Wednesday, September 23, 2015

II 16. Can You Hear Me? I'm Dying Inside

Zoe’s sign was glowing therefore, Iaosur excused himself and disappeared. She wasn’t on her way home. She was on her way to Ezekiel.

“Do you know where he is?” She glanced to the side and saw Eneizar. He waved and smiled happily. Iaosur stared at his friend warily.

“Why are you so preppy?” Eneizar shrugged and came closer. “Anyway, Ezekiel’s got fooled by a demon and we have to find him.”

“I’ve seen him. I know who’s the demon that fooled him, as well.” Iaosur crossed his arms in front of his chest and raised an intrigued eyebrow.

“Oh, how lucky of you,” The vanity demon chuckled. “Who is it, then?”

“Hiset.” 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.”

“But Hiset was Zoe’s guardian for most of her childhood life. He left because he started to care. That doesn’t seem very logical, doesn’t it? Why would he go against Zoe?” Eneizar clicked his tongue. Iaosur wasn’t as stupid as he made himself seem over the centuries. He was one of the few souls in Hell who made a deal with one of the Princes and became a full fledged demon. At the core, demons have never been human.

“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. He didn’t back off and he won’t do it anytime soon. Moreover, she shares his feelings. He wants revenge.” Iaosur tilted his head to the side and tapped his foot nervously. Something was fishy.

“Then that makes it my fault.” The demon was making her feel worse about herself. “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 there.” Iaosur tugged Zoe’s hand.

“We should talk to the uppers. They can feel it. We can even ask the fairy since he’s an informant.” She nodded and turned to him.

“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. He gulped. She really became his master didn’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. She sighed and glanced at Eneizar from the corner of her eye. “You know where the house is. Iaosur is gone. Take me to it.” The demon smirked.

“As you wish.” His plan was going smoothly.

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On the way to Essex, because she was aware what train she got into, Eneizar was silent. She noticed other ghosts who were closely watching her from afar and she noticed the uncertainty on their faces.

“They’re worried.” She looked at Eneizar. He grabbed her hand and squeezed it. That was a kind gesture. 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. She learned that on her own skin. She lived with Mehrdir harassing her yet she still kept him close. There was a reason for that; she only had to find it. Either that or she was a masochist.

“What has Ezekiel been doing for the last two days?” 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.

“How did you find out then?” Eneizar 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 down 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 friend. 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. She wanted to know what was really going on. Besides, what he said was completely contradicting with his past behavior. He interfered a lot in Iaosur’s and Mehrdir’s businesses.

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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. She wasn’t able to see anything. She had to keep her eyes closed in order to suppress her powers. All Eneizar could think was: perfect.

“Trust me. I will lead you to the house.” She scoffed.

“Trust is a big word for you, Eneizar.” The vanity demon chuckled bemusedly but his eyes were evil. His plan was going better than he imagined. “Just take me there already.” He nodded and wrapped a hand through hers.

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Ezekiel woke up in a living room. His wound was still there but he wasn’t bleeding anymore. He could get up and look around. He was in the middle of an empty living room in a place that looked haunted. He 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. There was 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. He sighed heavily and closed his eyes. He 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-

“Asmodeus,” The prince of lust was standing there in all his glory. He was watching his prey with fiery red eyes. “You got me here and this is a trap for Zoe, isn’t it?” The taller and older man shrugged innocently.

“Not exactly. You are an interesting human, Zek,” He cringed when he heard the elder emphasize his name. “You raised from an insignificant short 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.

“What’s your point?” Asmodeus clicked his tongue. “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 would die earlier and get to Hell while I get the rest of it.” Ezekiel frowned and walked 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 ass 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.”

“What can you do?” Asmodeus smirked.

“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. Ezekiel could clearly see the red orbs. “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?”

“I say no.” Asmodeus narrowed his eyes at the human. “I don’t want to have anything to do with you and creatures like you. You know nothing but lies and hatred.” Ezekiel had a very good point. But that didn’t mean it reached the lust prince. He 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. His weak spot was Zoe. Funny was, he was her weak spot as well.

“She has Beelzebub on her side.” He cringed when Asmodeus cut right through the middle of the sign. It hurt more than it was supposed to. It felt a lot like his insides were torn apart. His heart felt like someone was squeezing it. He coughed blood and one of his ears started to beep.

