The Guardian Demon

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Guinevere


A young man sits on his bed in the dark afraid of turning on the lights and being met with the sight of his own blood. The boy who thought himself god frantically switches the animal rune through various organisms known to have regenerative capabilities but the stump at his wrist remains just that, a bloody stump. The desperate use of his power drains him making him lightheaded but he keeps trying and trying until his body gives out and shuts down.


He reaches up with his right hand to rub his eyes but it seems like his hand passes right through his head. He panics and opens his eyes, the light of the morning denies him the privilege of pretending that what is right in front of his eyes doesn’t exist. He sees that where his hand should sprout from at his wrist there is a gory dry wound. His eyes well up in tears.

*Will I be like this forever?

He sits up and feels something on his leg. He picks it up. it’s a bullet. He throws it at the wall on the other side. He reaches behind him and touches his back. The bullet wounds are gone. He looks around and sees the mess of bloody clothes on the floor. He gets up from the bed and looks out the window. The birds still chirp. Children still play. The sun still shines. Nothing has changed.


There’s a young man in a hoodie at a grocery stand. As he picks some vegetables, a voice comes from behind.

“So this is where you buy groceries these days.”

He pays for the vegetables and picks up his paper bag with his good hand while the other is snug in his hoodie’s pocket. He turns and starts to walk away.

“Matt, I’m talking to you… “he keeps walking, “Matt!... Matthew!”

He stops.

“What do you want?” he grumbles.

He knows who it is. He just doesn’t care.

“To talk to you. You haven’t been answering any of my calls or texts.”

Julia walks towards him and gets in front of him.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

“Nothing.”

She reaches up and pulls off his hood.

“Why do you look so sad then?”

He reaches up and pulls the hood back down.

“I said it’s nothing okay.”

“I might be able to help you…”

“You won’t.”

He walks past her.

“Give me a chance to help you first.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Matt!” She reaches at his right arm almost taking it out of his pocket and gets a glimpse of what seems like a white bandage going around his wrist. He is startled and he drops the bag and its contents roll onto the ground. She notices his reaction.

“What’s wrong with your hand?”

He looks at her and for the first time, he feels something other than warmth and soft fluff. It feels like his gut is boiling with bitter green bile. She always wanted to know everything, she always wanted to be there. But what could she ever do? He existed on the line between the natural and the supernatural, he had done things and knew things that would break her perception of reality. Keeping her away from it all was protecting her yet she still wanted to know, she still insisted, all because of what, she cares? No, she was just stupid.

“Why don’t you just leave me alone! You can’t help me! The things I’m dealing with are beyond you! Beyond everyone! Whatever you think you can do is nothing compared to what I’m dealing with! So stop trying to insert yourself into my life! You have Brian for that! Go take care of him!”

By-standers hear the commotion look towards their direction. Julia watches him angrily pick up the things that fell and trudge away. She looks at him as he walks away before she also turns and leaves.


Knock, Knock.

Brian opens the door revealing Julia at his doorstep.

“Hi,” she says, her voice sullen.

“What’s wrong? You look so down,” Brian says.

He shows her in and closes the door.

“It’s Matthew, something’s wrong with him and he won’t let me help.”

#Him again?

“Hasn’t he always been like that?”

“He has, but we’re not kids anymore. We can’t just ignore him when we see that he needs our help.” She walks over to the couch and sits down.

#She never shuts up about you ever since you came back from the dead.

“But unless he allows you to help there is nothing you can do,” Brian says as he walks towards his kitchen.

“He doesn’t trust us. He feels as if he lets us in something like what happened to his father will happen again.”

#I guess she has always loved you, hasn’t she?

“But that’s his fault, isn’t it. We don’t wish him any harm,” Brian says coming back with two glasses of water.

“How can it be when he is just trying to protect himself from getting hurt again?”

#So keep pushing her away.

“He chooses to concentrate on the evils of the past while the present poses no threat,” Brian says and sits down next to her.

#Because the further away she gets from you.

“Anyone who can’t see that you only mean well doesn’t deserve to be your friend.” He takes her hand in his.

#The closer she gets to me.

“So don’t worry about him, okay.” He hugs her, “He doesn’t deserve it.”

She breaks from his hug and stands up.

“But I can’t just leave him to suffer alone,” she says as she looks out the window.

He rolls his eyes. He stands up behind her.

“People who use their misfortunes to get others to worry about them are psychic vampires who will just drain you of all your energy while you try to help them. If he wants to be a part of your life, then he should put in some effort too.”

