I crashed into Amanda’s front door, shattering it. Man, did it fucking hurt, but I ignored the pain, glad that I had made it back one piece. Word of advice, never ascend with low power.
Amelia and the others rushed out to see the commotion. I just hoped the neighbors didn’t hear it because, holy shit, did that sound like a cannon ball crash. Fortunately, no one came out to investigate. Probably Amelia’s doing.
“Epex, are you okay? What’s going on?” I couldn’t make out the voice, as my ears still rang from the crash. When we got inside, Amelia healing me, I told them what had happened. I averted my gaze when I saw the worry appear in their eyes. Can’t blame them—he nearly killed us all.
“It’s best that I pack my shit and get the f—” my cellphone rang, interrupting me. “Hello?” I said.
Amony’s voice boomed from the other end.
“Where the hell are you? Everyone’s waiting.”
I glanced at the clock on my phone. 10:03PM. You’ve got to me kidding me. I swear, time has a way of screwing us all, no matter what situation we barely limp out of.
“I’ve run into some trouble,” I said. “I can’t make it.”
“You sound fine now,” Amony said. “You can explain it when you get here.” She hung up before I could object.
“You’re not seriously going, are you?” Jade said. “That job’s not worth getting—”
“We’re coming with you,” Amelia said. “No more lone wolf for you. Go get cleaned up and change into something that doesn’t make you look like you tried to wrestle a bear.”
I couldn’t help but smile.
After showering and changing into a plain shirt, camouflage pants, and combat boots, I joined the others in the living room. They were having hushed conversation as I approached.
“Ready to go?” I asked.
“This isn’t another one of those graveyard security death patrols, is it?” Keisha said.
“No,” I answered. “Just some girls playing with Ouija boards at the university.”
Amelia’s eyes widened. Not that this was a surprise. Nearly every heavenly-being despised the so-called toys. They were catalysts for summoning demons and with enough energy, could bring out some nasty creatures.
“Let’s get moving. Amanda, here.” Amelia tossed her the car keys, game face on. She turned to me, placed a hand on my neck, and closed her eyes. Warmth spread as her healing touch cleansed the exhaustion from me.
Well, the kiss that followed did most of the work.
I could see Devante, Elly, and Sin waiting as we pulled up to the Secure Corps building. Elly’s frown told us how happy she was to see Amelia. Devante and Sin simply shrugged, hiding their excitement that I had brought more women along for the ride. Yep, somehow, I earned myself some cool points. Ah well.
“I’ve got us reinforcements,” I said, without getting out of the car. “You guys ride with Sin. We’ll meet you at the university.”
They piled into Sin’s Jaguar and we were off…to ruin the night of three unlucky college girls. And to think I could be sitting on the throne and ruling the universe right now.
Sadly, the awesome night of college girls and partying that Devante and Sin envisioned wasn’t going to happen.
The demonic energy slammed into us like freight trains when we arrived at the campus. Just then, Elly passed out. We tried to shake her awake, but in the end, we had to leave the succubus behind in the car, windows up, doors locked. Amelia’s human friends seemed unaffected, but as for Amelia and I—or at least me, I felt the dark power everywhere, causing me to cringe. Imagine if your paranoia went into overdrive. There’s something lurking in every shadow, someone watching, and every haunted house feeling ever power-driven into your senses. That’s what feeling demonic presences is like. It was goddamn uncomfortable.
“I didn’t know Ouija boards can summon this much of the darkness,” I said.
“They can’t,” Amelia said.
“You don’t think they—”
“Attracted a devil,” Amelia finished. “Follow me.”
I gestured at Sin and the others, and we followed the goddess into the building. Amelia manifested her bow as we took notice of the uber-dark, uber-silent halls.
“This isn’t your average, everyday darkness. This is advanced darkness,” I quoted to Keisha, smile on my face. She glared. I felt triumphant that I managed to deck her with a SpongeBob Squarepants reference. The woman loved her Saturday morning cartoons.
She didn’t get the chance to fire back with a remark. Terrified screams rang through halls. I expected students to come out of their rooms to investigate but either they were a bunch of pussies or under a spell.
Okay, the latter was more likely.
