My Friend is Very Strange

My friend is very strange.  We are not from the same species.  In fact, everything about them is very alien to me.

We live in the same place we both call home.  Though, my friend tends to leave it from time to time to visit others of his kind.  Still, my friend always returns and makes sure to pick up groceries from time to time as well.  He is a good roommate.

My friend and I like to eat together.  We can’t eat the same food, as it seems his body can’t have the same thing as me.  However, he is always open to letting me try some of his. It’s very… different, though.  Some of it seems the same but… changed? The food smells strange to me. Strange food for a strange species, I guess.

My friend and I enjoy to give each other our space.  I usually use this time to exercise or just take a nap as I don’t have many hobbies.  My friend will sometimes play with me, though. I enjoy these times a lot. Other times, he will simply watch the screen.  I don’t enjoy the screen as much as he does so I usually don’t stick around for long.

We do spend a lot of time together, though.  My friend knows that I tend to get itchy. He will scratch my back for me as it’s hard to reach, at times.  I always appreciate this. His strange limbs are more flexible than mine and bend in ways mine can’t so he’s able to help me out immensely, even reaching stuff I can’t.  It’s weird to watch how his arms move but I can’t take for granted how amazing it feels to get rid of that itch.

Sometimes, my friend is very sad.  I can tell because he’ll want to cuddle with me.  I don’t always enjoy this but when I see him sad, I allow it.  Sometimes, it’s nice to spend time next to each other and I can understand feeling alone.

My friend and I weren’t always together.  There was a while when I had no home. When I was young, I lost my mother.  I don’t know what happened to my brothers and sisters but I never really saw them.  For a long while, I was alone, outside on the streets. There were good people that would care for me but they didn’t always stick around.  And sometimes, some of the people that I found weren’t always nice…

My friend and I found each other after a while.  He offered me a place to stay and allowed me to shower up and clean myself.  I’m not a fan of baths but it felt great to be clean after so long. I was very wary of him for a bit but we became close friends and soon we became inseparable, so I finally decided to stay.  We’ve been roommates since. I will always appreciate what my friend did for me.

There are days when I think about my time outside, especially during those days that its raining and storming.  I’ve had a fear of storms for so long from being out in them by myself. It took me a while to really feel safe.  However, when I’m always scared, my friend is there for me. He speaks softly and pets my head. It may seem demeaning to some but I find the warmth of the gesture and his care very soothing.  He is always there for me, especially in my darkest times.

It’s hard for me to admit it, and I don’t know if I always show him, but I do love my friend.

Even if he is human.

The Worth of One or Many

“…All I’m saying is, the guy has the literal cure for cancer in his body and he’s decided he won’t share with the rest of the world.”

“Brain cancer, Jim.  He has the cure for one cancer.  And it’s one that we’re making a lot of progress in obtaining without whatever unique ability his brain has.  We’re not even sure if we could harness that trait. If you remember, the attempts at synthesizing crocodiles’ unique cell defenses failed, even though we truly thought we had that.”

“Exactly my point.  We’ve made progress, Clara, progress.  Nothing more. We don’t know when we might independently find a cure.  But we have the cure right here! Something that could lead to even more discoveries.  Why should we put his life over the lives of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands that would die before we finally crack this puzzle?  What would you have him do, Clara? If it was your loved one with this terrible disease?”

“Are you seriously suggesting that this young man kill himself, Jim?”

“Maybe I am, Clara.  Maybe I am.”

Continue reading “The Worth of One or Many”

The Games Children Play

 

The Games Children Play

 

It started out as many things do:  When I was just a child.  I guess as evil as he was, Hitler was on the money when he said that the best way to indoctrinate is when they’re young.  Though, in my case, it was my own brain trying to warp my sense of self before I even had it.

I’d probably say my first memories of a problem were of the games we all played as children.  The first one I remember was classic:

“Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back!”

While, sure, I initially was horrified that my arbitrary carelessness could have put my mother in the hospital, I learned quickly that it made no difference.  I mean, I stepped on plenty of cracks in the floor but my mom was still healthy enough to chase after me when I clogged the toilet.

The thing is, even if I knew it wasn’t true, I couldn’t stop playing the game.  For some reason, there was a very real sense of dread that “something” might happen if I lost my footing.  I remember at the time wondering what was wrong that I kept playing long after the kids around me moved on, stepping on cracks in the pavement with abandon.  After a while, I chalked it up to superstition and hummed a few bars of Stevie Wonder’s big hit while avoiding gaps in the pavement.

