Thursday, October 1, 2015

II 18. Break Time

Once outside the Revenge House, Ezekiel fell unconscious. It was amazing how Eneizar got over the original shock and asked a passerby to call for an ambulance. Moreover, he went with them. The demon stood by Zoe’s side until the others came. Chen ran to Ezekiel and Mehrdir ran to Zoe’s side. It was interesting how much fuss was created around him but Eneizar could only watch from the side.

Beelzebub got over his anger when he got informed that Zoe was safe. On the other hand, he got annoyed that Eneizar got the endless knot on his wrist. Iaosur laughed and teased Eneizar about it. It was noisy and the vanity demon got in deep trouble with Lucifer but aside that, he was kind of happy to be part of Zoe’s family.

“So,” Zoe started. Eneizar was worse than Mehrdir. He was standing there, in the corner, watching her like a hawk. “When are you going to leave?” She asked bluntly. It was annoying.

“When you’ll be discharged.” She snorted. “Why? Don’t you like me by your side?” The demon teased her. Eneizar was enjoying it a lot.

“No.” Her response was cold. He didn’t care at all what she was accepting and what she hated. Therefore, he didn’t budge from his seat for the rest of the day.

Friends came over and left. Mark and Luke came as well. She wasn’t surprised by that but her behavior was distant. She built a wall between her and people all over again.

“How are you feeling?” Mark’s bright face was visibly not as bright and positive as before. She’s been having the same expression with everyone who came and visited. “Look, Zoe, it’s not like it was a secret.” She raised an eyebrow and stared at him with an unreadable face.

“You’ve been lying to me from the very first time we met.” Mark shook his head.

“We didn’t know who you were. We’ve been through some hard times and when we got this deal, it just opened so many doors.” She scoffed and leaned towards him.

“You made a deal with Leviathan and Belphegor. They personally take over your bodies when they feel like it. Does this sound like an opportunity?” He sighed and tried to grab her arm. She moved it quickly and narrowed her eyes at him. “I thought we were friends.”

“We are! We are friends, Zoe. We genuinely like each other and we get on well with each other. I really believed Ezekiel when he told me that you left with your family and that you let your cousins stay in your apartment,” 

Zoe chuckled and rubbed her face. It was really funny how messed up everything was. She was going crazy.

“Why did you move next door?” She asked.

Mark frowned. It was an expression she had never seen on his face. He was alone with her in the room. Luke got smacked in the head when he tried to enter. Mehrdir was guarding her like his own life was depending on it; which kind of was.

“Sometimes, I do things at night and have no memory of it in the morning. But there was this time when I could remember. I dreamed about you and I dreamed your address,” That was creepy on so many levels. “I’m sorry but I had to find you and see it for myself. You were real, surprisingly. And you were a genuinely nice person. I didn’t understand why you were so important for the demons but I do now.”

“I am the commander.” Zoe started with a plain voice. He nodded. “I make demons go against their natural flow. I make them care yet all I get are lies and pain.” Mark looked down at his hands and started to feel bad. “I’m dangerous. Maybe you should move as far away as possible from me.” He chuckled.

“No. We’re not going to do that. I was serious when I said you got stuck with us. We’re not going to leave you when you need us the most.” She glanced at the door.

“I heard that before. He’s standing right outside this door. But he’s never there when I most need him. Never.” Mark followed her sight and sighed heavily. She was definitely talking about Mehrdir.


The greed demon was not outside of her door though. He was in Ezekiel’s room, watching the human sleep.

“You should have said no to me. You should treasure your life more.” 

Ezekiel wasn’t stupid. He faked sleep in case he wanted to talk about Zoe. Once the demon started to talk, the human opened his eyes. Mehrdir was an idiot and Ezekiel couldn't pretend he couldn't hear.

“I do. But I treasure Zoe too. She’s been deceived by so many people. She needs someone to take care of her.” The human responded.

“So that’s your job?” 

The human laughed. That quickly changed into coughing since his wound was serious and he still felt pressure on his chest.

