Before you tell me, yes, I know this story probably has some problems with changing tense. I’m aware of it, and I’ve fixed as much of it as I feel like. I will write more of this story if I feel like it. I definitely have an ending in mind this time, just not much of a middle. Kind of a morbid, black humor kind of a piece, which is a lot better of a place than where I started out. Let me know if the humor works. Thanks.
Writing Challenge Day 20: Waelerbog and Wilbur (Working Title)
By, E. W. Morrow
Word Count: 2091
This is the story of Wilbur Shaw. Up until this point, and from his own point of view, it has not been a very good tale. Excitement is low, frustration is high. There are things Wilbur wishes he could change about his story, but he is not the story’s author. He isn’t even the intended audience. He is simply Wilbur.
Wilbur is not a healthy man. Headaches and chest pains seem to pop up whenever any more specific ailment fails to present itself. Heartburn keeps wakes him up late at night and stays with him til dawn. All of life seems to be a revolving door of ailments and maladies. Some, like the headaches and the heartburn and the acne, are old acquaintances while others, the bronchitis and the mono and the pneumonia, are strangers, coming in one day, taking what they can, and leaving him.
And were he fortunate enough to experience only physical troubles he felt that he would be happy. Indeed, if Wilbur were only so fortunate as to be able to be happy, he would be happy. But Wilbur is not a healthy man, in any sense of the word. Depression was his roommate. Anxiety was his closest neighbor. Insomnia was his night light.
Oh, there were things he could do to mitigate the circumstances. And he was doing most of them. The Xanax and the Zoloft and the exercise. Most of the exercise, though too much of that left him physically and mentally short of breath. He had his hobbies, like his birdhouses and his model cars, and his social groups, like Tuesday night book club and family, if they counted. And of course there are always things he does not do, like eat healthy or go to bed on time. But, by and large, Wilbur Shaw does as much as he is able before the weight of the world wears him down. And then he stops, and sighs, and picks up his pieces, the dust and the tears, and builds himself back up again, slightly less perfect than before.
It is another sleepless night. A general constriction in the center of his chest makes it hard to breathe. The evening’s dinner burbles in his gullet. Too much pepper on his mashed potatoes. He practices the breathing exercises his last therapist tried to teach him, and after a while his chest loosens up. The effort of regulating his breath, however, has made him dizzy, and brought back the headache from earlier in the evening. It’s a sharp, throbbing pain just behind his left eye. He rolls over onto his side and covers his head with second pillow to reduce all visual input to pure black. The tightness of breath returned.
Wilbur’s last thought before falling asleep was that he wished he wasn’t Wilbur.
This is the story of Waelerbog Silch. Waelerbog is sitting on Wilbur Shaw’s chest, making it hard for Wilbur Shaw to breathe. He sticks his tail down Wilbur’s throat and stirs it around, enjoying the biting sensation of stomach acid as it nibbles on the barbed tip. Wilbur begins to breathe more deeply and more regularly, and the motion of the chest as it rises and falls manages to tip Waelerbog off for a moment. Waelerbog sits up and pokes Wilbur in the eye a few times before driving his barely corporeal finger deep into the socket until he strikes a nerve and presses down on it relentlessly. Wilbur rolls over onto his side and Waelerbog sits back on his chest, flapping his wings happily.
Gravity does not effect Waelerbog Silch. Waelerbog Silch is an imp, a tiny trickster demon from the planes of Hell themselves. No one in Hell expects much of the tiny demon, and that suits Waelerbog just fine. He spends his days skittering across the surface of the mortal world, engaging in whatever mischief manages to capture his fancy. For the past quarter century most of his time has been spent terrorizing the life of Wilbur Shaw.
Well, Waelerbog thinks to himself, not terrorizing. Not exactly terrorizing. Menacing, perhaps. Or disrupting, maybe. Definitely inconveniencing at the least. It is hard to instill terror when even your unfettered, eleven dimension, truly demonical form is little more than two feet high from hoof to horn, no matter what dimension you measure in. But when it comes to striking inconvenience into the hearts and lives of mortals, then there is no one in heaven or hell who can hold a candle to Waelerbog Silch. He’s already stolen the candle.
Waelerbog isn’t sure exactly what made him latch himself on to the human Wilbur Shaw. It isn’t that he is any more gullible or tragic than most of the other humans Waelerbog has inconvenienced over the centuries. He is pretty much your run of the mill loser. If he had to guess, Waelerbog would say that THAT was the answer. Mediocrity. Wilbur Shaw is such a loser that he couldn’t even lose at losing. He’d been a loser before Waelerbog had met him that day at the park more than twenty years ago when he’d pushed the toddler Wilbur over with a gust of wind right onto a pile of dog poop, and he’d have stayed a loser without Waelerbog’s fecal intervention. But now he is an unhappy loser, and that makes Waelerbog happy straight down to his pumice.
Besides, it isn’t as though Waelerbog shadows the mortal all the time. When Wilbur sleeps, Waelerbog rattles doggy doors, stirring up household hounds to a cacophonous round of midnight barking that drowns out his laughter. He gusts through the limbs of trees, knocking squirrels off branches and into the waiting mouths of cats, then burrows underground and activates the nearest sprinkler system, hosing down the cat and his meal. There are some times where he leaves Wilbur alone for days at a time, up to a week at one point, but always remembers to bring his favorite play thing something back from the trip. Usually diarrhea or strep throat.
