The Artist And The Red Demon

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
the story about an artist who is unable to get good sleep at night and turns delusional

Submitted: July 13, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 13, 2017



Edward Irving rises from his bed after a sleepless night. He is suffering from lack of sleep for the past seven years. He stares at the printed poster of Vincent Van Gogh painting "Bedroom in Arles" facing his bedroom wall. Van Gogh is a big influence on Edward’s life as an artist. He lives by selling his painted canvas. Still, in bed his hand reaches the tape recorder switching to radio mode. He hears the song "The morning after" by Maureen McGovern. Finally, after stretching his hands and legs then yawning a bit he throws the bed sheet on the floor. He sits on the corner of the bed trying to recollect a recurring dream that haunts him regularly. In his dream, he always sees a young girl with white hair standing on a rough rock in the middle of roaring sea extending her hand telling him" come to me, my lover." Then he looks at the sky filled with pelicans flying everywhere.

He rubs his eyes to make himself feel clearer. He gets up and goes towards bedroom window. It was raining heavily with water drops dripping from the roof of the window. He opens it and observes the busy street filled with vehicles. Two people yelling at each other since one of them hit the other car from behind creating a commotion. A wet dog tied to a pole growls at every passer-by. A lazy cat yawning on the top of a wall. A pizza man stops his scooter and enters his apartment to deliver some pizza ordered by one of his flatmates. He rubs his face with hands to feel warmer. He then goes to the kitchen and makes himself a hot coffee. Later sits on the couch of the living room. While checking the news channel on the TV he hears the anchor person in the news announcing that " Good morning everyone! Today is 28 September 1985. We will be expecting lots of rain shower continuously but we have an important news that RMS Titanic is finally discovered after decades of continuous search and it is the greatest find of the century". Edward quickly grabs the remote and changes the channel to a Music channel. A video of The Carpenters singing the song "Yesterday Once More" plays on the TV.

He closes his eyes and relaxes. Then he feels his tummy rumbling and hunger is kicking him. He quickly brushes his teeth and takes a hot shower. He wears a gray colored shirt and dark blue jeans. On top of it, he wears a long brown coat. Takes some money from his cupboard and fills his purse. He takes an umbrella and locks his room. He gets into the lift to reach the ground floor. A young girl is present in the lift she adjusts her hair and smiles at him. Edward gives her a bright smile to make her feel positive. The street was slightly flooded with water but he is wearing tight boots to keep his feet from getting wet. He goes towards his favorite restaurant a few blocks away from his apartment. He takes an empty unoccupied seat in one corner and overhears two elderly couple sitting behind him having a heated argument about their daughter’s choice of man. As the conversation started to get very interesting a thin looking waitress with sunken eyes stopped at the table and asked him "what can I order for you, sir." He was slightly startled but quickly he clears his throat and orders "I prefer some scrambled egg, a bacon, and a soda."

The restaurant plays the song "So in love" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. While waiting at the table. He sees two women smiling and talking to each other. He observes one of the women. The way she keeps her legs crossed, tilting her head towards one side of her shoulder while listening, her hands on her red lips with surprise. Her curly blonde hair flying in the wind. He thought she is a perfect subject to fill his canvas. He intensely stared at her. Suddenly the woman's eye noticed his eye. He then started pretending to look at the ceiling and then outside through the restaurant windows. Soon his food has been served on the table. He finishes the breakfast silently. He pays the bill and comes out to find the rain temporarily stopped with clouds revealing a little bit of sun only to conceal it again.

He checks his watch finds the time is 9:30 am. He remembers his appointment with a doctor for treating is insomnia. He has to be there by 11:30 am. He lives in Orlando, Florida. He walks towards a bus stand waiting for a bus to ferry him to Winter Park to meet Doctor Aleksandr Tarkovsky. He finally meets the doctor after seeing a long stretch of patients being treated by him. The doctor who is Russian spoke in a different accent asked him whether he is taking the medicine prescribed by him earlier regularly. Edward added "I still not able to get any good sleep. My head is filled with full of dreams and hallucination. I woke up with sweat on my forehead when I see dreadful thoughts in my dream." The Doctor checks his sleepless eye with a torch and gives him some warm suggestion. Again prescribes a new list of medicine to be taken. He thanks the doctor and comes out only to see all the patients waiting for the doctor staring at him strangely. He noticed one elderly woman shaking her hand continuously and dropped her purse down. He went towards her and politely picked the purse and placed it on her lap. The elder woman grabbed her stick and hit him hard on his arm. Just then her granddaughter arrived and apologizes to him. She explains that her grandma is suffering from a condition which makes her see everyone as some kind of threat.

