Caroline

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Project Liro

Day one of my project was a productive staging day. The house wasn’t in bad shape. I expected to find it in much worse condition. Three women were meeting me bright and early to start removing the rotting window treatments and cleaning everything else, a cracked pane of glass will be replaced in the kitchen door by noon, and all the old appliances should be gone by dinner.

I stopped by a big box store and got some cleaning supplies, a few pairs of jeans, a family-sized container of red licorice sticks, and twenty-five pounds of salt. It was a strange mix of items but I checked out through the garden department with only a few eyes on me.

I chose a variant of antique white for the paint color. The house is a tasteful but eclectic mix of purple walls and golden trim accents, the bathrooms are lily stem green and the kitchen is sunshine yellow. The entire home will be a fresh antique white when I'm done. A yard guy was coming with his crew to do a deep cutback of all overgrowth, remove the termite infested greenhouse and pressure wash the property. My first salt barrier would likely be gone by days end.

My demon, its name is Lirotzut. I don’t say this name out loud, it summons him to me. He can scream my name all he likes but he can’t touch me now. It’s this disparity of power that gives me a tinge of control over him. This is the same control you have when battling a wildfire. The best I can hope for is containment and mitigation of damage.

The only real weapon I have against Liro is my soul and I have not kept that weapon in good repair. The drugs I take to block out the noise are not meant to be stopped cold turkey. The headaches are getting bothersome and I can feel minor pain in my chest, over my heart.

It has only been one day off the meds but I woke at four to a dark hotel room full of shimmering people waiting for me to help them. One of the souls, an older woman, organized the group in a line and given them all numbers like I was a delicatessen clerk. She waited until the last for her turn and told me to drink lemon water and take ibuprofen to help flush the drugs from my blood.

I used to meditate and ask to be left alone while I slept. Lirot could keep me hidden away for weeks at a time. He would wrap his shadowy arms around me and fill my small body with the most exquisite delights until I passed out cold. As I got older even he couldn’t mask my ability from the dead. I had to learn to close myself off. I gave up one night every five days to the needy dead just to keep a balance.

It was the night of my tenth birthday. The first-night Lirot entered my dreams and introduced me to the male form. It's not like I wasn't curious but no human man could ever replicate the experience. My flesh was slowly trained to want only him and by thirteen he found a way to scrape away a bit of my skin and create his own solid-body. I would wake in the morning bruised and chaffed with shallow cuts on my torso and legs in the shape of claw marks.

I couldn’t show anyone the proof of my lover. But Lirot was there in the shadow of every room I entered making sure I stayed quiet and alone. Lirot reinforced this bond by stalking me in silence during the day and leaving me alone at night for days at a time. When he did return he would ask for permission to touch me and I would always give it. I needed his special attention to feel loved but his tactics have taught me to be cruel and detached. Not very helpful traits when dealing with real men.

Boo Boo helped me when he could. We were both children and grew in age together. He showed me how to become powerful enough to command Lirot but this new focus meant I had to give up more nights to the dead. The more control I gained over Lirot the less remained to control myself.

Finally, I chose blood and fire to bind Lirot to a piece of land I stupidly thought I would want to keep forever. Years went by and I began to question my memory. Had any of this really happened or was I just mentally unhinged?

They tell you a full life can be achieved through proper therapy. What they don’t tell you is that you can’t share the real truth. To the doctors, my demon was a metaphor, a placeholder for a man that had access to me as a child. Someone I came to see as a monster. Boo Boo was another child in my home that was trying to help me but couldn’t or worse maybe Boo Boo was the beginning of a personality split.

This was the story the therapists came up with. The reason I had such issues accepting love from non-sexual situations was that I was abused. And in a nutshell, this is true. Fucking a demon for more than a decade is not listed in the rule books as an alternate reason for intimacy issues.

The problem with the medical explanation was that no other children lived in my home and there were no men in my home with any consistency. The stepfathers I had were all decent men, they may not have loved me, but they didn't touch me. My demon never aged, he wasn’t deterred by the many house blessings, he followed me if we moved and he was very easy to look at.

