“If you dance with the devil, then you haven’t got a clue, for you think you’ll change the devil, but the devil changes you.”
J.M. Smith, If You Dance with the Devil…

There’s music playing in the background of the small white room that is bare to the teeth.

Soft Flamenco music with high and low cadences. It’s music that flows through you, as you flow through it and we are dancing through the room, swaying and moving, a vision of black and red.

“You know,” she says, her voice a mix of melodies, “it’s nice to finally talk to with you. Face to face, you know what I mean?” She flashes a smile that cuts through her icy features. There is no humour in the smile and I push my weight forward as she takes a step back, her blood coloured dress flowing through the room.

“It’s just,” she continues, “it’s just like it felt you were avoiding me. Like you were trying to talk to everyone but me.” She searches my face for a reaction. “Are you scared, Tony?” she asks and I move her forward as she spins off my arm and I spin him back to me.

“Because you should be,” he says with a voice like ice, gripping my shoulders as we dance through the room. “You should be very very scared.”

He takes his right leg forward and moves in. He’s leading the dance now, and I’m following.

“You’re going to die,” he whispers, leaning in, breathing in my ear, “you know that already, don’t you? But do you want to know something else? Do you?” He licks the side of my face. “You’re nothing. None of you are. You will all die and the works of your hand will become the dust of the land and even that will one day be blown away by the winds of time.” He smiles at me and searches my face for a reaction.

He frowns.

“Say something,” he says, “why aren’t you saying anything? You normally have a lot to say and write, don’t you? Speak now.”

I grab his waist and we’re moving across the room now as I lead us, my left foot moving forward as his is moving backward and when the music peaks, the old cantankerous woman with grey hair and yellow teeth digs her nails in my back as she shuffles through the music.

“You think you’re special?” she crones. She scowls. “Say something!” She screams.

I hold her firmly as we dance.

“Even your own father doesn’t think you can do this,” she says and she laughs. “You want to become, what, a writer? Do you know the odds? Do you know just how stupid you are?”

She pulls out a handkerchief and coughs in it, and it comes away red; she neatly puts it away and our dance continues. “Okay, I’ll tell you, your work is…” she says, shifting her hand in the air, “it’s alright but you think you can actually make a living out of this? Become some success? Come, Don’t be stupid now.”

I grab and twist her and she spins back with her legs moving faster and faster. The music speeds up.

“You’ve forgotten who you are,” she says. “You’re still just that stupid scared little boy who cried in the toilets and,” she giggles, “you think that is writer material?” She lets go of my hand and spreads her arms eagle — I lift her in the air and the little girl I’m holding drops perfectly on the floor in a perfect pirouette.

“Be reasonable,” she says, “those dreams you have? Follow them. Not those stupid ones about you writing and moving about. You know the ones I’m talking about,” she smiles again, “the ones filled with blood, your blood. Just do it. Nobody cares. Trust me. I know. And I know you.”

I dance with the little girl as she grins up at me. “You can stay quiet all you want,” she says, “but you have to face reality, and you will. But do you know what the best part is?” she leans in and beckons me to bend down.

I do.

She whispers, “I won’t even have to do a thing.” She pinches my cheek. Hard. And tastes the blood that stains her fingers. I carry her through the air again and then I am alone in the room.

I take a handkerchief from my pocket — it’s stained with blood — and I clean the tears on my face, dropping it on the floor as I straighten my shirt, I put my right arm in front of my chest, my left hand higher and to the opposite and I put one leg in front of the other, as I dance, to music, in the bare white room, alone.

This is the concluding piece to my two part series, you can read the first, My Interview with God, here- https://medium.com/@AnthonyAzekwoh/my-interview-with-god-d681b075296d?source=your_stories_page---------------------------

Don’t forget to clap and share! Thanks for reading.

Anthony Azekwoh is a Nigerian-based author and artist. He has written five books so far, and is now working on the sequel to his fourth book Ṣàngó, Oya.