Things are still … Not quite well.
By that I mean the time that I want to spend writing isn’t possible … at least, not at the moment … and as such I haven’t the means to continue the Succubi Anonymous story this week. I did have, quite literally, an hour to think and … well … this is what came out of that …
There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that beings like succubi exist. They are the stuff of imagination, dreams, and wishes, without substance or form. As such, they are nothing more than what one believes them to be.
The words were written in a thin book—barely more than a pamphlet, really—which held that there was no such thing as the Succubi. The one who wrote those words was going over them for the umpteenth time, looking for errors, spelling mistakes, faults, and so on. Even though he was desperate to catch a breeze from the circulating fan by his window while trying to ignore the sounds of Jimmy Hendrix blaring from the quad outside, he was primarily interested in the minutia of his words, so much so he didn’t focus on the words themselves.
It was to be part and parcel of his final task in order to secure his tenure. It was really all that mattered: publish this and he was secure once more. All else—relationships, dreams, desires—meant nothing over that point.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?”
He looked to see a woman standing in the doorway of his office, and recognized her as one of the professors from the Humanities department, one whom he had come to know and respect over time. She was not quite a friend, but—considering that there wasn’t anyone else he considered to be one—it was as good a term as any. He shrugged: “It’s a job. Not a bad one.”
She smiled, and he remembered all of the times that he had met her in the library, or at the cafeteria, and how she always … always, mind you … took time to talk to him, listen to him, and … she always smiled. “A job? Perhaps you need to find something better, then.”
She closed the office door and took a chair on the other side of the desk from him. He watched as she crossed her legs and placed a can of some sort of soda in front of him. She always seemed to have one of those with her; even in the coffee shop where he occasionally found her, she always had that soda. She settled into the chair and he leaned back in his own, the words he had written momentarily pushed to the side. “I’m open to suggestions.”
She laughed. A warm laugh that was joyful and unburdened. “Oh … that is quite the opening, but, rather than indulge in that, I have … a question.”
He shrugged: “Go on.”
She laced her fingers together and started in that way he recognized. She had a sharp mind: it was one of the things that he found the most interesting about her … not that she was hard on the eyes by any means, either. “Why is proof so necessary to you? What makes it so vital? What does it give you?”
He straightened in his chair, his back up now, preparing to defend himself in this battle of wits. “You come from a different world than I. In my world, I deal in cold, hard facts; I look for evidence that proves something to be either right or wrong, either real or not. There is no in-between.”
“I see in shades of colours and you see only in black and white, then?”
“Not even in shades of grey?”
He paused for a moment, realizing that he were caught in a trap now. A vague look to the ceiling as he replied: “You got me there. There are grey zones, I’ll admit to that, but they are few, and do not represent the whole.”
She wiggled her fingers against each other and pressed on: “It took imagination for science to do so many things. It took imagination for the first explorers to see what was over the next hill. It took …”
He interrupted: “Is there a point to all of this?”
She tilted her head to the right and, as she did so, there was a moment when he thought there was a shimmer of something red in her hair, but dismissed it as a trick of the light. “Humanity, in all of its boundless intelligence, promise, and will, is nothing without the imagination to wonder.”
He paused a moment. Then replied: “I’ll give you that point. But what does it have to do with the concept of succubi?”
She reached out her right hand and took the can from where she had placed it: “How many people have been inspired by dreams?”
The answer was a grudging one: “Impossible to say.”
“What if those that are called “Succubi” are all around us? What if they visit from time to time, to give a mirror, or a means for humanity to move forward?”
He shook his head: “That’s not what the myth says.”
She traced a finger along the rim of her can: “Ah, now we are in my field of speciality. There are always—always, mind you—variations on any myth which occur because of the views and beliefs of an era or age. The truth might be buried underneath layers of alteration and changes, much like the paintings from the Middle Ages. How much of what was believed to be the original truth was in fact the truth of others that came after?”
“They are described as being evil.”
Her finger stopped and she regarded him: “How do you know? And are you suggesting that you might believe in them?”
“I’m stating a fact.”
“But you said there is no proof, therefore there are no facts for you to defend.”
“You are twisting my intent.”
“I am …” she smiled oddly, then continued, “… playing Devil’s advocate.”
“You do that a lot, I’ve noticed.”
She smiled: “Only because it is fun to poke sometimes and see what happens.”
“Are you doing that now?”
She opened her can and took a sip before replying: “That would be telling.”
He couldn’t help but smile at those words. She had used them many times in their discussions. They talked, she asked questions that sometimes took him in directions unexpected, and he found himself intrigued enough to investigate further.
“What can you tell me, then?”
She placed the can down, her focus on him: “I can tell you that they exist. I can tell you that they are more than the myths describe. I can tell you that they have hope for humanity. I can tell you that they are nearer than you could believe.”
“Do you have more than words?”
“On belief. On allowing oneself to try to imagine what could be and accept it when it appears unexpectedly.”
He looked at his words, the ones he was intending to commit to the ages, and sighed: “I can’t believe in myths. Proof: where is it?”
She stood up and smiled … again. “All you need do is ask. The rest will be.”
He watched her for a time—she just standing there—and then answered: “Well, we’ll see, won’t we?”
She seemed to be bemused as she turned away from him. He looked towards the window of his office, life outside going on its way as it would … with or without them. He looked toward her again at the sound of the door opening and saw, quite clearly, that there was a small pair of red horns in her raven hair and a long, red, heart-tipped tail moving slowly in the air behind her. In his mind he thought of all kinds of explanations for what he saw, but did not, not even once, consider that what he saw might be real.
She nodded, just once, her lips in that smile she always had for him: “It has been in front of you all this time. Maybe, someday, you will see it for what it is … See you around.”
Then she passed through the door, closing it behind her, leaving him, once more, alone. He looked again to his words and saw written, in a feminine hand, in red, above the title …
… “Find your dreams and you will find us.”
He put his manuscript away into a drawer of his desk and thought about what she had said and what he had seen. His eyes drifted to the can of soda she had left on his desk. A thought came: the faculty dance was tomorrow. He had never gone … She always went.
Perhaps, possibly, he might do so. Just to find proof, of course.