Last night, 10pm:
The demons asked his mother if a couple of them could go over and light a fire in the backyard, in commemoration of her son, that night after the funeral. Devils being what devils are, his mother fed me a hearty meal and asked me to drive over with a plate of sandwiches, just to put eyes on the place. Reluctantly, I did. I spotted the 30 person keg party from the street and drove slowly away to gather my thoughts.
I thought of three years ago - the last time my friend and I got pulled over, driving back late from the city. The officer had approached the car, cocky. He had just begun his shift and was pleased with his odds of issuing something expensive to this particular make and model. The white car with black tinted windows sparkled of nothing noteworthy to the (diabetic) honey badger riding shotgun. But, the badger did recall it once being parked so quickly on a curb near its den, that the badger bounced out of its seat when it impacted abruptly. A black man in his twenties, walking alongside, looked back startled and with a quick gasp, ducked down and scurried several sideways steps as if avoiding expectant gunfire. The driver laughed and exclaimed, “Someone doesn’t trust their friends!”
The honey badger was startled by the authoritative tone of the officer, “License and Registration?” Silence. The officer walked back to his car and returned. “How much have you had to drink tonight?” The driver slowly tilted his head forward, allowing his glasses to slide slightly down his nose. His upward, unwavering glance assaulted the officer with eye contact. “I haven’t had a drink in 12 years,” he said in tone twice as decided and cocky as anything the officer could offer. Instantaneously and almost apologetically, the officer forfeited the license and returned to his car. The badger felt the return of a delightful Friday wind in its fur as the car rapidly, and rightfully, accelerated back to its position on the road.
I felt a burning, but quivering rage from where I sat in my car, eyeing the keg party. I saw myself gripping the wheel of the car. I punched at the numbers on my phone and dialed my friends mother. I spoke frantically and confusedly, unable to claw thoughts out of words. I jumped from emotion to emotion, unable to find one that fit properly, each one heavily corrupted by fury and sadness. She spoke decidedly, using only the exact number of words that I could understand. The demons would be told. Words gradually accumulated meaning, although still vague and intangible. Meaning began to solidify into emotion.
I slammed the tires into the curb in front of my best friends house. My gait through the crunchy snow sounded like packing tape being ripped off an old box, again and again. I followed what was left of my footsteps from 7 days ago, although the length of my stride had doubled now. I saw the black paper-cut silhouettes of five demons stand out against the firelight and I strained to identify one that was just passing, close, without acknowledging me. It was drunk and unconcerned, head held high to project confidence. It was hoping to pass unencumbered. “Is that the best you could do for your friend, Sean? Throw a keg party?” I growled my homily and hoped it saw my teeth, but continued vivaciously towards the remaining mass of congregated silhouettes that had been slower to see my approach. When they saw me they further slowed their retreat.
Several silhouettes became one as they neared. They became one mass in the shadows, far from the light. They began their ritualistic catcall of insults and ceased their retreat. Their words hadn’t the power of sobriety, just the weak lyric nature of intemperance. Their hostile chorus floated in front of, behind me. Swaying forms smelled of weakness that solidified the last of uncertain emotions. Blood lust. The light flickered from the fire and shown a 12 pack of Coors Light, cradled in somethings hands. I knocked it from the hands and heard a hiss and saw a slight swaying of the figure in the dark. “Keep moving, demon,” I said with the authority of a god. I could not see the others in the dark, but I heard no movement. The light flickered again and I saw the sheen of cans on the ground. I kicked one and it flew impressively towards the road, then another, then another. Silence. Then, contact. Something had a hold of my head and I swung my fists manically. Contact. Something from behind screeched something not of this earth and had me from behind. It yelled, “You killed him,” and I swung with the confidence of a clean conscious. Something yelled its name and it swung me wildly around. My head flopped about without support. I landed on my back. I saw, and recognized a look of upset on one of its faces. I focused just long enough to recognize its face and memorize its look of horror. One of the creatures had fled and they were calling to it. My glasses were gone and I struggled to see movement in the dark. Something feebly handed me, one of my med tags that had been ripped off, and then it too ran away. I walked blindly, awkwardly, but triumphant, toward the road where the creatures had lept into a car. One yelled fragile insults. Another approached and had acquired a dark three dimensional form. “What are you?” I demanded and it squeaked back its nickname so piteously that when it approached, I did not react. It hugged me apologetically, “I’m sorry,” it said and then stood still, waiting for a hug in return. I gave it an indifferent hug and it patted me on the head. When it asked for a second hug, I turned furiously and walked away. Next I noticed the demons were gone.
Demons: 1,200 VS. Honey Badger: 1