they must be mad. How else could something like this be explained? I had always attempted to look at the situation logically. But this logic doesn't change the fact that I know what I know. I know that I see demons.

My wife, as I said, doesn't always believe me. She thinks they are inventions of my own mind. But that's okay. At least one of us should be normal. And even if she does think I'm insane, at least she's there and she loves me. She was the only one left that does. But I've come to find out that love doesn't always equal faith.

I sorted through the various prescription bottles. I laid all my pills on the counter and counted them. There were two for my bad knee, one for my ulcer, and, my favorite, one to put me to sleep. In the medicine cabinet, there stood one more bottle, still full. It was for what my shrink called 'my hallucinations'. However, since what I saw was real, I didn't take this one. I carried my pills into the kitchen and glanced at the clock. "Hmm." I muttered. "Two AM and I'm actually ready to go to bed. Maybe I'm getting better." I got myself a glass of water and tossed the meds into my mouth, all four at once. A quick swig of water and they passed down my throat.

The next day was Saturday, so I made my weekly trip to the local church. The morning had only just begun when I walked into the high arching double door. The priest quickly took my thick coat and hung it upon the wall. We made small talk over coffee to allow ourselves the pleasure of waking completely. He, I knew, hadn't slept that night. There was too much to do to prepare for my visit today. Part of me felt bad that I had become such a burden to one of the few people who could actually help me in my struggle. This guilt was rationalized away by telling myself that he had chosen the path of service willingly. I had been forced upon that path.

"So have the visions gotten any better?" The priest asked me.

"No, Father." I replied, noting that he had turned the conversation toward the serious much faster than usual.

"Are you still fighting the demons?"

"As best I can. Haven't managed to kill them yet. Best I can do is just to drive them off."

The old priest smiled. "That is a strong feat in itself, Child. The ability to destroy demons is held only by the Powers and those who are blessed by God himself."

I shook my head. "I know. I'm just saying that you need to get one of these angels down here to get rid of my demons, Father. Either that, or one of those blessed folks. I can't keep fighting them by myself."

The priest nodded. "And no one expects you to, my son. We will find one who can help you."

I grunted at him. "Of course. Do you have my next assignment yet?"

The priest handed me an envelope. "Plane tickets and a bit of money for taxis and food. We don't have much information on this one, but what we do have is in there too. You're certain you'll be alright?"

I peered at the envelope. "Sure." I replied, unable to convince even myself.

Back at home, I found my wife awake and eating her breakfast. A quick glance at the clock told me that she wasn't supposed to be out of bed for another hour or so. "Can't sleep?" I asked her as I hurried into the bedroom.

"Wanted to see you before you left again." I heard her reply.

"What makes you think I'm leaving?" I fumbled through my closet, searching for my bag. I had long since taken to the habit of pre-packing, since the Church seemed to enjoy giving me about ten minutes to get to the airport. My wife mumbled something through a mouthful of cereal that I couldn't hear, but I wasn't terribly concerned. I finally found my bag and headed out into the other room. Passing my wife, I gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll be back tomorrow morning."

She gave me a sour look before replying with a stale, "I love you." This line of work is hard on marriages, and I didn't even get paid for it.

That night I climbed out of the taxi and onto the sidewalk of a nice, two story house. Looked like something right out of a 1950's sitcom, with the white picket fence and everything. I think I would have smiled at that moment if I weren't so certain that the outside masked some fairly significant evil within it. The aura of the house seemed to bleed over into the yard and contained a certain maliciousness to it that I wish that I hadn't been able to see.

I'd read the information the Church had given me on the plane. Seemed like a simple enough assignment. A spirit possessed a young man. My job was to drive it out of him and, if I could, from the house. I knocked on the door and when a response came I immediately stepped through the portal. I tossed my bag onto a nearby chair and began to search through its contents. It wasn't until the older woman who answered the door protested to my intrusion that I offered my introduction. "The Church sent me."

She scanned me disbelievingly. I can't really blame her. I wasn't a man of the cloth. I was unshaved and I hadn't showered that day. I wore some old faded blue jeans and a Ramones shirt. Finally, she seemed to relent. "He's down the hall. First door on your left."

I nodded and returned my attention to searching through my bag. What I'm looking for is always on the bottom, I've found out. Eventually, my fingers touched the cold metal chain and I managed to pull the necklace into sight. I wrapped it around my neck, the charm planted squarely over my sternum. Next I fished out a twelve inch sage wand and laid it on the table. I turned back to her. "Lady, your job is to open up all the doors and windows. Every last one that is in the house. Got it?" She peered at the symbol of hate that hung around my neck. I rolled my eyes slightly. "It's a Tibetan good luck charm, damn it."

She seemed to ponder my words for a moment before offering the reply of, "But you're not Asian."

"Brilliant deduction." I snapped at her. "Now get to work on those doors and windows." She shuffled off to the various rooms, opening each door and window she found. I stepped to the room in question. "First on the left, she had said." I muttered to myself.