While on the street, due to lack of sleep and restlessness, he gets the feeling of every building staring at him through every window. He goes to a phone booth drops a coin and talks to his old friend who used to be his roommate during college days. The friend whose name is David Dale an aspiring musician. He picks up the phone and cries out "how wonderful I was just thinking about you. Please drop at my studio I have composed a nice piece of a song for a television show. You should come and listen to it. So he pays a visit to his studio. Dale welcomes him with open arms and says "I found a producer who promotes instrumental artist like me and I have signed seven album deal in the contract. Then he plays a song called “Dance of the Death" which will be the opening theme of a horror episode to be aired on TV every Friday night. Edward was getting creepy feeling while listening to the song.

Later both decide to go to a French bar. After reaching there Dale order's two glass of scotch. He tells him "someday I am going to be big enough to be noticed by everyone" and he glares at everyone around him in the bar like they know him very well. As Dale continued to speak Edward noticed a red-faced demon with small horns on its head making eyes at him from behind his friend. He coughed a little bit of whiskey out in shock. Dale asked him “what’s the matter with you?" Edward answered back "nothing I am just feeling a little cold." “You look little tired maybe you should need some rest," said Dale. "Me? I am feeling totally fine I have to paint my canvas I found a beautiful subject to start" answered Edward. "Okay then see you back some day again," said Dale and both parted. The red demon rolled its tongue out and said: "look at the poor soul walking like a blind cat in the middle of the road."

Edward took a step back and asked the demon "who are you? What do you want from me?" The demon answered, "Don’t you recognize me I am your shadow and I am following you since the day you are born." Edward got alarmed and said, "I don't need you please leave me alone". The red demon vanished in the thin air. Then a voice started talking inside Edwards' head. "Hello, now I live inside your body," said the red demon. Edward got terrified and on the back of his head hair straightened. "Wherever you go I come too." said the red demon.

He decided not to listen to red demons talk. He went to a newspaper stall and bought a paper. Then he went to a park and sat on a bench. Glancing at the paper page by page. He noticed an article about an actress called Jennifer Moseley who was mercilessly murdered by a psychopath some fifty years ago since he was deeply infatuated with her. She suffered 6 bullet wounds before bleeding to death. She was only 36 when she died. Edward felt what a beautiful woman to die so soon. Suddenly he felt a gush of wind flowing towards his face and started feeling cold. Then he heard some voice calling " oh dear you are so alone." Edward looked around everywhere and saw the beautiful actress sitting next to him. She was dressed in 1935 clothes. Edward got excited and said, "How on earth you are here." Jennifer answered, "The red demon summon me from heaven to be with you."

She was very gentle and delightful woman. “The world has changed a lot since I last left this world" She spoke. Edward pinched himself to find out whether he was dreaming or really awake. He felt a sharp pain and realized the whole thing happening is for real. He gathered some courage and told her “I am very happy to see you alive but the whole world believes you are dead." I know said the actress “Only you can see and hear me." Edward thought to himself if I talk about this to anyone then no will believe me that I am telling the truth. It is wiser to keep this secret buried within me."

While walking on the street with the spirit of the actress following him the red demon inside his head called her "Jennifer Jennifer!” The actress looked at Edward and said I am sorry did you call me. He nodded his head to say no. Suddenly two stout and heavily built men without a face with just skin covering it appeared out of nowhere and demanded: "hand over the woman to us." Jennifer was frightened and said “These two are always chasing after me in heaven. They are very wicked and ugly towards me. Now they are here too ". The red demon said to Edward," say disappear inside your head they will go away instantly." He followed the instruction of the red demon. Immediately the two stout men went out of sight. The actress felt relieved and said " for the first time in my life I am feeling free from those two monsters. Thanks to you."

