rough draft of The Demon of Petty Disturbances
by K. Kylyra Ameringer
"Oh, I can do an immense amount of work. A nick of paint off a new car; I'm very good at hiding a tear in an outfit until you wear it out for a big occasion; light bulbs burning out at inopportune moments; and you know how you always get that phone call when you're in the shower? The one that hangs up just as you reach for the receiver? That's me!" she said proudly.
Dick thought for a moment. A suspicious thought began to grow in his mind. "Did you have anything to do with the other night?"
"The other night?"
"Yeah, the night I asked Melissa to marry me," he said.
"Oh that!" she cackled merrily. "Yes, that was me, too. Pretty effective, huh?"
"I knew it!" he shouted with conviction. "I knew that I wouldn't try such a stupid joke unless I'd been goaded into it."
"Joke?" Tronaugh asked in confusion. "You mean the joke you tried on those two young ladies?" Dick nodded his head. "Oh, that wasn't me, young man. That was entirely your own doing."
"But you said -"
"I," Tronaugh said, interrupting him, "gave you that pimple at the corner of your nose that bothered you so much you obsessed about it during the entire bus ride to Melissa's house and it knocked your confidence for a loop for the whole night."
"You gave me a pimple? That's it?"
"That's it? There was more to it than just that. There was artistry in it, for Hell's sake! The placement of the pimple, how red it was, the pain and irritation it caused you! You couldn't hide that one under acne cream, could you?"
Dick shook his head. "And that's what caused my bad night?"
"That's it," Tronaugh said with satisfaction. "Now, do we have an arrangement?"
I must be mad, Dick thought. I'm in a cemetery in the middle of the night talking to a vegetarian demon and her imp. "Yes." He reached down for the knife and red ribbon. "I ... uh ... I need to ... uh ..."
"Yes, yes, young man. We know. Come closer now."
Dick moved up beside the old crone. "Here," she said, unwinding her long grey greasy hair from the knot at the back of her head. "You only need to take some of mine. Since DT is my charge he will follow wherever I go. Go on, now." She held out a long strand to him.
The knife he wielded flashed in the dying firelight. "A bread knife?" she asked. "Tsk, tsk."
Dick cut a strand of her hair and tied it with the red ribbon. "Red yarn?!" she shouted at him. "What is this world coming to? I remember when I would be summoned and the finest red silks would be used to bind my hair! You bring me red yarn?" She jabbed the empty air around him to emphasize her points. The smell wafting off her was an old person smell; musty, a bit medicine-like, with a heavy overlay of lilac water on top. It reminded Dick sharply of his grandmother.
His grandmother, who had slowly decayed in an old folks' home, her skin shriveling down to her bony skeleton. His grandmother, who insisted on hugging him too tightly and too long until he felt he must lose consciousness from that ... that funk.
He turned his head away in disgust. "Something wrong, young man?" Tronaugh asked, peering up at him.
"I don't like old people," he said stiffly.
Tronaugh cackled at him. "I know. You don't care much for children either, do you?" She kicked at DT who scampered out of reach and set to gurgling with laughter.
Tronaugh trotted beside Dick, observing him as he bean to repack his bag. "What's this?" she asked, reaching down by his side. She picked up the water pistol.
"I wouldn't touch that if I were you," he said. "It's dangerous. It's holy water."
rough draft of The Demon of Petty Disturbances by K. Kylyra Ameringer