If I have a personality split I have never seen any evidence of her. The easiest thing was to accept the socially acceptable story, label myself a victim, and take the bottles of pills that would keep my body and soul numb.

I arrived at the house at six in the morning. The neighborhood was still asleep, everything looked still and quiet. I parked as close to the back gate as I could manage, firmly grabbed my cardboard wrapped coffee tumbler, and went to the dilapidated greenhouse to talk to my old lover.

“Lirotzut, show yourself to me,” I said the words purposefully and took a fat sip of my mocha latte. A subtle rustling of leaves sprang to life behind me. A lucite garden door propped against the wall in front of me showed his image. Lirot's shadowed hand inspected a tendril of my hair then dropped it to caress my back and follow the curve of my hip to my thigh.

“Only to you my beloved? Time has been kind to your mortal form. This hair has been dyed and fondled by a man who does not like the sight of pussy, but he does like breasts. Everyone likes breasts don’t you think. Yours are an erotic sight, creamy white flesh, deep pink nipples. It’s my favorite combination of female decoration.”

“You like my hair and my breasts Lirot?”

“This game you have set in motion is tedious. You can’t compel me with debris in your veins. I will not play with you in this condition. Your weakness cheapens our encounter.” My kidneys began to ache. It felt like two footballs had been shoved through my back and were trying to push their way through my stomach. I dropped my coffee and grabbed ahold of a wooden potting bench as hot urine began to pour down my legs.

I watched in the reflection as Lirot cupped his hands and filled them with the liquid, smoothed it over his face and hair, and licked his fingers. “How I do love all your fluids.”

“You aren’t even solid. You can’t love anything.” I pulled off each of my pee soaked shoes and tossed them in the rusty metal potting sink.

“I have loved you as much as you have taught me to love another being.” Lirot snarled his words. The reflection in the pane grew larger and I could feel his demon body heat on my thighs.” This is a trial of great cost for me. I am without my own free will because of yours. What am I to do with all this feeling you have taught me now?”

I peeled off my jeans and underwear throwing them on top of my shoes. A short length of garden hose was attached to the faucet. I rinsed the urine from my legs with the cold water and sprayed the pane of lucite when I was finished.

Lirot sank to a kneeling position and opened his arms. “Let me touch you. Just one touch. I know just the spot, one lick, one suck and you will welcome me back without reservation.” I could feel a deep pang of desire rise under my cold, wet skin.

“No!” I snarled. The lucite holding Liro’s reflection began to splinter and crack. “Thank you for purging me of my toxins. You will stand on the patch of dirt I selected for you and leave all the living creatures here today alone. All who I invite into my home are mine. They are under my protection. Just as you are mine and under my command. Do you understand me?”

The reflection in the splintered pane morphed into a swath of red flames and an image of a dark creature so large that I could barely make out any of its features.

“My flesh is weak but my soul is invincible. Lirotzut I command you to my will.” Much like lust, the weight of my words rose through me quickly.

Old feelings of darkness and shame became lacquered by my raw power and turned to resolve. The lucite sheet began to melt and Lirot's true image went with it. I pulled my shirt down over my very white butt cheeks and snuck back to my car trunk for a change of clothes.

Every reflective surface I passed showed Lirot’s face. It was the look a child gets when you take away a toy unjustly.

“I don’t have time to talk with you now. I have shit to do that will take my attention and my money. I will return to your patch of dirt to continue our conversation when the sun has fully set.” Lirot nodded his head in a single motion of rage and agreement.

He was angry and I was angry and there were innocent people coming into the house. It was a bad combination.

I ripped the tags off a new pair of jeans and hopped into them as quickly as I could muster. I chewed the cord from a flimsy pair of sandals I bought to fly home in and forced them on my dirty feet.

“I don’t have any underwear and I dropped my fucking coffee!”

I could hear an audible scoff from below me. There was a thin puddle of water next to the flower bed being fed from the greenhouse runoff. Lirot flopped himself back on what looked like my hotel bed, ran his hands through his thick dark hair, down his chest into his pants. I grabbed a single bag of salt from the trunk and dumped it into the puddle.

He had pulled the image of my hotel room out of my head to screw with me but it showed me something else. For as much as he was capable, he had honestly missed me.

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