Can You Hear Me? I'm Dying Inside
Iaosur was talking to Kitti when he cringed at the sudden pain he felt in his hand. The demon excused himself and disappeared, patting Chen on the way out, wiping the blood on his white shirt.
Zoe was in the middle of the crowded street, turning around aimlessly, searching for the source of energy.
Iaosur appeared behind her, his sign burning up his arm, "What are you doing?" He sneered at his commander.
Zoe ignored him completely and turned to her right, feeling Eneizar's presence coming closer and closer.
“Do you know where he is?” She asked him once he got in sight.
Zoe's mind was fogged by Ezekiel's well being so Eneizar's happy face was meaningless; but not for Iaosur, who could think clearly and objectively.
Iaosur raised an eyebrow and pushed aside the stinging in his arms, “You look ravishing tonight, don't you?”
Eneizar shrugged and walked closer.
“Ezekiel’s got fooled by a demon and we have to find him,” Zoe interfered, her breathing becoming more and more elaborated and her heart cringing.
“I've seen him. I know who’s the demon that fooled him.” Eneizar responded, looking way too calm compared to Zoe's panicked expression.
Iaosur folded his arms in front of his chest and raised an intrigued eyebrow, “Oh, how lucky of you,” The angst demon started sarcastically, “Who is it, then?”
Iaosur furrowed his eyebrows in confusion while Zoe completely bought the answer as if it was the right one.
“He is a greed demon as well but he got fed up with Mammon and decided to help Asmodeus instead. That’s why he knew about Ezekiel’s decision.” Eneizar continued, explaining something that wasn't making sense for Iaosur.
“But Hiset was Zoe’s guardian and he would never go as far as endangering her legacy." Iaosur knew what he was saying; he's been a demon for a while.
Eneizar chuckled, staring at the angst demon bemusedly. Iaosur was one of the few souls in Hell who made a deal with one of the Princes and became a full fledged demon; for short, Iaosur has seen enough and knew enough so he wasn't as stupid as he was making himself look.
“That may be the reason. He liked her and backed off when it got too intense. On the other hand, that happened to Mehrdir as well but he didn’t back off and he won’t do it anytime soon. Moreover, she shares his feelings. It only seems logical that Hiset wants revenge.”
Iaosur tilted his head to the side and tapped his foot on the ground, feeling like something was very wrong with Eneizar's explanation.
But Zoe's mind wasn't registering everything Eneizar was saying; she was going with the flow.
“Then that makes it my fault. Where is he?”
Eneizar rubbed his chin and thought how to answer without looking suspicious.
“Much like the hunters, Hiset knows about the cursed houses. He probably found one and got Ezekiel in there.”
Iaosur tugged on Zoe’s hand, having something to say.
“We should talk to the uppers, they should feel it. We can even ask the fairy since he’s an informant.”
She nodded and sighed, “Go tell Mammon about this. I’m sure he will be interested to find that one of his demons went against him. And, keep Jasper safe.”
Iaosur frowned, “What? He has Elijah! He can take care of-“
She shook her head and stared deeply into his eyes, making him swallow the rest of the words. She really became his master, hasn’t she?
“That is exactly why I want you to keep an eye on him. You made Elijah a low level demon. You take responsibility.”
Iaosur scoffed and disappeared.
Now that Iaosur was gone, Zoe's eyes narrowed at Eneizar and grasped her hand in pain.
“You know where the house is. Take me to it.”
The demon smirked, “As you wish.”
His plan was going smoothly.
On the way to Essex, because she was aware what train she got into, Eneizar was very silent which wasn't a characteristic of his. She noticed ghosts watching her from afar and she noticed the uncertainty on their faces.
“They’re worried,” Eneizar started, grabbing her hand and squeezing it. That was a kind gesture and his kind gestures were suspicious.
