Mary and ’Stoph
“I am bored,” the demon muttered.
“Lighten up, ’Stoph,” Mary replied far too cheerily.
“Do not call me that.”
“Don’t call you what?” Mary asked, her tone dripping with playfulness. “’Stoph?”
“Must we play this game, child?” the demon grumbled.
“What’s wrong with ’Stoph? We’ve been together for what,” Mary pretending to be counting on her fingers, “a long fucking time, now, and you still won’t tell me your name. I have to call you something. I figured you’d like Mephistopheles. From, uh…”
The demon sighed. “Faust.”
“Right, Faust. So, what’s wrong with ’Stoph? He was a big deal right? Agent of the devil and all that.”
“Just… do not.”
“Or what?” Mary prodded, “…’Stoph.” Mary’s bladder seized suddenly sending an abrupt warm spurt of urine into her panties.
“Oh, fuck you,” Mary hissed through clenched teeth. Most of the dialogue carried between the two unwilling companions occurred internally, sounding as hushed words spoken in the bottom of a deep well. But the sudden uncontrollable pissing caused her to inadvertently say this out loud.
“Asshole,” she said, returning to their shared internal speech. At the word, her anus flexed involuntarily, and her stomach bubbled violently. “No, no, no!” she sputtered. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was just messing around.” The demon chuckled quietly, satisfied his point had been made. His laugh sounded of two large rocks being scraped together in stops and starts. Mary’s bodily functions quickly returned to some semblance of normal.
Normal was, of course, relative for a woman occupied by a demon for nearly a century. He had wooed her with whispered fantasies of righteous revenge on a cheating boyfriend in her late teen years as she spent a lonely heartbroken autumn watching the occasional Ford Model T drive by her stoop like some inconceivable magic machine. She kept her hair boobed back then and kept a secret short skirt under her mattress for when her parents were away, working or trying to find work. She wanted so much to be like the flappers, those free-spirited women who flaunted their feminine power unashamedly, drinking and smoking like the boys and fuck anyone who had a problem with it. But her parents would have wept tears of blood if they ever saw her knees peeking out from under that secret skirt.
The demon, of course, found her discontentment to be a ripe opportunity. Still, it took him another decade to move in completely. In Mary’s twenties, he finally attempted full possession and that is when matters took an unusual turn. He had not considered that her parents were Catholic by convention if not observation and dutifully had Mary baptized shortly after birth. As a result of an unfortunate technical oversight on his part, the demon became fused to Mary’s soul, unable to leave her and unable to take over completely. He was stuck. Forever.
For Mary’s part, this was extremely disconcerting, at least initially. She endured this unending desperate raging voice screaming the most awful things in her head and she was powerless to shut it out. Soon, the demon had realized he had some degree of power over her and consoled himself with torturing Mary in childish ways. This often involved involuntarily voiding her bowels, random blindness, or sending her into the deep throws of powerful orgasms in very public and inconvenient places.
On an unbearably hot and humid night in the late summer of 1934, no longer able to endure the demon’s tantrums, Mary threw herself from the roof of the six-story tenement building in which her family had been living. The demon, for his part, laughed the whole way down. He stopped laughing abruptly when she struck the pavement, breaking her neck, fracturing her skull and snapping one arm and both her legs. He felt every ounce of the indescribable pain as if it were his own body broken and bleeding into the moonlit gutter. It dawned on him then that if she died, he would cease to be as well.
So, he kept her alive. He had helped her bones and flesh knit back together, slowly, painfully. He also realized that she was not powerless against him and Mary now understood this as well. An uneasy and unspoken truce was made that day and they had lived together as reasonably as possible ever since, the demon growing more and more cynical and disinterested, Mary ageless and undying.
“What is he doing?” Mary asked, seemingly over their last encounter now that the piss in the crotch of her pants was drying. She was surreptitiously eyeing a man rocking in choregraphed synchronization with the rest of the passengers in the subway car.
