Chapter 11: Parental guidance

"Darling! The T-shirts have come!"

"Don't call me that!"

"I'm not calling you a T-shirt. It's the ones we ordered. Demon-girl."

"You ordered, using my card. Not we ordered."
"Details, details."

"Well, enjoy your small victory. I have bad news for you."

"What could possibly be worse than your stubborn rejection of my warm and loving embrace?"

"My parents are coming."


"Yes?? Don't you see what that means?"

"That I finally get to see your parents."

"No you don't! How would I explain to them that I have a freaking succubus in my apartment?"

"Tell them that I am your live-in girlfriend. That you have found true love and that we are making out like mad every night."

"That's not even true!"

"More's the pity. But your parents need not know that you suffer from compulsive parthenomania."

"Compulsive what?"

"Parthenomania. A desperate and irrational need to remain a virgin. In a wider sense, to avoid sexual intercourse of any kind. It's a mental condition."

"You are making that up, right?"

"Look it up."

"I don't have time. My parents are coming."

"Hopefully they can convince you to adopt a more flexible attitude..."

"They are more conservative Christians than I am."

"Oh, heck."

Hedonia suddenly looks worried. "So there will be lots of prayer? Bandying about ancient holy books with reckless abandon? Angels hovering around the entrance?"

"Well, I haven't actually seen any angels."

"Your second sight isn't exactly world famous either."

"But yes, all that and more. And let me tell you, even if you were not a demon, they would still banish you from my apartment."

"I need to get away!"

"You do indeed. Take the largest of my jackets."

"Shoes would be nice too."

"I guess you could borrow my sneakers, but they will be ridiculously large for you."

"I only need them until I can steal some my own size."

"I forbid you to steal! Take these bank notes, buy yourself a pair of cheap shoes."

"You are so generous! How can I ever repay you?"

"By keeping out till my parents are gone."

"I thought about repaying you in the way that grateful women do in cheap fantasy novels."

"I know. Don't bother trying."

"I'll be back."

"I guess you will. Just not for some hours, OK?"

"OK. A farewell kiss, honey?"

"In your dreams."

"Demons don't dream."

"In your daydreams, then."

Jon looks as she leaves, her long red hair falling in a flow of curls and twists down half her back. He won't allow his eyes to move further down. Too bad she is just leaving for a few hours. How good it would be to have her out of his life for good. Back to the peace and quiet he used to enjoy. No more temptations ... well, no more than the usual temptations, at least. It's not like he couldn't close his eyes and see stuff at any time, even before she came. Perhaps she was a punishment, an embodiment of his impure mind. No, not mind. It is his flesh. He is already pure because of the Word that is spoken unto him, it is the flesh that is weak. He is a Brother, a Chosen. Still ...

She is gone now. Silence fills the apartment. Only muffled sounds from outside, cars driving by on the main road a bit away, a dog barking in the neighborhood. No jokes, no weird questions, no clattering from the computer keyboard. Only stillness. He is alone, all alone. Very alone, and kinda small. It is time to pray.

The windows are open when the doorbell rings. He can't remember if she used perfume, but she must. Worldly girls always do. He thinks she smelled of flowers or something, but he cannot remember. Whatever it was, it seems to have left with her. But just to be sure, he is really airing the place. He opens the door, and there they are, his father and mother. His mother is smiling, his father is more serious and restrained, as always. "Welcome!" he says. Welcome to the home I use to share with a succubus. Stop that. It is not your fault, and she is not here now. "Step right in!"

"Brr, it's cold" comments his mother after they have take off their coats. Jon hurries to close the windows. "Sorry, I thought I'd let some fresh air in. You know how stuffy small rooms can get."

"You think this is small?" says his father in a neutral tone. "When I was young, I had only a bed, a desk and a chair. I shared water closet and a sink with two other tenants. And I had to pay it all out of my own pocket, by working at a warehouse. But the Lord hath provided, and so we have given you all this, that your mind may be free to dwell on the things of the coming world."

"I am not complaining, Dad. I just wanted to explain."

"There is no reason to explain, dear" says his mother. "Your father just reminded you of yet another reason to praise the Lord, who provideth."

"The spirit of craving is the spirit of Antichrist, my son. This spirit fills the whole world now, and makes everyone unhappy and dissatisfied with their lot. It makes children oppose their parents, and workers their boss, and the populace opposes their government which God has set over them. Do not wonder over this, for it is the last of times, and Satan rages because he only has a short time left."

Jon draws a deep breath as the two of them turn their back on him. His father stops to take a look at his bookshelf. His mother walks all around the place, looking at everything. Why are they doing this? Are they looking for something? Cigarettes, because of the open windows? He feels an insane urge to laugh out loud. No, Mom and Dad, I don't smoke; it's just that I have a demoness living with me, and I did not want you to smell her perfume.

"Jon, honey? Did you just get this in the mail?"

Dear Lord God in Heaven don't let her have run off leaving that infernal T-shirt in the bedroom! I'd never be able to explain that one! I'll never sin again just don't let her have left that thing behind ...

"Uhm, I did get a package in the mail today."

"Yes, because the cardboard is still lying here. You don't want to let things lie around. God is not the God of disorder, you know."

"I'm going to take it out at once, Mom. It had just come when you ..."

"And what's this inside?"
Please God please God please!

Jon is almost running into the bedroom, making sure to get there before his father.

"How sweet!"

She is holding up a teddy bear. It is of the pale persuasion, and wears a red and white T-shirt. There is text on the front of the shirt. It says in large letters: "WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?"

"It's ... it's a gift from a friend." Bastard demon wicked sense of humor!

"How sweet. We should always think about the Crucified, even in the smallest things."

"Oh yes. Who can imagine what he suffered? Tormented by men and demons alike, betrayed and left by those he loved."

"All so that we could be perfect and free from sin."

"I'll take out the cardboard, Mom."

"Thank you. I knew you would do the right thing."

The demoness is gone, and I still have to watch every word I say, every move I make. An hour ago I was tempted to lust, now I am tempted to anger. Is it really so much better? Don't think like that. God sees your thoughts. "That which is whispered in the chambers shall be proclaimed from the rooftops." What if everyone could see my thoughts? How holy would I be then?