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Bathym gave me a toothy grin. His rows of rotten teeth were sparking with black slime which was dripping out of the demon’s mouth onto the leather seat of the van.
A decayed stench similar to that of a rotting corpse hung so dominantly in the air. The odor was so strong it was making my head spin.
I heard a vibration from the glove compartment and I ignored it.
Bathym coughed profusely and he didn’t even bother to cover his mouth. “Where are we going, dear,” the demon asked.
I was about to reply but I stopped myself. I had no idea where I was headed. Ever since I drove off from Hector’s hideout I got on a gravel road which eventually gave way to what I assumed was the highway. For about two hours I drove east of this road without even thinking of where exactly I was going. I mean I knew I had to leave the country and go back to the USA but I didn’t have the slightest of ideas where the boarder was.
On top of that I wasn’t sure how I was going to go through customs without a passport. It’s then I had my first regret of leaving behind my friends.
There was another vibration from the van’s glove box which snapped me out of my thoughts.
“We have to get back to the USA,” I replied as I rolled down my window. “Why do you smell so goddamn bad?”
“Hey, you spend thousands of years in hell and let’s see how you will smell.”
There was another vibration from the glove compartment.
“Pull over,” the demon said.
“Just pull over!” Bathym screamed with enough force to shake the van. I did as he asked and he climbed out of the van. He ran a few feet away from the van and began vomiting. He didn’t throw up black slime like I expected. In fact the liquid that came out of his mouth was dark red. I had seen too much of it in the past couple of days to know what it was. Blood.
As the demon continued to cough and vomit on the prairie next to the highway, there was another vibration from the glove compartment. I swallowed hard, opened and reached into the glove box. I pulled out my phone and it notified me of what I already knew. Rebecca and Joseph had been calling and texting me continuously ever since I left.
Questions. I bet they both had questions for me. Questions I wasn’t ready to answer. Questions I wasn’t sure I even wanted to answer.
As I read some of the messages, they was yet another call from Rebecca. I let it ring until it went to voicemail and my heart shriveled. I felt the pain I was causing her. I don’t know what I was thinking but I knew keeping her in the dark was making things worse. I was so angry with myself I wanted to toss my phone out the window but before I did, I saw there was a message that came in from Joseph.
It was short and to the point. “Roomie, I don’t know what you are doing but you need to kill that demon. Ribs is pissed. Ribs is Rebecca by the way, she has communicated with every demon tracker in Mexico and the USA to find you and Bathym. She told them all that if you offer any resistance, you should be taken down with the demon. P.S-you broke the roommate code that was not cool.
“Great now I have been John Wicked,” I thought as I threw my phone out of the window.
I then realized something. Bathym wasn’t where I last saw him.
Before I could panic, a voice spoke next to me, “drive, dear.”
I slightly jumped in my seat when I saw him now slouched in the passenger seat.
“You are rather jumpy, dear. You have got nothing to fear from me, you saved my life.”
I lunged at the demon and grabbed him by the collar, I brought his face merely inches from mine and said, “You listen to me you son of a b***h, I am going to kill you one way or the other. You killed my parents and you are killing my best friend. I need you to tell me what you know about my brother but first you have to get us out of here.”
“What do you mean? Get out of the van? Have you tried the doors, dear?”
I threw two hard punches at the demon’s nose and sputtered out my next words in pure rage. “Out of the country you moron. Rebecca has demon trackers hunting us down as we speak so you have to teleport us back to the USA right now!”
The demon considered this for a moment as he looked up at the roof of the van. I yanked him by the collar and punched him in the nose again, “right now!”
“Okay okay,” he said breaking away from my grasp and stepping outside.
I followed him outside the van. He stood close to where I threw my phone.
“What are you doing?”
The demon stretched his arms wide. “Getting us out of here, dear. You do understand I don’t have my full strength, right? And doing what you want me to do will have severe repercussions on your friend here.”
“What does that mean?”
The demon laughed, “It means he may die.”
My heart stopped. I desperately needed to get back to the US but I wasn’t sure I wanted to kill my friend to do it. The demon looked at me as I thought this threw.
“I may be wrong. But he definitely needs to stop resisting me.”
“Let me talk with him,” I said.
Bathym seemed not to like this judging by the grimace on his face. However, he hung his head low and when he raised it again the red signs on Craig’s face were gone. I could see my friend’s blue eyes flickering at me. His skin was still black with red cracks nearly on every part of his body.
“Craig?” I said.
When he spoke, his voice was low and scratchy. It was like he was dying with thirst.
“Stan, please help me,” he said.
“I am working on it, man. How do you feel?”
He coughed so loudly I thought he may retch out a lung. He then placed his hands on his knees as if he had just finished a marathon.
“I think I am dying. I need to get to a hospital like yesterday, dude. You need to get this thing out of me.”
“Just hang on. I need the demon’s help to get us back home and then I can get you to a hospital. For now I am going to need you to stop fighting him for a while and save your strength.”
Craig coughed loudly once more.
“You trust this… demon?”
“No, of course not. I just need a bit of information from him and he is our only hope of leaving Mexico. As soon as I get what I need, I am sending his a*s back to hell. For now please stop resisting him.”
