School the next day was different, brighter somehow. I felt like running the track a hundred times, or eating ten pounds of hamburgers. Life was pretty good, at least until I actually got there.
I seized up, feeling the anxiety of being around people well up inside me and a cold sweat begin to form.
“Don’t worry about them,” Jeremy said by my side. “You can do this.”
“Can they see you? Oh god I’m talking to a cat in school,” I grumbled to myself.
“They cannot see me if I don’t want them to. And your words to me won’t be heard aloud, it’s just a perk,” Jeremy made a move, that if cats could shrug, would be it.
The halls were packed as usual for my first class. As I settled in and got used to the hard wooden seat, I stiffened. A girl walked in with something clutching her back and arms. It looked like it was made of blades of yellowed glass.
It saw me and made a noise that could be grinding or a hiss as she sat behind me. I tried not to turn around and stare, half of me too petrified to move, the other needing to see more.
“So you see,” Jeremy said from under the desk.
“What is that?” I said, trying to pretend to pay attention to the professor’s lecture.
“Once you confront demons, they become somewhat more visible,” Jeremy said.”They walk your world all the time, unseen by most, and feared by those who can see them,” he continued, “because when you see them, they can see and act on you.”
A clinking sound like beer bottles set on the ground sounded from behind me. The demon of yellowed glass crawled up onto my desk and stared at me. It didn’t have eyes but reflective surfaces that shimmered slightly more than the rest of its changing, radiant body. It looked like it could cut through me with a whisper.
“Don’t touch it,” Jeremy said.
“Jesus Christ, why would I want to?” I whispered back as it peered in closely at me, examining my face, then down my arms. “It looks like it could cut my face off.”
“It can’t hurt you if you don’t touch it. The instant you do…” Jeremy growled at the creature, it peered down at the cat and the glass demon made a hissing noise before scampering towards the back of the class again.
Class dragged on as I wondered what the glass creature was doing behind me. The bell sounded far too late for my liking.
I took deep breaths outside the building, gaining reprieve from the watchful gaze of whatever sat behind me.
The girl passed by me with a glance and gave me a smile. She looked nice, well dressed, had her books in order, but the creature still clung to her back. The look I gave her back must not have been nearly as nice because she looked a little confused as she walked away, looking back at me.
“Will it attack her?” I asked Jeremy.
“She summoned it,” he answered. “She could cast it away, although it is rare. Very rare. I have never seen a human do it myself. So…” he jumped ahead and led on.
“So what?” I asked, following him.
“You can choose to help her. To help her see it. I would highly suggest not though. It is bound to her, and it will take her with it if it has to,” Jeremy said.
I gathered a new feeling together in the pit of my stomach as I watched the girl with the glass demon head into the library. It was like anxiety, but it didn’t feel like there was any fear mixed in. I admit to being somewhat lazy. Extremely lazy. So I could only assume that this was my first adult feeling of resolve and responsibility. Nobody else saw this thing, or at least nobody acted on it.
I clenched my fists and walked into the library after her.
I had to poke through the stacks quite a bit before I found her. The library was comfortably large, big enough to find your own corner and get lost in a pile of books. She was meeting with a man who was handing her something in a bag.
She left to a corner, and I went down the stacks to see her.
The creature was on her, covering her face like a deadly pair of glasses, its points in her eyes. The glass slivers of its body were inside her arms as well, although no blood flowed from them.
“Whu do…you…want a…?” she mumbled at me, her eyes lolling and unable to keep focus. She could barely move and looked to be passing out at a rapid pace.
If the glass demon could grin, that’s what I was doing.
I stared at her with Jeremy, who carefully stalked around the creature.
“Careful…” he said.
I grabbed the bag to use as a pair of gloves between me and the demon. Slowly I touched her with them and pried her arms out of the glass demon. He was less than pleased to say the least.
“I need…” she whispered and looked like she was going to pull in for a kiss with me. The creature on her face looked angry.
I continued to pull until one arm, then the other slipped out of the grasp of the creature, and its splinters within her eyes slowly retracted as it settled onto her back again.
“I need it though,” the girl said to me, appearing to wake from her groggy state.
“You have to fight whatever it is. It’s going to kill you eventually,” I told her. “It will hunt you down and murder you. It won’t be calm and pleasant.”
Jeremy nodded, as I was just spilling words at her, not knowing what was really true or not.
“How do you know?” she snapped. “How do you know what it’s like? How fucking shit everything is. But this,” she pointed to her arms, pinpricks all up and down, “this is real.”
“It’s your death,” I said, holding her hands and kneeling in front of her. “It’s your death and it’s giving you nothing in return. You could be experiencing so many other things. But this is one experience that leads nowhere else. I’ve been at the edge, I have my own demons. You have to fight yours…you have to see.”
She turned around for a moment and cried. When she raised her arms up she gasped a little and backed into me.
“What the?” she said, backing away from the glass creature. It made a sound that came close to a pigeon cooing noise, and looked confused. Glancing back and forth between me and the girl, it tried to touch her but she pulled back.
She grabbed her pack and ran out of the library, shrieking a little and running into things, the little glass creature running after her, breaking apart in small pieces she did.
“Do I go after her?” I asked Jeremy.
“No,” Jeremy shook his head. “Some creatures like that cannot be beaten. They can be cast aside, but it will be with her for a long time, if not forever. She’ll crave the comfort in a year, and two years, and someday, she might touch it again. That creature will always be waiting. Watching. And a moment of weakness…” Jeremy sighed.
“I have a question though,” I said. “Why didn’t that guy have anything on him? The guy who gave her that shit?”
“Hmmm,” Jeremy paused thoughtfully. “Not everyone needs a demon to do the things they do.”
At that moment, a group of young men passed in front of me. I admit to blushing, but one of them stank and the smell turned me off immediately. Behind him followed a lumbering slimy beast, twice their size, glaring at me out of one pustule filled eye.
“Oh please no,” I said.
If cats could smile…