Darrel knew he was a possessed psychopath, and he enjoyed every minute of it. There were more than a few missing neighborhood pets and unexplained fires during his teenage years, but then he discovered an old Ouija board and met his demons. From that day forward, he gained the ability to hear his demons’ demands, pleas, and screams. Before the Ouija board the demons spoke to his subconscious and he didn’t know that he was being influenced, but now that he could hear them, he could choose to ignore them. Darrel soon discovered that it was much more entertaining to torture his demons than anything living because the demons could not die or run away.
He handed twenty dollars to a homeless man with deep wrinkles on his face, and he smiled as his demons screamed in outrage. They roared that the man was filthy, unworthy, and too lazy to work. Darrel squeezed the old man’s shoulder reassuringly and whispered, “It’s cold out here follow me.” As the old man followed Darrel across the street and into the local motel, snow blew like fine powder across the ground. They wiped their feet and shivered as the lobby door closed behind them. The receptionist looked up when the door chimed, and his nose wrinkled in revulsion and disgust.
“Hey! I’ve told you to stay out of here! You’re stinking up the place!”
Darrel put on a mask of concern and held up a placating hand while the demons praised the receptionist’s attitude with delight and excitement. “I’d like to book this man a room for the next couple nights; it’s far too cold to sleep outside this week.”
The receptionist’s upper lip curled. “You aren’t the one that’s going to have to clean up behind him, and we can refuse service to anyone at anytime. It says so right on the door.”
Leaning closer to the receptionist, Darrel spoke in a low voice. “I happen to be on a first name basis with Mayor Harrison and Sheriff Belew. I’m sure if I called them that they both would be glad to come down here and discuss the matter. While I’m at it, I could call that cute little blond on the local news. Umm…” Darrel scrolled through the contact list on his phone. “Ah yes, Christen Owens; that’s her name. She gave me her personal cell number during that fundraiser the firefighters did last month for children with terminal cancer.”
The receptionist’s face reddened, and he no longer looked as confident of his position. “Well…I…I don’t think that’ll be necessary.”
Darrel smiled and put away his phone while the demons in head cursed the receptionist. “Great! How about something first floor and close to the laundry. I’m sure our friend here would like to wash his clothes.”
The homeless man gratefully thanked Darrel, and Darrel flipped up the collar of his coat before stepping back out into the snow. His demons were still growling their disapproval as he walked into a small grocery store and greeted the store manager.
“Hey, Joe. Is it cold enough for ya?”
Joe smiled and shook Darrel’s hand warmly. “You know me; I’m just waiting for spring.” He paused as he remembered something. “Oh, those cases of hot cocoa you ordered just came in this morning.”
Darrel’s smile broadened. “Great! The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Have it brought up front and give a box to each person as they check out.” Darrel lowered his voice and stepped closer to Joe. “And, of course, do it anonymously. I’ll just sit in the deli and people watch.”
Joe nodded and smiled conspiratorially. “I figured you were going to do something like that when you ordered so much of it. You are truly a wonderful person. I wish I was more like you.” Joe waved over one of the baggers and gave him instructions on distributing the boxes of cocoa.
He enjoyed the demons’ agonizing screams while he drank his coffee like a fine wine. The customers accepted their cocoa with grateful smiles and surprise. He sighed as the last box of cocoa was carried from the store by a small child that hugged it tightly and chattered insistently that he was having a glass as soon as he got home.
The demons’ cries began to diminish now that the cocoa and his money were gone. The demons didn’t seem to have long memories, and he would have to do his good deeds without money. Some of them were already whispering that he should turn his attention back towards animals and people. His lips thinned as he searched through a memorized list of good deeds collected from movies and observing other people. Lost in thought, he considered shoveling driveways, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or just visiting the elderly in the local nursing home. He looked up as three men approached him.
Darrel shook hands with each man as he said hello and motioned for them to take a seat at his table. “It is good to see you again: Mayor Harrison, Sheriff Belew, Rev. Hays.”
Rev. Hays patted Darrel’s forearm. “Darrel, we have something to ask of you.”
Darrel didn’t need to fain his surprise. “Me?”
Rev. Hays nodded toward Mayor Harrison. “Mayor, I think it is only right that you to ask him; it was your idea after all.”
Mayor Harrison acknowledged the Rev. Hays’ request with a nod. “Darrel, all three of us have noticed what a caring and selfless person you are. Try as you may to hide them, the good deeds you have done end up widely spoken of, and everyone in town loves and respects you. We would like our town to be known for generosity and a caring community spirit, so we have set aside a small budget with the hopes of encouraging others to build that reputation for our town. We want you to lead a small group of volunteers and use these funds to foster good will and stronger relationships for our community. Under your leadership, this program will improve the lives and well being of thousands.”
Darrel was astonished and found it hard to think with the tumult of protest coming from his demons; it left him with a feeling that he could only describe as erotic. Inside, he quivered thinking of the months of torture that this opportunity promised. A small tear escaped his left eye, and he worked his mouth trying to speak. “Tha…Thank you Mayor Harrison. It would be…my pleasure to serve our community.”
Eddie D. Moore travels extensively for work, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. The rest of the time is spent dreaming of stories to write and he spends the weekends writing them. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, Saturday Night Reader, Every Day Fiction, Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Adventure Worlds. He can be followed on Twitter @EddieMoore27
Image by Orin Zebest