I Am The Blood
(Central Park and 5th Ave. – Photos by Joe)
Barely fifteen minutes after I left the ghost of Albert Einstein, knowing not to say his name or ruminate over the encounter, I was fooled into giving his exact whereabouts. Not a second later, the demon who tricked me, raced up the 5th Avenue sidewalk next to Central Park en route to the famed professor. Benny and I sprinted after him.
The demon was tall and seemed paper-thin with a head that reminded me of a tulip bud. Its scrawny limbs were sheathed in a skin tight fabric. I had first seen the being along with a stout creature, down in the Seaport. The two have a history of human abduction.
The demon surged forth with skittish movements. It seemed like we chased a snapping flag through the dusky haze. Some pedestrians batted their eyes at the passing evil. None saw it clearly, save a young woman who walked alone. From inside the hood of her sweatshirt, her eyes grew big, and she raised a hand. To put her at ease, when we chugged by I called out, “Ghost crushers!” I also gave a forearm salute, but didn’t look at her. Though I did see the demon’s head bob in our direction; it gave me an idea. Because there was no way we would get to Einstein first.
Lord knows what the evil thing would do to the beneficent ghost. Probably suck all his goodness out of our world. My only option was to somehow throw the demon off the path to the professor.
I cut to my left, climbed over the Central Park wall, and hit my feet running. I stuck my fingers in my mouth and whistled across the grain of all whistles, imagining that I could infuse discord into the sweet yawn of NYC’s soul.
Since the demon had relied on me to tell him where the professor was, I hoped the beast would think I knew something else that he didn’t—and follow. If my plan failed, I thought maybe the discordant whistle would warn Einstein, though I had the feeling he was the sort to get run over by a wailing fire truck.
Benny, who is pretty smart for an old homeless man, vaulted over the wall seconds after I whistled. “Good idea,” he cried, as he easily passed me. His long, tanned face showed no sign of being winded. “Just don’t look back.”
(Central Park road)
We ran down a paved path into the Central Park Zoo. A hill rose to our right and empty cages were to our left. I was out of steam and slowed to a jog.
The demon had taken the bait. He sprinted along the crest of the hill. In seconds he was out of sight.
I stopped. Benny stopped, too. I dropped my hands to my knees. The old clairvoyant looked up and back in Einstein’s direction, though he didn’t turn. “He’s aware of the demon,” he said with an easy smile. “That was quick thinking.”
“What did the demon want with him?” I said, making sure not to mention Einstein’s name.
“The professor’s apparition represents a stroke of sweet serenity in this realm–or our field of energy,” Benny said. “While his mere presence is a very complex thing, I believe the demon wanted something from it. Possibly to learn how to navigate between dimensions, but that’s a guess.” He raised his brows. “All I can be certain of is that demons always want something. Yet their desire can never be satiated.”
“Definitely not this time,” I said with a laugh, and thought how easy it had been to fool the stupid thing.
“Yes, he’s safe. Or should I say, it’s safe,” Benny said and also laughed.
I smiled with relief and looked up. In seeming answer to our levity, the demon reappeared. He stood far off and up high on an outcropping of fossilized rocks. Street lights illuminated the outline of the demon’s frame. I tightened my gaze. To his left I spotted the shorter, much wider creature who I had also seen another time down by the Seaport. My skin bristled. I turned like I was trying to ignore a big, stray dog. “Time to go,” I said under my breath.
Benny and I walked up toward a tree-lined 5th Avenue. I wanted to run, but thought it would be a show of fear. My pace became brisk.
Something inside me knew the moment wasn’t over, as if I could feel an invisible touch. Sure enough, a voice came to me. It was that of the stout demon, whose voice I had heard before. Over the span, he managed to sweetly whisper, “To really know, you must have blood on your hands.”
Benny looked at me. “Keep walking, and just ignore it,” he said.
There came a scratching sound, followed by a repetitive thud. The sounds seemed to emanate from an airtight space.
“Do you want life?” the stout demon said, though its tone had changed. I didn’t think its voice was directed at me.
I found myself waiting for a reply.
A full moment later, in my head sounded a simple string of words. I innocently repeated them for Benny. “‘I am the blood, come to me.'”
The old man slapped a hand across his mouth. Such a look of fear came over him that I knew I had really screwed up.
A set of green eyes seemed to snap open right in front of me and there came a sickly gasp. It was as if the person or thing hadn’t had a breath in untold ages.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Thirty-One – August 2010