I felt Amelia’s wrath hang into the air—a pleasant reminder that if you fucked with an elite super steroid six member, even an ex-member, you’re dead. Simple as that. She raced forward.
We followed, barely keeping up. You know, I wish I would’ve turned the other way with the cliché, “I’ll check out this area,” declaration because the scene we walked in on reminded me why I didn’t want to go back to Hell. The devil was in a human form, holding the head of some poor girl. Blood was everywhere on the walls, all over the floor and the couches of the lounge. It looked like a shit-ton of kids had painted the room with giant paint brushes before running off to catch the ice cream man. Five other girls were scattered in various places with either their throats torn out, holes in their stomachs, or limbs ripped from their sockets.
The devil took a bite out of the head, his crunching loud enough to send shivers throughout my body. Amanda groaned as she ran off, no doubt about to vomit.
Just then, the room, scratch that—the building shook violently, as the golden glow of heavenly-light surrounded Amelia. Her wings burst from her back as she fired three arrows at the devil. Two landed in his skull, the other in the heart. That got his attention, because he looked at Amelia, then ran off into the next hall, his speed a blur. Amelia took off after him, also as a blur. I turned to the others.
“Sin, you may want to tell the witch to get one of her magical cleanup crews out here,” I said. He pulled out his phone and got to it. I looked at the others. “Who’s up for witnessing how an angry goddess executes a demon?”
“I don’t know,” Jade said. “Devils and demons aren’t on the same planes of power.”
“They’re not gods, either,” I countered.
“But they’re still powerful,” Jade said. “Some could—”
“Aye, enough bickering,” Devante interrupted. “While we’re standing here, we’re going to miss out. And if something happens to Amelia, we’re fucked.”
Sin put his phone away. “She’s on it. Now, let’s go.”
We all raced through the dark halls. And, holy shit, it was like walking in the void. I noticed the windows were just a wad of darkness. We ran and ran but the hall seemed endless.
Then a figure appeared a yard or two ahead of us. We stopped, drawing weapons. The thing was a humanoid mass of blackness with a grin of pointed teeth.
“The fuck,” I said. “Shoot it, and let’s move on.” The guns didn’t sound. I turned around to see the others standing there, except Sin, eyes widened, and frozen, trembling with fear. A night terror demon. Just fucking great.
“Can you snap them out of it?” I said to Sin.
“Yeah but it’s going to take some time to absorb the influence off them,” he said. “You’re going to kill the demon by yourself.”
I unsheathed Ruin as I focused on the night-terror. “I just hope we don’t deal with more of these goddamn things.”
Let me be the first to tell you, I hated night terror demons. If you haven’t heard the myths, the legends or hell, every day talk, then you’re lucky. They don’t usually appear outside of Hell or the dream world, unless tethered to a devil or some unlucky host.
We all know the dreams where you can’t move, maybe there’s some kind of monster in the room or on your back, and when you open your mouth to scream, nothing comes out. Yep, that is the good ole night terror, shape-shifting into a form that will make you as uncomfortable as possible, and terrified.
The funny thing is, they do this for shits and giggles. The demons gain absolutely nothing from giving their victims nightmares. They don’t steal souls—nothing. All games, all laughs.
I almost advanced toward the fuck when I realized that was a stupid idea.
I didn’t get the chance to replace my sword with a gun when I felt the sensation of flying. Of course, it force-bashed me backward. It didn’t take long before a claw raked across my face, delivering enough pain to make me yell. I picked up Ruin and swung but the night terror easily sidestepped just inches out of reach.
“Ex-prince Sin, did you really side with this weakling?” the night-terror said in a truly demonic voice. Think of the movies—that dark voice that plays the demon. The deep, terrifying, haunting voice that will stick to anyone’s subconsciousness for the rest of their pathetic life.
“Epex, you can stop fooling around,” Sin said, ignoring the demon.
“You’re welcome to join in at any moment,” I said as I stood. I manifested my fifty cal. Night-terrors were fast, but not even they could match the awesomeness of a bullet. Too bad the demon wasn't stupid enough to stick around. It laughed as it vanished, leaving me the typical “until next time” bullshit threat. Next time my ass. I never want to see a night-terror again.
“Well, congrats. You let him get away,” Sin said, as he walked over to Jade.