Continue reading “The Games Children Play”

First Initials

 

[It’s a dark room.  There’s a single table with a single chair at it and a single light source above the table.  Oscar sits at the table, writing on a piece of paper.  He’s very obviously troubled and stressed beyond belief.

Hovering over his shoulder and looking at what he’s writing is a man named Charles.  He’s tapping his feet, very obviously annoyed.  He exudes negative energy and his violent nature is shown by his constant movement (he can’t sit still) and how he towers over Oscar.

One the other side of Oscar is Dave.  He’s calm, leaning on the table but giving Oscar space.  He’s not looking at the piece of paper and is instead staring at the two other people in the room.  He treats Oscar, his friend, with respect but has no patience for Charles.  They’ve never gotten along.

Regardless of their dress, all three of them have stickers with their names written on them, saying “Hello!  My name is:  ___.”]

 

Oscar: I don’t understand…

Charles: Again!

Dave: Don’t listen to him.

 

Oscar: I’m trying to do what you’re telling me!

Charles: Well, you’re getting it wrong!

Dave: He’s just messing with you, Oscar.  Don’t let him.  Listen, lay off him, Charles.  Alright?

 

Continue reading “First Initials”

The Enigma of Eva

Eva threw the photographer over the porch railing and into the yard, already adding to the bruises and cut marks he had.  His thousands of dollars of equipment followed him in hundreds of broken pieces, reflecting the light of the open front door in the dead of night.  “You want my nude shots? Ask my agent.  He has the whole damn shoot with Playboy!”

The photographer tried to crawl away but Eva quickly walked up and kicked him in the stomach.  He doubled over on his side, groaning.  Eva put her heel on his side reaching inside the pocket on her dress.  “But if I so much as smell that disgusting breath of yours in my shower again, I promise you the cops won’t find you buried till I’m long dead.”

She pulled out her taser from her pocket and shot him in the side.  The photographer spasmed on the ground for a few seconds.  Eva looked around, bored, hoping he didn’t have a buddy in the bushes. Finally, she released the trigger.  She tossed the taser next to him and then reached inside her pocket again.  Eva grabbed a couple twenties and threw them on the ground next to his face.

“A cab is on its way.  I suggest you take it.”

The photographer could only groan in response.  Eva headed for the door.  Just before shutting it, she stopped.  She turned around, a smile on her face that didn’t quite reach the eyes.  “And thank you for tonight.  This was a great stress reliever after this week.”

Eva waved as she closed the door behind her.

Continue reading “The Enigma of Eva”

A Sort of Love Story – Chapter Three: Friends of Angels

Sorry about the lack of updates!  I’ve been traveling across the United States while hunting down some jobs.  I moved to a different state in the middle of all of that and now I’m moving again next week but this time, halfway across the country.  It’s been a bit weird and hectic but I’m happy to say I finally have a decent job again and can keep the lights on wherever I’m ending up.  What this means for updates is that I can actually do them now that I have some free time.

This chapter was a little hard to write as I wasn’t sure where to go with the story and had to spend a few days mulling that over.  But now that I have things figured out, both with the story and in my life, I’ll be posting more often and am super excited to start getting into the meat of things after this chapter.  It’s really gonna pick up soon.  Hope you like where the story goes! 

—-

Petra and I left the warehouse and walked through the city.  It was still very late in the evening and the only light around came from the occasional working street lamp that struggled to survive on this run down side of town.  I visit human cities often but I always have a hard time with the names.  Regardless, there wasn’t a soul around as we walked through the decrepit part of town.  Petra led the way, avoiding larger streets and taking us through alleyways until we arrived at a small shop on the edge of the city.  It was dark inside but from what I could see the place seemed to be just a single small room with assorted clothes and odds and ends.  The sign outside read “Gabrielle’s Goods”.  I snorted at the name.  Fitting that she’d take me to a place named after a messenger of God.  Wonderful coincidence, that.

Petra knocked on the glass and waited for a bit.  When no one answered, she knocked again.  I crossed my arms, “You really think someone’s going to be in there?  Isn’t it bedtime for most humans right now? “  I peered through the glass into the dark building, “I don’t exactly see a section for pillows and blankets.”

Continue reading “A Sort of Love Story – Chapter Three: Friends of Angels”

A Sort of Love Story – Chapter Two: Let’s Make a Deal

My captor’s hair diminished itself and returned to something a little less “wrath of God”.  I was sprawled out in a less than proper pose on the floor still gasping for air.  She walked towards me and stood over my body, her right hand holding the chain and the other on her hip.  “Planning on having a midnight snack, demon?”

