Beginning Again

Black Snake

Chapter 2/Black Snake

Snakes hide in grass, people behind their lies.

“Yep, it’s me,” she stated with an acknowledging smile on her face as she brought her arms up and crossed them over her chest, making sure a white cloth that was wrapped around her right hand was clearly seen. Alissa was about to walk over and give her friend a hug but hesitated once her eyes glanced down to the cloth, eyeing it suspiciously to which Alyse seemed to pick up on, “Don’t worry, Bobby did all the tests. I’m all good.”

Alissa waited one more moment, making her final decision. It must have gone through because in the next second, she was by the door giving a large hug that almost toppled Alyse over in the process, “So good to see you again!” she greeted, rocking them side to side until she finally let go, pulling away. “C’mon in, c’mon in,” Alissa invited her to the living room.

Alyse laughed and nodded in agreement, trying to steady herself. She could say that she definitely didn’t miss Alissa’s hugs, but the gesture was nice. “Same here!” she replied, matching her friend’s excitement. “It's been, what, six or seven years now?” She asked while walking to the rustic colored couch, plopping down to take a load off since it's been a long drive for her up here and she tried to not let a blank expression show through as it was becoming a habit nowadays, which she’s been doing her best to fix the problem.

“It was something like that. Wow,” Alissa paused. “Just can't really wrap my head around it. Time sure does fly I guess,” she hasn’t seen her or any of her other friends since High school graduation and no one really talked to one another afterwards either. Maybe that was because everyone saw each other so often five days out of the week. People seemed to change the very moment graduation ended and everyone was on their way to do whatever they so pleased whether it was in nursing or computer engineering, or even a hunter. Sure it wasn’t the best paying job, if there was a pay at all, but it was still a job. Alyse went off to college with an art degree along with her boyfriend Scott and the last Alissa heard, something bad had happened so they both had to quit school, going back on the full hunting job again since it was also hard juggling college and cases. Whatever went down, it wasn't pretty. Alissa took the other woman's lead, taking a seat on the opposite side, towards the kitchen. Even though she was happy to see her friend again, questions started forming as to why she stopped by here of all places? It was definitely out of the way from town. It might make sense since hunters are always coming and going, dropping information that they picked up on all sorts of cases that could be used later on. Who knows, right? She decided to stow those questions away for the time being and looked back towards the stairs only to see that Bobby was nowhere to be seen. “He's probably in the kitchen grabbing beers,” she thought to herself and brought her attention back to Alyse. “So? How're you and Scott doing?” Alissa asked.

At the mention of new name, a genuine smile spread on Alyse's face. “We've been really well,” She started to say until Bobby came back with what Alissa had expected: beer; three to be exact, and if someone wasn't the beer or whiskey drinker, they would be out of luck since that was really all Bobby had in the house. He walked over, handed their respective bottles, turned around, and went to go sit in the wooden chair at his old, wooden desk while the two women continued chatting. “Scott's at a motel a couple towns over working on a case. I believe it was just a regular salt-and-burn, ghost haunting kind of case, no big deal. So while he was working on that, I decided to drop by and say 'hey',” she then decided to open up her beer, taking a swig while looking around the room to get the gist of it all. “Everything's been kinda crazy lately. Demons are popping up more and more, no one seems to know why either,” right then, Bobby's interest had piqued; now he was listening intently to the conversation, while trying not to show it. “Just the other day we ran into some and they kept spouting some nonsense about how their boss was going to promote them if they found 'her', whoever that is,” she took another swallow of her beer and looked out the window in back of them a second, then to Alissa. “Overall, we've been pretty good. Scott's getting better with the whole monsters and hunting stuff and nothing has gone wrong yet.”

“I kept hearing from other hunters that called in saying that they were seeing more demons popping up too. It just seems really odd,” Alissa agreed as she fiddled with the beer bottle in her hands absentmindedly. “I don’t know, but that’s really cool that Scott’s getting better though,” the compliment passes through the space. “It’s not an easy thing to deal with,” she finalizes as she remembers the phone conversation between her and Alyse about what happened. Scott wasn’t in the hunting scene when he and Alyse had started dating in her senior year of high school, so she had to keep everything a secret and it wasn’t until her sophomore year of college when the cover was finally pulled back. Scott seemed to take the whole “Monsters are real” conversation pretty well, but it also had more of an impact because both of them were there when that ‘something bad’ took place.

