~ a short story

The man was tired of reading his book. He put it down, corner of the half-read page folded, and started a walk to the bathroom.

The monotony of relieving himself, like clockwork, day in and day out, without any ending or resolution to the marching, it … bored him. Everything bored him, bugged him. The people he knew, the people he never would. The world outside his room enticed and fleeced him from afar. He so desperately wished to be elsewhere, yet the thought of being in those rooms and landscapes, among so many cretins and cunts, it … bored him. Work did so more than anything. The thought of trying to do something, anything, bored him. Sameness bored him, differences bugged him. The image of him making someone of himself frightened him into a retreat from the world and toward screens and phantasies. Restlessness threatened to overtake his soul, drive him mad. He amused himself to avoid such reckonings; he took his shits long to spell the long days becoming longer.

What a drag this world was.

The man opened the door to the bathroom, ready to sit with phone in hand, endlessly doomscrolling to the fan’s dull drone. He flicked the light on.

Sometimes all the kid wanted was to be shaken into some form of self-belief by the necessity wrought from a thunderbolt of harrowing misfortune. Silently, secretly, the boy wished for something — anything — to happen to him.

As he strode into the bathroom, a red rip in the fabric of reality, on the wall in between the bathtub and the door, shred itself in and out of existence. It happened in a flash. A blinding crimson bang caused the man to shudder and shield his eyes. A maroon glow lingered and left an outline in the shape of a frayed humanoid.

The man lowered his hands and watched the outline steadily, wretchedly transform into a being of flesh, sinew, and bone. And teeth. And horns. Crackling and buzzing surrounded the summoning of the Beast from whence it came. Faint bursts of flame roiled as the Blood spiraled and manifested. In the corners of the bath, the man saw aftershocks of muted electricity. Small bolts of latent radiance, the waste from this mystic teleportation, left burns on the furling wallpaper in the shapes of strange geometry.

Transport? Or was this creation? A birth.

By the transformation’s end, a seven-foot demon hunched inside the bath, one hoof in the shower, the other on the linoleum. Red eyes. Red fangs. Red horns. Innards the color of fire, surging and smoking out of the holes in its carapace. Its “skin” appeared as gnarled wood.

Its heaving form shivered. It grinned and began to breathe through elongated teeth. The stench of sulfur came next. It was looking down, perhaps in the direction of its sender.

Breathless, the man marked what it held in its hands: a heart the size of a basketball.

Ineffably, in a real-time mental interlude of a halting and lonely breath, he recalled a bit of esoteric lore from a story he’d read long ago:

“Angels and demons are *sent* into our world. They’re never born here. Such beings are always sent with an express purpose that they cannot freely waver from. This separates them from us in ways we will never fathom…”

The man took a step back from the creature, adrenaline flooding his stream, readying him for a run.

The demon’s pupilless eyes clocked him on instinct. Its form shimmered with the impossibility of its own death, and the invincibility of its movements within this realm.

The demon’s breathing was off-kilter and as loud as a heavy rain, growing in volume and oppression every second. Every scale shuddered as its spine straightened. Long, spindly claws clutched with grave intent, piercing the empty heart and the air-conditioned flows from within his house.

The demon looked like it was about to explode into furious and undying action.

It was then he knew: The demon seethed at the pleasantries of this realm; the demon starved for violence. The demon must’ve come to find a place for the Heart. And the demon would not rest until it did.

And it was next that the light in that bathroom finally, mercifully went back out. ~