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I am working on a new novel, “Demon”. The story concerns a collection of early memoirs, each by an author who, post memoir, goes on to be published and well known. The authors are from history, different places and times. They share one thing in common, their Demon. Here is the beginning of the first author memoir. I hope you enjoy.

Please Forgive Me

Translated by Mendax Emptor

Oh terrible demon. When did these thoughts first haunt my sleep, my days, my life? Why did you place these thoughts so clearly in my head? And why are you even here, in my life, near to my family, to my dear sister? And now you command me to write!

The old woman living next door to me now, she bears no burden of blame for offense to me, or to you. She is only a poor woman with clouded eyes, possessing nothing, existing as I do, in derelict apartment, suffering the unrelenting winter, too close to the stinking river. Her simple daughter, still young but too old, is abused by the selfish needs of miserable men consigned to the same miserable existence. Poverty climbing up onto poverty to feel some respite.

It was her eyes. It is her eyes. They point at you, not really look at you. They are clouded so that you cannot see what is her intent. I do not know if the eyes came first or the trade. She is a pawn lender, consigning what is left of failed lives, hoping not to be repaid, seeking to profit when she sends her daughter to deliver the unpaid consignment to wretched men in the same wretched business, resident in the very neighborhoods where descended those failed lives.

Truthfully, her eyes, they are metaphor for all the unseeing, uncaring greed passing down, permeating every layer of society. A few gathering all at the expense of all others.

The demon first showed me those eyes. He pointed at the old woman with his long, talon finger and said,

“This is the hate that you carry in your breast. This is why you have arrived now here, in this hovel, shivering and thin. She gorges upon the waste of your life, and all the lives wasting around her. She will live, always, unless you bring this to an end. Then you will write.”

I heard him and I understood. But it was the eyes, her clouded eyes, gray-blue with deceit. I knew before he finished his words the treachery she concealed and that she surely had to die. My demon showed me all the horror of the living consuming human maggots crawling everywhere, feeding on the decay of mankind.

In all of this horror, in the frigid night, with the smell of Russian poverty and the filthy river passing cold and easy into my room, all I could contemplate was the horror of her eyes.


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