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To Hold the Affections of a Demon

To Hold the Affections of a Demon

A Story by Marmar
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A short story about a medical student in Cairo who saves a demon in disguise and the said demon will do anything to repay her for that kindness.

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“Beautiful Demiana. Kind Demiana. Pure Demiana. Tell me, what is it that you wish for,” asked the young man who, by what seemed magic, appeared on Demiana’s bed.

 Demiana felt fear grip her heart and as her dark green eyes widened, she thought, My mind’s telling me to run, but my feet are rooted to the spot. Not even my voice works.

The young man smiled a smile that did not reach his cold black eyes as he said, “I am here to reward you, naturally.”

 Demiana managed to find the strength to shake her head at the thought that a madman had entered her room.

 “Do you not recall a cat?”

An image of the black cat she had saved from a group of boys throwing stones at it rose up in Demiana’s mind.

 How on Earth does he know about that? And what’s more, why does he care?

At her confused expression, he chuckled before he turned into a cat before reverting back to a young man, mere moments later.

Finding her voice, she screamed, “Mama! Baba!

The young man chuckled and said, “If you would like, you’re free to scream louder. They will not come.”

I have to move now! My door is behind me so push back your fear, Demiana, and move!

To distract him, she asked, “Who are you?”

As the man laughed at her question Demiana found that her door could not open, but that was impossible.

How could a door without a lock refuse to open?!

At her shocked expression, the young man said, “For you, I shall answer. I have no name, for I am no beloved of your god, but have been called many things. I am the gin your people speak of with fear in their hearts. The one who leads legions to possess your people’s souls. I am the seducer who guides men and women into sin. I am no fallen nor mortal, but have existed since mankind first dared step onto this ancient land. I am the Prince of Egypt.”

Fear gripped Demiana's heart as she rashly tore the chain that bound her silver cross necklace from her neck, leaving small scratches from the stray chain links. Meanwhile, the man who was not a man advanced so Demiana was soon backed to a wall.

Demiana quickly chanted,

“Our Father who art in Heaven

Hallowed be Thy name

As Kingdom Come-”

She stopped when the man, no demon, nonchalantly took the cross out of her tightly clasped hands as if she were nothing more than a child, leaving a minor burn mark in his palm.

He scoffed, “As if I should be confused with some minor demon. I am the Prince of Egypt. This is but a minor annoyance to me.”

Demiana paled.

The demon only asked, “Gameela, what is it that you wish for?”

Shakily, Demiana answered, “I-I don’t have anything that I wish for.”

The demon laughed until he saw the resolve in Demiana's eyes. His face hardened as he said, “I see. If you change your mind, call my title and I shall appear” before vanishing.

At his departure, Demiana fell to her knees in relief and made the sign of the cross before deciding she was going to think of this as some nightmare because she would never call for him.

Finding her door unlocked, she grabbed her stuff and decided that she would head to Cairo University’s library before getting her hours at El Qasr El Ainy New Educational Hospital done.

***

At the hospital, Demiana sat with her best friend, Salma, on a bench discussing the mundane before Demiana waved bye to her near tardy friend. In these rare moments of tranquility, she liked to think of her dreams of becoming Egypt’s greatest female surgeon. While she enjoyed the peace that her break offered, she saw the hospital staff running towards Salma’s class.

Grabbing a doctor’s arm, she asked, “What happened?”

“One of the medical students has gone mad!”

Worried for her friend's safety, Demiana raced down the white hospital tiles to find Salma’s turban-style hijab loosened so that her hair flew everywhere, her eyes rolled to the back of her head, billions of slashes appeared throughout her body, dyeing it scarlet, and her nails elongated to resemble claws aimed for the cowering students and medical staff.

An image of the demon as he left her room rose up as the words “Prince of Egypt” slipped from her lips. Instantaneously, the room and all its inhabitants froze as the demon stood towering over Demiana. The young woman looked around in shock to see a sort of grayish light descend over everyone and everything except the humanoid demon and herself. Even when she tried waving her hand over a doctor frozen in mid-run, there was no reaction.

“Having fun?”

She thought, This isn’t like earlier. I won’t be afraid!

Momentarily looking to the grayish form of Salma, she screamed, “What did you do to her?!”

“Little Demiana, how quick you are to accuse me. I am not the one inside your friend, but if you find it so troubling, you need only make a wish and it will be as if this never happened.”

As he spoke, Demiana felt her eyes water at thoughts of Salma. Of how they had grown up together in the same apartment complex, of the trials they had overcome together, and of the dreams they had.

God, forgive me for what I am to do, but she doesn’t deserve this.

“I-I w-wish for Salma Fannous to have never been possessed and to never be possessed in the future.”

The demon smirked, “Done. One down.” before disappearing.

Suddenly, the scene shifted back to when Salma was rushing to her class, but this time, Demiana followed her and waited outside Salma’s class.

The next day, Demiana decided to go see Abuna Mikhail since her classes didn’t start until three and if anyone knew how to disperse a demon, she hoped her father of confession would be that person.

