The Volunteer Pub
That night, Zoe couldn’t sleep. She went out to take a walk in the park leaving Ezekiel all alone in the apartment. He had a lot to think about too; his mind was swirling with what she told him before.
After Zoe met her friends, she came back home with a lot more worries than before. Ezekiel was waiting for her in the kitchen, like a parent ready to scold his children for coming home late at night.
She jumped when she saw him there, standing alone in the dark.
“What happened to you?” She asked as she walked past him.
Ezekiel only stared at her and judged. She raised an eyebrow and took the kettle; she was in need of tea.
“Well?” She urged him again to speak.
“I searched and asked about this legacy thing,”
She slowed her actions but didn’t stop, “And?”
“I’m not family and I am not your son. Our bloodlines are different.” Ezekiel scoffed.
She licked her lips and grabbed the sugar, “I know but that doesn’t matter.”
Ezekiel turned around and stared at her back.
“Gakhas took a look at my sign today.” She looked up but didn’t turn to face him, “It seems that pacts have one general sign and is not even visible. Mine is. I have the endless knot on my forearm for everyone to see it,”
She gulped and stopped the stove. She put the kettle aside and poured the tea in a small cup.
“Tell me it doesn’t have any connection with that legacy thing,” She looked down at her cup, “Tell me.” He emphasized his words to imprint them in her head.
Ezekiel narrowed his eyes at her. She turned around and walked towards him, sitting next to him at the table before grabbing his hand and placing it on her lap.
“That is my sign, indeed. Your pact has been nullified when I signed you.”
“Against what you think, you are my most treasured person. I like Mehrdir and I’m sure that will never change. I want you to keep living for me and for everything that we believe in. I will never have children but I want your bloodline to have something specific. Something magical,”
“Isn’t that the same as cursing my bloodline forever?”
Well, that was kind of true. She was passing the curse to someone else because she was sure she won’t have any children in the future.
“Do you know what happens most of the time when the inheritor and commander meet?” Ezekiel waited for her to tell him, “They marry. Not because they love each other but because they want to protect each other from demons and weird cults.”
“Is that what you will do?”
She sighed and leaned towards him.
“No. That’s why I put that sign on you and chose you to be my legacy. I trust you. So please, trust me too and accept it.”
Ezekiel didn’t seem convinced at all. He was there when she almost died and died; actually, he was there when she started to change and saw just how big was the responsibility of that title.
“But it’s a curse,” He combated her plan with logic.
“A curse is a curse only if you make it that way. It depends on how you choose to use it. Someone smart told me that before,”
Ezekiel looked at her, his eyebrow twitching because he was the one who said that before; she had a soft smile on her face and her eyes were watching him with care. He grabbed her hand and squeezed it.
“I will end in Hell because of you.”
She chuckled, “You won’t. I will take care of that.”
Have you ever wondered how it feels to visit a haunted house?
Ezekiel and Gakhas were all alone at home, standing lazily around with messy bed hair and still in pajamas. Gakhas was on the couch, buttoning a random phone he found while Ezekiel was on the ground with a bowl of popcorn in between his legs. They were bored and Zoe was having a job hunt since her income wasn't the same after she finished Fallen.
Visit Jo's Haunted Tour and you will have the best experience of your life. For just-
"Turn it off. It's all bullshit."
Gakhas threw a pillow at Ezekiel's head. The human narrowed his eyes at the demon but did change the channel.
"Are there haunted houses in the world?" The human asked, genuinely curios.
"The whole world is haunted. A house is only a house. Ghosts gather in houses because it makes them feel alive. It makes them feel like they belong."
"But they don't belong anywhere because they're dead," Gakhas nodded, "What about Zoe in a haunted house?"
Gakhas's nose scrunched up in annoyance and turned his back to him.
"I'm playing a game here. Go read some books." That was meant in an offensive way and he made sure it wouldn't be taken as anything else.
Ezekiel rolled his eyes and threw a few popcorn at his head, the demon glaring at him over his shoulder.
"Don't take the low route with me,"
Ezekiel stared blankly at the short boy. He blinked twice and threw popcorn at Gakhas's head. The demon was ready to get up when someone suddenly appeared in the room and jumped on him.
"Get off me you stupid excuse of a demon!"
"You know, I just came back after a long day of work. You should say something that would make me feel all warm inside!" Iaosur chuckled and hit the short boy.
Ezekiel didn't move an inch. He was thinking thoroughly about that TV advertisement.
"Why would I do that? I'm not your wife!" Gakhas moaned, kicking Iaosur yet the angst demon wasn't budging.
