A Demon Dreaming, by Igor Ljubuncic

Updated: April 20, 2014

This is a short story, written as a part of the 'Fun Writing Exercise I do Everyday' on the SFFworld.com forums, completed in only twelve minutes of time and with no editing whatsoever. Rad and artistique. Or something.

"What is your name?" the man behind the desk asked.

"Dave," the contestant replied.

The man leaned forward, his glasses dropping halfway down his nose. "And what are you?"

Dave squirmed, the bony plates on his chest grating. "I... I'm a demon. From the Third Circle."

The man grunted and leaned back, then tipped the glasses all the way up his nose. "All right, Dave, show us."

Dave looked at the panel of judges seated in the corner of the room, watching, waiting. He was feeling nervous, so very nervous, but he had come here of his volition. Dave opened his lipless mouth and took a deep breath. Then, he approached the stage in the center of the hall. A large piece of white canvas rested on an easel, and there was a scattering of buckets placed beneath.

Dave bent down and reached with a clawed hand into the near one. The red paint turned out to be blood. "Cow?"

The man with the glasses smiled dryly. "Of course."

The demon straightened up, his plates clicking, and smeared the blood on the canvas, trying to paint. This was what he had always wanted to do. He wanted to be an artist. And this was his one chance, the audition for the state university.

Smoke began to curl from his long, scaly fingers as the hellish heat from his body began to boil the blood. He reached down and dipped the hand again, cooling it. Frowning, he looked at the contents of the second bucket. He reached there with the other hand. It came black and shiny. Tar.

"What's over there?" he asked, pointing at the farthest pail, shiny globs dripping on the worn parquet. The liquid in there was colorless.

"Holy water," one of the judges said, giggling.

"We thought it would be funny," another added.

Dave sighed. "So be it," he said. After all, this was art. He smeared the tar and blood in intricate patterns, and then, when he was done, he reached for the holy water. He braced for the pain...

... and woke up. He was lying on the hard, scorched ground amidst a horde of his brothers. His senses returned. The air was thick with the smell of eggs and dead bodies. The sun was setting, and it would be soon nighttime. His brothers would all rise from their sleep, and they would go into battle again, killing humans.

"Bless this thing," he cursed. He hated violence. But he was a demon. This was his role in life.

With a crushing pressure of sorrow in his chest, Dave stood up, stretched his legs and tail, and walked away from the crowd of slumbering monsters, dreaming of being an artist.

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