“Who cares?” the demon replied.
“He’s acting strange,” she said. The man was leering intermittently at a woman seated nearby nursing her baby beneath a small lavender blanket draped over her shoulder. Looking more closely, Mary realized that the blanket had slipped just enough to expose the soft pale side of the woman’s engorged breast. The man would grin and then cover his mouth, looking away suddenly then, just as quickly, look back.
“Pervert,” she said.
“Many men rather enjoy breasts. Is this news to you?” the demon asked lazily.
Mary rolled her eyes, which she supposed made her look a little strange to casual observers. “No, it’s not news to me,” she said mockingly. “He’s just… I don’t know… being more pervy about it than you might expect.”
She sweetened her inner voice, suddenly. “You know, you could just…”
“No,” the demon interrupted.
“What?” she asked, feigning indignation. “You don’t even know what I was going to say.”
“Really?” the demon asked exasperatedly.
“Ok, maybe you did,” she acknowledged. “Look, couldn’t you just reach out and see what’s going on behind those rotten peepers? It sure would make me feel better.”
“Oh, come on! When is the last time I asked you to do any of your demon act?”
“This morning. At breakfast.”
“The oil splashed you and burned your hand. I healed it.”
“Oh, bullshit,” Mary said. “That hurt you too.”
“Why in the world would I bother? I sincerely hope he begins violently masturbating right here on the subway. It might break up the monotony.”
“You are so fucking messed up,” The constant bargaining always wore gratingly on Mary but she knew it was expected. “What do you want?”
“Whatever could you mean?” the demon replied coyly.
“Stop fucking around. What’s it going to be this time? Male or female?” Mary asked, prodding impatiently. The demon often required some sort of act on Mary’s part that was either immoral, illegal, or more often than not just degrading and distasteful. Mary had grown accustomed to it decades ago and could no longer find the will to be appalled at what the demon thought of as entertainment employing the casual use of Mary’s body.
“Hmm,” the demon considered. The leering man began tapping his foot nervously and was no longer trying to conceal his enrapture at the scene in front of him. “Canine.”
“For shit’s sake, I’m not fucking a dog.”
“Ok, then kill one… painfully.”
“What is wrong with you? No!”
“Ok,” the demon grumbled, his disappointment obvious. “Male,” the demon said. “No, female.”
“Which is it?” Mary said frustration building while she continued to eye the creep across from her.
“Both?” She sighed.
Mary shook her head. “Fine,” she conceded. “But, only if I find willing participants.”
Immediately, she felt the demon’s presence unspool from her in sickly tentacles, reaching for the man. Mary could see the demon’s manifestation as a yellow-green vapor, but he was invisible to all but her. The green spiraling branches surrounded the man’s head like a gauzy hood.
“Hee hee hee,” the demon giggled. “Oh, this is… fantastic!”
“What?” Mary asked, her inner voice carrying her irritation heavily.
“Well,” the demon said softly while the tendrils of vapor retreated back into Mary’s body. “You need not worry for mommy. He has no interest in breasts.”
“Then what’s his deal?”
“Oh, that’s fucked up,” Mary said, looking disgusted. She supposed offhandedly that breastmilk was a natural thing in the right context; but the visual that came unbidden to her mind made a bit of breakfast threaten its return.
“No, no,” the demon said, still giggling. “I told you he has no interest in her ample provisions. His tastes lean more toward a certain sort of, well… veal.” This time, a healthy portion of breakfast did make the trip up and Mary quickly swallowed it back down.
“He wants to eat the baby?” she asked unbelievingly.
“Indeed,” the demon answered. She knew he was not lying. He could not, in fact. It was a strange side effect of their fusion. “He plans to take the child at the next stop.”
“New deal,” she said, a new rage boiling in her chest.
“No changing the deal now,” the demon growled warningly. “Sexual congress with one male, one female, at the same time. Anal optional. A promise has been made.”
