Pom-pos’ head was flicked off the greasy red claws of the demon. I flinched each time it thumped on its way down to rest at our feet. Mother and Gauss were already up and climbing up the stairs, weapons in hand. And what was I doing?
How many months of practice did I suffer through just to stand idle when I was needed most? I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to move. I had no desire to see what was behind that door, what that bloody demon hand belonged to.
“Ira!” cried mother. “Protect your friend!”
At first, I didn’t even comprehend the words but my body sure did. I was up and moving to Deborah as fast as I could, knocking over some of the book boxes as I did so. No wonder mother was a commander for the Refuge! Her voice… something about it was inspiring! It was nothing like I’d ever heard growing up with her. No, this voice was different. It was glorious!
Deborah’s forehead was visibly wet under the dim lighting of the cellar. I put my hand on her skin and felt that it was ice cold. Liquid reflected off the black tasset attached to her hip. I wiped it with a finger and brought it to my nose.
What was wrong with her? This wasn’t good. Was she dying? Probably. But what could I do about it without mother? Without Gauss? I could hear their heavy boot steps as they charged to the top floor. I had to get Deborah out of here and find help before the Almighty decided it was her time. But how was I supposed to get out?
“Bitch,” came a hiss from the darkest corner of the room.
“Who said that?!” I said, whipping around to face nothingness.
“You waste your time with these foolish humans. You waste your energy. Your potential. Your POWER...”
I reached out and grabbed the nearest torch, keeping careful to make sure nothing approached Deborah. Now that I had more light, I could see that the poor girl’s eyes were half open. Did she die?
“How dare you. How FUCKING dare you declare yourself a man of the Almigh-“ There was a hiss and the smell of burning rotten flesh as whatever was talking was punished for almost speaking the name Almighty. “We gave you opportunities. We revealed ourselves to you in your dreams. You had a job to do, Ira. A job… Father is disappointed in you.”
“What dreams?” I asked, taking a half step towards the sinister voice. It was supposed to be a full step, but I just couldn’t muster the nerve.
“I will not be toyed with. In your dreams, prince Ira, we showed you what was to be done. What you were to become. Now, I am unsure whether or not your father desires you any longer and you know what that means, don’t you?”
“I’ve had no such dreams!” I shouted, taking another step. “Now, come on out of the darkness! Show yourself so that I might shove my spear into you!”
My right hand held the torch and my left hand held… well, it held nothing. In my attempt to get over to Deborah I had forgotten my spear leaning on the wall behind my stool. Panic arose in me, shivers riveted down my back, sweat trickled into my eyes. I felt like I was going to shit myself.
I took a step back just as a form began to take shape in the shadows. The flame of my torch bent forward as the evil being sucked from it the black smoke.
Two thick black feet, much like the shape of a bird’s, appeared first. The claws clicked aimlessly on the ground in a rhythm that matched the pulsing vein in my forehead.
Next came the bulbous body that was almost comical in a sick way. It was round at the body and was covered in scabs and boils that looked like they could burst at any moment.
The head… oh the head… was attached to this fat body of the demon. No neck. No shoulders. No chin. Just a wide mouth with two yellow teeth. A single eye and the workings of an eye socket without an eye to swivel inside.
And just like a cherry added to the top of an ice cream, a few wisps of blond hair stood straight up on top of its scalp.
Much like Jonni’s hair used to do.
“You motherfucker,” I whispered.
The demon Jonni laughed so hard that globs of green spittle flew onto my cheeks and splattered over Deborah’s armor. I would have gagged if I hadn’t been feeling the rage that was building up inside of me.
“I can feel it! You radiate the dark king’s power in almost the same way! Ah! And now I know how to awaken it from within you… Anger. Despair. Hate.”
“Prepare yourself, demon,” I said, running backward to grab my spear but the obese slobbering devilish thing was quicker than it looked. With a blink of an eye, it was at Deborah’s side with one long claw tapping her soft throat just beneath her chin.
“Make one fucking move and I slit this slut’s throat!”
“Don’t talk about her that way!” I screamed, replacing the torch into my left hand and gripping onto my spear with my black hand. I could feel the wood underneath slightly creak underneath my grasp.
“Oooh, looks like I found your weakness, fool boy. Do you like being called fool? You know, that’s what they called the Almighty’s son. In my opinion, it is the best form of insult.”
I took a step closer.
“Uh uh uhh!” The demon Jonni popped a tiny speck into Deborah’s skin and a thin line of blood trickled out. “Not another step, fool boy. Now, here’s what I want you to do-“
I took a quick jab of a step and the demon poked another hole. My heart was beating in my throat and I had no fucking idea as to what I was supposed to do! My training… Yes! My training… That would solve this! What would Gauss and my other teachers do…
“They would sacrifice her for the greater good,” answered the demon, its smile widening so much so that its skin ripped and out came streams of green blood. “That’s what they would do, Ira. You and I both know it. Warriors of the Refuge all join knowing what they are getting themselves into. So why not let me kill this whore and you drive that spear into my belly?”
I used my shoulder to wipe the sweat out of my eyes but still, they stung badly.
“I grow tired of this,” groaned the demon Jonni. “On the count of three, I’m going to off this bitch. Unless, of course, you drop the spear and come with me.”
“Don’t you dare.”
“I said, stop! In the name of the Almighty!”
The demon Jonni, with a blur of motion, slashed his dirty claw through the throat of the girl I dreamed about.
Bio: Stevie Collier is an American Fantasy Author who has just graduated University with a degree in Business and a degree in French. When he isn't writing dark and high fantasy, you can find Stevie at the gym pumping iron or running with his white Siberian Husk named Spartacus. He also loves watching movies (Horror, Action, and Comedy) along with a few anime series. Not to mention that he is also an avid MMORPG player! He grew up with way too many creative ideas in his head. In his opinion, they were meant to be drawn but... Stevie doesn't know how to draw. That is why he writes! Let him draw a picture for you in your mind.