libation
 
I must have been out of my mind thinking it would work.

Magic candy floss that turns you into a girl? Fucking nonsense. But I ate it

alright. Now look at me: a demon. Or something like that. I angle a smashed

mirror against the wall so I can see myself for a moment. My hair goes to my

waist. Deep black. Matted. And this dress- if it is that- torn beyond

comprehension. My skin is so pale. I look like a corpse but I can hear myself

breathing. I have a letter in my hands from Satan which tells me what I have to

do.

Yuo are ordered hereby to destroy

twelve of the littel girls and consyume them like fuele for youre glory and

mien. If yuo cannoet do this your life ise over withyn mere hours fore you have

surendered to my temptyng when yuo toke a byte of the candie. Do not look for redemption

from godde it is futyle. From youre Pal Satan.




I'd read it over and over in the past hour. I needed to know if it was

genuine. Someone could have put something in that candy to put me to sleep,

then dragged me here for a sick joke. But I had to be open to all

possibilities. I thought Tyke might know something, so I stole away through the

streets to his house. It was pissing it down and I must have looked even more

hellish when I turned up at his door than I had done under the bridge. He was a

bit taken aback when he saw me. Still, Tyke had seen a lot of things. So this

wasn't much of a problem.



"Fuckin ell. Who are you?"




"Listen... it's... it's

Rachel."



"Rachel?"



"You know..." Odd time for me to wince. "Brian. It's

Brian."



He stood sceptical for a moment. Then, "Aye. I can see it. Come in, Brian,

you sick fuck. I'll make you a cuppa."



As I trundled wet to the kitchen Tyke said, "Rachel I mean. If ya

like."



A cuppa later, Tyke is still out of the loop.



"So... Satan, who can't spell, has left you this letter...which you found

under a bridge when you woke up, looking like that girl from

Ringu...

after eating some candy floss

which you thought was gonna give you a sex change?"



I'd heard about the magical candy floss online the previous day. A trans girl

conspiracy had put together the ultimate brew of feminising hormones and snuck

them into a new candy bar. Only a password and age identification stood between

you and a whole new life. Girldom: within reach at last.



"Hormonal change. Nothing about genitals. Super-fast, though. They said

you'd wake up female- breasts, soft skin, girly features."



"Well..." he gestured at me.



"That's it you see. All I have is this hair. It's not a wig. It's mine. A

new hairline... but my body- it's the same. No breasts. I'm male. I'm like

before."



Tyke said nothing. He turned around and pulled what looked like a leather-bound

work from the shelf.

The Demonologist.


Silently flipping through mildewed pages, then:



"Here."



He turned it round to face me.

The Floss.

Released in June 2005, this Satanic spirit preys on transgender individuals.

Its primary ruse is to promise transformation from the victim's sex of birth to

their preferred sex, provided the victim will serve Satan by committing

sacrificial murders, usually of children. It hides in food, often candy floss.




Tyke closed the book before I could get further. Looked me straight in the

eye.



"Okay," he said. "This is weird, but... I like weird. We don't

have much time. Though we can buy some. If you'll do something."



I didn't feel I had much choice. I weakly nodded. "Go and buy some girls'

clothes," he said. "From a charity shop or something. That letter

says you only have a few hours and I expect it's right. I'd go myself but we

have to be quick, and I've got something else in the meantime."



"Girl clothes?"



"I mean like kid's clothes."



"Why?"



"I can't explain. Just trust me. Please Br- Rachel. There's a shop about

20 minutes away."



I felt dazed. Tyke was the only person I knew with nouse about the demonic. I

trusted him.



"What size?"



"Just so long as it can fit a cat," he said. How strange, I thought.

"Something like a skirt and top, or a dress," he said. "That's

all we'll need."




Back from the shop I dumped the bag

down on the table. It was leaking with rainwater and so was I. Pulling the

horrid garments from the plastic bag I thought, Weird how the shopping trip was

fun in the end, even at a time like this. The little clothes seeped grey water.

Clothes I might have worn. Had things been different.



"Okay," Tyke began, stood like a wizard at a dark altar. I heard a

miaow

from another room.



"I didn't know you had a cat."



"I do now. Listen. Satan is an evil bastard but he's pretty stupid. We'll

kill the cat and he'll think it's a girl. He can't see well up here. Later

he'll realise, but it'll spare us some time for now. Okay?"



"Kill a cat?"



"Got to."



