Chapter 34-Devil's in the Details
If this is hell, well, I can’t say I’m too surprised to see it look so familiar.
I’ve never had an out of body experience before. I also don’t know if I’m supposed to be having one right now. Maybe the coven thought it would funny to turn me into a ghost while the rest of them live out their lives to the fullest, savoring my death as a victory.
I can’t see myself or the very dead version of myself that I’m assuming has been buried somewhere or tossed into a dumpster by someone who I thought was my one of my closest friends. Clearly not, in retrospect, seeing as they killed me. Hopefully, this time he leaves me dead. Who knows what Colin’s got himself involved in, as long as it wasn’t the coven who put him up to it I can’t say I really feel too angry at him.
He’s only human, so someone must have tricked him or forced him to do it.
The floor of the salon around me is spotless, someone must have cleaned it up. Maybe Colin or the police did after finding him caught red-handed. I’m pretty sure I heard sirens before I died.
The glass from the windows is cleaned up too, but the broken mirrors of the hair cutting areas are still fractured. I’m sure it’s probably frigid in here, with the cold air getting in from the gaps between the broken glass windows.
I can’t feel anything though. I guess I should be glad, I rather not relive getting shot or be stuck feeling the pain of a bullet wound in this strange afterlife.
Something squeaks behind me, a chair. I hear the noise continue, as if someone were sitting on one of the salon chairs-swiveling around to face me. If I was alive, I would be much more afraid of the noise.
“Valerie Parway, you have summoned me?” a man’s voice asks of me.
I look at a salon chair behind me seeing a haze of black colors, there and yet not. My witch sight is still working, even here.
Wherever here is, that is.
I really wish I hadn’t used it because instead of finding out what kind of being it is, it decided to drop its concealment and show me its true form instead.
The creature resembles an old goblin with beady yellow eyes with goop all over its scrawny brown body. It has no mouth, only a jaw full of decaying, ripped up flesh with razor-sharp long teeth. It wears a short black robe with dark purple boots, holding what looks to be a black leather purse on its lap.
It pets its purse in a strange way as if the thing were an animal.
“Devil...” I whisper in horror and the sly, conniving-looking demon grins so wide I start to wonder if it will tear its face up from the movement.
Its skin looks dangerously thin and its smile passes the corners of its eyes-something impossible for any human to accomplish.
It stands up then, lugging its purse over its small, pointy shoulder and I recoil backward away from it. I feel like I’m flying backwards and somehow I manage to go right through the walls of the salon and out onto the empty street.
Looking both ways down the road, I see no cars in sight. Not a single vehicle is parked out here. In fact, when I look around at all the buildings of the town and apartments above them, not one light is visible.
It’s surreal and I’ve only now just noticed the entire town is dark. I’ve been using my witch sight this entire time! If the demon was not concealing its aura, I would have seen it automatically coming to wake in this strange place.
“You have been here before, Valerie Parway,” the demon says and I look around the streets wildly, not seeing the source of the voice.
Well, it’s not like I really want to anyway.
“Do you remember the first time you died, where were you? Where were you then, Valerie? Why were you awakened by that green-haired boy only to be killed by him not so long after...” the demon questions me.
I can hear its voice echo around me in a circle. I cross my arms, not wanting to get any more involved with the creature. For all I know the coven could be testing me, maybe I’m still alive and this is all just a trick. A spell put on me to test my loyalty to them.
“It’s no trick, dear girl,” the demon retorts sharply, reading my thoughts.
It reappears standing face to face with me, no longer smiling. Its beady eyes mirror a millennia of torment and wickedness.
“W-what do you want?”
“A hand-picked follower of mine has brought you to me with purpose,” the devilish creature admits with a coy expression and it makes me feel sick to my stomach.
So the demon must have been lying earlier when it said I summoned it.
“Colin?” I mutter.
“Oh, no, no, no, child. Not him. The less you know, the better,” the demon tells me.
I narrow my eyes at the sinister beast.
So it’s true, the white witch legend really is true. Well, the demons, at least, believe in it. After all, I don’t know what else this demon could be insinuating.
“Find another witch,” I say firmly.
If it curses me to live here in eternity it’s better than being known as the one who willingly helped the devil destroy humanity.
“I thought you would say something like that. Here’s something you would probably like to know, someone has managed to control the doors to this realm and use it as a highway to smuggle my eager brethren through. I am being provoked.”
Eyes that also happen to know every single one of my darkest buried secrets and desires.
“Valerie, I have given you a second chance. Your first awakening, admittedly, was a test. You are stronger than you know. So I possessed the green-haired boy for a short bit, it was necessary to awaken you and mark you as my investment. You already have successfully used my powers, you are indeed the white witch,” the demon explains.
“Why did you make him kill me?” I ask bitterly.
“Oh that wasn’t me, he did that on his own account. I do not have time to babysit this world. I never had to before. Someone is messing with me and witches are no more worthy of being gatekeeper here. Alas, I let them continue to be. This realm has been tainted now though and soon, will look no better than Hell if this charade is not put to an end,” the creature grunts.