“But Rowan was always welcoming me with things that would warm my soul," Gakhas looked at him in a weird way which only made Iaosur smirk and continue, "Like, he would say how evil I am for messing his life. Or how much of an asshole I am for entering on him when he was with a girl,"
That got Ezekiel's attention, "Rowan had a girlfriend? I didn't expect him to have a life,"
Iaosur's eyes widened bemusedly at Ezekiel's surprised tone and his underestimation with people concerned with the dark arts.
"Right? I couldn't stay there and watch him get a life. Therefore, I did everything in my power to destroy it." He clapped his hands loudly, Gakhas and Ezekiel flinching at the loud sound, "His future shattered into small pieces."
He looked so content.
"And you did that just for fun? That's sick."Ezekiel commented, scrunching his nose in disgust.
"Welcome to the dark side. We have cookies and bloodstained futures!" Iaosur hummed happily
Ezekiel gulped. That stung after what he discussed with Zoe. But something was still bugging him.
"So, can we go visit a haunted house?"
Iaosur and Gakhas scoffed.
"Why visit one when we can create our own?" Iaosur pointed out, his eyes becoming fully white for a moment before coming back to normal.
Ezekiel was sure Iaosur was one of the creepiest demons he ever met.
Zoe was tired; no, she was numb. Her legs hurt because of the heels and she was sweating under the suit. She went searching for a job in psychology and the only one she found was in University; K University to be exact. They were short on one teacher and she seemed to fit the post very well. Of course, with a degree like hers and a diploma signed by a prestigious university like King's College with one semester in America was more than fine.
She wasn't expecting the guys to be so excited about something and barge into her personal, fluffy sleeping time.
"Why would I want to make a haunted house?" She wasn't even able to think correctly.
They weren't making sense at all. Nothing was.
"Actually, I wanted to visit one not create one," Ezekiel glared from the side at Iaosur while explaining.
The demon was already planning in the kitchen with a less than coherent Eneizar. For some reason, the vanity demon was stressed and would snap at everyone if he was feeling like it.
"So it's not urgent and doesn't have a purpose."She stated, Ezekiel nodding along. "Then we're not making it."
She went straight into her room and fell face first on the bed. A few seconds later, she got pulled up by none other than Iaosur.
"I want a haunted house!" He screamed like a spoiled brat.
She only stared at him with a blank expression. He shook her a few times before he saw her eyes closing slowly. He scoffed and threw her on the bed, like she was a rag doll.
Granted to the sign on his wrist, she could make it sting without even trying. She only needed a simple thought before she heard Iaosur fall on his face, grabbing his wrist in pain.
The commander smiled contently while dozing off into Wonderland
"She is tired. Why don't you cut her some slack? She has enough on her plate."
Iaosur was like a child. He was being scolded by someone who had no right to because it wasn't of a higher rank than he was and didn't even let him explain his reasons.
"When did you start to care, Eneizar?" The angst demon snarled at his so-called friend, the vanity demon narrowing his eyes at him immediately.
"When we became friends."
That word seemed to make a huge difference because it made Iaosur shut up and restrain the rage for later.
"Why don't you invoke a haunted house and get it over with?" Gakhas asked, his interest lowering to a level under the water.
Ezekiel shuddered at the memory. He could still see Zoe on the ground with blood everywhere. Gakhas noticed Ezekiel's reaction and looked at Eneizar.
The demons were staring down at him, each with their own expression of disapproval.
"You do remember she died in one, right?"
Gakhas shook his head. He had no idea and truthfully didn't give a shit.
"She won't accept anyway. We will have to make a trip to the closest haunted house and see if something fun will happen." Eneizar's idea was good and practical.
"What about the one in Essex?" Ezekiel's option was bypassed quickly, "Why not?" He whined.
"Because that house is seriously haunted by some dangerous ghosts. Maybe the public doesn't realize it when they go visit but there are demons of low grade. That's worse than an empty house." Eneizar succeeded only to empower Ezekiel's curiosity.
"Then what about going to The Volunteer Pub?" Everyone turned to Zoe expectantly, "I’ve always been curious about it." She continued her idea.
The demons and Ezekiel blinked, coming to a nice arrangement that have been set by the one who was going to take all the blame anyway.
"Do you really know what we're getting into?"
The one driving was Eneizar. It was weird because he didn't even have an ID yet he knew how to drive from watching TV. She glared at Chen and Ezekiel for the whole ride. Two years passed and none got their driver license.
"Well, from what I read, it seems haunted. There may only be normal ghosts who got stuck there," Iaosur started, "But we all know that's not true. Ghosts don't just stay on Earth without a reason. There's something fishy about it." He said the last sentence while staring at Zoe in the review mirror.