“No. That’s your job.” Mehrdir’s eyes narrowed at the human. “You better do your job from now on.” The demon gulped and took a step back. He was feeling threatened for some unknown reason.

“I’m going to pa-“

“No. You do your job and I will do mine. I’m her best friend, I’m her brother, I’m everything but I’m not the one she loves with her entire being. That’s you.” Ezekiel pointed at the demon. “Take responsibility.” The demon opened his mouth to speak but Ezekiel wasn’t done yet. “Iaosur and Eneizar admitted their care for her. I did it. Mark did it. Andy did it. Even Beelzebub cares what happens to her. You are next.” Mehrdir wasn’t taking it well at all. He was biting his lip and he was building up a lot of anger.

“Do I have a choice?” Mehrdir's voice was still calm, though.

Suddenly, Asmodeus’ words made sense. Ezekiel realized that no one involved had a choice or a chance to escape. They were all bundled up in a bubble that was floating in the middle of the ocean. No one knew they were there and no one was going to save them.


Later that night, Zoe was squirming in the bed. She tried to sleep but every time she closed her eyes, she could see Lucifer’s black eyes. It was scary.

Once Mehrdir entered her room, she instantly calmed down. He stopped by the edge of the bed and stared at her.

“I hate you.” She was really blunt. The demon blinked and softened considerably.

“I know.” She tilted her head to the side and continued to stare at him blankly.

“I really, really hate you.” She continued firmly. 

Mehrdir got next to her before he leaned in and touched her nose with his.

“I know,” His eyes moved down to her lips; those rosy dangerous temptations. He leaned more but she moved her head to the side. “I’m sorry, Zoe.” He whispered.

“Me too. Now, I’d like you to leave me alone.” Mehrdir raised an eyebrow but got away from her nonetheless. “Not only now, Mehrdir. If you decide to leave, do it and never appear before me ever again. But if you don’t, stay.” The greed demon was taken aback.

“You can’t choose in Hell.” His response was childish and was only making her feel worse. She tried to cover it by chuckling sarcastically.

“But we’re not in Hell, now. You’re in my world and in my world, you have to choose.” 

He gulped and disappeared. The little evil smirk on her face fell and she could feel her heart break a little bit more. Life was unfair.


Months passed quickly afterwards. Zoe’s wounds were minor and was discharged after two days. On the other hand, Ezekiel’s wound was deep and needed more time to recover. He hated hospitals and begged to be released. The doctor sighed and agreed on one condition: he had to stay in bed and be careful. However, when he got to his own home, his parents became annoying. He called Zoe and told her to prepare the couch because he was coming over. She did it. It was the least she could do for him.

Eneizar and Iaosur came back to normal. They were playing around and getting Jasper in trouble. Eneizar found that extraordinary satisfying. Surprisingly, Elijah was a good ghost guardian for the inheritor. When the ghost was around, Eneizar was uncomfortable. Jasper realized that having a ghost watch over him wasn’t as bad as before. The inheritor was wrong before and assumed that everything will get better.

Those ideas shattered quickly.

Mark and Luke didn’t leave. Instead, they started to drag Zoe out of her apartment to different bars and shows. She had until March to decide if she wanted or not to take the job at K University as a teacher.

Months passed like that and Christmas came around.


"Why are you so stiff? It's the holiday season. You have to be happy!" Zoe raised an eyebrow. That sounded a lot like something Chen would say, not Ezekiel.

"I have to?" He nodded. "Do you even know how dangerous Christmas is?" Ezekiel rolled his eyes and jumped next to her.

He was ready to say some argument but her phone rang. Her eyes widened and she gulped. Zoe pulled her legs closer to her chest and looked at her phone warily.

"Christmas parties," She whispered in horror. "Don't!" Ezekiel was ready to respond when she stopped him. "My mother will blackmail me into going to her Christmas party. She will even use my dad as leverage. She's evil." Ezekiel stared at her blankly. Evil. Zoe was in no position to talk about that.


"Why is the phone ringing? Again," Eneizar decided to visit since he didn't know much about Christmas. Of course, after he found out the story behind it, his opinion changed. But still, he liked sparkly things and Christmas was sparkly.

