Sunday, October 4, 2015

II 19. Family Issues

On the other side, though, life wasn't as happy. Ezekiel couldn't take it anymore and left home. His parents were asking him a lot of questions. Ever since his older brother married, his parents were waiting for little Ezekiel to introduce his girlfriend to them. That was a little hard since his brother already saw him with Zoe and his real girlfriend stabbed him; moreover, she was a host.

Zoe stopped Ezekiel before he would get a favor from Mammon. However, since he was marked under her sign, he wanted to be able to do something.
Beelzebub gave him that chance. One night, he appeared in Ezekiel’s dream and gave him a list of people who were considered dangerous for the cause. Practically, Ezekiel had to kill. With that, Ezekiel signed his entering to Hell. If Zoe tried her hardest to keep him out, he jumped by himself right in it.

Anyway, that was in the past. It was Christmas and he had to be in a good mood. Just because his girlfriend was a host, it didn't mean it wasn't real.

"Are we going to the store and get drunk?"
Another thing that Ezekiel couldn't understand was Elijah. Why was the low class demon tagging along everywhere he was going? It didn't make any sense. Moreover, he and Andy became fast friends. That was intriguing, actually. They both were ghosts that had some kind of darkness. Well, Elijah's was more prominent. The idea was, Elijah was manipulating Andy.

"Nowhere. I don't feel like drinking."

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That was what he said. Now, he was in a karaoke lounge with Elijah and Iaosur, singing songs while drinking beer. That wasn't exactly how he wanted to spend his night.

"This is awesome! How come we never came here before?" Iaosur was annoyed for the whole month. However, once he appeared in the room and saw Elijah taking all the high notes, he became thrilled.

"I sing all day long. I don't want to do that in my free time." Ezekiel mumbled.
 Iaosur scoffed and chose another song. He was in high spirits. Ha. That was actually quite funny now that he thought about it.

"What's happening here?" Ezekiel groaned. Exactly what he needed. More demons.
"What is that?" Charlie Smith was Beelzebub’s shell. Surprisingly, he was quite a normal guy with normal hobbies.
Not. 
He was an idiotic weirdo who suspiciously knew a lot of music. That was all he knew. When Zoe told him that he is used as a puppet by the glutton prince, he seemed fine with it. He only shrugged and accepted.
Asmodeus had a different shell. He was pretty much sex on legs but as a normal person, he wasn't keen on fucking everything with legs. Well, good he didn't remember what happened while Asmodeus was in control.

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“Zoe!” Mrs Lestrade was more than happy when she saw her daughter on the porch. Moreover, she was with Tory. “Enter, enter. You too, Tory!” The boy shook his head quickly.

“No, no. I have to go home. My mother is-um-wants me to do something for. Yes, that’s it.”
Zoe chuckled. He was a worse liar than her.

The man smiled cutely and waved before he left. Mrs Lestrade grabbed her daughter and hugged her tightly.

“You can’t imagine how happy I am right now.” Her mother said while hugging her tightly.
Zoe blinked in surprise. Was that such an amazing thing? Was she wrong about her mother?

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She wasn’t wrong. Zoe realized that once she got inside. She hoped that no one would be visiting while she was there but that didn’t happen. Her grandparents were there with her mother’s sister and her family.

“Auntie!”
Zoe froze when a little fur of head ran to her and wrapped her arms around her legs. She looked down at the six years old girl and blinked. The little girl was staring at her aunt with innocent eyes. Zoe was feeling like she was the sole pollution cause to the family.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” She mumbled. Her mother smiled and nudged her towards the living room. She gulped before her grandmother pulled her into a tight hug.

“Our dear, Zoe. I’m so glad you decided to come and spend Christmas with your family.” People were throwing that word in sentences without having a single thought of what it meant for her.

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The family made a big fuss about Zoe’s visit home. Her mother and aunt were talking about her childhood and whatever. She wasn’t interested. Her eyes were following the little bundle of joy that was running around. Zoe wished she had been like that when she was young. Unfortunately, her childhood years were filled with pressure from both parents and demons.
Hiset was probably a nicer demon than any she had met. He let her do whatever she wanted and live as she wanted. He never interfered; she would have remembered. But once Mehrdir appeared in her life –even as a mere side presence- everything became dark.

“So, what are you doing now, Zoe?” Her aunt was a very curious person; maybe too curious for her own sake. Mrs. Lestrade glanced at her daughter expectantly.

“I’m starting work as a teacher at K University in March.” Her parents were surprised. She smiled cockily at her mother. “I’m going to teach psychology and cooperate with the forensic branch for a while.” Zoe continued. She wasn’t lying but she was making it bigger than it was.

