Sunday, February 13, 2011

Personal Demons, part 1

This is an older story of mine (like, from a couple of years ago.) I recently found it in the dusty recesses of my hard-drive...

Personal Demons

Darkness and candlelight mingled within the mirror’s surface, nearly obscuring the angular, leering face within. Vera knew that face all too well; fearful, twisted, and yet…

She took another step forward, through a heavy fog of incense that filled her lungs, leaving no room for air. Her head swam, and her body felt unnaturally light, but still she was drawn forward. Slowly, she raised one hand and gently ran it across the mirror's surface, directly over the image’s lips.

Warmth flooded her body, and she inhaled sharply to quell her sudden trembling. Within the mirror, the lips parted, and it seemed as if they would have kissed her fingertips were they not held back by their cage of glass. Vera was sure that they would. And they would not stop there.

She stepped away from the mirror, although, as always, part of her was reluctant to do so. It was part of the Demon's power.

“Achossebein,” she whispered, “I have summoned you because I need your advice.”

Inside the mirror, lips curled into a mockery of a smile. “Oh?” His voice was both mesmerizing and terrible. “Are you sure that is the only reason?”

Vera narrowed her eyes. “Don’t even suggest such things, Demon.”

Achossebein laughed at the title. “Well, what is it then? What is so important that a young, nubile…” His eyes slowly traced the lines of her body, and his snake like tongue darted across his lower lip, almost too fast for her to see, “…delectable morsel like yourself would summon a Demon?”

She felt her cheeks color. She tried to push past the embarrassment and answer, but Achossebein interrupted. “Ah,” he whispered. “I know. It must be a man.”

Vera nodded.

“Well,” smiled the Demon. “You have come to the right place. You see, no one knows the way of a woman and man better than myself.” His eyes were smoldering, an open invitation for her to come to him and learn all that he knew.

“Listen, Demon,” she said, trying to sound unflustered and failing miserably, “I have come because tomorrow night is the night of the Harvest Festival. The king and the prince will each choose their partner for the evening from amongst those in attendance--”

“--And you would trade your chastity for a queenship.” It wasn’t a question.

“Do not speak that way to me, Achossebein!”

The Demon smiled, pleased with the ferocity of her response.

Vera took a deep breath and said levelly, “The king always chooses his wife, and it is well known that the prince requires his chosen to have dinner with him, and nothing more.”

“Then what is it that you so desire that you would summon me?”

Vera looked away from the Demon, her eyes falling on the candles, the dresser, the dirty, moth-chewed bed, before finally coming to rest on her own feet. “All I want is to spend a night in the palace. To sit beside the prince, dressed in finery, and to partake in the evening meal of the king.”

Achossebein laughed. “Oh, is that all? Well, you sure don’t ask for much, my little morsel, do you?”

Vera opened her mouth to respond, but Achossebein cut her short. “Don’t worry, my dear. You shall have what you desire.”

"I will have dinner at the king's table?"


"Do you give your word?"

"I do." And then the mirror showed only Vera, standing within a circle of salt amidst the flickering dimness of her own room.


No comments:

Post a Comment