(Continued from Part 1 which can be found by clicking here. )
(And Part 2 which can be found here.)
“Lonny?” the fuzzy voice wafted in my ears, repeating again shortly after. “Lonny Boy.”
My eyes slowly blinked open as I fought to focus in on the form above me. Only about an inch from my face, our noses nearly touching, was the strange mutated sheep-esc face of Phos. As my mind had not yet solidified his face to memory, there was little I could do at such a terrible sight other than scream, lashing out with two unmanly slaps that caught the equally startled Phos across the face, causing the devil to let out a strange bleating as he scrambled back.
As soon as he was away from me, I instantly sat up, chest heaving as everything came quickly back to me; however, everything was still a bit hard to take as I gazed about the room, eyes first going to the window, realizing how low the sun must be in the sky for it to be that dark outside. As I began to recall what happened, I turned my head down to the side, checking under the end table and finding that Ninny was still there, eyes still wide and unblinking. The tilting of my head sent a rush of pounding blood to it that it had obviously not requested, making my pulse beat loudly in my ears. Groaning, I reached up and gingerly touched my sore skull, finding a bit of wetness there.
“Well, nearly made a liar out of me, Lonny! Heh. Would have been the first man I killed if youuuu-,” Phos stopped himself, clearing his throat as he decided against finishing his joke.
As I brought my hand in front of my alarmed eyes, I found the blood there to be dark, a sign that it had been dry for quite some while and, thankfully, upon examining my skull, I found it wasn’t cause for panic. With a relieved sigh, I let my head fall forwards into my hands, trying to sooth the pounding.
It was only when the buzzer at my front door began to sound in rapid succession that I came back to the moment, having felt foggy minded since the fall. Standing sluggishly, I slowly made my way to the door. Opening it, I gazed out at the devil who was laughing his head as he continuously pushed his nail into the soft doorbell, ringing it even as it stood there.
“Ha! Bet that is driving you crazy. Well, why don’t you try this on for size?!” He slammed his nail down one last time, making the button stick to cause the ringing to continue.
I slowly reached out, gently thudding my fist against the wall next it. The sound stopped as the button became dislodged. Phos stared at the button, going silent as his nose twitched a few times. I turned around and began to walk back in. The sound of his hooves against the ground followed me in, leaving the door open. I moved back to my chair near the table, turning to look up to him as he walked past me, his eyes going up to the clock.
“Oh, time flies when you are having fun! Going to have to be on my way soon,” he said with a snort before turning and looking towards the box. He reached out, poking it with one hand.
“But…it’s only five o’clock,” I muttered, eyes glancing up towards it was well before back at the demon. “The box says you’re here for the day, right?”
“Awww, hate to cut the date short myself, Lonny Boy, but those are the rules.”
“But the box s-“
“Yeah, yeah,” he muttered, waving me off with a bit of annoyance in his voice. “I know what it says, but damned enchanter was a two bit, so it’s a little off. Do you know how hard it is to get someone to make one of those things? And not even to mention the price of having something engraved again, especially these days! Anyways, noticed you didn’t have any candy for tonight,” he said with a wave of his hand, motioning towards a large stack of candy in a bright green bowl.
“I…where did you get that?” I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to know.
“Good ol’ thunder thighs house. You know she wasn’t going to pass out most of it out anyways,” he snorted with a chuckle.
I shook my head, sighing; I was so sure Mary was going to find out. Never did, but I was on edge for a good few weeks afterwards, avoiding her at every turn.
I slowly arose from my chair, walking over to pick up the bowl of candy, holding it my arms. I couldn’t remember that last time I’d taken part in Halloween. I was always traveling about, forgetting about such things I deemed childish.
As I ran my hand through the colorful assortment of mixed candy bars and little wrapped truffles, I distantly asked, “Like Halloween, do you?”
“Food, fun, and frightened children; what’s not to like, Lonny?” Phos answered with his, by now, signature snort.
My eyes rose from the bowl to the devil who was busy inspecting the box, fingers running along its ominous exterior as he smiled, silently gloating over how terrifying it looked. I stared at his back, realizing how at ease I felt with him in that moment. There was it, the thing I had been looking for all this time, though it was quite different than I had expected. Sure, he wasn’t about to eat my ears while he made me watch or anything such as interestingly gruesome, but it still it was something more. Something else out there that-
Phos suddenly raised his head, as if hearing some far distant sound, and I could feel it within me, knowing it was time. My eyes briefly raised to the clock, noting the time was exactly five-twelve. It was then that my mind recalled the question I possessed before taking my little tumble.
