by Paul Magnan
Avathiel’s playmate convulsed with agony. The man’s nude body collapsed into skin and dead tissue.
Ava, wake up, it’s time to play our game.
No, daddy, please. I still hurt from the last game.
We’ll play gently this time, Ava. I promise.
Avathiel turned from the body beneath her. She brushed black hair from her eyes and gazed through the window. On the other side was a past life. Avathiel felt the window as she once felt the shame and confusion of the girl behind the glass.
No, daddy, I don’t want to play the game.
Shush, Ava. If you love me, you’ll play.
Avathiel watched the girl sob quietly as she played the game. Her dark eyes returned to the body on the bed. The man bore a strong resemblance to the girl’s father. They all did.
On the other side of the window the girl cried out in pain.
Avathiel put her clothes back on. Her physical form was an image of what the girl would have looked like if she had lived to adulthood.
The game’s our secret, Ava. Don’t tell anyone about it.
But the girl told her secret nighttime visitor. His name was Slappy, and he had started visiting the girl soon after her father had introduced the game. Slappy talked nice to her and comforted her. Slappy told her that she could make the game her own. She could change the rules. She could make it fun. All she had to do was swear to be Slappy’s friend forever. She could pinky-swear, like some of the girls in her school liked to do.
Avathiel tried to reach through the window to stop the girl. The window, as always, held her back. The girl extended her pinky finger. Slappy’s pinky finger was black and scaly, but the girl grasped it and swore her friendship forever oath. Avathiel’s rage and grief tried to rise to the surface. It could not. It was not allowed. Slappy would not permit her to feel emotion. The only things he had given her in exchange for her oath were a new name, the need to play the game, and the window.
Daddy, I want to play the game.
You do, Ava? Really?
Yes, daddy. Let’s go to my room and play.
The window darkened and went black.
Already Avathiel felt her appetite returning. She needed to find another man. It was getting harder to find one that resembled daddy.
Avathiel slipped away. Once she found another playmate the window would clear, and Avathiel would again witness a young girl lose her soul twice.
My name is Paul Magnan, and I have been writing fiction that veers from the straight and narrow for many years. I live in New England.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Doing It In The First Place'
'The Final Time'