They didn’t get too far down the road when Jason decided to pull over at a roadside rest area. He and Penny exited the truck to talk to the weird talking cat occupying the truck bed. e and He

“Alright,” Penny began, “What are you? How can you talk, and what exactly is going on?”

“Well, you didn’t even ask my name. Disappointing but I can overlook it.” The talking cat said. “All right, you deserve some answers. I am a parademon. I chose this form because my actual demon form would confuse you and you probably wouldn’t follow the commands of a little red, toddler-looking demon with tiny horns.”

“So, you chose a cat?” Jason asked. “Why?”

“Cats are badass. They are nimble, dexterous, and stealthy. They have razor sharp claws and more strength than their little bodies should have. In fact, if they were a little bigger, they would probably eat you rather than be your soft cuddly pet.” The talking cat had almost finished cleaning itself. “Oh, and they are self-cleaning. Look, almost done. I call shotgun.”

“You can come up into the cab with us when we leave. Will you be staying a cat?” Jason asked.

“I could be anything. I am a shapeshifter. Well, anything but a human. I am not allowed to mimic a human. So, think about it. In order to blend in and gain your trust my options were pretty limited.”

“You could have been a dog.” Penny suggested. “I am definitely more of a dog person.”

The talking cat stared at her for a moment, “Didn’t you hear anything I just said? Oh, by the way, Jason, that was good thinking wishing this harlot to you. She will mask you from the other demons with her corrupted soul.”

“Hey!” Penny protested. “Watch your mouth! I am not a harlot.”

The talking cat glanced at her after another lick of its paw, “I don’t lie, bitch.”

“Oh, that’s it! You are a dead cat!” Penny started to climb into the back of the truck. Jason stopped her. The cat readied his claws.

“Are you crazy? You saw what he did back there.”

Penny pointed two fingers at her eyes and then directed them back toward the cat.

“I think we should take Penny back home or to her shoot. I’m not sure how she even got here.”

“Didn’t you wish her here?” The talking cat said.

“I thought so, but I couldn’t wish her back,”

“That’s because the Grievous Saeton only grants one wish a day. You can’t wish her back until tomorrow.”

“Grievous Saeton? That’s what this thing is called?” He removed the figurine from his pocket.

“Yep, and it’s like a beacon to all the demons nearby. They all want it and will do anything to get it.”

“Including you?”

“I am a parademon. The damn thing doesn’t grant me wishes or anything. I am considered a nobody in the demon world.”

“Why are you helping me then?

“Duh, I want to be a full demon obviously, and take that thing from you someday.”

“So, the answer is yes. You want it too.”

“Killing demons and taking control is the fast track to demonhood. I help you and maybe I can kill a few of my brothers and their parademons and get full demon status. But don’t get too comfortable around me protecting you and all. I will end you if I need to. Oh, and don’t get rid of the slut. She is helping you mask the Grievous Saeton. Man, she must have done some freaky shit on camera. She is almost eclipsing that thing.”

Penny made a move again and Jason stopped her. “I think he’s trying to get you riled up on purpose.

“It’s working!” She said. “He better curb the slut talk.”

“Why” the cat said. “You did it now own it.” The cat strolled down the bed and jumped up on the siderail. “We had better get going. I know of a place you can go where we might get some help.”

“I still have questions.” Jason said.

“I could better answer them if we were somewhere safer.”

“What about my friends back at college? What happened to them?”

“Well, most likely they are dead. Demons like those usually don’t leave a lot of loose ends.”

“Why don’t I just give this Grievous thing to you and be done with it?”

“You wished on it and the wish was granted. It is yours until someone pries it from your cold dead fingers like the person who probably died and left it where you dug it up.”

“If the demons want it so bad, why didn’t they find it in the field?” Penny asked.

“The beacon effect only works when it is attached to a human, there’s more sport that way. The barer before Jason might have used his or her wishes for evil which eventually masks the beacon effect if the crimes are horrendous or sinful enough.” He glanced at Penny.

“Why are you looking at me, stupid cat?”

“Can we go to my friend’s house now? I mean unless you want to hang around here and attract demons until they hunt you down and rip off your dick.”

“Wait what? Why my dick.” He instinctively covered his private area.”

“A figure of speech.” Jason thought he saw the cat wink at Penny.

“I guess we should ask your name, then.” Penny said.

“Yes! It’s Asterial!” The cat pranced around and seemed to grow a few inches taller.

“What was that about?” Jason asked.

“In the demon world, names have power. When you name one or ask a parademon their name, they gain a little bit of power from it.”

“What if I prefer you to use your real form and leave the talking cat routine behind?”

“I would say screw you! I like this form.”

“All right then. Where does this friend of yours live?”

“Just drive and I’ll tell you where to go and where to turn.”

Jason sighed, “I’m not going to like where we’re going am I.”

“I seriously doubt it since it’s nicknamed the Devil’s hole to hell. That’s not far from the truth actually.”

Jason headed for the cab, but Penny hesitated. Jason returned, “What is it?”

Penny cleared her throat. “Masking your beacon or not, I think I want to go home now. This is a bit too far even for me.”

“Okay by me.” Jason said. He turned to Asterial who was already jumping into the cab. The cat suddenly had the urge to lick a random spot on its paw.

“We can take her home, but you’ll be sorry.” Asterial said.

“Aren’t you evil? You’re a demon. Won’t your evilness mask the doohickey?” Penny asked.

“Nice try but remember I am currently a nobody. My presence makes no difference when it comes to the Grievous Saeton. I am just here to guide Jason and hopefully keep him alive long enough to get what I want. Brutal, but I am an honest parademon.” He flinched, “Uh oh. I smell them on the wind. The hell spawn are coming. Let’s go, hurry!”

Asterial seemed a trifle over dramatic to Jason. He knew he was faking it. “Yeah, right. They’re just over the next hill.” Jason called his bluff.

“Well, it was worth a shot. Can we please go now?”

“Sure,” Jason said. He got into the truck with Asterial between him and Penny. “Where to Penny?”

“Just head for the interstate going west.”

Jason put the truck into gear and they three of them headed west. It was sometime before Jason realized he did know how far west. “Uh, Penny?”


“How far west?”

“Not far, just to L.A.”

“Los Angeles!”

“Yes, of course.”

“Penny that’s over two thousand miles away from here!”

Asterial began to snicker, “I guess it’s the Devil’s hole to hell, after all.”

“Yes,” Jason said.

“Penny frowned at him.

Jason returned her gaze, “You can wait until tomorrow and I will use my wish to send you back. It would be quicker and easier.”

Penny nodded.


A note from CleaveBourbon

Some non-spoiler author foreshadow. Penny is a main character. Jason is trying to be a gentleman and follow her wishes but.... she will not be going home or be wished home anytime soon. Jason is new to the wishes game. That's all I'll say about that for now. 

It occurred to me that in a non-serialized novel one can simply continue on to the next chapter to gain information that answers questions in the previous chapter. In this serialized format you can't. While building character development, it is an author's job to carefully craft the complex nature of humanity. Jason is not going to wear his "true" nature on his sleeve for everyone to see nor is Penny. But, eventually, inevitably, their true natures will emerge. 

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