Friday, July 31, 2015

17. Conclusions

The way back home was even more awkward than the moment in the subway with Mark. Henry and Alice decided to visit for different yet obvious reasons. Zoe hoped that Ezekiel was home and Rowan left to do something; far from her apartment. But of course, she wasn’t lucky.
When she unlocked the door, she found suspiciously many people standing and talking in the living room. The worst part was the supernatural one; the demons were very noticeable because they were very visible. Ezekiel noticed her first and opened his mouth, ready to explain why they were there but she shook her head.
“I don’t want to get a hint of what you’re all doing here.” Eneizar rolled his eyes and forcefully pulled her on the couch.  She glared at him before she noticed someone new. “What is Chris doing here?”
“We came to the common conclusion that Rowan is good enough to teach you how to fight against humans.” Eneizar started. “But, we also came to the one sided conclusion of human perception that you may or may not need to know more about dark magic and what you can do as the commander.” The demon continued.
“And do not say that you’re not the commander because either you want that title or not, it’s yours already.” Iaosur added.
Without really thinking much, she hit his arm. That was a surprise for everyone. She had never hit a demon before.
“Did you see that? She hit me! She’s getting it, now!” The angst demon exclaimed with glee.
“Anyway, Chris and Ezekiel will accompany you on this journey to enlightenment. I will watch and decide what you can know and what you don’t have to know. Iaosur will watch you training with Rowan and Mehrdir is back to his original position as your babysitter. Isn’t that wonderful?” Eneizar continued, sarcasm dropping from every word yet everything he said was genuine.
Eneizar was the one who was going to take that responsibility and he loved how much he could manipulate her in those lessons. The humans shook their heads silently when they noticed but Eneizar rolled his eyes and turned to Iaosur.
“Can you believe these guys? They don’t know how to have fun.” The vanity demon mumbled.
Unfortunately, the doorbell rang. Zoe gulped because she already had a slight idea of who was on the other side.
“Oh, no.” She gasped, her eyed widening slightly.
Eneizar, however, got up quickly and walked towards the door with the intention of opening it and probably coming out with excuses to taunt the humans and end up killing them later.
Or that was what she was thinking. With no idea what she was doing, she ran and jumped over Eneizar.
“What are you doing?”
In that moment, she didn’t know what to do so she punched him. His expression changed quickly. He was annoyed and wanted to hit her but at the same time he was confused and surprised. It was a mix that didn’t make much sense for the demon. It was the first time he was in that position.
While he was living his first bewilderment, she ran to the door and opened it slightly.
“Hey. We want to go eat something. Do you want to come?” Henry asked, hopes up that he could spend more time with her.
But that wasn't what irked Zoe's guilt.
Alice’s smiling face was making everything really hard for Zoe. The guilt of refusing to go out with them was heavy because it wasn’t something from her every day routine. She spent too much time alone.
“I can’t. I’m sorry. But-“
Zoe closed the door in their faces and ran to grab Ezekiel. She opened the door after a few seconds and pushed him out. He was in his socks so she also threw his shoes at him.
“Wha-” He was clueless.
“I’m sure Ezekiel would love to go eat. He needs a break.” Zoe said while smiling innocently. She looked at him with a weird glint in her eyes but he got the drift and nodded.
“Sure. A break.” He grimaced before he got his shoes on. She was going to have to pay, and Ezekiel would make sure she would.