Craig stood up straight and coughed some more. “Fine but be careful, Stan. He is very evil. He made me do things, terrible things. He made me-“ tears filled up Craig’s eyes and the coughing resumed. “I am sorry about your parents, dude. I couldn’t stop him. I tried man, I did but-“ By this point tears had began cascading down his cheeks.
“It’s okay Craig. I know you tried and I don’t blame you for anything. I will kill this demon, I promise but for now I need something from him. Do you understand?”
Craig nodded and instantly his eyes were covered by Bathym’s red symbols as before.
“That’s better. We will be out of here in no time,” Bathym said as he flexed his shoulders. He stretched open his arms again. I felt a slight breeze start to blown around us. It had been a warm morning until then and I had a feeling the change of weather was due to the influence of my supernatural companion.
The wind picked up until a full blown whirl wind surrounded us. Dust, stones and uprooted weeds twirled all around us at a staggering height. The clouds darkened and lightening flashed. I covered my eyes and could hear Bathym laughing during all this chaos.
For several minutes we were in the middle of the whirl wind until it abruptly stopped. When the windy storm subsided, I tried to open my eyes. A few dust particles had managed to slip into my eyes so I had to rub them vigorously before I could see. I was awestruck to notice that our surroundings had changed. We were now standing in the middle of a street, but not any street.
We were standing in the street with my former apartment building. We were back in the USA. I was back in the city that I had come to call home. Something else that also caught my attention was that it was now at night. It was early morning in Mexico when Bathym started the whirl wind but now we were standing under the light of the full moon.
I then noticed Bathym had fallen to the ground. I ran over to check if he was okay. In between coughs he managed to communicate that he was fine but very weak.
“Why did you bring us here? I don’t stay here anymore,” I complained to him.
“You weren’t specific about where exactly you wanted us to go,” the coughing demon responded.
“Okay fine. Did it take us the whole day to travel here because I am sure it was morning just now in Mexico?”
“I told you I am not in my best of health. If I was 100% I would have gotten us here in seconds, dear.”
“Fine, let’s get out of the open before-“ I couldn’t finish my sentence because a car came speeding down the desolate street.
Well, I say it was a car but the vehicle could have easily qualified as a child’s toy. The small yellow bug was waist high tall and about three feet wide. Its windows were tinted black and had animal drawings all over. The various drawings of giraffes, elephants, lions and pandas appeared to have been done by a child using blunt crayons.
The car’s head lights beamed brightly as it blitzed past up. It drove a few feet up the street and turned back around to face us. This caused a twinge of uneasiness on the back of my neck. I pulled Bathym to his feet. The street lights lining up the road began going off in pairs until the street was submerged in darkness. The tiny car’s headlights remained fixated on us. Its right side door swung open and a clown stepped out. Then another, then another, then another until five clowns had emerged from the vehicle.
This was strange to me for a couple of reasons. One, the clowns who got out of the car looked more fitted to be contests on the ‘Biggest Loser’ than anything else. Secondly, the car they had climbed out of could barely fit a single toddler let alone five whale sized clowns.
The clowns lined up horizontally in front of the car. All the clowns wore a jump suit that was probably white at one point but because the clothes had gone way past their laundry date, they appeared to be kind of brown. These brownish jump suits had circles of different colors around the torso section. The clowns had equally filthy brown (used to be white) gloves and giant sized red shoes. Using my best judgement the shoes could have been size 50s. The clown’s faces were painted pale white with red lipstick smeared from their mouths to their cheeks giving them an infinite smile. They had those red and round squeaky noses. Their eyes had dark circles around them which seemed to have been drawn over by a sharpie.
All of the clowns had different color afro wigs on their heads. The colors of the wigs ranged from red, blue, yellow, green and black. The clown with the red wig was holding a boom box radio on his shoulders. He took a step forward and placed the radio on the ground. He extended his index finger and pressed play.
The instrumental music blared from the radio. The clowns began dancing. Well, I think they were dancing because in reality it looked as if they were fighting off a swamp of imaginary bees.
I was puzzled on what was going on. I looked over at Bathym and he had leaned down and had his hands on his knees. The clowns continued dancing for a minute until they abruptly stopped. Blue wig and black wig stood to the left of red wig, while yellow and green wig stood to his right. Red wig made the motion of blowing a whistle and I stood in awe as the clowns played a game of imaginary baseball with an imaginary ball and bat.
The instrumental continued blasting from the radio. The baseball skit also lasted a minute until the clowns promptly stopped. They lined up again to face us.
“What the hell do you guys want?! We don’t have any money!” I shouted.
They remained motionless as they stared at us. I was about to tell Bathym to get a move on when the clowns started another mime skit. Four of them sat on the ground in a semi-circle around red-wig who was the only one left standing. By his avid movements I assumed red-wig was giving an imaginary lecture to the rest of the group. He must have asked a question because the four clowns seated on the ground raised up their hands. He picked green-wig to answer the question but the clown probably got it wrong because red-wig made him stand up and kicked him in the bum. Yellow-wig must have answered correctly because the rest of the group gave him a round of applause when he answered.
