Sunday, February 22, 2004

Entry from the Journal of a Dead Man (2)

I was drunk that day with Teresa: her female smell, the feel of her sex, her shoulders, her brown eyes. Her unsated appetites. As I knelt beside her rapidly disintegrating corpse, I was seized by those terrible desires-- for sex, for blood, hunger for actual living meat.

That morning I fought her demons in the arena of my shaking, fevered flesh. In that hour, I pitied Teresa. I had a glimpse of what her interior world was like. I saw also, the lordling of hell that had mastered her, bent her to its evil will. And in my altered vision, I saw it look at me and laugh.

To this day, I remember with a painful clarity what the demon said to me.

"We have your Teresa," it said in a voice like a tomb. "Even now, your strumpet burns as she is flayed by hooked whips of flame. Our minions ravage her with with searing iron. We spread our burning seed upon her face."

"And she calls to you, poet. She pleads for you to save her with your love. And she curses you because you sent her to our waiting arms. She-- ha! She prays for madness to take her. But she will never take comfort in the moist walls of insanity or oblivion-- we have seen to that."

"We have your love-slut, little bloodsucker. And we will gladly join your fate to hers!"

I saw that it was as the demon said. Anger welled within me, and strove with my fear. Crying tears of blood --Teresa's-- I damned it, cursed it in the Name of the Savior. I could do little else.

Dawn was breaking. I knew this too on some level. It saw the encroaching sunlight and laughed again, loud and coarse and baleful.

"We are Pride, We are Lust. We are the Glutton's bottomless Avarice. We are the mortal frailties of your newmade immortal flesh."

It was fading. The vision was fading even as I was recovering from Teresa's blood-fever. Sunlight had begun to touch my eyes, my face, shoulders, arms...

You already have one foot in hell..."

Then it looked straight at the child beside me, lunged and made as if to crush her in its claws. In my fear and loathing, I had forgotten the innocent creature who had lain silent and slumbering beside me. I had saved her from Teresa-- from the demon-- once; I was deathly afraid that I could not save her from it again. But the demon was fading, the vision was fading with the dawn, melting into dream-gossamer.

Then the vision passed and I was alone with the girl-child. I hugged her to me, as much in relief as in my anxious desire to protect her from the evil in my vision. She was awake now, staring past me, paralyzed by fear: she had been that way for a while now.

That hour, I realized three things.

It was morning.

I was still "alive," intact. I was not dust.

And the girl, Rosa, had seen the devil too.

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