It took her a little over an hour to get there by subway. Both the L and the connecting 6 she switched to arrived within minutes of her
reaching their respective platforms. She had thought of just riding her bike up to 93rd, but she was too drunk to get there without swerving
into a cab or something at this time of night. Or eventually would be when she drank the bottle of Jager she had swiped from the bar at the
club when the bartender was arguing with somebody and had left it too close to the counter.
A quick glance at the rapidly swaying display on her phone told her it was 9:13 when she got to the townhouse. The bottle was half finished
and all the ritzy stores on Madison, the ones that always gave her the stink eye whenever she’d deliver to them, dark and closed.
She was not walking straight at this point and it took her a few minutes to chain her bike up to a parking meter before ringing the
buzzer of the building. She checked three times to make sure she had closed the lock properly before finally making the arduous, zig-zagging
journey of 10 feet to the door. During this vast trek, a lamp post kept trying to veer into her path, but Julie was just too dexterous to be
fooled by the machinations of such a malicious inanimate object. The first leg of the quest complete, she pressed the buzzer on the second
try, missing the first time because the goddamn button kept moving. A worried blond, middle-aged woman answered the door, swaying
back and forth while standing in the doorway. She wore a sweater of a color that only middle-aged moms wore, pants that were pulled up to
just below her breasts, and various gold jewelry that Julie found ugly, even if a voice in the back of her head kept telling her that each of
those baubles were probably worth more than she made in 10 years.
“Whoa. Are you okay?” Julie asked.
“What? Who are you?”
Suddenly, Julie realized the woman wasn’t swaying. Only her vision was. It was time to be professional. Pretend to be sober. Steady your eyes,
“Hi. I’m Julie Golighty and I’m your rep-rep-representative demonol...demonologist...for the night.”
“I assure you,” Julie said, the “sh” sound in the word emphasized way more than she would have liked it to have been, considering she
was trying to pretend to be sober, “that my s-services are rendered unto...Caesar, as...ummmmmmm...wait a minute, I know this
The woman started to close the door, at which point, Julie stuck her foot in.
“N-no wait...you’ve gotta wait. Wait. Wait. Shhhhhhhh...let’s not be rash here. I’m here to solve your demon problem...I can do it. I’m
alright. I can do it. I’ve done it before twice as drunk as this.”
“So, you often show up drunk when people’s...”
“N-no. Not sure why I said that, but don’t worry...ummmmm...there’s a priest, right?”
“Yes, currently, in my daughter’s room, there is a priest.”
“You know, he’s probably drunk too. Yup. Blasted three sheets to the wind. They always carry one of those little things...the little
things...caskets in their pockets with alcohol in them.”
“Yes! Flasks. Flasks. Flasks filled with alcohol! I know. You don’t know. I know! I’ve seen a million of these.”
“Yessss...I’m an expert! Expert de...demon...demonologist.”
Julie, realizing after the fact that her pronunciation of “expert” was currently closer to “esper,” nodded in a manner that almost knocked
her over and then rolled up the sleeve of her leather jacket to show her left wrist to the woman. Next to a tattoo of a goat-faced serpent with
six eyes were a tally of seven notches.
“S-seriously, every one of those....I...I...ummmm...hold on.”
Julie quickly turned around and then vomited onto the sidewalk, the woman looking on in horror. It was orange. That was odd. She didn’t
remember mixing any orange juice into anything she drank the last couple days. Hmmm. Very odd, indeed.
Julie wiped her mouth with her sleeve and then turned to the woman and smiled.
“See? I’m all better now.”
The woman narrowed her eyes, all the wrinkles of her face seeming to express rage, and grabbed a cell phone out of her pocket, dialing a
series of numbers while staring daggers at Julie.This wasn’t going how she had hoped it would have.
“Hello?” the middle aged woman spoke into her phone, “Yes! It’s me, Mrs. Dawn Abernathy...What seems to be the problem?!? Well,
for one, the employee you sent here is drunk. Visibly drunk. She just vomited on the sidewalk outside my home.”
“I’m fine now. Threw all the...alcohol...up. All gone. Totally sober now. Gimme my chips.”
“It is not gone! You’re still holding half a bottle full in your hand!”
Julie looked down at the Jagermeister in her hand.
“What type of business are you...No, I understand that, but this is un...You are just telling me...Your best girl? I find that hard to...Seven
Julie pointed at her tattoo, drunkenly.
“So, you’re saying that the alcohol helps her deal with what she’s about to face?”
“That...that is totally it, you know,” Julie slurred.
“Can she sober up a little before she...You realize the size of the lawsuit you’re facing if she makes things worse, right? I swear that I
will make sure you...Okay, I will let her in. This is my little girl, we’re talking about here. If anything happens to her, I swear that you and this
drunken employee of yours will pay...Okay...put her on? Fine.”
