[Author’s Note: The majority of my research states that Satan started his attacks by giving Gemma violent headaches to keep her from praying. Just like the scene where Gemma ponders what awaits her in Chapter One, how Satan gives Gemma a migraine is my interpretation of the research I collected. The artistic liberty I have taken is that while Satan did say to her on occasion, “How stupid you are to think of praying to a criminal. Look at the harm He does you, keeping you nailed to the Cross with Himself. How can you care for one whom you do not even know-who makes all suffer who love Him,” when this was said has not been documented, so I inserted the quote here. In addition, I portray him attempting to engage her in conversation before triggering her agonizing migraine].
Gemma closes her bedroom door. Undoing her hair, she hurries to the crucifix. As she begins to kneel, she pauses and looks around the room. All is calm, the room quiet and still. Squinting her eyes, she peers at the shadowy corners. No creature jumps out to grab her, no dark forces surround her. The only chill in the air comes from the open window. She walks across the room and closes the window. Within her being, there is no sense of disturbance rattling her soul. “Maybe it is not time for the devil to harass me yet,” she hopes. She inhales slowly, allowing herself to relax.
Gemma stands in front of the crucifix. She takes a moment to gaze in awe of Jesus’ purposeful eyes, the crown of thorns on His tilted head. She places her hand on His nailed feet, its coldness pricks at her fingertips. Her hand moves and presses to her heart as she contemplates His love, wondrous, sacrificial, everlasting. Peace and joy consume her at once, which results in a beaming smile across her face. Making the sign of the cross, she kneels on the floor and closes her eyes, immersing herself in the presence of the Lord.
“I see that you have regained the color in your cheeks…”
Gemma freezes. The room is suddenly ice-cold, permeated by a dark heaviness in the air. As her heart races, she keeps her eyes closed and her body kneeled on the floor.
Satan’s footsteps slowly draw near. His gravelly chuckle send shivers down her spine.“It seems like only yesterday, I was attending to a deathly pale little girl who could barely lift her head as she lie on this very bed.” The condescension in his voice stings her, but she does not move. She hears him take a seat on her bed. “Now here you are; a healthy young lady kneeling on a wooden floor, praying to a person you have never seen.” Only the sound of her pounding heartbeat fills the deafening silence between them. “It is rude to ignore a guest, little one.”
Don’t look at him, don’t look at him, Do. Not. Look…” says her conscience in a panicked whisper. She raises her head and opens her eyes, the crucifix looming large in her tunnel vision.
In a clear, candid voice, she states, “Jesus is my guest, not you.” She closes her eyes and keeps her head downcast, bracing herself for whatever was to come.
There is a deep growl, followed by silence. She hears Satan approach her side. “How is your head feeling, Gemma?” he asks.
Gemma feels a quick tap between her eyes.
A searing pain spreads inside her head like a cancerous tumor. She lets out a visceral cry as her body hits the floor. She clutches onto her forehead, which burns with white-hot intensity. In spite of her agony, she is determined to keep her eyes closed. ‘I will not allow his image to enter my mind,’ she vows internally.
“Oh, dear, you look very uncomfortable. Why don’t you lay down? That might help your poor head.”
Gemma feels his talons press down on her head, which makes the splitting pain even more excruciating. She slightly opens her watering eyes to look up at the crucifix.
Satan releases her head, but the torturous migraine continues. Gemma raises her body the best she can.
“It is almost midnight, child. There is no shame in climbing into bed, closing your eyes and resting the headache away,” he taunts.
Even in her torment, Gemma mentally conjures the image of Jesus in her mind’s eye. She crawls closer to the crucifix and grips her hands in prayer. She anticipates what must surely come next: Blood trickling down from her throbbing head.
Satan’s howling laughter rings in her ears, “How stupid you are to think of praying to a criminal. Look at the harm He does you, keeping you nailed to the Cross with Himself. How can you care for one whom you do not even know-who makes all suffer who love Him?”
In that moment, Gemma feels His presence. It is a soft warmth that envelopes her. As the furious migraine ceases, an enraged scream shakes the room. All at once, both the warmth and the dark presence of the devil disappear.
Slowly rising from the floor, Gemma faces the crucifix and, with a gracious smile, whispers a relieved, “Thank you, my Jesus. Thank you.”