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The Nuisance Demon
“Place coffee beans on the edges of the pentagram.” My best friend, Richard read from the book we had gotten at the yard sale.
“Chant ‘hype’ thirteen times.”
I nodded, and began to chant.
Smoke formed in the center of the pentagram and a tall figure, with flames instead of hair materialized. I assumed it was the demon, though for all the experience I had with all things demonic it could just as easily be the soul of a pizza delivery man.
“Can you let me out?”
I looked around cautiously, “are you going to do my homework.”
It paused, “I can’t if I’m in here.”
I sighed and kicked the silly string we had used to make the pentagram while Richard shook his head, made frantic hand motions, and squealed “No, No, No!”
“That was a really bad move you know.” It said with a grin.
Richard looked at me in horror and began to slip away towards the door.
I took a step back, “uh, what do you mean?”
The demon giggled and shot out of the pentagram in a cloud of glitter, “catch me if you can!” it yelled, launching out of the house, cackling manically, as though it has shot out of a gun.
Richard looked at me, his face covered in glitter, “this was your idea.”
I ran my hands through my hair, “it wasn’t supposed to do this. We summoned an energy demon right?”
Richard looked up, “apparently, it had too much energy. Perhaps we should have summoned a worker demon or- better yet- not summoned a demon at all.”
“it was a team effort.”
“It was your homework.”
I sighed, I wasn’t going to be able to finish that math homework tonight.
The demon reappeared next to me, “I thought you were going to catch me.” It whined, “You’re boring me.”
“Then go back where you’re not bored.” Richard replied.
The demon paused, “Nah.” He stepped carefully around the pentagram and opened the fridge. “Gross, gross, gross, gross, gross.” He muttered, throwing each item he deemed gross against the wall, where they either bounced off or splattered.
Richard looked at me, expecting me to come up with a plan.
Why was it my job? I thought, racking my brain for an idea as a container of jam shattered on the wall.
“Uh, hi, um… demon guy… do you want something that’s not gross?” I asked.
He turned around, a container of mayonnaise in his pale hand, “like what?” he asked, unscrewing the lid, sniffing it, and throwing the bottle against the wall, where it bounced off, almost hitting Richard in the head.
“Umm, what do you like?”
“Eclairs.” It replied, “and expresso. But I only drink expresso if I get a bendy straw.”
“Well, uh, if you just stand there,” I pointed to the pentagram, “we’ll get you some eclairs, expresso, and a bendy straw.”
“I’m not stupid!” it screamed, the flames of its hair shooting another foot upwards, ‘I’m not going back and you can’t make me!” it slammed the refrigerator door.
Richard gave me another look.
“What do you want?” I asked the demon, “what can we give you to make you leave?”
It paused, “I want to be entertained. I wouldn’t object to your souls- I’m three away from a promotion to minor chaos demon- but I doubt that you’ll give them away. “
“We summoned an energy demon.” Richard narrowed his eyes, “not a chaos demon.”
“I’m not an energy demon and technically not a chaos demon. I’m more of a… nuisance demon.”
“A nuisance demon,” I repeated.
Richard held up the book, which was now splattered with mustard, gravy, and bits of chicken. “It says energy demon at the top of the page.”
The demon snatched it from him, “No it doesn’t.” he skimmed the page for a few moments, “there are two rituals per page. You summon an energy demon using instant coffee mix and batteries.”
Richard and I looked at each other, “so um, does the book say how to get rid of a demon?”
It shrugged, “Maybe. Maybe not. Like I’m going to tell you.” It picked up the milk and stared at it, the milk curding under its gaze.
Richard looked at me, mouthing, ‘we should leave’.
I nodded and we slipped out of the kitchen.
It materialized next to us, “you can’t leave. I was having so much fun.” It smiled
I glanced at Richard, hoping for an idea; he shrugged.
I rolled my eyes, “what do you have against being bored anyway?”
It shuddered, “nuisance demons don’t like being bored, like energy demons don’t like to stay still, and mess demons hate cleanliness. If you’re summoning demons, you should probably know this.”
I glared at it, “will you do my homework for me?”
It curled its lip, “no. I think…I think I’ll summon some fictional insurance salesmen!” it clapped its hands and two people in suits materialized. “So long!” it shouted before running out of the house again.
“This is your fault!” Richard yelled.
“is your car frequently having trouble? Do you languish in the grip of other insurance companies?” One of the fictional insurance agents asked.
“Do you dread arriving home because you’ll know you will be placed on hold for an hour?” the other continued, “Do you want an insurance plan that covers more of your car? Well, if you are then Sinful is the right company for you!” It beamed, “we cover more of your car for less of a price!”
I edged towards the door.
“Oh, but if you don’t believe us, we’ll cover your first ninety days with a reduced fee!” the first continued.
“And free tickets to Satan on Ice!”
I ran out the door, Richard close behind.
The demon was waiting for us, “so did you insure your car?” it asked curiously.
“I don’t have a car.” I replied, Richard nodding in agreement.
The demon frowned, “oh. If you did you could have gone to Satan on Ice with me. I’ve heard that this year some of the more competitive dancers from the fourth circle are- “
I stared at it, “I think I’ll be fine, considering that I would never be your date. You know that you won’t be able to go to Satan on ice here right?”
It shrugged, “it’s on Friday. I could leave Thursday night to avoid the rush hour though.”