The woman handed Julie her phone with strict instructions not to drop it.
Julie gave her a wobbly thumbs up and then put her ear to the phone.
“Julie, how drunk are you?” Vera asked, her accent heavy on the South Boston, “You can handle this, right? I don’t have to call in
Thomas, do I?”
“Thomas can suck it,” she said, heavily slurring the “s” sound, “I-I got this.”
“You sure you don’t want to get a coffee or something?”
“Have I ever let you down?”
“Not per say, but...”
“Then lemme go all America on this thing’s ass! Whoosh! No more demon! USA! USA!”
“I really wish you wouldn’t say things like that in front of the clients.”
“I have to tell you, Vera...Tonight, Mike’s band, they totally sounded like Agnostic Front. Oh my god! It was like, ‘Get your own
“Julie. Just go get rid of the demon and you can tell me later.”
Julie ended the call and put the phone in her pocket. The woman glared at her and Julie remembered it wasn’t her phone, handing it back
to the woman.
The woman, looking down at the floor, made a sour expression, and then clasped her hands at her hips, poking her wedding ring with
her opposite finger. She sighed and then looked at Julie, her eyes red with tears. Almost under her breath, she gave in.
“I’m going to trust you with this. I’m going to trust you because nothing else seems to be working. Don’t you dare hurt my baby
Julie nodded a nod that almost knocked her over and then said, “Ma’am, I’m good. Seven of these things I’ve done. Seven. Seven.
The woman shook her head in disgust and let Julie come in.
“Please, whatever you do, do not vomit on the carpet. I just had it cleaned after...”
“She peed, didn’t she?”
“Yes, I had guests over and she just stood there in the living room and urinated herself in front of us all. It was horrifying.”
“Seen it before. Which room?”
“Up the stairs. First door on the right.”
Julie looked down at her hands, trying to remember which one was her right and which one was her left.
“This one,” the woman said, sighing heavily, tapping Julie on the right shoulder.
“Knew that. Just testing you. Making sure you knew.”
Julie slipped off her leather jacket and handed it, vaguely in the direction of the woman, saying, “Here, hold this. I don’t want to get
anything nasty on it.”
Julie then began her trek up the stairs. This was not easy, as her feet and eyes seemed to have different ideas of where each step was.
Once or twice, she had to grab the banister to stop herself from falling.
Her vision began to flicker as she got closer to her destination.
No, wait, she realized, that actually is the light bulbs. They were flickering.
Typical. Minor league demons always liked to act like little fucking puffer fish and put up a big show for the civilians. Hovering beds,
peeing in odd places, rude remarks about people’s mothers. It was all for show. This would probably be easier than she thought.
She opened the door to the little girl’s room, a blast of cold air hitting her in the face. It was, at least, 20 degrees colder in the room
than it was outside. She wished she had kept her jacket. But fuck that shit, it was showtime.
Inside the eerily blue-tinted room, an elderly priest held a crucifix in the face of a scarred and bloody little girl. The girl’s pupils were
rolled up into her head as her tongue flicked suggestively at the priest, a line of green drool running down her chin, adding to the many stains
on what looked like formerly white pajamas.
She was tied to the bed, making loud growling noises, as the priest fought with all the spiritual power he had to keep her down.
Julie noticed the bed was levitating a good six or seven inches off the ground. Yup. This one was totally fucking minor league.
“I cast you out, unclean spirit!” the priest yelled, “It is he that commands you! It is God the Father who commands you! It is God,
the son who...”
“FUCK YOU, FATHER! FUCK YOUR GOD! FUCK YOUR WEAK FAITH!”
“It is God, the son who commands you! It is the Holy Spirit that commands you! It is...”
“YOU WILL BURN IN HELL WITH YOUR WHORE OF A MOTHER! SHE IS BURNING, FOREVER, IN TORMENT,
FATHER! WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK TO HER, FATHER! SHE WANTS TO KNOW WHY HER LITTLE RICKY LET HER
DIE ALONE! SHE IS RIGHT HERE! WE WILL SHOW YOU HER CUNT!!”
Okay, then. Julie cleared her throat loudly, and stood there, tapping her foot with her hands on her hips.
The demon and the priest stopped their interaction and turned to stare at her.
“You cannot be in here! This is God’s work!” the priest yelled at her, a look of absolute concern on his face, “Please! Your soul is in
danger just being near the...”
“LET THE WHORE COME TO ME!!” the demon said, smiling a black and green smile.
“Please, you must leave! This is...”
“NO! WE WILL FUCK HER WITH YOUR CRUCIFIX! WE WILL FUCK HER OOZING GASH! WE WILL...”
Julie cleared her throat her again. And made a shush noise motion to the priest and the demon.
