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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
There is a demon in him which longs to be free. It rattles its cage while he holds the key. It makes a promise, for freedom and power, yet little does he know he’ll be a slave within the hour… [Related artwork:]

Submitted: June 12, 2016

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Submitted: June 12, 2016



Blake closed the front door, bolting it shut in case the monster was following him to his home. He withdrew the curtain to scan the street, enough so his head was not visible from the window. No dark figures were leisurely strolling down the sidewalk. With a relieved sigh, he shut the curtain and retreated to the kitchen for a glass of water.

He flipped the switch on the wall that turned on the bulb that hung from a wire in the ceiling, which provided only a dim orange glow. He fetched a glass from the sink, not caring if it was unwashed, and filled it halfway. He stopped; looking to the side to find out that his peripheral was fooling him into thinking that the creature he had met earlier was standing there watching him. Growling at his naivety, he wondered if he was going to be this unnecessarily alert all night.

The walls sounded like they were tapping, and he passed it off as a new pest problem he was going to face until he set out the poison. He would have to talk to the landlord again about that. The house was old, but it was not a renter’s responsibility to keep every single thing in shape. His only job was to make sure it would not become an absolute sty. The number of bugs and rodents he had seen was not enough to call this place unfit to live, but it was an annoying amount of vermin regardless.

A giggle sounded. He was not sure where it came from, and passed it off as a radio or television left turned on. Yet since no other sound accompanied it besides the irritating tapping on the walls, Blake believed it to be an auditory hallucination. He came to think: Was the monster he had seen earlier simply a hallucination? Some trick of the light? Monsters did not exist, only the movie magic of latex and makeup.

A figure the size of a dog darted from the darkest corner of the kitchen into the living room, and a second moved from there into the hallway. Blake pressed his eyebrows together, wondering if he was now either dreaming or going mad. Three distinct laughs sounded at the same time, from different parts of the house, and then were echoed by several more. He decided that he was indeed losing his mind. He spent a few minutes leaning by the sink, taking occasional sips of his water, listening to the shuffling and cackling of phantoms and spooks. A figure crawled its way to the kitchen, stopping before the light hit it, and sat on its haunches. From the dimness, Blake could make out horns, bright green eyes, and a wicked smile full of teeth that would impress the Cheshire Cat.

There was a knock at the door, which made him jump. The smiling figure had instantly disappeared, along with the sounds of scratching and childish giggling with it. He put the glass down and went to the door, wondering who in the hell would be visiting at this time. Once his hand touched the knob, he felt a cold wave go down his back. Paranoia crept in, and he knew who was at the door.

“You hadn’t answered my question, Blake,” a voice said on the other side.

The man retreated from the door, backing up until his leg hit the edge of the couch. A terrible screech, and he turned to see a small horned creature dash from the couch to the door. Another joined it, crawling out from God knows where, and one stood on the other’s shoulders to help open the door.

In walked a man with messy dark hair and a full body trench coat. He looked at Blake. Five eyes, three in a triangle on his forehead and two of standard position, stared at him. The small figures flanked him on either side, one tugging at the coat and the other smiling and hissing at Blake. This was the monster.

“You ran away before you gave me an answer,” the five-eyed man said, flipping a switch to give the living room some light. “That was rude.”

The light revealed even more small creatures. They each had their individual features, but they all were horned gremlins. There was one on the wall, three by the television, two in the shelves on the wall, two scampering from the closet nearby, and five more emerged from the hall to join their kind. They all hiccupped in laughter and then went onto to mingle among each other. Looking at book covers then throwing them off of the shelf, changing the TV channels every three seconds, hitting each other with the couch pillows, and seeing who could climb the highest on the window curtains before they gave away and ripped.

“I promised you that you would be rich,” the monster said, ignoring his minions making a scattered mess. “You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and no hassle of the press. You’d be secretly infamous.”

“And you want my soul as payment,” Blake growled. “I thought you were some poor old homeless fuck in the alley.”

“I’m obviously not. I’m a demon.”

Blake chuckled. “What, no booming voice? No fire leaking from the mouth? No encasing the room in darkness? Just ‘I’m a demon’?”

“You’re quite a theatric one aren’t you?” The demon moved to the couch, scooting away the gremlin sitting there. Said monster happily moved but scrambled back to the spot by lying on its master’s lap. The others became jealous and piled on either side of the demon. “It’ll be a mutual relationship, I promise you. You get your killing sprees and I get food. Don’t give me that look, I know about your mass murdering.”

“Serial,” Blake corrected in mutterings. “It’s serial killing.”

“And how long will it be until the police trace you? I can make you invisible. Believe me, I have that power.”

“The police won’t find me. I’m much smarter than that.”

The gremlins covering the demon giggled, and the five-eyed creature petted one of them as it snuggled closer to his coat.

“Theatric and ego-centric. Did you take a drama class in high school?”

Blake huffed. “I want you out of my house.”