“Phos! Wait, where do you-“
“No time for questions now, Lonny. Gotta be on my way,” reaching down, the devil placed his hand on the box to open it, though paused, eyes turning back to me. “Hey, Lonny boy!” I’ll never forget that pose he was standing in. He was looking back over his shoulder as he crouched over the box (hooves slicing into my once flawless wooden table). For a long moment, our gazes met, my green to his yellow, the silence between us was only accented by the suddenly loud tick-tick-tick of the seconds hand on the clock. Then, the same wide grin I had first seen him with spread steadily across his face and he gave a hearty, “Happy Halloween”.
Then, as quickly as he had come, he was gone. No flashes of smoke, no dissipating into a cloud of bats. It was just as though he never existed at all. It was a blink of reality shifting, of worlds changing. I slowly brought my gaze down towards the now closed box. I stood there for a long while just thinking, the brisk October wind filling the room as it blew out the firelight. It’s strange how your mind wants to deny what you’ve seen once its gone, tries to change it. Even as I stood there, just moments after he had ransacked my house, that doubting belief crept into my thoughts. What if he wasn’t re-
“TRICK OR TREAT!”
With another squeaky scream, the candy came up into the air before it clattered across the ground in a rainbow rainstorm of sugar and cellophane. At the door, the small group of children and one adult who had gathered were giggling profusely, the leader of their dubious troop dressed in his all red costume that was, what else, but that of the cliché devil. The humor was not lost on me at the time and once I managed to pry myself from the spot, I joined them in their laughs.
“Alright, alright. Jokes on me, come and get your earnings. You can have whatever hit the floor,” which appeared to be half of what had been in the bowl to begin with.
The energetic children all entered in, the accompanying parent watching as they scrambled across the floor in an attempt to score the biggest share. Halfway through their rummaging, a bright pink fairy stopped in mid grab, head turned to the side. She stood up and walked back over to me, tugging gently on my sleeve. Confused, I silently walked over with her a few feet before she stopped, pulling me down with a point.
“Mister,” she muttered softly, and I allowed my eyes to be directed across the wooden floor into the corner to a dark shadow under the end table. There, still perfectly petrified in a state of eternal poof, sat Ninny still gazing blankly out towards the direction of the living room. Letting me go at last, both I and the little girl stood up as she thoughtfully , and most correctly stated, “ I think there’s something wrong with your cat.”
She’s never really recovered from that night, you know. Neither have I, for that matter. I spent a good deal of the time after (what wasn’t spent cleaning, of course) walking around in sort of a haze. There were so many things now that finally came into my mind to ask him now that the shock was gone. Well, now that it has lessened, I should say. Where exactly was it that he went to? What else had been here in this world? Who were these other-kinds that he mentioned so vaguely? What more was there? More maddening than not knowing if there was something more was knowing there was, in fact, something more but not knowing anymore about it! Oh dear, that sentence is just a mess as the thought itself…
Attempting to be a little clearer and more concrete, I should say that I now had more questions than when I began. There was more than I could have ever imagined possible that came through that solitary, little box. I’d learned that it was possible for objects to hold more than intent, more than what now seemed like meager human emotions. They held worlds. They held demons. They held, above all, endless possibilities.
However, I must also add this: no matter how maddening my questions can seem, I appear to have a leg up over all those philosophers who are left pacing back and forth with no answers in sight. My answers, you see, are only months away. Mere hours, really. Of course it’s June now but, really, what are five months compared to the scheme of things? I mean, I haven’t even moved the box, you see. It’s still there, still is sitting, on that damaged table just feet beyond my favorite chair. It’s right there under that clock, across from that fireplace, just waiting.
Waiting for those twelve strokes to chime and then, for all the questions in my mind to be answered. What else was there? Where did that portal lead? What did Phos mean when he’s said he’d look in on Mary when he returned? But, above all, there was one question that continued, in my mind, to reign supreme: what in the hell could a demon need with three sets of underwear, fifteen pieces of silverware, a power brick for a lap top, a coffee pot (minus the machine), two light switch covers, the bell off a cat’s collar, and one Men’s Health magazine?
Apparently, my not so dastardly friend had been busy while I was asleep.
Well, that wraps up the first draft of Lonny and Phos’ first encounter! Yes, I eventually fell as though I will be writing more of these two together, having fun figuring out the scheme of things. However, that’s all for now, folks! This lil’ story here is done, though I must admit I toyed back and forth with which ended I wanted, and ended choosing this one above the other possibilities. Now, for next week, I’m working on a little story called Death By Analysis which isn’t in first person, so that means I’ll be a bit more back in my element. You see, I’ve never really written first person other than this story so the next one might seem a little more coherent. Well, sort of coherent. Besides, how coherent can a story about a therapist and her favorite client turning out to be a- well, I don’t want to ruin it. I guess you’ll just have to come and read for yourself 😉