The noise of a sharpening blade was heard in the living room of the single floor house that was gently illuminated by the small lamp table next to a large and leather EZ chair that sat towards the door, facing in the direction of the dining room. Dark hardwood lined the floor while white and rich cream colors the walls and crown molding. The room wasn't overly large, but it was big enough to fit at least five to seven people, a forty inch, LED TV hanging on a wall, a black leather loveseat and a matching three seat couch on the opposite side, comfortably. They decided to move in together in this house they rented instead of moving into the dorm rooms since surprisingly, the rent was far cheaper and it was farther away from the excess noise of the university they were both attending. Alyse sat in the EZ chair with her hair put up in a messy bun wearing a black, flowing tank to with her arms resting on her faded, dark green jeans and black, knee high boots on the floor sharpening her favorite Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife while Scott was in town running a few errands. This was her moment of peace (no matter how long or short it was) doing this unusual task which always seemed to calm her down one way or another. Was it motions of sharpening it or the sound it made? She never really knew. A creaking from the door in the kitchen made her freeze completely. Looking up at the little clock above the TV made her brows knit and face twist in confusion. Slowly she got out of the chair, careful not to make a sound, while sticking the dagger into her jeans’ back pocket and pulling the back of her shirt over it over to keep it concealed. “Scott?” Alyse spoke out, waiting a couple seconds before talking again. “That was pretty quick,” Alyse commented. “I though you would be gone longer.”

Slowly she walked into the dining room and around the corner; she stopped dead in her tracks as a woman sat in the middle of the modern, stainless steel kitchen. She sat back contently, leaning back on her hands, upon the little island dead center of the room. Her naturally red, wavy hair stood out against her white skin, framing her rounded face with a smattering of freckles on the bridge of her nose and under her eyes as it rested comfortably on her shoulders. A smoky gray, snuggly fit blouse that reached down to her hips, covered her upper body while black jeans and matching flats covered her crossed legs. The atmosphere in the room was tense but skyrocketed when the woman's bright hazel eyes flipped into pitch black holes. “I guess I got a few things done a little bit earlier than I expected,” she answered with a crooked smile playing on her lips and sweet honey laced in her voice.

Alyse hesitated for a moment and discreetly pulled out the stashed away dagger as her facial expression changed to stone-faced despite overall being nervous, which she seemed to hide pretty well. “What’s a demon doing here?” She demanded.

“Wouldn't you like to know,” the other woman started as she moved her hands to wrap around her highest places knee. “I mean if you're that clueless,” her ink filled eyes washed away in favor to her hazel ones just for the emphasis to roll them in a snarky attitude. “Don't think it would hurt to take a wild guess would it? I'll give you one chance,” she offered.

“Just tell me,' Alyse spat. “I hate guessing games,” a shift of weight on her feet occurred carefully while gripping the handle of the blade tighter. “I can’t do that again…” she thought to herself.

With the flick of the demon's wrist, the dagger flies out of Alyse's hand and clatters against the hard wood floor behind them. The demon hopped down gracefully off the small island and lunged at her, sending them to a nearby wall with a claw-like hand wrapped around Alyse’s throat. She did her best to escape the hold but it was useless for every time she would move or struggle, the demon would add pressure to the hold just enough to keep her in place. Alyse then got the idea that if she could break free by force then this would be the next best option. “Exorcizamus te, Omnis immuni-” The hand quickly pressed harder into her neck, cutting her off short.

“Oh no, you don't, such language for such a pretty face,” a fake smile crept along the demon's lips, cocking her head to the side. “Now then, if you're going to cooperate with me-and I know you will, tell me where she is!” She commanded as the smile hurriedly left for a sneer.

“W-Who is that?” Alyse croaked out from the pressure on the windpipe. She was slightly surprised that she wasn't becoming dizzy yet. “She likes to play with her food. Oh fantastic,” she thought to herself as confusion and slight fear were written on her face.

The smile reappeared for a moment but faded into something of displeasure. “Really now? Playing innocent I see. Well, that might work for some people with that wonderful face, but don't forget, I'm not most people,” The woman stated. “Sources tell me that you were the last one to come in contact with her,” that same, fake smile returned to her face. “I'm going to ask you one more time, no more playing around here. Where is she, the one with the Angel's grace?” She inquired hastily.

