A delightfully skewed series of disasters as an Ear Demon hops from head to head, leaving chaos and twisted lives in its wake. Two happy-go-lucky friends and a young woman with a cat will encounter their worst nightmare when one of the buddies brings an evil Jinn back from the jungle. As the demon hops ear to ear, bizarre behavior and insane events follow. A short story from the collection Out-Of-Mind-Experiences, part of the Horror Sampler Chocolate-Covered Eyes by Lori R. Lopez, “Bedeviled” is an edgy and horrific walk on the funny side of the street. Cover your ears or you might be next!
This short story is currently being enhanced for a new E-Book version!
The ear jinn mined deep wax deposits to nourish physical cravings. But there was more he coveted.
~ from Bedeviled
THE JUNGLE STEAMED with pungent humidity like a kettle of herbal tea. Damion Wong slapped his neck, bursting a bloated mosquito, and dreamed of home where the most common danger was falling asleep at the wheel during Rush Hour. Soggy textiles chafed. Air suffocated, delivering the weight of an avalanche.
He had been foolish enough to believe a jaunt through this tropical bug blitz might serve as adventure, the remedy for his doldrums. Get out and see the world. Discover an unknown species. Publish an award-winning paper. “This is not one of your best ideas,” he acridly noted, smacking his cheek, gazing grimly at skeeter shards.
“What’s wong?” joked his annoyingly unrumpled companion, a ponytailed jester named Geo Pitz who talked him into the journey.
“Nothing a hot shower and some rest wouldn’t cure,” Damion muttered. “I miss the comfort of my lab.” The Asian biologist’s mottled flesh boasted welts the size of measles. Inflated feet had been scraped raw by stiff hiking boots. And his spine ached under the ballast of an over-stuffed knapsack.
“We’re banned, remember? What part of shredding our access cards don’t you comprehend? Stay alert or you’ll never spot a new type of insect to make us rich and famous,” urged Geo.
“The problem is, there are too many old types of insects spotting me!” griped the frazzled entomologist, abrading his bite marks. “I have very little blood to spare.”
“This is the story of an ear demon. Two insect researchers go to Africa to try and find an undiscovered bug. Unbeknownst to themselves, one of them brings back a demon lodged in his ear. Chaos and confusion then ensue.
This was quite a funny little story but it made you think as well. It has a sort of ‘what if?’ feel about it. I don’t necessarily mean what if about ear demons but bugs lodged in ears etc. George underwent seven shades of hell trying to dislodge the demon and the chaos that was caused in the meantime was hilarious. I like stories like this. You can see what the outcome will be in your mind’s eye but are powerless to do anything about it. Fantastic, and darn funny to boot.”
WISTFULSKIMMIES BOOK REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews
“(From a review of Chocolate-Covered Eyes): BEDEVILED is just plain scary. We all fear catching a ‘bug’. Careful, what you fear may be real-er than you think!
DISTURBINGLY SCARY – RIOTOUSLY FUNNY: Two ne’er do well buddies set off on the ultimate trip of exploration little realizing the adventure what awaits them on their return home. Ear demons indeed! You’ll cringe when you realize what has happened to one of them and laugh til tears roll down your cheeks as you follow these bumbling buddies to the calamatous conclusion of their story.”
Smashwords; Barnes & Noble Reviews
“This is a short story involving a delightfully devious diminutive demon dwelling deep inside your ear canal. Yes, you read that right! He lives. In your. HEAD!
Few things are more unsettling than the thought of any creature living in our heads. Just take a look at short story horror through the ages. We’ve all heard the variations of the story describing the horror of a spider laying eggs in a girl’s ear while she slept. There are similar tales involving roaches and various other creepy crawlies. Ms. Lopez has found a new way to prey upon an old fear — now the thing putting down roots deep in our ear is not a mindless insect but a fully sentient evil little man! What lengths would you go to in order to dislodge such a creature? What extreme havoc do you think he could wreak? I guarantee whatever you can imagine doesn’t hold a candle to the events in this story!”
