The Caldera's Vice

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Chapter 51


Twilight casts its ruddy violet hue in through the bungalow window, falling on the older white demon in the black velvet suit and the younger, scruffy gentleman. They snoozed peaceful and content in each other’s arms. Asher was the first to blink his eyes open, realized his surroundings and sighed.

“What is it?” Kemp’s voice was husky and low from sleep.

“We’re still in Hell.”

Kemp giggled, snuggling closer to Asher and whispering, “Now’s a grand chance to leave for Mayville.”

Asher grinned, then took Kemp’s hand on his abs and gave it a squeeze.

“Will you need anything from the house?”

Kemp shook his head, kissed Asher’s lower cheek near the mandible joint, “No, I wish to have no belongings from the place. I want to start fresh…”

“What?” Asher rose a brow as Kemp’s silence persisted.

“I want to start a new chapter of my life,” he trailed off, huddling closer to Asher, and then pulling up and using his arm as a ballast so they could look into each other’s eyes. The poet’s gaze riddled with uncertainty.

“With you.”

Asher’s eyes widened with wild appreciation.

“Do you want to be with me, Asher?”

There was a pause. The young red demon’s response was a soft rustle of a warm breeze.


Kemp’s crease of worry dissolved from his forehead as he leaned in and kissed Asher on the lips.

“Let’s go,” Asher said when Kemp pulled away. They rose and ambled for their things, pausing when the door knocked.

Asher rolled his eyes but Kemp’s head tilted in curiosity.

“Who might that be?” he mused.

“Whoever it is is getting their teeth knocked out,” Asher grumbled. When he opened it, his eyes widened in questioning surprise,“Gerald?”

In the doorway stood Gerald, the gremlin electrician who’d installed the telecams in his house. Kemp appeared behind him, gently placing his palm as a token of reassurance on the small of Asher’s back.

“Yep,” he was shaking a perfume bottle in his hand “I’d like you to hold still, you smell kinda bad.”

“No, wait!”

The aerosol filled the air and before Asher could draw his pistol, his arms lopped over to the side in a listless, drowsy stupor. His eyes glazed over and Kemp appeared to follow his lead.

“Now, both of you, pinch your nose,” Gerald said, striking a match on the doorjamb, lighting a cigar too large and too fat in his long, gremlin fingers. Asher and Kemp obeyed, their glassy eyes staring into nothing.

“Good. Subservient and mindless. Just how I want you. Alrighty, pick up your bags and come along with me. We’re gonna take a drive,” Gerald plopped the cigar into his mouth and waited for the two to mindlessly pick up their bags.

They were outside and Gerald pointed to a large Model A and snapped, “Get in. Tie your hands together.”

Asher and Kemp entered the back of the Model A that had hollowed out its seats and filled with tin vats.

“Oh and while you’re at it, cover up those tins,” Gerald blew out a plume of smoke.

Rows of vials filled with black fluid spiraled down to the middle of the vat in layers but Asher ignored it in his trance to cover the vat.

“Tie your hands together,” Gerald added while Asher and Kemp sat, “Thanks for keeping the Diesel safe and sound, by the way,” Gerald winked “Took you long enough to realize they were there. Too bad you didn’t know they were mine.”

Asher sat next to Kemp and tied their hands together.

“Good good,” Gerald nodded, “Alright, boys, we’re gonna take a little ride down to Shinterville. Hope you like living underground ’cause there’s a lot of work I need you to do.”

He chuckled and slammed the doors.

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