“Let me stay and I can get you a bigger house.” The creature shoved the gremlins off of him, and half of them snarled in protest. “I’m completely serious; I can get you a castle if you wanted it. I want to help you so you can help me.”

Blake’s brows lifted. “Oh, so you’re in this for yourself, aren’t you?”

“You will be too. I can see it in your heart, Blake Darcel; you’re a dangerous and uncaring man. A ruthless murderer, a predator….”

The gremlins scattered about the room again, finding spots to perch on, tearing at the wallpaper and scraping into the canvas of the few simple paintings and ripping pages from books. They uttered in differing tempos. Killer… Killer… Killer… Blake started backing into the kitchen again, running for the knife block to grab the carving knife. The gremlins followed him in, three of them hugging his legs and cackling. He bent down to slice at them, managing to cut one of their arms. One ran back to its master while the other climbed up the attacker to avenge its brother. The small monster ripped through clothing as it clawed its way. Blake swung the knife at it, but it caught his wrist between its teeth and clamped down hard enough to rip flesh. The man used a free hand to beat it off of him, but only the demands of the demon could detach it.

“Chomper, leave him alone.”

The gremlin released from the arm, and a spurt of blood followed. Blake shouted out, dropping the knife and then went to the sink to wash off the blood.

“He hurt Skinner! Asshole!” the gremlin yelled, spitting a wad of blood out of its mouth towards the human.

“Believe me, you little shit, I could do a hell of a lot worse!” Blake growled, grabbing the half roll of paper towels and dabbing some sheets onto his wounded wrist.

The demon walked closer. “That could be another benefit, if you want. Quicker regeneration.”

“Piss off, freak.”

“I know people talk a lot of shit about my kind. If you give it a few moments of thought, things start to get weird. We’re known to eat souls and whatnot in return that your existence on earth is a pleasant one, but no chance of an afterlife. If you choose God, you and the other dead get to live in paradise, right? But you struggle for survival here first. I’m sure that’s what you were told. But if a demon lives on human souls… and all demons were once angels…. You can tell where I’m going with this, right? It wouldn’t matter, because I don’t think you’re getting a ticket past the pearly gates at this rate. You’ll end up in Hell, atoning for your sins, burning for eternity… But selling your soul to me, you don’t get purgatory. You get limbo. Suffering or nothing: Which one do you prefer?” When it was clear that Blake was not going to speak, he continued. He took a seat at the small table in the kitchen that was meant to be for a patio that did not exist here. The gremlins in the next room were whispering to each other. “Putting the decision of your afterlife aside, let’s focus on the present. You live in this shitty little house that you don’t even own. Daddy cut you off and your siblings practically have disowned you. Sooner or later, you’re going to get sloppy. You’ll leave fingerprints, maybe get cut from your prey and leave it at the scene, or maybe didn’t make sure that there were witnesses. Your landlord might get suspicious too. Wondering how you’re paying for the rent without a job.”

“I’ll say it’s from inheritance.”

“If you have that much in inheritance, you could have bought an apartment. We know you haven’t because there’s too many people in one space.”

“Then I’ll kill him if he asks too many questions.”

“Whether he’ll be onto you or not, both result in you having to move out of town. Let me make your life better for you. You get to murder and I’ll eat what’s left. You get money from them, complete invisibility from police. Of course you’ll get infamous publicity but it’ll at least be anonymous. I’ll even start you out with a better house in the next state over. The man’s bedridden, and his dementia is very taxing on his family.”

“You’ll kill a man for his house?”

“You’ll kill him. I’ll alter a few documents, influence a few people, and get you this house without your name written on anything. Give me a pseudonym to work with. The family will go on with their lives with the money from their patriarch, not even bother to look at the house any more.”

“I want his money, too.”

“Play this smart, Blake, you want them to turn their heads? You pay them in their grandfather’s money. We’re starting slow. Wouldn’t want you to overwhelm yourself with your new life.”

The man looked at the paper towel still pressed to his wrist. It had turned bright red from soaking up the blood. The demon stood and came forward, putting a hand on his shoulder. Blake felt a ripple through the muscles in his arm, starting at the demon’s hand then going down to his wrist. Something turned and twisted, and he removed the towel to see that the blood that had not been soaked was returning into the wound, and the skin closed over it. The demon took his hand, rubbing his thumb where there puncture had been. Blake was about to ask how he did it then realized he would get a rather obvious answer.

“I said before that demons eat the souls they are given,” the demon said, all eyes closed to think on his words carefully. “Frankly I don’t like the taste of those that I’ve soured. Instead, I’ll give you immortality.”

The gremlins in the living room chattered loudly, making noises that did not belong to any known language.

“Don’t be a smart ass, freak,” Blake growled. “You’ll give me immortality, but what about aging?”

“Would you want to stay this young forever or do you want to wait it out a bit and be a silver fox?”

“I’ll decide later.”

“So we’re agreed, then?” He turned his head then to look at him. The demon’s lips thinned as he smiled, showing off elongated canines. All eyes widened with eagerness. “You kill for me, I make your life long and enjoyable.”

“We’re agreed.”

