The Devil You Know - A Halloween Tale.

The Devil You Know?
A Halloween Story
 
by Angharad

 

“Ouch,” I gasped, the knife nick hurt more than I thought it would, but it produced enough blood for me to sign the deed. “Which name should I use?” I asked him.

“Whichever you want, it don’t matter to me.”

“And you promise I’ll be a real girl after this?”

“That was the agreement.”

I felt so happy, for the past seven years I’d been living a lie. I’d tried to get my mum to understand, but she said she already had one daughter, so she preferred me as her son. Daddy, well he was too busy in court most of the time–he was one of the top barristers in Europe, spending as much time in Brussels and Strasbourg as he did at home. He earned loadsa dosh and we had everything we could want–except the one thing I wanted more than anything else–to be a girl.

My sister Cheryl, was nearly two years older than I was and I sooo wanted to be like her. She was very pretty with a figure to die for and lovely long, blonde hair which came to the small of her back. She was like, soooo cool.

Me, I was a scrawny kid, who didn’t seem to grow much in any direction. My looks were nondescript and most people ignored me, unless they were stuck with their homework. I kept my hair long for a boy, usually tied back in a ponytail, and aside from school uniform, I wore unisex clothes.

In my dreams, I’d pretend they were really girl’s clothes and my parents supported me in my ambitions. But in real life, whenever I raised the subject–Mummy–she calls me a baby when I call her that, yet Cheryl is allowed to–poo poos it. She shoots me down in flames. “Jack, you are a boy, that’s an end to the subject.”

“Huh, half the kids in school think he’s a girl,” said my sister stirring it like she was making broth. I could just see her as one of the witches in MacBeth. “Tracie said she saw him wearing a bra under his shirt, last week.”

I blushed, it was true–it was an old one of Cheryl’s she’d put in the Oxfam bag. I found the matching panties too. Tracie hadn’t seen those or the fact that I can push my doodahs up into their sockets and be nearly as flat in my panties as she is. It hurt like crazy when I first did it, but that was a year ago.

“Jack, is that right? Were you wearing a bra? Answer me young man.” Mummy can be quite frightening when she tries.

I was all hot and bothered and Cheryl was lapping up my discomfort. “No, Mummy, they’re making it up.”

“Cheryl, is this just a story to get your brother into trouble? You know I don’t like liars?”

“No, Mummy, Tracie wouldn’t lie, she saw him wearing a bra.”

“If you’re lying, Jack, you’ll be punished, so one last chance to own up if you were lying before.”

“I’m not lying, Mummy. They’re just trying to cause trouble.”

“Yeah, make him wear one every day, Mummy, teach him a lesson.” Cheryl urged, and if that had been the punishment, I’d have owned up, but I knew it wouldn’t be.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Cheryl, Jack is a boy.” That was the problem.

“Yeah, but he like, wants to be a girl, doesn’t he–big fairy.” I glared at my hateful sister.

“I think we dealt with that nonsense some time ago–the matter is closed.” My mother was definite about that, though she said she loved me, I think that meant on her terms. I have footballs and all the kit filling my wardrobes, radio controlled models which I’ve never made–I don’t know how and I don’t care. Daddy did try to show me, but I wasn’t really interested although his attention for an afternoon was nice.

They both wanted me to get my hair cut, but I refused and screamed blue murder. He threatened to do it while I was asleep and I threatened to go to the police. He didn’t mention it after that. I did get it cut, I made an appointment at a salon across town and went with my bra stuffed with birdseed. I read on the internet that drag artists used to make boobs out of birdseed. I had it trimmed like a girl’s hair–they thought I was one, it felt really good. But now I have to keep it tied back because it shows.

When I was very small, I used to play with Cheryl and the girl down the road. There weren’t any boys in our road, so we used to play girl’s games–dressing up and dolls and things. I really enjoyed it, until I got to five and Mummy said I had to become a proper boy.

My hair was cut, because I had to go to school, and I had to wear a school uniform which I hated, the girl’s one was much nicer. I asked if I could wear one like Cheryl’s but Mummy laughed at me and I cried.

“Look you silly boy, if God had wanted you to be a girl, he’d have made you one at birth. You’re a boy, now stop being silly and be thankful that you have two arms and legs. Some children aren’t so lucky.”

I howled for ages, and she smacked me–‘giving me something to cry about’. When Daddy found out, he was furious.

