The Ravening

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What Zel Says

“Is this how you’re spending all your time?” Zel said accusingly. Like an enraged task master.

“This doesn’t look like unmerciful torture.”

“I never agreed to that.” Van objected. Still not moving.

What can he do?

Much movement will reveal that we’re still attached. I realized that for there to be any chance of him defending us I needed to extricate myself from him.

I could feel the tension between the two men and could sense the gravity of the situation. We’re in danger. Deep danger.

I slid my heels back and lightly pulled myself off Van, keeping my skirt carefully over my legs. Reaching beneath the layers of cloth, I felt his pants and tugged it closed and over his flesh as best as I could. Before slowly rising. My chin hitching in defiance as I looked at the other demon.

I know that name. I remembered vividly that Van had told me that it was a demon named Zel that had recruited him. Put him on the mission of destroying the souls and hearts of women. Leaving shattered creatures with festering souls for demons to claim.

But Van didn’t break me. He healed me.


Van rolled to his feet next to me. Slowly catching my forearm to tug me behind him.

Zel was looking from one of us to the other. “You’re protecting her?”

Zel’s eyes rounded. “From me? What have you done to her by now?”

“Horrible, horrible things.” Van admitted.

I looked at his back. Somewhat surprise he could admit such a thing. Even to himself.

“But no more. Nor will you.” Van’s tone was dangerous. Filled with dark intent.

He’ll kill him if Zel presses him. I felt hope swelling through me until it dawned on me that perhaps he couldn’t.

Zel is his sire…

“Oh, do you intend to stop me, Vandiel?” Zel emphasized the word.

Oh no. I realized instantly what Zel had done.

He’s called out the demon. Van’s demon.


Zel’s laughter became uproarious.

Van’s shoulders widened. His back rippling with inhuman muscle. Winding black horns seeped from his head in swirling dark smoke.

The monster.

“There you are, Old Friend.” Zel rubbed his hands together gleefully. Then his gaze slid to me. “We’ll see what’s left of you for Van to protect then…”

Zel left then whistling as he wandered further into the woods.

The demon dipped its head and turned to me. His eyes burning red. Looking nothing like the man that I’d spent so much time with.

I took a hesitant step back. No.

I whimpered. I won’t survive it again. I barely had the first time.

And I won’t want to. I remembered thinking much of dying those days after the monster had ripped me from the inside out.


There was a shrieking and a roaring. Like a banshee and a lion dueling within that huge frame. The two sounds separated and became more distinct as I seen the hazy silhouette of Van straining from the creature’s torso and rising from its side. Screaming in torment as he tried to pull away.

Then Van was yanked back inside, and the roaring of the demon grew into a louder sound. It through its hands up to clutch its temples as if in tremendous pain.

Then the differing noise rose again going from the shriek of a banshee until deepening like Van’s echoing voice as his body pulled in smoky tendrils. This time drawing a leg from the hip of the monster. So, his torso and the leg were aside it.

I sensed running would bring out the monster’s instinct and drive it to full strength as it’d thunder after me. Standing utterly motionless was the right move. As much as my instinct screamed otherwise. I clenched my fists into my skirts to fight the desperate need.

“Van!” I yelled. “Come back to me.” Tears streamed my face, and I closed my eyes. Unable to watch who’d win this war between my lover and the thing that would bring me unbearable suffering. My arms and legs were shaking in terror.

“Give me strength, Zyra.” He pleaded. And I could feel his gaze on me. Clinging to the image of me.

I didn’t know what he meant. But I was sure that my fear wouldn’t provide it. I thought quickly back to the night before. To him floating me above the water and sending the warm stroking caresses of the water over every inch of me. Filling me with such pleasure. Declaring his love to me with that passionate gaze.

Peace overcame me with the memory. His wide grin of pleasure as he’d watched my desires being sated with his magic was burned into my brain.

That’s who you are. Not this.

I reached inside me and gathered that peace like a ball of colored light. Of hope.

Then I outstretched it via my mind. Offering it to Van who breathed in those streamers like life itself.

I gave him what I could, and he accepted all I had to offer and suddenly all the screaming dulled. And I was reaching for him. At some point my hands had released my skirts and outstretched to the monster.

I felt a grip gathering them. And was too afraid to open my eyes. But I realized that the touch wasn’t crushing my fingers. It wasn’t cold. There were no claws on the slim fingers.

This wasn’t the hand of the monster.

It’s Van.

I peeled my eyes open and looked at our joined hands. Seeing those same fine boned fingers with masculine veins winding through them. That beautiful beckoning skin.

My gaze slid up and I met his penetrating look.

The monster is gone.

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