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Samuel, by Joey Payne (rated PG)

There is a devil that lives in my beard. I noticed it one day while I was brushing my teeth. At first I thought it was a critter that I had picked up during a nature walk. I noticed it had reptile eyes as it peeked out from my bushy, white beard. But as I ran a comb through it nothing came out. I looked in the sink and on the floor but could not see anything. I yawned and chalked it up to a trick of the light. To my ⛧, this was not the case.

The next time I saw it was a few days later. I was fishing along the river and felt something tug on my beard. Looking down I saw it fully. A strange little creature that resembled a fat bright-red person but was also completely alien at the same time. Two horns came out of its tiny, squat head. A gurgling melody came from its shark-toothed mouth as it swung back and ⛧ happily from my beard. Now I had found things in my beard before. I'm Southern and in the woods a lot so these things happen. But it was the first time I had found a wee little demon swinging from it. I decided it was time for a shave to make sure my beard had not become a portal to hell put there by the powers that be who have always been jealous of my glorious chin blanket.

The idea turned out easier said than done. Every time I would bring the razor toward my face the devil would reach out and slap it away. It was surprisingly strong for such a tiny thing. At one point I grabbed my beard in my fist to hold it in place. But every time I tried the devil would bite me on the chin causing me to jerk. After one very bad nip I ⛧ off part of my earlobe and decided to try something different. I thought I could smoke it out but decided that was a bad idea considering it was probably used to heat and smoke having lived in hellfire and all. I tried religion but they demand proof of possession before they will perform an exorcism on hair, which I found ironic but not surprising. So I did what any normal human does when struck with a problem they can't solve. I turned to strangers on the internet for answers, which took a long time because I had completely forgotten my password and no matter how hard I tried I could not remember it even when I looked it up it would not stay in my memory. I finally had to change it completely but at least I eventually got in.

Now. believe it or not, people willing to talk about devils, demons, and evil spirits believe some strange things. However that is not a judgment on their character at all as they were all very eager to talk at length and in great detail about their beliefs and experiences. And while they were nice enough they just seemed off in little ways. I guess it was from all the stuff they had seen in their life. But I'm a guy with a devil living in my beard so who am I to ⛧? One of the very nice people, a twitchy but pleasant lady named Carol, told me that the first step was to find out what kind of devil it was so we would know the right rituals and ingredients to use to chase it out. I found that to be the best advice out of the lot so I was off to find a web page that listed the different types of devils there were.

For those out there reading this who may be having problems of an infernal nature let me give you some advice. After reading it would seem that devils and demons and daemons are all different beings who all originate from the realm of fire and darkness. Demons and Daemons are more of the rampage, kill and terrorize for their dark masters kind of creatures. These are usually what are depicted in your gruff, muscly,

sword-wielding depictions of Hell. Devils are more of the long game kind of infernal beings. They like the shadows and the honeyed words. The wheeling and dealing for the soul is what really gets them going more than the torturing afterwards. So there is your Hell fact of the day kids. Now back to the story.

Matching up the physical description and the gurgling, chirping tune that now was almost constantly coming from my beard I realized I had a devil problem. I took to calling it Samuel for some reason. I know they say never to name it but I did not see myself growing too attached to a beard devil. I searched the ⛧ for hours before I stumbled upon the type of beard devil Samuel was. Reading was getting hard as I stopped remembering what some words meant. It had been happening since Samuel had ⛧up. I renewed my focus on what I was reading. According to what I found, Samuel is a word-gobbling devil who sits on a persons chin and nests in the ⛧ of their beards. Once dug in, a word-gobbler eats all the words that are on the tip of your tongue. They coo and sing to coax the words out and to distract the person so they can snatch the words as they try to come out, like some nether-realm version of a baby bird. Once devoured that word is gone from the persons memory. It causes people to stutter as their mind searches for ⛧ words they know they know. Slowly, day by day, it continues until the person is nothing but a drooling wreck whose mind looks for things that no longer exist. Finally the mind shuts down and the devil offers you peace in exchange for the one thing you can remember, your name. The devil lets you remember that so you can sign the contract.

As I write this story of warning to any who listen I cannot even ⛧ the danger because I no longer ⛧ right. The more I learn about his ilk the faster Samuel feasts. A tasty verb here, a juicy pronoun there. It starts to....when you put things together to count...anyway, it’s that word over time. No good words left really. As I write this Samuel laughs and feasts. After this warning I shall go into the woods and live life alone. If I never speak it can't take anymore words. So I bid you farewell, friendly reader. If you see me and Samuel out there somewhere please leave us be. I've heard devils are contagious.

story copyright Joey Payne

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