The Helpful Demon

Note: suicide trigger warning

I closed the door to my car and looked up at the schoolyard. At this time in the morning, there were a few people standing about, chatting before their first class. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes before imagining myself walking through the crowd and entering class without talking to a single person. It would be easy. Everyone can do that, right? I just need to do it. Don't think, just act.

When I opened my eyes again and analyzed the scene, my heart and mind began racing. There's no way I could walk through a crowd without attracting attention, and I could feel their eyes drilling into me. Women would casually glance at me before giggling to themselves among their cliques. Men would look down on me for being too fat. Acquaintances would see me and try to use me like they always did.

The longer I looked, the more nauseous I felt until I had to open the door again and sit back down. I couldn't do it. I knew I should have woken up earlier. If I had managed to arrive at 6:00, I could have avoided the situation entirely.

From within the safety of my car, I scanned for alternative paths. At this time of the morning, I knew the janitor would have opened up a side door, and if I jogged around campus, I could make it in to class without people seeing me. I silently nodded and took another deep breath before opening the door again and quickly walking away from the entrance to the school.

Once I was definitely out of view, I began jogging a bit to make sure I could make it into class on time. As I approached the side door, I saw a student walking in from the distance. They didn't seem to notice me at the time, but I unconsciously hugged a wall to avoid them.

What was I supposed to do? The student was approaching and they would see me soon no matter what I did. What was I supposed to say when they saw me just standing there? As the student approached, a knot tightened in the pit of my stomach and I began to breath quickly.

I then noticed a small hatch to my right that would lead me to the roof. Without thinking, I scaled the ladder to avoid being seen. I then rolled on my back and stared into the sky.

After a few seconds of rest, I stood up and looked over the edge to see if the student had made it past and once they did, I let out another sigh of relief. It was then that I realized I was two stories off the ground. I still had to make it back down and get into class by 8:00. What time was it now?

As I fumbled for my phone to check the time, I heard the bell ring. No matter what I did, I would not make it in time. I shuddered as I tried to envision myself walking into class late. What would the teacher think? Would they call me out for it? Would the students laugh among themselves and make fun of me for sleeping in? I couldn't do it.

I would have to wait until the next class started. At the time, I didn't know what to do, so I sat there on the roof, alone, left to my own thoughts.

What was I doing? I was so socially anxious I couldn't stand being seen by anyone. I didn't have any friends. My family hated being around me. I was the worst of the worst.

What could I do? I was already doing the best I could and I was so, incredibly tired. I was tired of skipping meals due to my own inability to eat food with people around. I was tired of puking every morning when people gave me a sideways glance. I was tired of living.

I looked over the edge again and realized that there was one thing I could do. I could jump.

A wave of euphoria spread over me with that thought. I could just end it all, right here, right now. No more people. Just me, alone for eternity.

I had always chickened out on previous attempts, but not this time. There was no one to stop me. I could finally sleep for good.

I stood up and took a deep breath, leaving my bag on the rooftop. This was it. I couldn't look back.

I charged to the edge of the roof and jumped, head-first towards the ground.

My heart fluttered in the air, but I was not nervous. No, I was excited. This was the first time I ever truly felt alive! Time seemed to slow down as I fell, and my own miserable life began flashing through my mind.

All of the people that made fun of me for simply existing. All of the eyes that stared at me for no reason. All of the secret conversations and giggling behind my back.

They would all end now, in this instant.

As I hit the ground, I heard and felt a distinct crack, like the breaking of glass and felt my body fall through the earth. When I opened my eyes again, I was sitting on a flat surface, but was covered in complete darkness.

Suddenly, a small, rectangular light glowed in the distance, followed by another and then another. More and more rectangles began glowing, forming a type of staircase that lead directly to me. Then the platform under me began to glow, reflecting the sky and the school's wall where I had jumped.

An androgynous voice then called out, "Hello. I'm glad I finally found you." I could hear footsteps slowly descending the stairs from the distance.

"Hello?" I called back, "Who are you?"

"An angel. A demon." By now I could see a figure in the distance. "A guardian, of sorts."

"Guardian? What the heck is a guardian? Why am I still alive?"

"You are alive because I want you to be alive. Without you, I die too." By now, I could see the silhouette of a girl, who appeared to be exactly the same age as me. Her hair was long and white, as if she had never cut it once in her life, and her eyes were a deep, glowing red. She wore no clothes and her body was so white that it seemed to reflect light.

I rolled onto my back and stared into the darkness. I then sighed and quietly asked, "Can we just die together then?"

"No can do." She said, "I've lived through countless lives before. I'm not going to die now. Not in this way."

I felt her body climbing on me, but I didn't move. I then saw her face appear in front of me and stare directly into my eyes. I looked away, as I always did before saying, "Look. I don't know who you are, but I'm not obligated to protect you. You said you are a guardian. Respect my wishes. Let me die in peace."

She then moved away so her head was resting on my chest. "How about we tag-team instead? Any time you feel worried or stressed, I can take over and control your body in your absence. Whenever you feel up to it again, you can kick me out and live life as you normally would."

Somehow, her words were comforting to me. I could not think of the last time someone offered a helping hand when I was struggling. I unconsciously wrapped my arms around her and began crying silently. We laid there for what felt like hours before I had calmed down enough to say anything.

I then said, "I don't know who you are or why you are helping me, but please take over for a bit."

She sat up and rolled over, pulling me forward. "Don't worry. Life is hard. We'll get through this together." She stood up and stretched a bit before taking a deep breath. "Ok. My turn. Let me know when you want to swap out again."

"Wait," I grabbed her hand. "Before you go... I just wanted to say 'thanks.'"

"No problem. Again, we'll get through this." She then dove head-first into the platform beneath us, creating a small ripple that propagated throughout.

From the platform, I could see the world through my eyes as I picked myself up and brushed off the dirt before scaling the ladder again and collecting my bag. I heard the bell ring, dismissing the first class, and saw myself enter the doorway to the school.

"What room are we going to?" I heard my guardian's voice echoing throughout the chamber.

"202" I called back, "It's geometry, so it should be easy."

"Thanks!" She called back.

I then took a deep breath, rolled on my back, and stared off into space. For the first time in forever, I felt comfortable -- happy even. As I drifted off into sleep, I touched the screen on the floor.

We would get through it. Together.

Prompt: You have just been possessed by a Demon. Fortunately, it did so with the intent to help you, rather than harm.

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