A puzzled look made its way onto Alyse's face, “A-Angels?” She managed to say while trying to break hold of the woman's grip still holding firm on her neck. “There’s... No such... Thing...”

The sound of plastic bags filled with groceries dropping on the wood floor unexpectedly cut off the tension in the room. The demon turned her head to see who had entered the dispute. “Alyse?” Wide blue eyes that were shocked to the core belonged to a man with a slight tanned complexion, square shaped face, short dark brown, spiky, hair. He wore a gray T-shirt and faded blue jeans over his lean and somewhat muscular, five foot eight build. He stood frozen at the sight before him, not entirely sure what to do.

The demon smiled curiously at him. “Now who do we have here?” She started to say, glancing back to Alyse then to the newcomer. “A new buddy to chum around with?”

“Scott!” Alyse tried to yell but her throat was itchy and on fire, making it hard to do so. The man-Scott-took a mini step closer to the both of them even though he was scared out of his mind, he tried not to show it.

“Well now Scotty,” She drawled out. “It seems I didn’t properly introduce myself properly, my name’s Aliyah.” Her smile showed innocence but it was far from the truth. Her eyes filled with inky blackness once again.

This was the perfect opportunity for a strike and Alyse wasted no time. She brought her legs up the wall and put them in front of her, ready to kick. With her hands she grabbed hold of Aliyah’s forearms to keep herself from adding more pressure to her throat in case what she was about to do didn't go like she intentionally planned.

“What’s the matter now Scott? You seem to be shaking in your boots,” Aliyah pestered Scott who was still stuck in his tracks. Normally, he would dive right in but there was something about Aliyah that felt very off to him. “I’m not that scary am I?” Aliyah asked with high raised brows as if to show real concern.

“Yeah, I’d say you’re real scary. Downright ugly,” Alyse mumbled and in one swift motion, she kicked her captor square in the chest which made a sickening crunch as her heels made contact. The hand released its grip on her throat as she fell to the floor. Aliyah stumbled back from the blow, landing on the floor, trying to breathe.

In the meantime, Scott rushed over to Alyse’s side not even worrying if the woman on the floor was alive or not. “Alyse!” He crouched down next to her, grabbed her arms and pulled her up close to him, “Are you okay?” Scott asked her with worry in his light voice. Nodding in confirmation, she put a hand lightly to her throat and rubbed carefully to help soothe it. They both looked down to Aliyah who was still lying on the hardwood floor by the kitchen. “We should call an ambulance or something! She’s really hurt!” Scott exclaimed in concern and fright as he walked quickly to her body lying motionless. He put two fingers on her neck to see if she had a pulse. “Okay, she’s got a pulse,’ He let out a sigh of relief and looked up to Alyse, ‘She's out cold though.”

“Okay,’ she coughed through her response, still trying to talk after that little predicament, “Go grab a chair and some rope or twine, just something to hold her down. Hurry up or she might wake up. Now's the chance to send her back to Hell,” before she got a response out of Scott, Alyse walked off to the bedrooms on the other side of the house to grab her journal. It held very important words written to send that demon packing.

When Alyse came back into the room, Aliyah’s limp form was sitting in an arm-rest chair. Scott sat on the couch, trying to figure out what the hell happened not more than ten minutes ago. “Where’s the rope to tie her down?” Alyse asked him curiously. She was slightly on edge and it was only a matter of time before Aliyah woke and there would be consequences on the way.

Scott whipped his head around and gave her the most shocking stare. “Are you out of your mind?!” He raised his voice, not quite to a yell but it was close, “She should be on the way to a hospital, not tied up to a chair like a hostage to a serial killer!” He got up off the couch striding over to her with nothing but anger resonating off of him, “My god Alyse, I thought you would know this! It’s pretty freaking common sense!” He then briskly walked back to the kitchen to get the phone and dial an ambulance.

She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself before this turned into an argument that they would both later regret and now wasn’t the time for this to arise. “I do know that! One thing you don’t is that there is a demon inside of her and we need to exorcise it before it wakes up to more bullshit we don’t need,” a huff of air escaped her burning throat. “Now, whether you help me or not, that Demon bitch it going right straight to Hell,” she walked past him, to the garage, grabbed some rope. “Hopefully she’ll stay there,” the thought passed through her mind as she came back to her spot and started to tie Aliyah’s limbs to the chair.

