Demon’s Freedom

(October 2006)

This was written for Deff’s Halloween Contest:

The moonlight shone through the twisted trees, casting long shadows that clawed at the frozen ground with bony fingers. Dead leaves were littered among the frosty, brown grass and the ancient stars watched the silent landscape, winking cold and clear in the dark mantle of the sky.

He stood hidden in the shadows, waiting. How long had it been since he’d tasted blood? How long since he’d been relegated to this existence, cast away from their humanity and forced to live in the darkness between the worlds of life and death? He missed the old days, a time when he’d belonged to one who knew his true worth. Ezeldra had summoned him, sent him to do her bidding, and always he’d gone joyfully to slay her foes. He didn’t know how many he’d killed for her, or for those who’d commanded him before her.  So many souls had  been released by his sharp claws over the slow centuries and each time his ears rejoiced at the sound of their screams. But not now.

A young blonde woman appeared, her breath little puffs on the cold air. He scowled as he watched her; the newest in the long line of his masters. Like the last three, this one refused to accept her birthright.  But of the three, this one was the weakest, and that was what he’d been waiting for.

He watched as she drew closer, and her pace slowed. Her eyes darted around nervously, and a smile flickered over his lips as he imagined the beauty of her terror. This one belonged to him.  She was the last obstacle to his freedom, and once she was gone he could do as he pleased, for she’d born no children. The line would end with her, and so would his long centuries of servitude – servitude to a new generation who forced him to remain inactive. Once she was dead he’d be the master of his own destiny, broken the bonds of servitude placed upon him as a punishment so long ago.

His prey paused.  Her hand moved to her throat, perhaps  sensing her impending death without knowing it. Her head turned frantically one way then the other,  searching the darkness.

He tasted the air. Her sweet fear filled his nostrils. She was so close to him that he could  hear her heart pounding. Just a few more steps and he could reach out and claim her, take her as his final prize and watch her life evaporated into the nothingness.

Petty mortals, he thought and nearly laughed. Always busy. Always thinking that they are the most important creatures as they scurry through their days, trying to accomplish this or that.  Their desires run to things they could never possess, and leave them empty when they finally bid their short existence farewell. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t understand them. His own desires were simple. He enjoyed the taste of their fear, their terror, and the sweet scent of their blood as it flowed over his hands.

The young girl heaved a sigh and straightened her spine. her determination was admirable, but stupid.  With that courage, she took those last few steps…

The demon shot out of the shadows and wrapped his hand around he slender neck. He heaved her into the air, so that her feet dangled helplessly, his hold tight enough to strangle her scream. She clawed at his hand, her fingers like tiny maggots trying to move stone. She met his firey gaze and recognition dawned in her eyes – recognition and abhorrence.

He leaned close to her face, his breath hot on her cheek as he hissed, “Tonight I will drink your blood, foolish weakling.” The smile that followed was gleaming teeth and shining malice.

She struggled for breath, and gasped out, “Let… let me… go…Please.. I.. I haven’t… I haven’t done anything..”

“I know. I have ssat for yearsss while your petty race hasss decided to judge for themselves what isss right and what iss wrong.  I’ve been cast aside as no longer necessary, a remnant of ssome barbaric age. But no longer will I wait. Tonight I shall have my freedom from you. My punishment endsss when the last of your line is ashes, and ashes you will sssoon be.”

All she had to do was  command him to stop, and the curse would force him to obey, but not this one. No, instead she begged for her miserable life, tears streaming from her ocean colored eyes. Just as he expected, she was too weak to command him; too  frail and terrified.  She’d never understand what her destiny might have been.

“I tire of your pathetic whimpering!” He shook her and her limbs flapped like a mistreated rag doll. “Now you die.”

Her scream echoed through the blackness, heard by the moon and the stars, but unheeded. The demon’s sharp teeth sank into her throat and he tore away, his mouth full of her flesh and bits of her windpipe and vocal cords.  He dropped her to the frozen ground and she scrabbled at the gaping hole in her neck, her eyes wide as she gurgled in her own blood.

He crouched down on all fours, nostrils flaring as he inhaled the musky scent of her life ebbing away. His tongue darted out to catch the warm crimson stream that gushed out of the cavity he’d created, lapping her blood and teasing himself with it’s delightful flavor.  It tasted like the blood of her ancestor’s enemies, like the blood of countless generations before. In the end, humans were alike; just flesh and bone and blood that tasted the same.

She convulsed and he couldn’t stand any more. With a wild cry, he gathered her up in his arms and sealed his mouth around the gaping wound. She fell still, but he continued to drink her blood in gulps until she was dry.  The, he dropped her body to the ground and wiped his face, staring at what was left. A broken fairytale with a ruined neck. It was almost a pity because she could have been so much more. She could have commanded the darkness to her every whim, but instead she chose sunshine and roses. He had no use for such things.

He flexed his arms and looked to the heavens, a smile of triumph twisting his face. “Tonight I am free!” he shouted to any who would listen. “My servitude is at an end!” His eyes moved to the lights of a nearby city. “And tonight I will feast!” With a final maniacal laugh he faded into the shadows, his heart filled with joy at the anticipation of their screams.

Fav song of the moment: “Life burns” – Apocalyptica Ft. Lauri Ylonen

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About Joleene Naylor

An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at http://JoleeneNaylor.com or drop me a line at Joleene@JoleeneNaylor.com

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