You may wonder why am I letting Amelia tag along with me. It’s simple. Two people that commited treason was better than one. Whether imprinting was the cause or not, in Conus’s eyes, killing a misthanger—someone or something simply doing their job—was going to earn a sentence in Hell. Okay, all right, she saved my life in a manner that was so smooth that I looked at her differently now. My old friend and I were together again, though the circumstances refused to allow me to relax.
We were back at the chapel, since Amelia insisted that I not abuse my power or attract unwanted attention by manifesting a house or something. She had legit money and apparently knew some humans that could help us out.
I cringed at the thought of hanging around humans without being under the influence of beer. Though they wouldn’t be much of a bother to me these days, I still didn’t like them. I sometimes wondered why they were so hostile all those years ago. Nevertheless, it was either them or demons. And demons were assholes. Well, they’re both assholes, but at least I could deal with humans. I may not have many abilities or stable access to power, but I’m still much stronger than the average human, several times faster, even if I didn’t look it. Ah, good ole natural selection, unfairly delivering control of the hidden forces of the universe like usual.
I glanced at the cat that still napped, only this time in Amelia’s lap. She had a smartphone held to her ear, talking to some woman. I couldn’t wait to tinker with it.
I studied Amelia, my childhood partner in crime. She’d expressed a free will that not even imprinting could explain. But why’d she betray Paradise Realm just to help me? Love or not, imprinting or not, we’re talking about standing with the guy who declared himself a god-slayer. That meant she stood with me against every god and angel in Paradise Realm. That’s a battle that cannot be won. Hell, it shouldn’t be fought. I didn’t know what rank Amelia stood at among the hunters, but one or two could not face them all.
Without drawing her attention, I left the chapel, and strolled about in the two o’clock early morning air. Since there was nothing else to do, and sleep was impossible due to Amelia’s chattering, I searched for a bar. It didn’t take long to find one and the second I stepped in...wait, this wasn’t a bar. I mean it was similar but odd. The bartender and his counter were on the far left. A huge stage ahead flashed as the center of attention. A naked woman danced on stage, men throwing money at her. Damn humans, this...is…why? I needed to know.
A man blocked my path. “You want to enter my club, you show me ID.”
I did. “Good, good my friend, go have a good time. You look like you’ve never been with a woman.” He laughed at my glare.
Before I could step forward out of curiosity, my heavenly-being senses flared. It wasn’t like with the misthanger, but it was familiar.
Amelia was looking for me. With her tracking abilities, she’d find me in no time and the last thing I wanted was to explain why I had entered this place. I mean I wanted beer, but she’d probably complain. My ears were too tired for that.
“I actually forgot something at home,” I told the man. “I’ll probably return tomorrow.”
“Your money, huh? Well no worries. This place isn’t going anywhere.”
I got the hell out of there and around the corner seconds before Amelia showed up, frowning at me.
“Really?” she said. “After that misthanger attack, why would you go out alone?”
“I was just going for a walk,” I said. “Besides, that first misthanger caught me off guard. Now that I know to expect them, I—”
“And if a hunter appears? What will you do?”
I grew silent. Amelia sighed. “I don’t want anything to happen to you. You lost eight years of your life. I understand that you want to see the world but don’t be reckless.”
I nodded. And for the first time, I didn’t mind having her with me. A little more of my skepticism faded away.
The entire time, though, I was on edge, expecting her to be like, “SIKE, your ass is going to Hell,” or some other form of betrayal. I wasn’t dumb enough to trust anyone.
I woke up the next norming from a dreamless slumber this time….and for some reason, my head was resting on Amelia’s lap, the cat gone. My first instinct was to observe the room. Don’t want to be back in Hell. I sat up. The seven o’ clock sunlight beamed through the windows of the chapel. Amelia’s human friends would arrive sometime this morning to pick us up.
I thought about leaving her there to sleep while I went out for a morning jog, but decided against that. It wasn’t because she was a vulnerable sleeping goddess. The opposite actually. Anyone that tried to molest a goddess in their sleep would get their balls ripped off before they got within an inch of her. Still, I didn’t want to sit there and think. Shoot, the only thing I had in my past was a shitty childhood and Hell. I shook Amelia.
“Wake up,” I said. She groaned at first, before opening her eyes. She moved forward as if trying to deliver a morning kiss but I turned. “Your human friends should be here in a bit.” I manifested two toothbrushes and two tubes of toothpaste. “Let’s get ready.” She sighed as if disappointed, snatched a toothbrush and a tube and started for the women’s bathroom.
“Shall we go get breakfast?” I said after we finished brushing up.
“I’m not really a fan of fast food,” Amelia said.
“Fast food? Oh! I read about—I mean, we don’t have time to be picky.” Now that I thought about food, a savaging feeling rampaged through my gut. I hadn’t eaten in eight years. Hell’s normally for the dead. When a live being is imprisoned there, hunger is dramatically increased until they go mad. For a demigod, it could be ignored until forgotten, causing our bodies to go into an extremely low-cost state. I remembered now. All of it. Images of foods I read about, had as a child, and even in Paradise Realm, popped into my head. My stomach howled, my mouth began to water.
“Seriously, that stuff is bad for you.”
“Who gives a shit—come on,” I said, pulling at her. Eventually she sighed and gave in. She prevented me from ordering like fifty things off the McDonald’s menu. I couldn’t help myself though—it was so good.
Amelia’s phone rang just as we finished breakfast. I could hear the overly-girly, happy, loud, feminine voices on the other line. Just great. Amelia’s human friends were in town.
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Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne, he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
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Author of the Blood for Soul series and a secret coming-of-the-age epic fantasy. Lover of anime and manga: so yeah, weeb shit? Fun. Sue me haha.
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