“You are a demon,” the customer said in a lovely voice. It was the sort of voice that makes you stand to attention, the sort that you hear in a club and you can’t stop listening to. The sort that you would do anything to hear again.
I looked up, my eyes widened as I took in the sight before me.
Standing on the other side of the counter was, words fail me, but I can give you a vague description it won’t do her any justice at all but its something.
She was tall, really tall, super model tall. Her skin was like milk, smooth creamy perfection, that I wanted to touch with a need that I could barely call human. Her eyes were large and bright, vivid blue. Like the sea is supposed to be, but never actually is. Her hair was dark, a black with bluish highlights. Ravens black I think its called. She was thin but curvy. Her face a perfection that I can’t even start to describe, think of the most perfect face you can then double it. That is but the tiniest approximation.
“You are a demon,” she said again. More insistent this time.
I spent a few seconds thinking about asking her for her number. I may have drooled.
“Ahhh,” she sighed, frustrated. “Turn off your human hormones and listen to me for a moment. You. Are. A. Demon. Do you know? Or are you one of those left in the mortal world?”
“Can I have your number?” I managed to get out. My mouth wasn’t very cooperative.
“Lady, you’re holding up the line, get a move on. Some of us have work today,” called an angry voice from one of the many, many lawyers that frequented the shop.
Go me using uncommon words. Even if I just thought them. The distraction did help me throw off the rising mist of lust.
“Look lady, you’re pretty, well insanely hot, but I have a job to do. Which isn’t listen to crazy shit, If I can’t have your number. Now do you want a coffee ?” I said. I may have been a bit belligerent about it, but my boss would be down quick enough if the line stopped moving.
I needed this job, shitty as it was.
She took a card out of her purse and offered it to me.
I reached out to take it, as I did, my hand brushed her delicate fingers, which were far warmer than they should be, this woman defined the word hot.
Vision of flames wreathed her, her hair moving in a wind of the heat. The taste of ashes in my mouth.
It passed with nothing more than a tingle through me. not bad, these visions usually knocked me out, I had new meds to control them. Medicine one, crazy too many to count, but chalked this one as a victory for meds.
I took the card. I put it in my pocket and signalled the next customer.
“Call me, I think I’ll pass on the coffee today,” she said with a smile that made a part of me stand up with desire. She moved out of the line with a small backwards glance at me. She left in a flurry of amazed stares. The kind a hot woman gets all the time, she didn’t even notice.
“Way to go man,” the lawyer from earlier said as he moved up to the counter. “Now I will have…” He fumbled with a list before reciting what could have been gibberish for all it meant to me.
“Hey are you even listening? Oi, pay attention, if you fuck this up I’ll have your job,” he warned me.
I wasn’t paying attention, there was a buzzing in my head. I felt disconnected. I looked down at my hands, they weren’t shaking like I feared, this felt like a seizure. my mouth was numb, I tried to talk but nothing happened. Not again, not here. I tried to move, anything. Inside I was starting to panic, no, no. I need this job.
I cant do this here.
Something took over.
“MORTAL SCUM, HOW DARE YOU TALK TO ME LIKE THAT, I WILL FLAY THE FLESH FROM YOUR BONES AND MAKE YOU DANCE FOR ALL ETERNITY,” the other side of me shouted at the lawyer.
There must have been something in the other voice that scared the man more than a crazy barista, he went white with fear, I could see his pulse racing, I could hear it thrumming in my ear.
My body moved without my order, it took me over the counter in a leap that I’m sure I couldnt manage. I’m tall but I’m not fit or active or anything really. I went straight for the man’s throat. My hands tightened into claws.
I was screaming inside, at the demon, my demon. My personal hell. He didn’t listen.
Flickers of other places, unreal places, started to overlay the real world. I knew I was in the coffee shop, but I saw places that were filled with fire, with ashes. A burnt shell of the coffee shop. This wasn’t good. And then just like that it was over.
I pulled myself off the man, apologizing profusely.
The man just lay there, gibbering to himself.
It had happened in an instant, not even enough time for anyone to call the police or an ambulance, the crowd stood, locked in a state of frozen terror. I excused myself to the bathroom. I walked quickly, almost ran to the staff toilets. I locked the door behind me.
I walked over to the sink, I avoided looking in the mirror. The abyss looks back and all that. I ran the faucet, I took a few deep breaths, the shakes were starting. I splashed my face with the cold water. The shock of it normally helps bring me back to myself. I shook my hands to clear the water, then I looked in the mirror.
Staring back at me was, me and my shadow.
I’m a strong looking man, I would have been considered handsome by most in the right light if not for the hagged run down look. My hair while normally brushed was unruly, I grew it long out of never having enough money to get it cut. It fell down to my shoulders in long straight locks of black with an odd reddish highlight. Stray hair fell into my face. It annoyed me no end, but we can’t have everything, for someone like me it’s more like we can’t have anything.
My eyes were bloodshot and refused to focus properly, but when not on the back end of an episode they were a crystal clear cobalt, bright and sharp. My skin, which was currently flushed and blotchy, is generally clear, smooth and pale.
My nose fit perfectly on my face, like it was meant to be there. I know a stupid thing to think or say, but it works. We’ve all seen those people born with unfortunate noses or ears. That’s my justification and I’m sticking to it.
So to sum up I’m stunningly good looking in a neglected, should really put the effort in kinda, way.
My shadow, is the guy that showed up and attacked the lawyer a few minutes ago, he looks the same as me, but with a darker cast. His eyes burn with light. His smile is cruel, and he is a prick. He doesn’t talk to me, he doesn’t do much of anything except take control when I have a weak moment. He isn’t real in the way that you can see and touch. He is my demon, my cross to bear. He has been with me as long as I can remember as long as I’ve had this mysterious disease that isn’t mental illness, I’ve been tested. That isn’t epilepsy, also been tested. Currently described as non epileptic seizures, which supposedly is different from being crazy.
Finding a job is hard with something like this hanging over you, also finding an apartment is hard with a work history as erratic as mine. I had spent far more time than I liked sleeping in ditches and alleys.
I looked around for the paper towels, because the boss wouldn’t let us have real towels that would need washing. I grabbed a handful, one soaked through instantly. I peeled the green sticky mess away from my hand, wadded it up and threw it in the bin. I wiped the water off my face with the rest.
Time to face the music. I unlocked the door and walked out to face the howling mob that were once customers.
Everything was normal.
I always forget that these things don’t happen. It’s real for me. Where was the line? What moment did I break from reality? This type of questioning is rarely useful. Just assume that all morning was a hallucination, always the best bet for me.
I returned to the counter, made my apologies for the delay and went about my day, serving customers.
All but forgotten was the card that the perfect, too perfect woman had given me, burning in my pocket.