|Come Out And Fight
By R. D. Flavin
opened his eyes to a demon sitting on his chest. It was a small,
furry demon with scaled, chitinous protrusions along its cheek bones and
above its narrow, moist eyes. Craig was alarmed at the revolting
presence of a small demon sitting on his chest, but was even more concerned
with the several larger versions standing around his bed and holding various
implements of pain and death.
“What do you
want?” Craig asked, dreading the answer.
smile cracked the small demon’s face. It leaned over Craig, hissing,
“We want you to come out and fight! You try to kill us and we try
to kill you!” The larger demons howled and screeched, banging and
clanging their axes, pikes, spears and things on the bedroom floor in macabre
appreciation of their smaller kin’s declaration.
Craig stammered, trying to decide if the scene in his bedroom was real
or not, “...what if I say no?”
“No?” the small
demon repeated. “Hadn’t thought of that...”
“Well, in that
case,” Craig advanced, “my answer is...”
“Wait!” the small
demon yelled. “Hear me out, Craig Thurman Andrews of #84 Subic Lane...
You are being awarded a chance few of The Living are ever offered!”
“If I’m so special,”
Craig reasoned, “then ...GET OFF MY CHEST!”
the small demon answered. It jumped from Craig’s chest into
the outstretched arms of an eight-foot
tall version of itself. “So, Craig Andrews,” the small demon continued,
“I sense you believe you have a power over us...”
“This is my dream
and I can do what I want,” Craig said confidently, quickly adding, “Can’t
“To a certain
extent,” the small demon answered. “But, you’re WRONG about this
being a dream--IT ISN’T!” More howling and screeching ensued, during
which time the smaller demon laughed so hard, it threw up on itself.
After the morbid giggling
subsided, Craig asked, “Are you trying to tell me ...I’m awake?”
you to awaken to a level of consciousness few reach,” the small demon answered,
picking vomit from its teeth with an ugly, misshapen claw. “And,
you won’t even say thank you...”
“Why should I?”
the small demon cried out. “Bring in The Confirmation! The
only way to sway The Living is with The Dead!” Craig’s bedroom window
burst open and in flew a half-dozen winged snakes, each carrying a mouthful
of long, honey-colored hair. Craig heard crying from outside his
bedroom window -- a woman’s crying, soft and pained.
small demon shouted. “Go back out and try again!” The winged,
draconic snakes darted from the bedroom, their pointed, green tails between
their wings. In a moment, they returned with more long, blonde hair,
but this time the hair was attached to a struggling, scantily clad woman
who Craig guessed, might have been three feet tall if she wore a pair of
eight-inch heels. She was severely bruised about the face and had
tiny trickles of blood flowing from her little mouth and nose.
upright in bed and demanded, “What’s going on here?”
Craig Andrews,” the small demon chortled. Craig had never heard a
true chortle before, and the liquid sound gave him an uneasy feeling in
his stomach. “There’s nothing like a LITTLE woman to heat up the
blood of a LITTLE man, hah!” The little, blonde woman’s dress was
torn and one of her breasts was exposed. Craig was roused by its
presence, not because of any sexual attraction on his part, but because
there was a bedroom filled with large, malodorous demons leering at her
nakedness and touching themselves in a foul manner.
He put a protective
arm around her and held her like a small child, firmly, but with great
care. Her eyes were a soft gray behind the puffy swellings of her
bruises, and as they looked out to Craig, seemed to beg for his help.
“Who are you?” Craig asked.
“Talitha of The
Risen, daughter of Astae,” the little woman answered.
not take too long,” the small demon suggested.
“Do you know
why this is happening to us?” Craig asked, his voice low and
tinged with the tremulous beginnings of
“They want you
to fight them because they’ve grown tired of hearing our Sermons of Good,”
Talitha explained. “We, of The Risen, have always sought to save
those of The Fallen, but they seldom listen. These demons desire
Death in battle rather than the forgiving Redemption we offer them--they
believe by Dying In Disgrace, a second time, they’ll attain an even greater
level of Evil Incarnation. And, when we tell them their present form
is their final chance at Salvation, they turn away and seek what they consider
to be a glorious, advancing re-death.”
The larger demons
grew restless at her speech and made irreverent, grumbling noises reminding
Craig of a bathroom sink clogged with hair. Talitha averted her eyes
downward, and added, “They want to Die Fighting, and usually invite some
witless, poser-hero like you, to dispatch them...”
Witless?” Craig felt the sting of her words and withdrew his arm from around
her. “Pretty strong stuff from the side that claims they’re the goodguys...”
she replied, “...the goodguys. But, Our Truth teaches us forgiveness,
not retribution and revenge...”
“Save the whales,”
Craig said sarcastically, still hurt by her words. “Save the scum,
the criminals, the rapists, murderers, junkies, bums, whores, commies,
terrorists, kids who masturbate, politicians,
cheating housewives and faithless
husbands... Next, you’re going to
tell me that you want to save Satan...”
At the mention
of The Name, the demons let loose a mephitical applause of
approval. The air became thick and
stank of methane, fried eggs, and rotten onions. Craig was thankful
the bedroom window was still open.
agreed exuberantly. “We seek to save The First Fallen, as well as
“I’ve heard of
that,” Craig said. “I remember at Sunday School, the Priest told
us that Christians are usually split over predicting what God...”