I could have made a show of resistance but the fact is I didn't want to die. I

wanted to find some way to get the devil out of me. Tyke said he would do it. I

just had to officiate the ceremony. Give my stamp to it. I was a hell priestess

now. Tyke told me Satan would want 'the girl' burnt to death so we did that

too. In the fireplace. When only the charred corpse remained and we were

staring at embers I suddenly heard the rattle of the letterbox and the sound of

a child laughing. I flew to the window and saw a boy scurry away in the grey

evening.



"That'll be your man," Tyke said.



"But the kid?"



"Messenger."



I rushed to the door and tore open the unmarked envelope.

Yuo hav given mei somethyng to feast onne and Ie am thankfule for this

first gyfte. Butt do not be slowe in bringing the seconde of my twelve course

meale prettie one, if yuo want to lyvve ande become beautifule.




I had nothing to say. I threw it at Tyke, feeling my life was in his hands.

He nodded subtly.



"We're in the clear. I'll make a cuppa."



Having to burn the cat was horrific. But I have to admit I liked this costume

Satan gave me. I looked terrifying. The hot tea in my palms felt like a

broiling potion of blood. Bringing me life.



"What now?"



"Well, I don't wanna kill anymore animals for you, and that trick won't

work twice anyway- so it's to the church. We just had to do something to get

him off our tail for a bit, but tomorrow we can start repenting. And hard. Your

first letter said don't bother, but you know Satan- usually wrong about these

things. We won't know anyway unless we ask. And the church is the best place to

do that. Still, it's not open yet, so we can both sleep. If you're up at 7, we

can get there for 8 when it opens up. Okay?"



I said okay but somehow I knew neither of us would sleep. I couldn't, anyway.

Satan had too much to tell me. And I didn't want to be alone with him. So Tyke

and me sat in the living room, drinking tea as the wet sky turned black on that

strange Summer solstice, and I told him everything the devil told me. Tyke knew

well enough that a person left alone with the monster could be pushed to the

edge. And he wanted to help me. When the sun finally climbed over the world he

opened the curtains as if the light was God and could save me.



"The devil says I'm a heathen bitch and if I set foot in a church it will

burn."



"Shit. Shit! That means he sees us. He could probably burn that place if

you go in."



"So..."



"So... so I'll go in. Cross my heart and hope to die I'm safe. I've dealt

with worse curses- just.

Still...

there's no hope for you if you don't ask forgiveness yourself. I... I should

have asked though, you're not a Christian?"



"I don't know. Don't I

have

to

be, now?"



"No, no. You need to come to God in the most authentic way. Your request

has to be

real

. I'd thought the

church would be best, because that god's forces are concentrated here, for

historical reasons. So there's that. But if you can't go in there, we'll try

the next option- do what is right for

you


and sod the local deity. That means more energy from you and less from the

divine. Whoever- whatever- it is you're calling, you have to try harder than

you would if it was running through this soil the way Jehovah is. But it's our

only chance. Up for it?"



"I guess..."



"I

am

a Christian. A weird one,

but they happen to need me. So I can use the church. But you- I don't know. You

have to think it through."



This was my part of the mission, then. I couldn't just take orders from Tyke. I

needed to make my own way. Rachel's path. I looked at him and I looked out the

window, the sun higher now. I couldn't tell Tyke in any words, but I knew where

I planned to go, who I planned to call.




So at 7:30 we were ready to walk to

the House of God. Tyke kept asking me if I knew what I was doing and I told him

that I was being as true as I could be with every step. I was not lying. Saying

goodbye to him was a part of my path. I had told him I would need a knife to

speak to the God. Goddess. I don't think Tyke knew what I meant.



He stopped at the church doorway.



"Alright. This is me, chum."



"And this is me." I was strangely cheery. In an hour I'd be at a

collection of rocks in a clearing atop the highest hill in town, the world dead

and silent around me, ready to make my blood libation with the knife and scream

for the Goddess.



"I'm sorry I couldn't do more, Rachel. But I'll go in there and pray for

you the best I can. I know a lot of the Book. Hopefully we can get you back-

I'll pray for it."



"Back... like...how I was?"



I meant male. Tyke looked away a moment. Then he put his hands on my shoulders.

He was solemn then, as if godliness was in him momentarily, and could talk.



"No, no...I wouldn't do that to you."



Tyke guessed I had three hours. I clutched the knife in my bag and set off up

the wooded hillside as the sun rose ever higher.