“No one said anything about anal,” she started offhandedly. “It doesn’t matter. How would you feel about a murder, instead?” Her eyes were boring hard into the monster across the aisle.
“Oh,” the demon said genuinely surprised as their smiles merged as one. “Agreed.”
To be continued…
Mac and Amy stared stupidly at the body laying gracelessly on the kitchen floor between them. Deep crimson flowed like heated syrup from the misshapen hole in the back of the woman’s head. The spreading pool of blood sizzled angrily as it contacted and surrounded the upturned skillet and the scattered bits of garlic and fried cauliflower littered around the corpse like baby’s breath in some deranged floral arrangement. A small bit of skin and an accompanying tuft of sandy blonde hair still clung to the edge of the table where the killing impact had occurred.
Mac’s bloodshot gaze shifted slowly to Amy and hesitated sluggishly before registering his own surprise.
“The fuck er you doin here?” he slurred in a startled squeak. Amy’s eyes met Mac’s, a deep crease forming between them as her mind raced to clear the fog of confusion surrounding what she was seeing. “I azzed you somthin," he continued drunkenly, remembering his anger. Angry was a default condition for Mac, as was careless inebriation. Amy did not reply. Years of experience with Mac had taught her it was pointless to engage. It only ever ended one way, regardless. It was Mac’s way or the mother-fuckin’ highway!
She willed time to slow in an effort to match her own paralysis as she took in the scene. She could not recall, exactly, when she entered the kitchen or why. She leaped back gingerly as Mac suddenly lunged across the body toward her menacingly.
“Go-dammit, you fuckin’,” he growled as he lifted a heavy black work boot to step over the body, one meaty calloused hand extending ominously toward Amy. In his drunken and uncoordinated condition, he misjudged, and the toe of his scuffed boot caught on the back of the dead woman’s dress and he tumbled forward, landing with a unceremonious splash in the expanding gore. His stubby legs became tangled under one of the woman’s arms as he tried to right himself and the body flopped over halfway onto its back. The dress was now mostly gathered haphazardly around the woman’s waist, exposing pale and badly bruised thighs crowned by light blue panties.
Amy inhaled sharply in recognition, looking at the upended form and the now visible face, covered as it was in blood. Some shadow of reason in Mac’s stupefied mind caused him to look back and forth almost apologetically between Amy and the corpse. He hurriedly and clumsily reached down and tugged the hem of the dress down, covering the panties, already beginning to soak up blood. Mac’s arms were now covered to the elbows in blood, as was half his face and most of the front of his shirt and pants.
His belligerence returned quickly as he grunted and made a halfhearted attempt to wipe his hands on his worn work jeans. “Tha fucks gonna clean this shit up?” he asked on no one in particular. “Cannot leave it like ’is.”
Understanding began to dawn on Amy as she looked fixedly into the open eyes of the dead woman sprawled on the floor. “You did it, didn’t you?” she said flatly. “You finally did it.”
“Shut the fuck up!” Mac screamed, abruptly enraged.
“Or what, Mac? What are you going to do?” she asked, her eyes finally leaving the woman’s and fixing Mac with a cold stare.Mac wound his arm back, his meaty fist balled tightly; however, this time Amy didn’t flinch as she had so many countless times before.
“What are you going to do, Mac?”
Mac released the pent up swing with all his drunken fury and flew past Amy as his fist and then the rest of him sailed right through her as if she were vapor. A smile that didn’t quite reach Amy’s eyes lifted the corners of her mouth as she heard Mac crash painfully into the refrigerator door behind her. Her amusement double when that was followed by the metallic thumping clang of the heavy mixer falling onto him from its perch atop the fridge.
“What are you going to do, Mac?” she repeated, her tone darkening. The lights in the kitchen flickered and dimmed.
“Wha’ the thuck?” Mac said, spitting out two front teeth. “Whath goin’ on?”
“I think we’ll have plenty of time to figure that out together, you and I,” Amy said, a sardonic giggle creeping into her voice.
