“I sometimes like to think of my personal demons as big horses, coming out of the ocean in the dead of night. And they have yellow glowing eyes, and snakes in their manes.”
Sam looked square at me. “You do know that’s a bit different, right?”
“Hey,” I answered her, “You’re the one who started this talk about demons, remember?”
“They’re not real, you know.”
“Yeah, Sam. I know.” It was true. People claimed demons possessed humans, and made them do evil, vile, nasty things. “I know it’s just the dark corners of our minds, where we don’t admit things exist. Things we really want to do. Things we’d do if we could.”
She smiled. “At least you know what they are.”
“We all have them, don’t we?” I nodded. “Those thoughts we aren’t supposed to have. And every once in a while, we let one of them loose, and disaster happens. And then, we proclaim, ‘The Devil made me do it!’ Right?”
She nodded. “Like the one where I shoot my boss at work for being an idiot. And I shoot him with every round in my gun. Then reload, and shoot him again. And again. And again, until I run out of ammo in the 200 round box I brought with me.”
“Exactly. That’s not demons. That’s us. That’s the darkness in each of us.”
We sat, watching the ocean, in the dark. Black water, against a black sky, with a few shining points of lights, and a few strips of white on the water now and then. “It would be funny if a demon came out of the ocean, wouldn’t it.”
I loved it when she laughed, “Yes, it would! Can you imagine all the folks in church, having a picnic here, and your demon horse coming out of the ocean right in front of them!”
It has been a while since she’d laughed. It had been a while since she’d let anyone come near her. Especially a guy. It was good to see her laugh. I don’t think I can ever forget that, or the shine in her eyes.
“Bill,” she looked over the white stripes on the black sea. “Can we talk?”
“About anything you want to, Sam. Anything.”
“No judgment, right?”
I nodded, “None. Not from me. Ever.”
“I want to kill him, you know.”
“Him” was the church pastor, royal bastard that he was. Very few people knew what happened that day. Almost none of them talk about it. That was the day Sam and I left the church. We’re never going back. Not to any church. For any reason. Because of what happened.
I remember my phone saying I had a call from Sam. I took the call, but before I could say anything, I heard Sam on the phone begging for him to stop what he was doing, “No. I don’t want to.”
“It will be good for you.” I’d have recognized the pastor’s voice anywhere.
It had taken me a few minutes to figure out where they were. Teenage me had run like the wind several blocks to Sam’s house. No cars were there other than the pastor’s. Sam’s parents were gone. They’d left him with her, because he was the pastor, and nothing would happen.
It was the night I’d broken the door frame, and the door, forcing my way into the house. That’s where I found the pastor, putting himself back into his pants, and Sam, her pants pulled down, pushed over against her family’s dining room table.
“It’s not what you think.”
I’d punched that bastard right in the face. Broke his nose. Kicked him where it counted. Kicked him so hard it took him clean off the ground.
I’d taken Sam to the bathroom, shut her in it. She’d cried. The pastor had crawled to his car, and gone to hell for all I knew. I’d called Sam’s parents. Told them what had happened. Told them to get home, she needed them.
Sam’s parents made sure Sam never filed any charges.
Sam fought with her demons for years after that. When we hit 18, I’d managed to rent a cheap apartment. She’d moved in with me. We’d moved away from her parents, my parents, and the church.
I never touched her. Not unless she wanted me to. Which was almost never, but in the past few months, she’d started talking about the beach, and we’d taken walks on it, usually at night. “I feel safe around you.”
‘“You are. You always will be.”
After a few weeks, maybe a month, of those walks, She’d started to sit down on a spot on the beach, and watch the ocean, and we’d talk. Gods, but I wanted her to get well. To be happy, like she’d been before that pastor had gone all nuts on her.
“I have demons too, Sam. About that same guy. But, I don’t shoot him. I tie him up, and take a fish filet knife to him. Right between his legs. And then leave him bleeding, with its remains tied around his neck. “
We all have our demons. Sam has hers. I have mine. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.
867 words (So, it’s a little over the 700 word limit).
Written for Week 270 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them.