Feels Like Hell
Zoe was walking back when she felt her hand burning. She glanced at her palm and noticed fire contouring the sign. It was both mesmerizing and scary.
She started to blink furiously when she felt something in her eye; actually, she was sure something was moving inside her eye and it was making her tear up. It was very uncomfortable and it stung.
Zoe rubbed her eyes and tried to get it out but no matter how hard she was rubbing, the feeling was still there. Besides, her hand was burning. She opened her eyes a little in order to see where she was and if it was real. Unfortunately, it was very real. She saw something standing at the end of the hall. The tears were making her vision blurry and she couldn’t figure out what that was exactly.
With every blink, the figure was coming closer. It didn’t look like the traditional Japanese ghost; it was very skinny, she could see the bones, and its skin was burnt. When it was right in front of her, she could see its eyes: it didn’t have any. If anything it looked like someone took them out; the nose was broken and its lips were sewn together and the hair was long and black but it didn’t cover its face.
It moved around her exactly like an animal around its prey; it wanted to kill her or hurt her and it looked hungry. She stopped breathing. That creature didn’t have eyes so it was using its nose to smell and ears to hear.
Zoe didn’t know how much more she could suppress the need to breathe. In the blink of an eye, the creature leaned in and sniffed her like a dog. Her hand stung and her eyes felt like someone was pouring something in them from the inside, if that was even possible. She let out a small breath but that was enough for the creature to attack.
Suddenly, she felt the same energy like the one in her dream rushing through her body. It was intense and it was making her feel free and strong, like her strings were finally loosening up and she could move freely in her body. Without thinking, she grabbed the creature by its forehead and pulled it closer. She opened her eyes and stared at it. Even though it couldn’t see her, the creature became scared. It trembled for a few seconds before it started to squirm. She glared at it and smashed it against the wall; the force she used was so strong that it made a hole. She smashed the creature against the wall again and threw it aside.
Zoe was different and she could feel it. Whatever was slipped into her body was making her feel invincible. The fear she felt before just vanished.
The creature groaned in pain. It came back in front of her but only to bow. Zoe smirked before she placed the sign over its forehead. It cried in pain and became dust.
However, it was not over. Zoe felt something behind her, so she turned and glared at whoever appeared there. It was a ghost. It looked normal and didn’t have any specific trait but her eyes widened when she looked at Zoe. The spirit became scared and disappeared.
When Zoe got back to the rest, she found them in the same spots, Seto trying to cast a spell to get some kind of supernatural response. When Zoe entered, a gust of wind blew out the candles, it got dark and they tensed.
Something was finally happening, and Ezekiel noticed it coming from Zoe.
She took her seat next to him but didn’t care about the circle anymore, couldn’t even see it. When she stepped inside, the drawings got taken away by the wind as if it was sand.
“What the heck was that?”
“That wasn’t part of the plan. I was invoking Aimi, not something else,” Seto muttered, fear crawling up his spine.
Zoe started to rub her eyes harder and the tears dropped down her cheeks. Ezekiel noticed it and nudged Chen. They grabbed her and walked to the window.
“What’s happening to you?” She opened her eyes, though they were teary, and the two boys gasped. “You have something burning in your eyes!” Chen almost screamed, taking a strong hit from his friend.
“More like your orbs are burning. They are bright yellow but they look ready to become red any minute now,” Ezekiel mumbled, his eyes narrowing at her.
“It hurts. My hand, too.” She whimpered.
Ezekiel frowned and checked her hand. The veins were swollen and black and it looked like everything was coming from her palm. There, burning, was the sign of the commander.
“We have to get you out of here.” Ezekiel was scared. He had never seen that and had never been in that kind of situation.
Chen was panicking and he had no idea what was going on.
“We have to get her to a hospital. She looks ready to die.”
“We need to go somewhere private. Somewhere she can scream and no one will realise it’s her.” Suddenly, he got a text. It was Andrew. “Let’s get her in the bathroom. Andy will do something to keep the rest busy.”
Chen’s eyes widened and he nodded absentmindedly, helping Ezekiel by grabbing Zoe’s left arm.
