Lucid

A soft breeze skimmed across the open field and brushed the man’s skin. Mosquitos and other insects took advantage of the isolated man standing alone in the middle of the field. He offered no reaction to the wind or the insects that now occupied much of his exposed skin. He was rigid and staring at an invisible spot on the ground in front of him. The environment had no affect on the man.

The phone rang loud, startling him; the sudden shrillness of his ringtone shocked him out of his catatonic state.

“Yup?” he answered.

“Hello, am I speaking to Peter Schadenson?”

“Yup.”

“Sir, this is Livington Hospital, your wife is in labour. She said she tried to call you but could not get through. Can you come to the hospital?”

“Yup. On my way.”

He hung up the phone. “11 missed calls” could be seen clearly on his screen. He tested the volume, which was already at max.

He let out a deep breath and set his GPS to the hospital while making his way to his car parked just outside the field.

He strolls through the front doors of the hospital and heads straight for the elevator, avoiding the reception entirely, or unaware that the reception exists at all. The floor to the maternity ward is displayed next to the elevator and he makes straight for it.

He is calm despite the air of panic and the sound of women screaming that comes from all directions. He is calm despite the many angry nurses that are yelling at him for opening several different doors in search for his wife.

When he finally opens the correct door, his wife is lying on the hospital bed with her legs up. The nurses ask if she wants him there and she answers yes. He has taken his time and the birth is already underway.

The baby’s head has just made its way out of his wife’s body and he is struck cold with shock.

What is leaving his wife’s body is no baby. Its skin is abnormally discoloured and it has small raised lumps on each side of its head.

It is only now that the man remembers coming home from work one evening to find his wife lying on the kitchen floor weeping. He remembers pressing her for information, trying to find out what was wrong, and finding that the crotch of her pants was stained red with blood. It is only now that the man remembers what the demon had done to his wife.

He comes back to the present to see that it has completely left his wife’s body. He sees it in all its form, he sees the demon, he sees what hate has made – he sees hate, and it will not do.

A sane man cannot let a demon of hate, a demon born of hate, enter this world.

He grabs the demon by the throat and tears it from its vessel with such force that he snaps the line connecting it to the underworld. He does not see or feel the many arms trying to hold him back, but what he does see are the nurse’s tools next to the hospital bed. His world is all black save for the demon that remains sharp in the centre of his vision. He picks up the scalpel, and it is a demon no more.

***

His wrists and shoulders feel tight. His entire body hurts but he cannot move. He notices that his arms are behind his back and now he realises that his arms are handcuffed behind his back, so tight that there’s rawness to his skin where the metal touches. At first his lap appears through small slits. Then the room comes into his full vision. It’s a small room, grey and boring. There is also a small desk in front of him and another man sitting on the other side.

The other man, with surgical precision, places several photographs on the desk in front of him. What the photographs show is an unrecognisable scene that will torment him for eternity.

“What the fuck is this?” the man yells.

“Why did you do it?” the other replies.

He is confused, dizzy and bile is now rising from deep in his stomach. He looks at the photographs again and this time recognises the room. It is the room where his wife gave birth to the demon. What he does not recognise is the small and gentle body of the mutilated infant in pieces strewn across the floor in the photographs.

“WHAT IS THIS? I DIDN’T DO THIS, I KILLED THE DEMON.”

“There was no demon Peter.”

“You’re a liar!” he screams. But he realises the futility, for the father of the demon must have replaced its baby with the infant in the photographs so that no one could see what he was trying to bring into this world.

“There was no demon Peter. There was no demon. You killed your son and you killed your wife with a scalpel.”

But the man has stopped listening, for the other’s words have become harsh and guttural.

“I will not listen to you, demon.”

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