The Domovoi


I can’t sleep. I knock over the ash-tray in an attempt to snuff out my fourth—maybe fifth cigarette. It gets all over my pillow. I clean it up and by the time I finish, I am even more awake, I light my fifth—maybe sixth cigarette. I feel a cold pain in my toe followed by a pinched cry of “STOP SMOKING.”

I rip the covers away from my legs to find a small man in wrinkled skin and a gnarly beard glaring up at me. He has two little horns with a great big bump between them. He has my eyes. There is a little blood on the tips of his sharp yellow fingernails. He growls and begins climbing up my leg, scratching as he goes. I kick wildly.

“Sto-o-o-p Smo-o-o-k—” it tries to say before being flung to the floor. He stands up, not more than half a foot high. He stomps around, kicking up dirt that isn’t there.

“Who the fuck are you?” I demand.

The crusty little man looks up, “who am I?” he crawls up into bed, “who am I! This is my house, MY house. You have no respect—no respect. You demolished the old furniture, you painted the walls and now I can’t find my way around! Anywhere around!” he rubs the lump between his horns. I pull my feet up a safer distance away. One of my toes is blue. He glares at me.

“And everything you own smells like cigarettes! Cigarettes, cigarettes! You give nothing, and I can’t take anything that won’t stink up my hole. It stinks. It is all stinked up! Go away!”

I look down at my cigarette, red tipped. I snuff it out.

“I’m leaving! Gone—leaving.”

The old man begins hobbling to the door. He turns.

“You’ll be sorry.” He hobbles out. I think for a moment, then jump to the door and peek around the frame. The little man has his hands in a hole in the wall that I’ve never seen. He is pulling out a multitude of objects and placing them in an old IKEA bag we forgot to toss out.

Last thing he does is reach deep in the hole and pull out an equally horned, equally evil little thing in a nightgown. It slaps at his hand and then eyes the IKEA bag.

“We leave now!” the little old man cries. “We are leaving!”

The other creature turns and looks at me. “Is that the smoking one?” it says in a much sweeter voice.

“YES!” the horned little man roars, “they are all smokers. Smoking everywhere, smokies-smokers, the whole bunch. We’re leaving.”

The sweeter one, I assume is female, turns to me.

“Shame on you!” she pipes at me. I don’t know what to do, and so I shrug and hold out both hands as though I might try to help with some misunderstood problem of the universe. The little man throws the IKEA bag over his shoulder and gives me the finger.

“Colonialist!” he says and him and the other hairy little creature walk off into nothing.

Author Benjamin Davis and artist Nikita Klimov created one story and one picture each day for one year. In May 2018 they published their first book, The King of FU

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