Julie shushed the demon. It stopped talking.
She waited a moment or two to see if she had everyone’s complete and undivided attention before speaking.
“Okay. First, padre: You’re on the bench.”
“Apparently, this is taking way too long and the woman here wanted to call in someone who knows what they’re doing, so you gotta
“What are you talking about? This is a delicate and dangerous process! You can’t just have any layman off the street...”
“Padre, how many of these you done?”
“This is my second in thirty years! I once came across the demon Pazuzu in the deserts of...”
“No, you didn’t. That was just a little minor bitch of a demon, like this one. They talk all big, but you didn’t run into the Lord of All Fevers
and Plague, or you’d know it by being very, very dead.”
Julie was very impressed with herself for only slightly slurring her words during all this.
“What do you know of...”
“Seven, padre. Done seven of these before. So, why don’t you go find yourself an altar boy or something and take five while the adult
handles the big scaaawy demon.”
“OH YES, FATHER! LEAVE HER ALONE WITH...”
“You,” Julie said, wobbling a little more than she would have liked,
“You! You shut the fuck up. I’ll get to you in a second. ‘Oozing gash?!?’ Eww. You’re very, very...rude. Very rude. Potty mouth. So, you shut
“Are you inebriated?!?” the priest asked.
“Yes. Yes, I am,” Julie responded, “Now, run along.”
“Now, wait just a minute, miss! I will have you know that I am...”
“Holy shit! What’s that in the hallway! Is the mother possessed too?!?” Julie suddenly yelled, looking back over her shoulder out of the
room, jumping back from the door in fear.
“Where?!? I must see!” the priest said, rushing to the hallway to see what Julie was talking about.
His back turned to her, Julie whipped a stun-gun out of her messenger bag and shocked the priest. He fell over, convulsing in the
hallway, as Julie closed the door behind him. He was probably still okay...kinda. As long as he didn’t have a heart condition and what were
the chances of an old man with a stressful job having one of those, right?
She took a swig of her Jager and then smiled at the demon.
The demon smiled back from within the body of the girl.
“WE ARE AMUSED BY YOU!”
Julie stumbled closer to the bed.
“DO YOU SEEK TO SHOCK US WITH YOUR WEAPON, TOO?”
“Nope. Won’t need to.”
“That’s right. Not gonna need it.”
“THEN YOU WILL DIE, SCREAMING!”
Julie rolled her eyes and yawned.
“ARE YOU MOCKING US?!?”
“Are you mocking us?” she said, in a voice intended to sound like a stupid person.
Julie reached into her bag for a moment, fumbled about for a bit, and then pulled out a salt shaker. The demon looked at her, puzzled.
Julie, using one hand to steady herself against the walls, started pouring salt on the ground, in a circle around the bed.
“AH, WE SEE! SEND OUT THE HOLY MAN AND CALL IN A WITCH!”
Julie didn’t respond. She was busy trying to make sure that, in her drunken state, what she was making was, at least, kinda circular.
“SO, YOU SEEK TO CREATE A CIRCLE FROM WHICH WE CANNOT LEAVE?!? HAHAHAHAHA!!! THAT WILL NOT GET
US OUT OF THE GIRL! HAHAHA!! YOU STUPID, DRUNKEN WITCH BITCH, YOU ARE DOING NOTHING TO STOP US!!”
Julie finished the salt kinda-circle and then threw the salt shaker at the demon, conking it on the head.
It growled in rage at her. The demon, not the salt shaker.
“YOU STRIKE US?!? COME STAND INSIDE THE CIRCLE, WITCH! WHERE WE CAN...”
Julie stumbled her way into the circle and then folded her arms, staring right into the eyes of the demon-possessed girl.
The room shook as though there was an earthquake, the glass of the windows shattered, the bed frame rocking to its limits, and the
demon roared. The tiny lights of the candles around the room grew to large fires, blackening the ceiling above them, and tinting the room red,
as demonic laughter filled the air. Stuffed animals fell off shelves, a glass vase shattered, and dresser drawers emptied their contents.
Julie, unimpressed, looked around the room, nodded her head and then walked right up to the demon, slapping it across the face.
“That all you got?”
“WE WILL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL!!”
“Okay, did you seriously just quote Evil Dead at me?”
“EGO TUUM DEVORABIT CUNNUS!”
“Oh, getting Latin with our insults, eh?”
“EGO FUTUO FACIEM TUAM!”
“E pluribus unum.”
“VOUS AUREZ ROTIR EN ENFER!”
“Le chien brun chassé le chat noir.”
“BYDD CHI DDIFETHIR SGRECHIAN!”
“Erin go bragh.”
“YOB TVA'YOO MAT, BLYAD!”
“Hab sosli’ Quch, P’Tok!”
