When all the pure human members of the Segreto returned, Lena permitted them to tie her to a chair with a few lengths of scarves, most of which came from Stella. Apparently, no one had thought to bring rope or duct tape to the hunt for Lilith. Her stomach squirmed sickeningly to hand herself over to the Christian portion of the group. She had no fear that any of them would harm her, at least not on purpose. These were friends who had watched her grow up, came to birthday celebrations, babysat her when needed during her childhood, and refused to let her take their family portraits for gratis. They were family, almost as much as those who shared Lena’s DNA.
As the Segreto bound her, they whispered things like, “You’ll be okay.” “We’ll take care of you, Lena.” “Stay strong, sweetheart.” Everyone had tears standing in their eyes. A couple wept openly, trembling with sobs even as they rendered her helpless.
They didn’t want to hurt her. Like her, they were afraid they would have to. Lena saw her own fear in every face surrounding her, along with grief that the worst might happen; oceans and oceans of grief.
After Lena had been trussed securely, Alex stepped forward. Mother presented her crucifix to daughter, holding it so that only a bare inch separated the icon from her face. “As a token of your purity as a child of God, kiss this symbol of his Son, who gave himself on the cross so that man, his greatest creation, may live forever.”
Lena did so with a frightened grimace. The cold metal felt as if it squirmed against her lips, as if the crucifix had morphed into writhing maggots. A dagger of pain sliced through her head, making her gasp. As soon as Alex took the crucifix away, the pain relented.
Her mother’s relieved expression that Lena had successfully embraced the Christian talisman without coming to harm let the young woman know just how worried Alex was. Alex next brought out a small drawstring bag; a voodoo gris-gris. She pressed it into Lena’s hand. “Don’t let it go. This will shield you from the exorcism rite so that only Lilith is driven out. Remember, your faith in God is absolute. He has deemed you worthy of life. Believe in that and you will not be harmed by this rite, even though you possess demon blood.”