“Win some, lose some,” I said, with a shrug. It took a few minutes for Sin to completely remove the curse from the humans. We made sure they had coherent thoughts, before sprinting to catch up with the Clash of the Titans dynamic duo. I wasn’t sure if Amelia actually needed our help. Still, who’d want to miss a good ass-kicking?
A series of earthquakes shook the building every now and then, no doubt the aftershocks of fighting that didn’t belong in the city. A few times, they struck so hard, we nearly lost our footing. A trail of windows shattered as we got closer to the exit.
“Holy shit,” Devante said.
“Yeah,” I replied. There was a standoff between the devil and the goddess when we finally made it outside. “Ah shit, stay back guys.” My warning didn’t seem register as the dipshits rushed ahead. “Dammit.” I hurried behind them. Devante chanted something incoherent before unleashing a shit ton of blue light at the devil. I half-expected an angel of vengeance to scoop him up at any time.
The devil wore the guise of a man in his thirties, five feet eight inches tall with short grey hair. This fucker had on an expensive-looking business suit, just like devil the misthanger queen crushed. What’s up with the damn suits anyway—I swear, they better not be showing off. We get it, you’re a rich asshole, scamming your money from human victims through false promises or shitty contracts.
To my surprise, the blue voodoo, whatever it was, knocked him back a bit, creating the distraction. Amelia’s friends lit him up with bullets. Oh, if only fate was good to us—if only the fight could be so easy. Too bad it wasn’t. The bullets, the blue stuff, hell, me standing there intaking the scenery, only made him look at us.
He spoke in a booming voice as if commanding an army.
“The hunger. It is an unstoppable force that must be satisfied through the most bloody means possible,” he said as he surveyed our group. I noticed his claws elongated. In fact, he looked unscratched. No bows, no bullet holes, nothing. Amelia on the other hand had a little disheveled hair, a few claw-shaped tears on her shirt, but otherwise, unharmed. This fight could go on forever, eventually tearing up the damn place if we didn’t do something.
“Hey fuck face, I have a question for you,” I said. The devil looked at me, amused.
“Well if it isn’t the famous demigod, the most wanted man of walking death in the universe,” he said, chuckling as if he made a joke. “The pleasure is all mine.”
I ignored his taunt. “Are you the one running Sunset?”
“Sunset…” his eyes seemed to go out for a bit, reminiscing. “I’ve associate with them from time to time. But alas, the Drifter is running the show. And trust me when I say you’re in over your head.” He grinned, revealing fangs.
I just about had it with this asshole. This was supposed to be a quick and easy mission. Not a slaughter-fest. I wanted sleep, dammit. Amelia’s heavenly-light intensified as she raised her bow again. “Can you not see how useless it is, bitch?” He blurred right through her arrows and backhanded the goddess so hard, she spiraled at least twenty yards away.
“I remember who he is,” Sin said in a grim tone, interrupting me.
“Who?” Amanda said as she moved in closer.
“He’s ancient. Known as Simon the sorcerer in the human history books. Caused all kinds of mischief back then.”
“Are you serious?” Jade said.
“Simon’s such a stupid name,” I laughed. He turned from the goddess and admiration of his fist-punt, to glare us. Ah fuck, here we go.
“Prince Sin, you still haven’t learned anything,” Simon said. Before any of us could so much as retort, he appeared in front of us. That fist felt like what I assumed would be a pair of brass knuckles to the face. He didn’t just knock one back. The fists broke the sound barrier as he decked us all, one at a time, so fast, he was nearly invisible. I shook off my daze and sat up only to see nothing but suit standing over me. I looked up to a creepy half-smile.
“I was just kidding about the name—oof,” I tasted shoe polish as I flew backward again. That pissed me off. I recovered, unsheathing Ruin in the process. Simon, however, was already back in a hand to hand engagement with Amelia.
When he got too far away, Amelia peppered him with arrows that never seemed to run out and when he was close, she dissipated the bow for martial arts. Amelia was a force not to be fucked with in combat, but Simon looked as if he was toying with her. He fought like freaking Chuck Norris, easily putting the strongest member of our group in her place. He…was dominating a former member of the elite invincible steroid six. A goddess who’s arrows normally nuked hundreds of demons at a time… I let that sink in. Oh fuck.
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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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