The priest lay dead on the floor when I walked in.
His head, twisted in a way that made my stomach feel the same.
If this man of the cloth failed, what chance does a two-bit hustler like myself have?
The little boy is possessed. That’s what his family said.
I didn’t really believe it until the dead priest.
I really believed it when he used my middle name, which I’ve never told anyone in twenty years.
I fully believed it when he sprayed me with shit and started levitating.
Sometimes, I guess, it takes a drastic experience to make a cynic like me come around.
I close the bedroom door behind me, locking out the crying parents and praying neighbors.
The boy sits on the edge of the bed frame, swinging his legs back and forth without a care.
“So, what’s up, champ? Got yourself a bit of a cold?”
The boy chuckles. I guess whatever has control has a sense of humor. Good. Maybe I can buy it a beer and it will move on without any trouble.
The boy starts coughing. Violently. I can see his ribs straining against his skin with each guttural cough.
He spits something at me.
Fleshly. Covered in blood. Hard.
“It’s a tumor.”
I flick it away from me. Disgusting. Like, really disgusting.
“That’s nice. Mind keeping stuff like that to yourself? Got a bit of a queasy stomach here, you stinkin’ up the room with shit, and all.”
He climbs off the bed, closer to me, looking into my eyes.
I know it won’t be good, whatever is going to happen next, but I can’t show fear.
He kisses me on the forehead.
I see visions.
The boy contorting in pain. Coughing and vomiting blood.
Bones being ripped out of his back.
His stomach exploding inside of him.
Shitting his intestines into the toilet in one huge, hot, splash.
“Do I see what? That was some disgusting…I don’t know what that was.”
“They were his nightmares. His fears. That’s why he called me into him.”
He climbs back onto the bed and lights a cigarette.
“Where did you get those? You’re like…ten.”
“The priest. I made him bring them to me.”
I nod, like it makes sense. It doesn’t, but I can tell there is a bit of ten year old logic mixed in with this demon.
“So the tumor?”
“The boys. He was dying.”
“Got it. And where is he?”
“He’s a cat. That’s what he wanted. That was the trade. This body, which is deliciously falling apart and rotten, for his soul to be placed into the cat he’d watch from his bedroom window every night.”
“And he’s happy?”
“Look for yourself.”
I follow his ten year old pointed finger out the window.
Down in the street below a cat stops chewing on garbage and looks up at me.
It stretches, goes belly up, but keeps eye contact with me.
“Alright. Seems fair. Drink?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
I walk out of the house with the demon-in-a-kids—body. The parents are wailing and trying to stop him, but one look from the boy seems to set them right.
Out on the street, the cat purrs and circles our legs.
The boy reaches down and scratches it’s head, then lights a cigarette and points to the nearest bar.