“How do you know if there’s a demon in her or not? How do you know for sure?” he asked a little angry, still holding the phone in his hand. He wants to help her but in the back of his brain he wants to take the unconscious woman to a hospital. It took a few moments before he finally reached a decision to buckle down and help Alyse get rid of this monster, ‘demon’, as she put it. He stuck the phone back on the receiver and strode over to her side.

“You can always tell by the eyes. Demons have inky black eyes as you unfortunately found out,” she glanced over to him and back to the bindings to make sure that there were secure. “If you’re wondering how you can tell if someone is a demon or not, there’s a Latin word that they always flinch at. Before I say anything else, let’s move her over to that rug by the couch,” Scott walks over to the said rug and moves it out of the way, revealing a large reddish symbol consisting of a circle with a star in the center and in between each point was another symbol, almost like squiggles and crosses.

“What in the hell is that?” He asks pointing to the said symbol on the floor. The next thought running through is head was “Oh she must be utterly insane. I’m dating an insane woman.” but he quickly shoved it out of the way to get back to the task at hand, even though he was still trying his best to understand everything going on.

“That, m’dear, is a Devil’s Trap. It keeps the demon trapped inside. The only way they can get out is if the trap is broken or part of the lines were scraped away,’ she glances down at Aliyah to make sure that she was still out cold. Her gaze was brought back up to him. “Let’s get ‘Aliyah’ over that trap before she figures out what’s going on,” Scott nods in response and returns to the other side of the chair. In one fluid motion, they both pick her up and put her dead center in the trap.

“Okay so since she’s in there, how do we get rid of the demon?” He was very curious to all of this new information. He wasn’t quite sure how to really take it, it was only after a while when he finally gave in.

To answer his question, she held up an old leather book. A journal of sorts, holding many loose pages scattered here and there but more importantly it had the incantation they needed. “In here. There’s a Latin incantation, or an exorcism, that you have to recite and down they fall,” a smile grew onto her face as she opened the journal to that specific page. “If you don’t mind, go into our room, there’s a duffel bag in the top part of the closet,” Alyse pointed in the general direction of said room and continued speaking. “In that bag there’s some bottles of Holy water and salt. Can you grab them for me?” Without another word, he trots off to grab the needed supplies.

A small groan was heard coming from the woman in the chair as her head started to rise and loll to the side, slowly waking up. “Well, look who’s decided to finally join us,” Alyse spoke sweetly and boy was she happy that payback was on its way.

Another groan slid out as Aliyah was finally wide awake and alert. “You bitch,” it was all that she could muster up before Scott came back into the room with the said supplies.

“Thank you,” gratefully she took them and set them next to the journal that was on the coffee table behind them. “Now why don’t we send this puppy home, shall we?” Alyse’s smile grew wider. “Finally sending her back. Good riddance,” the thought passed through her brain.

“You wouldn’t dare,” The demon spoke with a glower on her face.

“Try us,” Alyse paused for a moment. “Christo,” was all she replied with before grabbing the bottles of holy water, Aliyah then flinched at the Latin word used as Alyse began pouring the contents onto her. Aliyah’s screams were loud and shrieking as if they were killing her. The screams finally settled as the water was emptied out of the containers. This wasn’t even close to the torture Aliyah received in Hell but it still hurt her. Alyse turned around and grabbed the journal, still a smile plastered on her lips. “Now’s the fun part,” she turned back and stood right in front of the soaked demon, the journal handed over to Scott. “Read the words I say them, okay Scott?” He quickly nodded and looked down, ready to go.

“Any last words for you? Gotta give you that much,” she asked her sweetly with her head turned to the side.

“Fuck. You,” was Aliyah’s last response out of breath and shaking, a death glare etched on her face.

“Well, isn’t that just colorful,” Alyse paused for a moment, turned her head over to Scott and returned to the demon. She backed out of the trap then started to recite the incantation.

“Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus,

Omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii,

Omnis congregatio ET secta diabolica.

Ergo, Draco maledicte.

Ecclesiam tuam securi tibi facias libertate servire,

Te rogamus, audi nos.”

At the final word spoken, as if on cue, black smoke shot out of the vessel’s mouth, crowding around her feet like fog, and dissolved away with a fiery burn. She ran over to the woman to see if she was alive. Her pulse was nowhere to be found. Her head sunk low, letting out a long sigh. “Damn.”

