Parker charged through the masses, parting conversations with his rough shoulders and ignoring the calloused moans of people who'd forgotten how to fuck for love. He pushed his legs hard, driving into the dirt, running until his lungs caught fire and he thought his stomach was going to burst open. When he finally stopped, dry heaving thick ropes of spit and mucus into the dirt, he found himself alone.
Like Jesus in the desert, he thought between heaves.
When the spell passed him he lumbered weakly to a stack of crates and sat down.
"What am I supposed to do?" He asked aloud and bent over to set his dripping face into his palms.
Parker jumped, pain shooting through his stomach from the sudden exertion. A man was sitting a few feet from him in the open flap of a blue pop-up tent. His face was clean and aged, crows feet in his smile. He was peeling an apple with a short knife, cutting thick slices of the red rind and popping them into his mouth.
Parker caught his breath and tried to return the smile as best he could, "Sorry, you scared me a bit,"
"You scared me some too. Watching you trying to vomit wasn't a pleasant thing," he replied, "If you want my advice you need a few less demons in your life son."
Parker laughed at the notion of having any demons in his life, but only for a moment. Only before the memory came back to him, to which he nodded and balled up his fists.
"I don't have any demons," he told the man.
"Oh," the man said, "suppose then that you won't be interested in my story?"
"Why don't I tell you one instead," Parker replied, his head slowly sinking back towards his palms. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and tried to get it all right.
Once upon a time there was a man who loved a woman so deeply that he had nothing but her in his life. Her eyes were his eyes, her hands were his own. When they slept in the same bed her warmth kept him alive, kept him able to keep waking up in the morning. It kept him honest.
One day while the man and the woman were together in their house, talking and musing with each other, a terrible idea came into her mind.
"Man," she said sweetly, "come with me to bed."
The man checked his watch and saw that bed time was not for many many hours. Surely she was not feeling well and needed to rest, and so he told her he would follow her. She was his warmth, where that went so he went.
In the bedroom she undressed and seduced him. She took him for herself, body and soul, devouring what was not hers to take, what was his to give and be received, not pillaged and brutally swallowed. She had everything from him in slow droplets of sweat and desire. When it was over, the man had a craving for it that would gnaw on his bones forever.
They did this for a long time, lived in this squalid existence for an interminable amount of time, until one day the woman came to the man with shadows beneath her eyes.
"I'm with child," she spoke and the man's heart sieved it's trust and desire into nothing. In its place there was great fear, and because of the fear, great sorrow.
Sorrow that he swore never to speak of again, though it may cost him his very soul.
The man in the tent nodded, the smile not having left his face.
"Not all devils come from outside of us, son." He said and laughed, carving all the while at the fruit.