Cue the lights and the sound of a coffee pot finishing off its brew. The sleepy little Queens apartment was the same as it had always been, a cluttered mess and smelling lightly of cigarettes. Since entering, I had sat on the edge of the recliner’s cushion in wait. Once the sound of the coffee maker had quieted out walked the Vessel with two mugs in tow; one was taken before he sat down adjacent on the couch, looking to me expectantly.
“Alright Nik, today’s the day.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Ask your questions. All of them.
I’ll give you my honesty within reason.”
“Haven’t I been trying to do that all along?
“I’m serious, have at it.”
“Okay… any questions?
You’ll answer anything?”
“Anything, but within reason, nothing that will tamper with
the events to come. You’ll have to trust me.”
“What if I don’t?”
“That’s fine, but clock’s ticking. C’mon.”
“Alright alright… So where’s Bryson?”
“He’s still in the city. He has his own troubles
going on but he’s doing okay.”
“Troubles..? Will I be able to see him?”
“Eventually, but you’re not going to find him yourself.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“It means… well, I can’t tell you that. It will alter the
course of things and then I can’t promise anything.”
“You’re a liar y’know that?”
“A liar with your best interests in mind. My advice,
keep your friends around, you’re gonna need them.”
“But he’s okay..? He remembers me?”
“Do you think he’d forget about his older brother?”
“He hasn’t forgotten for a second. Next question.”
“So why’d the demon choose me?”
“Demons look for troubled souls to inhabit.
You were a candidate of what, think back to the day
that voice came into your head, how you were. Between
the accident and your brother, foster care, school and-”
“What… are you saying that I did it to myself?
That I shouldn’t’ve been depressed after everything?”
“No. I’m saying you were under the right conditions,
at the wrong place, and the wrong time.”
“Nik, don’t beat yourself up about trying to look for a way out.
You thought you were doing the best you could for where you were,
and nobody could prepare for this.”
“So… it chose me just because I was there?”
“That’s my theory, anyway.”
“Theory? Do you not know or something?”
“I have awareness over you, kid, that doesn’t
mean I know what’s up with the dark forces of the
“Why won’t it talk to me?”
“Honestly, I don’t think it knows what to do with you.
It’s probably never had a host that could fight back so easily.”
“What the hell does that mean..?”
“When your hands shake, when you feel lightheaded,
it probably should’ve taken you over by now. There’s
Some part of you that isn’t letting it. You didn’t know that?”
“I… I mean I sort of but I never realized-”
“But you’ve stopped it, time and time again. When you
calm your heart rate down, when the shaking stops.
You're shutting the door on it.”
“I guess I… never thought of it like that.”
“Think of all the times you haven’t been able to, though.
Each time you’ve panicked and woken up in a different
place. When you’ve drank and figured it was a blackout.
Why that last bad trip was worse than you’d expected?”
“But hey, I think I’m just telling you what you already know.
You’ve just been avoiding it.”
“So now what? How do I stop it? Why can I stop it?”
“There’s something about you that’s stronger than it is,
Some part of you that makes you strong enough to.”
“Better not say, I can’t go changing the course of things.”
“Again, You’re a liar.”
“I’m trying to give you your best shot.
Any more questions?”
“What about the shades? The demons?
Am I gonna be able to walk outside in the dark and
not have to watch my back one of these days..?”
“Someone sent them, but a certain devil already
told you that. In all sincerity, I don’t know how to
get them off your tail.”
What would you do if you were me?”
“Keep learning your craft, you’re going to need it.
It will change you in the process but it’ll keep you
around. Even if that means getting your hands a
“That… that’s comforting.”
“Keep running, keep learning, and keep your friends
close, okay? Changes will come soon enough.”
“Your brother’s out there and he’s thinking about you,
promise. Keep your head up, kid.”
- To Be Continued -