I managed to get some air back in my lungs and sat up.  “As a matter of fact, no.” I wheezed.  “I’m quite full for the night.  I just thought I’d have a little fun, angel.” There’s not really a slur against the heavenly host so I tried to stress that last word.  Maybe she’d think I was insulting her feminine charm and take offense.  I say feminine but unfortunately for the people of my trade, angels don’t have the parts needed for sex so deciding their gender is really just a matter of what they look like or how they identify.  I’ve always wondered why they gave them fig leaves in those old paintings?  There’s nothing there, I can assure you.  I’ve tried.

“I just wanted to fuck with-” she raised an eyebrow at my choice of words, “Mess with them a little bit.  Scare a few dumb kids.”

“Well,” she said, “had I not stopped you sooner, I’m sure that boy would have been scared enough with your tongue down his throat.”

“Listen, feather brain,” She didn’t have to stereotype.  I only sometimes french my victims.  ”If I wanted something from these guys, this place would have been an orgy.  It’s kinda my thing.  It wouldn’t have taken long for me to pump enough pheromones in the room to get a party started.”

The angel bent forward and tightened the chain she was holding, bringing my face closer to hers. “Regardless, that’s not why I have you chained up, demon.  I have a deal for you.”

Now this was something new.  Usually, when demons and angels meet, things turn out about as well as you’d expect.  The angel brings out some fiery weapon from on high and teaches my kind the meaning of the term “smite”.  Now they make deals with us?  Something seemed off there.  For starters, what kind of deal does someone who currently had all the power make?  I felt obliged to ask, “And what deal is that?”

She stood up again, “I have a job for you.  Something I’ve been instructed to offer you.”  It didn’t sound like she was happy about being instructed to deal with me.  “You can accept my offer, and when this is done, I’ll set you free.  Or, you can refuse and be sent back to Hell with whatever I choose to leave of your body.  The orders from on high were a little fuzzy on those last details.”  She smiled at me with an expression that didn’t quite touch the cold look in her eyes.  And they say demons are sadists.

I took a gamble and figured it was probably safe to stand up.  Her hand tightened on the chain, keeping it taut on the collar around my neck but I was allowed to get on my feet.  “What kind of job am I being forced into?”

“There’s a powerful demon loose on Earth.  An incubus by the name of Wraith.  You may have heard of him.”


I snorted, “That bastard?  I don’t know if he’s so much powerful as he is a prick who thinks he is.”  If you can’t tell, we never really got along.  Wraith and I were born in the same circle of Hell.  However, where I enjoyed teasing and satisfying my own hunger, he preferred to manipulate humans and pit lovers against each other.  It’s not that I found anything wrong with that, watching two lovers quarrel was definitely a popcorn kind of event for me.  However, it wasn’t just humans he loved to try and control.  If you could tell from my “full of myself” personality, I’m not one to let someone else control me.  Another reason why I wanted this damn collar off my neck.

“Apparently, he’s grown stronger since you last met him.” The angel continued, “He now has a large group of demons under his command and has found a good place to hide here on Earth.  Since you know him and how he operates, I want you to track him down for me.”

The deal seemed simple enough and given that I had no choice in the matter, I wasn’t exactly in a situation to refuse.  However, something was still bothering me.  “So let me get this straight… I find this incubus for you and you just… let me go?”

“That is the order from on high.”  The angel inwardly sigh a bit. “If it puts you at ease, I did not choose this deal.  Were it up to me, you wouldn’t have a choice.  You would find the incubus and then I would kill you where you stand.”

Somehow, I don’t think she understands what “putting someone at ease” meant.  She definitely seemed to be more of the warrior type than those compassionate angels you hear about bringing good news to a bunch of sheep herders.  At least her comment told me she wasn’t lying.  Wait, if she hates me that much… And I have to help her… Oh, I can still have some fun tonight.  I’m going to make this whole journey a living hell for you.  That’s a demonic promise.

I sighed dramatically, “Well, I guess you leave me no choice.”
The angel seemed surprised I accepted so easily, though I truly didn’t have a choice.  “Very well, then.”  She cautiously loosened the chain a bit, finally relieving some of the tightness on my neck.  I took some deep breaths, as my larynx finally had some room to expand, and then put on a coy smile.  Time to start the fun.  I took a step towards her and reached out, petting her left wing.  “I guess this makes us… partners, right?”  As I said this, I slowly moved my hand up the upper arch of her wing towards her shoulder.  