Truthfully, she knew something was fishy, she could feel it. Besides, demons were creatures who knew how to lie better than humans could say the truth and she learned that on her own skin a very long time ago. She lived with Mehrdir harassing her yet she still kept him close because he was the one thing that seemed real in her life; either that or she was a masochist.
“What has Ezekiel been doing for the last two days?” She asked, aware that Eneizar's answers may as well be all lies.
Eneizar raised an eyebrow and placed his hand back on his lap.
“How should I know? I’m not his babysitter.”
She glanced at a certain ghost; the woman was shaking her head dismissively at the demon.
“How did you find out then?” Eneizar turned and stared at her but she wasn’t even looking at him; she was looking ahead with a poker face, “If Hiset was after Ezekiel, then you knew where Ezekiel was and what he was doing.” Her logic made sense.
“Just because I can track humans doesn’t mean I do it in my free time too. In Hell, there is this rule you have to obey or else you get punished. That is, never interfere when the enemy is your equal. For short, Hiset and I are high level demons; we can’t interfere into each other’s work. We can only interfere when a lower demon does it.”
His theory made as much sense as bullocks. She knew that but she had to nod and go along with it; besides, what he said was completely contradicting with his past behaviour. He's been interfering a lot in Iaosur’s and Mehrdir’s businesses.
Once they arrived in Essex, Zoe’s sign started to glow more and more, her eyes started to burn and she was slowly tearing up. Eneizar grabbed her hand tightly and smirked because he knew she wouldn't be able to open her eyes and see where she was going anymore. She had to keep her eyes closed in order to suppress her powers and all Eneizar could think was perfect.
“Trust me. I will lead you to the house.” The demon muttered, holding her hand while wrapping one arm around her waist.
She scoffed, “Trust is a big word for you, Eneizar.”
The vanity demon chuckled bemusedly. His plan was going better than he imagined.
Ezekiel woke up with a knot in his stomach, literally; his wound wasn’t bleeding anymore but it didn't look well either.
Thankfully, he had enough power to get up and look around; he was in the middle of an empty living room in a place that looked haunted.
Ezekiel sighed and grabbed a hand through his messy hair, “I should have imagined,”
He inspected the few things in the room: there was a table in the corner, right in front of a mirror; a fireplace, of course; there was no Siberian carpet on the floor, unfortunately but he was standing in a middle of a drawn circle with a few weird signs written around it. Ezekiel was in deep trouble.
“So you woke up,”
The person who appeared from thin air in front of the fireplace –kind of like Santa in his childhood stories- was none other than-
The prince of lust was standing there in all his glory, watching his prey with fiery red eyes.
“This is a trap for Zoe, isn’t it?”
The demon shrugged innocently, “Not exactly. You are an interesting human, Zek.”
The human cringed when he heard the elder emphasize his name.
“You raised from an insignificant something to Zoe’s legacy. You should be proud of yourself.”
Ezekiel was proud of himself but not for that reason; he became family for Zoe. That was far greater than some stupid legacy.
The human scoffed, “What’s your point? I’m sure I have something of great importance if you appeared before me.”
“Your life. I want half of your life; more exactly, you die earlier and get to Hell while I get the rest of it.” Asmodeus explained, gesturing here and there.
Ezekiel frowned and crawled closer to the prince, “How is that a deal? I will get to Hell anyway.”
The demon prince rolled his eyes.
“That little Zoe will do anything to keep you away from Hell. She’s ready to give up everything just so she could protect you but why do you need her protection when you can do it yourself?”
That was the beginning of some crazy idea; the human could already sense it.
“We both know you wanted to give half of your life to Mammon. That greedy demon knows nothing, he does nothing and most of his demons left him. I can do something for you, though.”
Ezekiel rolled his eyes but gave in, “What can you do?”
“I can guarantee that I will take you under my wing once you die. I can also guarantee that you will be a free soul. You can do whatever you want!” He took a step closer and leaned in, “I can guarantee that you will become a demon, in the first place. Human souls rarely become something greater than food. What do you say?” He whispered, his red eyes staring intensely into Ezekiel's.
