(continues by request from Silakbo/Fireproof)
Night folded the smoke rising into its velvet folds, collecting it like wafting prayers. Crows cawed, and ash choked the air, but she sat there waiting. One of the corbies back winged and grew as it stalled mid-air. Then its wings tipped up, rippling in the moonlight that struggled to break through. A man dropped to the ground, landing in a crouch.
Screaming, she launched the brand in her hand at him as he stalked towards her. It bounced off his violet aura with a spark. Naked except for the darkness swirling around his hips, he was humanoid. But was he human? His radiant violet eyes captured hers and locked down her body. Not human then, but not a surprise either, not in this world where shifters were real. If only she could go back to the days when werewolves and were-things, in general, were just a myth.
“I am not your enemy,” he said.
Like she’d believe that after fighting off a pack of demons. Tears jabbed at her eyes, landing a one-two punch that sent hot knives across her dry eyes. She hadn’t faced those demons alone. But she was alone now. No one else had survived, just her the least powerful of the group. Their fragile lives had ended. A tear slid down her cheek after moistening her right eye. The left still felt tight and desiccated. She needed to put in her drops.
The muscles of her face unfroze–his doing–so she could speak. She licked cracked lips making them smart, and a bitter laugh ripped from her throat. “You’re a demon. Nothing you say is true.”
“Look not all agree with the policies of the current proprietor. There’s a quite of a few us, myself included, who have no interest in this plane. Conquering it and subjugating its people just aren’t on our road map.”
She blinked. Why did this demon sound like a middle manager? Actually, he had the right haircut for a junior exec. All he needed was a creased business suit. She shut her mouth but not before the question spilled out.
He crossed his arms over his bare chest. “I do work for a living. Not all demons go about eating people. Some of us don’t live on government subsidies. Some of us have mortgages and car loans. I can’t exactly shift forms in the middle of LA or Manhattan to fly between business meetings now can I?”
She shook her head and would have taken a step back if she had control of her body. But she didn’t, so she stood there. “What do you want?”
“You to stop torching things so I can let my team recover the bodies. Some of us aren’t as fireproof as others and singed feathers smell horrible. So I’d like to avoid that.” He held up a hand to forestall her. “I can offer you medical aid in exchange. It looks like you need it. So have we a deal?”
Her whole body unfroze and every muscle sagged, dropping her to an undignified sit on an ash heap. She coughed as her impromptu seat disintegrated into a cloud of ash that swirled around her.
“Yeah, I think we have a deal. Come on down Amal. Our business partner needs your healing touch.”
She squinted through her own personal dust devil at the demon. He had been speaking into his index finger, and she heard a distinct buzz in response. The wind dragged away the ash, leaving clearer air as another crow transformed into a woman.
Darkness clad her in a prim toga that covered her from neck to ankle. But the demoness’ eyes, they were lipid pools of serenity that pulled her down. Darkness enfolded her, blotting out her consciousness with its indelible ink.
To be continued…?