Andy turned to his former classmates and sighed. He dropped the temperature in the room a little and swayed his hand to make something drop. Next, he wanted to possess someone since he never tried it before and was curious. He knew the best person to do it on but he noticed that that specific person was missing.
“Where’s Hans?” Andy frowned.
“We have to move fast. Get the book from my bag and—”
“Zek, we didn’t bring anything with us.”
Ezekiel froze. That was very bad.
“I have no idea what to do,” he admitted. Zoe squirmed in his arms and groaned. “What should I do? Oh my God.”
Chen watched his friend get to his feet and pace around. He stood in front of the mirror and got an idea.
“Zek, wai—” Chen’s eyes widened in fear and worry.
Ezekiel punched the mirror and took one of the shattered pieces. He gulped before he cut his palm.
“Give me some toilet paper.”
Chen hurried and brought a whole roll to Ezekiel who used it as a plug to block the sink. He turned on the hot water and waited until the sink got half full before he turned it off. Then he put his hand into the water.
Chen took a few steps back when he heard his friend start to say some spell in a foreign language. He glanced at Zoe and noticed how pale she got. She was breathing heavily and looked really sick.
“You whom I invoke
Come to me from the depths of Hell
Listen to my voice and let it lead you to me.”
Ezekiel opened his eyes and looked at the shattered mirror.
“I invoke thee, greed demon,
From your place under Prince Mammon, come forward.”
Chen’s heart stopped when he felt everything move slower than normal. He looked at Ezekiel and noticed him gripping the sink tightly. Something happened because he jumped back and the mirror pulled back together on its own.
“Did it work?”
Ezekiel got up groggily and rubbed his palm. It stung.
“I hope so.”
“Who did you invoke, anyway?”
Ezekiel glanced at his friend before his eyes moved to Zoe.
“Her guardian,” Ezekiel answered, using the rest of toilet paper to wrap it around his bleeding hand. Chen was watching everything with a frown.
“No. Her original guardian, Hiset. He is a greed demon working under Mammon at the moment. Mehrdir doesn’t work for the greed prince. He works for Beelzebub.”
Chen was really confused and ready to ask for more details when he noticed someone writing on the mirror. He gulped and pointed shakily at it.
“I think it worked,” Chen started, his hands trembling still. “She has to be contained. What’s that supposed to mean?”
Ezekiel turned around and sighed.
“It means we have to send her on a trip to Hell.” Chen stared at his best friend in shock. “We need to get her in cold water and keep her head under it for a while,” Ezekiel explained, already thinking of a plan.
“But we don’t have a bathtub! Not even in the hotel.”
Ezekiel glanced at the squirming woman and sighed heavily.
“Let’s use the pool.”
“She is surprisingly heavy.” Chen was in charge of carrying her. “Are you sure this will work?”
Ezekiel glanced over his shoulder at the empty corridor. He couldn’t see it but he knew he was watching.
“It will work,” he reassured himself.
They stopped in a corner and looked at the water.
“Throw her in,” Ezekiel ordered.
Chen blinked a few times and put her down. “You do it.”
Ezekiel looked incredulously at his friend. “Why me?”
Chen didn’t touch Zoe. He wasn’t going to throw her in the water.
“I’m not doing it.”
“I’m not doing it either.”
While the two were bickering, someone scoffed and kicked her in the water. She moaned when his foot collided with her side, having enough time and force to mutter how much of an asshole he was before she got wet.
Zoe wasn’t good with water because she didn’t know how to swim. The boys didn’t know that but the demons did. Ezekiel hoped that Hiset would come to help since he was a greed demon too and was working under Mammon. Unfortunately, there was another demon around Zoe that changed his master.
The demon appeared in front of Zoe when she started to feel numb. He covered her eyes and the water started to boil. She was very hot and she started to shiver. When the time came, he pushed her above and let her float in the water.
“Dead corpses float. Living bodies don’t.”
Well, Chen’s statement was true. She was a little dead. But only a little.
Her eyes opened in a place that reminded her of her dream. Fragments of people were all over the place and she swore she saw a few creatures that looked like they got eaten and spilled out in disgust.
Her sign looked different there. It was glowing but it was subtle and the light was orange. Her eyes felt different too. She could see so clearly that it freaked her out.
