Nancy McAlley: Demons

Posted:  Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 1:45pm

The demons are struggling to pull me back. They are short demons with bowed legs and arms reaching to the floor.  They have large hands with long fingers and fingernails that scratch on the floor. Their long pointed ears bend over at the top. The hair on their heads is like a lawn where the grass is dying, brittle and dry. Their eyes are small and dark. They are clothed only in tattered shorts with feet like bear claws. They do not wear any shoes.

As I move, they claw at my shirt and grab at my pant legs. They growl and snarl. They say “you cannot” over and over again. I hold my hands tightly over my ears and close my eyes. I can still hear them. They are so loud, demanding attention.

I move to the couch and I sit. I sit as still as I can, hoping they will disappear.  They growl and snarl with a quieter tone but they do not disappear.  I turn on the TV. I watch TV as I sit and they are content. They sit without talking to each other, licking their hands and skin. Every once in a while they glance at me to make sure I am still there.

I am getting restless and bored watching TV. I get up to decide what else I will do.

As soon as I move, the demons get more active. They stop licking themselves. They bite at my heels and grab onto my pants and shirt. They are angry. They don’t want me to move. They want me in their circle. “Stay with us,” they seem to be saying. “We have control of you. You cannot go out on your own and decide for yourself what you would like to do.”

They continue and say to me, “You cannot sit down to write. That is wasting time. What is writing for anyhow? What good is it? You are sitting and not getting any exercise, you are not learning anything that will help you in your life with us. We are not going away and we are going to stay all around you until you realize that we are right.”

I am trapped, confined, and controlled.

Do I have to follow these demons? Am I in charge of my life or are they in charge of my life?

I will be free only if I allow myself to stand up, fight them off me and run. I fight back by not believing them when they tell me I will not be able to be free of them, and that I have to keep them with me forever.

I have been with them for so long that I might feel frightened and alone without them there to guide me and tell me what I must do. Can I trust my inner self? What is that inner self? The demons have always told me what I must do. I have heard my inner self in the distance, but it was never loud enough to drown the demons and make them go away.

Why am I often paralyzed? Am I surrounded by so many demons that they paralyze me? I need to purge them to get rid of them. Are they inside me as well as nipping at my heels and pulling at my clothes?

Do others have demons that follow them or have they escaped?

Nancy Mosher McAlley is a Maine native. She is a retired registered nurse, an interfaith minister and a Life-Cycle Celebrant. 

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Kathrin Seitz teaches Method Writing in Rockport, New York City and Florida. She can be reached at Cheryl Durbas is a freelance personal assistant in the Midcoast area. She can be reached at