One night I went out and met up with a good friend in the religion, an NYPD narcotics officer who was also a warlock. We had already made up our minds which club to attend that night. He was out looking for girlfriends; I was looking for souls. I knew that night was a special night. Zarabanda and Siete Rayos, my two strongest spirits, were coming out with me, and they never disappointed. As we strolled down the sidewalk, I looked up at the sky. It was a clear spring night, and the heavens were crystal clear—you could count the stars in all that inky darkness, and the moon shone like the sun. I turned to Joe. “This is going to be a hell of a night. I feel it in the atmosphere.”
He chuckled. “I’m ready for anything that comes our way, bro, especially some fine females.”
I laughed in reply and smoothed my hand back over my jet-black hair. Dressed all in black, I knew I looked my best. As we entered the club, I heard the salsa music throbbing out its rhythmic
beat. People whispered in the background as we walked in, and the smell of liquor hung heavy in the atmosphere. My mind was running at 90 miles an hour. Joe turned to me and smiled. “Wow, the place is packed with beautiful women, just the way I like it.”
I smiled back.
We danced with the most beautiful women in the club, and I could sense the presence of the spirits looking around, trying to target someone I could speak to—someone I could do a reading with
—but to my surprise there was no one there. I found that to be odd, but I kept dancing the night away with different women and making new friends. As the music wound down and the bartender yelled out “last call for alcohol” I went across the dance floor and told Joe it was time to go.
“Already?” he said in a drunken slur. “I’m just getting to know Wanda here.”
“Now!” I snapped, not even looking at the girl. “Let’s get out of here.” Anger simmered in my chest at the night’s failed mission.
To my surprise, when we stepped out of the club one of the spirits whispered, “Look to your right.” There sat a panhandler in a wheelchair, begging for money outside the club. I fixed my eyes on him and went straight at him, knowing he was going to be my prey for the night. I was half demon- possessed when I got up to where he sat—no longer me.
“Do you want to make a bet?” I said, a sneer spreading across my face.
Surprised, the panhandler remained silent and glanced from me to Joe to see what was up. “Hey, come on, bro, leave him alone,” Joe said, nudging me with his arm.
I shook him off and glared at the man in the wheelchair. “I said do you want to make a bet? I’m willing to bet the money I have left in my pocket to the money you have in that pathetic paper cup. That’s a whole night’s take, isn’t it?” I added with a sinister grin.
“What are we betting on?” the panhandler asked. My smile froze. “Your life.”
He gave a nervous laugh. “The bet is on.”
“Good,” I said. “I can tell you your whole life story in ten minutes and how you ended up in that wheelchair. Are you up for the challenge?”
The man shrugged. “I got nothing to lose.”
“Only your soul,” I murmured. “Tonight’s your lucky night.” As I went on to describe his life, I could see that I was breaking him bit by bit spiritually. What started with a chuckle and a smile ended up in tears and sorrow. I knew I had him just where I wanted him—to the point that I tried to force him off the chair and make him walk, even though he was paralyzed.
“Stand up, you lousy beggar! Stand up and face me down like a man!” I shouted.
The panhandler crumpled over in his wheelchair and covered his face with his hands, his sobs escaping into the now-silent night.
Joe stood by with a blank look on his face. I knew that as soon as I was done with this man he was destined for hell. As I won the bet and left him sobbing in a pool of tears, I took his cup full of change and threw it into the street.
Before I turned to leave, I leaned over the man and said in a low voice, “You’re a waste of a life on Planet Earth. Nobody loves you. Why don’t you do yourself a favor and die?”
“Now it’s time to go,” I said to Joe, jerking my head in the direction we should walk. I could hear his voice cracking as he tried to speak up, like he had a knot in his throat. All that came out was “John, John . . .”
I looked up and saw tears in Joe’s eyes.
“What’s the matter?” I spat out. “You can’t handle it? Aren’t you a devil worshipper as well as I am?”
He just stood there, shaking his head. “John, I can’t hang with you no more, man. You’re too far gone.”
That night I knew I had reached a place in my walk with the devil that left many others behind who were in the same occult inner circle. As we made it to Joe’s building, I sensed he had reached a breaking point. It didn’t matter that he was a police officer, seeing so many harsh things in the world we live in. What he saw tonight pushed him beyond his limit.
I turned to him for the last time. “You’re nothing but a disappointment to the religion. I thought you wanted to move up the ranks, but you have no heart for the spirits. Go to hell and goodnight.”
As I walked away, strolling down the avenue toward my own home, I felt fearless—like I could take on the world. The streetlamps overhead illuminated the sidewalk with a silvery light. As I crossed the streets I felt the familiar predator instinct churn in my gut. I looked around to see if anyone was out on the avenue that I could prey on, but the streets were as empty as the cemetery I hung out in from time to time.