By Sarah E. Seeley
Post date: Mach 20, 2020
The betta fish swam slowly from side to side, waiting for Tommy to fall asleep. The boy hadn’t cleaned his room like his mother asked him to, and it was vital that the demon’s next victim be notoriously smelly by habit if he hoped to possess a human form without giving away his own distinctly sulfurous odor. No matter what form he took, Brabaros couldn’t mask the smell of Hell and brimstone on his body.
The air practically burned with the pong of the boy’s feet, mingled with the scent of pizza rinds, candy, and empty milk cartons that were spawning mildew under his bed. Deep, slovenly snores issued from Tommy’s mattress at last. The demon betta leapt from the tank, landing on the floor in full monstrous stature with a wet thud.
The demon’s long, yellow nails scratched the wooden floor as he crept through the heaps of clutter to the foot of Tommy’s bed. The boy’s gym bag lay open, spilling sneakers and fusty clothing like a half-gutted carcass. Sifting carefully through the pile, Barbaros found a pair of socks. Stained green and black with grass and dirt, these precious bits of cloth held the most pure and accurate sample of Tommy’s body odor out of all the boy’s clothing. One sock was all that Barbaros needed.
Barbaros plucked out the rankest of the two socks and stood over the sleeping boy. Presently the sullied fabric curled and blackened into a ball of fire in the demon’s hand, and he blew on it. The flames licked out in two giant tongues, engulfing boy and demon.
The boy’s eyes flew open, his mouth parted in a silent scream as his body shrank out of his nightwear. When the flames receded, the demon looked down at his own naked boyish frame. He glanced in the mirror with a devious smile. The lips he bore were Tommy’s, the future President’s second-to-youngest son. He peeled the boy’s penguin pajamas away from the covers and put them on.
A strip of moonlight glistened on the writhing, wet blob of scales and dirty-blue fins that remained of the real Tommy. His gill slits throbbed with obvious thirst and his mouth snapped open and shut.
The demon pinched betta-Tommy between his fingers and licked the sour sweat from his lips. “Thank you, Tommy,” he said. Then he dropped Tommy into his mouth and swallowed him whole.
Copyright 2012 by Sarah E. Seeley
*All rights to this story are reserved. Please share a link to the story, rather than copying. Thank you!
“Demon Betta” originally appeared on my first writing blog, Escritosaurus, which was tucked away many years ago and replaced with my official author blog, Slithers of Thought. I published “Demon Beta” side-by-side with “Starving Vampires” as my first, experimental forays into self-publishing in October of 2012. These two stories remained on Smashwords for a year, after which I decided to retire them from formal circulation to make way for better representations of my work.
My writing has come a long way since I decided in 2011 that I really wanted to push myself to write fiction, and avail myself of all the resources I could to learn how. My first published stories are still a lot of fun to revisit. I made a few tweaks to this story and released it once again on Smashwords in October 2014. In February 2020 I further updated the bio and links on the Smashwords version.
If you enjoyed this free short, share the link for this post or download a copy of this story here on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/248237
Thanks so much for reading!