The Devil By My Side | Chapter 1: "Dusk of One Day, Dawn of Another."
When most demons come to earth they’re summoned with a purpose in mind, but this isn’t a story about most demons.
After a couple of failed attempts to write something half decent, I’m delighted to finally share with you the opening chapter of “The Devil By My Side”, co-written with the wonderful and talented MisterXIX; a first time publisher on the site. We’ve worked together to try to come up with a story we think is exciting, compelling and entertaining, and so, we hope you enjoy reading chapter one as much as we enjoyed writing it. All teenage characters are at the late stages of puberty, use of the word “boy” or “child” as a description is used to signify the advanced age of a demonic entity.
Most of the individuals that call upon my kind often do so seeking something. A prize, a reward, a deal. They expect of us, try to make bargains and deals, but this… I could tell from the second he began reading the incantation that this was different. I suppose you could describe it as someone lightly tapping against a windowpane, not that my domain has windows; that’s how it started. But from the instant I felt him calling to me, I could feel that he wasn’t really seeking… anything.
A grin crossed my face and I pondered internally: “A summoner without cause, how unusual”.
Of course, many have tried to bring forth me and my brethren throughout the years - doubtless you may have read the stories told of people who succeeded, but none have ever done so with such a lack of direction; a lack of desire or need. And it was that that made me curious to answer his call; he’d barely even considered the requirements for a summoning; the rituals and pageantry, but those are the requirements we set for those who place requirements on us. This, was an unconditional invitation to the human world.
The words tumbled lazily and mispronounced out of his mouth, but even if he was unable to pronounce my name correctly at the moment, I was certain that given time, it would be carved into his mind. And so, ever the courteous guest, I decided to answer the call.
A blinding flash of light poured into my eyes and instinctively I held my hand above my face to shield them; within moments I adjusted to the glow of the late evening sun dappling through the trees.
“What the fu… where am I?!” I heard a voice cry, I lowered my gaze to see the Mortal facing away from me. He turned in position trying to find his bearings and as he did, our eyes locked. A look of horror as he took in my visage; from the charred grass circling my feet up my sculpted body and back to my face. His breath quickened. “Are you…?” He quizzed, the words failing to leave his mouth.
I remained staring at the youthful male, he seemed as confused as I was. “Why did you call me to this place” I rumbled.
“Wait… what?!” He stammered. “I….. I didn’t. I was just reading. Who are you?! And where are my friends? A minute ago, I was in the basem… I didn’t summon you… I don’t even know how to…” The panic rose in his voice as he continued to speak - I took a step forward. And he instinctively took one back.
“Please don’t kill me! Please… I’ll just leave…” he cried. I took another step. He jolted backwards, his back pressing against one of the towering trees surrounding us.
“I won’t tell anyone.. you certainly don’t need to hurt me.” I stepped forward once more, narrowing the gap between the two of us.
“Please!” He wailed, his eyes becoming glassy. “Whatever you want… I…” “Silence, child!” I roar. “Are you always so quick to cower?… it sickens me.” I sneer
I take the final step towards him, leaving only inches between us. He flinches, pushing himself as far away from me as he can. Fear flushes through him; and I relish in being so fearful.
I snap my fingers and behind me, the ground rumbles and groans. Grass and soil shifting upwards and hardening into a coal-black seat. Sitting down I maintain eye contact.
“Seems to me, young one, we’re in an unprecedented situation.” I murmer. "Please Sir… err… Mr. Demon, Sir… don’t kill me. I don’t want to die. I’ll do anything you ask of me. Just please, spare my life!” He nervously pants.
I stare at him continually, then I begin to chuckle. “You are in no position to make any demands of m…” The words catch in my mouth, it’s typical to lie when entering into a contract with a summoner. But this time, there’s no need. “Yes…” I allow myself a moment to consider the situation; my mind gleefully races. He looks at me, fear his your eyes but a look of confusion. “If there is no contract… then I am unbound.” I muse to myself.
Thoughts continue to rush through my mind. Suddenly I snap my attention back to the youthful Mortal and laugh a hearty, deep sinister laugh.
“You made no demands. No requests. No bargains or deals.” I summarise. “As such, I owe you nothing. And so, you are of no use to me.” My eyes flare with an infernal crimson light.
I fix my focus into his eyes… my intent is to destroy him, to engulf his brain with flames inside his skull. Destroying the one witness of my arrival and only creature in this realm who might know of a way to banish me. But, the second I try I feel a shooting pain across my skull and cease immediately.
‘Wh… what just happened?!” The mortal asks, stunned.
I grasp my brow and rub the surface “The pain…” I groan.
