Friday, August 12, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Dear Child

Dear Child,

   The life you're going to lead is not what we wanted for you. Please, at least believe that your mother loved you with all her heart. I’ve only got this one letter to convince you.

   Your mother wanted children her whole life. She talked about having them on our first date. That sort of thing scared off most men – lucky me, for being patient. She kept legal pads all around the apartment jotting down names that were holy, professions of power, favorite colors and recipes you could share. You were going to be her life.

   Flora. Your mother’s name was Flora.

   Flora grew very sick. Complications arose with cysts in her ovaries. We were given the choice to abort you at a low percent chance of her survival, or risk birth and a lower percent chance of either of you surviving. She was hellbent for the latter until she came up with a third option.

   I didn't even believe in pacts and curses. She talked me into it, because as much as I was ready to love you, she was my life. In the middle of a night, she summoned this thing into a bedroom. It poured out of her eyes and she collapsed on the carpet, leaving me to make terms with the thing. I was just afraid for her life. I'd never even imagined this sort of thing, so I clung to just two things: that you both survive. It’s my fault. I should have paid more attention to his terms.

    You were born five weeks later. There was a lot of blood. I had to wait this infuriating distance from the operating room. I prayed. I prayed to the demon that she’d live. And she did. She even got to hold you. I wish you could remember that.

   Flora died of an infection two days later. The doctors didn’t know how to treat it; it hit her brain too fast. Her father pushed me to sue, thinking some of the equipment wasn't sterile.

   I was trying to make up my mind over what it was when the demon returned. He had followed the contract, you see? You both survived the birth, and now he wanted his payment. He claimed you.

   Hurt can make you do very stupid things. If you do anything in your life, don’t follow hurt to action. You need to understand that because there will be a lot of it in your life, and you can't let it make you foul up.

   I was in a world of it. I copied your mother's ritual in the middle of a night and summoned another demon. One that eats others. I gave her whatever she wanted to find and swallow him. She even let me watch. I enjoyed it until I threw up. The original demon, he cursed me. It didn't matter. He wasn't going to follow up on anything, and I don't rightly care if something comes for me tonight.

   My demon took its price. You. And I knew it. Somewhere inside my anger and bile, I knew you were what she'd take. But there was no saving you. There was only not letting him have you, even if it meant putting you in the hands of another.

   Your father is a very stupid man. I don't know what happens to you. If you grow up hating me, or wanting to kill me, I'll deserve it. Come in the middle of the night if you ever get free. But please, know that your mother loved you so much.

   Your father,


  1. Bloody hell, poor bugger he didn't stand a chance. You have to be wily when dealing with demons.

    Look least he was decent enough to leave him a letter.


  2. Pretty vicious story. Pacts with demons never end well. I wonder if the son will ever get to see the letter.

  3. Ooh, making a deal with the devil's devil. No way that's going to end well.

    At the end of paragraph 5, shouldn't it say, "I should have paid more attention to his terms."?

  4. Agreed - nothing good comes of obsessions when mixed with demon-summoning. Great emotional impact, John.

  5. Well done and very sad. I hope the child finds a way to get free.

    Dealing with demons is never a good idea… they'll drive a train through the smallest loophole.

  6. Helen, it was all the communication he was allowed, I'm afraid. Visitation rights are strict in Hell.

    Eric, the child will indeed read the message. What do you think the impact would be, though?

    Tim, thank you for catching my typo there. That is a silly one - an artifact from an earlier draft of the same paragraph.

    Tony, glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for dropping by.

    FAR, now if the child does get free, what do you think it will do to dad? Providing he's still around.

  7. Tragic. You never, ever, ever make pacts or deals with the dark side. Getting what you want always comes at a high price.

  8. Haunting and poignant. It gave me tingles.

  9. Interesting. Now I'm curious what happened to Roderick.

  10. Stephen, you've never made a deal with any sort of unseemly person?

    Max, glad to deliver tingles! That reaffirms at least a little of the work on this one.

    Madison, what do you think will happen to him?

  11. Cool story! And yes, tricky business making deals with demons... I'm curious as to what happens to both Roderick and his son. Great story to leave everyone wanting more!

