Rosalin's Baby

Trevor T. Faulkner

He opens his eyes in the dark room, pupils straining to make out the shadowy images. The soft jazz of falling rain plays against the walls of the shrouded bedroom. He props himself up on his elbows and casts a sideways glance at the alarm clock. The flickering green letters are blinking the number twelve repeatedly like a four-four metronome helping the rain stay in time. No light shines through the single rain-soaked window. He grabs his cellular phone off the counter; the digital pad says it’s one-o-clock in the afternoon. He’s overslept, but it doesn’t matter to him. He has nowhere to be.

He flicks his thick wrist and a single glowing flame sparks to life from nothingness. It hovers above the king sized bed, casting sharp lines and frolicking light around the room. The smell of sulfur wafts in his nostrils. He loves the smell of brimstone in the morning. It reminds him of home.

He rolls out from under the covers and wades into the bathroom to relieve himself. Toilets, another luxury they have up here. So much better than pissing into blistering flames like back where he’s from.

The humming fluorescent bulbs illuminate his features in the water stained mirror. He splashes the cool liquid on his skin and it steams at the touch. His tall, muscular frame is cut from stone, and his dark red skin shines with a brilliant hue. He brushes his long, black hair from his face and arranges it around his horns. He takes a step back and combs the thick mane of hair on his cloven legs into a more presentable manner with a powerful auburn hand, making sure to avoid scraping his thin, barbed tail. He is an example of demonic perfection. Hell should feel ashamed to have lost him.

Boltheazel has been out of hell for a year now. He sighs at the memory and slips a loose pair of cottony white pants over his legs. He hates wearing them, but the woman he loves says he has to. The neighbors might frown upon the seven-foot-tall naked goat-man in the window. She says they might do more than blush.

He had met Rosalin after her old boyfriend cheated on her. In a moment of sheer heartache, she had offered up her soul in exchange for the destruction of her adulterous ex. Like any good reaper in the underworld, Boltheazel had shown up to happily except the task.
After the deed was done and her ex was safely imprisoned, naked and screaming in the bowels of a fiery pit, he went to collect his prize.

Rosalin showed little fear in the face of the hoofed destroyer’s daunting appearance. Instead of begging for mercy, she challenged him to a duel. She cited some ancient rule and gave a ridiculous story about a fiddle player challenging a “Lord Satan” for his soul. He thought it was stupid that any demon would abide by such a bargain or that there would be some kind of constitutional monarchy in hell. Still, the idea of a game with high stakes aroused him, as well as the prospect of taking more than just a soul from this soft, young girl. Thus, the competition began.

“Best two out of three,” demanded Rosalin after losing a game of Backgammon.

“Four of seven,” countered Boltheazel following a damning loss at Uno.

Before long, the two had been playing games for an entire day. As night fell they called a truce so both could rest. Still, neither slept for fear that the other would try to cheat them of their prize, and instead they found themselves discussing the world and its peculiarities.

The challenge began anew at dawn, and still no winner was crowned. Every day they would battle in wits and brawn, and at night they would talk to pass the long hours of nervous wakefulness. By the end of the week, he no longer had to take her soul. She had given it to him as freely as he did her. They had fallen in love.

Boltheazel mopes through the dim kitchen, his stomach leading him forward. Rosalin had replaced the wooden floors in the small house with linoleum tile after he had scraped them up with his sharp hooves.

He lifts a yellow post-it note off the cabinet. It has her delicate cursive painted over the front. She wants him to wash the dishes… he hates washing dishes.

You see, that is the beauty of bones. There is no need to clean plates when you can tear your meat from such a sturdy handle.

Still, he doesn’t want her to be upset.

He turns on the water and begins scrubbing. This is what he has been reduced to, from torturing sinners to polishing plates. He lifts a glass over the counter and looks at his distorted reflection. With less than a thought, he reduces it to ash. Rosalin will be pissed if she finds out he destroyed kitchenware again. He brushes the still smoking pile into the sink along with the draining soapy water.

With that menial task done, he clicks the television on and makes something for lunch. Mary in the Midday is just starting her show and complaining about something her husband did the night before. He can see the sin pouring from her lips, liar.

Opening the fridge, the demon removes a pack of chilled blood of the innocent (donated at a children’s hospital) and a zip-lock bag containing a pig’s heart (they just give them away at the meat market. Crazy, right?). With his meal on one of the newly washed plates, he falls into the comfortable armchair in the living room.

When he sits down, Mary is still on a tirade about how her husband went to the supermarket and remembered everything but her favorite entertainment magazine. He punches a straw into the packet of blood as she rambles on.

Apparently, the neighbor’s hunky husband always gets his wife an entertainment magazine when he goes to the store. More importantly, she was the one who brought home all the money and if he could just do a little more work they could probably have twice the cash to spend and she could go on that romantic trip to Guam. There, she would just lie about and have pool boys feed her grapes until she burst. Then she’d be able to show them. It was okay though, because she had the greatest kids the world.

Boltheazel stopped sipping his innocent’s blood. He set it down and began counting on his large, clawed fingers: lust, pride, envy, greed, gluttony, wrath and sloth—all seven sins in the span of five minutes. With a cool shrug, he snapped his fingers.