Richard looked at it, “look, please just go away. We didn’t mean to summon you and we don’t want to watch some ice show with you.”
It looked like a petulant child, “I didn’t ask you. I’ll stay until I get bored. Not until.”
I smiled at it, finally knowing how to get rid of it, “do you want to play Parcheesi?” I asked. Parcheesi was the most boring game ever invented, though it might be so boring to me because I never won.
It stared at me, walking back a few steps as though I were a leper. It shook its head. “I think I get the hint.” It sounded wounded. “I’ll do your homework and then we can…play Parcheesi.” It smirked and slid its hand through my shoulder.
I edged away, thoroughly confused and grossed out.
Richard looked at me oddly.
“You got it to stop destroying things…” he sighed, “but Parcheesi? Really? Even I hate that game.”
“I thought it would get it to leave.”
Richard shrugged, “fine. But get it to do my homework too.”
The demon turned around and saluted.
I glanced at Richard; the demon had clearly just heard the entire conversation; Richard shook his head.
We walked back towards the house, fearing what might happen when the demon got bored.
When we arrived the demon was sitting next to the table with a game of Parcheesi set up in front of it.
“You took your time.” It sounded snooty, “and I can’t believe you summoned me for that. Boring,” It yawned, “and easy.”
I glanced at Richard and we sat across from the demon.
Its shoulders slumped, “I don’t bite. Well, aside from the times when I’ve been summoned for...”
I edged closer to it so that it would stop talking.
“Good. Are you going to play red? Because I’m green. I’m always green. Even when I was human I was green.” The demon took one of the yellow pieces and placed it on its fingertip, where it started to smoke.
“You were human?” I asked, struggling to see what kind of human would become a demon.
“Oh, it was back when we had a queen; Forgot which one, but she loved the theatre. Then I sold my soul for a biscuit. I think now you’d call it a…Klondike bar.”
Richard stared at it, “you sold your soul for a Klondike bar?”
It shrugged, “these things have happened before.”
It rolled the dice and moved its green piece forward four.
Richard rolled for three and moved his blue piece forward. (The yellows were being set on fire)
I rolled for five and moved forward.
“This really is a boring game.” The demon muttered, as it rolled, “no strategy.”
Richard nodded in agreement.
The game progressed slowly until we were at the very last pieces. I only needed one roll and I would win.
The demon rolled a three.
I stared at my piece, which was three away from its.
“Please?” I begged.
It smirked, “why would I do that?”
Maybe this was a little stupid. Now that I think back on it, it was a lot stupid. But I really wanted to win. I had never actually won a game of Parcheesi before, aside from one against my sister, who was five.
“I’ll give you my soul for it?”
“Peyton!” Richard yelled, slamming his hands on the table “what are you doing?”
The demon smiled and jumped up and down, doing a strange, energetic dance around the living room. “oh, boy, oh boy!”
I was starting to question my judgement but then the demon grabbed both of my hands; they heated up and I felt my skin burn.
The demon’s eyes seemed to glow and I felt a feeling similar to a sugar crash.
“One down, two to go!” the demon yelled triumphantly, flinging my hands down
Richard stared at me in horror.
“Plus now I have a date for Satan on Ice!”
“I’m not your date.” I replied, rubbing my hands on my shirt.
It shrugged, “whatever. You’ll still come, right?”
I stared at it, “I’m staying here. You might have my soul, which I admit was a mistake-”
“But I’m staying here until I die.”
The demon laughed and my blood froze. I slid away from the demon and knocked into the Parcheesi board, spilling the pieces on the floor. I didn’t really care; suddenly the idea of losing a game of Parcheesi was fine in the context of a demon murdering me so I would go as his date to a demonic ice show.
It stopped laughing and I waited for it to go for a knife; instead it smiled, “I don’t need to kill you of course. Your soul will still be there, operating independently of you.” It rolled its eyes. “Obviously you haven’t encountered any human souls operating outside their bodies.”
“You need to go.” Richard was shaking with rage.
The demon smiled, “I’ll be back…eventually. “
I shivered as he vanished in a cloud of glitter.
Richard looked at me in horror, “we shouldn’t have summoned it.”
I nodded, feeling hollow.
We didn’t know what to do now that the demon was gone so we decided to do the best we could to get on with our lives, starting with cleaning up the mess the demon had made in the kitchen. Richard continuously gave me disapproving stares which were only to be broken by him turning his head away in order to give a disapproving sniff. When the mess was cleaned, Richard left my house without even a second glance. Our friendship was never the same after that: Richard thought I was irresponsible, which I suppose I was, and I was tired of getting the silent treatment.
I burned the book that we used to summon it after reading through all of it to see if there was a way to recover a soul; there was nothing in any of the ancient, ink stained pages. I stared into the flames as they consumed the book the way a witch does: knowing that soon they will be the person burning
I told my parents when they arrived home, to find me staring forlornly at the kitchen table that the game of Parcheesi was played on, that I had burned my hands on the stove while making a grilled cheese sandwich, but I don’t know if they believed me. They didn’t push it though, for which I was grateful.
I tried to get on with my life, feeling like a Brit during the London Blitz, Keep Calm and Carry On became my new motto as I continuously glanced over my shoulder to make sure that the demon wasn’t following me.
And on Friday night, I was haunted by images of demons in ice skates and the face of the demon who had taken my soul spinning around me in a whirlwind shouting, “one down, two to go!”