Call Me a Demon

"Daddy, can you please check the closet?" Her big round eyes were brimming with tears and they threatened to fall, each frantic glance towards the ominous door making the tears flood her vision more. They wobbled and danced on the edges of her eyes. Any moment they would fall.

"Sweetie, there's nothing there. Go back to bed," he said, rising towards the door with his hands on his clean, khaki-clad knees. These were his work pants that his nice, nondescript Christian wife ironed every weekend and that his little five year old daughter helped loop the belt through every morning because she said she wanted to help daddy in any way she could.

"Da-daddy!" She whined, clutching her bed sheets to her chin. She cried, the big watery tears landing noisily on the thick quilt.

"Okay, okay, honey, I'll make sure there aren't any monsters in there. One day, though, you're going to have to be a big girl and get over this, okay? I can't check monsters for you every night," he said, exasperated with her antics. He opened the door, revealing a dark little room with little Mary Jane's for church and tiny tennis shoes stacked haphazardly on boxes of Barbie's. He even went through the ritual of turning on the closet's bare light bulb and rifling through the laundry basket until little Victoria's frightened cries turned into tiny skeptical sniffles.

"See, sweetie? There's nothing to be afraid of," he murmured, leaning over to kiss the middle of her forehead. "Now, will you be a good girl and go to sleep?" She nodded numbly. "Good," he praised.

The door clicked shut behind him and little Victoria was left with herself. She kept thinking she saw monsters and ghosts in the dark of her room. She even sometimes shrieked when she thought there was a monster that came too close for comfort, trying to grab at her sanctuary underneath the covers. Usually when she screamed her dad came in straight away with a baseball bat in hand, but the more restless nights the household had whenever she screamed bloody murder, the slower he came until, finally, he didn't come at all and left little Victoria to fend for herself.

"Daddy! The monsters were coming for me last night and you didn't come to save me," she accused the next morning over a tiny bowl of cereal. She kicked her dangling legs slowly, her whole body more at a speed of a sixty year old instead of a five year old, each day more and more energy draining from her.

"Sorry, honey. I just can't get up every single night to protect you. Daddy has to go to work in the morning and Daddy needs his rest. You need to be a big girl for me and conquer your fears yourself." He placed a bag of lunch on the table. "Have a good day at school." He kissed her forehead and sent her off.

When Victoria got home later that night and when Daddy finished tucking her into bed, she warily thought of Daddy's advice to conquer her fears. What did he mean by that? How can she conquer her fears so that she won't be so afraid anymore?

She glanced at the closet then looked away, biting at her abused lips. She looked again, this time longer and harder, trying to understand just what she was so scared of inside of that closet. It's the same at night as it is during the day, so what's there to be afraid of?

After a long battle inside her little head, she cautiously swung her little legs off of the bed and dug her toes into the carpet. She spent a moment standing there, contemplating, but eventually took the steps needed to reach the door. Taking a shuddery breath, her shaky hand reached out to grab the cold handle to the closet. "All I need to do is turn the handle. All I need to do is turn the handle."

The closet creaked open and she gaped in horror, falling backwards onto her bottom. In a trancelike state, she just looked at it as if she wasn't really sure what to do and was too scared to scream or run away. She couldn't move. All she did was look. The monsters were so grotesque that all she could do was look even if she didn't want to. She just had to sit there and watch and feel herself changing. It was the most helpless, overwhelming experience and it was all trapped inside her mind. No way to release such emotions. No way to even decide what she was afraid of, why she was sad, or decipher just exactly what she was feeling.

But Little Victoria would soon conquer her fears like Daddy wanted.

"Hey, Victoria. Did you sleep well?" Her father asked tiredly at his spot at the kitchen table like he usually does.

"Ugh, shut up," she grumbled under her breath, glaring at his slouching figure. He snapped his head up, looking up at the stranger in his kitchen impersonating his daughter. She stood in front of him wearing a short black skirt with lots of chains dripping from them as if they wanted to be a separate entity from it, black fishnets underneath the tiny skirt that showed so much of her thighs it was dangerous, and a tank top that could barely be called such by how low it went and how much stomach it exposed. He could see her belly button which sported a brand new piercing. It was like another one to the collection.

"Good morning," he sighed. She popped her gum at him, one pierced eyebrow arched incredulously.

