The Devil's Taunt


Chapter 3.1

He felt he was going through something unique, something no one else could understand, and whatever was going on in his heart was way too complex for anyone else to grasp. He thought that if he opened himself up to someone else, it’d force him to explain every little detail of his own sorrow and wrestle through the grief to make himself appear even somewhat normal. So he gave up on trying to connect with another person on an emotional level and instead secluded himself with his sports cars. Similar to a Hindu monk on a nude beach surfing the waves on a can of sardines.

He was so desperate to fill the void in his heart that he’d go to a Starbucks drive-thru every morning on his sports cars and get no coffee, hoping maybe something along the line changed. Which never happened.

That’s when the Devil showed up, taking a seat next to him in his car with a sly grin on his face, wondering what Bob was doing driving through the drive-thru of a Starbucks every morning. 

“Do you mind if I ride along, Bob? What’s your car doing here? Have you become a coffee lover suddenly? Maybe you’re looking for a change of pace or something to give you a little boost?”

Bob just glared at the Devil. “It’s nothing. I’m just out driving.” 

The Devil was unrelenting and continued to press for answers. 

“C’mon, you can’t fool me, Bob. Something doesn’t add up. You rarely leave your house these days and you never drink coffee, so what’s really going on here? Huh, Bob?” 

Bob couldn’t take it anymore and broke down in tears, not wanting to accept the reality of his loneliness and depression.  

The Devil just sat back and nodded, his eyes full of smug satisfaction. 

“That’s what I thought. Well, I guess that shows you how far you’ve come… or not.” 

With that, he cackled with laughter, and Bob just wished he could make the ground swallow him up. Everyone in the drive-thru was now looking in his direction and, with that, he drove away, the last of the Devil’s scoffing laughter ringing in his ears. 

Bob left that moment, determined to make a change. He was no longer willing to mask the reality of his depression with booze and Starbucks runs. He took time to address the root of his pain and get the help he needed. As Bob looked back on that moment in the Starbucks drive-thru, he realized how irrational his reluctance to embrace his emotions had been. He beamed in appreciation as the cashier granted him the help he required and he exited the queue without his coffee.

But nothing ever changed. Bob’s behavior had become more and more erratic in recent months, and he had consumed more and more alcohol to numb the pain, and no coffee. Which caused Bob’s despondency to intensify as he plummeted further into despair. It felt the world was spinning around him and the voices around him telling him he was a jerk were influencing his psyche. The emptiness of his own home fueled further his anguish.

At night, Bob would sit in his favorite place in the garage’s corner, where he could look out at the driveway without being seen. In his leaden mind he’d imagine seeing the silhouette of a woman walking across the street, with the same hair color and style as the one he had lost, and the same graceful gait. As time passed, he’d become more convinced, often drifting off into a dream-related state, where he’d have conversations with this phantom figure. But reality soon set in and he’d snap out of his reverie and his hollow little heart broke even more. He was heartbroken by her absence and persevered, hoping that someday they would reunite and be together as destiny had planned.

The Devil watched Bob from a far, intrigued by his display of immense suffering. Bob’s emotional pain was palpable and filled the surrounding air. It was a scene that wrenched at the Devil’s stone core. He had known Bob long enough to understand the pain he was suffering and felt a perverse satisfaction seeing him in such a state of despair.

“Ah, Bob,” the Devil curled his lip in a smug, haughty tone. “Torturing yourself in the garage like this. You’re pathetic. Every night you sit here, pining for someone who’s no longer here. You’ll never be able to have her back again, you know that? It’s best to just move on from your brief fantasy and accept the harsh reality of the situation.”

Bob did not respond. He was too deep within his own sorrow and the Devil’s words had little impact. Annoyed, the Devil continued.

“It’s amazing, really. I’ve never seen someone so set on punishing themselves for something that was out of their control. Do you really think it will make things any better? I mean, yeah, you’re miserable right now, but it won’t bring her back. You know, this kind of masochism is totally unnecessary,” The Devil cackled, a sinister smirk spreading across his face.

The Devil’s laugh broke Bob from his trance and he rose from his corner of the garage in a fury. He faced the Devil, his face red and eyes blazing, as he prepared to defend his broken heart.

Excerpt From
The Devil's Taunt
Baron Vanderlinx
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