“I say no.”
Asmodeus narrowed his eyes at the human, making him shiver at the sight of those deadly eyes.
“I don’t want to have anything to do with you and creatures like you. You know nothing but lies and hatred.” Ezekiel spat with hatred and he had a very good point but that didn’t mean it reached the lust prince.
Asmodeus grabbed Ezekiel’s arm and turned it so he could see Zoe’s sign.
“If you don’t give it to me, I will personally lock Zoe in a cell in Neverland. That’s a place she will never be able to escape. She will rot.”
That hit a sensible chord in the human. Zoe was family therefore, she became part of his life and he was ready to give up his pitiful life just so she would be safe; she was his weak point.
“She has Beelzebub on her side.” Ezekiel hissed.
Growing annoyed, Asmodeus grabbed Ezekiel's hand and cut right through the middle of the legacy sign. It hurt more than it was supposed to; it felt a lot like his insides were torn apart and someone was squeezing his heart. He coughed blood and one of his ears started to ring.
“This is the pain you will feel for eternity if you don’t do what I say.”
Ezekiel closed his eyes tightly and embraced himself for worse but it didn’t come. Asmodeus decided that physical pain wasn’t very useful so he tried something else. He smirked and made a sign for someone to enter.
Ezekiel’s eyes widened, “Alice! What have you done to her?”
Asmodeus shrugged and walked behind her. “Nothing. She has been a vessel from the beginning. Not mine, of course, but Belial’s.”
The human frowned and fell on his knees. He could feel his wound opening and the blood oozing down his lap.
“It seems he wanted to keep an eye on both sides. There is the Loved One, who wants a rebellion; he wants to rise and conquer the world and then there are the others. The leader is none other than Beelzebub. He likes the way Hell is and doesn’t want to pass the veil. He’s content with what he has and how the world goes around.” He swayed his finger around in the air before he continued, ”Pitiful.” He spat, “They’re weak.”
Ezekiel rolled his eyes, “And why is my life so precious, again? I’m sure, as Zoe’s legacy, I can’t start a rebellion.”
“You are the link between the Livingworld and the Afterlife. You haven’t done anything evil for now and your pact has been nullified by her; she used her own sign to clean you up of the Devil, let’s say.” That was definitely not how it felt but Ezekiel let the demon continue, “But you already have a deep and strong connection to Hell. The higher ups don’t want you to leave this beautiful and majestic lifestyle. You either choose me and Lucifer or Beelzebub.”
Ezekiel was ready to respond when Asmodeus grabbed a knife from his back pocket and gave it to Alice. In the trance she was in, she placed it dangerously close to her neck, ready to slice off when the prince wanted to.
Ezekiel gulped and tried to get out of the circle but instead, he got thrown back.
“What are you doing? Let her go! She doesn’t have anything to do with this!”
The demon laughed loudly, the house shaking at the sound.
“This is the dark side, kid. There’s no free will in here, that’s why I’m giving you a solution. Die now and she will walk out unharmed. Die later and you will probably not see her ever again.”
Ezekiel’s eyes were locked on Alice’s hand. She was going to slice her neck if Asmodeus wanted that.
“5 seconds until the impact.”
Ezekiel didn’t want to die but he didn’t want her to die aimlessly either.
“4 seconds, Ezekiel. Decide now.”
Asmodeus noticed the inner struggle in his eyes. It was pointless; dead or alive, Belial was still going to use Alice’s body if he wanted so.
“3, 2, 1.” The lust prince counted quickly.
The girl sliced her neck and blood gushed out. The demon kicked her body aside and walked towards the human; he bent in front of him and flicked his forehead. Ezekiel felt his head getting heavier and his pulse getting faster.
“Let's wait for Zoe in silence.” He whispered before the human fainted.
“Are we there yet?”
Eneizar rolled his eyes. She asked that for a few times and the answer was the same.