When she turned back in the living room, she found Chris all alone. Everyone else left or moved; she could hear Rowan and Iaosur bicker about some random human stuff in the kitchen.
“So this is your life, huh? I can’t say I envy you but some people would do anything in order to see what you see; even make a deal with the Devil.” He started. No one sane would like to live such a life.
“People who make that deal don’t know what they’re getting into. Besides, they do it because they need something badly. They’re irresponsible and place their dear ones in danger.”
“You’d know.” Chris hummed and rubbed his chin. She did know. “Did they ever- you know- ask you to sign a contract?”
Zoe shook her head. Actually, they never did and that was a little weird. Mehrdir was her guardian and he had the right to ask or force her to sign one; but he didn’t. Neither demon talked about it.
“Did your uncle sign one?”
Chris seemed surprised by her blunt question. That was rather mean since he was his uncle and he loved him dearly. Chris knew that the old man was weird and had some kind of bipolar disorder but he was his uncle.
“I think he did once.He got into dark magic after he watched movies with witches. He even went to see one and asked her to ‘tutor’ him. That was how he got so deep into this business. He used to tell me a lot of stories when I was young. It got so far that my parents forbade him to come again.” Chris chuckled at the memory.
Well, reality was even worse. His uncle was amazing and cared for Chris but he did some bad things when he was young and restless.
“But you ended up living with him anyway. Doesn’t he place you in danger every day?”
“I’m not allowed to read or try out some spells. He says I am not at that level yet. I think that’s why I have to teach you about dark magic; I know enough to protect myself but not enough to actually send demons back to Hell.”
That made sense. They wanted someone who was still a novice in the dark arts yet be able to do some little evil chores. She looked at Chris closer and actually started to inspect his attitude towards what he has been hired to do. He didn’t look scared; moreover, he was quite joyful and proud of himself.
“This is the first time you see demons, isn’t it?” She asked suddenly. He chuckled but nodded nonetheless, explaining a few things. “Well, don’t have high expectations. This dark world that you and Ezekiel like so much is bullocks. It’s made out of nothing but disappointment and stupid games where you, as a human, never win.”
Chris bit his lip while staring bemusedly at Zoe. She wasn’t seeing it at all but she was enjoying the latest events much more than she was giving herself credit for. Zoe was enjoying being the commander in her subconscious.

“Why are we here, again? Is your uncle home?”
Since Chris didn’t know how the training would go in her apartment with so many supernatural beings around, he dragged her to his uncle’s store. Much like before, Eneizar had to grab her hand when they entered the store.
“Did he make such a big impression on you?” He asked bemusedly while leading her further into the store. She stared at him skeptically.
“He conjured a demon to posses me. What do you think?”
“He had a bad day.”
She scowled and walked faster, planning to leave before the old man would return.
The first lesson was not going to be in Leo’s room. No. It was going to be in the basement. It was dark and dusty and it looked like a place from Criminal Minds, where the culprit was doing his activities; like cutting people and eating them afterwards, because why not.
She glanced back and noticed Eneizar. Well, at least he was there. He had some kind of protecting aura around him even though it looked more like a murderous intent. It was so confusing.
“Here,” He led her through the curtains, into a room enlightened by candles. There was a circle in the middle of the room and a lot of artefacts and books on the shelves. “We’re going to start here.” He stated.
“This looks like you want to teach me how to send demons to Hell.”
Chris chuckled. He placed his arms on her shoulders from behind and pushed her towards a table.
“We’re not using the circle yet. And for your information, is for calling out spirits.” It was the same thing for her.  “We have to start by reading some basic stuff. For example, you have a deep connection to Beelzebub. Let’s learn about him first. That way you can also find out what you can do.”
Eneizar narrowed his eyes at the human. He was going to pass the chapters where her true powers were written in detail.

Fortunately for the demon, the books were about everything but Beelzebub's powers. On the other side, he was seen as the prince of Hell which made Zoe panic for a while.
“Don’t be stupid. You should be honored to have such connection to him.” She stared at Eneizar skeptically.
Somehow, that panic evolved into a full fight between the vanity demon and her. Chris wasn't sure when it began but he was enjoying it in a twisted way.
“I feel like punching you in the face right now.” The demon narrowed his eyes at her.
“I’d like to see you try. It happened once because I let you off easily. That mercy I won’t show twice.” Eneizar threatened.
Chris took a few steps out of the fighting range and chuckled. It was very entertaining since he couldn’t see Eneizar.
In the end, no one fought. Chris was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to see it but Zoe made sure to push him harshly when he voiced his thoughts out.
“Don’t walk so fast. Take your time and enjoy the life around you.” He smirked before he continued. “You won’t see anything so lively in Hell.”
She couldn’t turn and glare at him because there was someone else behind but she could glare to the side. It had the same effect; more like same no-effect.
“I appreciate your advice but I would prefer to be alone right now.”
Eneizar chuckled. She was a bundle of sarcasm and irony. He hadn’t heard her say something genuine since he appeared in her life. Well, she didn’t need to since they weren’t friends.
Zoe was walking in front of him, with her hands plunged deep in her jacket’s pockets. She was annoyed from diverse reasons. It was March, the beginning of spring and the time when everything was coming back to life. It was the time for optimism and love. She was really curious where those factors were; certainly not in her life. It was also the time when her parents would like to go places together. That together part was troublesome because her mother was very perceptive. It was really hard to hide from her.
She was really worried of that moment when her mother would call and tell her the plan. That subject absorbed every quantity of attention she had so she knew where she was going only by reflex.
Zoe didn’t see nor expect someone to grab her arm and push her on the street. It happened so fast that she couldn’t register what happened.
She fell on the street at a rush hour. People were getting out from their work and were returning home.
The car honked, but she just appeared in the middle of the road. It was impossible to stop in time so the collision was certain. Eneizar wasn’t allowed to pop up all humanly like in front of the car and stop it miraculously so he appeared before her and wrapped his arms around her, protectively. Her eyes were wide and scared, grasping on his arm like her life depended on him, which it was.
Fortunately, the evil was supposed to keep her alive since she was the commander. The familiars started to push the car so that it would stop in time. That was proving to be hard since they weren’t really powerful and big but the car did stop a few millimeters from Zoe. She pushed Eneizar’s arm slightly to the side to see who saved her. It was someone familiar; very familiar but she didn’t know why he was so familiar.
On the other side, Eneizar knew exactly who that demon was.
The driver got out from his car and rushed to her side.
“Why did you jump in front of the car, you stupid student?”
The driver started to swear and complain but she couldn’t hear him. The shock was too big. She almost got run over by a car. Moreover, someone pushed her in the middle of the street. The demon disappeared quickly but not before he nodded at Eneizar. The vanity demon got the idea and touched her temple. She fainted instantly.