“Open your hand and accept my gift, sister.”
Zoe blocked, having no idea how to react to someone who called her sister.
She turned around very slowly and raised her head to look at the stranger. It was the same man she saw in her dream. It was the one who slipped that dangerous energy into her.
He walked closer and smiled. At least, that was what she hoped he did because it was hard to tell. He opened his palm and waited patiently for her to grab it. He had the sign on his right hand and she felt drawn to it. She grabbed his arm and felt something above any expectation.
“Do you feel it? The power, the desire, the evil.” She could feel the darkness engulfing her heart. It was eating her alive. “Control will come only if you welcome it. Accept your destiny.” She calmed down after he let her hand go. He smirked and patted her head. “Don’t fight against yourself and use your resources.”
Suddenly, she felt a pressure on her chest. She coughed and felt like someone was pushing the air out of her lungs. Zoe took a last look at him before she closed her eyes.
She opened her eyes and took a deep breath before getting up quickly and looking around. She calmed down when she remembered where she was.
“Are you all right?”
Ezekiel and Chen were on her right. They were worried sick. Behind them, watching with interest, was someone else.
“I’m fine. I almost died.”
“You died for a few minutes. You drowned and we almost called the hospital!” Chen screamed, hugging her with all his force.
She shook her head and chuckled. It was crazy, but it got her to finally make up her mind.
“Someone invoked a Sinner and it attacked me. He got scared when he found out I’m not a simple human.” She continued to chuckle amusedly.
Ezekiel and Chen looked at each other with the same expression. She was acting suspiciously.
“I invoked a demon to help us, too,” Ezekiel trailed off, his eyes still scanning Zoe from head to toe.
“I know. You invoked Iaosur.” She was amused by that fact. The angst demon was the last to contact if she was dying.
Ezekiel remained dumbstruck.
“Iaosur? But—” Now that he started to think about it, he was very direct with his words and that explained who kicked her in the pool. “Damn.” He used his precious blood for someone like that. It was such a disappointment.
They were on the way back when Ezekiel’s phone rang. It was Yun.
“Where are you? Did you get lost? Are you safe? Did something hap—” The phone got taken over by someone else.
“It’s Lau. You scared us when you suddenly disappeared. We looked for you but something came up and we ran out of there. We couldn’t enter and look for you once we got out.”
Zoe chuckled, grabbing Chen’s attention. He stared at her curiously but shrugged it off after what happened.
“It’s okay. We got stuck in the bathroom. We couldn’t open the door. It was very weird. Like a ghost didn’t want us to leave.” Ezekiel was lying through his teeth, but it was for a noble cause.
“I understand. That place is indeed haunted. Come back and let’s rest for tomorrow.”
Ezekiel hung up and turned to his friends.” It seems Andy had fun and scared the shit out of them.”
For the rest of the trip, Zoe started to act a little different. She was greatly amused when something bad was happening to someone; she was very talkative and the girls were surprised how much she knew about clothes. Zoe had come from a rich family and had that high level background, but she just never used it before—so why was she using it now?
“Is it me, or did she just turn ninety degrees?” Yun was right.
Ezekiel and Chen were perplexed and suspicious. Her trip to Hell had changed her.
Zoe wasn’t doing anything bad and wasn’t doing anything out of ordinary. She was ignoring the ghosts around her and avoiding talking to the familiars. Iaosur and Eneizar were around for their own entertainment but didn’t interfere in her life. For some stupid reason, Iaosur was bound to Ezekiel for the rest of the trip.
“Relax. She’s evolving into something better.” Iaosur vanished and appeared in front of him. “Something evil.” He chuckled when he saw a pulsating vein on Ezekiel’s neck.
“Please, leave already,” Ezekiel whined like a kid.
Zoe chuckled from her seat. Having Iaosur around was surprisingly entertaining.
“He’s not going to leave until you send him away or the connection breaks.”
Iaosur smiled in a very creepy way at Ezekiel and tilted his head to the side. He was trying to be cute.
“How do I do that?”
Zoe shrugged before she responded. “You invoked him, you should know.” She copied Iaosur’s cute act and left.
Ezekiel was doomed.