“It was about setting the record straight Gerald. You’re going to do as I tell you.”
Gerald turned away from the window and rubbed his nose. It felt as though it might be broken but it was hard to tell through the fog of alcohol in his brain. He waited for more taunts from his new companion but there was only silence. The bus driver was checking him out in the rear view mirror, so he slumped down in his seat and glanced out the window occasionally so he wouldn’t miss his stop.
When he got home he checked himself out in the bathroom mirror. He was a mess but closer examination of his nose and some painful touching ascertained that it wasn’t broken. A real bright spot in his evening he decided. Still, he was going to have at least one black eye and there were several cuts on his cheeks.
He cleaned himself up as best he could and brushed his teeth. One last look at himself in the mirror and he took off his clothes and crawled between the sheets. As he passed over into oblivion he wondered about the thing that he saw on his shoulder and decided it must have been the booze. The psycho on the bus was just relieving some tension. That must have been it.
He slept long and hard, his slumber punctuated by tossing and turning and an endless nightmare of being pursued by a nameless horror with enormous fangs dripping a viscous fluid and long razor sharp claws that slashed at him as he ran. He found himself turning down a dead end street and as he turned to face his pursuer he saw the claws coming at his face. It was then that he jerked awake, a small scream escaping his lips.
“You look like shit Gerald. Sleep well?”
He thought he must be hearing things but the thumping bass drum in his head and the bottom of the birdcage taste in his mouth made that though irrelevant for a moment. Feeling like his bladder might well burst at any moment he fumbled his way out of the bed and to the toilet.
When he flopped back down on the bed face down it finally registered on him what he had heard. The sense of dread that overcame him was almost more than he could bear. He rolled over with reluctance and looked around. There, perched on the left bedpost was the vision of ugliness that had been on his shoulder on the bus. So it hadn’t been a hallucination after all.
“This can’t be happening.”
“Oh, but it is Gerald.”
“What the hell are you?”
The demon cocked his head and considered for a moment.
“I’m afraid the epistemology of your species is insufficient for grasping the nature of my being Gerald. Besides, you’re hung over. It would only make your head hurt more if I tried to explain.”
“Yeah, okay. Whatever.”
“You have a way with words Gerald. Now then, shall we get down to business?”
“Look, I can’t even believe I’m having a conversation with a… whatever the hell you are let alone having it ask me if I want to get down to business. Why don’t you just fuck off and let me go back to sleep?”
“No, Gerald. You need to listen. I’m here and I’m not going away until I get what I want. The sooner you come to terms with that the better off you’ll be.”
Tomorrow – Part 3