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Copyright © 2010 Heather Schulz

Monday, September 27, 2010

EXCERPT: Prophecy - Bargaining

Here is the excerpt I previously mentioned was posted on GoodReads.com...


Bargaining


At first she thought she was dreaming but then she heard it again, that same low and ominous voice. It seemed a carnivorous snarl as the sound reverberated through the room.

“Lillux, wake up.”

She sat up in bed and surveyed the room. Thankfully her Demon senses kept her from being handicapped by the lack of light, but still she saw nothing. She stood up to see that Dallan was still soundly asleep and clearly heard nothing, and she waited to see if she would hear it again.

“Come here,” the voice coldly instructed. She left the room following the voice’s origin and rounded the corner back out to the parking lot where the car was. She looked around and appeared to be alone when suddenly there came a smell… A very distinctly pungent and familiar scent she quickly recognized as her Boss. It was not unlike that of a slaughterhouse smell; rancid and reeking with death. It felt like eons since she’d been in his presence. Panic grew inside her as she thought about all the ways in which he would surely make her suffer for her massive blunder.

A light brushing on her back abruptly suspended her thoughts and hastily she swung around to find herself face to face with the manager of the motel. She would have been taken aback if she didn’t already know of her Boss’s ability to seize the form of humans. Those who were not without great sin were of the easiest to possess. It had her wondering about the life of the man who now stood before her, though it was of no consequence.

“You’ve been a naughty girl, Lillux.” He said gruesomely, trailing a fingernail down his cheek. His other arm folded over his chest. “If it were not for those telltale dreams of his it could have taken me longer to find you.”

She directed her eyes toward the busted up asphalt ground under her feet.
“Your Grace… Please--”

“Forgive you?” He interjected, starting to circle around her like a vulture waiting for a stray animal, death eminent. “It looks to me as if you’ve already chosen whose side you’re on.” He scoffed at her. The superior weight of his words nearly crushed her larynx.

It only took being in his mere presence. Already she felt her old-self returning to the surface, clawing at her conscience for release. As her fear ate away the humanity being with Dallan had given her, it was replaced with the iniquity she had started out with. She was momentarily surprised by how swiftly it came but she was in no position -literally- to question anything at the moment.

“I chose wrong, Your Grace,” she croaked. It was as simple as that.

"That just won't do then will it, pet?" He stopped circling and planted himself behind her, Lillux still staring at the ground ahead. She could hear his nostrils flare as he inhaled deeply, smelling the Herbal Essences she had used on her hair in the shower the evening before.

"You've become spoiled on this plane, I see. Too long have you enjoyed all that mortals have come to love. It's clear now I was mistaken to trust you with this task, and that disappoints me greatly in you." A pause. "You."

His words themselves were enough to disown her, as if that hadn't already happened. As he spoke the words breeched her core like a searing rod into a flame and it broke her spirit. Whatever spirit a demon had, anyway. She was Big Red's right hand woman for hundreds of years. Long enough even though she wasn't nearly as old as most of the big-wigs of the Underground and Red had often said it was something he loved to hate about her. Her youth made her more aggressive and eager to please but with that came a degree of immaturity and insolence. Still he had trusted her to lead mission after mission without cause for fail and now here she stood, ashamed to have ever admitted love for a human man. A former angel to top it off.

"Are we thinking about our Mr. Cruz still?" he probed, as if knowing where her mind was. She fought with herself as to how to reply, not knowing what he would want to hear most, and also not knowing what was the most truthful. She did believe she had loved him, and maybe she still did underneath all of her demonic interiors. But she wouldn't want to tell Red that. No way.

"I'm sorry your Grace my mind is elsewhere right now, but Dallan is not at the forefront of my worries." Okay, noncommittal enough, she supposed. "I've been hurting since you have forsaken me." And definitely not a lie.

A calloused hand appeared on her shoulders and Lillux felt hot, tainted breath on her neck. The strands of her hair moving to and from with the motion of his breathing and it sent shivers down her spine. Her eyes rolled closed and she moaned, remembering. It felt like old times. Ecstasy in the arms of her Big Red lover. Even though she knew the man grasping her was someone else she could still remember the tantalizing sight of him. Contrary to popular belief he was not red, though Big Red was always her favorite name for him. Her name for him. In return he simply called her pet. A name she had come to adore. He didn't have horns or a tail either, but could he manifest them if he wanted? For sure. Often times she'd seen him with wings but never knew why, he didn't have to fly anywhere. He could just teleport. Anywhere within the reaches of Hell he could appear at will. Crossing over planes into Earth however was more of a challenge and he couldn't even get into Heaven, naturally.

