The feeling starts inside my chest. It grows slowly, molding itself into a tightly wound knot the size of a tennis ball. Its redness burns, inflaming the chest cavity. The tightness consumes my upper body, making it hard to breathe.
As the knot tightens, the red ball begins to swirl, molding itself into a cyclone. A creature shoots forth from the flame, its upper body protruding while its lower half remains attached to the twister. In fact, its lower half is the twister.
It’s the Tazmanian Devil.
Arms spread wide, tongue hanging out, Taz stares at me devilishly. He’s outside my body now, lower half still swirling, glaring at me with a devious look in his eyes.
I want to consume you.
I want to envelope you.
I want to pick you up and control you.
At first I’m startled and confused. “What are you? You want to consume me?”
Yes, that’s it. Acknowledge me. Recognize I’m here. Give me what I want.
Then I become uncomfortable. “What is it you want? Can’t you just go away?”
I want to play.
What? I’ll just ignore that comment. First I have to figure out why I have this knot if my chest.
Play with me!
Whoa, okay buddy. “I have some important things going on right now, but I guess we can play. Why don’t you just wai…”
What is at stake?
What’s at stake? “Well, nothing I guess. I suppose we could pla…”
Then drop it. Let’s play.
And so we play. We run around aimlessly, like little kids. I chase him around in circles as he spins, slobbers, and slides every which way.
We’re outside, in open space. There’s grass, but it’s just me and Taz. No questions, no worries, no one in control. Just play.
Finally, we both fall to the ground, spent. Seeing Taz is thirsty, I take a glass beaker of green liquid and pour the revitalizing nectar straight down his throat. He smacks his lips with pleasure, then lays down gently and rocks himself into a deep sleep. The twister has vanished, revealing his lower limbs. His devious eyes now shut, a contended smile is all that remains.
What is at stake?
I’m thinking to myself now.
Rest. Quiet. Contentedness. All somewhat accurate. But there are better ways to describe it, I’m sure.
Still out in the open, I look around the grass for Taz. But he’s gone. I take a deep breath. My body fills with air, then releases. No more knot, no more fire. Breathing in the moment, I feel the words wash over me.
Peace. Relaxation. Freedom. Yes, that’s what’s at stake. That’s what I’d be giving up.
And now that I’ve fed the demon, how do I feel?
I feel as light as a cloud.