If someone were to walk a mile in your shoes, what is something they’d quickly learn?
I clack my talons together gleefully as the witless woman draws the final rune in the circle. It’s been ages since a human has performed the summoning ritual and I am itching to be free of my cage. They’re so foolish, humans are, and they always think they can outwit a demon, but this contract will be my best work yet. I am not giving up this warm body when it offers itself so willingly.
She speaks the incantation and the veil between the worlds dissolves within the circle. With a cackle bordering on manic, I step through. Their reactions are often varied, but usually there’s an element of fear, a moment of hesitation, a flicker of regret. This woman stares up at my twisted horns, my fanged maw, my slitted eyes, and she smiles with as much glee as I had watching her set up the ritual.
“Holy shit, it actually worked,” she breathed.
That is also a common reaction, even if her awe is not as fearful as I am used to. I roll my shoulders and crack my neck to one side. The show must go on. “WHY HAVE YOU SUMMONED ME, MORTAL?” I cry in multiple grating pitches simultaneously.
It’s a formality. I have to ask. We both know why she summoned me. It’s right in the instructions, “How To Make A Contract With The Devil.” It’s a bit of a misnomer, of course. I’m not the only devil.
She bounces on the balls of her feet. I worry she’ll struggle to follow the script. It’s a pain when they don’t, but it won’t inhibit the binding. She surprises me with an accurate reply. “To make a contract. To tame the beast. No matter the cost. We both shall feast.”
The cards are on the table. She is offering me whatever I want in exchange for her deepest desire. A feast, indeed. “WHAT IS IT YOU DESIRE?” I twitch my neck from side to side, for effect. It usually elicits a queasy expression, but this one is undeterred.
“It is not what I desire, but what I offer.”
My bony wings snap in and I settle my cloven feet to the floor of the circle. All six of my eyes narrow in on her. I have never heard this one before. “YOU DESIRE NOTHING?”
She sighs. “You want my body, right?” More than anything. A chance to wreak chaos on an unsuspecting world. She nods, as if sensing my thoughts. “I want to give it to you.”
I drop all pretenses. “Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
“You don’t want anything in exchange? No rules or caveats?” This is the weirdest human I’ve ever encountered.
“I want nothing.” She grins. “Grant me nothing, and you can have my body.”
This is the easiest possession I’ve ever done. I extend my hand towards the edge of the circle. The ritual won’t end until we shake on it. Her hands clasp mine and the contract is sealed. Again, I notice my glee reflected in her eyes. Poor fool. She has no idea what she has done.
The veil pulls her into the circle and I dissolve into my essence, surrounding her like a fog. I swirl around and around until I settle on her skin, in her lungs, in her bones. It has been so long since I inhabited a body, and now her mind, body, and soul now belong to me.
The first thing I notice is the warmth of her presence still lingering in the back of my head, amused and in awe and still not concerned one whit for her plight. Then, lightning courses through my spine. “WHAT THE FU-!“ I choke off the curse as I realize I am short of breath. My heart is hammering and my neck hurts and there’s a weird twinge in my knee. Did something go wrong with the possession?
“You’ll get used to that,” she says, her own essence now floating in my mind.
“WHAT IS ALL THIS?” I demand to know.
“Yeah, that’s the anxiety. Summoning you was a bitch.”
“WHY DOES EVERYTHING HURT?”
“Heck if I know. I just assumed it was cause I was getting old.”
“YOU’RE BARELY 30.” If she still had control of her body, her shoulders would have shrugged. “What is that noise?” A low keening seemed to be emanating from everywhere.
“The distant screaming?” I nod. “Oh that never really goes away. Some days I don’t even notice it, but lately it’s been pretty persistent.”
“Just, screams? In your head? All day long?”
“Sometimes the music drowns it out.” As she says this, I become aware of a cacophony of songs, like a dozen radios set to different stations playing at varying volumes. “Oh, this is a good one.” She dances, formless, to the steady rock beat that thrums loudest in my mind.
MY mind, now. This has to be the worst deal I have ever made. I can’t use this one. “Ok, well, this has been enlightening,” I begin before she cuts me off.
“Nuh-uh, NOPE. You made a contract with me, demon boy. My body, for nothing.”
“No take-backs! That’s how the Deal with the Devil works, isn’t it?”
I grit my teeth as she gaily dissolves into the void. Somehow, I think I’m the one who made a deal with the Devil. And I definitely lost.
Notes: This ridiculous thing came to me when I remembered an old viral tweet about a demon trying to inhabit a disabled person’s body. The dialogue above was heavily influenced by the fake convo of the tweet and how the tale was born. Of course it had to be from the demon’s point of view or it wouldn’t be as entertaining. Walking a mile in my shoes means living in my head for at least 8 minutes and whoo boy, it is never quiet. I wonder if the demon would ever get any sleep?
Speaking of sleep, I got carried away again and am up past midnight. At least tomorrow is Friday. *presses earpiece* What? What do you mean it’s only Thursday? UGH. This week has been going on for at least five years now. Welp. Two more days to get through. I’ll be back with the final prompt of the week on Friday. See you then!
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