Be sure to check out the post and give it a try. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s open to any and all winter festivities/holidays! The top two stories will win a $10 and $5 Amazon gift card.
As with the previous challenge, I’ll be writing for my contribution to the prompt choices. And as I struggled to come up with something to write, I decided to simply continue the story I did for Monster Mash.
Meaning “Little Coconut” in Spanish, coquito is a traditional Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico. The coconut-based alcoholic beverage is similar to eggnog, sometimes being called the Puerto Rican Eggnog.
Most alcohol burns on its way down, but the shot of coquito slides cool and smooth down my throat. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve had, and decided maybe two or three shots ago to ignore the way the bartender’s pitiful gaze moves from my hand to my eyes every time I ask for another. When he realizes I’ve noticed, he quickly turns and busies himself wiping down the bar. He doesn’t recognize me, but I’m not surprised.
I haven’t been back home in so long. And I know I don’t look the same anymore. My reflection in the mirror on the wall on the other side of the bar is distorted, but only some of that is due to the warped surface. The rest is the demon hovering around my shoulders, my constant companion and pain in the ass.
Though the bar is just around the corner from my mother’s house, I can’t bring myself to get up and walk the rest of the way. It’s not like I’m drunk – this coquito isn’t particularly strong – but I don’t want to bring him past my mother’s threshold.
“That hurts, you know.” He tries to sound offended, but just comes across like a dick. “And it’s not like it’s my fault you haven’t visited in so long. If I recall correctly, you’ve been making excuses not to visit since long before I came around…” His words are a hissed whisper, driving my guilt farther home. As much as I hate to admit it, I stopped visiting my childhood home long before I was demon-bound.
“No one asked you.” I mumble under my breath, sighing as I let my forehead rest on the bar for a second. Taking a deep breath, I straighten up again before the bartender can get concerned. Mustering what courage I can find, I hop off the stool and slide a hundred dollar bill toward the bartender, doing my best to smile. “Merry Christmas.”
I’m out the door before he can respond. It’s unseasonably warm, but I burrow deep into my coat anyway, stuffing my hands in my pockets as I make the short walk to my mother’s front door. Before the demon, I might have stumbled or tripped, but our connection provides accelerated recovery. Sometimes it’s a blessing, but right now it feels like every bit the curse it actually is. I might as well have just been drinking coconut milk.
“I don’t know why you feel guilty.” There’s a shrug to the demon’s voice. “You’re making your mother’s holiday by showing up.”
“I’m putting her in danger is what I’m doing.”
“I’ve already given you my word, I won’t-”
“And I don’t trust you.” I hiss the words into the air, glad no one is around to hear me.
At that, he falls silent. A first for him. Though he’s never taken over without my express permission, I wouldn’t put it past him if he thinks we’re in danger. Maybe it’s nerves from seeing my mother for the first time in years, but I’m on edge. And if I’m on edge, so is he.
“And you’re not the only threat.” Across the street, my mother’s home looms more ominously than an unassuming two-story house should. Christmas lights and wreaths make it stick out as the only one on the block that bothered to decorate. The lights are on, and I can see people moving about on the first floor.
“You think I’m the only one in my family who knows about demons?” I sigh, catching a glimpse of my aunt – my mother’s sister. Every inch of me screams to run away, but I can’t.
“You don’t mean…”
“Aunt Clara is there. And if she notices you, we’re both as good as dead.” She taught me everything I know, but she doesn’t know I’ve put it to use. Why would she? We haven’t spoken in years. “So. You need to go wherever it is you go when you’re not bothering me, and just let me have this, okay?”
Though I don’t expect an answer, I’m relieved when he materializes from my shadow in the form of a cat.
“Fine.” His voice still echoes in my mind. “You get a few hours of peace and quiet. Consider it your Christmas gift.” His form brushes against my leg before he disappears into the night.
Though his essence is a song I can’t shake, I manage to walk up to the door and ring the bell.
I’m not quite sure if I’ve done a good job of using the prompt, but there you have it – 748 ineligible words. Hopefully your stories are a bit more cheery.
Be sure to visit the prompt post at the link and get your entry in by 12/20!
As always, think happy thoughts 🙂