Blake felt the air around him grow cold. The gremlins now were chanting without unison in an ancient language. The demon put both hands on either side of Blake’s face.

“There’s one more thing. No, two. First, call me Arthur.”

Blake removed the hands from his face, staring at him. “Arthur? Did Abaddon or Xaphan not work for you?”

“Those are other people. I’ve changed my names, sticking with the times.”

“How many names?”

“Can’t remember, but Anansi was a recent one. Now, secondly, sealing this contract does require blood.”

“My blood.”

“Yes, your blood. You’re not writing your name or anything. You’re being branded.”

Blake jerked away from the demon, an arm up in instinctual defense. “Branding?! I’m not a cow!”

“This branding means you belong to me and you’re under my protection.”

“Like a slave!”

“Say what you want! I treat mine equally!” He paused, looking to the living room. “Well, some of them like my children, but they seem alright with that.” Arthur looked back to him. “So, you want to back out of our deal? This isn’t final until you have my symbol on your back.”

Blake glanced at the knife block, wondering if he could get to it in time for another weapon.

“Oh, come on!” Arthur complained. “Ten seconds ago you were all for this deal! Now you’re chickening out because I’m giving you a fucking tattoo! There, is that the word you want? Because it’s the same thing! You’ll live through it, you fucking pansy! It’ll just hurt a lot! I’ll heal you back up!” He clapped his hands together and hung his face. “Look. You’re not a slave. If anything, I’m the slave. I’m going to be giving you a whole bunch of shit and all you have to do is feed me. I’m a goddamn pet. Isn’t that what it sounds like? I protect you; you feed me. The symbol that’ll get carved in you is a sort of ward and warning to others. Quit thinking about the inferences you humans have put on branding purposes. Now, are you still in?”

Blake looked to the arch that separated the living room from the kitchen. The thirteen gremlins were all standing there, staring. He noticed that some of them carried the same symbol but in different places. One was on its forehead, another on the shoulder, and so on. What was a bit of pain for a lifetime of freedom?

“I’m in.”

All at once, the gremlins had climbed on top of him, pinning him to the ground. He struggled to free himself but every time one was beaten off another took its place. Arthur demanded the creatures to carry him to his room. Blake was dragged off, getting pulled by his hair and his shirt, with the demon following them. Arthur shed the trench coat onto the floor. He was sporting a rather clean red vest with a black-sleeved shirt underneath and dark dress pants. He interlaced his fingers and stretched his arms, cracking his knuckles. That was when Blake had seen that Arthur was more unnerving than he had believed, for he could see two more sets of arms; one below the initial pair and another on his back behind the shoulders.

The gremlins, giggling at Blake’s attempts to wiggle free, hauled him onto the bed, pinning him by his hands and feet. Arthur said something that he could not hear between the cackling noises, and the next thing he knew was that the smaller creatures were stripping him down.

He wanted to shout “Is this necessary?!” yet knew he would be met with “Yes.” The little monsters tore up his clothes and discarded them to the floor. Arthur pointed and rotated his finger and the gremlins complied, flipping Blake over onto his back. He felt something sticky and thick twist around his left wrist and tug. He looked and saw that Arthur had white string coming from his palm and was using it to tie Blake to the bedposts. He did this with the other limbs. Once the man had been secured down onto the mattress, Arthur’s minions were shooed out. The demon crept onto the bed, sitting himself on Blake’s bare buttocks.

“Get off of me!” he shouted.

“Oh please, please struggle a little more. It makes me very excited.”

The pain started at the top of his spine. Arthur did not make swift motions to cut cleanly, rather he sketched with his claws, dragging sharp nails into the skin and drawing blood. Blake grunted a few times, refusing to let Arthur have the benefit of him screaming. He rotated a shoulder to try and shrug off the pain that continued to irritate him. When the demon was done with a line, he mirrored it on the other side of his back. It took several minutes to complete the symbol. Halfway through the process, Blake was shouting more in aggravation than in pain. He repeated to himself this is temporary; it won’t last. He could feel blood stream in thin lines down either side of his back onto the mattress below. Between his own growls, he thought he could hear Arthur humming to himself.

“There. Now hold still. This is really going to hurt.”

All six hands pressed down onto his back. Initially there was a warm feeling and then it burst, as though a fire ignited. It flowed along the lines of the symbol on his back, and Blake could make out a mental image of it. He shrieked, the pain becoming sharp as it pierced from skin to muscle and into bone, irradiating outwards to physically consume him. The internal hellfire pulsed. He felt something getting pushed out as Arthur’s demonic sorcery made a place for itself inside its vessel. He heard the monster laughing wickedly. A pair of hands held his shoulders as the others held his sides. The fire shrank back, retreating from his limbs and into the symbol forever marked on his skin. Arthur’s arms wrapped around Blake as he lay on him, rubbing his face into his neck.

“Mnn, you were jerking so much I was almost sure we were having sex.”

Blake spat, “You’re foul.

© Copyright 2018 Dracannia. All rights reserved.

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