The Demon Helium
After having exhausted all her what-happens-when-you-do-this curiosities on the Cuisinart last Friday night, Sister Madly took herself off to the pub- and, incidentally, into the hands of the Professors.
The discussion eventually turned to the topic of fear, which prompted the Professors to ask Sister Madly what it is she dreads most- she was not to think about it, but to say the first thing that came to mind. Knowing they would read too much into ‘You People,’ Sister Madly said ‘Balloons.’
Balloon are bizarre enough by themselves, but when you fill those balloons with helium, they become downright alien. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single balloon anywhere in sight that could have triggered this (second) automatic response, which made the Professors curious.
You may recall that Sister Madly’s gluten intolerance was discovered only after she had murdered a sandwich. Several years before that, she did the same to a balloon. It’s a wonder that she is not strumming her lips in a padded cell.
The balloon in question was one of demonic origins, bright yellow, with a cerebral smile. After a week’s stay at the Madly estate, the balloon began to take on certain human-like qualities: hovering at eye-level, it lurked in the doorways and peered round corners, pretending it did not know that Sister Madly was watching; it would appear silently at her side and, always smiling, invade her personal space (which, admittedly, has a greater perimeter than most.)
It wasn’t long before the balloon was following her around the house. Many an evening was spent looking over her shoulder as the balloon swayed gently beside her at the dinner table, as it slipped into the bedroom behind her, or stalked her though the halls. The basement became her only refuge, as navigating the staircase proved to be a challenge for the Demon Helium, but even this did not last. Friends and family insisted that the balloon was simply swept up in the current as she passed by, that this was a natural phenomenon not to be feared.
Yeah, the Professors tried to tell her the same thing. Fools, the lot of them.
She tried locking the beast in the closet, but it always managed to escape. It harnessed the powers of a yet-unknown science by producing an electrical charge, which allowed itself to cling to Sister Madly’s hair and clothes merely at will. Nothing, but nothing seemed to hinder the balloon; rather, all the cursing, running and punching that childlike grin* only fueled the Demon’s hunger.
*Bad idea, by the way, mentioning this part to the Professors.
It was a butter knife that took care of the balloon that final night. Sister Madly had awaken to find it hovering over her bed, watching her sleep- and we all know what logic runs through a terrorized mind at 3 AM. But while she could tear through that cerebral smile, while she could render the balloon to nothing more than shiny, shiny strips of foil, Sister Madly could not kill the Demon Helium. As in all cases of possession, with the host now deceased, the Demon Helium needed to find a new life form to carry out its agenda.
That host was revealed when, in an alien falsetto, Sister Madly declared her victory over the remains of the balloon; yes, the Demon Helium had taken up residence in Sister Madly and was now speaking its high-pitched message of doom through her. She, however, reacted not with the enthusiasm expected of one destined to haunt the whole of the human race, but with the primal instinct ingrained in her since birth: she hid under the bed.
Now this particular exorcism, though not found in religious texts, had a remarkable effect on the Demon Helium. Evil spirits, as a rule, do not like passive hosts; they defeat the purpose of possession. In fact, the only race that thrives in this manner- living under dark furniture- is that of blood-lusting monsters, which is of no use to the demonic realm.
Thus, the Demon Helium departed, leaving Sister Madly to wonder about the creature that was no doubt lurking under the bed with her.
POST’S THEME SONG: Weightless Again, the Handsome Family