“No-oh. Wait. Yes. We’re here.”
They only walked for ten minutes. It wasn’t even that far but she was klutz and he had to walk very slowly so she wouldn’t trip over something.
Eneizar helped her walk up the stairs and into the Revenge House. The building made a loud noise once she entered it.
Zoe sighed and opened her eyes, the stinging feeling disappearing completely. Eneizar led her into the living room and her eyes noticed immediately the seal; moreover, there was someone in it. She gulped and prayed it wasn’t him.
Unfortunately, it was. Zoe ran to Ezekiel but she couldn't enter the seal.
“Zek! Ezekiel, wake up! Let’s go home.”
“He’s not going to wake up anytime soon. I took care of that personally.”
She froze at that low and annoying voice but instead of glaring at him, she glared at Eneizar.
“What’s he doing here?”
Eneizar took a few steps back and let Asmodeus take the lead from there.
"Displeasure to meet you, as well. You see, Zoe, Ezekiel here wanted to make a deal with higher demons; for his life.”
She couldn’t quite believe that, “I’m sure he wouldn’t have come to you.”
Asmodeus raised an eyebrow. She could see through his vessel so he didn’t need it so he walked out of the body and let it fall on the ground.
“Your precious Mehrdir told Ezekiel to make a deal with Mammon. We both know why; Mammon’s power is slowly fading away. He doesn’t have strong demons on his side anymore. Ezekiel would make an amazing greed demon since his jealousy on your powers has increased greatly.” Asmodeus begun, pacing in front of her.
“He’s not jealous. He’s been next to me for the whole ride and he knows how hard it is.”
Asmodeus raised an eyebrow and cracked a smile.
“Is he? He made a pact but you took that away from him. He wanted to become one with the dark world from the beginning but you didn’t give him any glimpse until recently. He’s always been jealous, Zoe. You got entangled into the dark world but you’ve tried to keep him out of it, out of the world he wanted to know so badly.”Asmodeus crossed his arms in front of his chest and turned towards Eneizar, “How would you feel if you were in his skin, Eneizar?”
Asmodeus turned to Zoe with a triumphant smirk.
“See? You don’t know Ezekiel. You don’t know Mehrdir either. You know nothing.”
She gulped and remembered her next door friends; they were demons as well, vessels for demons. They didn’t move coincidentally. Nothing was coincidental.
Eneizar watched Zoe very closely. She was hurt and didn’t know what was a lie and what was the true anymore; she was breaking in small pieces right in front of him.
His pride cracked a little bit because he’s been there, beside her, ever since she found out she was the commander. Eneizar was there when she met Ezekiel; heck, he nudged her towards him, in the first place. Even in Hell, she confronted Lucifer for him. She wanted to see him so badly because he was a source of comfort for her.
“So then, Zoe. Should I kill you now or should I keep you alive and lock you in Neverland for the time being?”
She blinked, already dying on the inside. Asmodeus' work was done there; he got her to the point where she saw how cruel was Hell and how lonely she was.
Asmodeus was ready to keep his word when something stopped him. He looked outside and heard a high pitched sound; the others were coming. The lust prince had to leave but he couldn’t leave Zoe like that so he pushed her inside the seal and glared at Eneizar before he disappeared.
That night, Zoe didn't even know what was real anymore; she was worried and didn't move from Ezekiel's side. She was still shocked that he would give half of his life in order to gain the evil glint of Hell.
Besides, she never imagined that her neighbours were actually hosts of demon princes. How could she know? That was the reason they moved in the flat next door and that was why Mark was so bright all the time. She was so confused and had no idea whom to trust and who was whom.
She cried in that little corner of hers, waiting for someone to find them. She didn't expect to get Ezekiel so entangled and Mehrdir was nowhere in sight; her sign was hidden and she had no way to get out of that circle.
"I got myself in this. Freaking demons and their stupid rules,"
She sighed and pulled her head between her hands. It was just so complicated and she got in over her head.