Outside, he greeted her as a black cat and continued to follow her as she walked down Ramses street into Nile Corniche. He would not stop pestering her about wishes, but not a soul paid any heed.

Just how can he follow me with this crowd?! And what happened to the natural nosiness of Egyptians?! What’s worse is Zeitoun is in the opposite direction!

Feeling that enough was enough, Demiana retorted, “I will never use those wishes.”

The demon laughed before departing.

With him gone, Demiana finally hailed a taxi and told him to take her to the Church of Saint Mary in Zeitoun.

Walking through the familiar church, she opened the door to Abuna’s office to find him with a young man.

At the sight of him, Demiana was struck by how different he seemed to other young men her age. There was a calmness about him that most young men lacked, but unlike the demon, he had a warmth in his dark eyes.

This young man stated, “There is something evil stalking you.”

English? Is he a foreigner? But he looks like an Egyptian…

Just as Abuna Mikhael was about to rebuke the boy, Demiana asked, “How did you know” in badly accented English.

Abuna’s face paled as he ordered, “Youssef, lock the door. Demiana, what happened?”

Demiana told them everything with tears streaming down her face.  

Youssef asked, “And the demon’s name? What was it?”

Perplexed, Demiana answered, “He didn’t have a name, but referred to himself as the ‘Prince of Egypt.”’

Youssef started nervously pacing as he said, “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.”

Recognizing it, Demiana said, “That’s Daniel. I think.”

“The point I am making is that this was thousands of years ago, but the prophecy had nothing to do with Egypt. Nobody has ever heard nor seen anything about a demon controlling the principality of Egypt since Pharaonic times!”

Abuna sat down in shock.

In contrast, Youssef said, “Uncle, with your permission, I think it would be best if I stuck by her for a while.”

Abuna answered, “Y-yes. I think that would be best.”

Demiana nodded and said, “If you can keep the demon away, then please accompany me home.”

He nodded and they took a bus off of Faris Gergis street to reach her apartment.

At the entrance, Youssef handed her a knotted cross while telling her, “Put this on and never take it off-Even when you go to sleep or bathe.”

Demiana apprehensively nodded before placing it around her neck and heading inside.

***

Taking a break from reviewing her lecture notes, Demiana thought on the past few days. Of Youssef and her growing feelings for him. And of how different he was from the demon. Speaking of, ever since she began wearing Youssef’s cross, the demon evanesced. Demiana couldn’t remember a time she was this happy.

As she thought, she gripped the knotted cross around her neck so tightly that the cord snapped and the cross fell to the carpet. As she reached for it, an invisible force levitated it and flung it outside her bedroom window.

No!

Sitting on her bed with his legs crossed, the demon smirked, “You didn’t really believe that you had gotten rid of me?”

Before she could call Youssef, Demiana felt her body lose mobility. The demon walked up to her before gripping her chin while saying, “Do you know how kind I have been to you? But, if you so desire, I may easily turn cruel, so little one, I would think twice before trying a trick like that again.”

At his departure, Demiana collapsed onto the floor.

***

Since then, Demiana avoided both Youssef and Salma to protect them. Today, she was supposed to meet Salma to let her copy Demiana’s notes.

A promise is a promise.

After entering the study room, she felt the door lock and was confronted by both Salma and Youssef blocking the only exit.

With hands on hips, Salma yelled, “Why are you avoiding me?!”

“How do you two even know each other?!”

Youssef answered, “She saw me that day I walked you back home.”

Salma glared, “Answer the question.”

Avoiding eye contact, Demiana replied, “I-I’m not-”

“Was it the demon?”

Confused, Salma stared at Demiana’s nod towards Youssef’s direct gaze.

Wide-eyed, Salma asked, “Just what is going on?”

Demiana started up a lie, but Salma held up her hand and said, “Demiana, if you even try lying, our twenty years of friendship is over.”

Nodding, Demiana told the two everything.

Salma stood in shock of Demiana’s explanation while Youssef said, “You need to make a bargain with it.”

Abruptly, Salma snapped out of her shock and simultaneously with Demiana asked, “A bargain?”

“Yes. Although that demon has a high rank, it is still bound by laws. The laws that govern its kind are different than the ones that govern us. It is these laws that keep it from directly snatching Demiana. If you can make the right bargain with it, the demon will disappear from Demiana’s life.”

Salma asked, “How?”

“Abroad, there are certain days where such bargains hold more weight. The closest such day would be Halloween-”

“My cousin’s Halloween party” interrupted Salma.

“What on Earth is Hal-lo-ween,” asked Demiana.

“A foreigner holiday my cousin is celebrating for his foreigner friends.”

Youssef interjected, “That would work perfectly. We’ll draw it out there before making a bargain with it.”

Salma and I nodded and we all went our separate ways after finalizing it.

In the days leading up to the party, Demiana began to spend time with Salma so to not draw the demon’s attention, but still avoided Youssef to safeguard him from the demon’s malice.

One day, while reviewing her lecture notes, he reappeared.

Putting away her notes, Demiana turned and asked, “Why are you here?”

“For the pleasure of your company, gameela.”