“Jack what’s this about you wanting to be a girl?”

“I do, Daddy.”

“That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. For God’s sake, be glad you’re a boy–think of all the advantages you’ll have, life’s easier for men, we make more money and tend to control things. We don’t have the mess or pain of periods (I had no idea what he was talking about), we aren’t deformed in carrying babies–I mean, do you want a huge swollen belly?”

I shook my head, I just wanted to wear nice dresses and play with dollies.

“Well then, be thankful you’re a boy and forget this nonsense. Now what do you want for Christmas?”

I didn’t have the courage to tell him I wanted some dolls, a pram, and pink backpack like Josie had. She was the girl down the road. I swapped some of my toys for a doll and a change of clothes for it. Mummy hadn’t found it yet, I kept it in my bedroom under the loose board in my walk in wardrobe. That’s where my bra and panties are too.

Josie is a Roman Catholic and we still play a bit, although I have to wear boy clothes. She knows I’d rather be a girl and used to help me until Cheryl told on us, then the threat of not being allowed to see her if I didn’t stop my nonsense was so awful, we agreed that I’d pretend to be a boy.

We don’t go to church, so I don’t know much about God and Jesus and stuff. Josie told me if I believed in God and Jesus, they’d help me become a girl, she was sure of it. The priest and the nuns had told her that if you prayed hard enough, miracles would happen.

She taught me how to say my prayers, kneeling by the side of my bed and asking for a miracle, saying in return I’d be a good girl for them. I prayed every night until my knees hurt.

When I was still a boy, Josie asked the nuns what was going wrong? She was clever she didn’t say what I was asking for, or who I was, just that I wanted something very much and was asking Jesus to help me. The nuns told her that I must be doing something wrong, because if I was sincere enough, Jesus would surely grant it.

I had to ask Mummy what sincere meant, and after she explained it, I was the most sincere five year old in Christendom. I did this every night until I was seven, but nothing happened. I didn’t grow into a girl like I asked and I suppose I didn’t exactly grow up like a boy either. I was now the class shrimp–most of the girls were taller than I was–and the boys were much bigger. I kept out of their way, I had no desire to be a punch-bag for growing thugs. I spent a lot of my time with the girls, who thought I was pathetic but tolerated me. Then they found out I had a brain and I was finally useful.

My life of torment continued, I kept praying but didn’t really believe in it anymore, but like people who use the same lottery numbers and fear that if they stop, the numbers will be chosen, I kept doing it. So it was a sort of superstitious ritual that kept me asking to be a girl–I even promised to become a nun if God would only help me become female. I kinda thought it better to be any sort of female than not at all, not that I had much idea what nuns did–they just wore funny clothes, but at least they were skirts.

At thirteen, I stopped praying, I decided if there was a God, he was either deaf or mean. He’d let me suffer for nearly nine years. Well JC said, ‘suffer the little children’. This one sure has suffered.

Then while I was on the internet one night, I discovered a site all about getting what you want from life by fair or foul means. I studied it for three whole evenings. I was obviously asking the wrong lot. I shoulda been talking to Old Nick–he’s quite happy to let me call him Nick. I mean, I did these ritual things for a whole week leading up to a new moon and one night I had a really vivid dream. I was a girl and I was even having a period–it was amazing.

I increased my rituals, made a magic circle and all the rest and on the seventh night I felt something with me in the circle. It frightened me for a few days and I didn’t do any more. Then I decided it was just my imagination, so I started again.

After two weeks, he appeared, Nick, that is. He was really nice–at least he bothered to come, which was more than the other lot. I explained my problem and he shook his head, “I don’t normally interfere with nature.”

“But you could make me a real girl?”

“If I wanted to.”

“Will you do it then, please?” I was crying for joy, this was the first time anyone had given me any hope at all.

“Nah, it’s very difficult and nah, I can’t be bothered.”

“Please, Nick, please help me–I’ll give you anything.”

“You ain’t got anything I want, Jacqui.” He’d asked me how I should be addressed and he was happy to call me by my girl’s name.

“I’ll give you my computer, or my bike...” he shook his head.

“Anything, please Nick, I need to be a proper girl. Please take everything I have if only you’ll make me a girl.”

“I’ll take yer sister, ’ow about that?”

“My sister?”