“That’s really good. What have you been doing until now? I didn’t hear anything from your mom.” Mrs. Lestrade chuckled. Her daughter was unemployed yet she was making money somewhere. It was suspicious.

“I’ve been working as a webtoon artist for a while,” Her aunt scoffed. Her mother raised an eyebrow and took a sip from her glass of wine. She could already feel her blood pressure rising as she was finding more things about her daughter’s life.

“That makes close to nothing. You’re better as a teacher.” Zoe only nodded. She didn’t want to make a fuss so early in her visit. “And what about family?” She blinked.

“What about it?” Zoe asked dumbfound.
Her aunt rolled her eyes and smirked at her sister. “You’re getting old, Zoe. How old are you again?”
Both mother and daughter chocked on their drinks. That didn’t even matter until she spoke about it.

“I’m 27.” Her aunt shook her head disapprovingly.

“She has enough time to find someone,” Zoe smiled gratefully at her grandmother. “Besides, times have changed, right dear?” The older woman turned to her husband.
Unlike other times, her grandfather was acting weird. He was silent and would glance at Zoe’s back from time to time.

“I decided not to get married and have children.” Everyone stopped talking and looked at Zoe. She could see some judging stares but she could also feel understanding.

“What about the Christmas party, then? It’s Monday night!” Zoe blinked in confusion. “Aren’t you going to have someone accompany you?” The youngest woman drunk her share of wine and got on her feet.

“Sorry to disappoint you, auntie, but I’ll be alone.” She smiled sarcastically and left to her room.

On her way to the stairs she could hear her aunt move next to her mother.

“She didn’t change at all, did she?” She heard her say.
Zoe closed her eyes and sighed. She had to cope up for a couple of days and then she could go to her real home.

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The next two days were horrible. Mrs. Lestrade was acting all motherly in front of her guests but once someone would say something about Zoe and her past problems, she would suddenly prefer to leave or be silent.

At dinner, on Saturday, her aunt couldn’t contain her curiosity anymore and she started to ask different and uncomfortable questions.

“So, how is your personal life, Zoe?” Everyone understood what she meant by that. She was asking about her issues.

“It’s fine.” Her answer was short. For the past two days she only gave short and cold answers.

“Are you still seeing things?” Mrs. and Mr. Lestrade glanced at each other before they looked down at their food. They hated to talk about that. Zoe was expecting someone to take her side but her expectations were high.

“No. I don’t.” Her aunt sighed in relief. Her husband made her a sign to stop and change the subject but she ignored him.

“That’s quite a relief, isn’t it? You can’t even imagine how stressed were your parents when they got so many calls in the past.”
Zoe tried to keep her anger in. Unfortunately, it was building up very fast and she was sure she was going to explode at some point. She only hoped her eyes won’t change colors.

“It’s in the past now.” Mrs. Lestrade mumbled.

“Even so, it’s time for her to realize how much trouble she caused. I’m sure she understands now why you sent her to a Special School.” She emphasized the last two words. Zoe took a deep breath and leaned back gripping her pants tightly in annoyance. “You were such a handful. I can still remember when-“She got interrupted by the eldest man. He glared at his daughter and left the room, surprising even Zoe.

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After dinner, she went straight into her room. She took a shower and noticed how silent it was. Usually, she was always anxious that a demon or ghost would invade her privacy but now, when she was all alone and she had a peaceful time, it felt melancholic.

She was drying her hair in pink Minnie Mouse pajamas when someone knocked on her door. That was another surprise. Most demons would just barge inside and scream at her.

“But this is not my apartment.” Zoe reminded herself. She sighed and opened the door. It was her grandfather and he was holding a small vintage box.

“Can I enter and have a chat, Zoe?” She nodded and let him enter. He sat on her bed and waited for her to sit, as well. Afterwards, he pushed the vintage box towards her. “This is your Christmas present. I’m going to give it to you now. You look like you need it.” She blinked and glanced between the box and her grandpa.

“What is it?” Her grandfather raised an eyebrow bemusedly.

“Since when are you questioning my presents?” He was only joking but granted to his low husky voice, she swore he offended him. “Look, Zoe. I know a lot of things happened but you can tell me. Just like when you were a kid, you can tell me anything.”

Truthfully, every time she was having a nightmare or a problem, Zoe would call or visit her grandparents. That changed when her mother started to act like an overprotective beast. She wasn’t allowed to go anywhere without her and her freedom became theoretical.

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"You're saying that Iaosur got Jasper drunk?"
Zoe didn't expect Chen to call her at such a late hour on a Saturday night. She only got home for two days and they were going out and being boys.

