Gil Head

A Demon's Mid-Life Crisis (or, "Why CAN'T I be a giant man-eating snake?")

This is a bit of a free-form dump of recent thoughts on demons, snakes, and the various creatures running around inside my head.  It's a bit long, so for the sake of folks' friends pages, I'll drop it behind a cut...

I'm certainly at that point in my life when I should be going through a bit of a mid-life crisis.  Half a normal human's lifespan is behind me now, which certainly makes one think about where they are in their life.  While I've not gone out and bought sports cars, speed boats (let's leave the racing sailboat out of this!), or other such things, I do seem to have been collecting demons at a frightening rate over the past few years.  I've got enough invested in artwork and costumes of or about demonic entities that I don't think it can count as anything but a bit of mid-life spending.

More than an insignificant amount of my mental energy is spent defining a complex mythology of the beasts in my pantheon, as well as how that fictional universe works, in such a way that it's not really incompatible with the world we actually live in.  If I were a better writer, I'd try and actually write fictional pieces set in this world, but I'm not entirely sure that's meant to be.

But throughout the month of October, I'm getting to spend time in an insectoid demon's form "greeting" people at the haunted house at which I volunteer.  A few times a year I make it off to conventions where a substantial amount of my time is in the guise of any of a number of demonic creatures.  Occasionally (or sometimes more often than that), I take time online at night to role-play some of the various monsters roaming through my mind.

While it's certainly true that all of these give me a break from the mundane reality to let my mind enter a world where the limitations of ours don't really apply.  I have to admit, though, that the fact that I tend to put myself in that world as one of the primary forces of evil in that world certainly isn't entirely comforting.  For better or worse, though, it's enjoyable...  It's simply fun.  I enjoy playing the "Bad Guy" in these little jaunts into a world of fantasy, playing a creature that by any reasonable definition is simply a horrible, evil monster.

Let's take the snake, Odontaspis.  As anyone who's seen art of him realizes, he's big, very big.  Generally, he's defined as around 70 ft long (head to rattler), 2000'ish lbs, with a 4-armed torso roughly human-size or slightly larger.  These dimensions aren't accidental or random: They were chosen as roughly the dimensions such a creature would need to have humans right in the center of the ideal size for food (though I may have actually scaled him a bit too large for real-world scaling).

Thus, while he can be a friendly creature when he's not out hunting, when he is, you do NOT want to be in his crosshairs.  I am very capable of portraying him as a very cruel, (literally and figuratively) cold-blooded predator, and I certainly have done so on a semi-regular basis.  He's certainly been portrayed frequently as unnecessarily cruel to his victims (as have all of the other demonic beasts I've portrayed).  Recently, I've been in the mood for placing him in modern worlds, usually in the role of some boss in organized crime, politics, or even law where people who cross him simply "vanish," so to speak.

While the snake may not be a nice creature, all things considered, he's still a character I really love to drop into the "head space" of.  Between the thought of that long, serpentine body and the pure deadly force he's capable of displaying at a moment's notice, it's a profoundly appealing character, even if it an evil one, or perhaps because of that capability for evil.  As much as I hate to admit it, if I were to awake one morning in that form, with the power (and survivability) he possesses in his mythology, I'd probably be smiling inwardly, even knowing just how dark and horrific a creature I'd become and what sorts of acts I was likely to carry out in the years to come.

Certainly, a smaller version of him, one more scaled for wild animals as his dinner than people and thus one who could survive alongside humanity more comfortably would bring with it more than a small amount of appeal.  Taking the aspects of power and control aside, the cold-blooded predatory nature, all of those things a human would call "evil," there's something intrinsically appealing about that long, serpentine form.  If everyone in the world, or even a meaningful fraction of them suddenly became something else over night, I think I'd have to hope for Odon over all my other characters.  Gil certainly carries nearly as much appeal, but there's something about the serpentine form which I think keeps drawing me toward it.  

So, I suppose if you ever encounter a 70 ft long, 4-armed black serpent with a red stripe down his back, you know the universe has turned its back on sanity and decided these little ventures into dark fantasy are going to make it into reality for a while.  Once that's gotten through your head, you should leave, quickly, for the moral principle guiding that reptile are those of a large predator, and you are likely his prey, although if he knows you and you treat him politely enough, he just might hang around in a more friendly way (at least until hunger gets the best of him).