What was going on? I blinked several times to adjust to the sunlight pouring into my room—it’s a lot brighter on Earth than it is in Hell, you know? But speaking of which, how in the heck did I get back here? What was going on?
“Daniel, you’re late for school!”
That was my mom. Not only was I back on Earth, but I had class. And the only thing worse than Hell was detention. So I jumped out of bed, threw my clothes on, and rushed out the door.
That afternoon during lunch, I sat with my best friend Gary and tried explaining to him what had happened to me.
“You’ll never believe what I did last night,” I started.
“You got 300 kills in Overwatch.”
“You finished all the New 52 comics.”
“No, Gary! Just shut up and listen.” But I had to admit, both of those guesses were definitely on my bucket list. “Last night, I woke up and—”
“Look what we have here, boys,” someone said behind me.
My skin crawled at the voice and I slowly turned to see Max Nicholson towering over me. Two of his dim-witted goons, Larry and Cid, were standing on both sides of him, crossing their arms like they were more than just walking biceps.
“Ummm…” I started. “Hello, Max. Nice to see you too.” Max had been my designated bully since third grade. He’d taken everything from me from tissues to answers on final exams in algebra. He once pantsed me in the middle of gym class. In front of all the girls. And Larry and Cid filmed it and had it all over instagram and facebook. That was freshman year and I still hadn’t lived it down three years later. And every day since then, he’d taken it upon himself to ensure my starvation at lunch by snatching my lunch at least three times a week. I’d traded one Hell for another. And I knew today would be no different. He was gonna snatch my lunch again just like every other day.
But today wasn’t like every other day, was it? Because I knew something Max didn’t know. I was a demon slayer now. And he was in for a rude awakening.
“You know what time it is, Daniel?” Max laughed.
“You betcha,” I said, standing up and facing him. “So what it’ll be? Knuckle sandwich? Or a fresh can of whipped cheeks?”
Max laughed and looked at Larry and Cid. “I’ll take a slice of you sorry behind on top of that hot dog.”
“Then come and get it,” I said. And I cracked my neck side to side for dramatic effect. I’d just killed a demon in Hell. With a freaking lightning sword. This kid’s face was gonna be on the inside of my locker. I was gonna use his skin as toilet paper. Finally, my whole childhood was gonna be avenged. And the whole cafeteria would get to see it.
Max threw a left hook at me and I blocked it—just like I’d blocked the demon’s attack. But my arm kinda hurt a little from the blow. Didn’t matter. The next hit was gonna knock the wind straight out of Max. I punched him right in his chest and imagined him flying across the cafeteria and landing on a table on his back.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, Max just ate the hit. He stood there and stared at my fist against his pecs and laughed at me. Then he picked me up in his arms, spun me around, and dropped me onto the table. The whole cafeteria gasped and oohed as people pulled out their phones.
That was weird.
I waited for Max to finish me off and mash my stomach with some Donkey Kong slams. Or rub my hot dog in my face. But he didn’t. He just grabbed my plate then turned and walked away.
“Whoa!” Gary shouted, leaning over me. “You just fought Max Nicholson!”
I grunted. My back was still stinging from landing on the table.
I sat up and rubbed the back of my head. Apparently Max knew something I didn’t—the powers I had in Hell didn’t cross over to Earth. That whole thing must have been just a dream. I was still just as weak as ever.
Photo cred: Chozley