Short Story

DEVIL ON YOUR BACK

DEVIL ON YOUR BACK

WARNING: This tale contains scenes of graphic violence. Enjoy!

Good day kind sirs and madams. Lend me your ears for a while and I will tell you a tale most fantastic. Of course a saucer of milk would be appreciated for my effort. A bit of tuna or a dead rodent would also be acceptable payment for services rendered. Do I have your full attention? Good! Let us begin.

My name is Pheobella the cat. I am dark as midnight and twice as cunning as any devil you might meet in this life or the next. None of that is essential to this story but I do believe introductions are in order to set the tone of the tale I am about to tell.

It was very late one evening. I was busy chasing a sewer rat that had popped out unexpectedly from a rusty drain pipe when I noticed something from the corner of my eye. This did not distract me from my hunt. I had snatched up the foul smelling creature and broken its neck within seconds. I am a natural born killer you see, but that is neither here nor there within the context of this tale. Merely a little anecdote to show you that I have no fear when traveling the dark recesses of this fair city.

Alley1

The streets were especially dim that evening as the city had most likely decided to save money by shutting off half of the street lights in this most poor and unkempt part of town. How do I know such things? I am a cat after all and cats do know many secrets. Well then, back to the story at hand. After storing my dinner behind a trash bin for later consumption I returned to my previous curiosity, a shadow I had spied out of the corner of my eye. I followed its energy trail down barely lit alleyways and back onto the main strip. I paused as I felt the presence stop dead in its tracks. I looked up and admired a young man standing under a street lamp. He was lighting a pipe and puffing away without a care in the world.

The man was well dressed in a tan wool suit covered by a long dark blue raincoat. His shoes were shiny and looked very new. A man of means I suspect. As he stood there and enjoyed his evening smoke, face obscured by his brimmed hat, he was wholly unaware that he was being observed. Not just by myself but also by an unholy creature that was perched just above him standing on the edge of the lamp post. It looked almost like a burnt cherub with flecks of ash floating off of its seared grey skin. It didn’t notice me though. even with its very large wet bulging eyes that pulsed and spasmed as it observed its prey. I am much too clever to be noticed, not like this blunt hellion who could be seen by anyone with a pair of eyes like mine. Not that my eyes are common mind you.

The hairless perched demon was transfixed on the man below, and in the bat of an eye it leapt headlong into…his shadow. The creature dove right into the murky blackness of the smoking man’s shadow as if it were a recreational pool. For the uninitiated this is an astonishing and terrifying feat, but for me it was just another Tuesday night. Applaud for the demon if you see fit, but know that this tale has not ended. It has only just begun.

Tree

Slurp, lick, rub, oh, sorry. I started grooming in the middle of my tale out of pure habit. How embarrassing. Shall I continue? Well, the man did not notice the demon lurking in his shadow, and the demon wished the man no real harm. Not to him at least. To keep things nice and neat let’s call this man Joe, and the demon, Phillip.

Joe commenced his evening stroll as soon as his pipe was extinguished. A quick tap of his corncob against his shoe and he was off. The evening breeze pulled on his coat, and his penny loafers clicked and clacked echoing in every direction. On a park bench bathed by light there was a fair looking young woman sitting and reading a book. Joe paused and tipped his hat as a proper gentleman should. When the young lady acknowledged his compliment Joe attempted to depart but could not. Joe’s right hand shook violently. It slid into his right front coat pocket and produced a shiny straight razor that gleamed in the lamp light. The woman screamed and Joe did his best to hold fast his right hand with his left, but it slipped free flying through the air like a suicide bomber. Then, slice! String and lace separated in a flash making the woman’s dress droop to one side and left a small cut upon her chest. The woman clutched her bosoms tightly. In Joe’s eyes she saw nothing but madness. Joe grabbed his right arm once more in an attempt to stop this insanity. The woman took the opportunity to flee for her life holding her dress together as she ran screaming into the night.