The demons began coughing loudly and banging their weapons. Craig continued,
“...At what’s going to happen at the end--will Good vanquish Evil and destroy
it, or will Good rehabilitate Evil and save it?”
said, “we are going to forgive that Great Evil, and in doing so, reunite
all souls Past and Future, Free and Enslaved. Forgiveness is the
example we follow, not Vengeance.”
“So, how’s it
going?” Craig asked. “Saved any demons lately?” When the demons
around his bed laughed and Talitha didn’t, Craig knew his questions were
flippant and disrespectful. Doubt crept up his spine and exploded
in his brain. He winced in embarrassment.
“Some,” she admitted.
“Every soul saved brings us one step closer to Communion and Conclusion.”
“Want some help,”
“Come out and
fight!” the small demon hissed. “Fight us and kill us, if you
pleaded. “ You can help best by going back to sleep and forgetting all
of this. It’s just a bad dream. It’s...” She made a choking
noise and her tiny hands reached up and began to claw and rip at her throat.
Craig bent closer, listening to the faint sounds of her flesh being pulled
apart from within, and watched in horror as three winged snakes ate their
way through her throat. A blanket of blood splayed forth, covering
him with a warm, salty claret. She collapsed in his arms and her
body began to glow strangely, like the honey-color of her hair. Talitha
turned into light, first yellow and then blinding white, disappearing from
the bed, and leaving behind only three bloody, winged snakes licking their
“So, would you
like to come out and fight, now?” the demon asked.
answer. His body felt numb from the horrible and wondrous sight he’d
“Come on!” the
small demon beckoned. “Don’t be a wimp! We just offed a babe!
Fight for her! Revenge!”
me,” Craig struggled for rationalization. “She told me to go back
to sleep...” His pillows and sheets were sticky with Talitha’s blood, but
as he lay down in his bed, he tried to imagine the blood wasn’t real, that
the wetness he felt was simply tears he’d shed over a bad dream.
wounded woman routine works,” the small demon said, “but, in your case,
I think we need to appeal to your collective sense of guilt... Prepare
for mayhem and mutilation, Craig Andrews!” Babies and retirees, little
men and big women, cripples and mentally-handicapped children--all aspects
of humanity were paraded past his bed and violated in some obscene and
sickening fashion. All night long, their screams filled his bedroom
and their gore piled up higher and higher around his bed. Craig pulled
his sheets tighter about him, closed his eyes and dreamed of colorful,
blossoming flowers, majestic trees filled with birds, singing streams and
large, billows of clouds, drifting and wafting across the sky.
Just before dawn,
the small demon set fire to Craig’s bed, forcing him to pass the remaining
minutes of night writhing in pain, watching his flesh turn black from the
flames and flake from his bones.
the small demon said, his larger kin grunting in agreement. “So good,
in fact,” the demon added, “that we’re going to come back tomorrow night
and bring some friends!”
laughter faded with the night as the morning sun rose and filled his bedroom
with golden shafts of light, reminding Craig of the color of the little
He got out of
bed with the coming of dawn, stood in front of his open bedroom window
and took a long, deep breath of the air outside. The air smelled
sweet and good to him- it smelled of life. Craig dressed, skipped
even the briefest of breakfasts and walked to the local pharmacy.
Along the way, he gave a wave to the paperboy, a polite nod to Mrs. Kantor
as she walked her dachshund, and talked baseball for a few minutes with
Mr. Ornhaurer as he opened up his filling station for the day ahead.
It was a clear, beautiful spring morning and Craig didn’t mind waiting
in front of the pharmacy for Mr. Ferguson to arrive.
At two minutes
past seven, Mr. Ferguson tipped his hat to Craig and said, “Good morning,
Mr. Andrews. Hold tight for a few more minutes and let me open the
store and get a pot of coffee on.” Craig smiled and nodded.
Mr. Ferguson locked the door to the pharmacy behind him and Craig pressed
his nose against the glass and watched the pharmacist ready himself for
“Come in, come
in,” Mr. Ferguson said finally, opening the front door. “What can
I do for you this morning, Mr. Andrews?”
over his empty medication bottle without a word. Mr. Ferguson accepted
it with a grin, but the grin soon turned into a frown when he saw the refill
date was three days past.
“You were supposed
to have this filled last week, Craig. Did you know that?”
made a face and shrugged his shoulders. Craig followed him to the
back of the pharmacy and fanned through a couple of wrestling magazines
while his prescription was being filled.
“Here you go,
Craig,” Mr. Ferguson said, handing over the filled prescription.
“I’m going to have to give Dr. Talitha a call later on today and tell her
about your being late refilling this. It’s medicine, Craig- you should
try harder to do what Dr. Talitha tells you or the medicine won’t help.
You understand me, Craig?”
“Do you have
to call her, Mr. Ferguson?” Craig asked.
“You know I do...”
Craig knew it
was so. Mr. Ferguson would call Dr. Talitha and next session Craig would
get scolded for being forgetful. Outside the pharmacy, Craig ate
three of his pills, catching up on the days he missed. By the time
he got home, he was sleepy and decided to go back to bed and sleep awhile.
He dreamed he
was chained to a stone wall and people dressed in rags were
throwing spoiled food at him. He
awoke later to a small demon sitting on his
“Come out and
fight,” it invited.
c.2000 by R. D. Flavin
to Flavin's Fictions