In a moment of sudden bravery, Demiana asked, “Why me?! I’ve never done anything deserving this so why me?! And don’t give me that cat excuse!”

The demon's eyes widened as he asked, “Why so brave all of a sudden?”

“Because you’re going to do what you like no matter what I say so it makes no difference if I’m meek or not.”

The demon wistfully answered, “True enough.”

Her words brought him back to a time long forgotten. In a language lyrical, but forgotten by all, save the ancients, he said the words she said to him so long ago.

To you who believe yourself so above men, for what you have done I curse you! Until the day that one of my people you scorn and play with grants you true kindness so shall you be cursed to walk as a cat until the end of time!”

At her annoyed look from speaking in so foreign a tongue, he thought that this child really did resemble her.

Shaking his head, he asked, “Have you decided on your remaining wishes yet?”

“No, I have not!”

He then left her.

Since that day, the demon reappeared every day in Demiana’s room. And now, there was only a week until Halloween. Feeling that the demon had quieted down, Demiana decided to have a girls’ day with her mother to curb any questions she might have on her behavior.

In the midst of wandering the souk, they ran into Abuna Mikhail and feeling the conversation turn south, she awkwardly left for the bathroom.

Upon her exit, she saw a crowd of people escaping from the direction of Demiana’s mother and priest. With fear in her eyes, Demiana ran to where she left them to find the once peaceful souk dyed red with the blood of her loved ones by a ghoul straight out of some children’s fairytale. Its form resembled a woman, but its hair was matted. Its fingers resembled claws and its teeth were so sharp that they spilled out of its mouth. The only thing that clothed its body was a dirtied white dress resembling a sack. In horror, Demiana watched as it smiled at her before tearing off her mother’s leg and devouring it right before her eyes. Amidst the screams of the souk, Demiana called for the demon and everything froze upon his arrival.

“What is it that you wish for?”

“I-I w-wish-”

“Before you continue, you should be aware that this time you must give me something in return.”

“W-w-what?”

He spread out his arms and replied, “A kiss.”

Repulsed, Demiana yelled, “la’a!”

“Oh? Are the feelings you hold for them so superficial? What is a kiss for their lives?”

As he turned to leave, Demiana yelled, “Wait!”

The demon opened up his arms once more and Demiana reluctantly stepped into them to place a kiss on his cold, hard lips as he closed his arms around her. She froze at the warmth that filled her. It was her first kiss, but instead of feeling like a violation, it was almost...pleasurable. Swiftly, guilt set in.

How?! He isn't even human!

She snapped out of her thoughts when he, with his face inches from hers, whispered, “What is it that you wish for?”

“I wish for the lives of my mother and priest to be returned to them as if they had never been attacked and for them to never be attacked again.”

He whispered in her ear, “Done. One more wish left” before Demiana was brought back to when she was to abandon her loved ones to a ghoul.

After that day, the demon was gone and before she knew it, Halloween arrived. As she put on the finishing touches to her pirate costume, Salma knocked at her door dressed as a fairy.

After going to pick up Youssef, who opted for casual clothes, Salma drove them to her cousin’s villa. At the party, they were interrupted by people who wanted to meet the foreigner or comment on Salma and Demiana’s costumes. Feeling the night get longer, Demiana made some excuse on how the three of them needed fresh air. As they walked to an area free of party-goers, they noticed that they couldn’t even hear a cricket. In realization, the trio stopped and scanned the area.

“Boo” whispered a voice from behind.

Salma and Demiana jumped before turning while Youssef calmly turned around.

Youssef asked, “Why do you have such an interest in a human?”

“Ah. You’re that brat.”

His eyes hardened as he said, “I don’t like your eyes” before flicking his hand so that Youssef lay in a pool of his own blood that stained Demiana and Salma’s shoes a deep crimson. Demiana could only stare in horror.

Salma, in fear of her death, yelled, “You had no right to do that! He was only trying to reason with you!”

The demon deadpanned, “How boring” before flicking his hand so that Salma released a cry of anguish as she joined Youssef. Demiana looked down to see her costume splattered with the blood of her dearest friend.

Amidst the bloodshed, the demon laughed in delight of his victory as Demiana remembered the words the demon had first said to her.

I have no name, for I am no beloved of your god

Demiana stood with courage she did not have and said, “Demon, I wish to make a bargain with you.”

“A bargain?”

“I shall give you a name and in return you shall give back the lives of my friends and never come near nor harm me and my loved ones again.”

“And why should I accept this bargain when I can have you?”

“Because if you take me, I would hate you and that hate would change me, but a name is forever.”

The demon contemplated her answer before saying, “Only if the name pleases me.”

“Ashraf.”

© 2016 Marmar


Author's Note

Marmar
This was a story I got self-published with other writers in a horror anthology. If you want to support me and the others who worked on it, here's the link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/various/laugh-until-you-scream/ebook/product-22448549.html

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176 Views
Added on January 31, 2016
Last Updated on January 31, 2016
Tags: Cairo, Egypt, Modern Day, Urban Fantasy, Demon, Genie, Wishes, Coptic, Jinn, College Student

Author

Marmar
Marmar

Los Angeles, CA



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