He took her to the city library which he visits regularly. When he entered the hall the man sitting at the table greeted him with recognition. Edward smiled and said to the actress "let's read some books here." He opened a book about Second World War and read about a German Captain named ?Anthony Hopkins who jumped from a cliff to avoid being captured by his enemies. The captain appeared in front of him and said “Where am I now? Then looked at Edward and said "do you know what happens when you jump from a mountain. Every bone of your body breaks. I was alive with pain all over my body for hours till I finally died" Edward felt sorry for him and opened his mouth to say something but ?Captain Anthony Hopkins vanished without a trace.

He closed the book and went for some other subject to read. He came across a book called Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles. The opening page of the book had a picture of author Conan Doyle. He saw the author sitting in front of him on a chair smoking through a wooden pipe. Then he said "Good day to you sir". Edward smiled and said, "Wish you the same." Then the author continued “I still love to write a lot of crime adventures solved by Sherlock and his loyal assistant Watson but I don't see him solving a crime in this cold heaven." Again the author too vanished in the air. By now Edward got used to all these crazy things happening in his life. He started feeling normal about the whole experience.

The Actress looked at a book about poetry lying on the top of a shelf. She wanted to read it. Edward used a ladder to bring the book down for her. The book contained lots of poem by many poets. She enjoyed reading poems and showed Edward a picture of an American poet Emily Dickinson who was a favorite poet and a great inspiration to the actress. Then Emily too appeared wearing clothes of her time and looking very humble and said: "I am Emily Dickinson. I am a poet by heart. I love your world as well as our world. Let me say a poem from heaven."

“Winter as gone and summer as come but our heart will outshine the sun
I feel the breeze upon my face and it comforts me like a gentleman's hand
The ocean is frozen forever but our tears will melt even the toughest heart in our world
Days go by without counting but our memories will never fade
Heaven and Earth are married forever and this tie will never be broken."

After saying this short poem she smiled sadly and disappeared.

Edward finally decided he had enough of books and left the library. He started walking in the street. It was raining again with great thunder exploded with lightning. It was getting late for lunch. Jennifer was looking at some mannequins wearing a nice dress in the dress shop. She said "the clothes look so different nowadays. People have certainly changed a lot." He added "life hasn't changed much we still post mail in the mailbox and stand in the line at the bank to draw money. If all these things go away then I am a free man." She laughed and said, "you are such a lazy man yet so cute and caring". Edward now felt high enough to fly in the sky.

He quickly stops at a fast food shop and takes some hamburger, French fries and a bottle of soda. He chats with the actress happily but from time to time he looks around himself to check if anyone noticing him talking to himself since no one can see the actress. Fortunately, he found everyone taking care of their own business and none suspected his presence. Now the time is six pm. He bought a ticket for a horror movie and said to the actress "let's watch this movie." The actress said "there is no movie in heaven it's so silent with only birds chirping around. I am very curious to see today's movie."

Edward went inside the theater and occupied a seat in the balcony row. The movie name is called Silver Bullet it is about a man turning into a werewolf during the full moon and kills many people. Jennifer got frightened to see the werewolf and she hugged Edward tightly. When the werewolf dies in the end after taking a single shot of bullet made of silver and turns into a man again. All of a sudden he gives one last growl now it was Edward turn to jump from his seat. Jennifer laughed about this all the way to his home making him feel embarrassed. The red demon winked at Edward and said, “You are having a good time with her. She has fallen in love with you. Keep her feeling engaged towards you."

When "Edward entered his flat and unlocked the door. Jennifer yelled look those two stout faceless men are back again sitting on your couch. Edward remembered the red demon words and said you two disappear right now." But to his horror, they were still standing. Then the two lifted Edward towards the window and trying to throw him out. He was helpless all he could say is red demon please help me. But the red demon is nowhere to be found. Now his head is completely outside the window and then they pushed him further till he was completely out in the air falling towards the ground from the seventh floor. He cried in horror while falling and then everything blacked out. He woke up with terror crying aloud while still in his bed. He wiped the sweat from his forehead. He realized that the whole thing that happened to him was a complete nightmare. He reaches for the tape recorder and switched it to radio mode and hears the song "Whispering Waves" by Donna Summer. He laughs and falls back exhausted. Finally gets a good night sleep that day. The End.


© Copyright 2018 Praveen Newman. All rights reserved.

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