Apparently, she didn’t like my connotation.  She thrusted her hand forward and grabbed my face.  “We are most certainly not partners.”  She threw me away from her until I reached the edge of the chain and was jerked back towards her as the collar tightened on my neck.  I coughed pathetically.  She wasn’t going to make this fun, after all.  Looks like both of us are going to go through hell, aren’t we?  I scowled at her as I struggled against the damn thing around my neck.  “So, what?  Are you just gonna lead me around like a dog until we find this guy?”

“Unfortunately, no.  Our target is most likely hiding amongst humans in order to keep us off his scent.”  Oh, so I am like a hunting dog to you?  Literally tracking a demon’s scent.  She continued, “That’s why I’ve taken precautions.”

She suddenly let go of the chain.  As soon as it hit the floor, it came to life, slithering like some kind of metallic snake.  The end of the chain serpentined its way over to me.  I tried to kick it away but the collar started to choke me, forcing me to my knees as I attempted to breathe.  The chain crawled up my body and wrapped itself around my neck.  I felt a searing pain around my throat like the chain was trying to brand itself on me.  It was agony as my vision started to go white from the pain.

Suddenly, the pain stopped.  All the agony I felt had disappeared.  I felt along my neck and found a leather choker with a front metal loop where the collar and chain had been.  It wasn’t tight enough to impede my esophagus but it was heavy.  Unreasonably heavy.  Like it was made out of a solid brick of titanium.  It was like a crushing weight yet when I lifted the choker up, it took no more strength than you would expect to lift it.  The angel took a step forward and pointed to it.  “That won’t stand out as we walk around, but don’t get any ideas.  If you stray too far from me, you’ll not be able to stand or breath.  Step too far away and it will crush you under the weight of all your sins.”

I scowled at her.  You “holier than thou” types really like your punny punishments, don’t you?  At least she couldn’t yank me around anymore.  Though, I bet she would have no qualms about flying off for a bit just to see me squirm.  I thought about my life and took a quick tally on what this angel might consider a sin.  Yeah, I doubt I’d have a connected head, let alone be able to breathe if I stepped outside whatever distance this thing had.  That thought intrigued me.  How much distance did I have?  I got up and took slow steps back from my feathered friend.  She just stared at me, crossing her arms and waiting to see what happened.  After just a few steps, I started to feel the choker tighten and burn little by little.  By halfway across the warehouse, I was having trouble breathing and my head started bending forward.  Maybe seventy-five feet from miss “glory from on high” the choker tightened to the point where I wasn’t able to breathe.  I had to use every bit of strength in my upper body to keep from falling over.  I quickly stomped back to the angel, scowling.  I finally understood how Frodo felt with the One Ring by the third book.  Miss angel merely continued to stare at me with her arms crossed as I made my way back to her.

I angrily pointed at the thing around my neck.  “For a heavenly host, you have some pretty kinky toys.”

She narrowed her eyes at me. “It will at least keep you in line, demon.”
“Demon this, demon that.  If we’re going to be working together, at least refer to me by my name.  It’s Lilith.”
The angel paused for a moment before saying, “Petra.”

I snorted, “How very heavenly.”

“I don’t see a reason to give you my true name so be happy with the name I use with humans.”

“Speaking of which, Petra, you have a way to hide those things?” I indicated her wings.  “Since you hired me, I doubt we’re going in guns blazing on this mission and might need to hide ourselves among humans.  As for me…” I straightened up and closed my eyes, concentrating for a bit.  My wings and tail shrank until they were nonexistent and my normally lavender skin faded to a light brown.  The perks of being a demon of lust.  Everyone has their preference so I naturally am able to accommodate on the fly.

Petra, looking wonderfully unimpressed, folded her arms, “For once, I think I can agree with you.”  She bowed her head in reverence and a white glow surrounded her.  Her wings disappeared from her back, leaving a human looking angel in front of me, though still clad in armor.  Apparently two can play at this game.  “We’ll also need a change of clothes.  Or rather,” she looked me up and down, “clothes in general.”

I held my hands out, indicating myself, “Hey, easy access is a part of the job!  I’m not ashamed of this fine thang.”

“Well it’s not the job you’re on now.”  Petra turned towards the hole in the warehouse wall.  “Come on.  I know someone nearby who can help us and the less time we waste, the better.”

**************

Chapter Three:  Friends of Angels