By Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou

Mum says I’ve got a vivid imagination. I’m the only child in the family that sees faces and figures in the clouded sky, whole scenes of people wrangling, waving. I don’t tell them that these people’s hole-dark eyes are spying on me.

When I tell Mum clutters of spiders swarm my bed and snakes coil under my pillow, she forbids me to watch any more of these Japanese cartoons on the internet. A “Pollyanna Grows Up” book is on my bedside table, leaves crisp, sharp like knives.

I ask my parents to throw away all the icons of creepy Jesus and the Madonna in my room. Their eyes change colour and shape. They pin me down with their stern stare, like a trapped squirrel.

Last night I saw a black-hooded man floating over my head. He just stood there looking down on me. I couldn’t see his face.

The black figure visits me every night. He bends over and whispers things to me. I pull the blanket over my head and drum my fingers against my ears. Mum says it’s my guardian angel, nothing to be afraid of, but her eyes become round when she says that, like she doesn’t believe her own words.

I think the Devil is a nice person deep down. He just wants to get our attention, make us sympathize with him. All he wants is to get back into heaven, befriend God again.

Now the black figures are everywhere in the house. I sprinkle the holy water Priest Nikolas gave us. He held a special ceremony in our living room last night. The figures actually stumble back at first, but then they always surge in again afterwards, pack the rooms, suck all the air away.

The priest visits us more often now. Nobody else can see the red dots bobbing all over his cassock and on the gold cross he holds onto my head and lips. The figures turn colours, knock things over and laugh at him, but I tell them to hush and show respect. They never listen.

The Devil is crying today. “They won’t open the door for me,” he says.

“There’s only one way,” I tell him. “I’ll come over and bend for you to step on my back and jump in through the window.” He’s heavy, and my back crackles and hurts, but I bite my lips and manage to haul him up. We’ve forgotten that all heaven’s windows are steel-barred, so he bounces off and falls to the ground. He leaves, head down, grumbling and cursing.

Now I bend over Mum and Dad every night and tell them how close Devil was to getting into heaven. They cover their heads with the blanket and drum their fingers against their ears. They have no imagination.

Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou lives in Athens, Greece but writes in English. She holds a BA(Hons) in Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her stories have appeared in print and online in several literary magazines.

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