The Devil Comes At Night
Rohith Sundararaman
The Devil comes to me at night and offers me immortality. He speaks from the shadows, and even though my vision has become good friends with the dark, I can never see him.
"Immortality?" I ask from the hard bed.
"Immortality," he repeats.
The idea intrigues me. He doesn't seem to mind the smell of waste so I continue talking.
"Why me?"
"Why not you?"
Indeed, I think. "Just like that?"
"It comes at a price."
"Tell me."
"You give me your soul."
"My soul?"
"Yes. Give it to me and you will live forever."
"I'm sixty-three and dying."
"With immortality, you'll always be sixty-three."
"I don't like being old."
"That's the best I can do. When you're immortal, only others will become older."
I sit up, and my bones ache like they always do after a short sleep.
"And my afflictions?"
"All gone."
I rise off the bed but the shadow remains still.
"Hurry," he says. "I have to leave."
"I need time," I reply, walking to the basin.
"I will return again, then."
"Please do." I splash water against my face and it's cold. I wet my hair to make it less matted because it helps me in killing the ticks.
"You'll be here?" he asks.
"I'll be here."
"I'm going," he says, and then there is silence. Soon I hear the sound of footfalls on the metal flooring outside the room, and know it is morning. I sit on my bed and smile at the idea of it all.
The pale gray light of dawn gives shape to the small room. I smile again before the footsteps stop at my door, and then there is a knock. I get up and walk to the door, plate in hand, and knock once in reply. A part of the door slides away and there is light. A loaf of bread along with some milk is shoved at me.
"Did the Devil come to you again?" the warden asks.
"Yes," I say, taking the bread and milk.
He laughs. "So, are you immortal now?"
"No. But perhaps you should be on your toes."
The warden laughs again but it isn't loud or harsh. "So why do you keep talking to him if you don't want immortality?" he asks before making the door whole again. He has others to feed in solitary.
I carry the plate to the bed and sit. I feel the bread and it has less wrinkles than my hand. It's fresh.
"He thinks I have a soul," I answer, and eat.
Rohith Sundararaman is a twenty-two year old writer working out of Bombay, India. His work has appeared or will appear in elimae, eclectica, word riot, gud magazine, decomp, defenestration, tipton poetry journal, death metal poetry and other places. When he is not dreaming of poetry, he is busy taking courses at a local business school.