  12. This is why, when given the choice between death and damnation, you choose death!

  13. Poor thing. Wonder if he'll grow up to be a lawyer.

  14. This was a very sad and tragic story. You really made me feel some strong emotions with this piece.

  15. This story had a sense of the inevitable about it, meaning a happy ending wasn't going to happen. Really quite scary; a nightmare waiting to happen.

  16. It did it again! I was just typing in my comments again (a sketchier more vague version of my original) and then the page just dropped out.

    I'm officially freaked out.

    One thing I wanted to say was the total control of pacing in your piece. If that's not careful construction and re-drafting then you're one talented mo-fo.

    Loved it.

  17. How quickly we lose our heads in times of pain and anger. His despair poured of the "page." Excellent job this week, John.

  18. The name Roderick always makes me think of Poe. And this piece has a Poe-esque feel to it.

    I loved it. You can feel the desperation of Roderick's character as well as the deep sorrow. And the pacing is well done.

    Another hit out of the park for you!


  19. Has he never read stories of making deals before? Everyone knows you never get what you really want when you deal with demons, fairies, or leprechauns. Stupid bugger!

    Whatever that kid does, he needs to learn that lesson! :)

  20. The kid never had a chance! It was either never be born or be given to a demon. Wonder what the kid would have chosen if it had a choice?

  21. John got all serious. Nice twist using demons. Impressive as usual.

  22. Nice twists and turns here. Heart-wrenching letter. Impressed at Roderick's persistence and achievement at making one of the demons pay.

    I'm sure the son will only get to see a warped version of the letter that leaves Roderick in the worst possible light.

  23. Sam, would you want a follow-up that explored Roderick's future, or his son's? Or is the ambiguity better?

    Bev, I'm glad you've got that moral to you!

    Karen, such a mean thing to accuse demons of encouraging.

    Michael, what particularly pulled out emotion for you?

    Rebecca, from the opening paragraph I tried not to hide the outcome. The father can't write his child an apology and lead with that sort of ambiguity, you know?

    Ian, I'm sorry this gives you such trouble. Is it your browser, or Blogspot in particular?

    Danni, thanks Danni! I literally put it together in the hour before bed after about nine hours of editing. I was afraid it'd be terrible. So tired!

    Spot, I'm not sure which Roderick I was thinking of in the genesis of the piece. I've known a few. Poe works. I'm particularly glad to read that the pacing functioned for you; I was afraid it might be too stripped down.

    Gany, well he didn't even believe in them, and then he was distracted over his wife. Disbelievers are typically in sub-optimal bargaining postures.

    Sonia, a choice from the womb? That would be a heavy thing on a mind of any age.

    Raven, you suggest this isn't normal?

    Carrie, I have my moments. Glad you liked it!

    Aidan, that's a clever outcome I hadn't thought about. It is possible for the super-demon to taint the letter, even if she does deliver it.

  24. A very creative story, John, and you did a great job with the epistolary format.

  25. Where pacts with demoms are concerned, no-one ever seems to come out of it good, do they? I think the small print is always written in their favour.

  26. Super story John! You told it so well I felt more like I was in the room listening to him talk, rather than reading a letter. Great work!

  27. Chuck, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I was seriously worried whether the piece would carry.

    Steve, yup, the demon stuff usually goes south. I tried to change it up with Roderick's contingency pact. Did it work for you?

    Deanna, what about it sounded more oral than written? I'm curious as I held back my inner ear a few times striving for written verisimilitude.

  28. Nicely done - an interesting way of approaching what I can only imagine is a horrendous situation when parents divide on their children's futures.

    I also enjoyed your letter approach - this can sometimes come as a cheesy but worked well here.

  29. Wow, this was a really different take on the "letter" form, and it really worked.

  30. At least the kid will learn that his mother did indeed love him, and where there is love there is hope.

  31. Bloody brilliant John!

    Things always go in a downward spiral when demons are involved. Glad the one who took his daughter away was taken out.

  32. Ooh this was nasty, but SO compelling. I was drawn in from the first. Really nice twist on the traditional don't make a pact with a demon. Great stuff!

  33. The letter style of story worked really good for this. Pacts, demons, regrets and persistence - this could turn into a movie.


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