The devil gargoyle was ugly. Though his version was boarding on double, Ray could clearly see it.
‘You is ug-ly, my friend,’ he said with the words stretching and slurring.
He lumbered over, almost falling into the wall.
The devil grinned down at him.
‘What’s so funny?’
Reaching the statue, Ray stumbled and his hand fell across cold, damp stone. A wave of shock echoed at the back of his head. Looking, he saw there was a red graze across his palm.
‘You’re in trouble now, you freak!’
Ray threw a wobbly punch, only hitting the air.
Glaring angrily, Ray wrapped his massive arms around the gargoyle. With a groan, he tried to pull the statue off the wall. It came away, but with great difficulty. Ray staggered backwards, his muscles screaming. A stone corner poking him in the chest, made him feel like he was drowning. The devil’s face leered into him and he thought a curling horn brushed the top of his head.
A small voice called to him to put the thing down. For some reason though, he seemed not to be able too. He took a small step forward then another. Slowly, he shuffled down the street.
Ghoulish light stroked the thin curtains as Ray shifted in his bed. Dimly, he was aware that someone was occupying the space to his right. He moaned loudly, fighting conciseness away and failing as his bladder went off. Struggling through the treacle of the bed and his head, he stumbled out from his room and into the apartment’s bathroom.
Having sorted himself out, Ray wobbled back to his nest. Laying down again, hot and sweaty, he felt something hard poke his knee. Frowning, still in his foggy state, he flipped the duvet over. A cockeyed grin and hard staring eyes jolted him awake, making him scream and scramble to get purchase on the bed. He fell off and landed heavily against the wall and bed stand table.
‘Fucking hell! What the fuck?’ he roared.
Dazed, he detangled himself from the sheet and climbed up the wall. His chest was heaving with breaths he wasn’t sure he was even taking and his heart was heavy drum beating in his ears. He dug his fingernails into the wall and looked across the bed.
The stone devil gargoyle looked at him like an expecting and eager hooker. Its’ head was resting on a very flat pillow whilst it’s mighty curling horns touched the headboard. His body was huge, far too muscular and an off grey colour in this light. The four long thick legs ran down and ended mighty paws with sharp talons digging into a square block.
Ray fought for breath, but still felt like someone was holding him under sticky water. He fled the room, almost tripping on the disregarded bedding and falling into the door frame. He locked the door of the bathroom behind him and ran the shower. He stepped into the tub and sink down, tears crowding his eyes and blubbering sounds coming from his lips.
He brought his knees to his chest, arms wrapped tightly around them and started rocking. A wave of questions and his own voice called out in the sludge of his mind. He tried to hold it together, but he felt too sick. An acid burb caught in his throat and without thinking, he cupped the hot shower water and drank it down.
The burn didn’t go away. He threw up the water then the rest of his stomach contents. He watched everything swirling around his feet and tickling his toes before gargling down the plug hole. He felt better. He washed and felt better still. Finally, he got out and cocooned himself in towels.
Ray wiped the small mirror down and peered into it. The red face staring back at him wasn’t his. He scrubbed the glass again and looked harder. Dark brown eyes looked dopey at him from hollowed sockets and the matching eyebrows were slack. His forehead was rolling with creases, but at least his nose still had to small bends in it. Thick black stubble covered the lower half of his face and he rubbed a hand gingerly over it.
‘I shaved last night,’ he mumbled, ‘It looks like I’ve aged forty years…’
He switched his hand to his black spiky hair and felt thankful it was still all there. Putting the mirror back, he looked at his hands and saw they were covered in small scratches. Flipping them over, he saw deep red lines across his palms as if he had slashed his skin with a knife. Ray shook his hands and tightened his towels.
He went into the kitchen and made himself a strong coffee. He turned the TV on, more for comforting noise than anything else. He sat on the sofa, holding his steaming mug and the control in the other hand. He channelled flicked, but there was nothing interesting in the boring Saturday lunchtime programs. He settled on the news and drank his coffee whilst trying to put his mind back together.
Resting against the sofa arm, Ray thought about taking some painkillers. Shaking his head instead, he made a bed out of the towels and cushions, finished his coffee and took a nap. The dull drones of the TV voices sing him to sleep and he couldn’t keep his heavy eyes open any longer. A painful headache whacked across his brow and caused his cyclone of thoughts to be dark with agony.
A brilliant ringing shot him out of sleep and Ray fumbled around for the source of the noise. His head throbbed and his limbs flung around, unsure where to locate the intruder. The ringing stopped and breathlessly, he did too. Wild eyed he looked around, but couldn’t hear or see anything. He slumped back on the sofa and held a hand to his head as if that would stop the piercing pain.
My phone! That’s all it was!
Scrambling up, he tore through his apartment, before creeping into his bedroom. With down cast eyes, he crept in and searched for his clothes. Luckily, he located his jeans at the end of the bed and was able to sneak out again. Closing the door with his foot, he dug through his pockets and pulled out his phone.
The display showed he had three miss texts and two miss calls. Dumping his jeans on the sofa, he looked through the messages and calls. It was only his friends wanting to know where he was and what had happened.
Ray called his best friend back and at a blasted, ‘hallo?’ Ray whispered back in a shaky voice, ‘You need to come over here and see this.’
To Be Continued…