When Ezekiel and Rowan came to the hospital, Zoe was already awake and looking very uncomfortable. She was staring intensely at a chair placed in the corner of her room.
Ezekiel and Rowan glanced at each other before they looked at the chair.
“Who’s there?” Ezekiel was the one to ask since she was a little freaked out.
“An old lady who’s judging me hard.” Rowan raised an eyebrow before he started to laugh. She gave him a sharp look that shut him up instantly. “Can you tell her to leave, please?” She asked her puppy friend innocently. Ezekiel sighed and turned towards the empty chair.
“Can you please leave, ma'am? This isn’t your room.”
He couldn’t see it but Zoe could. The lady flipped him off.
“She flipped the birdy at you.”
Ezekiel got taken aback but Rowan found it really funny.
“She’s not very friendly. She gives this thug feeling.” Zoe continued, flinching when the lady narrowed her eyes at her.
Ezekiel crossed his arms in front of his chest and turned expectantly to Rowan. The former thug raised an eyebrow.
“What?” He asked, Ezekiel shrugging innocently.
“Why don’t you try? It takes one to know one, right?” Rowan glared at the shorter boy and leaned in.
“What did you say, midget?” Ezekiel glared at Rowan and straightened his back.
“Sorry, I didn’t understand a word you said. Can you repeat in a language that we all know?” Ezekiel asked, fully aware that Rowan's thick accent was always a problem for him.
Zoe watched the two boys fight with each other in silence. The lady already moved next to her bed and was watching the fight too.
“I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes.” Zoe turned to the lady perplexed. “Ghosts talk, mostly in hospitals. There’s a price on your head, Zoe Lestrade.” 
“Who?” The lady chuckled.
“You already know who. Demons can’t help you against humans. There are higher forces getting into this problem of yours.” The lady said before she left.
Zoe was confused. What kind of higher forces? She has never ever seen an angel.
“Guys.” The two didn’t even hear her. “Guys!” They turned to her with narrowed eyes. “She left already.”
An hour later, Rowan had to leave. He and Ezekiel made peace quickly, over a pack of Oreo’s.
“Oh by the way! Chen’s in this hospital, recuperating. Do you want to go visit him?” She blinked and pushed the hospital food aside. “I think he’s on this floor, too.” Ezekiel was deciding it by himself, as it seemed.
“Isn’t that wonderful?” She was sarcastic. Zoe smiled all annoyed at Ezekiel but he didn’t seem to get the point. “It’s too soon. I’m not spiritually prepared to see him.” She responded more seriously. Ezekiel rolled his eyes and moved the pillow aside.
“Don’t you want to test your theory?”
Well, she was curious if what Mehrdir said was true but she knew that the world wasn’t exactly going as Mehrdir wanted.
“How long am I supposed to stay in hospital for?” The doctor entered at the right moment.
“Only today. At the end of the day, you’ll be free to leave. We ran a few tests and everything seems to be fine.” The doctor smiled kindly at her. “Your boyfriend was here until you woke up.” Zoe pointed at Ezekiel, unsure. The doctor chuckled and shook her head. “The other one. He was really worried.” The doctor checked her IV and winked. “He was quite the catch.” Zoe was confused.
After the doctor left, Ezekiel sat on the empty chair beside her bed. He was trying not to smile but the corner of his lips were moving; he couldn’t hold it back for long, he wanted to tease her.
“Just say it.” She grumbled, her expression blank.
“It seems someone is getting all mushy for you.” Ezekiel started bemused. She raised an eyebrow and bit the inside of her cheek. “You know. We all noticed how much Mehrdir cares for you but now, Eneizar? You have them all wrapped around your tiny finger, don’t you?”  Ezekiel was enjoying it a lot.
“You’re spending too much time with demons.” Ezekiel chuckled and shrugged, not really caring what her opinion was.