Inside, I saw the young man sitting in a chair facing the far corner of the room. He seemed a few years younger than myself, which made sense. In most cases, the older the possession victim, the stronger the demon. And the aura I sensed was one of a fairly strong spirit, likely a mid-ranged and malevolent shedim. But it certainly wasn't strong enough to do me any great harm.

"Shedim." I declared. The victim turned his head to me. He looked exactly like he should, though his eyes did not seem to see me. "Leave the kid alone." I knew the demon was aware that I could not harm him.

A weak smile spread over his mouth. In a perfectly normal voice, the young man stated something perfectly abnormal. "The boy's soul is rather delectable. I shall not release him until I am quite done with him."

The fact that the demon spoke perfect, unbroken English disturbed me. It meant that it had embedded itself deep enough into the victim's mind that it had learned his language. At that moment, I realized that I would be quite fortunate to get any sleep that night.

The hours passed and neither the demon nor I had given any sign of relenting. There is very little that is as dramatic or exciting about a true exorcism as what you see in movies. No vomit or spinning heads. Not even the foul language. People forget that demons have existed for longer than humans. They have long ago ceased to be amused by sailor talk and generally speak rather graciously. To fight a demon it is not necessary to ignore the foul. It is much more difficult to ignore the sweetness of their nature and focus on the evil in them.

The problem most people have with fighting demons is two-fold. Most are not born with the innate ability to see the spirits. Those that can see them tend to have exceptionally fragile spirits. It is quite rare that someone is both capable of seeing the demons and strong enough to do anything about it.

The battles between these apparitions and myself are rather unusual. There is a struggle that exists on an entirely different plain between the demon and myself. A push of my aura batters the ancient evil while protecting myself against its own attacks. Back and forth our energies bounced as we tried to break each other. It was often a long process, but this time it was taking far more out of me than usual. It wasn't common for a shedim to give me such difficulty.

Finally, the spirit's aura began to falter. I pushed against its consciousness until the boy's voice rose in a bizarre series of guttural sounds that made no sense to human ears. 'Good.' I thought. 'The demon is nearly separate from him.' Another hour of pressing and I witnessed the break. The victim collapsed and the demon's presence entered the room. At first it tried to enter me, but couldn't get close enough. At this point it was weakened far too much to make any attempt to possess me. I watched it dart through the open door. I quickly followed.

The older woman had watched the entire event. From what she saw, I've no doubt I looked as though I was merely staring at the young man. But when he collapsed and I began running around her house, shouting obscenities and knocking over small furniture, she became much more interested. "Get the damn sage wand from the table." I shouted at her, as I continued to drive the demon through the house. She hesitated. They never do as they are told. I ignored the inhuman cries of the spirit and continued my assault upon the aura present before me. Soon its resistance weakened and I was able to force it through the window in the master bedroom.

I bolted back to the room where my bag was set and grabbed the sage wand I'd brought. Waving it three times in each room, I preformed a ritual most often associated with the occult. The blessing that I placed upon the house was of Wicca origin though it had always worked well enough for my needs.

Carrying my bag, I walked back to the room where the victim lay. He hadn't moved since he fell off the chair earlier. His mother kneeled beside him, pondering his condition. "Get him onto the bed." I ordered. Then I reached into my bag and produced a thermos. "This is filled with a rather powerful potion. It should drive off any remaining demonic elements from him." I set it on the bed beside his bed. "Give him one cup once a day for the next nine days. Don't heat it or cool it. Any left over, through out onto the street. Don't keep it in the house."

She muttered a weak thank you, but I was pre-occupied with my watch. I only had two hours until my flight took off. "Cut it entirely to close." I grabbed the remainder of my items and took off out the door.

This happened often enough that I was surprised when I didn't have an assignment on the weekend. I continued to fight the demons in other people, but the same techniques wouldn't work on those that lived in my home. They ignored all Wiccan rituals and potions. I couldn't even manage to force them out of a room. They acted as though I did not exist. Which, in all honesty, was quite lucky for me.

This went on for three years. I'd fought hundreds of demons by this time and protected families in nearly every state from possession and torment. All the while being told by the Church that they were still searching for an answer to my own problems. My marriage had long ago begun to suffer, but still I traveled and fought the apparitions. I often doubted that the Church would ever find anyone strong enough to drive out my own demons. But finally, after three long years of waiting, they sent a man, little older than myself.

I led him into the living room, where my demons were known wander about on the floor. As we entered, I instantly recognized two of them. I turned my head to my guest, hoping he would be able to send them from my home. But as I watched his face, I realized that he saw nothing there. As I said before, I always tried to look at the situation logically. I knew that the priest wouldn't send me anyone if there were any doubt of their abilities. So this man before me had to be a sensitive, like myself. And knowing that he had to be able to see demons, probably more clearly than I saw them, the fact that he saw nothing where I saw the spirits told me an undeniable truth. I muttered a quiet apology and showed him to the door. Then I walked back into my bathroom, opened up the bottle containing the fifth medication and quickly swallowed a pill.