“Today was rough, dear,” Anders sighed as he flopped onto the couch, forgoing shedding his coat for the time being. “The police showed up again, this time questioning me if I’d had any disturbances recently since the neighborhood called a vigilance state, and a few of the subjects decided right then and there to completely lose any sense of respect they had and start acting like a den of zoo animals. They’re probably going to show up with a warrant tomorrow to search the place for illegal drugs. But anyways, how have you been?”
“I’m fine, love. Just a bit chilly since I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the thermostat from sleeping conditions.” Miranda tightened the knot holding his blanket around his shoulders, shifting on his stool and reaching for the grocery bag full of potatoes. See, Bes? Anders isn’t all gloom and pain. “I’m making baked and stuffed potatoes for dinner. I hope you didn’t mind me borrowing your tablet for recipes. You forgot it here when you left for work.”
“I don’t mind.” Anders stretched one arm to the coffee table he’d moved there yesterday and grabbed the TV remote, flicking it on and sitting up properly. “Just make sure that you don’t delete anything. I’ve got confidential records on there that I’d prefer not to lose.”
When the TV sound had loaded all the way and started spewing rushed words, Miranda stepped off of the stool with a potato in his hand and a knife in the other and leaned into the living room. His eyes transfixed on the TV, where a balding man was shouting unintelligibly at some younger reporting woman who was apologizing profusely. LOCAL MAN POSSESSED BY DEMONS? filled a good portion of the bottom of the screen.
“I don’t know what came over me,” an average-looking citizen blabbered as the screen focus cut to him standing in front of a desolate tree-filled park. “One moment I was driving merrily on the highway just a few minutes away from home, and the next thing I knew, all my limbs felt like they were being pulled like marionette strings-” he stumbled around awkwardly to demonstrate- “and making me turn off at the nearest exit and drive to some stranger’s house. I kinda blanked out after that, and I woke up at the side of the road in my car with a wicked toothache. None of the doctors that I’ve seen so far can really explain what happened to me, and my priest suggested that it might be the work of a demon wanting my body to commit some dastardly crime. If anybody wants to convict me of something I didn’t do, I’ve got lawyers!” He raised a fish to the air, and the channel shifted back to the balding man and the addled reporter, who were still bickering.
Anders settled off of the couch and was about to slip off his coat gently when the TV cut to a wide shot of his house. His limbs pulled back suddenly in a cringe, and the coat dropped silently to the coffee table. “And this happened two nights ago when I was gone?”
“Yes, dear.” Miranda tore his gaze from the TV and put the potato and knife back in the kitchen before picking up the gray coat. As an Anders overcome with shivers slowly settled back down on the couch, Miranda added, “I knew something was off about him from the moment he stepped in, and he started making all these wild claims about being from hell when I asked him why he’d come around.”
“Did he hurt you in any way? Do I need to file a police report? Was anything stolen?”
“Nothing was taken, love.” Miranda avoided Anders’ wide pleading eyes as he hung up the coat next to the front door and returned to the upstairs kitchen. “He said that I had a limited amount of time to make a decision which basically amounted to being kidnapped by him or being killed by you… I think.” He rubbed his chin for a moment before resuming his seat on the stool and picking up the knife again. “I was too busy trying to remember what the password to the emergency phone was to pay full attention.”
“I would never kill you. What would I possibly gain? And even if I could gain something, I wouldn’t do it. Killing isn’t in my blood or my heart.”
Miranda washed the potato before slitting its side and picking up another one from the grocery bag. “The demon would certainly beg to differ. How much cheese do you want in your potato?”