Diego jumped, body going rigid, as if he’d been stabbed by a needle. Something twisted him around, knuckle-cracking his entire spine. He stayed like this for a while – feet pointing toward me, body facing away. For a panicked second I thought his head would turn around like a corkscrew.
Instead, whatever stretched him let go. He spun back around, hair whip-lashing against his face; but it wasn’t the same face.
On the surface, he looked the same. The movements, though, were different. His mouth twitched, like a cat on the verge of hissing; his canine teeth appeared sharper. Like a snake tasting fear, his tongue flicked from side to side.
His eyes, though, were the worst. Each pupil had not one point of light at the center, but hundreds, maybe thousands. Lights that glowed green, yellow, in pairs – the eyes of nocturnal predators shrouded in jungle shadows. They leered and glinted with amused malice, divided my pale image amongst themselves. Behind them, an endless night threatened to swallow me at any second.
It took me a moment to realize that, where Diego had hoped to lift me with his arms, the spirit now used them to pin me down. I tried to sit up, but they slammed me down harder. I tried to kick my legs, but the stupid pencil skirt restricted my movement. Even with my sharp heels, I couldn’t kick him hard enough to hurt him. Or, I should say, the demon that had him now.
It bent Diego’s head down, licked the side of my face with his tongue.
A serpentine whisper that wasn’t Diego’s voice reverberated in my ear. It warped into more voices, repeating echoes that didn’t make sense.
I managed to recover my voice; or at least, a crushed whisper of it. “Stop,” I breathed. “Don’t.”
It sounded like a horde of rattlesnakes all shook at once, hissing cruel laughs. They rustled in broken Latin phrases, some of them probably spoken in reverse. I only caught fragments of what they said, and I managed to piece a few sentences together.
“This is what you want, isn’t it? You want this.”
My voice came back, this time stronger. “No, Demon, leave us alone.”
Nick Whattley heard me. “Quick! Write that down,” he told the others.
“Write what down?” asked Jenna.
“Write, ‘Demon, leave us alone,’ in Latin,” said Whattley.
Erica was already on it. “Imperative of ‘leave alone’ is desere; ‘us’ is nobis.” She scribbled that down in her cramped, awkward handwriting.
“No,” said Trevor, “Nobis is the Dative or Ablative; to us or from us. You want to use nos, the Accusative.”
“I thought nos was the Nominative,” said Shelby.
Trevor threw up his hands in annoyance. “It’s both!”
“At least start the sentence with something,” said Jenna. She wrote Demon, which Whattley immediately swept away with an eraser.
“Hey,” she cried, “what is wrong with you?!”
“It’s ‘die-mon’, not ‘day-mon’,” Whattley insisted. He wrote D-a-e-m-o-n.
Whattley. He would know the Latin word for demon; that kid reads some fucked-up shit. Now that I think about it, that whole Charlie, Charlie game was probably his idea. Goddammit, Whattley.
I would have followed my students’ verbal exchange more closely, but the Thing that took Diego grabbed my chin and held me still. His hot, wet tongue slid into my ear, reaching deeper than I thought it should have. Rusted bells clanged and scraped against my skull. I shut my eyes.
“Yes, you want this,” the demon voices said. “Just admit it.”
“No,” I shouted, though I could barely hear my own voice.
I shook my head, hair thrashing back and forth. Diego’s hand grabbed my chin and held me still, giving me just enough room to breathe.
Like a cascade of insect wings, the voices shushed me. They whispered something into my ear, and told me to relay it to my students.
“Everyone listen,” I ordered them. “I’m only going to say this once. Whatever This is, It told me to say…” I took a deep breath. “It wants you to close your eyes. It says whoever opens them will lose them.”
I knew, without having to look, that my students instantly complied.
As soon as they did, the spirit lowered Diego’s face to mine. It trapped everything I saw in a shroud of velvet black hair. Once his shadow eclipsed all the light from my eyes, his tongue slid into my mouth. My lips gave little-to-no resistance, nor did my teeth. Maybe they were right; maybe I did want this to happen.
I tried to say no, but his tongue was already entwined with mine. If this was a stranger’s body instead of Diego’s, I might have tried to bite the tongue off; but I would never do that to one of my students. I struggled to free my hands, but his sinewy arms held me down. He was still 17, but physically he wasn’t a child anymore. His arms were at least twice as strong as mine.
Then it slipped Diego’s tongue back out of my mouth, licked a trail up my cheek – probably blood. Before I could speak, I felt his lips on my ear, feverishly wet. I heard the sound of fires crackling.
“If you scream,” whispered the night-creature voices, “We’ll eat your throat out.”
His teeth closed around my neck muscles in what felt like a cruel grin. Needless to say, that made me shut up.
Then he started playing rough. His nails raked up and down my back, my chest. When they broke, it only made them sharper. His mouth moved down my neck (still close enough to sever my artery in a second), gnawing on my fragile skin. He chewed on my collarbone, sinking his nails into my arms. I cringed, and acid-hot tears blurred my eyes. Soon he was just a dim shadow moving up and down, inflicting pain upon deeper pain.
I thought of a cat wrestling a catnip-laced toy – claws shredding, teeth gnashing, paws hungrily embracing it – adoring the object to the point of destruction. That’s how he held onto me. I think I even heard the demon-voices purring, in their own malicious way.
It didn’t surprise me when he undid the front clasp of my bra, put his face between my breasts, and chewed on them until they bled. My mouth contorted but no sound came out; still, I think I was crying.
I could already read the angry e-mails from the parents, see myself at the shameful disciplinary hearing before the school board. How was I going to explain that my favorite student nearly mauled me to death? Fine, yes, he is my favorite student! I could finally admit it, now that favoritism was the least egregious thing I was guilty of.
All the while, the demonic murmurs kept repeating:
“Scis hoc vis.”
“Siv coh sics.”
You know you want this.
I could barely speak. “Minime, hoc nolo,” said the empty husk of my voice. No, I don’t want this – but I couldn’t even convince myself. He’d strained out any defiance I had.
The spirit laughed like stones breaking.
“Si hoc noluisses, non hic fuissemus. (Sumessiuf cih non sessiulon coh is).”
If you didn’t want this, we wouldn’t be here.
Then I realized: it just said We. As in, there were more than one. Why had I not thought of this before?
Yet, I quickly forgot about singulars and plurals. The demon (or demons? I still had no idea) moved Diego’s hand down into my skirt. I knew what was happening now. My bitter tears mixed with the blood I’d shed.
His cracked, bloody nails scratched my hip bone. They got caught on the black-and-red lace (yes, I was wearing panties, and yes, they matched my shoes), which his hand pulled down anyway.
I’d always secretly loved his sun-bronzed hands, with the lithe piano fingers. Now, in the worst possible way, I finally learned what they felt like. He made my nerves go raw. My legs, against my conscious will, locked around him. As tight as my pencil skirt was, the demon pulled it up.
This time, I didn’t want to say no. I knew I should have, but I didn’t. The demon let go of my arms, used both hands to unbuckle his belt. I probably could have struggled free, but I didn’t.
Instead, my thighs just clasped him tighter. My lovely black-and-red Louboutins locked behind his back, trapping him. I never wanted him to leave.
Then I felt what I’d been dying to feel this whole time, underneath his boxer shorts. I could think of several Latin words to describe it. Actually, they’re all Latin words, now that I think about it. I doubted this was his first one, far from it. This probably wasn’t even the first time he’d fooled around with a girl, demon-possessed or otherwise; but I was no high school girl.
I might have been his first real fuck – that is, if the door hadn’t opened.