“What’s wrong? Is she okay? Is the demon gone?” Scott's voice was layered in hesitation and worry.

“She’s gone. Aliyah must’ve killed the poor woman here and used her as a vessel. It was too late to save her. The demon’s gone though so you don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Alyse grabbed a knife off the coffee table and started to cut the bindings holding Jane Doe to the chair. Scott also walks over to help her, to make it go by a little faster. They-mainly Alyse since she knew more about this than he did-decided to give the woman a hunter’s funeral. He wanted to give the woman some sort of peace after death. After everything was said and done, Scott made his decision to learn all that there was to learn about the supernatural. She was more than surprised but also happy to know since that could make things easier for the both of them and not having to keep anymore secrets. It helped them grow closer together as they took on cases. It took some time and within a few years he was a natural hunter, or so it seemed anyway. The learning curve is generally high in this field and you need to be a quick learner when you're out on the job. This might be the thing that kills you, both figuratively and literally speaking.

“So, how’ve you been since you’re stuck here and all?” Those words broke Alissa out of her thoughts. Alyse's question was innocent after all.

Alissa looked over to her sidelong with a raised eyebrow, not missing a beat in response. “No, I haven’t been stuck here. I’ve had plenty of cases that got me out in the field. Don’t know what you’rereferring to,” Alissa knew well enough that it was just her teasing.

Alyse’s smile was small but was also holding back a chuckle or two. “Yeah, okay,” Alissa shuffled a little on the couch she sat on and decided then to open her bottle, taking a quick sip. Alyse then turned to Bobby who was still sitting at his desk taking notes. “So Bobby, How’ve you been holding up?”

He too took a long gulp from his beverage, glancing between the two girls and finally spoke. “Doin’ okay, I suppose. This smart ass over here,” he pointed his index finger to Alissa with a grin, “keeps me on my toes. Most times,” they all chuckled lightly. It was all in good heart, no harm done.

Over the next four to five hours they chatted over the hunts and cases that came and went. A few ghosts here, a vampire there and even some Wendigo joined in the conversations. The most common creature was always demons. They were starting to become a regular thing. Something wasn’t making sense. Why are they appearing so often? Why now?

Time seemed to fly right by as it was close to being dark. Alissa looked out the window in front of her to see wonderful red and pink sunset. It cast a warm glow on everything in the room. She was lost to her thoughts until her friend spoke, breaking the trance. “Hey, It’s getting late,” she got up off the couch making her way to the stairs by the door. “I also have a ten hour drive ahead of me,” Alyse stretched for a couple seconds as she turned around to face Alissa and Bobby who were now out of their spots heading towards her.

“You can always stay here for the night, y'know,” Alissa crossed her arms across her chest as she leaned against the wall corner by the living room.

Alyse looked between the two in front of her again, landing her gaze on Bobby before asking him for permission. “Bobby, you sure?”

A light huff was exhaled before he nodded his head in confirmation. “Sure, I don’t see why not.”

A small grin appeared on Alyse’s face, she flipped her gaze over to Alissa and back to Bobby. “Well, let me go grab my stuff since it’s in the back of my car,” she pointed her thumb in back of her at the door.

Alissa pushed off the side of the wall, gave a side-long look back at Bobby, “I’ll help her with the stuff. We’ll be right back,” she told him, and out the door she went.

Walking along the back of Singer Salvage yard, the sound of crunching gravel and crickets chirping among the grass and weeds filled the quiet and warm summer air. The atmosphere wasn't tense in the slightest; just right to fall asleep comfortably. Stars were making their appearances as the sun continued to dip below the horizon. The yard light over top the garage hummed to life, its light become brighter with each passing second. The women’s’ gait slowed to a stop as they took in the area around them. This was something you would rarely see back home. Even though there was open farmland, Sioux Falls was a lot wider with less city lights and trees blocking your view from the twinkling lights in the vast night sky.

“Why did you come here instead of going up to your grandma’s place?” Alyse questioned her, breaking the wonderful silence. She took a quick gulp of her beverage, then continued. It was a difficult subject to talk about, but she wanted answers. “You’d be closer to your family versus being all the way out here, in the middle of nowhere,” she commented. “I just don’t get it,” muttering to herself, thinking that Alissa didn’t hear her. Only, she did. Loud and clear.

