Sitting here, staring down at the yawning abyss before me, I realize that I have to make a decision and I have to make it now. Do I plunge into the gaping hole, into the unknown? Or do I retreat back to the comfort of my middle-class suburban life? Will I be able to live with myself if I back down now? Will I survive if I go?
I am reminded of the lyrics to an old Kinks tune. “Should I stay or should I go now? If I stay it will be trouble, if I go it will be double.” I know that my meaning is not their meaning but it really doesn’t matter. I am faced with an impossible choice.
As I sit, pondering my alternatives, my mind slips to my family. They are at the center of this dilemma. They will be most affected by whatever choice I make. Will they think badly of me? What will they do if I don’t come out of this alive and whole?
I am in agony, unable to sleep. My dreams are full of screams and sweat. My waking hours spent trying to keep everything together. I feel as if I am being torn apart. I know that once the choice is made there can be no turning back. I will not be given this chance again. If I back down now, I will face the probable destruction of my safe, comfortable life.
Friday afternoon, I stand in line to get my check. I am lost in the realization that this is the last step before my life will change forever. My mind is on the task ahead.
“Hmmmm.What!” I am jogged from my reverie. I look up and see Scott standing before me. “Oh hi Scott. What’s going on?”
“Nothing much. Man, you were pretty deep in thought there. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah. Just have a lot on my mind.”
“What are your plans for the weekend?”
“Not sure yet. I have a couple of things I need to work out tonight.”
Just then the secretary comes in and starts handing out the checks. I take mine and start to walk away.
“Hey Kerry. If you aren’t busy a bunch of us are gonna go out tomorrow night.”
“I’ll let you know. Have a good one.”
I walk out of the building and to my car quickly. There are a ton of things I need to finish before I go. I have prepared everything for the possibility that I won’t be here on Monday. I get in my car and drive away.
Once my check is cashed and the gas tank filled, I drive to an area near my work where there is a fantastic overlook of the entire city. I sit on the hood of my car and stare out at the scenery. Do I have what it takes? Can I really just drive away and leave all of this? I begin feeling better about my decision. I have chosen correctly and now that remains is to see if I have the courage to see it through.
I get in the car and drive to the freeway onramp. The final test will come soon. Will I stay on the highway or get off on my familiar off ramp? Can I bypass the exit? Traffic is bad, if I don’t get over soon I will miss it. I drive past the exit and out of town. I have butterflies in my stomach and my throat is dry. I pull off the highway at a gas station for a drink. Once rehydrated, I get back in the car and continue my journey.
Night falls. I keep driving. I need to get as far away from home as possible before I stop. After twenty hours on the road, I can go no further. I find a rundown motel at the edge of a town. They rent rooms by the hour, day, week or month. Checking in, I pay for the room for a week up front. I settle in and then go across the parking lot to the restaurant for lunch.
My last meal…. Knowing this I choose the most expensive item on the menu: sirloin steak and eggs. The food is greasy and the waitress isn’t much better. She is pretty rude, but I leave a decent tip anyway.
I go back to the room and lock the door. I change into sweatpants and a t-shirt. I am so exhausted that I decide to sleep before finishing the job. I sleep, a deep, dreamless sleep, for more than twenty-four hours. When I awake, I realize that by know my boss is realizing that I will not be coming in. I feel a slight twinge of regret knowing that my children, my babies, have to go to school without seeing me. I wish I had been able to say goodbye to them. I think about calling them, but if I do I have failed. I consider just going home, play it off as another bored suburban housewife taking a vacation.
I get the phone and dial the now-familiar number. His voice resounded through my head.
“I had about decided that you had changed your mind, my dear.”
“No. I drove as far away as I could and then had to sleep. I wanted to be well rested before I saw you. “
“Okay, that is good because it will be a while before you have a chance to sleep again.”
His voice gave me the shivers. I thought of what he said and what was before me. Was it worth it?
“You aren’t getting cold feet now are you?”
“No, I am ready. What do you need me to do?”
“Nothing really. Just lay down and try to sleep some more.”
“Okay. I will see you later?”
“Yes. You will see me sooner than you might think.”
I hung up the phone and lay down on the bed. I had no idea how I was going to sleep.
