Within the constant high-pitched whine of the tinnitus in his head, he crouched and rocked. The cold wall, digging like a furious mole at his spine, hardly triggered a response as it drew blood. Every muscle taut; hands gripping with such ferocity that the little air inside his palms suffocated under the pressure.
For so long, it seemed, Damian Dastard’s life felt like it had purpose. There had been a clear path and a calm, crystalline river running by it. Yet, as life can often do, without warning, a dirty deluge appeared to swell the gentle water of his thoughts, until the path and river were indistinguishable.
The scene was another bad trip’s phase beginning again and he knew it.
The ritual followed the same horrific script: the air around him became unbreathable as his lungs rebelled to strike against him. The cold loneliness of his own treacherous brain smothered his mouth and crushed his chest. The water, soon rising to his shins, appeared to reach up like demons blackened razor claws to pull him down into the depths of the murky, stagnant waters. He could feel their talons slicing, icy cold, through his jeans and deep into the flaccid flesh of his thighs.
Was giving in an option? He groaned, as panic overcame sense.
Dastard had played the same vile game too many times. It was wearing as thin as his hair line.
He thrashed like a trout on a riverbank.
FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! He thought, as his vision fogged and his lungs felt like they were collapsing under the weight of his despair.
FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!
The water, up to his forehead, taking the rest of the air, began to relax Dastard as he gave in.
He allowed his soul to be dragged down, down, down. The light of life condensed into a far off pinprick as his essence acquiesced to the demon’s domain.
I could live my death down here, he thought. Besides, it might be fun to hear the Devil’s side of the story for a change.
“Get the kettle on, Abraxas! I’ll have tea with one sugar,” he called out, when the demons had fulfilled their side of the bargain.
The world of cruelty and questions receded into the under-stairs cupboard of his former consciousness. He locked them inside, before returning to dinner with the demons.
They made good spaghetti.