“THAT IS NOT EVEN A LANGUAGE!”
“The internet would disagree.”
“DO NOT MOCK US, WITCH! WE WILL DEVOUR YOU! WE RIDE THE VERY WIND OF YOUR DESPAIR! WE THRIVE ON
YOUR NIGHTMARES! WE ARE EVERYWHERE AND SEE ALL! WE ARE LEGION, FOR WE ARE..."
“We are a bitch. That's what 'we' are.”
“You heard me. Don't be coming at me all Wendy O. Williams when your ass is Katy Perry. You don't even have a body of your own.
Look at you all hiding in a little girl.”
“YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF OUR...”
“Of your vagina! Because you're a pussy. You may scare Max Von Sydow back there, but come on, I'm drunk. Like, really, really drunk.
And I don't have time for this shit. I see things all the time that can take corporeal form without having to hide in little kids and I kick their
asses. That makes me kinda, like, ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ and you, like, ‘Please Hammer Don't Hurt Him.’ No, no. You're not even
‘Please Hammer Don't Hurt Him,’ you're ‘Ice Ice Baby.’ I'm the fucking Sex Pistols and you're Avril Lavigne. I'm Slayer and you're
Warrant. I'm Iron Maiden and you're Tygers of fucking Pan Tang. I'm...”
“I HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT YOU SPEAK!”
“Ah ha! See? You said, 'I.' That's singular. ‘We are legion.’ Psssh. Shuddup, bitch. You ain't Legion. You ain't shit. Stop using plural.”
The demon’s face contorted into a mask of rage, tempered with a light sprinkling of confusion. It glared at Julie, hatefully, and proceeded
to projectile vomit in her direction.
She dodged it, gagged, and then proceeded to vomit on the demon.
She really could not figure out what she had ingested that was orange.
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”
“Didn’t you hear me? I said I was drunk. That’s like the second time tonight.”
“Shuddup. Don’t wanna hear it. Don’t care. Was about to get laid when I got the text about you. You don’t know. You don’t have any
idea. Shut up. Shut up.”
The demon just seemed confused at this point.
“So, you’re going to leave that little girl and fuck off, so I can go get laid.”
“HAHAHAHA!!! SHALL I JUMP INTO YOU, INSTEAD, WITCH?”
Julie fumbled in her messenger bag for a bit again and then pulled out a green teddy bear that had seen much, much better days in its
time. It was beaten up beyond belief, stuffing exposed all over, with one brown eye sewn on in a not-quite-symmetrical place. There was a
rusted turn-key in the bear’s stomach.
“Nope. You’re going to jump into this,” she said, turning the turn-key and then letting a tinny version of “Happy Birthday to You” play
for a few seconds.
“HAHAHAHA!!! AND WHY WOULD I DO THAT?”
“Figured you were gonna ask that...”
Julie reached into her bag again and pulled out two tiny bells. They Were about the size of silver dollar, two little brass bells with several
millimeter-high Tibetan blessings and curses carved into every bit of their surface. The demon’s face contorted with fear upon seeing them.
“YOU WOULD NOT!”
Julie nodded her head and rang the two little bells.
The sound they produced was small and almost gentle, barely a step above wind-chimes. But there was something awful, something
ominous behind the tiny little bells.
The room around them started to turn dark. Everything outside of the circle they were in faded away until all around them was blackness.
There was silence. Uncomfortable silence. The silence of the grave. The silence one imagines is only possible at the moment before an
atomic bomb would destroy your city. The silence before the screams begin.
Suddenly, there was the loud rushing sound of howls on the wind, but the wind was not so much wind but wailing spirits violently
thrashing through the air. The smell of sulfur assaulted Julie’s nose. The room they were in was gone, replaced by undulating mountains of
flesh and bone, reaching high into the blood red sky. A living land, where the very ground was miles and miles of exposed muscle,
stretching and pulling constantly. Shadows gathered all around the circle, the whispers of thousand
of voices, speaking languages rarely ever heard by human ears, swirled around them in an unholy tornado of silent screams.
“THIS IS NOT SAFE! WE MUST LEAVE!”
“Not before you leave the little girl. I gots ta get paid.”
“I WILL KILL HER! TAKE US BACK NOW!”
“Nope. You kill her, I just break the circle.”
“YOU WOULDN’T! THEY’LL TEAR YOU APART!”
Julie started laughing. In fact, she was bent over from laughter, the way only someone really drunk can get.
“WHAT IS SO FUNNY, WOMAN?”
“That whatever’s in the Third Realm will tear me apart. I’ve been here many, many times before. Bitch, I come here when I want to
She rolled up her right sleeve to show some of her tattoos.
“WHY WOULD YOU HAVE A TATTOO OF A I’KLESF? YOU HAVE STOOD UP TO A I’KLESF?”
