“Alright kids,” their grandfather said. “Gather ‘round. Time for a bedtime story.” The children came running and plopped themselves down at the old man’s feet. Grandpa’s stories were the best.
“Not too long now,” their mom said. “It’s getting late.”
“Aww mom,” the kids cried. Grandpa smiled at them and winked. They all smiled back.
“This is a story about a boy named Bobby,” Grandpa began. “Bobby liked video games. Probably you kids like them too. So listen carefully to what happened to him.” And then Grandpa told the tale…
Bobby’s character was killed again. “Darn it,” he exclaimed, tossing the controller onto the bed beside him. “I just can’t get past this demon.” He had been trying all evening to evade or kill the demon in the game, but to no avail. The White Sword, his best weapon was just not powerful enough. The demon beat him every time.
From down the hall Bobby’s mom called, “Bobby, time for bed.”
“Alright mom,” he called back. After shutting off the game machine Bobby dressed for bed. He went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and then went out to the living room to find his mom.
“Did you remember to study for the test at school tomorrow?” she asked.
“Um, yeah, sure did,” Booby replied.
“Um hmm,” his mom said, watching his face. “I just bet you did.”
“Aww c’mon mom, I’ll be fine.” Bobby leaned over to kiss his mom’s cheek.
“Get some sleep, kiddo. Maybe you can study before school.”
“Alright mom, g’night.”
“Goodnight, Bobby,” his mom said.
Bobby went to bed. Pulling up his covers he reached over and shut off the lamp. Light from the street light streamed into his room, making stark black and white shadows on the wall. Bobby closed his eyes and imagined fighting the demon. Flashing the White Sword this way and that, he imagined what it would be like to finally kill the thing. He’d gain lots of power, he thought. And maybe more weapons. How cool would that be? Slowly, Bobby drifted off to sleep.
Bobby woke sometime in the night. He woke up because he heard his chair scrapping across the floor. He opened his eyes and there, standing with its hand on the back of the chair was the demon from his game! Bobby had kicked off his covers in his sleep. Quickly grabbing them he pulled them up around his chin. The demon sat down. A low growling sound came from its throat and Bobby could see reddish fire coursing through the veins that stood out on its arms. It had long curved horns coming out of its forehead and teeth, pointed and probably razor sharp gleamed in the street light from the window. Bobby started to shake.
Suddenly a glow began to form in the air at the foot of his bed and continued to brighten. As the glow got brighter yet, it took the shape of a man. Bobby could see wings, long and feathery, on the man’s back. It was an angel! The angel moved around to the opposite side of the bed from the demon and sat down, even though there wasn’t a chair there. “You’re Late!” said the demon.
“Yes well,” the angel replied casually, “Lot’s to do you know. Lot’s to do.” he looked at Bobby and smiled. Bobby looked back with wide eyes, not knowing what to think. He pinched himself. It is said that you can tell if you’re dreaming by pinching yourself. If you don’t feel it, it’s a dream. Bobby felt it.
“Well let’s get on with this. You’re not the only one with things to do,” the demon said, crossly.
“I know what you’re going to say,” the angel began, but was interrupted by the demon.
“He’s mine. You heard him, he lied to his mother. Didn’t even say he was sorry.”
“Well you’re right of course. He did lie. But Bobby’s a good boy. He didn’t argue with his mom about going to bed. He brushed his teeth, gave his mom a kiss and all but promised to study for his test in the morning”
“All but,” the demon replied. “And this isn’t the first time he’s lied. You know that.”
At this point Bobby got up a little courage. He said, “What are you guys doing in my room? What is….?”
The demon’s hand came up quickly and he pointed a smoking finger in Bobby’s face. “Stay out of this boy,” he snarled. “This is between me and him.” Bobby sunk back under the covers. The demon began to stand up. “So that’s it then,” he said to the angel. “I’ll be taking him.”
“Not so fast,” said the angel. The demon growled loudly and sat back down. “Remember back in, oh what was it now, 1738 I think. The boy who chopped down his father’s cherry tree? You said you had to have him for that and I said no because he told the truth. We made a bargain, remember?”
“Yeah I remember,” snarled the demon. “Let him live, you said. We’ll see how he does, maybe you can have him yet. Well it didn’t work out so well for me, did it? Became president he did. I don’t like your bargains.” The demon crossed his arms and sat back in the chair.
“Ww, what’s going on?” Bobby stammered. The demon was about to yell at him again when the angel interrupted.
“You died in your sleep, Bobby,” the angel said. “Too much video game playing. Affected your brain.” He shrugged. “These things happen.” He reached out and patted Bobby’s knee. “It’ll work out, don’t you worry.”
“Like hell it will!” the demon bellowed, standing up suddenly. “He’s mine and I’ll have him! Just look at his desire to kill me every time he plays that stupid game!” he yelled, pointing at Bobby. “That should tell you all you need to know!”
“Here’s what I propose. A rematch. It didn’t work out for you with the Washington kid so now you’ll have a chance to win. We let him live, see how he turns out. You’ll probably win this time.”
The demon started pacing on the floor. “Why do I let you talk me into these things,” he grumbled. “Alright fine,” he said suddenly. Turning to Bobby he said, “You better make this work for me kid. I need to keep up my quotas and you would make a fine addition to the family.” Turning to the angel he said, “And you! No more bargains from you! I better win this one or there’ll be hell to pay!” In a flash of smoke and flame, he was gone. Bobby shuddered.
The angel softly chuckled to himself. “Never changes,” he said. “Never changes. Well that’s it Bobby. You get a reprieve.” The angel looked gravely at him. “Don’t make me regret it,” he said. “Now sleep.” Bobby slept.
Bobby’s mom poked her head into his room. “Time to get up dear, school.”
Bobby got up slowly. He rubbed his eyes and then got dressed. Grabbing his game controller he reached for the game machine, and stopped. Standing with his finger poised over the on button Bobby blinked a couple of times and then took back his hand. Laying the controller down, he reached for his school book. “That’s right,” he said. “I’ve got a test today.” And he opened the book.
The grandkids sat with their mouths gaping open. “Now let that be a lesson to you,” grandpa said. “Time for bed!”