Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer

The rain has given up falling in drops and now lambastes the windscreen in heavy punched lumps. The manic whip of the wipers suddenly stops and the engine dies and she eases the car, tempering the brake with her foot until the squeal of tires against curb announces it, too, has rubbed to a stop.

It is late and she toys with the phone in her pocket.

“Who in hell am I going to call and for gods sake why here?”, she laments as she wonders just why a lamp post should be in the business of casting down its pyramid of garish orange light out here on this road only travelled if you happen to live at its very, very long end.

She sucks her finger and hunches into the wrap of her own arms and stares blankly out into the trees.

“So futile their clutch as they snatch and they claw at the wind”, she snorts.

The violence of the storm is lulling and she rocks as it shoulders against the car and she wonders just what she is for.

The light high above does not flicker but the flapping sheets of the night make it seem as if it does. Twisting she leers into the rear-view mirror and is, at once, repulsed by the strobing blink of her image.

“Smile”, she goads of her lips but they deny her and screw to her trademark pout, “God, what a miserable bitch”.

She rests her forehead against the cool sting of the streaking glass and then stiffens as she feels a weight shift at her side. Does she look? Does she dare turn her head as the hairs now itch and spike at her arm?

The thing next to her silently drips and could care less if she offers her gaze. It is not the rain but rather blood riven purulence that now soaks its seat as it grins and it leans and prods at the puff of her shivering cheek.

“Demon”, she’d have cried if only the tendons in her neck had not pulled her mouth tight.

“Demon… Daemon… Dibbuk… Djinn dum-diddy-dum… what are these but names for ourselves, sweet Frances. Like Hell, now, if ever there was a construct made by man… a place, a thing to justify the rotten things that we do.”

The demon looks out into the rain, through the wet needles and into the undulating swirl belly of the trees, and it sighs.

“But then, I guess these words well describe this bowl around whose rim you now find yourself a slithering”

“I hate you. You horrify me. But I will not ever let you win.”

“It’s not me you fear, Frances. It’s you. Am I not familiar? My nose, how the very tip of it dips as I talk and the tobacco smell of my skin it is his, is it not? Remember how these teeth clenched so tight as he beat your tiny body, how you thought they would crack and spill from his mouth as he whispered to you in the night. Blame him, go on blame me for what you did. My eyes, see how the corneas pucker and sag. You know only too well the frosted gaze of the boys you gralloched and left in these woods. You made me… he… made… us both.”

Again, she thinks out into the storm and her finger nails snap back and lift from their beds as she massages the empty seat that creaks and moans at her side.

“You pick such pretty places to break”, he breathes.