TERMS AND CONDITIONS
OF THE CONTRACT
In the distance a lone clock chimed, once, twice and then again for a total of three. Everyone would be tucked in their beds, safe... warm. They never would have to fear that someone would kill them the moment they fell asleep. At least they had that worry from their minds as they let their eyes close, their heads resting back into a mound of feathers cased in an array of different cases. Sadly not all had that comfort.
“Don’t you get tired.” A deep voice whispered harshly, it’s owner stooping over the rooftop of a nearby building. “You do this all the time.” He shook his head, his eyes a burning a brilliant blue. “Your not one of THEM. Not anymore.” A frown replaced the thin line he usually wore. His eyes not once leaving mine.
“I know that.” Turning away, I sighed deeply into the howling wind. My hands fumbling with the charm I wore around my neck. Wearily I turned and twisted the moon around and around, the little star shaped beads clicking against each other.
“It’s just.” I shook my head, my dark hair flying everywhere in the harsh wind. For normal people the weather would taunt them, en-casing them in layers of clothing, or shedding them at the slightest change. The wind whipped around me viciously. But I didn’t find it cold, at least it wasn’t as cold now. I guess not being human had it’s perks, you couldn’t really feel the harsh weather as much, whether it be cold or scalding. “It’s just that it’s hard sometimes. I wake up and it’s not the sun I see but the moon. Then I realise that I’m not the same anymore. Everything’s just so different.” Again another sigh slipped past my lips, the wind chasing the cloudy breath away in an instant.
“He won’t be happy if he finds out that your out here again.” He said in a matter of fact manner. His head cocked to the side as the wind ruffled his dark hair, the smell of a forest billowing about him.
“I know.” My reply a groan. Why did they panic over such a silly little thing. Sure I’d come back down to the village, but it’s only because I missed it. A year ago I wouldn’t have accepted the contract if I had known otherwise. Now that I do know though it just seemed impossible for me to think of myself the same as I had been back then. A shadow flew past overhead, a lone black bird soaring valiantly through the night sky. Soon enough the sun would raise it’s face lighting everything in a blazing touch of gold. The wheat fields waving in the breeze. The smells of fruit would billow and chase after the farm hands affectionately. “Zep, why are you following me?” My voice a whisper, the wind carrying my voice over to him in a heartbeat he whispered back.
“Because I’m looking out for you by coming here and being the one to drag your sorry ass back.” His voice dark. He was miffed. I would be too if I’d been sent to go catch a potential runaway birdy. At the very least that’s what He thought of us. Birds, well it wasn’t completely off but... well He disliked it when we flew too far from the Cage. Thinking of that abhorrent mansion, the one that may as well be a prison for all it was worth. I’d been trapped inside for almost a year. Never once had they allowed me out without an escort. The reason being that I was new and they didn’t want me escaping. Well it wasn’t like it was all that horrible living there and it wasn’t like I’d ever thought of escaping but to most newborns like myself it was very possible that we’d get lost. Most would escape and die. We couldn’t be too far from our parents at least not until we’d matured into full-born’s. Until then most would ride it out and then escape but even they would return after a while. The thing was that the younger, newer ones would try to flee because it was scary, frightening... and well at times it seemed so impossible. Not every newborn would be given the choice of accepting the contract the way I had, but even those who accepted the contracts no matter the terms and conditions even they would still long for more. Some wanted everlasting beauty, power... the list goes on and on. I couldn’t possibly name everything.
I’d accepted the terms and conditions knowing that if I didn’t I’d die. My throat still ached a little, the scar cut deeply into my skin where the blade had kissed allowing a pool of blood to shed down my small trembling body and onto the pavement. I’d have bled to death if it wasn’t for Zep dragging me to his Father, to Him.
One of the conditions I’d accepted was that I’d have to stay in the area, close to the mansion and I needed to have an escort otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the Cage at all. The reason being that if I wandered off too far I’d die. I had to stay close to the Parent. Meaning if I got too far away from Him I’d just drop dead, my heart would stop. So the other condition was that we stayed not only close to the mansion but to our Parent. Unlike Zep who was a true demon, me and the others were all pre-human. We’d been given another chance to beat death. Again another condition to accept the contract was that we had to be on the verge of death. My brothers and sisters were all the same as me, pre-human. Zep on the other hand was his fathers true son, both of them were honest to god demons. When the time comes, we’d all go back to the demon world with Zep and his father. Again another reason why most newborns tried to flee despite knowing the risks, most just thought they’d gotten way over their heads and couldn’t handle themselves or anything around them.
The thought was terrifying even to me who’d so faithfully accepted the conditions for the contract willingly, what would Hell look like? What would life be like down there? I’d tried to ask Zep many times but to no avail, he’d always swat the questions away with ones of his own. Again not everyone would be given the chance to accept the terms of the contract so some were held against their will. Every demon Parent was different. We were a family of Tengu, or Crow demons. Other families spread themselves across the globe hoping to find new slaves, sisters, sons, etc. The one’s that human’s were more aware of were the blood drinkers (or vampires) and Kyubi (Fox demons.) Again there were other groups such as the wolf demons and Sprite (also known as Asrai or insect demons) All these races of demon were so very different and each would have their own rules and contracts to sign whether they were forcibly signed or not.
“Come on, your at the boundary line and I fear that Father will be getting restless at this point.” He held his hand out ready for me to take. “You’ll probably be in trouble but it doesn’t look like your trying to run away so he’ll probably just ground you.” He smirked, turning away to avoid looking at me.
By grounded, he didn’t really mean barred from TV or snack food but grounded as in unable to fly. My wings would be wrapped or sealed away until I was trusted to use them again. Well I did tell you He thought of us as birds and that we were a family of Crow demons. Even the bird from before was one of his familiars. Yeah despite Him being a giant crow he had black birds that he’d call from shadows to lurk about watching his children, stalking potential targets and those who wandered too close to the truth of our existence. It was creepy in a way but not only could Tengu (Crow demons) fly (Meaning that we had giant black wings that sprung from our backs, feathers and all.) but some could control or posses shadows. Oh and we were nocturnal mainly due to the sun being way too bright for our eyes. Even a glint of sunlight could blind us, our eyes just couldn’t handle bright light (well the sun mainly, light bulbs and stuff were fine.) Other than that our skin would blister and burn (Not set alight) but still we’d cook like an egg. We’d be worse than sun burned but we’d still be alive. Well it was due to our skin being extra sensitive to the pure sunlight. The weather though was okay, we couldn’t really feel harsh cold or heat, despite our Achilles Heel.
Carefully I took his hand, he lifted me and cradled my head against his neck, my wings plastered to my back. “Hold on.” He said just before he leapt from the roof spreading his great black wings wide, the currents of wind catching beneath his feathers as he soared high up into the night sky. All the while I thought... When was the last time I’d looked up at the sun? I only had the memory of it’s light now I could never look up at it again. Remembering a poem I once wrote the words came back easily.
The moon it has help,
it’s shadowed by you.
You cast your own darkness
and stared as it grew.
Your jealousy plain
as that look on your face
but no one can see it,
your light has erased
all trace of the truth...all trace that was you.
Though now it knows too
it’s shadow was long,
the more light it harboured
the blacker it’s song...
The silver dim light
of the beloved white moon.
The darkness around it
blackened it too.
Most days it’s eaten
and so cannot shine,
through all of those clouds
the darkness will blind.
The sun stretched it’s arms
and cradles dear moon,
lending it’s light
so it can glow too.
Though now it knows darkness
it’s shadow has gone,
the more night it harboured
the brighter it’s song...
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