Fence

As the woman fled control returned to Joe’s right arm. Confused Joe just stood there embarrassed and feeling quite ill. His shadow however was quite pleased with itself. Phillip took shape in Joe’s shadow and giggled, muffling the sound with his claw-like hands. Joe steadied himself and seemed to be pondering his predicament. I on the other hand moved in closer to get a better view. I leapt onto a stone railing and pretended to groom myself. The demon took notice of me but did not break it’s gaze from Joe. I began licking myself in a most undignified manner to break Phillip’s attention on me. After a moment Phillip lost interest in me and saw a bigger prize. As I was grooming I caught where Phillip’s gaze fell. A gathering of mistresses of the night and their very big and very muscled master skulking by the peer. Let’s call this strapping tall fellow John. John was collecting the night’s haul from his stable of trollops, and I moved toward them knowing exactly what Phillip had in mind. I do have a second sense about these things you know. This time I moved into the shadows twenty feet away from the gathering as to not attract attention.

Joe on the other hand could do nothing but attract attention. Phillip was commencing his puppet act compelling Joe to investigate this gallery of seedy individuals. You could see this manipulation clear as day in the lamp light as Phillip stretched and pulled Joe’s shadow like a piece of taffy, bending it to his devilish will.

Let me take a moment to explain a little bit about Joe before we get to this most unpleasant part of our tale. I have observed Joe many a evening feeding the pigeons, and greeting all with a smile. He is a most pleasant chap, and he has never to my knowledge uttered an unkind word even to the filthy and penniless souls he passes daily. He has even fed me on occasion. I have this little tin plate that I keep hidden by the peer to prove it.

Pier

As our story proceeds we now see Joe convulsing violently. He looked to be trying to break hold of whatever compelled him to walk at such a brisk pace. John hid the money in his pocket and turned expecting a policeman. John’s eyes were illuminated by moonlight before they went dead. Blood gushes from John’s throat and splashes all over the ladies of the evening. They screamed loudly and ran off not wanting to be next. John fell dead slamming to the rocky pavement with a loud and wet thump. Joe looked at his own hand and saw the bloody razor dripping with thick and meaty morsels. He immediately threw up all over John’s lifeless corpse. I believe Joe said something like “sorry mate” once the dinner fountain had ceased it’s sickening stream.

I felt sorry for Joe. He looked pretty frightened. I leapt back onto the stone railing with something in my mouth. I was under the street light for all to see. I placed the object down, meowed loudly and hissed at Phillip. Joe was my meal ticket after all. I wasn’t about to see him hang for murder. Philip turned and looked directly at me, and so did Joe. Phillip was obscured by shadow but I had a remedy for that. I grabbed my tin dish in my mouth and tossed it high into the air. With each spit it caught a little light that reflected in their direction. Joe saw something in the light, and  as he stared Philip turned until their eyes met. Joe’s arm that held the blade was trembling. This was a very tense moment. My back was arched and every one of my hairs stood at attention. Joe’s free hand darted forward and grabbed the creature by the throat. It must have been Joe’s good nature kicking in that prevented him from slicing the foul creature to ribbons right then and there. You could say that left Phillip quite surprised. I could hear him hissing and screeching as Joe steadied the blade in his hand. Then, Philip spoke. “Let me go” it said. “Let me go and I will grant you whatever your heart desires.” They all say that. Demons you see do not like being caught. If the other demons find out they become the laughing stock of hell. I do know many things you know, and demons are something I have great knowledge of.

I do not know what Joe said to the demon, but he did let it go. What? You don’t believe me? There was a loud wave crashing when Joe spoke. Sorry. I have sensitive ears and the crashing waves were very loud. What? You don’t want to give me some fish! I can see the scraps on your dinner plate, and you are very round about the middle. You don’t need it and I have kept you entertained. No, then there is no more to tell. You can just use your imagination for all I care! Are you sure you don’t want to give me something for my troubles? I am very familiar with demons you know.

Pheobella

End

Images by Immortal Alexander

Thank you so much for reading. Do you have a cat like Pheobella? Does anyone? If so have your demonic familiar follow me on twitter. I can be found here: @HtvImmortal

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