“What do you expect me to do? Why not let a stronger witch handle your case if you claim you cannot.”
“Most witches are greedy, they cannot handle such knowledge. They have already suspected the legend is coming to fruition. In time, it will. For now, all I ask is that you help sweep some things under the rug. Return my brethren back to me and I will bring your family back to life,” the demon tries to bribe me, but I won’t fall for its empty promises.
“No! For all I know, you want your demons to escape. You want to provoke the witches. You’re the one who wants to start a war!” I shout back angrily.
Its smile grows making fleshy skin peel off its disgusting face. “Smart girl. Very fitting of course, since you are my selected witch. I don’t mind if war results, I also can’t say I mind my demons escaping Hell. What I do mind is my own creatures being controlled against their will. There are strong magic users, eventually, you will pin down who is screwing with me-us. For now, your main duties will comprise of returning my creatures to me. For now, I have other sources looking into the other half of this issue.”
“I’ll never do what you want. So like I said, find another witch. I’m done with your games and I’m tired of being used and lied to. Nothing in this world will ever make me buy into anything you say. Just...just leave me alone.”
Whatever is pulling me is beyond my control though, maybe the devil is sending me to Hell.
Punishment for not complying.
“Unfortunately, for you, you don’t get a choice!” the demon laughs back.
I collapse onto my knees, feeling my curse mark burn horribly.
It’s gnarled, clawed hand rips through the bottom half of my shirt. To my agonized amazement, I find my curse mark gone.
“That was my investment, only now, right this very moment, it has paid off. Your magic has finally given in and fully accepted what I have offered. Find my demons and return them to me, white witch,” the devil demands me in a detached voice.
My curse mark may be gone, but the pain is as real as ever. I feel like my insides are burning to ash and I throw up onto the ground. When I go to wipe the nasty vomit from my face, I find my arm covered in a black sleeve. Standing up in shock, I stare down at the foreign long black sleeved dress that hugs my body.
It looks like I just walked out of some Victorian funeral, my skin looks as pale as a sheet and for the first time I’m starting to see where this ‘white witch’ term may have come from. Not to mention, the dress makes my hair seem almost white too.
“I’m not your witch!” I scream, not holding back anything.
If the devil thinks I’ll last a moment on Earth without being killed after it granted me this wretched curse, he’s much more dumber than humanity takes him to be.
The image of the disfigured hag in Patty’s house that Stella and I grew up terrified of, flashes across my vision.
I’m not her! I’m not some dumb evil witch stupid enough to work with the devil!
“You know exactly who is opening the doors to the other realm and letting your demons roam free on Earth, don’t you?” I whisper in rage at the vile beast.
Instead of answering me, the demon lifts a skeletal finger and points at my feet, a hexagram forms around me. The magic, my magic, radiates from it in a bright blue glow.
What if this is really all real? What if the coven really isn’t part of this? If I don’t obey the demon, will I be sent to Hell? If I do obey the demon, will it just snap its fingers and bring me back to life? Can it even do that since we are in the other realm? The coven will not hesitate to kill me and if the police did find my body, I’m sure the coven won’t be far from my grave.
“Do not worry, my followers will protect you from those...who do not understand,” the devil laughs, but it dies out forming into a dark promise.
Followers? Just who exactly would ever want to willingly protect someone like me? Someone who is cursed by the devil! I’m not doing this! Whoever else he’s talking about must be out of their mind. All I know is someone is lying to me and it’s very easy to believe I’m staring down at the source. The only thing I can be sure of is I’m dead and about to be forced into something against my will, again.
“So is this supposed to be some kind of fetish of yours, making me wear this getup?” I try to brush off my new outfit, not liking how the demon doesn’t seem unsure at all in what it says.
He seems confident in what he claims me to be and it makes me feel less like his supposed witch and more like his slave.
“Do not be afraid. You have nothing to fear so long you do as fate would have, which is obeying me. Now go and do not tell a soul of our agreement,” the devil commands me.
A million questions fill into my head.
“What will you do if I tell someone?”
“So many questions. How silly of you to question my motives. As I have said from the start, the less you know the better. If you know what’s best, you will not risk telling anyone about your new duty. For your own safety of course. Now, when my pets are near you, you will know by the appearance of your new attire. I no longer will be here, but back in Hell. We will not be seeing each other again, in this life that is,” the demon hisses in a low voice.
There’s no time for me to make any sort of response at all, as I get the wind knocked out of me. Then, something, like a vacuum, pulls me backward again only with much more force.
It’s as though I’m being pushed through the infinite amount of space behind me.
So I shut my eyes, feeling my body grow weaker and weaker as my breathing becomes more ragged.
My body feels like it is being drugged as each breath becomes more laborious.
If the devil was telling the truth, then I guess I’m going to have to find my own way out of this. It’s not worth it to reveal my new burden with someone else and risk them getting hurt anyway. I’ll have to start with Colin though and find whoever is behind my death, no more depending on the coven. The moment they find me alive again, they’ll put me right back under the dirt. I can’t afford to die again until I figure out who is messing with my life.
I suppose that means I may just have to work for the devil, but only for a little bit.