Zoe didn't know when the nightmare begun but she knew she was dreaming.
She was in a small room and out of reflex, she looked after Ezekiel. He wasn't there, of course but Mehrdir was, staring at her, talking but she couldn't hear a thing.
“I can’t hear you. I’m not sure I want to, actually,” She trailed, taking a step closer.
Zoe reached out but he couldn’t hear her either, he couldn’t even feel her; there was a glass wall between them. She frowned and hit it hard; again and again, she hit in different spots hoping she could find the soft spot and break it.
The ground shook suddenly and Mehrdir disappeared. She stumbled and fell against the wall, her eyes instantly looking out and noticing that she was being moved. She could see paintings and different chairs, wallpaper and she frowned because they were way too big; that, or the problem was her; she was too small.
Like a caught rat, she could only watch where she was being taken to; hopefully, it wasn't anything weird. Surveying the place, she noticed she has been placed on a table in front of a mirror as she was in a bottle; she was seriously freaking out because she was dressed in a white long dress and she was barefoot.
"Can you hear me?"
Her eyes widened and her head snapped to the side; she could only see a pair of red lips. The person was whispering like she was trying not to disturb Zoe.
The commander blinked and looked into the mirror, walking closer to it with a frown.
"Can you hear me?" The voice sounded louder for some reason.
Zoe looked into the mirror again and the image shifted; she wasn't in the bottle anymore, she was outside of it, dressed in a black Victorian dress, her hair rose in a very stylish bun and her lips were bright red.
Bright red lips like the ones whispering.
"Can you hear me?" The voice got louder and louder.
The bottle wasn’t there anymore but something was definitely on the table. It looked a lot like-
"A body," Zoe trailed before she turned around quickly and closed her eyes. She flinched when she heard the voice again and she covered her ears, "Please, leave me alone,"
Suddenly, everything was silent; well, except the music.
Zoe opened her eyes when she heard the music. She noticed she wasn't in the white dress anymore and she was wearing shoes. She also saw the gramophone and recognized the song; it was one she had to dance on when her grandparents would come over, or any relative for that matter. Her mother wanted her to be an artist but she didn't have any talent.
Her eyes landed on the table; a body was spread on it, shirtless and had some pentagram drawn on the chest. She frowned and got a weird feeling; she was getting scared fast because she was already anticipating who was there. Zoe gulped and took a shaky step closer. Her eyes widened; it wasn't Ezekiel. Even worse, it was Chen.
Zoe couldn't understand why Chen since he had the least connection to demons and her. She ran to his side and checked if he was still alive but while searching for pulse, her eyes landed on the mirror again. Her hands were covered in blood; the same on his chest; besides, it looked a lot like she was trying to get the energy out of him and kill him instead of safely securing him.
Her wide eyes moved back on his face quickly and she jumped in surprise when she saw that his eyes were open; one was black while the other was white. His face contorted into an angry expression and he grabbed her by the neck, pressing really hard while she couldn't find any will to fight back.
"Can you hear me?" It was not the moment for loud voices in her head to speak up but that didn't seem to matter, "Can you hear me, Commander?" Her eyes were moving around chaotically, searching for the source of that voice, "You are dead." The tone sounded so venomous.
Zoe closed her eyes tightly and hoped she wasn't going to die.
Zoe woke up with a jolt, her body trembling and that voice still haunting her mind even if she wasn't dreaming anymore.
Unfortunately, she was still in the circle next to an unconscious Ezekiel.
"Can you hear me?" Zoe whispered and brought her knees close to her chest.
She closed her eyes and bit her lip, feeling something wet drip down her cheeks. It was so much to take in but what hurt the most was the fact that no matter what, she was still so lonely.
"Can you hear me, Mehrdir?" She repeated, her voice broken.
That demon was the only thing she could hold onto and she hoped he wouldn't jump out of her grasp.