Red-wig continued teaching until all of a sudden he began performing tricks which his friends enjoyed immensely. The rest of the clowns avidly clapped and laughed at red wig’s antics. First, he pulled out a long string of intertwined dirty underwear from behind his ear, then he pulled out a white rabbit from his wig and lastly he made balloon animals. The first animal was a giraffe, then an elephant, then a lion but the last animal I couldn’t seem to make out.
I soon realized it wasn’t an animal at all. It was a gun, an AKA47 to be precise. He then made another balloon gun, then another, then another until all the clowns had balloon AKA47s in their possession.
That was when the music stopped. The other clowns got to their feet and faced us with their inflatable guns pointed at us. The clowns began marching towards us.
Bathym was probably coughing out trickles of blood for a long time but I only noticed it then. The clowns opened fire and we were showered with a colorless liquid. I heard Bathym scream in agony when the liquid landed on his body. Steam exuded from the demon’s flesh as he fell to the ground.
That was when I realized something, these weren’t just clowns. They were trackers. Blue-wig and yellow-wig continued to shoot holy water at me until they exchanged confused glances with one another of why I wasn’t being affected.
Blue-wig then stepped closer and took a swing at me. The blow caught me on the cheek. The chubby clown’s punch packed a wallop. I fell to the ground with a burning pain on my face.
I noticed the other clowns were still shooting Bathym mercilessly with their balloon guns. Black-wig had placed his gun in between his legs to make it seem like he was p*****g on Bathym. Blue-wig stood over me and was prepared to punch me again but I reached for my revolver and shot him in the stomach. Since my bullets were rubber they didn’t kill him but were enough to drop him to the ground.
The rest of the clowns were startled by what I did. Yellow-wig began advancing towards me and I fired bullets at both his legs. He fell on the ground with a loud clump.
Something that was shocking about blue wig and yellow wig was that when I shot them they were both evidently in pain but didn’t scream. Their faces expressed that they were screaming but no sound came out of their mouths. It was like these guys were on mute. In fact since they arrived I hadn’t heard any of the clowns make a sound.
Red-wig frowned at me and popped his balloon gun to reveal a real gun below. It was a black pistol he then pointed at me. Black wig and green-wig also popped their balloon guns and in a matter of seconds I had three pistols aimed at me.
At that point I was convinced that I was about to die. But a bolt of red electricity thwacked all three clowns and they flew about ten feet away from me. I looked over at Bathym who was lying on the ground with his head and hands now raised up.
“Thanks,” I said to him.
He coughed badly before replying, “We need to get out of here.”
I ran over to him and lifted him up onto my shoulders. I ran with him into that wooden area where I had once enjoyed walking. I ran deep into the forest to an area I had never been before. I didn’t want the clowns or any other tracker to follow us. I placed Bathym down next to a tall Teak tree. I made the demon sit with his back to the tree trunk. His coughing had become worse since the clown fight.
“Stan, he is not going to make it,” Bathym coughed out.
“What?” I asked as I knelt down next to him.
“Craig is not going to make it.” Cough cough. “His body is too damaged.”
I felt my throat tighten but was still able to utter, “Tell me what you know about Daniel.”
“I know everything.” Cough cough. “I know it’s your shameless prank that ruined his life.” Cough cough. “He now knows it too. But he forgives you. He loves you.” Cough cough. “But I guess you know that. He is not in a good place, dear. He is in hell.” Cough cough. “He is suffering badly like any other soul down there. But you have a chance to end his torture.” Cough cough.
“What do you mean?”
Cough cough. “Some time ago, I found a one man way to escape from hell. But I knew even if I was to make it out it was going to be pointless if I didn’t have a willing human hoist to possess.” Cough cough. “You see, us demons can’t possess people without their approval. Well we can, but I guess you are looking at the consequences of forced possession.” Cough cough. “So fleeing away from hell was not enough. I had to find someone on earth who would be willing to accommodate me. That’s where your brother came in.” Cough cough. “I met him through a friend of a friend of a friend and so forth. Your brother said you will be willing to be possessed as long as I told you that he sent me. This way I can do a spell to open a portal to hell which will allow a couple of my friends out, including your brother.” Cough cough. “Daniel said you would understand.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Of course the demon was probably lying out of his a*s but he could have been telling the truth as well. I had promised Daniel that I would do anything he asked but I wasn’t sure if I could actually do this.
On the other hand this was my chance to fix a mistake I made all those years ago. He was burning in hell because of me so it only seemed right that I helped him.
I still had a lot of questions but the demon spoke first, “Stan? Time is running out. What say you?”
I looked at the demon for a while and before I knew what I was doing, my mouth parted to say, “Okay fine, you can possess me.”
Instantly Bathym lowered his head. The blackness on his skin began to fade. A red vine snaked out from his back and coiled around my arm. I felt a prick on my elbow.
My vision began to fade. In a space of a few seconds, I was in a blinding darkness. This time there was no voice from Bathym chatting me up. It was only darkness, madness inducing and eye straining darkness.
I was overwhelmed with fear and began doubting my decision. What frightened me the most was the thought of what was Bathym now doing with my body?