“You bish,” Mac howled, still unable to form the words through the wreck of his mouth. “You better … I … I’m gonna-”
“What?” Amy cut him off. He stared up at her as she turned to face him, gliding in a pivot without moving her feet. His eyes grew large with sobering terror. “What are you going to do…” she trailed off, squatting in front of him as he shrunk back away from her in horror.
“…kill me again?”
“Family is everything,” the doctor says knowingly.
I want to kill him. I do not mean to say that he irritates me and I want the irritation to cease; thus, I am making my point in the most hyperbolic way that seems fitting to the common vernacular. Not at all. I want to be the specific and real cause of the good doctor’s unnatural corporeal conclusion. I click the ballpoint pen in my right hand.
As he continues to elaborate on his latest epiphanic affirmation, trying to draw deeper meaning from a shallow and vapid waste of otherwise breathable air, I visualize how I am going to do it. I possess quite a library of experiential reference material from which to draw, having now rid the world of forty-two similar … irritants.
I once killed an obnoxious woman in the middle of rush hour traffic with her own smartphone. Holding the device four inches in front of one’s face does not qualify as hands-free, my dear. That was impulsive on my part, and while satisfying, not on par with my typical well-planned methodology.
“Really,” the doctor continues, smugness settling comfortably in his voice, “it’s more about nurture than nature. You are an outcome of parental choices, nothing more.”
The parents that once lived next door to me used to perform vociferous angry tirades each time their unaffected goth daughter bothered to come home late, breath smelling of weed and ejaculate. It created a ritual of sorts, wakening to these rowdy recitals, the counterpoint of mother or father screaming their disappointment to the inevitable mumbled, “whatever’. She came home one night to find dear mom and dad hung by matching electrical cords in the foyer. Those kills were too close to home for my usual comfort level, though necessary for my healthful sleeping habits.
“I know, I know” the doctor chuckles, “it’s a cliché. But, really, the root of it all comes down to your mother.”
My mother was my first kill. She had breastfed me until I was seven. While I do not entirely remember suckling at that age, specifically, the slow deflation of her breasts common with her advancing age, signaled to me my deflating need of her. Conversely, her inflating sense of alarm at my proclivities as a young man signaled to me that I could not simply allow her to disappear into the elderly ether as one might choose. I held her under the bath water until the thrashing and the bubbles ceased. Ironically, floating weightless in the oversized whirlpool tub, her breasts then seemed full and as capable of sustaining life as perhaps they once had. I suckled once more but came away with nothing but the taste of lavender bath salts and disappointment. That kill had called for a degree of respect and care that I have not offered to any of the other forty-one.
“You know, the relationship with your mother can have some interesting effects on other more intimate relationships,” the doctor suggests as an afterthought.
My intimate relationships make up eighteen of my kills. There never seemed a more appropriate manner to end said affairs without unnecessary emotional exchanges. Seven women by knife, three men and two women by garotte, three women by smothering, one by poisoning, one pushed into traffic, and one by an elaborate and very nearly unsuccessful hanging during a rock-climbing excursion. Some were indeed suckled, though none were drowned.
Concerned I may be stiffening up sitting in the overly-deep, overly-plush couch, I glance at my watch to distract the good doctor from his self-impressing soliloquy. I tense my legs, preparing as he stalls in mid-sentence and glances at his own watch as if his internal session clock is somehow in question. As he looks down, I launch myself like a coiled viper. I wrap my left arm around the back of the doctor’s head, his expression instantly wrinkling with fright. My right hand plunges the ballpoint pen through his carotid artery, and I withdraw quickly as blood begins pulsing forth, hot and eager, from around the plastic shaft. He tries feebly to reach to the intruding implement, but the rapid blood loss renders him unable before he can even touch it. His vacant expression and slackening flesh tell me he is nearly gone already.
“Thank you, doctor,” I tell him, pulling my pen from his neck with a wet slurp. “I am feeling much better already.”