My stories are always written in the voice of the characters but I often take the liberty of heavily editing after transcribing what [the characters] tell me, (though I try my best not to censor them). But Goodnight, Demons. Goodnight. is straight from the protagonist. Warning: Goodnight, Demons. Goodnight. contains violence and strong language and is therefore rated R, according to my standards.
Goodnight, Demons. Goodnight., by Deanna Schrayer
His hands are gripping the wheel so hard he feels the indents his fingers are bruising into the rough rubber. He squeezes harder, wanting to punish something, someone. Her. The steering wheel of his Camaro is her and he hurts her, he crushes the life out of her, watches her face go white.
The back tire bounces off the road, jolting him into letting loose of the wheel. Quickly he takes hold of it again and jerks the car back onto the road, fishtailing into the left lane and he panics, stands on the brakes and slides sideways into the ditch on the other side of the road.
In mere seconds he sits facing the other way, the direction he was coming from, nowhere near wherever the hell he was going. He doesn’t recall touching the gear shift but the car is in park, the green light blinking furiously in the dark, the headlights revealing nothing but the tip-tops of centuries-old oaks and pines.
He grabs the door handle, pulls but the door won’t open. He pulls harder and slams his shoulder into the door and it flies open as if it was never even attached to the car to begin with. The adrenaline jets from his feet to his head like somebody, something, shot it straight into his hip through a needle and he swings his legs around and bursts outside, knowing he’ll hit the ground running, but his feet barely touch the gravel before his legs stop working and his whole body crumbles to the dusty earth. His head jerks back and forth automatically, checking, making sure no one saw his stupid ass but there’s no one there, of course there’s no one there.
He can’t see a thing, it’s so dark out, the fog thick enough to be its own wall. But he knows where he is. The spot. The boulder jutting from the hills announces itself like a damn advertisement for Lover’s Lane even though the place has never been called Lover’s Lane, only Dead Man’s Curve so that when someone asks are you dying tonight what they mean is are you getting laid.
He hears the creek rushing in the near distance and realizes his ears had been ringing until that very moment. The Camaro ticks and pings beside him and the heat searing from the tires burns his cheek. He shakes his head and blinks several times, trying to clear the dizziness that’s making him want to puke. His hands shake as he latches on to the ground and he stands up, slowly, his legs still feeling like fucking Jell-O. It pisses him off and he punches the hood of the car like he’s fighting for his life, the jolt piercing his shoulder and neck, forcing its way out through his damn teeth!
Good. He deserves the pain.
He punches the car door hard and it hurts so good he has to do it again and again until finally he misses the frame and smashes the window out. Warm blood slides down his arm and he wonders if his wrist is slashed open.
A high-pitched wail screams through his skull and his face is bouncing off the car. He feels like a giant just picked him up and threw him with all its might.
Suddenly it’s no longer dark, it’s so bright he thinks he’s staring into the sun, and it stings!
Then he sees her.
His back is sliding down the side of the car and there she is – she’s standing right in front of him, planted on the road like a strong oak, her arms stretched taut in front of her, her little hands gripping his Beretta harder than he’d gripped the steering wheel. He smiles and forces his eyes wide open. The fog is gone. But the dark is back. As his body hits the ground again he sees….no one. No one is there at all. But he sees the gun, he sees the gun fall from his own bloody fingers. He sees nothing else.
The first couple of times I heard Demons by Imagine Dragons I was cleaning the house and I liked the upbeat tune so much that I paid little attention to the lyrics. Last week I sat down and actually listened and was astounded by the images that came to me. Those images are the story you just read.