Suddenly, Mary in the Midday burst into flames. She stands and flails about the studio screaming before the fire completely engulfs her and vanishes, taking the afternoon talk show host on a one-way trip to hell. Now that’s entertainment.

He turns the annoying box off and leans back into the comfortable chair. The calm rhythm of the rain is a wonderful sound compared to the tortured screams of hell. Sure, he misses the melodic tones of the damned, but after a while you just want to ask them to crank it down a notch. Having your skin torn from your body probably isn’t as bad after the first 100 years, so get over it. His quiet reflection is interrupted by the pounding of some distant beat. The grating noise disturbs him, and he gets up hastily, accidently knocking the dregs of his pig heart onto the floor with his tail.

He cleans up the mess and stomps over to the window, spreading the horizontal blinds with two fingers. It’s those insolent children in the house across the street. They’re playing some loud torture in the garage of their parent’s house with sickly instruments. Rosalin has told them keep it down before and here they are, defying her. He thinks of all the terrible things he could do to them. Perhaps he could make it so they could only hear the cries of abandoned newborns for the rest of their lives. He begins to move toward the door just as a red SUV pulls into the driveway.

It’s her.

Rosalin gets out of the car holding a newspaper over her head to keep the rain from soaking her brown hair, which is tied back into a taut ponytail. Her slim figure fits seductively in her tight business jacket and the short skirt she is wearing demonstrates her muscular, tanned legs. Rain falls on her low-buttoned white blouse and he can see the rise and fall of her beautiful chest.

Boltheazel feels a twitch of desire. He remembers the old days, when he would forcibly take a mortal woman when he wanted one. The terrible things he would do to their minds and bodies, reveling in their screams. He removes the loose pants he’s forced to wear and stands in front of the door to greet her, naked and imposing.

Keys turn in the lock and the door swings open. As Rosalin walks into the room, the walls begin to bend and tear. They turn to flesh as skeletal faces press against the elastic skin, clawing their way from the binding prison. Boltheazel stands menacingly over a scorching fire.

“Mortal woman, you belong to the great demon Boltheazel! Offer your flesh to me and spare yourself an eternity of torture!”

She walks strait past him, brushing up against a damned soul reaching out from the wall.

“Not now, Bo, I had a bad day.”

In an instant, the flesh walls and fire dissolved into harmless smoke and Boltheazel stands naked, feeling ashamed. He once again remembers the days when he would simply take what he wanted. He reaches a powerful hand toward the gentle curve of her bare neck.

“Don’t even think about it.”

He shrinks once more, defeated.

“Did you disintegrate a plate again?”

“It was a glass,” he whispers.

“Bo, I can’t afford to feed you and continually buy new china. And now my boss is up my ass about next week’s meeting and if I don’t get it together, I’m fucked.”

“Would you like me to destroy him, Rose?”

She turns to him with a mischievous light in her eyes, but it dims before she can act upon it.

“No.” Rosalin walks up to her red giant. “But it’s sweet of you to offer.” She stands up on the tips of her toes and kisses him. He lavishes in the coolness of her lips. “Look,” she says happily, digging into her pocket. “I got you this from the gas station.”

She hands him a pen. He takes it and holds it up to the light. The back end has an over-sexualized red woman wearing a bikini made from human skulls.

“Flip it over,” Rosalin demands excitedly.

Boltheazel flips the utensil and the bikini slowly floats down to the bottom revealing the large red breast of the devil caricature, complete with two tiny pink nipples.

“It’s to remind you of home.”

“In hell, the women are 400 pounds and covered in razor-sharp teeth.”

“Oh,” Rosalin replies leaning around to watch the sexy devil lose her top again. “And here I though you stayed for my personality.”

“That’s not what I meant. It’s wonderful. Thank you.” He looks down at his love and sees a twitch of sadness play across her beautiful face.

“I know it’s hard for you up here, having to sit in the house all day. But I’m really glad you’re with me.” She runs a hand down his muscular frame, it sooths his fiery soul. “I need a little time to cool down from the bitch of a day I just had, but I promise tonight I’ll make it seem like you went to heaven instead of here.” Rosalin winks and slips back into the kitchen.

Boltheazel feels a smile pull at the corners of his lips. He brushes his hair back behind his horns. She’s almost right. The nights he spends with her are probably what heaven would be like. The problem in her statement is that there is no heaven as she describes. As his beloved Rose makes some food and wanders over to the TV, he can’t help but laugh at the absurdity.

The world is a dichotomous place. It is a universe based on the flip of a coin: good and evil, man and woman, pleasure and pain. So how could three planes of existence inhabit the same miniscule space?

This is heaven. If hell is the realm of eternal suffering, than this world of joy and warmth is the most glorious place any soul could ever hope to rest in. Too many of her kind are simply content to wait for that divine providence and don’t realize that they are already there. The life they have is their glory, their golden gate, and every moment is a polished diamond to be held close and coveted. Yet they let life pass them by in hopes of something else, and although this is the only heaven his Rose will ever see, he is simply glad to be a part of it.

“Bo,” Rosalin calls from in front of the television. “What is all this about Mary in the Midday bursting into flames?”

Boltheazel curses aloud. He might have to fix this. No terror in hell could compare to the fury of an angry mortal woman. Oh well, a single sinning talk show host is a small price to pay for life in heaven.

There you have it. If you have any comments please head to where I can hear you and drop me a line.

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