“Yup. Killed one that decided to venture into Greenpoint. Rare, but it happens. You, on the other hand, you’re a little First Realm bitch.
You don’t even have your own form, so to come into my world, you’ve gotta jump into someone. Down here, though, they won’t care if you’re
in a body. They’ll just tear your ass up. Metaphorically speaking, obviously, as you need a body to have an ass. But, then again, right
now, you do currently have a body, so... ”
There was a shaking of the muscle-ground and there was a loud roar in the distance, the thud-squish sound of approaching footsteps
“Oh fuck,” Julie blurted out, a tone of true concern in her voice.
“YOU FEAR IT TOO! YOU MAY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SLAY ONE IN YOUR REALM, BUT HERE, WHERE IT IS AT
“No no no. That wasn’t what I was upset about. I think the transfer between dimensions sobered me up. I don’t feel drunk anymore. That
doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it sucks.”
“WHO CARES?!? WE MUST LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! THERE IS NO TELLING HOW LONG THE CIRCLE WILL
“You’re right. There isn’t. And you know, as a First Realmer, you’re as much of a target down here as me and the little girl. More so, really.
So...you might want to be moving into the teddy bear, right about now.”
“I WILL NOT!”
The roar grew to an almost deafening level as the wet sounds of footsteps on flesh were joined by the sound of even more footsteps.
There were, at least, three of them. And they were coming closer.
“PLEASE, WE MUST LEAVE! I WILL GIVE YOU ANYTHING YOU WANT!”
“Whoa. Just because I took you to the wrong hood doesn’t suddenly make you a genie. You aren’t granting me any wishes, so
don’t try to play that game. You know the deal. You leave the girl, you go in the bear, we go back to Earth. Otherwise...”
Julie started to nudge the salt with her boot. The demon screamed in terror.
“FINE! FINE! I WILL GO INTO THE BEAR! BUT DO NOT THINK THAT I WILL STAY THERE FOREVER!”
“Get to it.”
With a loud rush of energy, the demon left the girl. Her body regained a human appearance, albeit one with several scars on her face,
from whatever damage the demon had done while it was in her body.
The girl didn’t even open her eyes, so physically and spiritually exhausted that she’d probably never know she had been in another
dimension while she had been out. The bear in Julie’s hands radiated a darkness that, to most people,
would be overwhelming, but to Julie was nothing. She picked up the bear, it seeming to glare at her with malice in its plastic eye.
She turned the turn-key in the bear’s stomach, which would normally produce a lullaby, but now allowed the demon to speak for
as long as the mechanism turned.
“I AM IN THE BEAR NOW! TAKE US BACK TO EARTH! AND I...”
The demon’s voice slowed down and then stopped, altogether, until she wound it up some more.
“PROMISE YOU THAT I WILL SEE YOU SUFFER SOME DAY! NOW, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING...”
This time, when it stopped talking, she patted it on the head. She reached into her bag again and pulled out one of the two bells she had
previously used to shift worlds. As she pulled out the bell, three hulking entities appeared over the
horizon. The I’Klesf, which Julie could never pronounce properly, resembled large, black hooded skeletons, only the hoods were not
fabric but congealed flesh, dripping off their huge bodies, each over 20 feet tall, black flame belching forth from each of their bodily orifices,
their lower bodies a sharp contrast to their upper bodies, thick and muscular, with hooves, their thighs covered in coarse black needles
that most people who saw them mistook for hair. These three were all males. She could tell because of the obscenely long snake-like genitals
that hung down to their knees, covered in the same needles as their legs, but with a mouth at the end, complete with tongue and fangs (it
should be noted that their testes were inside what looked like two Siamese-twin shriveled heads hanging under the “snake,” complete
with eyes and a mouth that constantly drooled out the excess black sperm they produced). She waved at the three demons and then
proceeded to wind up the bear again, the I’Klesf charging at her now, with purpose.
“THEY ARE HERE! WE MUST LEAVE NOW!”
With that, she threw the bear out of the circle at the three rampaging demons.
“YOU BITCH! YOU BETRAYED ME! YOU...”
“Yup, I did. Suck it,” she said, giggling to herself, before tinkling the bell, as two of the large demons descended upon the screaming
teddy bear and the third charged towards her circle.
In the blink of an eye, she and the unconscious little girl were back in the room on East 93rd.
The girl was safe. The job was done.
Julie patted herself on the back and put the bell back into her messenger bag. It then occurred to her that she had been drinking a
lot of alcohol tonight and her bladder was quite full. She looked at the floor, where the demon had vomited, and put her
hand on her stomach, thinking for a moment. She shrugged.
A few minutes later. Julie came down the stairs with a lot less effort than it took to get up them, the middle-aged woman looking anxiously
“Is it over?”