The borrowed hands slowly massaged and rubbed their way all over her neck and shoulders, eventually moving up the sides of her face, then fingers ran through her Cherry Blossom scented hair. She leaned her head into his palm and a breathy sigh creeped from her lips.

"I want you back, my Lillux," he whispered into her ear, raspy and sensual yet intimidatingly commanding. "I came to make you an offer,” he said, those hands never ceasing their ministrations. “I couldn't let you go without a fight. And not because of my generosity but of my affections for you."

Then the massaging stopped and Lillux was compelled to open her eyes. He’d glided around to stand in front of her, those golden eyes of the Devil gleaming behind his mortal mask. In only the presence of his spirit the memory of him was so overwhelming that she could actually see him, and no longer saw the man he possessed.

Her arms drooped to her side with abandon. Her legs all but buckled beneath her. A handsome fiend he was. Strong and muscular with fair features despite his depictions and folklore. Blonde straight hair long enough to fit into a pony-tail and the most fierce golden almond shaped eyes. She reveled at the long forgotten sight of him... Dallan who? she thought.

"What, uh... do you want?" She pounded out between harsh breaths. She was so stricken she completely forgot her formalities.

A vicious grin broke out across his face. A dark laughter erupted from his throat.

"That's my pet," he said, stroking her hair. "I will reinstate your status, and you will join me once again. Fight only for my cause, beside me where you belong." He nipped at her chin with his thumb and index finger, much like an annoying aunt would to a little child.

"If...?" she kept it going.

"You need to rejoin the mission at hand and carry out my order. With out fail, this time. Or I won't be so gracious in my punishment." He emphasized his words intricately for her. The Devil doesn’t appreciate buyers remorse and he ensures a simple bond between him and his business partners. Because that’s what this was now, a business deal. As much as she hated to admit it, their relationship would never be the same. She’d messed up beyond repair in his eyes. You damned fool.

All the same the offer was mouth-watering. She didn't have a flicker of doubt that she would take it, and she would not fail this time. She was 100% confident she could do this and would enjoy the fruits of her labor with Red at his throne again, even if it were different now. Whatever meant escaping from her wretched feelings for Dallan, and his teacher’s pet tag-along. Deal!

"Anything you wish, Red, I wish it too." And just like that she was back. An electrifying jolt pulsated through her body and she convulsed briefly with intense, searing pain. She let out a screeching cry - which surprisingly nobody seemed to hear even considering the time of morning.

When her pain and body movements subsided she was stunned at how great and renewed she felt! This was the best it'd ever been! Her powers were back in full force and just to prove it she shot a large string of energy out of her fingertips to a tree at the end of the lot. Flashes of lightning yellow burst into it and it cracked and capsized. Lillux jumped up and down in excitement, like the little girl she was. Shut up Lillux! Strap on your big-girl horns.

"Oh Red, I feel amazing!" She came to a halt and looked him in the eyes. His eyes. "I won't let you down this time. I will get the job done. If I have to cut his head off myself I will do it."

He was laughing now, clearly amused by that same childlike eagerness he used to find endearing before. "You will leave his head to me, my pet. Though your newly rediscovered need to please will come in very, very handy." He drew his words out, gave her a sinister wink. "I have to go. I feel this body dying around me and I must get out of it. There's one more thing I need to share with you now, Lillux." His tone grew deep and serious as it had before. Her eyes widened with attentiveness.

"I need you to help me with this little part of the Prophecy,” he laced his fingers together and twiddled his thumbs, as casual as ever. “It escaped us before, you see. It was so clever of Him to disguise the little witch, but we now know who she is and what must be done."

Her jaw dropped and her eyes grew to ten times their normal size. (Figuratively.) The third key player in the Prophecy… They knew who it was? Her team had been searching for months, following every lead they could get their claws and talons and beaks on and still nothing turned up. Not even any points in the general direction. There were simply no signs of who the witch could be or where on the globe she possibly was.

Before she could even take a guess Big Red leaned in, kissed her on the forehead and in a flash of light time stood still. It blinded her to the point of shielding her eyes with her forearm, squinting as if gazing directly into the sun. She saw nothing.

And then there, as clear as day was the one who bared the Gift of God. She gasped in astonishment as she saw then what must be done. She would do it too.

And then the vision was over; and her Devil was gone.

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