Maybe's a Strong Word
The next day, Ezekiel called his friend and arranged a meeting. They decided that the best and safest place to meet was this odd friend’s house. Zoe was surprised to find out that he lived in a store next to the local market, a store that looked rather shabby. She could sense strong energies and she hadn’t even entered yet.
“I didn’t expect something like this.”
Andy’s eyes were inspecting the building thoroughly. It wasn’t very big and it looked quite old, even on the verge of collapsing at the first earthquake. Eneizar grabbed her arm and held it tightly. She was taken aback by his gesture since it came out of nowhere and never happened before with any demon.
“It has salt at the entrance,” the demon mumbled, just to reassure her that he was not doing it for her.
Eneizar was on her right side while Andrew was on her left, both tensing at the same time while squeezing her hand. She sighed and followed Ezekiel.
The bell rang when the door opened. Truthfully, it looked even smaller on the inside but what really impressed and freaked out Zoe was the furniture. From dark paintings representing angels and demons, books about occultism and spirits to different weapons against demons and other kind of creatures, creepy sculptures and a coffin.
“Are you sure we’re in the right place? This looks like an occultism shop.”
Ezekiel chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his neck. He walked past all the dark stuff and opened a back door that led to a staircase. He let her ascend first, unaware that she had two more entities following closely. She glanced at Eneizar but he vanished; Andrew disappeared, too. She gulped and looked forward, preparing for whatever was waiting up there. The stairs were cracking under her feet and the second floor wasn’t well lit.
Once they got upstairs, Zoe had only two choices. One door was at the end of the hall and another one was closer, on the left. Ezekiel grabbed her hand and opened the closest door. Surprisingly enough, that room looked normal; clothes on the ground and an unmade bed were clear signs of a boy living there. It was probably Ezekiel’s friend’s room.
“Oi! What are you doing?”
Zoe’s head snapped back instantly and saw a young and very tall guy walking towards them. This friend of Ezekiel was nothing impressive in looks; he had dark hair that reached his shoulders, he was incredibly tall, at least compared to Ezekiel and looked older than she expected. Overall, this friend did give off the vibes of a person interested in the supernatural, especially when wearing a Ghost Adventures shirt and pyijama pants with alien heads print.
“Chris!” Ezekiel grabbed Zoe’s arm and pushed her lightly towards the guy. “This is the girl I was telling you about! Zoe, this is Christopher Waltzman. He’s my friend.”
The stoic expression Chris had changed into one of curiosity as he saw Zoe wave awkwardly at him.
They entered Chris’s room and sat around. Zoe decided to sit on the little couch that looked clean and comfortable. Chris sat at his desk and Ezekiel grabbed a chair and sat beside his friend. On the other side, Andy and Eneizar were both sitting Indian style on the bed.
“From what Ezekiel told me, you can see ghosts.”
Zoe nodded. It was nothing special in her point of view, she’d call it troublesome more than anything but it seemed there was a number of people that would do anything to have her power.
“Is there a ghost in here?” Chris asked excitedly.
“Now?” she asked.
Chris nodded slowly and stared ahead at practically nothing, waiting for something to pop up in front of him.
“Yes. It’s Andrew. He’s sitting on the bed and he looks like he’d like to be somewhere else.”
The ghost narrowed his eyes at the woman. She didn’t have to give so many details. Eneizar chuckled, amused that she didn’t say anything about him.
“All right. Well,” Chris was speechless. He glanced to his bed but couldn’t see anyone. “What do you want to know?”
Zoe sighed and leaned forward. There were so many things she wanted to know, but first things first.
“I want to know everything about the words of doom.” She started, her eyes staring at him as if she was going to attack him if he won’t answer.
“Oh, that fairytale. Well, I don’t know exactly what it means. But it’s been rumored that it might be about the secret child of the Devil.” Chris answered, confusing Zoe even more.
"Probably Lucifer’s.” Andrew explained seeing how Eneizar was not helping at all.
“How do you even know about it?” She asked the ghost, as subtle as she could yet still the boys stared at her with sparkling eyes.
“Ghosts talk to each other. We know stuff.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you but the inheritor is dead.”
The three young adults turned to the door. The man who was leaning against the frame looked like an older, more intimidating version of Chris, until he started to smile out of nowhere and the cold image disappeared.
“The priests made sure that every fifty years the boy who would be born first on a full moon would be killed instantly,” the man continued.
Eneizar stretched and leaned towards Zoe.
“Just because the Vatican doesn’t know where he is doesn’t mean he is dead,” he mumbled.
She glanced at the demon from the corner of her eye. He wasn’t looking at her, he was staring curiously at the adult who entered the sight with knowledge that few knew. That man didn’t budge from his spot and only continued to watch Zoe like a predator.
“Why makes you so sure?” she mumbled, leaning very slightly towards Eneizar.
“Because the commander is alive. If the commander is alive, so is the inheritor.” Eneizar continued, getting closer to her under the eyes of the human adult.
