“Neka, it’s Mom. Call me. It’s about Dad.”
Not now Mom.
Neka erases the phone message and grabs the joint she rolled that morning. It’s Friday. She had been waiting all day for this joint. Of course it’s about Dad. It’s always about Dad. He has Parkinson’s. It would go from bad to worse, but Neka just needs a little time, a little space before calling. Her professors rode her ass all week, Leesa and Mesh are both mad at her, and Bart won’t return her calls.
“Shit, where’s my lighter?”
Neka tosses last night’s skirt across the living room, moves the pile of clothes off the couch seat, shuffles the papers on the coffee table, the desk, pushes cans and crinkling bags around her kitchenette.
She rummages the bed sheets, the pillows on the floor; she shuffles the contents of the dresser.
With the joint hanging loose from her lips, Neka starts her bathwater, then drops her bottoms and plops on the toilet. She sighs, looking down the bridge of her nose at the green heaven that she can almost taste. She cleans herself quick, then pops her head out her bedroom window.
“No, no, no….bingo.” The man in the coat with the patched elbows. He’s puffing on a cigarette. “Heeyyy, blondie.” A thin blonde female looks up from the sidewalk ready to say fuck off. “No, not you, him!” She looks confused, then irritated, says something to her friend, then they stroll off. Blonde smoker, however, finally looks up. “Hey, can I borrow your lighter for a quick flick? If you toss it up, I’ll send it right back down.”
The man in the jacket has his hands is his pockets. It’s a blue suede material, very dapper. To most women he would be quite attractive, but Neka thought anyone that polished must have too much time or money on their hands, or both. He smiles, then tosses it up. “Keep it. I’ve been meaning to pass that on.”
Neka catches the flighted metal. It’s weighty, solid. “No, really, just let me light this, and…” flick, ccrrssstt, “All done, here you g…” but he’s gone. She looks left and right to see which way he’d walked, but she can’t find him. “Hmmm, whatever.”
She tucks back in her window, sits on the edge of the tub, and examines the metal. All silver, old silver – she knows because she’s seen some of her grandmother’s collectables. There’s a woman molded on the front of the lighter, a woman with six arms and no clothes on. Her hair is long and wavy, and she wears some sort of amulet.
She reaches behind her blindly to shut off the water. A hand grabs her wrist.
Neka screams, falls, scoots away from the tub. Her joint falls from her mouth.
“Help, there’s someone in my…”
“Shut up!” A woman says from her tub.
Neka freezes, terrified.
“No fucking way.”
Neka stands, but she doesn’t mean to. She didn’t move herself. She’s moved. Her legs take her to the side of the tub. She screams again. Her mouth is slammed shut.
“Stop that. It’s annoying.”
Neka’s eyes water. She’s scared. She should have called her mom.
“I am hungry.”
Neka doesn’t speak. She looks over the woman lying in her bathtub. Her face is smooth, her skin plump, her hair is long, dark, floating over her naked body. It takes Neka a minute to really see it, to see that she has six arms.
“I am hungry. Bring me food.”
“You’re the woman…”
“Yes, on the lighter yes.”
“You came out of the lighter, like, like a?”
The woman laughs. “Like a what, like a genie?”
Neka nods with her mouth hanging open.
“Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. You humans, tsk, you all think your words mean so much. A genie. Ha. What, you expect me to come out of your lamp and grant you tricky wishes? No. I don’t think so. I am Mathnanon, a Benevar. You summon me, you serve me.”
“I don’t exactly under…”
Mathnanon pulls herself up, then out and over the side of the tub. She moves like a giant insect. Neka’s stomach churns. “You summon me, you serve me.”
Neka steps back, then again, and again. She should have called her mom. She should have left the house. She should have bought her own lighter. The Benevar moves closer to Neka still. They dance like this until she is backed against the wall.
“I need,” Mathnanon says light, breathy, “I need flesh.” She leans into Neka for a hard kiss. Neka squirms. Blood pounds in her lips. The pressure is too much. She tastes iron. Mathnanon holds Neka’s shoulders, wrists, hips. She moves a hand to Neka’s face, another to her groin. Neka sighs, moans, loses feeling in her knees.
Before she could fight the advance again, the Benevar burst into flames. She backs away from Neka, smiling. “Bring me human, or I eat you.” She shrinks until all fluids have evaporated. Her body breaks, falls, the ashes create a cloud.
A gust of wind moves through the bathroom then, which swirls the ashes before all of it spirals down, seeming to be contained in the lighter. She looks at her hand, still shaking. She looks at the window. She looks around her apartment for a weapon.
Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.