Yeah, that’s the thing. You don’t,” Alissa thought to herself. “Never will either,” she too took a drink from her beer, instead of a quick sip, it was a long pull. She didn’t want to think of those memories again for it was too painful, even after it being close to decade later, it still hurt.

The finally make it to Alyse’s car, despite wanting to enjoy the evening air. A bright, cherry red, Mazda Six sat by the garage in its fiery glory from the now set sun, but the light from it danced along the clouds above. While Alyse grabbed her suitcase from the back, Alissa walked a couple feet towards the large space of rows upon rows of cars. She took a deep breath, releasing it slowly out of her nose as she watched the remaining light fade away. “I guess I wanted to get away,” turning her gaze to the glorious sky Milky Way Galaxy above. It was hard to see due to the now overly bright yard light, but it was still there regardless. “Start fresh. Plus, didn’t want those demons after me again after what happened...” trailing off, “last time,” finishing the sentence in her head as a soft, cool breeze blew by, letting it push those unwanted occupant thoughts from her brain. It only seemed to last for a couple seconds as the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Out of the corner of her eye, a shadow whizzed through the arrays of cars, sending a shiver down her spine and a wave of uneasiness. Ever so carefully, Alissa reached behind her and fished for the weapon stashed at the small of her back, in between the elastic waistband of her short and underwear; a long, silver, thin blade with cylindrical hilt. She kept the blade tight by her side as she walked nonchalantly back to her friend, her hunter’s instincts kicking in. Nudging Alyse’s arm with her elbow, she whispered, tying not to cause suspicion to the enemy. “Hey. Head’s up. We got some friends.”

With a small nod, Alyse went back to grabbing her things. Slinging a dark brown duffel over her shoulder, shutting the car door, they then walked to Bobby’s like everything was fine. Until she heard a shuffle in the gravel and a high pitched yelp. Dropping the bag to the ground, spinning on her heels, grabbing the dagger from her thigh holster in the process. Alissa was pinned to the ground by a large man and by the time Alyse got a good look at the figure, she was got off guard, tackled to the gravel. She quickly rolled with it until she was the one on top. Taking her dagger, she stabbed the thing square in the chest. With a hard grunt, they rolled over again and without wasting another second, she kicked the blade further into the chest, causing it to stumble back, falling to the ground, dead. She sat there a second to catch her breath and to pull the weapon out of the body as it flashed an orange skeleton under its skin. “Alissa!”

Grunts and groans of struggle were heard as Alissa wrestled with her captor. Finally punching the guy off, stabbing him right in the heart as he reeled back, his eyes filled with inky blackness. Alyse arriving right at that specific moment. “Demons,” Alissa commented, breathing a little hard. “I’m sure there’s more where that came from.”

Picking up all what was needed, they started again towards the house but did not get very far as a honeyed voice sounded behind them, causing the two women to stand still. “Oh, how right you are.”

Simultaneously turning around, the face the new voice. Standing directly under the yard light was another woman with a hand placed on her hip, bright sea green eyes that faded to black then back again. Her hair was a deepened red, curls resting comfortably on her shoulders with sweeping bangs to her right side. Her face was pale with bright, rosy cheeks on her oval shaped features. A dark brown, crop leather jacket, white billowy shirt, fade blue jeans and black hiking boots covered her slender form. “Who the hell are you?” Alissa demanded, keeping her weapon at the ready in case this turned out south. Which was a high possibility.

“Why don’t you ask your friend there,” the woman replied, jerking her head to Alyse. A smile tugged on her lips. “She knows.”

Alissa turned her head to her friend, a puzzled look on her face. “Alyse?”

“Mm. Nope,” Alyse shook her head but stopped short, squinting her eyes and then opening them up wide in realization. “Wait,” she took a mini step back. “I sent you back to Hell. How are you..?”

“Who?” Alissa asked, flicking her gaze between the two people.

Without moving her head, eyes set straight forward, she simply responded, “Aliyah.”

Alissa’s eyes widened in shock, turning her gaze to the woman now named ‘Aliyah.’ Her smile dwindled to a smirk as seven more demons came in behind her. A small nod gave the signal to charge, the battle has started. Aliyah then decided it would be the best time to have a conversation among the scuttle. “It wasn’t easy. Had to fight my way out and finally made it to this ‘wonderful’ place,” she walked over to a rusted car. Leaning back, she crossed her arms over her chest. “Now I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m at this dump in the first place. Well, I ended up following your little buddy, Alyse, here with a small enchanted coin. Oh look! Here we are!”

