The Devil Inside | Jeanette Stampone

On 22nd November 1997, the world lost a rock icon. Michael Hutchence was a natural showman who exuded confidence and charm. He seemed untouchable.

The Devil Inside

Jeanette Stampone

The Waiting For Starman Award


The morning sun filtered through a gap in the curtains. It had been hours since Michael had learned that the children wouldn’t be joining him in Australia. He sat alone on the hotel bed, his naked body quivering as the tears streamed down his face. Remnants of the night lay strewn across the room; empty bottles, pill packets and tiny flecks of white powder scattered over the otherwise pristine carpet. He clutched a vodka bottle in his clammy hands and took another swig.

Michael wasn’t entirely alone. He never was. Lurking in the shadows of Room 524, a sinister visitor was hidden from view; it analysed his every move, his every thought. Michael sensed it, watching and waiting; its mere presence tormenting him. He pushed another pill from the blister pack and stuck it on his tongue. Lifting the bottle to his lips, he washed it down with the final dregs of vodka.

With trembling hands, Michael reached for the phone and dialled a number. A voicemail greeted him and he spat a message, “Martha, Michael here. I fucking had enough.” He threw down the receiver and sat there for a moment, unsure of what to do or who to call next. In the darkest corner of the room, the visitor stirred. Michael shivered as he became increasingly aware of its unpredictability.

He grabbed the phone again, desperate to talk to someone. Another voicemail message. Michael opened his mouth but his tongue was heavy and dry. The words slurred as he struggled to speak. With his head spinning and eyes widening, the walls began to close in on him. The wallpaper patterns danced and twisted, mocking him, as nausea set in.

Then the growling started. From the depths of the shadows, it was coming. Dropping the phone, Michael stood to face it. He clutched the edge of the table with shaking limbs, his body trembling as he battled to stay upright. The snarling beast was there; its black eyes fixed on him. White teeth exposed and a coat of thick dark fur, matted and dull. As it inched closer, its eyes gleamed with evil intent. Michael snatched his belt from the ground, grasping it tightly, as if it would somehow protect him.

He froze as this creature circled him. It seemed to sense his vulnerability, drawing strength and power from his fear. He looked it in the eyes and it stared right back; its growl deepening as it closed in on him. And then it pounced, plunging Michael to the ground. His tired hands pushed against the muscular body; his fingers became entangled in the thick fur. Its massive weight bore down on him, crushing his ribs and slowly suffocating him. Michael felt the energy seeping out of his body. Exhaustion overcame him and he could fight no more. As his arms fell to his sides and his legs lay motionless, he took just one last breath.

It was only at that moment, when the life drained from his body, that the black dog finally left Michael alone.