"Ezekiel is in the bathroom now. I think he's vomiting. Wait, let me check-" She heard the phone being placed somewhere on a table. Being still on, she could hear what was happening in the room.

"You didn't have to make them drink so much." She heard Elijah. She heard another voice snicker. It was Eneizar.

"They wanted to go out and have fun. Ezekiel was getting bored and the apartment is really silent without Zoe." She tilted her head to the side and listened closely.

"You tried to kill her, man." She heard Eneizar click his tongue.

"That was in the past." He responded. He was the same bastard. "If I wanted her dead, I wouldn't have come back." She smiled. That was right. He did have a change of heart which was pretty rare for demons.

She heard Chen scream something about Ezekiel fainting and she heard footsteps coming closer to the phone.

"Is this turned on?" She chuckled. "Hello?"

"You're a freaking prick, Eneizar." She could already see his eyes widen.

"I will deny everything." She rolled her eyes. "By the way, your legacy just fainted in the bathroom. I think Elijah is trying to put him in the bathtub but-" She heard the demon scoff at a loud thud. "Stupid ghost. He can't touch anyone." He mumbled and put the phone back on the table. She hung up quickly and threw the phone on the bed. She missed home.

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That night, she couldn't sleep at all. She had weird dream after weird dream. She didn't know what was going on because there was nothing around her or the house. The demons were thrashing her apartment and were using Ezekiel and Jasper as pretexts.

One dream was especially weird. It was a man she hadn't seen before but somehow, he was familiar. Maybe that feeling was coming from her connection to Hell but she was sure she knew who he was in her subconscious.

"You know me, Zoe."
His voice sounded like the snake in Harry Potter. It gave her chills. He raised an eyebrow and took a step towards her. She leaned back but didn't move her feet.

"You're a demon." She stated obvious facts.
He wanted to talk to her about different things but she was proving to be stupidly innocent minded.

"I am the one demon you fear. The one who sees everything but doesn't act."
Her expressions changed gradually from surprised to fear and ended with hatred.

"Belial." She spit his name with such hatred. "You finally show your face to me. It must be serious." She was ironic, of course, but so many demons were afraid of him that she just became annoyed with the so called big demon. Besides, Hell wasn't exactly about him. It was about Lucifer and Satan. People weren't giving a shit about Belial in religion.

"There is a war coming between Beelzebub and Lucifer. You know what that means," She raised an eyebrow and waited for him to tell her the answer. "The commander and the inheritor will be affected. You have to choose what side you will fight for." Both stared at each other in silence until Zoe clicked his tongue and looked to the side.

"No." Her response was short but it wasn't the one Belial wanted. "I'm not going to be involved in your war and I won't let Jasper be influenced into it either. It's not our fight."
Belial's pretty and sharp features morphed into a grotesque figure. He didn't have a nose anymore and his skin became black. His eyes were the same red color but they got wider. He didn't have eyelids anymore and he became really skinny. She gulped.

As he started to walk towards her, she started to walk backwards. She did that until she got on the edge of a cliff -which wasn't there before- and had no choice but stop. He tilted his head to the side and licked his lips. His tongue was thin and long. It wasn't as scary as it was gross.

"It became your fight when you entered Hell."  Belial hissed.
He grabbed her chin and forced her to come closer. She was trying to keep her brave personality but it was getting hard. Staring into those red orbs was frightening. She swore she could see the flames of Hell in his eyes and could hear the cries and pleads of broken souls.

"Then what side are you going to root for?" Belial chuckled. She was still a smart ass even in such a threatening position.

"Do you really want to see Ezekiel's girlfriend die and get in Lucifer's hands?" She frowned. He was changing the subject and was using her friends as ledge.

"You do that and I will rise so high only to make you pay for it."
Belial heard rumors about her loyalty to her friends but he didn't expect her to be so bold about it. Besides, he was who he was and she was nothing compared to him.

"I don't doubt that but it will take you decades. I can kill your entire family in just a blink of an eye." That was unfortunately right. She couldn't risk so much. "Think carefully who you're going to fight for, Zoe."
Zoe was ready to give another smart ass comment but he disappeared in a puff of smoke. She looked down at her hands and saw the commander sign glow. The commander groaned and ruffled her hair. She noticed someone coming closer but she couldn't see exactly who it was. Zoe narrowed her eyes at him and took a step forward. Suddenly, she felt someone pull her from behind. She was going to fall over the cliff. She closed her eyes and waited for the impact.
It never came.

Zoe opened her eyes only to find out someone was holding her close. She looked up and saw Mehrdir. He narrowed his eyes at her before he left. She looked around and realized she was in her room, in Essex.
She looked outside and wondered if it was only a dream or her soul got pulled to Hell for real.

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