“My Meghan is safe?”
“And this won’t happen again?”
“And what happened to Father Renaldi? I was expecting him to come down and say something about you?”
“Oh...uh...the demon knocked him out...and totally peed on the rug in her room too.”
“Well, that’s what Home Depot is for, right? So, Vera told you who to make the check out to?”
and in Paperback and Kindle at:
ORIGINAL WRITING EXERCISE #1
Here is the original writing exercise by Charles D. Lincoln, that eventually became 21st Century Demon Hunter. It was October 13th, 2012 and being bored, I decided to just write whatever came to my head. Here it is in its entirety.
The first thing Kelly noticed about it was the smell of its breath. It was a rank, bloody smell, made ever the worse by how hot the air was coming out of what looked like a mouth.
The thing that should have stayed within an H. R. Giger painting turned to her, as she pressed against the wall, paralyzed by a primal feeling that was way beyond something as small as fear. It was the size of a Siberian Husky, but completely without fur of any sort. In its place were black scales and what looked like jagged pieces of bone randomly ripping out of its hide.
It didn’t so much crawl as shuffle itself on its uneven number of limbs towards her, its mouth filled with row upon row of crooked, teeth. Teeth that resembled a human’s more than any animal she had seen before. Teeth that were frighteningly white. Its yellow, bloodshot eyes, which she couldn’t count the number of, were focused on her as it shuffled ever closer across the living room at her, the lower half of its body dragging behind the front part..
Her body trembled with terror, her fingernails breaking the skin of her palms, her face moist with sweat, her bladder ready to give out at any moment.
This thing was making its way towards her, crossing the living room like something out of a nightmare. This is it, she thought and screamed.
“JULIE!!! OH MY GOD! JULIE!! WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!”
The door on the other side of the living room opened up and her roommate, Julie emerged, her makeup thick and smudged, her dyed black hair uncombed, her black wife beater exposing both her sleeves of tattoos. She picked at her black boyshorts and looked around the living room with half-closed eyes.
”Wha? What are you yelling for? I’m really hung over. Can you…”
”Julie! Don’t you see there’s a fucking monster in the…”
”Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s just…curious. It’s from Hell. It’s called a…uh…uh…I don’t really remember, but I’ve never seen one of these rape or eat anyone, so it’s relatively harmless. Just give it a Triscuit or something.”
”Give it a fucking Triscuit?!?”
”Yeah, they love them.”
“I don’t care what it loves! Get it the fuck out! Get it the fuck out!”
”Fine, you big baby. Here, boy!”
The thing turned and looked at Julie and then lumbered towards her. She sighed heavily, and pet the thing on what was probably its head…or a hump…or something. It seemed to like that.
”Sorry, boy, but my roommate says I can’t keep you. And the landlord will probably bitch too, now that I think about it. So…”
She walked over to the front door of the apartment and lead the thing outside, yelling, “You’re free now! Go! Go, be with the wind!”
Kelly shook her head in disbelief, when Julie walked back into the living room, saying, “Okay, I took care of it.”
”Julie! You just let that thing stalk the streets?!?”
”Don’t be so melodramatic. It’s not stalking anything. This is Manhattan. Someone’ll just think it’s a dog or a really big rat or something and probably take it in.”
”I don’t fucking think so! That thing was a fucking nightmare!”
”Oh, now, you’re just exaggerating.”
”If people see that thing, they’re going to shoot it!”
”Well, that’d be a very bad idea for them. When those things get pissed off...Christ,” Julie played with her hair a little bit and then walked into the bathroom, leaving the door open as she peed, continuing the conversation, “Besides, I’m sure if there are any problems, animal control will just take it to a shelter and then some child will adopt it and be the coolest kid on his block.”
”And then it’ll eat his family.”
”I just told you, they don’t eat people…At least, I don’t think they do.”
“Whatever. Are we finished here? I’ve got work tomorrow…I think.”
She wiped, flushed the toilet, and ran her hands under the water in the sink for a little bit, as Kelly moved into the center of the living room, not wanting to put her feet where the creature had been, all too aware of the heat the floor was radiating.
“And what’s this, ‘It’s from hell. Feed it a Triscuit’ bullshit? I know you told me you don’t have much experience with normal people when I first moved here, but in no way is that an acceptable thing to say to someone!”
”Well, if that's what Cosmopolitan says, who am I to disagree?” Julie said opening her door, the smell of incense wafting from the room, strongly.
“And do you mean work work or your other work?”
“Work work. The other thing I don’t have any sort of schedule for. They’re usually just like, ‘Hey Julie, there’s a rift between worlds. We need you to close it’ or ‘Hey Julie, something with tentacles just came out of my toilet and raped my mom, can you take care of it?’ It’s usually an on-call type thing.”