Inside the mortal’s head, a thought compels him to start running. “Go you moron! Don’t just stand there! Run! Run for your life!” But as his inner voice screams at him, he finds himself moving forward. “Why am I moving forward?” He questions his actions. “Why am I not running away?” But his curiosity has taken over and he continues inching closer and closer towards me.
As he nears me, I once again feel the urge to harm him, before he harms me. I sharply extend my arm and wrap my hand firmly around his neck. A smile of triumph painted onto my face. But, as I squeeze, I feel the pressure within my own throat - the harder I force myself, the less I’m able to breathe. As my lungs start to burn, I drop the boy.
We both collapse to the ground, coughing and spluttering; gasping for air. I manage to choke out the words “If I were you, mortal. I would run.”
The voice in his head urges him to heed the creature’s warning and go, try to save his life. But for some reason he simply didn’t want to move. He should have feared for the safety of his friends, he should have been at least a mile away by now, but he simply couldn’t ignore a second voice in his head which had been teasing him for some time now: “Why can’t he hurt me? Why does he feel what I am feeling? When he tried to squeeze the life out of me, he nearly succeeded in killing himself”. He couldn’t go. He was too… curious to go. He’d almost died on the spot when the Demon had tried to choke him, but one thing was clear to him. The Demon couldn’t harm him.
"You can’t hurt me demon!” The Mortal shouted. “There’s nothing you can do to me.”
“Perhaps not physically, boy.” I snapped back.
“What?!” He froze “What do you mean?”
I stare at him.. my healed and pain-free mind is literally racing. I have never encountered a human who can’t be harmed. Mind you, I’ve never encountered a human… in this domain. Which reminds me… there’s a whole world out there for me to explore now! And so I grin at the small mortal. “In time, you and the rest of your kind will witness precisely what I mean. But for now, you’re not worth my attention, child. So take your good fortune, flee and be thankful for it.”
I turn from him and begin striding away. The soil beneath my feet a welcome reminder of my newly found freedom. But as our distance widens, I begin to feel as if I’m wading through the river of Styx. Each step becomes more and more of a vigorous effort. I look back over my shoulder and see him continuing to stare at me.
With every ounce of strength in my powerful body, I take one further step and in the corner of my eye, I see him stumble forward. With each energy sapping footstep I see his body dragged across the ground in my direction. Nearing exhaustion I stop.
“No.” I groan. “No it can’t be.” The realisation is dawning on me.
“YOU!” I snap at the boy “What hex have you cast upon me?!”
As he watches the Demon trying to leave in vain, the human heard him yelling and he thought about the situation quickly. His mind tried to rationalise: ”He can’t run away from me. He can’t harm me. I summoned him. Accidentally, yes.. but he made it out of Hell just because… I called him out. I told him to come here…” A crazy idea pops into the boy’s mind. He raises his head and locked eyes with me.
“Hey you! Demon!” The boy cried. “Kneel!”
A wave of anger flushes through me “I KNEEL FOR NO ONE!!!” I roar back. But, in the darkest parts of my being, as he spoke the words… I did feel a compulsion.
The boy, without even thinking, opened his mouth and yelled once more: "Oh you will kneel for ME! YOUR master! I summoned YOU! You are here thanks to me!” He bawled.” Now you have to do as I command you! I know you’re unable to harm me, which means I must have some sort of power over you! So when I say kneel. YOU - WILL - KNEEL!”
As he howled the last word, I felt the earth shudder beneath my feet. The idea enters my mind. Not from my own will… but I can feel it… his anger, his desire, his will pushing into me. And so I resist. I fight the overriding desire to kneel to him. But I feel my body quiver. In horror I watch as my legs fold under me. I fight again. Pushing my obvious supremacy back against his request. But I sink lower. Before I can take stock of the situation, I am on bended knee. Eyes to the ground. I raise my head and am instantly shocked at what I see.
The boy was kneeling too. In that instant, we are a physical mirror of each other. And he appeared just as shocked as I was. A smile crosses my face again. “That didn’t seem to work as you intended, did it… ‘Master’?”
“What is happening?!” The boy panicked internally. "Why am I kneeling? That shouldn’t be… What has he done to me?”The fear flashing across his eyes.
“Seems to me, ‘Oh Glorious Master,’” I smirk, “that you and I, are bonded.”
“What the hell does that mean?!” The Mortal snaps.
I take a second to consider the question and the grin on my face slowly fades. “Honestly…? I don’t know.”
“How can you not know?!” He blurted.
“As I said earlier, young one, we are in uncharted territory here.” I begin. “When a summoner calls upon a demon, they do so with intent…. so what did you intend, boy?”
