How To Get Rich Using Possession
I LAY AWAKE IN BED. My dream disappears like a puff of smoke. Something about a scratch-off… But what woke me?
I look around in the near-perfect darkness. There was a scratching sound in my room. Yes, that’s what woke me. It also likely prompted the dream about scratching off lottery tickets.
There! The noise again. Oh, god, what if it’s a mouse? I shiver. The temperature of the room is dropping by the second. The scratching is closer to me now. Right next to my bed. I’m frantically searching, but unwilling to move out from under the warm blankets.
I’m going numb. An odd tingling sensation overtakes me. Then there’s a terrible voice.
“Yield to me, human! I am Raschtyn, the demon of greed!”
I cannot scream, I cannot move. Raschtyn fills my body and I’m a slave to his will. Momentarily.
I’m lying there, terrified, paralyzed, praying, shaking, listening to my ragged breathing and pounding heart. But nothing happens. Is this some kind of nightmare? Am I having… what do they call it, sleep paralysis?
I manage to speak. “H-hello?”
“Hang on a minute.” Raschtyn’s voice is filled with frustration.
I hold still. Slowly, I am able to curl my fingers and toes. Then I can raise my arms. I bend my knees. I stand. My hand flicks to the light switch and I look around, screaming as my eyes land on the mirror.
“Silence, mortal!” the demon yells.
I see him. In the mirror. He’s sitting on my shoulders, arms hugging my head, chin resting on my neck so he can speak into my ear. I don’t feel him, but I see him. I flail my arms, trying to bat him off, but my hands touch only air.
“Is this real?”
I can see his face and it is unlike anything I’d ever pictured. He’s frowning, red eyes shifting this way and that. He’s thinking.
“Rash, uh, Rash…”
“Raschtyn!” Shut up, a minute. I’m trying…” His hands slide down my face and his fingers delve into my mouth. I can’t feel it, but I’m watching in the mirror. I scream again and try to buck him off like a wild mustang.
“Dammit, mortal! Stop! I almost got it…”
My right arm tingles and begins to move on its own. I slap my own face.
Raschtyn laughs maniacally. “Now, I’m getting the hang of it!”
I refuse to look in the mirror. “Wait. Have you done this before?”
My hand moves to slap me again but I’m ready this time and catch my own wrist. I pin my right arm into my body with my left arm. Slowly, my left arm begins to tingle and I dive for the bookshelf, grabbing the dusty old Bible that’s been there since Christmas 2002. As soon as the fingers on my left hand encircle the book, the new tingling goes away.
But my right arm is still outside of my control and begins to slap me over and over again.
I shout, “Wait! Stop it! What do you want?”
Raschtyn laughs again. “Dance for me, human.”
“I’m calling a priest.”
“Wait! Don’t!” I hear desperation in his voice. “Please, I’ll stop. Look, I’m trying to be on vacation, here.”
I turn to the mirror. The demon’s hands are out of my mouth and holding onto my forehead. His eyes are round.
“Yes. I’ve finally earned possession privileges and I’m looking for a nice long stay. Hell sucks, for real. Help me out.”
I resign this is definitely a dream. “I can’t let you possess me. You’re a demon. Wow, I actually said that out loud.”
“What if I help you?” He was grinning with needle-sharp teeth. “I’m a demon. I know things. I can get things for you. What do you say?”
“What things? I don’t want to hurt anybody.”
“No, no! Of course. But what about money? I can get you money without anyone getting hurt. We just gotta go to a gas station. Follow me, and I’ll make you rich.”
IT’S THREE IN THE MORNING ON A WEEK NIGHT. But, shit, I have a demon on my shoulders and I know sleep is not happening now. So, I throw on some clothes, ignore the comments Rasch makes about my style and my crappy apartment, and get in the car. I pull into the nearest gas station, but the demon shouts at me to keep driving. I pass up three Circle K’s, four Casey’s, and two Huck’s. I’m miles away from my bed and now starting to regret listening to this little monster.
We come up to a Shell station. After he promises me that no one else can see him, we go inside.
I buy a sweating hot dog from the rollers and pray that I don’t get salmonella. Rasch yells at me for praying. It apparently gives him a headache. Following his command, I spend one hundred and one dollars and forty-eight cents on ten scratch-offs and my hot dog.
Rasch is getting excited, now. I stand at the counter with quarter in hand and begin to scratch. The cashier is irritated, but I’m the only one in the store, so fuck it.
The first ticket yields nothing.
“What the hell?” I say out loud to the demon.
So, I do. The second ticket wins me five back, the third is nothing, the fourth is nothing. I’m getting red-faced by the time I start on the fifth ticket. I win fifty dollars. Alright, not terrible. Then I win another fifty. The seventh ticket wins me a thousand dollars. I start to jump up and down, but we’re not done. The eight and ninth tickets are bunk, but the tenth ticket… Oh, that beautiful tenth has set me up for life.
I won the jackpot.
I got on the news. I quit my job.
I get things now. Good old Rasch never leaves me, and I wouldn’t ask him to. Sometimes he takes me over when I sleep. He denies it, but over the years he’s gotten good at the whole possession thing. I see evidence of it in my morning showers when I have to wash off the dirt and the blood.
But, I guess I don’t mind. Demons will be demons.