"Don't know. Don't care." Iaosur on the other side was in a bad mood. Mammon seemed to be excessively grumpy because of Belphegor. Iaosur was really curious how those two could get along so well when one was greedy and one was lazy. One cared too much and one didn't care at all. It was lousy there and it was lousy home, as well.

"Don't respond. She will go all crazy on you if you do." Ezekiel threatened. The two demons looked at each other and smirked. "You're looking for it," Ezekiel ran away from there. He went out with his girlfriend.

Alice didn’t remember what happened or that she almost died. Ezekiel took advantage of that. He became very careful around her but he liked to squeeze some information from her as well; the one she knew unconsciously. He was playing with fire, though.

"Should we or should we not? That's the questions." Iaosur commented.

"If you want to stay here, you should not." She was just passing by to get in the kitchen. Eneizar rolled his eyes.

"Who cares what she says? We are free to do anything we want." The vanity demon continued.

"No, you are not. Coincidentally, I marked you both." She passed through the living and went back into her room. The two demons sighed in defeat. They couldn't argue with her last statement.

"Still don't know how she marked me." Eneizar's vanity mark was almost impossible to change but she did.

"That's because you wanted it." The demons turned to Gakhas. He magically walked through the kitchen door. "You can change your sign if you want to. She is powerful enough but she also needs your agreement. You gave it to her long time ago."

"Ain't you so smart?" Eneizar asked sarcastically. It was really suspicious how he knew so many things.

"Whatever," The phone started to ring again and their heads turned to it. Gakhas blinked and walked over. He grabbed the phone and responded. "Who's this?"

Eneizar and Iaosur glanced at each other. She was going to fume in about an hour.

"Oh, a Christmas party? Very nice. Sure she'll be there. Bye!" Gakhas hung up and turned to Eneizar. "What's Christmas?" For someone who knew so many things, that was unexpected.


When Zoe got a phone call one day, she hoped it was from Dan. She had a lot to explain mostly because she kind of vanished for a while.

Unfortunately, it was from Tory.

"Your mother called me and told me we will have dinner together this weekend." Zoe was silent. "I had the same reaction. I told her that you're probably busy and can't make it but it seems she is expecting you home for Christmas." Her head snapped to the door. The living room was silent.

"And whom exactly did mom talk to?"

"A guy. She doesn't know his name,” He took a break and continued. “ I didn't know you live with a man."

"I don't. I babysit them." Tory was silent.

"Them?" He just wanted to be sure he heard right.

"Yes." So she was living with more than one guy. That was interesting "Anyway, I guess I'll see you Friday." She hung up and threw the phone on the bed. She walked in the living room and scanned the place.

Eneizar was not there and she knew that he got an assignment from Beelzebub. Iaosur was next door with Luke, playing video games and the human boys were actually home. They had families of their own. Ezekiel left reluctantly and she practically had to throw him out.

"Gakhas," She mumbled. He was the one who probably answered her phone. No matter what she was going to tell him, he was already exiled from Hell and sending him back was only going to create problems for her. She sighed and entered her room. She had no choice but to go home.


"Are you sure you don't want me to haunt you while you're there?" Andy was worried. Even Eneizar was worried after he saw her room. Her mother was crazily overprotective.

"No. It's my home and I have to get over the past with dignity not with another prescription to a psychiatrist."

On the way to Essex, Zoe was thinking about a lot of back up plans. Her mother knew she wasn't working as a therapist but she didn't know she was working as a webtoon artist. Besides, she still had chapters to complete and give Alec. Christmas in publishing was pretty much for one day and the rest was work.

"Are you scared?" The female fairy looked up at Zoe and noticed her frown. "Your mother sent you to an Asylum before, didn't she?" Luckily, Zoe had the ear phones on.

"Yes. That happened a very long time ago." The fairy tilted her head to the side and blinked innocently. "I'm an adult now." She added.

"But she's still your mother." Well, that was true."Wouldn't it be better to tell her the truth? It's better than lie to her."

"It's a little too late for that."