Her head snapped to him and she scoffed.
"You are the only one who acts suspiciously. Why do you want a haunted house so badly? You live in my house and it's plenty haunted."
"Not in that way. We know each other." He was whining for something so petty.
"Go to Hell." She cursed under her breath.
Iaosur groaned and shifted in his seat, "But I know them too!"
He was annoying and continued whining for a little more to Eneizar; she just turned her back on him and blocked him out.
"Why do you want to go to The Volunteer? It doesn't seem to have anything special,"
Chen looked haunted placed on internet and he wasn't impressed by the ones in London. He had found so many opportune places in Scotland and a lot more throughout Europe.
"Because it has stories. It was either that or the Cane Hill Asylum."
Chen and Ezekiel glanced at each other and nodded before they turned to her.
"I prefer the asylum." They said in synch.
She clicked her tongue and turned to look on the window. Everyone wanted something and they were definitely not going to get it.
She fell asleep quickly, being really tired for some reason.
They got out and took a look around. It was silent and it got dark already; it was impossible for the normal eye to catch something since everything paranormal was happening after midnight.
Or so they say.
Zoe got out and quickly opened the front door. Ezekiel and Chen ran behind her and looked around, sensing something but not being able to see anything.
"What? What?" Chen was the only one who couldn't see ghosts so he was the most curious, "What do you see?"
She smiled and took a step inside feeling relieved.
"I see a well equipped restaurant."
Chen raised an eyebrow and turned to his best friend. Ezekiel gulped and gaped at what he was seeing.
Chen frowned. The demons arrived as well and entered the restaurant without much thought. Eneizar made a sign to someone and pointed at them.
"A table for us. Fast. You don't want to get a vanity demon to wait."
Whoever he was looking at got a little scared because Eneizar narrowed his eyes at him.
"Did he just order a table for us?" Chen whispered to an equally surprised Ezekiel, who nodded. "To thin air? There's nothing there,"
Zoe chuckled and touched Chen. Suddenly everything became visible. The restaurant seemed brand new and there were a lot of people in there.
After they took a seat at their table, a young waiter came to take their order.
"You do realize we are standing in a closed pub, waiting to get nothing because it is closed." Chen took care to outline the important word.
Zoe looked around closely. It was a place out of a fairytale; wait, no. It looked renovated.
"It smells familiar,"She mumbled, feeling a bit awkward staying there with so many ghosts.
Eneizar looked up from the menu he was holding preciously like his whole existence was depending on it.
"That's because it smells like death. Everyone in here is dead."
That didn't stop her to turn to the table behind her and tap the person on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, what year are we in?"
The woman turned to face Zoe and suddenly, the smell was even worse, "1675."
Chen and Ezekiel froze.The older out of the two, the puppy human and recently legacy of the commander, rose and walked towards the door. Zoe shook her head and walked after him, seeing how scared he was even if he didn't want to show it.
"1675. Doesn't that freak you out? We are in a closed restaurant, Zoe." He hissed, grabbing her hand.
She bit her lip and took a glance at the receptionist. He was missing his right leg and half of his face was burnt.
"In a way. But that's how I see the world. Didn't you want to have a glimpse of what I see?" Zoe teased the youngster, making him swallow nervously and bent his head.
Ezekiel didn't have a response because everything she said was true but it was weirder than everything they've been through.
They returned to their table right in time for the food to be served. Chen was still in between believing and thinking it was all a big joke. Somehow, it felt more like a deception because something sinister was going around and he was scared.
"This place freaks me out." He mumbled.
Chen froze when he felt some kind of energy approach him, "Someone just placed his hand on my shoulder." He closed his eyes and grabbed Ezekiel's hand, cringing visibly.
Ezekiel's eyes moved above his friend's head and noticed a stiff man narrowing his eyes at Chen.
“That’s not how you act in a restaurant, kids.”
Ezekiel gulped. That man was probably the manager. He squinted a little and noticed the nametag. He tapped Zoe’s hand quickly, feeling overwhelmed by the ghost.
“Excuse me, is there something wrong here?” Eneizar took the initiative.
The manager inspected the vanity demon from head to toe before responding, “You’re not from around here but you’ll be soon enough.”
Eneizar raised an eyebrow. Zoe glanced from the vanity demon to Iaosur who was uninterested, playing with his napkin. The manager left the same way he came: in silence.
“What does that mean?” Ezekiel whispered to Zoe.
Chen was still clinging on his best friend, completely freaked out.
“I think we’ll find out soon enough.”
They were looking for trouble and it was all Ezekiel’s fault. He started to talk about haunted houses and he was regretting opening his mouth back home.