His circle of friends became thin and most of them were demons but it was fun as long as he wasn’t going to be killed.
Ezekiel’s phone rung and it seemed he got very good news. He went out for a moment and came back with someone. Zoe froze when she saw that person again.
“Hey, Zoe. Look who I’ve got here. Chen, this is Zoe. I’m sure you heard about her."
His smile was wide and evil. If she didn’t know better, she would have swore Ezekiel was possessed but the bad thing was that he wasn’t. Chen blinked in confusion. Both Zoe and Ezekiel were curious what he was going to answer.
“Hello. I’m Kim Kyung Jae but my friends call me Chen.”
His smile was nothing like the one in his ghost form; it looked joyful and human. It was good to see someone who was gleaming with life after he woke up from a coma.
“Why did you drag me here, Zek?” The evil puppy laughed and hit his friend’s back playfully.
“You’re so funny! Now excuse me, my mom is calling!” He rushed out and closed the door.
Zoe and Chen looked at each other in complete silence. She didn’t know what to say and he didn’t care enough to think about it.
“So, you and Ezekiel are friends,” She started.
“Yes. Are you his girlfriend?” He asked bluntly. It didn't seem like he had any memory of her.
“No! God, no.” She choked on saliva. Chen chuckled.
“He’s a hard one to handle?” She scoffed. That was an understatement.
“He’s a pain in the ass. His phone didn’t even ring but his mother was calling? Please.” Chen laughed and walked closer to her. “For how long have you two been friends?” She changed the subject.
“A long time. I can’t even remember how exactly we became friends. We were both interested in music and we took lessons together. Now, we’re in the same university.”
That was a good starting point. She could move around that subject.
“What university?” She already knew but it wouldn’t hurt to play a little.
“K University. What about you?” She rubbed her hand and chuckled nervously.
“I already graduated and finished the master class.” Chen’s eyes widened. “I’m 26.”She continued. His eyes widened even more.
“Seriously? You don’t act your age.” Her smile dropped instantly. That statement was getting old.
“Anyway, I had a friend in K University. He was a Music Major too.” Chen tilted his head to the side and narrowed his eyes a little.
“Yes. Andrew Garley. Did you know him?” She was really pushing her luck but maybe it was going to worth it.
“He died two years ago. Some dumbass pushed him on the stairs and he fell. He hit his head really hard and he died,” Chen was uncomfortable telling that story. “We were in the same class and we were friends, in some way.” She licked her lower lip and inspected his facial expression. He was sad about what happened but he got over it quickly. “Me, Ezekiel and Andy were the best in our year but truthfully, I am better than both of them. I have a larger vocal range.” He looked so innocent while saying that.
“Some things never change,” She mumbled. Be it human or ghost, he had quite an ego.
Ezekiel wasn’t exactly the master of patience. He was dying to know what they were talking about and if Chen remembered Zoe. He barged in happily and stared at his friend.
“Well? Did you remember?” Ezekiel asked with a weird glint into his eyes. Chen had no idea what his friend was talking about.
“Remember what? What are you talking about?” Ezekiel’s creepy smiling face turned to Zoe. She shook her head.
“It’s fine. Tomorrow is another day.” The puppy said optimistically. Ezekiel waved at Zoe before he wrapped an arm around his friend and pulled him out of her room.
“Wait! Remember what?” She could still hear Chen shout outside.
“You got yourself some interesting friends, haven’t you?” She scoffed and rolled over her left side. She didn’t feel like seeing Mehrdir.
“He doesn’t remember.” She mumbled. The greed demon glanced at the door.
“Not yet. But he will.”
She snorted before he closed her eyes and went to sleep.

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