I feel him coming into the room. I could sense his presence even though my eyes were closed. The room is increasingly getting warmer, too warm in fact. I can smell sulfur, like the smell of a match being lit. I open my eyes and look around. I am in a large, cave-like room. There is a huge fire in the center of the room. That must be why it is so warm. I wonder why he built it so large. By the fire there is a pile of skins. It looks as if he is planning that to be our bed.
I hear a small noise. I turn. There he is. A huge man dressed in a black tuxedo. He looks as if he is planning to go to a party rather than fulfilling a contract in a cave. He looked as out of place in this room as I felt.
“Why are we in a cave?”
“Shall I make it more comfortable?” He raised his arm. Instantly, the room was transformed to a luxurious bedroom. The fire was still roaring, in a fireplace now. It was still quite warm. I found myself lying on a huge four-poster bed that was heaped with pillows and blankets.
“Is this better?”
“A little. It is too warm. I kind of wish that it wasn’t so obvious what was going to happen.”
“Get used to the warmth. I didn’t see any reason to waste energy on unnecessary things. I would think you would want me to conserve my energy.” He laughed wickedly.
While he was getting the paperwork for the contract together, I reflected on what I had done. I was entering into a contract with a demon to keep my family from living on the streets. When he had contacted me, my house was in foreclosure and my car was falling apart. I was considering bankruptcy or suicide. Whatever I needed to do to insure that my family would survive.
One afternoon I called on a personal ad, which claimed to solve all legal problems. The man who answered made an appointment for me the next day. In exchange for sex, they would pay all of my bills and make sure that my family was cared for. They had taken care of the mortgage already. I needed to make my first payment to them.
I was starting to get really nervous now. Would this be like sex with a human? I had no way of knowing what this demon would expect. I also did not know if he was going to release me to go home or not. That part was unclear to me. I had been so desperate to save my family that I signed the paperwork anyway.
He came back into the room. The receipt of my payment to them was ready.
“Alright, my dear. Here is the receipt. You will receive it when we are done and then you can go back to your old life until next month.”
“So, I will make monthly payments? For how long?”
“For the rest of your natural life. Didn’t you read the contract before you signed it?”
“Sort of. I was pretty desperate.”
“Okay.” He was very patient, like he was speaking to a child. “This is the terms of our agreement. We paid off your house. When you get home we will start depositing money to cover your other bills into your account. You will receive enough money to cover your bills each month for the rest of your life. You will pay us with sexual favors. These favors will be proportionate to the money we give you. You will have children for us and raise them to be normal human children. At the age of five, we will bring them into our realm for training. We figure you have two or three more children in you before you are no longer good for breeding stock. At that point, we will just use you as a playmate. You will continue to serve us until your death. And then your soul will belong to us.”
“So, I really sold my soul to pay my bills off? I can’t believe I did this. I know I didn’t see all of this on the contract I signed, but I did sign it. I guess I will have to make the best of it. The one advantage was that they were going to allow me to go home.
He came and wrapped his arms around me. I was trembling, this was the part I had been dreading.
“Don’t worry, my dear. I won’t hurt you more than is necessary. I will take care of you.” He began to kiss my neck. His lips feel cold on my skin. Everything else is so incredibly hot that I feel faint.
“Wait…I don’t know….”
“Darling, the time for uncertainty has passed. You entered the contract knowing what I wanted in return. It is time for you to pay for my services.”
I don’t know what to say and I know there is no escape. I am trying to relax and I know that he senses that. He begins to move his hands over me, removing my clothing as he goes. When I am standing naked before him, he releases a hiss and I see his tongue. It is forked like a snake. I moan and all goes black.
When I come to, he is kneeling over me, running his snake tongue over my body. He gives me a wicked grin when my eyes open.
“Ahhhhh you are awake. I didn’t want to finish without you.”
With a deft move, he parts my legs and enters me. He moves quickly, the heat building. I can hardly stand it. He begins hissing again. Despite my fear and revulsion, I feel my body betray me. I cry out as I reach a climax. He hisses once more and collapses upon me. Amazingly, instead of crushing me he gets lighter. I look at him amazed. He gradually shrinks down, until he becomes a snake and slithers off of my body and away into the night.
I wake with a start. I am back in the hotel room. I know, without being told that I am pregnant with the demon’s child. I go into the bathroom and take a shower, a lot cooler of a shower than I usually would. Then I call home to let them know I will be home tomorrow. I am going home to my new life.