This story is by Julie Grenness and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Let me tell you a tale of Larry, and an otherworldly creature, accompanying him to work. How did all this happen? Well may you ask. Sit down a while, and be bemused. An otherworldly creature? Yes, indeed.
Larry was a necrophiliac, and often visited cemeteries at night to indulge in his hobby. Imagine his surprise, after spending hours digging through the hard, stony grounds, at hearing sounds coming from inside a casket.
Larry smiled, and bent to open the coffin lid. He had done everything his magic book had said, right down to the last detail, and now he felt confident. Success! He had alled forth an ancient creature, for his simple pleasure.
But! This demon was more than Larry had bargained for in his midnight quests. It was gruesome, dark, oozing, sticky, surrounded by a nauseating stench.
Larry tried to flee, but the demon followed him home. It was a shadow on his soul, ever present, negative and abusive. The demon hovered around him, pursuing Larry, omnipresent. It started life advice, words so nasty, negative, debilitating, pervasive.
“You’re no good, Larry!” The demon whispered in his ear at night.
“You’re all alone in the big wide world, except for me.”
Larry shuddered indeed, and tried to hide under the blanket, but the odour and chilly feelings pursued him.
“Shut up!” whispered Larry in the early morning half light.
“No wonder your wife left you!” The demon was insidiously persistent.
This sort of adverse abuse had lasted all through the night. Larry had huddled beneath his covers, miserable, bullied, nagged, all alone, except for the insidious whispers of the callous, evil,ancient demon.
Eventually, Larry emerged from his sleepless bed, showered and endeavoured to shave, while the demon gazed eerily at him from the mirror. Larry had no reflection, only the hostile face of an enemy.
Somehow, Larry managed to complete his ablutions, eat his breakfast, and dress. He had resolved to carry on as normal.
“What have I unearthed!” Larry wondered, as he set off for work, with the emanation of his wraith. Creepy! People turned away in disgust as he walked by them. The miasma was spreading.
Larry sat at his workstation, full of resolution. Largely futile, as he soon learnt. His office space was filled with the disgusting odour of the ancient demon’s aura. People were gagging every time they inhaled. But that was not all. Larry found himself hanging up on important phone calls in mid-sentence, while deleting vitally important files on his desktop.
Not Larry’s best day at work ever. By 5pm, coached to be negative by the demon, he’d stuffed up most of his routine daily tasks, and then some. His supervisor, the section boss, Derek, came over to Larry’s desk, and waved an admonishing finger at him.
“You’d better pull your socks up in future. This performance is not good enough!”
Strangely, the demon appeared in Larry’s mouth, and caused him to laugh maniacally in his boss’ face, which flushed deep crimson.
“Right, you’re on notice. Pull your head in.”
The demon’s control caused Larry to curl his lips in derision.
Derek did not know what to say.
“None of this insolence. You’d best go home, and don’t come back here ever again.”
Internally, Larry was reeling. It was as if he had lost control of his own reasoning and responses. He gathered a few mementos and old photos he had kept on his desk, and shambled home. Now what was he going to do? He sat in his lounge room, in a wave of foul aroma, struggling to make sense of it all. The demon never let up.
“This is only the beginning, Larry. I am an old, cold soul. Next, you’ll lose your home. No wife, no job, no food. You’ll die alone in the gutter, and it’s all your fault.”
This torment persisted for hours. Larry was in despair. Another sleepless night. He was determined not to give in, but the ancient demon had other plans. After his shower, Larry stood alone, sleep deprived, persecuted and abused. As the demon sat and watched him from the other side of the mirror, Larry felt only great sadness. The demon had been dead for such a long time, probably eternity. He watched Larry with his hate-filled eyes, and stared as he put the gun into his mouth. The demon whispered to him,
“It’ll be good to be together forever…..”