Alissa gripped her silver blade, flipping it so it’s facing up, she started slashing at the demon brute in front of her. The blade made contact with one of its arms, causing a large gash and a hiss of pain from the demon as he faltered. “Why’re you here then?” she asked Aliyah just as two more demons came up to surround her. She’s able to take three to one. It hasn’t been the first and certainly will not be the last time. All it is, is redundant. “Damn. Welp, here we go.

Aliyah brought her hand up to inspect her nails while the fight continued. “Needed to find Miss Grace,” she stated.

Strong arms wrapped around Alissa’s middle, pinning her arms to the sides as she was being lifted off the ground. Right on instinct, she lifted her legs to her chest and kicked back where her heels made contact with the grunt’s groin. He doubled over, dropping her on the way down where she landed on the gravel and quickly recovered. She swiveled around to the his back, blade still in hand, she slashed diagonally across, a skeleton flashing in orange and yellow let her knew that the deed was done. Swinging around as another demon came up to her, she followed with raising her leg into a roundhouse kick, making its mark on the grunt’s jaw, sending it to the ground. Alissa was only happy for a second when one more demon tackled her to the ground. Punches were thrown on both ends as they rolled around in the driveway, causing cuts, scrapes, and bruises. “What does that mean?” Alissa questioned in between trying to shove the guy off and stabbing him.

“Oh, you don’t know?” Aliyah responded wittily as she continued to examine her fire truck red, painted nails.

One swift kick to the stomach sent the grunt on its back which gave Alissa the chance to jump up, take her dropped blade, and stab the thing right in the shoulder, killing it instantly. Spinning on her heels while pulling the blade out, she face Aliyah with an expression of irritation clearly written on her face. “Haven’t been conversing with demons lately since they’re too busy killing people and everything. So, care to fill me in, or are you going to play spectator?”

The smile never falter as a yell echoes through the air. Whirling her head around to see what was happening, Alissa saw Alyse was being held against a door of an old Chevy truck, sporting a gash down her left arm and a hand wrapped around her throat from the demon looming over her as two demons lay dead on the ground. “Alyse!” It was all that was yelled before a pain erupted at the back of her head, her vision faded to black and the only sound, that she thought, she heard was that of flapping bird wings against fabric.

When she finally came to, her head wasn’t throbbing as much as she expected; ended up like a small headache than anything else, moving from the back of the head to the front. Slowly getting up from the gravel below, using a nearby car for support, she starts walking. Just up ahead, she spots her friend who appears to have all of her injuries gone. What? How? Wait, who’s that with her? Alissa couldn’t quite tell since the yard light was too bright for her bleary vision to get an accurate portrayal. The sun had already dipped way below the horizon and based on how dark it was already, she would have to say it was close to midnight or shortly after. Which didn’t help matters any. Seriously, who is that guy? Another demon? Very well could be since there were two demons left, including Aliyah. Speaking of which, where’d she run off to? She shook those thoughts from her brain and focused on what was in front of her.

“Alyse? You okay over there?” Alissa questioned, raising her voice so she could be heard. The looming figure glanced back to see her hanging onto a car for support. In the blink of an eye, he was gone with the sound of flapping wings made know of his departure. She quickly jogged over to her after making sure she wasn’t seeing things and if the coast was clear. Quickly helping her up, she asked one more time. “You doing alright?”

A short nod Alyse’s immediate response. “Yeah,” she breathed out. “Let’s get inside before anymoredemons show up,” Alissa grabbed the dropped duffel, slinging it over her shoulder while picking up the weapons as Alyse got to her feet. “Why the hell is Aliyah here? Why now?” Alyse thought to herself. “It’s been six years...”

When Alissa turned back around, in the corner of her eye, she saw a light blue glow but by the time she flipped her head to scan in that direction, it was gone. A frown settled on her face, searching the surrounding area. “Wonder who took out the other demons?” The thought passes through her mind. “Could it have been Alyse? Wait. No. She as dealing with her own. Odd,” Shaking it out, they continued to the house. “Sorry we took so long,” Alissa shouted through the door. “Apparently we had some demons jump use. No big deal though. Not like we needed help or anything,” after the short silence, a loud snore reverberated coming from an asleep Bobby who was sprawled in his reclining chair.

