Dave opened the door to his apartment with a slight stagger. He was just coming home from a late-night party. All he wanted to do now was relax and fall asleep.
Not feeling the energy to head upstairs to bed, he decided to crash on his couch for the night. He turned his television to MTV and managed to drift off to sleep quickly.
After what seemed like only a few seconds of restful sleep, Dave bolted upright when the music on his television was suddenly louder than normal. He grabbed the remote and went to investigate.
Before he could solve that mystery, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye: something in his sliding-glass door to the back yard.
Not sure if it was his mind playing tricks on him, he decided to investigate further.
“Damn,” he said. Dave pressed his face against the glass as he pocketed his remote. “I can’t see anything out there.”
He cupped his hands around his eyes as a last-ditch effort to try to peer into the darkness when suddenly a bearded man appeared in front of the window. The man smacked the glass with bloody hands. Dave shrieked and fell backwards, scrambling on all fours to hide behind his sofa.
The man outside wailed in terror and then was silent. After a few minutes, Dave got the courage to grab his baseball bat and investigate what was going on outside.
The man’s bloody handprints were smeared on the glass of the door. As he crept out, the light from his living room illuminated the grass. There before him was a bloody mess, one that looked like someone had been ripped apart.
Dave stepped out further when he found himself unable to move. “Greetings,” a voice spoke to him, one that seemed to echo from all sides.
“What’s going on?” he said through gritted teeth.
A man appeared from the darkness before him. He was well-dressed in a top hat and suit. A golden pocket watch was in his hand, attached to a chain. The man regarded it fondly before looking at Dave and smiling.
“You’ve met with an unfortunate fate,” the man said, grinning more and more as he spoke. “I am a demon and am going to kill and eat you as I have this other man. However, we demons like games, and I hear humans like a challenge. If I can torture you for, say, 84 years, I will send you back to a few minutes ago and you can try to stop yourself from leaving the house to investigate. If you can save yourself, none of this will have happened. If you fail, however, I get to devour you. How does that sound?”
Dave agreed to the man’s terms fearfully. He didn’t want to die and—seeing as how he was unable to move—he was inclined to believe he was a demon.
The demon laughed and clapped his hands. For the next 84 years, Dave was tortured in hell, growing old and weary. Finally, when his torture had ended, the demon came to him. “Time to go back, Dave,” he said as he snapped his fingers.
Dave tried to protest, but he was too weary from the torture to speak. By now, Dave was old, bedraggled, and bloody, and his memory was shot from the years of constant abuse. The demon was true to his word, though. Dave had been transported to right before he had gone outside.
He peered into his house and saw himself sleeping on the couch. He reached into his old jeans and pulled out the remote to the television he had pocketed all those years ago. He raised the volume, thinking that would get past-him to wake up.
As soon as the volume shot up, so did past Dave. As his past self went to investigate, Dave tried to shout to him to not go outside. However, after all those years in Hell, his vocal cords were fried from the heat. Panicking as his past self went to look outside, he ran up to the glass door and frantically beat on it, trying to signify to his past self not to come outside.
His past self ran away and Dave sighed, thinking he had scared him off. He turned to walk away when the man appeared in front of him. “You have failed,” he said with a broad grin.
It was then that Dave remembered what happened those many years ago.
“Ah, now you’ve got it,” the demon said as he opened wide his mouth and attacked Dave. Dave wailed, crying out in a mixture of fear and sorrow.
Leaving a bloody mess, the man cleaned himself off and chuckled. “Now comes my favorite part.”