It’s summer, it’s humid and I am sick of poetry. I’m working on this novel, and trying to determine whether it deserves the energy it will take to finish and rewrite. It was my second novel, and a strange one at that. I started it in the beginning of 2007 and the plot demanded a lot of research in an area that I would rather not. But, it has a charm of its own, and I grew fond of the little devils. There is a shift coming in the plot and that is where I have some concerns. It seems to be two books, and how to marry them is a problem right now.
I do have all summer to work on it. We’ll see what happens.
Bess has been assaulted by one of the dangerous characters from her previous book, this Obadiah, and she is trying to regain her balance. Rather hard to do because she’s caught up in this world of demons and magic.
Since Obadiah’s visit, I have been sickened, fallen into a malaise. Whether it was the strength of his attack or the realization I had lost control of everything, I can’t tell. But I know I am suffering.
I find myself haggard, in pain in parts of my body, with no energy. I feel buffeted by everything that is of material substance: I knock into furniture, unsteady in my gait. I feel I have been thrown under the wheels of a carriage. Even the effort of placing my arm on a table makes me weary. My arm is too solid flesh, heavy, and the wood of the table, hard.
I would prefer to spend my time in bed, but the Demon tells me I have to rally myself. I have to ‘walk it off’. I don’t know. .He could never feel this way. He looks and acts the picture of health.
“You don’t remember the knife wounds you wrote into your book? That hurt. A lot.”
Today he is here, and seems to be constantly. Actually, I was in this room for the past few days. He says I am ‘recovering’. I wonder. I seem to be falling into depression. I wonder what is happening at home in real time.
“Nothing that needs you, darling. They don’t even notice your absence.”
“Oh, like that is supposed to make me feel better?” I direct my words at him because he is sitting across from me, having arrived in ‘our’ room a few minutes ago. He thoughtfully brings me a dish of tea in the usual way, by snapping his fingers.
He is dressed in the same shirt, with large, blousing sleeves, and the vest I embroidered for him. His boots are none too clean, as I see he has tracked some mud from outside into the room. The rain has been falling gently all day, and it seems that the sky will never clear. His shirt seam at the shoulder has ripped and it gapes open.
“Take off your shirt, Garrett. I’ll sew your sleeve for you.” He grins at me, and throws off his vest, and pulls his shirt over his head. It is not an invitation to mate and I tell him pointedly.
“But it’s been so long since I heard you coo in my arms, my sweetwoman.” He tosses me his shirt. It is warm and smells of his scent, which I tease is of brimstone.
“You need to think and write more original material. You’ve used that joke too much before.” He reads my mind at will. Let him read this piece of advice, I think to myself.
“Bess! I am shocked that you would ask me to do such a thing…besides, I can’t reach that part of my anatomy with–“
“Enough, Devil…even for you.” I have little tolerance for his antics today, and feel weary. I just want peace. I stitch his shirt and toss it back to him. He sits there with his chest and shoulders exposed to the cold air of the room.
“At least you have some tender thoughts for me today. I was beginning to worry you had replaced me.”
He grinned and pulled the shirt over his head. The insolent devil grinned some more as he unbuttoned his pants to tuck his shirt. I rose from the table and turned to the window. I would worry if he changed his ways. I was getting used to him, and a difference would arouse my anxiety even more.
“Let me look at your backside, Bess. I promise to be proper.” I was hurting and could only rely upon his magic to stop the boiling pain. But like all medication, his magic wore off.
“Come here, darling, and stand between my legs. I need to see you closely. Obadiah has used his own particular magic on you.”
I moved to stand with my back to him, and lowered my robe. Anything else on my skin was intolerable. If it weren’t for the laudanum he mixed in water every few hours, I would not be able to sleep. Obadiah had deeply scratched my back and my buttocks in a frenzy of hatred. He had also raped me, and had drawn blood.
“Stay still, lambkin, and I will apply this ointment where it will do good.” His hand moved across my back and I felt a warm sensation spreading across my skin. He did the same for my backside and then gently pulled my robe back across my shoulders.
“There. That should do it for a couple more hours.”
I turned around and sat down on his knee, leaning my head against his shoulder. I glanced at his face, and caught a slight smile. He was surprised at my tenderness. He enveloped me in his arms and we sat quietly for a few moments.
“Help me understand, Garrett. Help me understand the world you and Obadiah come from.”
He didn’t answer, but gave it some thought. “Obadiah and I don’t exactly come from the same worlds, sweetheart. You drew us together with your book, but I wouldn’t say he and I would necessarily be found in the same dimension.”
“Then Obadiah is from Hell and you are from Heaven?” I was hopeful that this would explain them both.
He chuckled. “You insist in making comparisons to your Heaven and Hell. There’s so much more to this universe, Bess. But if you can only think about things in this small dimension, then think of the Talmud.”
