“One for the road”
Oct 31, 2016
Last Updated: 6/3/2018
Nothing on Earth can induce the kind of shocking fright that discovering a demon sitting on the edge of your bed by the glow of phone-light can. Nothing, nothing...
I wouldn't be surprised if some people died from the shock of it. I didn't, although it did feel like I was going to in that first, terrible moment when I realized what it was that I was looking at.
Let me start over…
It was about eight-thirty on a Thursday night and nothing special was on the agenda. It had been a long day on a difficult job and I was just done in general. Dragging my tired limbs up two flights of concrete stairs to the apartment, I spilled through the door and dropped my bag of tools. Kicking off my shoes, I staggered into the bedroom and shed my clothes as I kicked them towards the direction of the hamper. I remember zoning-out during a quick shower and toweling myself off just in time to fall, face-first into the air mattress I forgot to pump back up beforehand. I blacked out immediately...
My eyes snapped open when I felt a heavy weight slam down on the edge of the flimsy bed, sending making my head violently bounce. My fingers wrapped around the forward hooking, five-inch karambit I keep under my pillow. I then felt the weight shift, as though something was leaning in my direction. Well, you know me, I'm accommodating but not that accommodating. I jerked the claw from its sheath and swiped at the air with everything I had while also kicking my foot straight out underneath it (as a feeler to give my body some intel as to what I was up against). I could feel the thing, "weave" at an odd angle and my blade hit a lot of nothing. My foot, however, connected with something solid and full of jagged angles, almost rock-like in its hardness. That hurt. The… thing moved slightly but not much. It was still with me on the mattress (which was mostly deflated now, leaving my butt partially on the floor) as I tried not to bounce off-balance after the failed attack. All went quiet and I froze into a petrified stiffness while clutching the handle of my knife so tightly that I was starting to sweat from the tension of it.
I know what you're thinking and no, I did not go for my pistol right away, which was next to me on the carpet. At the time, my sense of hearing was one of the only things I had going for me and my night-vision was starting to come into play, so I didn't want muzzle-flash to screw that up either. Also, in the event that there was more than one intruder in my place, it would give away my position while making me blind to theirs. You understand, I'm sure. Focusing on the room, I could clearly see the chain-lock still latched on my door and that's when I knew I was fucked.
I felt pressure on the edge of the bed but whatever it was, it wasn't moving. I gripped the karambit in one hand while I reached for my phone with the other in the darkness. The son-of-a-bitch never moved a muscle during this (or none that I could feel from the now, flattened airbed). Whatever it was, it was heavy. Perhaps someone in some type of armor, I thought. Even when I lifted the lit screen of my phone to its face, it never moved. Even when I jumped back and dropped my phone or when I forgot I was still holding the naked blade and loudly popped the bed (the rest of the way), sinking us noisily to the floor, it remained still. As the back light of my phone faded and blanked-out, I could still see the glint of its black, marble-like eyes. Even as we sunk to the floor, he never took those eyes off me...
Let me just stop right here and say that I am by no means a coward. I attempted to cut down whatever this thing was (as any dragon should when his lair is invaded) but this was different. Other-worldly even. I have never been more paralyzed by fear in my entire life. I don't know if it was its stillness or the tension but I felt as though it could pounce at any moment. Those onyx, beady eyes holding mine in the dark kept me from moving entirely. I held my grip on the blade, which was still in the same position it was in when I first popped the bed. I stared right back. It was like looking into the abyss as it was considering whether it wanted your company for eternity.
Every muscle in my back was tense and my legs felt springy with the flood of adrenaline. I decided to kill 'the fuck' out of whatever it was and to do it as soon as possible. I'll never know why it took me so long to act. Outside, a car passed and I followed the light around my room until I once agin saw the face. My mind screamed the word, "DEMON" in big letters, like so. It's as though my soul knew what it was, even if I didn't. I decided to do what came naturally when the car moved on and left me back in the dark, alone with my... guest.
Slowly reaching for the gun with my left hand, I was once again frozen in place when I noticed the head slightly cock to the side. It wagged an impossibly-long finger at me as if to say, "naughty, naughty." My hand stopped just as it touched the base plate of the magazine. I left them connected.
Petrified internally, I growled while keeping my teeth together, "What... do you want?"
The hand calmly reached towards me. I debated on how much further I was going to let it go before I slashed again when it stopped and lowered itself to my exposed leg between us, still extended from the (failed) front kick. With a finger, this fucker cut into me with a sharp nail so slowly, that I just sat there and let it happen. It did hurt a bit, but not bad enough for me to put it all on the line. Not just yet. If there was a way out of fighting this thing, I was going to figure it out. I just needed a little time to collect myself. That's the thing about me. I’ll always figure it out. Then, this breathing evil swiped my cut and I saw the massive head lick the finger with a curling tongue. As it did this, I could have sworn I saw a golden shimmer pass through its eyes like a school of fish flitting through the darkest waters at midnight. It was surreal.
I then heard the voice (that I will never forget, should I live a thousand years) crawl from the shadow as it made its way to my ears. This... thing, answered me in a whisper so low, that I almost mistook it for the howl of wind through the mountains behind us...
I am proud to say, this is where my sense of logic came through in the clutch and overrode the nerve-shattering terror that gripped me at the time. My warrior-spirit reasoned: if this thing was out for my blood, then it could have easily taken it while I was sleeping. I had no idea it was even in the room before it came crashing down on the bed, waking me up. Why didn't he just kill me then? Adding everything up, I had to assume I had no hope to defeat this thing. The truth is at this point, I was just stalling for time.
So, I led out with what poker professionals call, a "semi-bluff". If it attacked, then it was most certainly, on… but if he behaved, then I decided it best that I followed suit for the time-being as well.
It already confessed that it was there for my blood but-
I caught the hint of a smile when it replied in that soft, hiss...
"Time is... irrelevant."
A deep thought and fortunate for me.
"I'm glad you said that."
I took a chance by sheathing my blade and leaned toward the monster. Not sure what I was up to, he pulled away slightly but seemed somewhat amused. I continued.
“You see, there are some folks I would love for you to meet." I flashed the biggest smile I own. "After that, you can have all the blood you want." I was filled with a sudden, rage-filled bloodlust of my own, for I have many enemies.
A brief silence, then-
"That you're still... alive... when I take... payment." He flashed several rows of jagged teeth in a smile so brutal to my memory, that I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (or maybe I did).
I thought it over then I drew my blade again. The demon shifted his weight for the first time as I cut into the palm of my own hand. "Wait." I pointed a finger. Emptying a water glass next to my bed, I bled into the cup for a while until there was a good amount in the cup and handed it over.
"One for the road?"