You know, Waelerbog thinks to himself as he whispers awkward dreams of incestuous make out sessions into Wilbur’s ear, I may just miss this mortal when he’s gone. Won’t be long now. I’ll have to visit him in Purgatory sometime. He probably won’t end up in Hell proper, after all. He’s not a bad egg, but I may just be able to swing Purgatory. After all, suicide isn’t out of the equation just yet. Then we could play forever.
And this is the story of Waelerbog and Wilbur.
Wilbur wakes up in the morning, groggy from lack of sleep. Waelerbog moves Wilbur’s sunglasses just where he sets his foot down in the morning. So far the frames have not cracked like the last few, but are still bent out of shape. Wilbur walks the rest of the way to the bathroom by shuffling his feet across the floor to avoid stepping on anything else. Waelerbog only has to watch as he shocks himself on the brass door knob.
In the shower, Waelerbog sits above the faucet and cranks the handle a fraction of a turn further than Wilbur does every time Wilbur tries. Wilbur takes a fifteen minute long shower that is never quite at the perfect temperature and barely finishes wiping the shampoo from his eyes by the time the stream of water is ice cold. He steps out of the shower and slips on the wet tile.
Waelerbog catches him and slows his fall, angling his body so that his head misses the corner of the tub. He does nothing to prevent Wilbur’s arm from impacting the same corner, but Wilbur suffers a nasty bruise rather than a cracked skull. Waelerbog watches Wilbur shave from the other side of the mirror. Only once does he press down on Wilbur’s arm, and only hard enough for a single nick. He wonders what Wilbur would look like with a beard and contemplates hiding Wilbur’s razor for a week just to see how it might pan out.
Wilbur doesn’t eat breakfast at home anymore. If he had to guess, Waelerbog would say that he had probably switched the milk and the orange juice one too many times while Wilbur wasn’t looking. Now Wilbur picks up a sausage egg and cheese biscuit from a drive through on his way to work in the morning, and there is precious little Waelerbog could do to ruin a drive through biscuit that the fast food companies haven’t already tried. Usually he settles for zipping along ahead of the car and making sure that Wilbur got the coldest cup of coffee he could manage and maybe tickling the noses of the employees until they sneezed on the sausage patties.
This morning Wilbur is feeling more conscientious. He stops in at a gas station and picks up a bottle of tea and a granola bar. For some reason Waelerbog is unable to pierce packages of sealed food but he makes sure to bang on the bars before as Wilbur swipes his debit card. When Wilbur opens the package he has to pick out bits of granola and shovel them into his mouth. He spills a third of the granola in the car.
On this morning Waelerbog rides the rest of the way to Wilbur’s work with his head sticking out through the closed passenger seat window, his bifurcated tongue lolling out and flapping in the wind. He’d gotten the idea from watching dogs do it on the highway, and it was so much fun that he often spent days riding in random cars just to have the experience for as long as he could. Glancing around at the early morning commuters, he sees something he hasn’t seen in a very long time.
Two lanes over is a white sedan. Being a white sedan is not what is unique about the car. The woman driving the car is glancing up at her sunshade mirror, applying lipstick with her right hand while driving with her left. This, also, is not entirely unique. On top of the steering wheel, however, sits a small, dark figure with a Cheshire grin and dainty pin-prick horns, apparently invisible to the woman driving. Whenever the woman looks up from the road to apply her lipstick, the figure leans over to the side ever so slightly, causing the car to veer to one direction or the other. The woman always notices just as she puts the lipstick to her lip and has to hastily correct course. The figure’s long dual tails flick happily like a cat’s every time.
It’s a female imp.
Waelerbog Silch had never payed much attention in demon school, mostly because demon school doesn’t exist, but he knew enough to know how rare female imps were. Most female demons were your basic, run of the mill succubi or brood mothers-of-a-thousand-young. A few were librarians, and one was a judge. But Waelerbog knew that there were SOME female imps. He’d even seen one once. At least, he thought he’d seen one. He’d definitely seen pictures of them. But that had been a long, long time ago. Something at the base of his single tale begins to shiver excitedly, and soon his whole body is doing the same. He has to hold on to the dashboard to keep himself from rocketing off in a chattering ball of premature hellfire. Wilbur starts pounding the door to the glove box to stop it from rattling. After a few seconds he gives up.
How best to proceed, Waelerbog asks himself? Surely the correct protocol for such an event calls for a ritual sacrifice. Waelerbog looks around. Not Wilbur, obviously. And not because I like him, Waelerbog assures himself quickly. It’s just that Wilbur is too flabby, too shabby, too—losery. Too much of a loser even to get sacrificed. And obviously the woman driver was off limits. If this female was even half as protective of her person as Waelerbog refused to admit he is about his, then that would cause more trouble than even Waelerbog Silch can worm his way out of.
Hey, Waelerbog thinks to himself in a brief moment of confused clarity. Worms! Who doesn’t love worms? Start out small, work your way in. Get her a can of worms.
Happy with his plan, Waelerbog sticks his hand out the window and grabs a fly as the car goes rushing by. He sets it free in the car’s cabin and contently watches Wilbur swat at it all the way to work.