She’d been dating the demon for about a year. No, maybe not a year. Maybe eight months. Her father told her once there was a big difference between eight months and a year. If you were told you were going to die in a year, he said, and Death knocked on your door in eight months, don’t you think you’d be a little put off?
So, maybe eight months.
He hadn’t said he was a demon when they first met. She’d just assumed. He drove a black-on-black-on-sulphur-on-more-black Harley bike, which wasn’t particularly demonic on its own, even with the eerie little silver wide-open eye sticker on the fender. But he also had great black tattoos creeping down the back of his neck, clinging to each knob on his spine, and more tats knifing over his left shoulder. He had a baby knife curved like the claw of a raptor hidden in the lining of his boot and he had a habit of shouldering people out of his way. He also spit and hissed when things surprised him, like she had.
When she said, you’re a demon, he’d smiled at her, and asked her out for dinner. Eight months ago. Maybe a year.
He had habits that were not necessarily associated with being a demon but also weren’t particularly associated with being human either. He sucked the insides out of fruit — lemons were his favorite, but he’d settle for limes or oranges or pomegranates if he couldn’t get lemons. That was all he ate, with the notable exception of Nerds candy, which he consumed chiefly after sex. He liked to lick his palm if he knew he was going to be meeting someone new; she was well acquainted with the smile that he wore when he shook hands. The demon called anyone in a business suit the ruling class and he keyed BMWs. He sprinkled salt around the toilet and the bathtub and the sinks and the pitiful water feature in her garden. He hissed Latin to her in bed while he locked her to the mattress, his hands cuffs over her wrists. He loved insects. He rescued spiders from the house and redirected earwigs and also sometimes made ants fight each other on the sidewalk. Love from the demon sometimes just meant attention.
Four months in, she took him to meet her grandmother, because she liked to shock her grandmother, and the demon drove them to her favorite restaurant. Her grandmother said, why does he have to drive like a demon all the time? There’s no fire. Oh, he replied, but there is. He shook grandmother’s hand without licking his palm first. This pleased the demon’s girlfriend.
They made a good pair, she and the demon. She’d never dated anyone for more than a few weeks before him. He was a good influence on her sleep and work habits. The demon asked her why she hadn’t stolen any cars since the day they’d met. She said she wasn’t car thief, she’d just happened to be stealing a car when he met her. Which wasn’t the same thing. You had to do something most of the time, she said, in order for it to define you.
He asked her why she called him a demon then. And he licked his palm, because they had a party to go to that night.
She said, because you sure as hell aren’t an angel.
The demon wasn’t good at holding down jobs. He got into arguments over arbitrary rules, he misplaced paperwork, and he stood on his desk and shouted anarchyanarchyanarchy. He would crawl home after being sacked, conciliatory but not guilty, and wait for her to pet his hair and tell him that he was in the right, or at least, if not in the right, that she worshiped him, or if not worshiped all of him, at least certain parts of him.
Her mother lived in fear that they would get married. Her father said, for that, he’d have to enter a church. Still, they didn’t know that the demon brought home rings to his girlfriend all the time. He’d lay next to her in bed, sliding them onto her fingers, fat, ugly ones, thin, pretty ones, rings studded with jewels and rings engraved with someone else’s initials, and he’d whisper about the women whose fingers he’d cut off to bring them to her.
Later, she’d find the jewelry store bags in the trash can in the bathroom.
Plants didn’t like the demon; she hadn’t been able to keep one alive in the house since she’d begun dating him. She asked him to replace them, after they’d died, but he would merely look at the half dead vines and snarl at them. Snarl was perhaps too light a term. It was something that started too low for human ears to hear and tickled all the hairs on her neck to attention and made the dogs next door go crazy with whimpering before he was done. Then she’d just buy another plant herself.
One day he said, we’ve been together a year now. She said, eight months. He said the devil is in the details and then he asked her if she was afraid of him. He added, before she could reply, that he had eaten his last girlfriend alive until even her blood cried on the tile. She said, that’s funny, that’s what happened to my last boyfriend as well. The demon smiled then, and he took her palm and licked it.
“Time to meet the family,” he said.
Author’s Note: just playin’ with third person again. One day it will not feel like a pinchy shoe. Also, experimenting with dialogue.
Image from: country_boy_shane