Middleburg, North Carolina was huge, noisy, and full of life. Cars honked, thousands of humans walked and crossed streets, and colors flashed everywhere. I found myself gawking at the many different fashion senses out there. Like every goddamn sense of the rainbow. I considered contacting a leprechaun to tear him a new one. Do not leave your goddamn rainbows out for the human taking. Look what they’ve done with it.
The roads were a bit curvy in the paths we took. Everyone was here except Amanda. She had class this morning. At least Keisha was a better driver, enticing me with actual smooth driving and less road rage. Thankfully the pop music was on low. Jade and I were in the back—and she could not get enough of teasing the goddess.
The jealous act was funny at first but when Amelia pulled her off with force, I gestured for Jade to take the games down a notch. Goddesses, love, and jealousy is something that dove as far back as the beginning of human history. That aside, I felt hyped for what could be a day of electronics and videogames. Stuff that I never had as a child were finally going to be in my hands. The thoughts were strong enough to make me forget that every god in Paradise Realm wanted to kill me. It’s a good thing they aren’t as humans described them: omnipresent, all-knowing, infinite power. That stuff is usually divided, with an exception of omnipresence. Unless a god decides to somehow become air, that’s impossible in the literal sense.
When we pulled up to the city’s mall, a cold sense of “fffuuuuccckkk” rushed through me. I could see grins curving on the faces of the girls. So much for my day of electronics and cool gadgets. I’m starting to think women have some kind of hatred for anything with a computer chip. Smartphones being the exception to that. That was a joke.
“I call dibs on Epex as my bag holder,” Keisha said as we stepped out of the vehicle, locking the doors.
“Nope, he’s mine,” Jade said, grabbing my arm, pulling me toward the mall entrance.
“I don’t think so,” Amelia said, pulling me away.
In the end, I carried all of their bags. I adamantly ignored the annoyance that coursed through every vein in my body. The smartphone is free. The smartphone is free… A little patience couldn’t hurt anyone. But TWENTY bags? Twenty large bags of clothes, shoes, perfumes, whatever… DAMN! Where in the hell did these women get that kind of money? Don’t answer that.
I sat their bags by Keisha, who chattered on the phone with someone, and made a getaway. It wasn’t hard to mix into the crowd of people. We all wore casual clothing, casual shoes. The only difference was that they carried smartphones, I didn’t. And I couldn’t just manifest one. I needed the service with it too.
The smartphone wasn’t the only thing I wanted to get my hands on. Food. Amelia gave me about sixty real dollars, hoping to keep me from wasting power to spawn fakes. That and she’s damned goody-goody. Despite choosing me over Paradise Realm, assisting with the kill of a hunter and his misthangers, she still didn’t break. She still believed in that damned realm. What did I have? I’m one of two existing demigods who pretty much refused the authority to rule the universe in order to obtain a mundane human life. Too bad I didn’t get that. No, it seems like rather than being destined for greatness, I was hell-bound.
I did some exploring, weaving in and out of crowds into stores, which mainly sold clothing. Others sold useless gadgets, pets, bedding, and antiques. There were only two floors, though the mall felt like it went on for miles. I did however catch wind of the food court and headed for it immediately.
That’s when I felt a presence. It was neither holy nor human, but slightly chilling. For some reason, I felt like I had to know what it was and its intentions. I tracked it as it grew stronger and stronger until finally homing on the spot.
Among the crowd, sitting on a bench was a blonde boy, who looked about my age, half reading, half staring at the crowd. He wore all black. Note to self: encourage the guy to join the emo society. A little black hair dye and he’d be on his way.
I confirmed the presence, that demonic presence. No, sharper and stronger than a demon —this was devil. Strangely, I felt human from him when I got close enough. Both human and devil? Holy shit, a demi-devil. They really do exist. There’s no way I could explain the duo-radiation of both human and devil presences coming from the boy in a dismissible way.
Suddenly, he looked at me and smiled. I eyed him as he shut his book and walked toward a nearby exit, most likely expecting me to follow. I did, as if I had no choice. What he did on his free time was none of my business but curiosity as humans say, is killed the cat.
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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 (It's a joke. These are among my favorite authors) , 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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