Oh Great! Jewish history! Just up my alley. Even more confusing than the Christian Bible, something I avoided in any case.
“There’s lots of good stories in that one, my dear woman, like the Songs of Solomon, and all the orgies and wars.”
“Oh, you would think of all that.” I laughed at him and slapped him on his breast.
“Well, then, explain it to me, my Demon Jewish Scholar.”
“You have heard of Lilith?” I nodded, but not sure who she was. “Have you heard of her consort, Asmodeus?” I shook my head.
“Asmodeus translated from the Hebrew as “Evil Spirit.” He thought a bit. “Or better yet, Belial. He controlled 80 legions of demons, 6,666 demons per legion…that’s a lot of devils! And he brought pain and suffering to humanity. His particular talents were lust, perversion and guilt. Think of Obadiah here.”
“I’d rather not,” I said dryly.
“Well….he delivered lust and perversion upon you last time you met, so the example is lucid.”
“Rape isn’t lust, Garrett…it is pure violence.”
“Ah, you modern women. Lust gives the stiffness to that which rapes. Think of lust as starch.”
I chuckled at his example. He had me there. “So you are saying you and Obadiah know each other but aren’t connected?”
“No, I’m saying that Obadiah and I are connected, but not in the ways you would understand.”
I was getting uncomfortable sitting on his knee, and crossed to my chair. I sat down gingerly. His magic was good, but not complete.
He smiled at me, and extended his hand across the table. This was a familiar gesture he made each visit, and it took me a while to trust him enough to join my hand with his.
This time, he opened my hand and played like he was a fortune teller, reading my palm.
“I see there is another man in your life, Bess. He has charmed you with a sweet, melodious voice, and your husband would load his shotgun if he knew your thoughts.”
I blushed and took back my hand.
“Oh, I don’t need your paw to tell me what is going on in your heart. Perhaps other places?” He grinned at me and my blush increased.
“You Devil! Do I have any privacy here?”
“Nah…not with me. I have my own interests to protect.”
I didn’t like the sound of that.
“You wouldn’t. I don’t like competition.” He grinned, but I took him seriously. There was something a bit menacing in his tone.
“ I admit it took me a bit of time to figure out some of the allusions to him in your novel, but they keep popping up before me. Like securing passage on the Mystic.
My God! I hadn’t even written that in yet. But it was a great name for the boat the two characters would use to escape.
“Ah, Devil…leave him alone. He once was a friend but it ended badly.”
“Ah, Lilith! Follow your own advice!” He laughed at my expression.
I wondered what I had been doing myself. I didn’t know he had numerous affairs for the past 15 years, and I would have been another notch on his belt. It was a sweet relationship, but as things go, it was bound to blow up in my face. He left his email open and his wife of many years read all. The last straw came when he hinted he might have done this on purpose. God! The trouble a man gets when he deceives himself! His wife demanded he break all contact, and he would not honor her request. I said hurtful things to him to end it all. Sin definitely finds you out, even if you don’t believe in it.
“I bet he would like to be a ‘very strong part’ of something else, my darling.” He laughed at his words. “All men like notches on their belts.”
“Oh, Devil! Don’t torment me now. I already told you. It ended, and ended badly. I have lost a friend here, it had started so sweetly.”
“If his cock isn’t his first concern, then he’s not much of a man. You women…you fall for such morality! He ‘appears’ sweet, because he knows a pot of honey attracts the bees. He has sucked you in and he hasn’t even waggled his finger yet! Let him waggle another part and we will see what you do.”
Oh! He was such a vulgar Demon. “You could not understand such friendship, even though it has ended. It was a false friendship, and should have ended. He was a moron and a deceiver, but I was a dupe. You can only waggle your own ‘part’ and think that women should fall on their knees before you!”
“Not a bad place for a woman, between my knees, don’t you think?” He sat back in his chair and grinned at me, a perfect false charmer.
I had to smile a bit at his banter. He had been a generous lover and was becoming a friend.
“About the opposite with your friend, wouldn’t you say? A friend about to become a generous lover?”
I sighed heavily. My friend had never been that. He was a middle aged man afraid of growing old. A vicious temper, with childlike tantrums was the last memory I had of him. An overgrown child.
“Oh, stop it! What would you know of men and women? You are nothing but air!” I snapped my fingers, and he pushed his lip out at me.
“Be careful what you assume of me, Miss Bess. I have more substance than you know.”
Well, I did know that he was flesh and blood enough when he made love to me. It felt more than real. What had grown between us was more enduring than a mere sexual act. Something was of the heart. My demon had a heart, and I was finding that I had one, too.
“Promise to leave him alone?” I asked sweetly.
He grinned at me and stretched his hand again across the table. “Oh, I’ll leave him alone, enough. But you do the same.”
There is no arguing with a Devil. This one was right from the start. I just wish I had known. I could have avoided a lot of grief.
Copyrighted, 2007, 2013