“That demon named Inspiration will not leave me alone. Sorry for the mass of stories this week, but enjoyed this tale too much to not share it.” Was one of my posts on IO9’s #SaturdayShortStories this week, and then I read Lactuca by J. A. Platt. Small Gods indeed… And that lead me to thinking about Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods, and wondering if it worked the same way with Demons. That is when he showed up and informed me that, indeed it does.
I was sitting at my desk Sunday morning, working on my second cup of coffee when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I started, I was alone in the house, or so I thought. I had woken up with a screaming headache and the wife had taken the girls and herself off to church.
I spun around in the opposite direction the tap came from, chair swiveling swift and loose. There was no one there. I was imagining things, this headache was bad. Another tap on the shoulder. I spun again, still nothing. I tried to remember how much I had had to drink last night. I remembered opening two beers, but that was it I thought.
Tap Tap…”Turn your damned head,” a voice squeaked in my ear.
One of my dogs barked. I turned my head, and standing on my left shoulder was a little demon, about two inches tall, pointy tail, waxed mustache, horns, the whole nine yards.
“Um, hello?” I said. I was calling Daniel as soon as I woke up, I needed to know what was in those pills he gave me for the headache before I left.
“You’re not dreaming,” it said, reading my mind. “My name’s Steve, or it was until you started talking about Inspiration, so I guess my name is now Inspiration. You’re an ass.”
“What? What the Hell are you talking about?”
“It works like this, we go about our lives down there, just like anybody else, until someone creates a new demon. And then the boss, he summons one of us, it was my turn I guess, and changes our name and sends us topside. You are an ass!”
“What, you enjoyed,” I realized I was not sure where he came from, “um, Hell?”
“I’m a demon, what do you think? I was in the middle of a game of blackjack, was up three grand, souls I mean, when I got the call.”
“Ok, well I’m sorry.” I was thinking. “So if I forget about you would you go back?”
He grew an inch before my eyes. “Son of a bitch! Who did you tell?”
I thought back to my post on IO9.
“SHIT,” he screamed in my ear. He had read my mind again.
He grew another inch, he was really getting uncomfortable on my shoulder I thought.
“Good, it’s the least I can do. Ass!”
I knew that inspiration could be a huge pain, but this was a bit much.
He was continuing to grow, he was almost a foot tall now, and finally stepped off my shoulder and stood, staring at me, on my desk. His tail snaked its way into my coffee mug and slowly began to stir it. I was glad I had brewed a whole pot.
“So, I am going to go viral now, is that it?”
“I’m sorry, I did not know. So, what do we do now?” I asked, beginning to feel remorse, or at least regret, for the previous days ‘inspired’ post.
“Well, since it seems that you are my prophet, we get to work very closely together.” He had grown another inch, with each size increase, his voice got a little deeper, and it no longer had that Chipmunk feel to it.
I was beginning to like this idea, Inspiration might be a good thing to have around.
He read my mind again, and chuckled. “Oh, you will be inspired all right, you will write some great tales. You will become a published author in the next two years. People will talk about your stories for years to become. After you die, your works are going to be heralded as the new classics. But first.”
Inspiration struck, coincidentally, right on the side of my head, his open hand moving so fast it only registered that I had been smacked when I saw him move his hand gently back and forth, like it was stinging a little.
I opened up my text editor, I was Inspired all right….
Chapter 1: The life of Steve, or how he became the Demon Inspiration