"Whatever." She rolled her eyes. "Me and my friends are going shopping. We need money." She snaked a hand out of her brightly streaked hair and into an expecting position in his face. He quickly filled it with what she wanted to appease her. He chugged the last of his coffee, turning around to see his wife tapping her foot at him in the threshold.

"What, honey?" He asked, trying to grab her for a sweet peck on the cheek. She pushed him off, pointing at their daughter.

"I can't live with that thing. She's a spawn of Satan himself. I won't have that living in our house," she hissed at him. He's heard this many times before. Nearly every morning and every night and anytime they talked anymore it was always about Victoria—or Vicki as she prefers to be called now—and how much she can't stand her demonic upbringing. It was always his fault, too. It was never, "Oh, honey, we raised her wrongly." She always had to blame him and his terrible parenting.

"Martha. Please. Don't."

"Alan! I can't take this anymore! She's a beast! She dresses like a hooker, she's always in trouble at school and always lands up needing her ass bailed out of jail, her grades are shi—"

"You know, I'm really enjoying this conversation about me. Don't let me interrupt you," Victoria said.

Alan shoots a frantic look at his wife, begging her to say something apologetic to their daughter, but there is only an awkward silence with expecting looks from both clashing females. When the silence became nearly too much to bear, Victoria stalked off up the stairs. She made sure each step was a loud and angry stomp and when she slammed the door she used her full force. After the walls stopped shaking, she collapsed onto the floor, numb.

She looked at her room. It was dirty, not having been cleaned in ages. The closet was never closed anymore. She loved her closet and wanted it to be open all the time so she could look at the monsters inside. Her eyes wandered and drifted to her bed where underneath she kept everything. She started pulling things out. Three notebooks, five condoms, a cheap vibrator, a paring knife, bandages, and a case. The case is plastic and hard and she slowly drifted her fingers over the rough texture. Inside was what could remove all of her problems from this planet and it would feel so, so good to finally do it. No wussing out this time. She's actually going to do it. She really is.

No, wait, what is she thinking? Is she really going to do this? She stared at the gun long and hard in her hand. She didn't really know how to use it other than pulling the trigger. She's sure that there's a safety on it somewhere that needs to be released. She isn't even sure if it's loaded. Even if she found out it wasn't, where would she put the bullets? How do you aim correctly? What's the best way to do this?

After awkwardly fumbling with it for a minute, a little case popped out with two bullets inside. This was the hard part. Trying to decide what was more worth it, living or dying. One shot for herself? No shots for herself? What would she choose?

Her hands were shaking. Oh god, how could she do this? How was she going to do this? She slowly lifted it to her temple, her breath shuddery and uneven. Her hand wouldn't stay still. She didn't want to fuck this up, damn it. Stop shaking! There's no reason to be so upset. This is what she wants!

"Um, honey?" It was her dad's voice. He didn't knock. There was barely any hesitation before he eased the door open and saw Little Victoria sprawled there with her knife and her bandages and her gun. Her gun, so naked and vulnerable and he realizes exactly what she's doing with it and she can see it click in his slow brain.

He can't know. He can't know. She's forever his little girl and she can't let him know.

"V-Victoria," he gasped, choking on his words. All of the implications in that sentence were enough to drive her insane with rage. How dare he judge her like that? He doesn't know jack shit about her.

She turned the gun on him. "You don't see anything, you pig. You don't know anything about me. You haven't been there for me and you forced me to grow up too fast and now you won't grow up at all."

One bullet wasted. It's gone forever. One chance gone and only one left. She can do this. All she has to do is pull the trigger one more time. All she has to do is ignore the blood on her knees and the verbal razors that she wants to spit at the corpse of the monster that has plagued her for so long. She can do this, she can.

One more chance.

This was her last chance. But she fucking ruined it. She just had to wonder what that noise was and she just had to see her there with the carcass of that man at her feet and she just had to drop to her knees and beg her "sweetie" to put the gun down. "Sweetie, sweetie…please," she sobbed, snot and other fluids running down her face. "Please, sweetie, please drop the gun."

"No, Mom. Call me a demon. Call me what you really think I am. I'm not your sweetie so get up and stop blubbering," she said, holding the gun out shakily. She hoped she still looked threatening enough to scare her but it didn't really matter because it wasn't long before she used her last chance on the abomination in front of her.

Victoria dropped the gun and slid to the ground. After a couple deep breaths she remembered that she forgot to leave a bullet for herself.

Her life was already fucked up, why did her death have to be a fuckup too? It wasn't fair.

Why, oh why, did she have to open the closet?