The demon’s yellow eyes were closed to slits, his upper lip curled in a soundless snarl as saliva dripped from yellowed fangs. Gray fur nearly stood on end along his back, and the white, matted fur of his chest seemed to shine in the darkness. His claws clicked quietly on the rotted wood of the floor as he backed away from his pursuers, his head swinging side to side in search of an escape route.
There wasn't one, of course.
So begins a story I wrote several years ago about a war from an alternate dimension spilling over to threaten our reality. In the course of the story, our heroine, Anya, learns that such a war deciminated our world once before, and threatens to do so again. Demons are loose in the streets, and for reasons she can't even begin to understand, they're gunning for her. With Kaden's help, she discovers who she is, and they're able to close the gates and save our reality in the nick of time.
The story has changed dramatically from that first version, and has since become about a lethal virus and facing down proverbial demons instead of the real deal. It was for the best, but the idea itself is one I've revisited a lot over the last few years, and put off time and again.
The truth is... there are about a thousand novels, shows and movies out there that deal with demons. Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series pits Clary and Jace against demonic hordes sent by Clary's father. Supernatural pits Sam and Dean Winchester against demons, Satan, and a host of heavenly angels intent on bringing about the apocalypse. Every week on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the spin-off, Angel, there is some new "big bad" demon to battle. In The Exorcist, the girl is possessed by a demon. In C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul series, the Fae must fend off demons sent by mages they thought defeated long before. The list goes on.
Demons are a fascinating subject for us as readers, as writers, and as viewers. They're those monsters lurking under the bed that we've never seen, but are still afraid of. And who wouldn't be afraid? If popular culture is to be believed, demons are our worst nightmare with gaping jaws, wicked claws, and a chasm brimming with evil where their hearts should be. Demonology from a religious context paints an equally as frightening picture. These creatures command legions in hell, have abilities we've only ever heard of, and take on forms that we can only imagine.
It all sounds particularly uncomfortable, and probably ends with us getting eating alive, turned into demon stew, or something equally as horrible that, quite frankly, we probably don't wanna see firsthand. And that's what makes demons so fascinating, I think. They're that train wreck we can't look away from. The horrible, terrifying thing we've never seen, but have heard about time and again. And, for a lot of us, the thing we really hope we never see.
I mean, let's face it... any apocalyptic scenario is preferable to your worst nightmares chasing you through the streets with their four, scaly, horned heads to nom on your bones, right?
Right. Because we know the devastation and fear a volcano or plague can bring, but the only point of reference we have for demons is what our imagination dreams up. And that, y'all, can be downright scary!
What's your favorite novel (or movie/show) that deals with demons?
b"E" back with more tomorrow,
A.K.M.You can read other Letter D posts from all across the blogosphere here.