Here’s some free fiction, a possible piece for another Prunella Smith Book. Personally I don’t beleieve in demons, not the tangible kind, but I get what my character Prunella Smith is saying here.
This is Prunella’s memory of a time before the events in Worlds Within Worlds.
I didn’t believe in demons, until I met one. I didn’t recognise it at first, because it hid from me, and even when I did finally manage to look right at it, it didn’t look the way I expected a demon would look. It looked surprisingly like me. Only its eyes were red from crying, and its hair stuck up at all sorts of crazy angles except where it was flat on one side where I lay on it because I couldn’t manage to drag myself out of bed. It had purple shadows beneath its eyes from lack of sleep and a face that was little more than a skull with skin stretched over it because I’d lost so much weight.
I stared into the mirror and didn’t recognise myself. I saw something else in my body, something dark and negative, something that was eating me up from inside. I just stood there blinking stupidly with wide glassy eyes. My mind was blank, but I knew without a thought that a demon stared back at me. It had taken up residence inside me, attached itself to me with rabid claws, and had sucked all the light and joy from me.
I guess that’s where the idea of possession came from: when negativity takes you over so completely that no trace of your usual self can be found. I didn’t even know what my usual self was anymore. My career was over; my body ached constantly; my boyfriend had left me and my mother was dying. My savings were almost all gone; I couldn’t find a job, and I was struggling to pay the rent. Mother told me to leave Sydney and come home where I could live rent free, but I couldn’t face seeing her so diminished. Cancer is a nasty bedpartner.
‘Be gone, demon,’ I whispered, just to see if it had any effect.
It didn’t. The demon just sneered back at me from the mirror.
You’ll have to try harder than that.
‘Fuck off! Get out of my head!’
The demon laughed at that. But it felt good, and something sparkled deep in those demon eyes, something that might have been me trying to get out.
I drew myself up to my full five foot five inches—just standing up straight made me feel stronger—and glared at the creature in the mirror. ‘I will not be demon fodder,’ I declared.
Its top lip curled and its eyes narrowed in annoyance; or was it disbelief? Would making a strong statement of determination be enough to make it release its claws from where they’d lodged in my brain? I suspected not, but intuition told me that was where I had to start.
‘I can handle this,’ I told myself. ‘I can handle it.’ I took a deep breath in, then exhaled slowly, but all it did was make me aware that the demon was weighing me down like a backpack full of bricks, and I didn’t know how to offload that weight.
I needed help.
I leaned close to the mirror and peered into my eyes. Angels vanquish demons, right? Right. So I figured I needed an angel. I looked around and considered the matter. If demons can look like tired miserable people overcome by negativity, then angels won’t necessarily look like people with wings. The weight I carried felt as cold and black as a moonless night. Only light can chase away the dark. And only warmth can ease cold.
Sun spilled through the windows and into the lounge room. Pushing aside the darkness, I left the bathroom and walked into the pool of brilliant light. This time when I took a deep breath, I breathed in the light and warmth and I imagined it dissolving the darkness and easing my burdens. Over and over, I repeated the process, breathing deep and imagining the light chasing that demon from my soul. I felt it loosen its grip and begin to fade, and spurred on by my success, I kept at it until my whole being shone with light and no darkness remained.
I grinned and jumped for joy, racing around like a crazy person. Then I had a shower, put on some nice clothes and went for a walk. The battle wasn’t over, but I’d shifted the balance of power in a major way; I’d taken control. No doubt, I’d face that same demon again, but now that I’d seen it for what it was, it couldn’t hide from me anymore, and if I could see it, I could defeat it.
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