Blurry eyed, Egan hobbled into the kitchen firmly pressing his knuckles into his lower back, attempting to massage the crick that had formed while he'd slept slumped over his desk. It had been another long night of studying the ancient demonic language and trying to translate it for future use. He twisted the knob and turned the water on, watching it blur into the kettle. Robotically, he set it on its base and turned it on. He shuffled a couple steps to the left, bent down and opened the little door to the small fridge set into the cupboards. He pulled out a package of cheese, some turkey leftovers from the Christmas dinner he'd attended two nights ago and a few other necessary ingredients. While the electric kettle hummed, warming the water inside, Egan set about making a sandwich. It was well past twelve in the afternoon. He wasn't sure exactly when he'd fallen asleep, it was sometime around sex in the morning but it didn't really matter. He placed the slices of cheese on one piece of bread, stacked the turkey, tomatoes, lettuce, and two thin ropes of red onion. His mind wandered to the symbols he'd been studying, the kettle now boiling and rumbling loudly on its base. He spread the mayo on the one side and then grabbed the mustard. While grabbing a tea cup from the cupboard above, he flicked open the mustard and began squirting it onto the slice of bread.
He didn't recognize the feeling at first, still barely awake as the magic flowed from his unburdened mind through his hand and into the sandwich. With a sinking feeling, he felt the familiar suction of air around him and startled, he looked down at his seemingly innocent sandwich. There in bright, sunshine yellow was drawn a perfect recreation of one of the symbols he'd been thinking about.
“Oh shit” was all he managed to say before a loud, 'ahem' rumbled behind him. Slowly, with his heart racing in his chest, Egan turned around. Before him stood the massive form of a man, black clouds seemed to swirl around him like mist cloaking him in shadow. His face was thin, gaunt even, his cheekbones sharp against the pale flesh that stretched across his face. His thin lips were pinched together in a scowl. Egan swallowed loudly and looked up to meet his eyes. Where there should have been white was black with cracks of red hot coal.
The demon in front of him looked at Egan for the longest second of Egan's life and then turned and looked around the small, English kitchen. Almost hesitantly, he swept his foot out in front of him and Egan realized at once he was testing for a summoning circle. A magical ring that would contain the demon and protect the summoner but the demon's foot moved easily through the air. A smile turned the thin lips up to reveal razor sharp teeth. As prone to accidents as Egan was, this was entirely new. Sure, he'd once accidentally read out loud a spell he was copying down and sure it had accidentally set the desk on fire but that was one time and that was years ago. He was better trained now, he knew the dangers of reading Latin in front of books. Apparently though, it was also dangerous to make a sandwich while thinking about demonic runes. Without a word, the demon lifted his chin and sniffed the air. Egan wondered if he was smelling his fear. Who the hell was this demon? He wondered. Before Egan could open his mouth to begin a protective enchantment, the demon looked at him and finally spoke.
“Are you going to eat that?” He asked and Egan stared at him dumbfounded. It took several seconds for him to process the words he'd spoken and several more to make sense of them.
“Oh!” He stepped aside from the counter and looked at the sandwich. Both he and the demon stared at it and Egan shifted uncomfortably. “Well... I was... but... if you want it...” He picked up the plate with a trembling hand and held it out. The demon smiled again, nodded his head and accepted the plate. With a slight suction of the air and a barely audible 'pop', the demon vanished.
Relief made Egan's knees buckled and he quickly fell into a kitchen chair.
“Holy shit...” he whispered repeatedly to the empty kitchen. What just happened? Wild eyed, he stared around the room and jumped to his feet. In a rush, he checked his entire apartment but there was no sign of the demon. It was gone. And he was still alive.
The kettle rocked dangerously on its base and Egan clicked it off. Still in shock, he poured the water into a cup, haphazardly removed a teabag from the box and dropped it into the mug and shuffled back to his office. Disbelieving, he shook his head again and sat down. He placed his tea on the desk, far from the books and papers and shook his head clear. Perhaps it hadn't really happened, he thought. Nodding to himself he cleared his throat, shifted in his seat and looked back down at the text in front of him.
The book had been translated neatly into his notebook in perfect English. Frantically, he went through it and realized that not only was it translated, but he understood the language. Had... No, he shook his head. That's not possible but... Egan looked back at the books and gaped. He picked up his tea and leaned back in the chair and stared at the wall. Had... had he just exchanged the ability to read an ancient demonic language for.... a sandwich?