“Damn. He could sleep through a tornado,” Alyse commented. Alissa handed her respected gear as Alyse went up the stairs to the guest bedroom. Alissa could take the couch for the night. She preferred the couch over a bed anyways. They both said their ‘goodnight’s and turned in for the rest of evening, or so that was planned. Alyse sat up in the guest room’s bed, not ready to go to sleep just yet since she had one more thing to do. Shifting her body over to the left side, she grabbed her iPhone off the bedside table and unlocked it. She tapped onto the iMessage logo, entered a number into the “To:” box, and starting typing in the “Message” rectangle. She stopped a moment later to reread over everything and once she was satisfied with what was there she hit send, and exited out of the app. While locking the phone, she set it back on the table and settled in for the rest of the night.

The soft yellow glow of the rising sun filtered through the windows. Alissa’s eyes fluttered open. She just wanted to lay there and enjoy the comfortable space. “Better get up now before I get yelled at for sleeping in,”she thought as she flipped her legs over the side of the couch, touching the floor while sitting up and stretched; relaxing her muscles with a satisfying grunt added to it.

Mornin’,” Bobby’s gruff voice spoke in a not so cheerful manner. He sat at the table with a cup of coffee and a newspaper in hand.

“Mornin’,” Alissa replies somewhat groggy as she made her way into the kitchen, still wearing the clothes from the day prior.

A minute of silence passed before he spoke up. “Went out looking for you guys last night. Thought someone or something snagged ya. I came back in here and I found you guys passed out in your beds,” He takes a gulp of coffee.

Tapping her fingers on the top of the refrigerator door contemplating on food, Alissa decided to make a quick sandwich. She grabbed what she needed, closed the door and headed to the counter. “Sorry about that Bobby. We went to go grab Alyse’s stuff the next thing we knew Aliyah and her goons jumped us. After that little brawl, we hurried back in here and found that you were snoring away in your chair. Didn’t decide to wake you, so we turned in for the night.”

He put the newspaper down and looked at her is disbelief. “Aliyah. You mean that demon Alyse ganked five years ago? How the hell did she get here, thought Alyse said that she was dead?”

“Well she’s not. I’m guessing Alyse only sent her back down under and Aliyah managed to crawl out, finding a replacement vessel. She also said something about a little coin or whatever that they pinned to Alyse. I don’t know. I’m just as shocked as you are that she’s back.” She added, continuing to make her sandwich.

“Did she say anything about what she wanted?” Bobby asked while taking another drink of his coffee.

Before Alissa got the chance to say anything more, Alyse walked in, making a bee line straight to the coffee maker, pouring herself a cup. “Morning guys.”

“Mornin’,” Alissa and Bobby said in unison. She wore a baby blue tank top, blue jeans, her usual black boots with her hair was in a low ponytail.

“Sorry to drink and run Bobby but I got a long drive. Once I’m done with this, I’m heading off.” Alyse spoke up after downing her freshly poured cup.

“Well if you gotta run, I ain’t stoppin’ ya. If you’re ever in trouble, don’t hesitate to call me.” Bobby replied as he got up from his seat to put his cup in the sink.

Mirroring Bobby’s action, Alyse put her cup on the counter instead, walked out of the kitchen to the banister where her duffel was sitting on the steps of the stairs. Alissa and Bobby followed right behind, ready to send her off.

Alissa gave her a quick hug. Pulling back, she grinned, “Take care, okay? It was nice seeing you again. Even for only a little bit.”

“I will. It was nice to see you too,” was Alyse’s only response.

Bobby came up next to give her one final hug before she took off. Out the door Alyse went, duffel over her shoulder, to the Mazda Six. Opening one of the doors she threw her duffel to the back as she got in. Firing up the engine, she backed up and out, leaving the Salvage Yard with a toot of the horn and dust in the wind.

Watching the car pull away for a moment, they walk back into the house, Bobby then stopped and asked. “Aliyah, what’d she want?”

Letting out a huff of air, Alissa turned to face him. “Who knows really? She said something about finding ‘Miss Grace’ or some bull like that. I don’t know. She’s a demon after all, always wanting to start a bunch of shit.”

“I suppose so,” he answered, almost as if he wasn’t convinced of something. ‘Somethin’s not addin’ up here…” He thought to himself before he sat down in his recliner mulling over the new details while Alissa went back into the kitchen to grab her sandwich and walked back out to go sit on the couch.

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