“MUCH better the 2nd time, which seems to be how to read Lori’s work… you get sooooo much more the next time, you wonder how you missed it! (I did find the constant descriptions of characters instead of their names a bit confusing!) Not your usual horror stuff but I dare you not to sleep with ear plugs in after this little tale! [Y]ou do feel a little icky after this tale! (extended review for Lori’s collection Chocolate Covered Eyes)”
THE FLUFFY RED FOX REVIEWS; Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads Reviews
“BEDEVILED strides two worlds as well — that of the cats and that of the humans, at once ordinary pets and owners, and witch and familiar. In the author’s words, “‘You cannot forget the sun that departs but is always there.’ Lonely and sad, the boy repeated this often to wring some droplet of wisdom which could heal his sorrow. The words tattered, dulled, lost all significance. He remembered darkness — shared only by insects and spiders. A friend taught him to look between the shadows.” The time trap of magic realism here lies in the exaggeration of time as represented by the sunrise and sunset, and all time in between. The horror comes from the “ear goblin” that resides in dark madness. It is real in a surreal narrative. Where does the dark begin and the light begin?”
(From a review for CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES)
THE BLACK GLOVE; SERVANTE OF DARKNESS
“Cover your ears not your eyes: Ms Lopez once again treats us with a romp into her mind. Pay attention carefully as you read this tale of an evil ear jinn, you don’t want to miss Lori’s devilish wit. Watch as Balewic hops from host to host bringing them woe and misfortune. Trust me , if you pick something up in the jungle, leave it there. And always wear ill-fitting gloves.”
Jerry W. McKinney
“Bedeviled: A good story and fast read. My second favorite in the collection. Warning: contains insects! *shudder*”
(From a review for CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES)
PARAYOURNORMAL “PYN” (Another dimension…or next door.)
“I immediately thought of Scott Sigler’s book, Infected. The story is not flashy, but it is engrossing. It is a fast read and my second favorite in the collection. Be warned, if you get the heeby-jeebies watching insect documentaries…stuff cotton in your ears before engaging yourself with this tale.”
(From a review for CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES)
MAY-DECEMBER PUBLICATIONS; Smashwords and Amazon Reviews
About The Author & Artist
Lori R. Lopez came up with this story one day while talking about utter nonsense and reading a Mushroom Guide. It occurred to her at the moment that having a monster in her ear might cause her to behave less rationally than her ordinary level of peculiar conduct. The notion took off like a rumpus of wild cats.
Lori was raised in the era before kids were advised not to put anything smaller than their elbow inside their ears. Not that she was prone to placing objects in her ears, whether large or small. She was far too busy wiggling her eyeballs and pondering which color they were (the part that wasn’t black or white), since they are more than one color. Most eyes are easy to identify. Some are green, some are blue, some are chocolate. Hers had to be different, like the rest of her. Not that she’s abnormal. She is merely unique, otherwise known as One Of A Kind. Which is the kind you are when you’re not anything else. Lori is definitely not anything other than odd.
And by the way, she does not write about commonplace things except when she cannot find something suitably strange to put into words. But that almost never occurs. Now and then she makes things up when she runs out of uncommon subjects.
Should you happen to interrupt Lori as she peers at the universe wearing a perplexed expression, be assured that she is fine. There is no need to summon the Men In White Coats to pull up in their White Truck with their Butterfly Nets. There is really never a right time to call them. You should get rid of their phone number and stop keeping it on Speed-Dial. We are all a little crazy. Remember that the next time you roll your single-colored orbs at those of us who cannot make up their minds about the color of their eyes and take forever to answer forms that request such information as if it were as simple as picking the back of your hand from a Police Line-Up.
Of course, Lori could not make up her mind in either case. Whatever the question. It’s better not to ask. And you should not call her number instead of the White Coats, for she does not even have a Dumb Phone let alone a Smart Device. She is quite content to be out of the loop. It’s peaceful there. And quiet. She can practically hear herself think, and blink, over the ringing of her ears. Which is a little like having a Telephone Booth in her head. The kind that rings and rings but nobody answers.