Closing The Door


“I have demons,” he told me once. “They make me do and say things. Hurt people.”

I mentioned this to my friend Sam when I stopped by his office one afternoon. Though Sam was master of many fields, the sign on the door said “Travel Agent”.

“Has he hurt you?”

“He has tried.” I smiled. “If he’s got demons, I don’t think they’re very good ones.”

Sam brought me a cup of coffee and closed the shop.

“He doesn’t have demons,” he said. “Demons are very busy, you know, they don’t have time to waste on dull little men with delusions.”

“Are you just trying to make me feel better? He says he’s pure evil.”

Sam laughed, that rich deep laugh of genuine amusement.

“You are bright enough to realise that demons aren’t interested in people who are pure evil, surely? Think about it. Demons are pure evil. What is there in the puny claims of these men to attract them? No, demons are drawn to goodness.”

“Surely they take what is good and turn it into evil? So he could have once been attractive to them?”

“Demons are very patient. There’s no point in corrupting a soul overnight, not when a useful vessel has been found. Evil decays; it is the good still in the soul that keeps it fresh.

“He doesn’t have demons. He thinks himself boring and insignificant – in that he’s right, of course – and the most exciting thing he can come up with is that demons might want to possess him. Incidentally, it’s never ‘demons’ plural. Demons are territorial, you know, and from the sounds of it, he’s not got that much to offer even one, so there’s certainly not enough to share.”

The coffee was strong, soothing. Its aroma cleared my head; its bitterness cleansed the taste of disappointment from my tongue.

“Why does he bother you so much?” asked Sam.

“People follow him. People believe his stories. People revere him.”

“Ah.” Sam put his feet up onto the desk and swung back on his chair, hands steepled. “And you are jealous?”

“No,” I said, too quickly. “Yes. I am jealous. I can’t inspire that sort of devotion. I can’t lie to people like that. Sometimes I wish I could.”

“Let me ask you something.” Sam leaned forward. “These devotees of his -- would you want them close to you?”

I shook my head.

“I couldn’t watch my back for that long,” I laughed.

“He believes he has demons, and then he believes he’s the Lord of the Flies… he does have large delusions! Things would be a lot more difficult if he were important enough for either of those to be true.”

Sam stood up.

“I guarantee you no harm will come of this,” he said, taking off his jacket. “Demons prefer people who think for themselves, who question, who muddy the waters. We do have standards, you know.”

The wings of Sammael unfolded.

“Ah, that’s better,” said the fallen Angel of Death. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, we’re moving to bigger offices. Thanks to you, our travel business is booming. So many souls heading for the warmer lands.”

#shortstory #fiction

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