“This is the pain you will feel for eternity if you don’t do what I say.” He closed his eyes tightly and embraced himself for worse. It didn’t come. Asmodeus decided that physical pain wasn’t very useful so he tried something else. He smirked and made a sign to 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.” He glared at the demon. “Not mine. Belial’s.” The human frowned and fell on his knees. It was hard standing on his feet. He could feel his wound opening and starting to bleed. “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 Middle 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. ”Pitiful,” He spit. “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 a link between the Middle World and the Afterlife. You haven’t done anything evil for now. Your pact has been nullified by her and she used her own sign to clean you up of the Devil, let’s say.” That was definitely not how it felt. But he was curious just how she could do that. “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 chose me and Lucifer or Beelzebub.”
Ezekiel was ready to respond when Asmodeus grabbed a knife from his back pocket. He gave it to Alice. In the trance she was in, she placed it dangerously close to her neck. Ezekiel gulped and tried to get out of the circle. He got thrown back.

“What are you doing? Let her go! She doesn’t have anything to do with this” The demon laughed loudly. He could feel the house shake at the sound.

“This is the dark side, kid. You don’t get to choose. 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. Her eyes were empty. She was going to slice her neck if Asmodeus wanted that. “5 seconds until the impact.” Ezekiel gulped. He 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. “3, 2, 1.” He said quickly. The girl sliced her neck and blood gushed out. Ezekiel froze. The demon pushed 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.

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“Are we there yet?” Eneizar rolled his eyes. She was annoying. 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. He had to walk very slowly so she wouldn’t trip over something.

He helped her walk up the stairs and into the Revenge House. The building made a loud noise once she entered it. She sighed and opened her eyes. She scanned the hall but nothing unusual was there. Eneizar led her into the living room and her eyes went immediately on the seal. There was someone in it. She gulped and prayed it wasn’t him.

Unfortunately, it was. She ran to him 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 knew that voice. Instead of glaring at him, she glared at Eneizar.

“What’s he doing here?” Eneizar took a few steps back. He 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. 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.” She glanced at him.

“He’s not jealous. He knows how hard it is. He’s been next to me for the whole ride.” 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. You didn’t give him any glimpse until recently. He’s always been jealous, Zoe. You got entangled into the dark world but you’re trying to keep him out of it.” Asmodeus crossed his arms in front of his chest and turned towards Eneizar. “How would you feel if you were in his skin, Eneizar?”

“Frustrated.” 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 saw Zoe’s facial expressions. She was hurt and didn’t know what was lie and what was true. She was breaking in small pieces right in front of him. His pride cracked a little bit. He’s been there, beside her, ever since she found out she was the commander. He was there when she met Ezekiel. He nudged her towards him, in the first place. Besides, 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 quickly and gulped. She was already dying on the inside. His 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. He had to leave but he couldn’t leave Zoe like that. He pushed her inside the seal and glared at Eneizar before he disappeared.

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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 neighbors 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. She 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 him so entangled. Besides, 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.

She didn't know when the nightmare started but she knew she was dreaming. She could feel it.

She was in a small room and out of reflex, she looked after Ezekiel. He wasn't there, of course. But Mehrdir was. He was staring at her and was talking but she couldn't hear anything.

“I can’t hear you. I’m not sure I want to, actually”. She walked towards him and reached out. 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. She looked out and noticed she was being moved. She could see paintings and different chairs and wallpaper. She frowned and realized 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 taken to. Luckily, it wasn't anything weird. Surveying the place, she noticed she has been placed on a table in front of a mirror. She was in a bottle and she was seriously freaked out. 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. She blinked and looked into the mirror. She walked closer to it, and furrowed her eyebrows. "Can you hear me?" The voice sounded louder for some reason.

Once she looked into the mirror again, the image shifted. She wasn't in the bottle anymore. Zoe 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 she saw 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 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 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. It was 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. She 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. He had the least connection to demons and her. She ran to his side and checked if he was still alive. While searching for pulse, her eyes landed on the mirror again. She had blood on her hands; the same on his chest. Besides, it looked a lot like she was trying to get the energy out of him and kill him. Her eyes moved back on his face quickly. She jumped in surprise when she saw his eyes were open. One was black while the other was white. It was really weird. His face contorted into an angry expression and grabbed her by the neck. He pressed really hard while she had no power over him.

"Can you hear me?" It was not the moment for loud voices in her head to speak up. That didn't seem to matter. "Can you hear me, Commander?" Her eyes were moving around chaotically. "You are dead." The tone sounded so venomous. She closed her eyes tightly and hoped she wasn't going to die.

DEAD!


Zoe didn't. She woke up with a jolt. Unfortunately, she was still in the circle.

"Can you hear me?" Zoe whispered and brought her knees close to her chest. She closed her eyes and bit her lip. She started to cry again. It was so much to take in. What hurt the most was the fact that no matter what, she was still so lonely. "Can you hear me, Mehrdir?" That demon was the only thing she could hold onto. She just hoped he wouldn't jump out of her grasp.

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