“I’ll confess I haven’t bowed down in prayer for a long time now,” the old man said.
I simply nodded and retrieved the prayer mats.
Although his arrival was highly suspicious his presence was compelling and I abide by his requests.
“Probably around 10,000 years,” he let out a breathless cackle.
I also forced a laughter at what I assumed was a hyperbole.
“Would you like any food or water sir?”
“Oh no,” he laughed again, “I haven’t eaten in an equally long time.”
“But water would be good,” he interrupted me with a grin that caused his jaw to jut out like a craggy cliff.
As soon as I left the room and entered my kitchen I regained my senses.
Who was this man, I hadn’t seen him around town before.
In the back of my mind the same annoying irrational thought pulsed and itched for contemplation that I wouldn’t give.
There had always a reasonable explanation to everything in my life… so far.
All the same I ignored the uneasy feelings growing in the pit of my stomach and brought him a glass of water.
He snatched the glass and looked deep within it.
“Ahh bliss” he muttered under his breath and threw the contents it down his throat.
Miraculously steam shot out of his mouth and filled the room with a thin mist.
I immediately stumbled back with fright and the steam slowly subsided.
“Y-your a magician?”
“Among other things.”
His eyes gleamed and I saw the deep fire within his soul.
“You seem frightened boy? What would you expect from one created from the hot smokeless flame…”
He took small sip of water, steam slowly flowing out of his nostrils.
Slowly I came to the realization the man’s wrinkled face were flattening out as if it were a shirt that had been ironed, the plasticity of his skin rejuvenated by the water.
His voice also transformed becoming less of a croak, “Thank you for relieving my parched throat.”
At this point I was petrified, “Get out of my house demon.”
He sighed, flicking through the pages of my textbook he grinned again his face now resembling a young man.
“You summon me and insult as a “demon” , I thank you again for the water but I will leave you to process and place my existence within your strange theories of the universe.”
At this point my mouth must have been agape at the incredible sight of a man reversing in age before my eyes.
“I envy mankind, your minds are so fresh like moist dirt, the fruits of your thought are ripe. My mind is a dusty canyon, the same thoughts erode the old tributaries and familiar paths… and some thoughts are cut very deep indeed.”
A brief moment of total silence subdued all other sound as he stared in silence into nothingness.
“Farewell… for now”
He walked towards the door now a young man. I recall being certain I was dreaming and would awaken in my bed as the demon shut the door behind him.
The door shut. I waited.
And then could wait no longer.
I burst open the door to see a small boy laughing to himself and walking into the forest. Was that him? Impossible.
But what wasn’t impossible about this whole situation.
I watched as he disappeared, a shiver ran down my spine as an infant’s giggling echoed out of the deep abyss of the jungle.
Before long the silence returned again leaving me alone with my innumerable and frantic thoughts.