The boy stops. His memory trying to recall. “When I read what was on the paper, I didn’t have any intent whatsoever.. I didn’t even know what it was!” He cried. “I simply came here tonight with my friends because the guys said this place was abandoned - I like spooky tales… I wanted to go on an adventure and explore the supernatural with the guys.”
“That! There!” I realise. “That’s it.”
“What’s it?!” He quizzes. “I don’t understand.”
“You… desire to belong.” I ponder. “These ‘guys’, you desire to be in their company?”
The boy breaks my gaze. He looks awkwardly at his feet. “Well… yes… I do… I really do… but it’s… not so simple.” I look blankly at the youthful mortal.
“Calling them ‘friends’… isn’t accurate.” He continues. “They’re actually bullies - they’ve mistreated me since I started high school. Always said that I was weak, a ‘pussy’.” He grumbled. “Today, when they dared me to go there, I thought ‘well, tonight we are gonna see who’s the pussy!’ I was sure a bunch of muscle-heads like those guys were all tough on the outside, but in reality had issues and complexes as every other person on earth!”
I looked at the pitiful boy, “You thought that would win their friendship?” I chuckled. “You wanted…. a friend?”
“To be honest, I wanted to be more than just a friend to those guys…” He replied as I shifted from kneeling to sitting on the ground.
“Well… you see… I have realised for sometime now that… I’m not interested in women… I’m attracted to men. Those guys played a major role in that. Since I can remember, they’ve treated me like shit, as if I was their inferior - as if I was someone who simply should worship them - for they were the prime males of their world, the top dogs, the alpha men. They have been calling me faggot for years now, humiliating me in front of everyone in the school: In front of my classmates, in front of the teachers. They have been accusing me of ogling, staring at their muscles and their… packages.” The truth poured out of the young human.
“To be honest, I tried to become like them, do some sports, put on some muscle, but the coach didn’t believe in me and put me in the locker room cleaning up after his boys’ mess. And there was the first time I felt it. They were always showing off their muscled bodies, accusing me of being a faggot looking at them, desiring them, wanting to suck their cock and clean their sweaty muscles with my tongue… well… that was my world, and, if you spent year after year waking up and going to sleep having all this in your head playing over and over again, I assume even if it weren’t true, eventually it becomes your reality. And that’s how I started falling in love with them, looking at them undress in the lockers, smelling their pungent stink after every practice, seeing the sweat dripping off their shirts and compression shorts…. I wanted to be everywhere they were. After a certain point, I stopped caring about their insults, I simply didn’t care as long as I was close to them, seeing them, smelling them… And that’s how I ended up here, tonight, sitting…. wherever the hell we are…. talking to a demon.”
I took a moment to look at the boy from head to toe. Most people who had disclosed what he had would do so with a sense of self-pity or shame… but in him… it was almost like he was indifferent to it. Like he had accepted his role as an inferior so entirely… and it didn’t sit well with me.
“So, that’s what the whole ’kneel’ matter was about? You trying to dominate?” I pondered.“I still don’t see how that would bond us.” I mused aloud. “Perhaps I’m not supposed to.” I rose to my feet; and offered the young Mortal a hand up. “He works in mysterious ways.” I smiled.
“God?” He asked.
“No… the other guy.” I grinned, pointing a thumb down.
The boy stared at my two softly glowing eyes as he extended his hand towards the demon. “So you don’t want to kill me now?”
“Something tells me it would be best for us both for me to not.” I take a chance to breathe deep. “Besides, it might be best to have someone who knows much of the human world.” I smiled. “Especially if I’m going to claim it.”
The colour seemed to drain from the boy’s face “’Claim it’?! You mean, you want to own the world?!”
“Well now, see here’s the thing. As you summoned me without condition… I have no need to return… down there.” I stroke a hand tenderly down the young mortal’s face. “And I’m going to need a helping hand to make myself comfortable here. You’ve told me what you want with your ‘friends’, that’s well within the scope of possibility.” I stretch as if waking from a deep sleep. “But you’re thinking awfully small, little mortal.”
“What do you mean?!” The young human asked.
“A couple boys who’ve bullied you? I can look into what awaits… a whole existence of being second best; beat down, ignored and belittled.” I grasp his shoulder. “But now; the two of us… we can make this world whatever we want.”
“I don’t understand. How can I, a human, help a supernatural being as you? I have no powers, no influence as a person in this world.” He speaks, panic and nervousness quickened his speech. “And why should I help you? After all you’re a demon, you say you want to ‘claim’ the world. Why should I be the one to bring damnation on the entire human race?”
“You’re not getting this, are you? Little one.. you and me. We’re stuck together. Joined at the soul for the rest of eternity. And as you say - you have no power, no influence. So I guess what I’m saying is this; you’re along for the ride whether you want to be or not”. I grinned wildly.