Personal Demons Excerpt: Demon Vision
Saturday, September 16, 2023

Seeing the world through the eyes of a demon...


The airboat bumped and jolted beneath Mira as it raced through the Everglades under tio Rafael’s guidance. Rain fell in curtains from the slate-gray sky. Dense stands of cypress choked off the grassy fields that had, at first, stretched to the horizon. The waterways narrowed, forcing the boat to slow. The increasing canopy caught a portion of the rain, but heavy drops continued to pelt the boat’s passengers. Dead wood and creeper vines laced the tree roots, creating walls. Alligators floated like driftwood just beneath the agitated surface of the water. The air, still thick and warm despite the rain, gusted in Mira’s face and tangled her wet hair. She took a deep breath and pressed her palms to the vibrating metal surface on either side of her crossed legs.

Time to work.

Another breath and she let herself slide away, deeper into her subconscious. The demon swelled to fill the vacated space. Mira could still feel the hum of the metal under her hands and hear the roar of the fan propelling them forward. She could taste the briny air and smell the musty scent of rotting wood and algae. But everything was filtered by an imperceptible distance, as though she were living in a memory. She took another breath and let herself sink further. The demon’s energy filled her body, taking over. Mira drifted at the end of a tether.

“Whoa, what the heck is happening with your hair?” tio Luis shouted.

The anxiety his question stirred nearly jarred Mira out of her meditative state.

“It happens sometimes when she uses magic.” Ty’s voice was a rock in the storm, soothing both her and Luis as he assured her uncle such oddities were of no concern.

The trees, water, and flotsam blurred and blended, turning to blue-gray smoke around her. A long, thin shape of swirling blue drew her attention to the side—the denser energy of an alligator draped over a log. Another swirl of concentrated energy streaked overhead—a bird. Beside her, Ty was an electrical storm in the shape of a person. Gianna and tio Luis sat behind her, and farther back still was Rafael at the tiller. The four people sharing her boat were hazy human shapes marked only by the dancing energy that swirled inside them. They bore no distinction from one another, yet the pulse of Ty’s energy felt different somehow, more familiar.

<Everyone resonates a little differently,> the demon confirmed.

The few times Mira had seen the world through the demon’s eyes she hadn’t noticed any difference between the amorphous blobs of electric potential that denoted a human presence. Can you tell individual people apart when you see them through the Rift?

<I’ve never bothered to try. Generally, demons are only interested in identifying people with special powers, and those are easy enough to spot. The rest are just white noise.>

The space around Mira suddenly expanded like an explosion in her mind. She could see beyond the trees and shrubs walling her in. The misty world of the Rift stretched out around her like a monochrome kaleidoscope. Every animal, every insect, was a burst of lightning. A frog splashed into the water ahead. A mother bird sat on three eggs in a nest, the unborn chicks a flurry of light beneath her. A cluster of ibis waded through shallows on spindly legs. Dragonflies zipped between branches like jet planes. Centipedes crawled through the rotted center of a nearby log. A family of opossums dozed in a tree off to the left. Geckos clung to tree trunks. Snakes slithered through the sawgrass. There was even a large cat lounging in the high branches of a tree far to the right. Where there was life, lightning danced through the Rift, mimicking the storm overhead.