"But what will happen when you will suddenly die or leave and she won't be able to see you ever again?"Zoe turned her head and looked at the fairy. "It's better for her to know the truth even if she may not believe it. Consider just how much pain being the commander caused you. You don't want your parents to go through that."

"No. I don't."

She never thought about it like that. She never considered her mother's pain and issues. She was selfish and had reasons too but Zoe has seen Hell and lived through it. She didn't want her parents to feel anything close to that.

When she got off the train, she started to get all these crazy memories from her past. She was lying if she ever said she didn't have good memories. She walked past the store where her mother used to buy her sweets and the store where she first met Tory. She walked past the park where she first saw a ghost and noticed the woman was still there. Without thinking, she entered the playground. When she was young, that woman looked so weird and out of place. People where going right through her and she was so pale and dead. She was dead.

The ghost turned her head and noticed a young woman staring right at her. The woman seemed surprised.

"Do I know you?" The ghost appeared right in front of Zoe.

Suddenly, she didn't look as bad as before. She wasn't ugly or suspicious. She was a 40 years old woman who died in a car crash. She was the woman who told Zoe not to tell her secret to anyone.

"I did it." The ghost looked curiously at the human. "I did tell them I see ghosts." Her eyes widened and took a step back in both fear and surprise.

"Little Zoe," She smiled and nodded. "You look different."

"I grew up. I'm almost 27 years old." The ghost chuckled and placed her hands on her shoulders. It was weird. She could touch Zoe.

"It's not that. Your eyes changed. That little girl I met before was innocent. She was a victim of the Underworld and its rules. But now, look at you. You have the eyes of a vanity demon and the sign of Hell. You're surrounded by darkness yet there is still something pure about you." Zoe's eyes softened. That woman was seeing right through her.

"I'm not the victim anymore." The ghost noticed someone walking behind Zoe.

"Then what are you now?" 

She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone she hadn't seen in a long time. The ghost disappeared in order to give them some privacy.

Tory was still the same baby faced boy she met in school. He was radiating this positive energy even when he was facing her. She was void next to him, who was an extraordinary young man.

"Nothing." She sighed and looked to the side. She couldn't even look him in the eye.


After their coincidental meeting, Tory decided to walk the rest of the way with her.

"I didn't expect you to come." She chuckled.

"I didn't either. This place hurt me more than you can imagine. But it's my home and I did have some great moments here."

"Did you ever read my letter?" 

She glanced at him. His face was contorted into a frown. He was tense. He was worried he might say something that would make her mad.

"I didn't." He gulped. That didn't sound good. "I didn't have to. It wasn't your fault. We both know how my mother is. I should have expected you to talk to her since she is my mom."

"You used to come in class all beaten up and you were always scratched or had this annoyed expression on her face. I was worried." His big brown eyes were full of mixed emotions. Unfortunately, hers weren't.

"It's fine. I found out why I was beaten and scratched. I found out who tortured me during school years." Tory nodded. But he was curious who that was. "He made my childhood a disaster." Yet she still loved him. No matter what Mehrdir did -and he did a lot- she was still madly in love with him.

"I'm glad you're fine now. I met a friend of yours already," She froze. "He was interested in your past but he was already understanding you better than I ever could." So Ezekiel came to talk to Tory. Her right eyebrow twitched. She was going to have a talk with that little bastard.

"He is one of the guys I live with." Tory's eyes widened. "He is not my boyfriend. If anything, sometimes it feels like he is my son." Or a brother. But lately, she had to take care of him a lot since he became a magnet for trouble. She was sure it was for her and everything but making bets and asking favors from Asmodeus and Mammon was not good.

"He knew about you." She nodded.

"He- it's complicated. He is one of the people sent to me, to help me."

"So there are more," She nodded. "It seems like you finally know how to control your gift." She raised an eyebrow and stopped.

"Gift?" Tory smirked.

"Someone smart explained to me that what you have is a gift, not a curse. It depends how you use it." Zoe laughed and patted her childhood friend on the back.

"Good, good." Tory couldn't help but feel better seeing her smile and laugh. She looked well and healthy. She was radiating like a light in the tunnel.

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