“Yeah, one girl per ’ouse’old, that’d be you, wouldn’t it?”

“She’s not mine to give,”–at times I wish she were.

“So, what can yer give me then, in return for this miracle I’ll perform for yer?” My heart skipped for joy, he was going to do it.

“Anything you want, Nick, that’s mine of course, if you can really make me a girl?”

“Nah, you wouldn’t agree to that.”

“Yes I would, what was it, Nick?”

“Nah, I ’ave to go.”

“Nick, please stay, please tell me what it is you want?”

“It’s not for little girlies like yer know about such things,” he cried and I felt so sorry for him.

“What’s the problem, Nick, maybe I can help you in return?”

“Nah, girly like yer, Jacqui, yer can’t ’elp me. Nobody wants to ’elp me.”

“I want to, Nick. Tell me what your problem is, you’re my friend, I’ll help if I can.”

“Okay, I’ll tell yer, but I doubt yer can ’elp me–nobody else could.”

“Please, I’d like that.”

“Alright, it’s like this see, me an’ God ’ad this fallin’ out big time. I ’elped Eve discover the tree of knowledge, God wanted you lot to remain pig iggerant so he could trick yer into doin’ what ’e wanted. An’ all I done, was to give Eve this apple–a Cox’s pippin, it was, and if she bit into it, she’d realise that ’e was connin’ ’er. She did too, and she told Adam, so ’e did as well. Then ’cause Bighead couldn’t control ’em no more, he kicked ’em out of Eden.”

“That was dreadful, no wonder he wouldn’t come to help me–he sounds a nasty piece of work, if you ask me, Nick.”

“Oh, ’e is. The miserable bugger–’scuse my French, swearin’ in front of a young lady”–he blushed as he spoke–“punished me for pullin’ the scales from their eyes.”

“Goodness, Nick, what did he do?”

“He took my soul.”

“What like the ones on your feet?”

“No, yer silly girl, it’s a tiny thing inside yer.”

“I didn’t know I had one.”

“It’s just a little thing most people don’t know or use it for nothin’.”

“So why do we have one?”

“In case ’e wants to con yer, it connects yer with ’im.”

“With God?”

“Yeah, ’im.”

“Maybe I haven’t got one, then.”

“Oh, yer’ll ’ave one, which is more than what I ’ave.”

“So, if I let you have mine–you’d like, make me a proper girl?”

“I could, but nah, yer don’t wanna...I gotta go.”

“If you can make me a proper girl, able to have babies and so on, you can have mine.”

“Yer sure?”

“Absolutely. Shake on it.” I held out my hand and he touched it. His hand felt very cold and dry almost like a snake I’d once handled.

“Do yer ritual again tomorra, an’ we’ll do the deal.”

I dipped the pen in the small ooze of blood at my wrist and signed the two forms, Jacqueline Nixon. My secret name, soon to be my real name. Nick took them and blew on them to dry, he smiled and we shook hands again. He handed me back my copy.

“Have you taken it?” I asked.

“What?”

“My soul?”

“Nah, if yer read the small print, I’m gonna let yer keep yers.”

I felt tears form in my eyes, “So, aren’t you gonna like, make me a girl?”

“Yeah, course I am. It’s already ’appenin’.”

“My goodness,” I gasped, “I’ve got boobs.”

“See, I won’t let yer down, like Bighead does.”

“So, how can I repay you?”

“Yer can give me yer first baby.”

“I can have babies?”

“Yeah, yer can ’ave a baby.”

I hugged him and danced around for joy until I had pains in my tummy and felt something wet in my pants. “Oh, I don’t feel so good, Nick.”

“Yer’ll be okay, it’s just a bit of blood–betta get used to it, it’s gonna ’appen regular.”

“I’m having a period?”

“Yep, I gotta go.” He started to move away.

“How can I thank you Nick?”

“I told yer, I’ll see yer when yer ’as a baby.”

“Jacqueline, who are you talking to?” called my mother, “You haven’t got a boy up there, have you?”

“No, Mummy.”

That was seven years ago and I’d almost forgotten about it, I’ve been a woman for what seems all my life, and I’ve married Craig and I’m pregnant–baby’s due any time. I’m getting contractions on a regular basis so Craig’s taking me into hospital. I’m under Dr Nick de’Ville, he’s brilliant, I feel like I’ve known him for years...



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