She turns towards him.

“If I had left you alone when you wanted to do something about your father being the King, you would have ended up in jail for doing something stupid. It could be the same with Matthew.”

“Is this the first time you are trying to get him to open up about something?” Brian asks.

“No…”

“Does this seem like the simplest thing you have ever tried to get him to open up about?”

“No.”

“Then what makes you think that he will trust you with this, which seems like a big deal when he doesn’t trust you with even the smaller things. If he chooses to push us away then that’s his problem, we are only trying to help.” He holds her hands, “I put away my pride and let you help me and here I am in a beautiful relationship with the most amazing person I have ever met. Matthew insists on pushing everyone away and if that is the life he wants to live then so be it. He doesn’t have to ruin our lives because of it and we shouldn’t let him.”

She seems to agree.

“But we have to at least get him to go to a hospital,” she then says abruptly.

“Why?”

“Something’s wrong with his hand.”

Brian’s expression hardens.

“His right hand?” he asks.

Julia thinks for a second.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“What is wrong with his hand to be specific?”

“I didn’t get a good look because he was trying very hard to hide it. What do you know?”

“You didn’t even get a glimpse?”

“Brian, tell me what you know.”

“Know about what?”

“About Matthew!”

“It’s nothing, it was just a guess.”

“Just a guess? You’re lying, you know something, tell me!”

#It can’t be.

Matthew’s watch, the demon’s wrist, ‘my father is a witch doctor, ... He is, but he doesn’t have any powers. I’m the one who does most of the work.’.

Patterns. Runes.

Hoodies.

# It can’t be.

“Brian!” Julia’s voice breaks his chain of thought. She has her hands holding both sides of his face forcing him to look at her.

“What?” he says.

“What do you know?”

“Matthew has been lying to us our whole lives.”

“What do you mean?”

“He… “

#If I tell her what I know, she will want to know how I know.

“He was never our friend; he has just been taking us along for a ride this whole time.”

“How, Brian? How has he been lying to us? What do you know, just tell me!”

She studies his face. He knows something but he is silent.

“You need to tell me. Please…” tears start brimming in her eyes, “I need to know... just tell me something… anything…?”

“Matthew is a liar and he is dangerous. You can’t go near him. You just… you just have to trust me.”

She pushes him away.

“You keep pointing fingers at Matthew for having secrets, for not trusting us, but the truth is, you’re the same. You don’t trust me either!”

“But I told you about my fath-”

“That was two years ago!”

The tears tumble down her face.

“It’s for your own good. Please, you have to believe me.”

“I’m not stupid, Brian! All those “business” meetings you attend, the blood-stained clothes, the cryptic messages on your phone. You have secrets of your own!... I’m not just an accessory in your lives. You can’t just involve me when it’s convenient and dispose of me when it’s not!”

“Julia…” he tries walking towards her but she shows him her palm prompting him to not go any further.

“…I try so hard to be there for you two… but you don’t even try to understand what I feel… I pour out my soul for you… and you don’t even trust me enough to tell me anything.”

She suddenly calms down and wipes away her tears. She has had it with this. She straightens up and looks Brian in his eyes.

“You don’t have to worry about me going near Matthew or knowing whatever secrets you are keeping from me, because I’m done.”

“Done? Done with what?”

“I’m done with the both of you. If you can’t trust me then I guess I can’t trust you either.”

“You are ending our relationship because I won’t tell you Matthew’s secret? That’s probably what he wants!”

“I’m breaking up with you because you can’t trust me with yours.”

She starts walking towards the door.

“So you’ll just leave at the first agitation, don’t I get a shadow of a doubt like Matthew did?”

Julia stops and looks back at him.

“Don’t look at me like that. I know you’ve always loved him. You are probably going to look for him right now and give him his millionth chance to come clean and come home!”

“I love you too Brian and I really wanted to make this work, but your jealousy for Matthew blinds you in all aspects of your life.”

“Shut up!”

“He is not your enemy, life is not a competition. You had me for two years and now you have lost me, and it’s not Matthew’s fault.”

“Just get out!”

She leaves his house and he throws something after her. It hits the closed door.

#It’s always been his fault, from the very beginning.

#He always got what I wanted.

#A loving father, the love of my life.

#And now he is the hero of MY city!

“I was here first! I had her first! Why do you always take everything that’s mine!”

#Maybe it’s about time I take something of his.

#In front of the whole world so even my dead father sees it.

#His name, his power and then his life.

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