“Is that how that thing ended up here?”
”Kinda. There was a whole thing and then this other thing happened and I was kinda drunk and…”
”You know what? I don’t want to hear it. I just don’t want to see anything like that here ever again! I swear I’ll move! I can’t take that sort of thing again!”
”Alright. Anything else?”
”No. Go back to bed.”
”You know…I’m sorry…This is all just so weird for…I…I never even believed in god until I moved in here.”
”Why do you suddenly believe in god?”
”Because of your job.”
“Why would me being a bike messenger make you believe in god?”
”No, the other job.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
”Well, if hell exists, then heaven must too, right?”
”Oh. Well, that’s an awfully optimistic way of looking at it. But you’re assuming by ‘Hell,’ I mean a Judeo-Christian fire and brimstone type place of punishment and not a completely different dimension filled with things closer to Lovecraft than Dante. It’s not actually called ‘Hell.’ I just call it that to make the concept easier. That and I can’t really pronounce what it’s really called. Something with an M, I think.”
”Two different concepts. One’s rooted in the belief in good and evil and the other’s rooted in reality. But if it helps you sleep better at night, it totally means god's real. Santa too, if you want.”
”Anyway, good night. Do me a favor, and if you see the landlord, tell her that I’m still visiting my sister in Chicago. Long story.”
Julie walked back into her room and shut the door, the smell of incense lingering in the room. Kelly let out a deep breath and then realized she had initially come out here to go pee. She started towards the bathroom, stopping to sigh and shake her head once she noticed the burn marks the thing had left on the carpet.
The only thought that filled her head was, Fuck. I’m really not going to get my security deposit back, am I?
ORIGINAL WRITING EXERCISE #2
This is the second writing exercise Charles came up with that later formed the foundation for Julie, as a character. Both of these scenes appear in a slightly altered form in the upcoming novel. Also written October 13th, 2012.
Struggling to carry the two Whole Foods grocery bags as she ascended the stairs, Kelly fumbled for the keys to the apartment for a good minute before finally being able to balance everything long enough to unlock the three locks and open the door.
She entered the living room, only to find Julie laying stomach down on the couch, playing something on her little portable Playstation. Her hair was messed up and wet, her body covered in a layer of sweat that gave a sheen to her tattoo-covered back and arms. She was also naked.
“Hey,” Julie said, not looking up from her game, “Did you buy toilet paper? We’re out.”
”Why are you naked?!?”
”Why are you naked and sweaty on the couch?”
”Yeah, you know, saving the world from the forces of chaos and stuff. Very, very important. Didn’t, uh, have time to get dressed. Fate of all life as we know it and all.”
Kelly sighed and shook her head before walking over to the kitchen area, to put down her groceries on the counter, suddenly noticing that the shower in the bathroom was running.
“Wait,” Kelly started, “is someone in the shower?”
”Oh…that. Uh, yeah.”
”Oh my god, were you fucking on the couch?”
“Holy shit, Julie! That’s so gross! I sit on that!”
“Well, you know how these things go. You have a few drinks, you meet a guy…”
”Why…why are there two pairs of panties on the floor?”
”…a guy and his girlfriend…”
"Why did you lie and say that it was a ritual?"
"That's a ritual...in some cultures..."
”Why didn’t you go into your room and do this?”
”You’ve never fucked on a couch before? Jesus, you’re repressed. Next thing you’ll tell me you’ve never fucked on the counter either.”
Kelly looked at the counter she had just put her food on and made a disgusted face.
From the floor, Julie’s cellphone went off. Her ringtone was a song about waffles, something about them being invented by Ghandi, so you should keep some handy.
Julie, without even stopping her game, extended her leg over the couch, opening her legs in front of Kelly, reached down with her foot, and grabbed her phone with her toes.
”Jesus Christ, I could have gone without seeing that,” Kelly said.
“So repressed…didn’t you have sisters?” Julie said bringing her leg back up on the couch and bending it backwards to bring the phone within reaching distance of her hands.
“No, I grew up with all brothers.”
Julie, rested the phone on her shoulders, continuing to play.
”Hey, Daddy! How are you? …No, that’s tomorrow, silly…True. I have trouble remembering the time zones too…But thank you very much. It means a lot that you called…Awww…I love you too, daddy…Yeah, Sammy’s coming by tomorrow. She said she’s going to take me out for dinner…I promise…No, I haven’t heard from Perci in…Oh god, Daddy…Fine…I haven’t heard from Persphone in a while. I think she’s angry at me…She got all haughty taughty after she got that job with the Royal Family…I’ll try, Daddy. I love you too, Daddy…Goodbye.”
Julie smiled and let the phone drop from her shoulder on to the floor.
”That was your dad?”
”Yeah, he was calling to wish me a happy birthday.”
