“Gather around kids, I want to tell you a story.” I call to my grandchildren. They rush over and sit on the floor, eager to hear me spin another yarn for them. I light my pipe and settle down in my chair. “I want to tell you a true story. A story about how I fought a Demon.” I hear them gasp. Their eyes widen, mouths drop. They are ready, and so I begin.
“When I was a boy, my father was killed by a demon. It ate him up right in front of me. I had hidden of course. Every time the demon arrived I hid, but he saw me. He marked me. For sure enough, the day I turned sixteen that very same demon came after me. It came after me the same way it came after every male in my family. We were cursed you see.
For years I lived with the demon. I allowed it to take over my body. It seized control of my mind and held me prisoner. The demon was quick, he overpowered me. His body was like ghost, and try as I might, I could not shake him loose. His grip on me was like ice. I was frozen. He invaded my body, moving like a flood until I was drowning in his essence.
People tried to rescue me, but the demon was powerful. He fought them off. He even took my mother’s life.” I pause and re-light my pipe. I sat back and looked at their faces. Eyes wide with equal amounts of terror and intrigue. Behind them, standing in the doorway stood their parents. I had told them the same story when they were young; and numerous times since. Even now, as adults; as parents themselves, my words hold them captive. The same way the demon held me.
“How did you get away from the demon Grandpa?” The youngest of the brood asks. Oddly enough she is the least afraid.
“I fought it. I killed it.” I answer matter of factly. The tale pulls no punches and neither do I.
” For years every time I tried to fight, the demon would stop me. It was a giant you see. Its flesh as was black as the night, its eyes the deep red of blood. Its stare was enough to stop you in your tracks the moment you thought of resisting. Yet resist I did. I made my stand and slowly I fought back.” They hold their breath. I pause once more, and release a mouth full of smoke. It billows around us and seems to consume the whole room.
“How did you fight back Pa?” Me eldest son asked, unaware that he had done so. By now the adults had taken a seat alongside their children.
“Magic.” I whisper the word. “I was given a magic pendant that made me stronger. As I grew, the demon shrank. The power that had been hidden in the pendant was the Demons main weakness. The fight was tough, I lost a lot of myself, and had to say goodbye to some very close friends of mine. They were driven away by the demon as it struggled to regain control.” I reach beneath my shirt and pull out the small round disc. It is attached to a thin silver chain. I wear at all times.
“Finally, I was able to stand up to the Demon. I looked it right in the eyes and with all of the strength I could muster, I plunged my hands into its flesh and ripped out its heart. It was a dark grey tumorous organ. It beat in my hands and covered my arms with a thick oily blood. It was the demons last chance you see. It’s blood covered my body. It tried to force its way inside my mouth, to consume me, so that I would become the demon. Luckily my pendant had grown more powerful, and when combined with that of another of the same kind, it made me indestructible.” I clapped my hands together and powered out of my chair.
The Demon was vanquished, but not truly defeated. For even after death, small parts of the creature live on. Every now and then I find them still. I am too powerful now for them to affect me, but still, even I must be wary of the danger they can serve.” I finished my tale and took my seat again.
Everybody began to applaud. All but my daughter. She had left the room. I thought nothing of it until she came back with a huge bouquet of flowers. Her eyes were red with tears, makeup streaked her face. She fell into my arms and held me tight.
I took the flowers and read the card. Fifty years sober and still fighting the inscription read.
Never forget the dangers of Alcohol.