“Who is the commander?” Zoe asked out loud. She wanted an answer from the older man but he only tilted his head to the side and chuckled.
“We have a lot to talk about, don’t we?”
Seeing the tinge of cockiness in his eyes, Eneizar frowned. That older man was a potential threat if Zoe wasn’t careful.
Unfortunately, Chris’s uncle wanted to talk to Zoe alone. She made a sign to Andy to stay with the guys and completely ignored Eneizar, who tilted his head to the side and waved at her, the frown never leaving his face. Zoe was intimidated by the whole issue and Eneizar’s expression wasn’t very optimistic. She wanted to know more but at the same time, she didn’t want to know anything that could scare her.
“You don’t have to be afraid. I’m not going to do anything weird. We’re only going to talk,” the old man reassured her.
“I see ghosts and you have an occultism shop. You should understand how I feel.”
He chuckled and opened the door to his study. She thought that he was living there with Chris, but it seemed not; the young guy was only coming from time to time which only meant the messy room was actually his uncle’s. He told her to take a seat in the middle of the room and she complied silently.
Zoe couldn’t ignore the different old books in the room. It was full of them, most of them normal. None had the same effect as the one Ezekiel had before. Chris’s uncle entered the room a few minutes later with tea. He sat in front of her and smiled.
“You can call me Leo. Everyone does.” She nodded. “Ezekiel is a weird boy, isn’t he? He jumps head first into these weird situations and he rarely understands just how much trouble that is. He has this tendency of getting deep into dangerous stuff,” he continued, making Zoe feel like she had entered the lion’s cage. That didn’t sound like the conversation was going towards something simple.
“There are people who know exactly what they’re getting into and how troublesome it is, yet they don’t stop.”
Leo chuckled and stared at her with his sparkling brown eyes.
“You’d know.” Her smile fell once she heard those words coming from a stranger. “But you actually don’t.” The cheeky smile on his face dropped and his eyes became different; the sparkle disappeared and he really looked intimidating. “You know, Zoe. There are a lot of stories regarding the Devil. I’m sure you’ve heard the most popular one, the one that people use to scare young kids with, but there’s more.”
“I know. That’s why I came here.”
“Because it scares you, right?”
She started to play with her fingers once she started to feel a dark aura engulfing the room.
“It scares you because you can see more than just ghosts. You can see the darkness in the world and that’s exactly what the inheritor does. The power to see evil but be unable to fight against it, that’s not a fairy tale,” he continued, making her lean back a little.
“So it’s true.”
“It depends on who you’re talking to about the story but most people forgot about it and find it surreal.” Leo smirked. “But not many people can see what you see.”
Suddenly, the whole room became suffocating. She could feel her blood rushing through her veins faster than usually, her head was lighter and she started to hear voices whispering into her ears. Leo got on his feet quickly and grabbed her shoulders.
“What’s going on? Are you alright, Zoe?”
She did try to block the voices but they were too loud and strong.
“What are they saying?” He asked in a lower tone.
“The inheritor.” She could feel herself drowning in the darkness, too hard to fight against it. Leo frowned when she suddenly went limp in his arms. Only a minute passed before she opened her eyes and growled loudly. “The inheritor is alive!”
Her eyes were completely black and she grabbed the man by his neck. Her grip was really tight and she was ready to snap it. Luckily, Eneizar entered the room and pushed the man aside. He grabbed her head and hit her straight in the forehead, the girl fainting in his arms.
The demon sighed heavily and glanced at the older man.
“Salt doesn’t work when the demon is connected to a human.”
Leo’s eyes moved quickly to Zoe. He was really curious why she suddenly got possessed.
“Is she—” He couldn’t finish the sentence from both fear of what was to come and the honour to have met her.
“Might be. For now, let her believe it.”
Eneizar chuckled and placed Zoe on his shoulder.
“You humans are such simple-minded creatures. Everyone has a role. Some of them don’t even realize how important they are until they die.”
Eneizar’s eyes darkened and he snarled like a creature taken from a horror story. He left Leo with a chill and wasn’t regretting it at all. Eneizar was having fun by making others scared.
Ezekiel was surprised when he saw Eneizar carrying Zoe out like she was a sack of potatoes. The human completely ignored and forgot his friend and followed the demon out the store.
“Is she all right?” Ezekiel asked when he finally caught up to the demon.
Eneizar glanced at the human and chuckled. Ezekiel looked genuinely worried and he didn’t even have the slightest idea who he was talking to.
“She’s fine, just got possessed. Demons have their own taboo subjects which they don’t want to talk about. Never.”
“So the story is real? The Devil had a child and that child reincarnated in Zoe?” Ezekiel asked curiously.
Eneizar stared amusedly at the young boy and did something he shouldn’t have: he agreed.
“This is going to be so much fun,” the demon mumbled to himself. He was looking forward to what was going to happen next.