The Roommate from Hell
I have a new roommate. And he’s the roommate from hell.
I realize that phrase is thrown around a lot, usually to describe housemates whose behaviors range from the mildly annoying peccadillo to acts of full-blown psychosis. You know the type. We’ve all had them. But this is different. I’m now completely convinced there’s a demon living in my apartment.
While no beauty by any measure, he’s not as repulsive as you might think. But he does have a slight odor, like a wet blanket left out too long in the rain.
His skin is nearly translucent — much like watered-down milk, and you can almost see the veins crisscrossing his body beneath. He appears cold to the touch, mainly smooth, but with a few wrinkles here and there, especially where his skin hangs loose on his bones. It flaps around as he moves — an altogether unpleasant sight.
He’s much shorter than I imagined a demon would be, and has a small, wide nose that’s almost squashed. Perhaps broken in some hellish brawl. His eyes are big and round. They’re slightly recessed and stare out at me from beneath an overly large forehead. A chubby belly jiggles when he waddles around the room on fat little legs that are out of proportion to the rest of his body. It’s amazing how quickly they can move, and he with them. Oh, and he wears short, yellow pants.
I’ve come to the conclusion that he believes I can’t see him. I know this because he engages in a host of activities that would normally be reserved for times of personal isolation. He frequently gnaws on his long nails, whittling them down so the nubs of his fingers are raw and then spitting the remains all over the floor. He also picks his nose and flicks the dried clumps of mucus through the air. And I have to say I was quite shocked the first time I saw him pull his little pecker from his pants and happily go to work on it.
When the demon isn’t gnawing at, picking in or jerking off his own parts, he can be found sitting calmly in the chair behind me — waiting and watching. Watching television. Watching me. Sometimes he’ll stare almost wistfully out the window, even though there’s little to see — buildings stretching to the horizon, their smokestacks belching exhaust into the haze-filled skies. He’s there right now, staring at me. Something tells me he has no plans to leave.
My demon’s started jogging. For the last three nights I’ve lain in bed listening to the patter of fast little feet as he runs the length of the apartment. He starts in the kitchen, races down the hallway to the front door, gleefully slides on the polished wood floor, spins and runs back again. When he passes the open doorway to my bedroom he’s little more than a blur. Only a few days ago I would’ve thought it odd for a demon to be jogging around my home. Now it’s become routine. His initial runs lasted for only a few minutes, but now he keeps it up for most of the night. He may be trying to drive me mad from lack of sleep.
Today when I came home from work, the front door was locked — from the inside. It took some doing before I’d succeeded in breaking the door frame and forcing my way into the house. Once I’d made it inside, the demon ignored me. He sat, nonchalantly rocking back and forth and swinging his short legs to and fro like a recalcitrant child. The half smile on his pale face was almost a sneer, and his mouth flashed rotting teeth. I have to admit, he’s beginning to frighten me.
I haven’t been outside in days for fear the demon won’t let me back in. Work stopped calling long ago. I’m sure I’ve been fired. And the food is running out. He has a voracious appetite, eating everything in sight. First it was the sweets — cookies, candies, cakes and all the sodas are long gone. Then he started in on the meats. He’s made the kitchen a filthy mess — countertops cluttered with unwashed pans, walls spattered with grease and foodstuff littering the floor from his failed attempts at frying, boiling, stewing and simmering everything in the house. I’m beginning to wonder how long I can take this.
Last night, while I was asleep, he took a bite out of my thigh. I don’t know how he accomplished it without my knowledge, but he did. What do I know about the anesthetizing powers of the supernatural otherworld? Whatever it was, it worked, and I woke up this morning missing a large chunk of my flesh that, I must say, I’d become quite fond of. I realize he’s not likely to go away on his own; I must do something.
Fever has wracked my body from the infection caused by his bite. I can’t even sit up to type. I think I’ll rest a bit longer today.
This morning I cut off my leg. Unable to control the spread of the infection, I had no other choice. I wrapped it in a dirty sheet and hid it beneath my bed. I hope he doesn’t sneak in while I’m asleep and make a meal of it. I want to keep my body parts as far away from his as possible. I hear him on the other side of the door. He’s giggling.
Yesterday my fever finally broke. And with my strength slowly returning, I started planning. After so many days locked in my room I’m badly undernourished. The flesh from my amputated leg will only sustain me for so long.
I finally did it! Last night I struck! With a knife I’d secreted from the foul-smelling kitchen, I fashioned a spear by duct taping the blade to the remains of my tattered leg.
Once the demon had completed several laps down the hallway, I went for it. As he passed the doorway, I thrust my makeshift weapon into his path. The blade caught him mid-stride, severing his Achilles tendon, causing him to scream in pain and sending him tumbling head over heels into the front door where he crashed with such a noise it startled me.
I warily crawled to his side. And when I was sure he was out cold I grabbed his fat leg and sunk my teeth deep into the meat of his upper thigh. I have to say he tasted a bit like chicken. When I bit down, I felt his bone splinter between my jaws.
My bite shocked him back into consciousness with a keening wail that I was sure would wake the dead. I didn’t care if it had, choosing instead to relish watching him scamper away, groaning in agony.
Things have been quiet. I haven’t seen the demon for more than 24 hours. Two days ago I heard the sound of breaking glass. I want to imagine he jumped through the window, meeting his death on the street below. But without the strength to check, I just lay here reveling in the fantasy. All that’s left for me to eat are the few remaining pieces of meat on my souring leg, and the horde of flies and maggots that have found a home there. I can only take a couple bites at a time, barely able to choke down the rotting pieces of my own flesh.
He wasn’t dead after all. Last night he started the fire.
The flames made quick work of my cheap bedroom door, allowing him to break through. When he crawled across the threshold, I could tell he was in bad shape. The infection from my bite had taken its toll. As he dragged himself through the flames I realized the source of the crash I’d heard. In his crippled and feverish state, he must’ve fallen onto the dining room table. Shards of glass were now embedded in his cheeks and protruded from his forehead, creating dangerous spiked horns where there had been none.
To an outsider we must have looked quite the pair. Two crippled souls laying on the floor of a rancid, smoke-filled apartment that smelled of waste and death. He slowly dragged his body forward through the filth. But due to his lack of nails, he was unable to gain much purchase on the slippery wood floor, the manicured nubs of his fingers offering little traction.
I saw the desperation in his eyes as he pulled himself toward me. That’s when I realized he was far too weak and broken. During my self-imposed isolation, I’d been preparing, sharpening my own talons. My clawed fingers, combined with the scales that undulate in waves across my body ensured that I’d be more effective at dragging myself along the floor and plucking those hideous blue eyes from his skull before he could get hold of my own beautiful fiery reds.
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