Psychiatric Evaluations of The Problematics - 4
When River woke up again, things that happened right before him fainting flashed through his mind. Was it a dream? But when he saw where he was lying, he was sure it wasn’t.
He was in the janitor’s room.
In Harris’ room.
In a room of a devil.
He shivered again when he remembered those copper teeth. What was happening? Why did Harris think he was a devil, why did he say he smelled like one?
Questions swirled around in his mind, not stopping at all, making him dizzy. He started dry heaving, and within seconds he threw up the dry bagel he ate with Leeroy.
This was the beginning of a panic attack, he had to get out of the room as fast as possible. But, he was already on his knees.
Crawling, he came to the door, grabbed the handle and pulled. It didn’t work. His panic worsened.
Why didn’t it work, was it jammed, was he locked up.
Still holding it he slumped against the door and they opened wide.
Oh, so they opened outwards. Thinking this, he lied down on the tile floor of the hallway.
It was cold and soothing, especially when he felt that his head would explode from pressure. He didn’t care a bit about the vomit he left behind or his colleagues’ reactions. He could always pull out the claustrophobia card.
“You going somewhere?” This was the voice he didn’t want to hear the most. Harris came back. He was in his normal, human form now, eating a bagel and drinking some tea.
Christopher looked at the man on the floor. Damn, although he smelled like a demon, he sure didn’t behave like one. And he wasn’t one either.
So, what was up with him? Was he a halfie? But as far as Christopher remembered, devils swore not to breed with humans about 600 years ago. Too much trouble afterwards.
Although a devil might have a swing with a human from time to time, they made sure not to get pregnant.
He sniffed the air again. River still smelled like a devil.
It was a very familiar smell for Christopher. Although he hasn’t visited the Barren Lands in a long while, this smell of sulphur mixed with mint was nostalgic. But it seems that River’s scent had something mixed in.
What was it exactly?
Slowly going through his memory, Christopher eliminated smell by smell until he came to an answer.
Pomegranate. Yes, a scent of a ripe pomegranate…
”Hey, Reev.” At this, River stiffened up harder than a steel pipe. What did this devil want with him?
”You smell like a devil, but I have no idea why. Tell me, what do you smell around yourself when you pay attention? Is it the same thing because of which you burned the house?” Looking at Christopher’s expression, River slowly nodded.
Was he going to do something to him? But he didn’t, he only lifted him up to stand. ”It seems you almost had a full-out panic attack. Did I scare you that much?”
River felt grievances when Christopher said this. His voice raspy, he answered with some sass, ”No, I only saw a spider in your room. Harris, I don’t know what you are and what you want, hell, I don’t even know why I’m still talking to you. Just let me go.”
Christopher backed up two steps and brought his hands up. ”Not holding ya. Just skip away as you wish.”
River passed by him and muttered, ”You deserved it.”
After that, he went away to his office and slammed his door hard, making everyone wonder what happened. Christopher wondered what he meant by that, but he understood when he saw the vomit inside his room.
In a moment, he was in front of River’s office, hitting the door, completely pissed.
”Reev, you ass, you vomited all over my carpet! How dare you destroy that masterpiece, do you know how much time I’ll need to clean it up properly? What if your stomach acid eats away some of the patterns on it? Dude, I bought it in Baghdad for good money, it was handmade!”
A brief silence ensued, everyone surprised to hear that River did that. But then they heard the answer. ”Zip it, you rotten devil. You deserved it.”
This left everyone speechless. Leeroy tried to hold his laughter in, but Daria didn’t even hesitate. She laughed her heart out, even some tears sliding down her face.
No one had ever said something like that to Christopher. He himself was dumbfounded. He thought that Reev would now be quiet like a church mouse and keep away from him, but it seems he’s full of spirit?
Well, it’s not like Reev didn’t have a point. He scared him into fainting, after all. He grumbled under his breath and trudged away to his room to clean it up. On the way there he barked at Daria for laughing, but she just pointed at him and continued laughing.
At 6pm, when it came the time for closing the institute to outsiders, Daria had already gone home, Michael was grumbling about irresponsibility while looking at Leeroy who was playing PUBG because he had no more paperwork to go through.
Leeroy had gotten long used to Michael and his insults, whether they be underhanded or direct. He had already applied to work in another department so as to avoid him. He didn’t want such a wad near him.
Christopher came back and pointed to the doors in silence, asking with his eyes what River was doing. Leeroy just shrugged and went back to his game. Christopher knocked once, and then again.
”Chris, maybe he has earphones in, just enter.” This advice, at least coming from Leeroy, sounded reasonable. He opened the door and closed it after he entered.
He looked around the office that now looked brand new due to his handiwork. He hoped that Reev would be grateful for this. He felt a breeze rush in the room. The window was open.
He went a few paces forward, and then heard a soft snore. He looked to the couch, but didn’t find River. As he looked around, he found him under the desk.
Christopher didn’t know how to react as three dots formed in his mind for what he just saw. River was sleeping. Under his desk. Sleeping. The ever-perfect Reev was sleeping on the job.
Sensing his chance, he pulled out a phone and took several incriminating pics.
River slowly woke up from the flashes of the camera. When he saw his face just a palm away from Christopher’s, he did the first thing that he thought he should.
He headbutted him.
It was pure instinct, but it hurt both sides. It was a Pyrrhic victory.
”Jesus Christ, why do you have such a hard head?!” This question, coming from a devil that was massaging his injured chin, was hilarious and incredulous. River was overcome with an urge to laugh.
A devil mentioning Jesus. So stupid. He doubled over as he laughed as Christopher was watching him in confusion. This made River laugh even harder. Christopher looked nothing like a devil right now. Just a wronged man.
”I’m sorry, o mighty devil. It must hurt so much, doesn’t it?”
To this, Christopher nodded like he deserved this apology all along and was only waiting for it. River got up, his face gently smiling. He spread his arms as if going for a hug.
But Christopher sensed that something was very wrong. Nope, he won’t come close. Now he thought how he scared Reev for fun in his room earlier.
He shouldn’t have done that. But as he stepped back, River came closer. And closer. When he cornered him, Christopher reverted to what he had already shown him, those copper teeth and silver pupils. He also let his ears sharpen and his skin darken to a light bronze.
”Harris, why are you running? And just so you know, that isn’t going to scare me again, though it’s more creepy than Siren Head.” The only thing that went through Christopher’s mind was ‘What’s Siren Head?’.
”Ok, ok Reev. I shouldn’t have scared you, I went overboard. I just wanted to see you flustered, your mask really irked me. Let’s leave it behind us, ok?” Then he felt River’s hands wrapping around him.
The whisper that left River’s mouth at that moment made Christopher feel something he would never forget.
His spine straightened, his trapezius tensed, senses dulled, and he felt dizziness overcome his whole being. ”Wh-wh-where did you learn that?” He asked in a hushed tone, like he tried not to provoke a lion.
”You devils are not as rare as you’d think. Now, what do you think about being my employee, not just a janitor? As it happens, I have an empty spot in the office. Whatcha say?” River was nonchalant and imitated Christopher’s Australian accent while saying the last sentence.
He let go of him and smiled so charmingly as if he were trying to charm a succubus.
”And who will I be replacing?” River grinned, satisfied with Harris’ answer.
Gambling again, River?