”That’s really nice of him.”
”Yeah, he always makes such a big deal of my birthday. It’s kinda goofy, but you know how dads get.”
“Does he know what you do?”
”I don't think my sex life is much of his business.”
”No, your other job.”
“Oh, of course he does. It’s been the family thing for like forever. In fact, thinking of birthdays…”
It was a March, in the middle of the 90’s, in a suburban neighborhood like so many others in Middle America. The sounds of children’s laughter filled the backyard. It was Julie’s 8th birthday and her parents had gone all out for her. Her father, a tall man with wavy blond hair and a solid jaw stood on one side of the room, smiling at his daughter, who had the usual triangular birthday hat on, as her friends sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
He wore black leather pants, black leather boots, and a black buttoned down shirt open just enough to show his tattoo-covered chest.
The song ended and everybody clapped, little Julie blew out the candles and smiled at the adoration she was receiving.
He clapped for her and walked over, kissing her on the forehead, gently brushing her hair with his palm, revealing that his wrist was covered in tattoos, as well.
One of her friends, a girl named Suzy, looked at his wrist and asked, “Mr. Fairweather, are you a truck driver?”
”No, my dear, why would you think that?”
”Because you have pictures all over your arm and my mom said that only truck drivers and sailors have those.”
”Oh, Suzy, no no. These are…mementos.”
“What’s a memento,” asked another little girl.
“Well, Kathleen, it’s a trophy of sorts. It’s so I always remember my adventures. Whenever I’ve fought something and defeated it, I tattoo it onto my skin, so I always remember where I’ve been.”
“Daddy, can I have mementos, too?” Julie asked, smiling widely.
“Of course you can, Juliette. When you’re old enough, you can do whatever it is you want to do.”
”I’m already eight, Daddy! When will I be old enough?”
”Well, it’s funny you should ask that, because I have your present right here. Hold on, one second.”
He got a mischievous glint in his blue eyes as he theatrically tip-toed to the gate of the backyard’s fence. He said, “It’s time now,” to someone outside, and the gate opened up, slowly.
A clown emerged. He was wearing a big bright red afro wig, a red circular nose, and a big smile painted on his face. His jumpsuit was baggy and bright blue, with big yellow smiley-faces polka dotting it. His oversized shoes made squeaky noises. He was juggling four red balls and riding a unicycle.
Suzy shrieked, “I’m scared of clowns, Mr. Fairweather!”
”Oh, there’s nothing to be afraid of. This is a very special clown. Aren’t you, Mr. Poggles?”
Mr. Poggles rode his unicycle into the center of the backyard.
“Of course I am, Mr. Fairweather. I came here just to see a very special little girl. Which one of you is Juliette Fairweather?”
Julie raised her hand excitedly.
“Wonderful, Juliette,” Mr. Poggles said, in his whacky clown voice, “Now, I’m going to show all of you a trick. I need a volunteer to give…”
His voice seemed to grow deeper and his eyes bugged out.
His voice grew louder and his posture stiffened up as he threw his head back. There was a loud cracking noise as his jaw split in half vertically, turning into a pair of preying mantis-like mandibles, blood dripping from the worm-like row of teeth underneath.
From the red-nose up, he was still a clown. Under his mandibles, his arms broke to reveal row after row of centipede-like short legs, each one topped by a reptilian claw. His stomach ripped open to reveal another mouth, this one with a long, black tongue, dripping with steaming saliva, lolling back and forth like a tail. Two giant bat-like wings, affixed with multiple eyes on the rotted leathery membrane of their expanse, burst from his back, as he roared loudly.
The children, all except for Julie, cried and screamed and ran for the back door of the house, which they found locked. Some of them wet themselves. Some of them just kept repeating cries for their mothers as Mr. Fairweather walked over to Julie, who was looking with her eyes wide open in wonder at what was in front of her.
“Okay, Juliette, this is your chance to be a big girl! Go get ‘em. I can’t help you with this. You’ve got to do it all on your own.”
”How do I do it, Daddy?” she asked, as the thing that had been Mr. Poggles burned the ground around it, walking towards her with a murderous intent.
“That’s up to you. You’re a smart girl and I’m sure you’ll do fine. Oh…one other thing…You like it here, right?”
”Yes, I do, Daddy.”
”Okay, well, then just keep in mind if that thing eats any of the other children, we’ll probably have to move.”
”Yes, again. Don’t blame your sister for that, it was her first time too.”
“Stupid Sammy,” Julie said as the clown-thing roared and reared back to charge at her.
“Believe it or not, we ended up having to move anyway,” Julie said, looking at the small tattoo on her right forearm of a mandible-faced clown, “Some of those kids’ parents were really not very understanding. I mean, nobody died!”
Kelly just stood there, with her mouth open.